Many People Are Now Celebrating “Buy Nothing Day” Instead of “Black Friday”
Advocates of Buy Nothing Day say that they hope to encourage mindfulness about consumption habits.
(TT) — Each year in the United States, millions of people participate in a mass ritual in consumerism that has come to be known as Black Friday.
Less than 24 hours after people claim to contemplate on what they are thankful for, many of them engage in battle with their neighbors over discounted plastic or electronic goods. As the years go on, the scenes at Black Friday sales have become increasingly chaotic and violent, with deaths and injuries becoming commonplace.
Many people decide to stay home and shop online instead, while others have decided to boycott the sales altogether. The most popular Black Friday boycott is known as “Buy Nothing Day,” and it has been going strong for 24 years now. The boycott was initially organized by Vancouver-based artist Ted Dave, who wanted to promote a “day for society to examine the issue of over-consumption.”
The first official boycott kicked off on the same day as Black Friday in 1997, and has spread all over the world in the decades since.
The website of the UK chapter for Buy Nothing Day states that:
“The rules are simple, for 24 hours you will detox from buying stuff – anyone can take part provided they spend a day without spending! Instead of shopping, people around the world will take part in a 24-hour moratorium on consuming, either as a personal experiment or public statement. The anarchy that ensues on Black Friday has now become an absurd dystopian phenomenon … Black Friday sucks the life out of small businesses, who cannot compete against this ruthless price cutting. If you really need to shop on Buy Nothing Day, ignore the big retailers … make commitment to support local independent shops and businesses.”
Advocates of Buy Nothing Day say that they hope to encourage mindfulness about consumption habits that will last for years to come.
According to the National Retail Federation, more than 174 million Americans shopped from Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday in 2016. The average amount that each shopper spent that year was around $335.
This year, experts predict that 165 million people plan on shopping for Black Friday this year.
A smattering of small galaxies appear to be missing a whole lot of dark matter.
Most of a typical galaxy is invisible. This elusive mass, known as dark matter, seems to be an indispensable ingredient for creating a galaxy — it’s the scaffolding that attracts normal matter — yet reveals itself only as an extra gravitational tug on gas and stars.
But now, researchers have found 19 dwarf galaxies — all much smaller than the Milky Way — that defy this common wisdom. These newly identified outliers have much less dark matter than expected. The finding, published November 25 in Nature Astronomy, more than quintuples the known population of dark-matter renegades, adding fuel to an already simmering mystery.
“We are not sure why and how these galaxies form,” says Qi Guo, an astrophysicist at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing. Typical dwarf galaxies concentrate dark matter far more than their larger cousins, she notes. Their smaller size leads to weaker gravity, which has trouble holding on to tenuous clouds of gas. That usually shifts the balance of mass in dwarf galaxies away from normal matter and toward dark matter.
“This new class of galaxy is straining our ability to explain all galaxies in one cohesive framework,” says Kyle Oman, an astrophysicist at Durham University in England who was not involved in this research.
In 2016, Oman and his colleagues identified two galaxies that appeared to be missing dark matter. In short order, two more oddballs turned up (SN: 3/28/18).
Guo and her colleagues wondered if these galaxies had more company. So using existing data from the Arecibo radio telescope in Puerto Rico, the team weighed dwarf galaxies by looking at how fast hydrogen whipped around each one. Higher speed means more total mass. The researchers then combined the mass of the hydrogen and of all the stars, inferred from starlight, to estimate how much of each galaxy’s mass is made up of normal matter.
For every galaxy, total mass added up to more than the mass of the gas and stars — not surprising, as that extra mass is the dark matter. But in about 6 percent of cases, there wasn’t as much extra mass as expected.
One oddball, designated AGC 213086, weighs in at around 14 billion suns. If it were typical, about 2 percent of its mass — nearly 280 million solar masses — would be gas and stars. Instead, its actual inventory of normal matter is about 3.8 billion solar masses, or about 27 percent of its total mass.
Of 324 dwarf galaxies analyzed, 19 appear to be missing similarly large stores of dark matter. Those 19 are all within about 500 million light-years of Earth, and five are in or near other groups of galaxies. In those cases, the researchers note, perhaps their galactic neighbors have somehow siphoned off their dark matter. But the remaining 14 are far from other galaxies. Either these oddballs were born different, or some internal machinations such as exploding stars have upset their balance of dark matter and everyday matter, or baryons.
It may not be a case of missing dark matter, says James Bullock, an astrophysicist at the University of California, Irvine. Instead, maybe these dwarf galaxies have clung to their normal matter — or even stolen some — and so “have too many baryons.” Either way, he says, “this is telling us something about the diversity of galaxy formation…. Exactly what that’s telling us, that’s the trick.”
The world is increasingly complicated. This increased complexity is not helped by the fact that people are less aware of simple principles and simple practices. Simplicity is often overlooked, and yet simplicity is exactly the thing that tends to be effortlessly helpful and near endlessly applicable in situations of complexity. Complexity normally has limited applicability, while simplicity normally has unlimited applicability.
Complex principles and practices are as difficult to stand on as clouds and tend to result in clouded situations instead of clarity. Simple principles and practices, on the other hand, provide a great base to develop on, near endlessly. Complexity is often pursued because in the design of the status quo, complex practices and principles offer a quick means to ends, a way to win money.
The results of complex pursuits are complex problems. Simple pursuits do not result in complex problems. It’s not simplicity that blossoms from complexity, only more complexity. Simplicity blossoms from simplicity, as does our potential ability to solve complex problems.
The unsustainable status quo of humanity is illustrated in the allegory of the islander who leaves home. The proverbial ‘go-getter’ islander leaves home aiming to gain enough money to purchase an island home – but when he finally returns, the island has changed due to aggregate complexity. His island is no longer the same. Simplicity would have been remaining on the island or going to a different island to find work and a home there.
Why Do We Prefer Complexity?
Simply put, because complexity is more profitable than simplicity.
All too frequently simplicity is overlooked because the most profitable pursuits in an unsustainable world are complicated. Simplicity is often an intangible quality, whereas complexity yields mostly tangible quantities. This distinction makes complexity a preferable pursuit to win money. Many also find it preferable to stay busy with quantifying things, rather than performing sometimes uncomfortable qualitative inner work.
Sometimes complexity is preferred because complexity profits, and sometimes complexity is preferred because it is a distraction, a way to keep our attention on obtaining stuff rather than paying attention to our own inner stuff, rather than performing the difficult duty of performing the great work; the inner work.
This has resulted in many sensible systems, ideas, truth and fairness, and even the ability to obtain clean water on whole continents, being left behind in favour of complex profitable means with complex and dire results.
Truth and Fairness Suffer Under Complexity
Truth and fairness have been removed and shifted in order to uphold the profitability of various complexities globally. Sometimes we learn about these transgressions of truth and fairness, sometimes we do not, even though we are living through their consequence. The energy oligarchies and related institutions are among the most obviously guilty of gross lying about destructive actions with endless complex consequences.
Truth and fairness are generally overlooked in relation to gaining means towards ends. People will boldly exclaim that they are conducting their business for profit. Hardly any proclaim their pursuit of truth and fairness. We, collectively, presume most all other institutional functions are formed in order to profit, truth and fairness be damned. And it is apparent, clean water be damned. In fact, we have allowed some of the most preposterous greedy pursuits to infiltrate the institutions we trust with our maintenance, healing, and social development worldwide.
How Complexity Subdues Individuality
The majority prefer complexity and artificiality due to bureaucratic training. We end up institutionalized, in one form of survival mode or another, where questioning beyond the status quo is outside our scope. Seeking individuation or self-development is hardly considered. Most prefer not to think much and not to think much differently than the majority. The impulse to not think much and not think much differently are institutionally pushed from Beijing to London. Alternative and critical thinking has been continuously subtly punished, and is increasingly overtly punished. We are institutionalized to the point where we accept systems of individual detriment in order to progress institutional development. This is evidence of how we have been manipulated. This thinking must be removed for our collective good.
“Empty your cup so that it may be filled; become devoid to gain totality.” ~ Bruce Lee
To not question and not reason goes against our true nature. Asking ‘why’ repeatedly and near obsessively is perhaps distinct in human nature. It is our first impulse when we first are capable of communication. Following complexity and artificiality without question requires us to have been immersed in it to the point that we do not notice what is around us. Institutionalization rather than individuation damages and degrades the psyche to the point we do not observe self nor surroundings.
In this increasingly complex world we are trained to not consider, to not reason, and to not seek truth. We are further repetitively steered to think not as individuals, but as institutions, and perform all sorts of work which builds institutions, and not our own individuation.
Humanity’s Inhumanity Arises from Complexity
There are many ways humanity is steered to be inhumane, but a large portion of it all can be understood as the removal of, or distortion of, simplicity. If we stand on simple principles we are not so easily steered off base. When we know a few simple practices we are not so easily tricked with proverbial carrots on strings. If on the other hand we are immersed in complexity without principled roots and steady development practices, we easily topple to the winds of institutional and artificial influences.
Planetary pollution is the most blatant outcome of a complex world which lacks a majority of reasoned individuals. The artificiality destroying the planet and transforming ecosystems into lifeless zones is due to humanity celebrating complexity. Humanity has collectively decided that the complexity of being wasteful at the cost of our environment is preferable to simplicity of secured and sustained existence. Humanity altered the planet to the point that we are responsible for extinctions of species because of our illogical, unreasonable, unsustainable greed.
We collectively destroy and allow for the destruction of simplicity while enabling complexity. We collectively have obfuscated truth and authenticity for artificiality with dire results. Simple principles and practices are less easily manipulated. From a base of simplicity, we would not choose complexity. Simplicity enables us to shake off artificiality in part because it provokes curiosity rather than culling it.
The Simplicity of the Tao and the Tenets of Thoth
The knowledge and wisdom found in the teachings related to The Tao and to The Tenets of Thoth are denied importance and ridiculed as antiquated.
Yet, one of the simplest concepts leading to the most profound ideas and observations is The Taiji. The Taiji is what is typically known in The West as The Yin Yang symbol. The Taiji is the symbol of The Tao. The Taiji is made up of four parts. There is Major and Minor, Yin and Yang aspects. There is a set of four, or a duality of polarity displayed; this helps us in considering contrasts and transforming our observations into potential paradigm thought, energy and invention.
The innumerable ideas spawning from and related to these four parts all start with the simple contrasts of Major and Minor, Yin and Yang. The Major parts are the swirls and the Minor parts are the circles within the swirls. Try to utilize the contrasts presented in this format to face a perplexing situation. You may find a solution to problems or a new direction through your use of more balanced patterns.
There is usually an obvious positive and obvious negative, and often an unnoticed subtle positive and subtle negative too, which may offer preferable outcomes in numerous situations. You might consider the active and the passive and also the passive in the active and active in the passive as well.
The Tao of Thoth presents principles and practices based on deep simplicity. It is useful for shifting negative patterns and raising consciousness. Most systems of artificiality are based on complexity and limited applicability, but the simple principles put forth here are applicable toward both individual refinement and our collective betterment. The Tao of Thoth unites East and West through Thoth Energy and offers layered lessons for individuation and inspiration.
The Taiji symbol and Taiji practice represent the principles and practices embodied in what is commonly referred to as The Yin Yang symbol and Tai Chi. The Tenets of Thoth are among the simplest and most vividly potent philosophical approaches to understanding the world and the self. And The Taiji depicts the simplest and most potent practical approaches to understanding the world and developing self.
Both The Tao and The Tenets of Thoth lack ardency and in such promote expansion. The ideas of The Tao and The Seven Tenets of Thoth are simple and their lack of ardency means that the ideas can be applicable to innumerable situations, subjects, and objects. The Tao and Tenets of Thoth are entirely simple and yet near unlimited in their applicability and profundity.
“The possession of knowledge unless accompanied by manifestation and expression in action is like the hording of precious metals, a vain and foolish thing. Knowledge like wealth is intended for use, the law of use is universal and he who violates it suffers by reason of his conflict with natural forces.” ~The Kybalion
This article is an excerpt from The Tao of Thoth. The Tao of Thoth is based on the Taiji of The Seven Tenets of Thoth as illustrated in The Kybalion written by The Three Initiates. The Tao of Thoth is inspired by the relationships of The Tao and The Tenets of Thoth. The Tao provides parallel lessons with The Tenets of Thoth, and each aim towards enhancement and embodiment of lessons pertaining to self-development.
(CNN) – The 18,000-year-old body of a near perfectly preserved puppy has left scientists puzzled.
Russian scientists discovered the body of the canine near Yakutsk, in eastern Siberia. Preserved by permafrost, the specimen’s nose, fur and teeth are remarkably intact.
Using carbon dating on the creature’s rib bone, experts from Sweden’s Centre for Palaeogenetics were able to confirm that the specimen had been frozen for around 18,000 years, but extensive DNA tests have so far been unable to show whether the animal was a dog or a wolf.
“It’s normally relatively easy to tell the difference between the two,” David Stanton, a researcher at the Centre for Palaeogenetics, told CNN.
“We have a lot of data from it already, and with that amount of data, you’d expect to tell if it was one or the other. The fact that we can’t might suggest that it’s from a population that was ancestral to both — to dogs and wolves,” he explained.
Stanton told CNN that the period the puppy is from is “a very interesting time in terms of wolf and dog evolution.”
“We don’t know exactly when dogs were domesticated, but it may have been from about that time. We are interested in whether it is in fact a dog or a wolf, or perhaps it’s something halfway between the two,” he said.
Further tests might provide more insight into exactly when dogs were domesticated, Stanton said.
Modern dogs are thought to have been domesticated from wolves, but exactly when is unclear — in 2017, a study published in the journal Nature Communications found that modern dogs were domesticated from a single population of wolves 20,000 to 40,000 years ago.
In contrast, a 2016 University of Oxford study, published in the journal Science, suggested that dogs were independently domesticated twice from gray wolves during the Paleolithic era, once in Asia and once in Europe.
Scientists from the Center for Palaeogenetics said on Twitter that genome analysis had revealed that the puppy was male. They said that, after conferring with their Russian colleagues, they would call the puppy Dogor — meaning “friend” in Yakutian.
The scientists plan to run more genome data tests on the creature to find out more about its origins.
The formation of galaxies is a complex dance between matter and energy, occurring on a stage of cosmic proportions and spanning billions of years. How the diversity of structured and dynamic galaxies we observe today arose from the fiery chaos of the Big Bang remains one of the most difficult unsolved puzzles of cosmology.
In search of answers, an international team of scientists has created the most detailed large-scale model of the universe to date, a simulation they call TNG50. Their virtual universe, some 230 million light-years wide, contains tens of thousands of evolving galaxies with levels of detail previously seen only in single-galaxy models. The simulation tracked more than 20 billion particles representing dark matter, gases, stars and supermassive black holes, over a 13.8-billion-year period.
The unprecedented resolution and scale allowed the researchers to gather key insights into our own universe’s past, revealing how various oddly shaped galaxies morphed themselves into being and how stellar explosions and black holes triggered this galactic evolution. Their results are published in two articles to be featured in the December 2019 issue of the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.
TNG50 is the latest simulation created by the IllustrisTNG Project, which aims to build a complete picture of how our universe evolved since the Big Bang by producing a large-scale universe without sacrificing the fine details of individual galaxies.
“These simulations are huge datasets where we can learn a ton by dissecting and understanding the formation and evolution of galaxies within them,” said Paul Torrey, associate professor of physics at the University of Florida and co-author of the study. “What’s fundamentally new about TNG50, is that you’re getting to a sufficiently high mass and spatial resolution within the galaxies that give you a clear picture of what the internal structure of the systems looks like as they form and evolve.”
The model’s attention to detail comes at some cost. The simulation required 16,000 processor cores of the Hazel Hen supercomputer in Stuttgart, Germany, running continuously for more than a year. The same calculation would take a single processor system 15,000 years to compute. Despite being one of the most computationally heavy astrophysical simulations in history, the researchers believe their investment has paid off.
“Numerical experiments of this kind are particularly successful when you get out more than you put in,” Dylan Nelson, a postdoctoral fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics in Munich, Germany, and co-author of the study, said in a statement. “In our simulation, we see phenomena that had not been programmed explicitly into the simulation code. These phenomena emerge in a natural fashion, from the complex interplay of the basic physical ingredients of our model universe.”
That emergent phenomenon might be essential to understanding why our universe appears as it is today 13.8 billion years after the Big Bang. TNG50 allowed researchers to see firsthand how galaxies may have emerged from the turbulent clouds of gas present shortly after the universe was born. They discovered that the disk-shaped galaxies common to our cosmic neighborhood naturally emerged within their simulation and produced internal structures, including spiral arms, bulges and bars extending from their central supermassive black holes. When they compared their computer-generated universe to real-life observations, they found their population of galaxies were qualitatively consistent with reality
As their galaxies continued to flatten into well-ordered rotating disks, another phenomenon began to emerge. Supernova explosions and supermassive black holes at the heart of each galaxy created high-speed outflows of gas. These outflows morphed into fountains of gas rising thousands of light-years above a galaxy. The tug of gravity eventually brought much of this gas back unto the galaxy’s disk, redistributing it to its outer edge and creating a feedback loop of gas outflow and inflow. Apart from recycling the ingredients for forming new stars, the outflows were also shown to change their galaxy’s structure. The recycled gases accelerated the transformation of galaxies into thin rotating disks.
Despite these initial findings, the team is far from finished dissecting their model. They also plan to release all of the simulation’s data publicly for astronomers across the world to study their virtual cosmos.
“There’s a huge road ahead of us now that we have these simulations completed,” Torrey said. “A whole team of researchers are working to better understand the detailed properties of the galaxies that form and what emergent trends show up in that data.”
According to a new study, cats understand certain laws of physics. Does this make them smarter than their owners? Dog lovers will probably have an opinion on this. If he were still around, Isaac Newton might have one as well.
This study may be viewed as evidence for cats having a rudimentary understanding of gravity.
And not just the “cats always land on all fours” kind of gravity. Researchers from Kyoto University in Japan, led by Saho Takagi, collected 22 cats from Japanese cat cafes and eight domestic cats (they weren’t volunteers – cats don’t volunteer for anything) and tested their ability to understand the physics principle of cause-and-effect and some others.
Cat cafes? In countries like Japan where cats are popular but apartments allowing cats are not, cat cafes charge people an hourly rate to come in and play with cats. Sounds like a great plan to prevent the stray cat problem other countries like the U.S. have.
The researchers used a plastic container lined with an electromagnet and three iron balls to test the cats. They rattles the balls and dumped them out, then turned on the magnet, rattled the box (no sound) and nothing came out. Next they switched things around to fake out the cats – noise with no balls dropping, no noise with balls dropping.
According to the study, the cats demonstrated their awareness of gravity by moving away from the noisy box so they didn’t get hit by falling iron balls. Then they showed their awareness of cause-and-effect by staring longer at the box that made noise (anticipating the falling balls) and looking puzzled when sometimes nothing came out of a noisy box.
At the risk of sounding like a biased dog owner … that’s it?
The results suggest that cats used a causal-logical understanding of auditory stimuli to predict the appearance of invisible objects. The ecology of cats’ natural hunting style may favor the ability for inference on the basis of sounds.
“Hunting based on sounds” sounds like the strategy of many animals, not just cats. If this is a demonstration of an understanding of physics, then there’s a lot of pets who could qualify for government grants to conduct government studies like this one.
Do cats understand physics better than some humans? Can you think of anyone you know who would flunk the “iron balls stuck to hidden magnets” test? Sober?
Did this cat sleep through the physics class on gravity?
Numbers are everywhere, all around us, especially in this modern digital age. From your smartphone to your smart fridge, electronic devices often tell us the time, and we may also notice numbers in car registrations, addresses, phone numbers and other data chunks. So, what does it mean if you keep seeing the same pattern of repeating numbers?
You’re probably aware of the 11:11 phenomenon – increasing numbers of people who believe they are seeing the number pattern 11:11 (as a time) or 1111 cropping up in daily life. In numerology, 11 is a master number, and is believed to signify a strong spirituality. Many people therefore consider 11:11 to be a sign of a spiritual awakening, and that if you are seeing this number repeatedly, you are being called to a spiritual pathway as a lightworker.
But 11:11 is not the only significant number pattern. Any sequence of three or four repeated numbers has numerological significance. People probably see 11:11 more than the others because 11:11 is the only four-digit sequence which can appear on our clocks, but 222 or 2222, 333 or 3333 and so on are also deeply meaningful.
If you think you’re starting to see number patterns regularly, you’ll find it helpful to keep a log or a diary recording when and where you see them. Of course, confirmation bias plays a part here, and a sceptic would suggest that you’re not seeing these patterns any more often than any other random pattern of numbers, but you’re just subconsciously choosing to notice the one you want to notice. We don’t remember the dozens of times a day we glance at a clock and it says some other time, but we do remember if it says 11:11. While there’s undoubtedly something in that concept, it doesn’t negate that the number patterns you choose to pay attention to may well have some significant symbolic message for you.
111, 1111, 1:11 or 1.11
As you might expect, the number one connects in numerology with the concept of a beginning. If you are repeatedly seeing a 1-based number pattern, it could be a sign from the universal consciousness that the time is right to make a fresh start. A new cycle is yours for the taking, but action on your part is needed to kick it off. Whether it’s a new business you want to launch, or a new relationship you’re seeking, pay attention to these cosmic nudges and take positive steps to get something new off the ground.
222, 2222, 2:22 or 2.22
Two is feminine energy which speaks of harmony, love and balance. If you’re repeatedly seeing a 2-based number pattern, ask yourself if everything in your life is as balanced as it should be. This may be your prompt to adjust your work-life balance for example, or to balance your responsibilities against some me time. The number two is also about feelings and emotions, especially in love and interpersonal relationships. If you’re looking for love, the cosmos may be telling you that a soul mate is on the way.
333, 3333, 3:33 or 3.33
The energy of the number three is all about self-expression and creativity. If you’re repeatedly seeing a 3-based number of patterns, you’re being prompted to step into your full power as a manifestor and co-creator of your life. Set your imagination free and know that your thoughts create your reality. Perhaps it’s time for you to express who you really are instead of fitting into someone else’s boxes. Speak up, create, express yourself and don’t hold back.
444, 4444, 4:44 or 4.44
Four in numerology is about stability – think of the stability of a solid square. The energy of this number manifests itself in matters to do with our home life – our own source of stability – and issues around security, both physical and emotional. If you’re seeing a 4-based number pattern on a regular basis, the cosmos may be urging you to stay put or to have patience. Wait a while before making dramatic changes. While you’re waiting, work on nurturing yourself so that you feel safe and in control.
555, 5555, 5:55 or 5.55
If the energy of four is stable, the energy of the number five is unstable, inviting – if not demanding – change. Change can be daunting at the best of times, but if you’re repeatedly seeing a 5-based number pattern, it’s heading your way, like it or not. Prepare for this change in the first instance by embracing it. The number five asks that you surrender or let go of all that no longer serves you. This may feel like a big ask, and a risk, but this is a necessary step before a new cycle can begin.
666, 6666, or 6.66
The energy of the number six is all about duty, responsibility and service. If you are repeatedly seeing a 6-based number pattern, ask yourself whether you’re truly living up to your responsibilities – or perhaps at the other end of the scale whether your responsibilities are drowning you. The number six can bring worry and feelings of fear or angst, so seeing this pattern may be a nudge from the cosmos that you need to take better care of yourself. You can’t care for others unless you are well yourself. If you’re seeing this pattern regularly, get health niggles checked out.
777, 7777 or 7.77
The energy of number seven is about intuition and instinct. Christians believe that number seven is a lucky number, because it was on this day during creation that god rested. In Chinese numerology, however, number seven, like number four, is intensely unlucky. Forget notions of either luck or bad luck and instead understand that you make your own luck, based in large part on whether or not you listen to your instincts. If you’re seeing a 7-based number pattern regularly, the cosmos wants you to listen to your gut. Trust yourself and don’t be deceived by what others tell you.
888, 8888 or 8.88
Eight is a powerful number which tends to bring transformation and growth. It looks similar to the symbol for infinity and it is a reminder that however bad things have been, and however long the journey, you have it within your power to direct your own life. If you’re repeatedly seeing an 8-based number pattern, you have probably been through a tough time recently. This pattern is the universal consciousness telling you that you will emerge into better times if – and it’s a big if – you can trust the process.
999, 9999 or 9.99
Here in the UK, we are conditioned to associate the sequence 999 with an emergency or crisis, since it’s the number we use to call the emergency services. However, in numerology, the number nine is associated with wisdom, completion and a universal compassion for our fellow earth-dwellers. If you’re repeatedly seeing a 9-based number pattern, you may be drawing close to the end of one particular growth cycle – but fear not, because every ending leads to another beginning. A nine sequence may also be your prompt to get involved with humanitarian causes, or to share the wisdom you have learned thus far. When you see repeated nines, start to clear the decks – and your clutter – so that when this cycle is ended, you can face the future with confidence.
About the author:
Nikki Harper is a spiritualist writer, astrologer, and editor for Wake Up World.
Are you one of over two billion people that use Facebook, the world’s largest social media site?
Facebook has become so deeply ingrained in people’s lives that it has now become the norm to give it access to personal data without much thought, as if this is but a small price to pay for Facebook’s “free” service. But nothing could be further from the truth.
These traceable and sellable data now give Facebook the power to manipulate what we do, how we feel, what we buy and what we believe. The consequences of giving Facebook this much power is only becoming apparent, with mounting lawsuits against their security breaches and lousy privacy settings.
Even CrossFit, the well-established branded fitness regimen, has decided to stop supporting Facebook and its associated services, putting all their activities on Facebook and Instagram to a halt starting May 22, 2019. This decision came in the wake of Facebook’s deletion of the Banting7DayMealPlan user group, which was done without warning or explanation. The group has more than 1.65 million members who post testimonials regarding the efficiency of a low-carb, high-fat diet.
Although the group was later reinstated, Facebook’s action still shows how it acts in the interest of the food and beverage industry. You see, big advertisers on Facebook, like Coca-Cola, don’t want you to have access to this information, and Facebook is more than happy to ban anyone challenging the industrial food system. By doing this, it potentially contributes to the global chronic disease crisis.
Would you continue trusting a company that thinks too little of violating your rights to privacy?
1Facebook’s Primary ‘Product’ Is You
If you think Facebook’s product is the very platform that users interact with, you’re wrong. You are actually Facebook’s primary product. The site makes money off you by meticulously tracking your hobbies, habits and preferences through your “likes,” posts, comments, private messages, friends list, login locations and more. It sells these data, along with your personal information, to whomever wants access to them, potentially facilitating everything from targeted advertising to targeted fraud — this is its entire profit model.
Did you know that it can even access your computer or smartphone’s microphone without your knowledge? So if you’re suddenly receiving ads for products or services that you just spoke out loud about, don’t be surprised — chances are one or more apps linked to your microphone have been eavesdropping on you. These privacy intrusions can continue even after you’ve closed your Facebook account.
Companies can also collect information about the websites you’re visiting or the keywords you’re searching for outside of Facebook’s platform without your permission, and then sell these data to Facebook so it knows which ads to show you. This makes Facebook the most infamous advertising tool ever created, and to increase revenue, it has to continue spying on you.
During Facebook’s early days, its founder, Mark Zuckerberg, assured in an interview that no user information would be sold or shared with anyone the user had not specifically given permission to. However, the site’s blatant disregard for its users’ privacy proves otherwise. In fact, Facebook has been repeatedly caught mishandling user data and lying about their data harvesting, resulting in multiple legal problems.
The origin of Facebook is also far from altruistic, even though it’s said to be created “to make the world more open and connected,” and “give people the power to build community.” A front-runner to Facebook was a site called FaceMash, which was created to rate photos of women — photos that were obtained and used without permission. Some of the women were even compared to farm animals! This speaks volumes about Zuckerberg’s disrespect for privacy. Facebook is basically founded on a misogynistic hate group and it should therefore ban itself.
2Facebook Faces Investigation for Its Lax Security and Privacy Practices
Facebook is currently facing a number of lawsuits regarding its controversial data-sharing practices and poor security measures. Back in 2010, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) revealed that Facebook was sharing user data with third-party software developers without the users’ consent, expressing concerns about the potential misuse of personal information, as Facebook does not track how third parties utilized them.
While Facebook agreed by consent order to “identify risk to personal privacy” and eliminate those risks, they did not actually pay attention to their security lapse. Had they done so, they would’ve been able to prevent the Cambridge Analytica scandal, the main focus of FTC’s first criminal probe. This issue involves Facebook’s deal with a British political consulting firm, allowing it access to around 87 million user data, which was used to influence public opinion in the U.S. presidential election.
Another criminal investigation into Facebook’s data sharing practice is underway. This time, it revolves around Facebook’s partnerships with tech companies and device makers, allowing them to override the users’ privacy settings and giving them broad access to its users’ information.
Amid federal criminal investigations, Zuckerberg announced the company’s latest plan to encrypt messages, so only the sender and the receiver will supposedly be able to decipher what they say. This is ironic, considering it was recently discovered that Facebook stored millions of user passwords in readable plaintext format in its internal platform, potentially compromising the security of millions of its users.
Zuckerberg has repeatedly demonstrated a complete lack of integrity when it comes to fulfilling his promises of privacy. In fact, in a 2010 talk given at the Crunchie awards, he stated that “privacy is no longer a social norm,” implying that using social media automatically strips you of the right to privacy, and that is why they do not respect it.
3Facebook Is a Monopoly
Facebook’s plan to integrate Instagram, Messenger and WhatsApp would turn it into a global super-monopoly. This merger has been criticized by tech experts, as it robs users of their ability to choose between messaging services, leaving them virtually no choice but to submit to Facebook’s invasive privacy settings. This also gives Facebook unprecedented data mining capabilities.
German antitrust regulator, Bundeskartellamt, is the first to prohibit Facebook’s unrestricted data mining, banning Facebook’s services in Germany if it integrates the three messaging platforms. If other countries follow suit, the merger would fall through, as it probably should.
One of the outspoken proponents of breaking up monopolies like Facebook, Google and Amazon is U.S. presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass. Her campaign to break up Facebook was censored by the site, taking down three of her ads with a message that said the ads went “against Facebook’s advertising policies.”
After Warren took to Twitter to comment how the censorship simply proves why her proposal was necessary, Facebook then reinstated her ads with the lame excuse that they were only removed because they included Facebook’s logo, which violates the site’s advertising policy.
I’ve Decided — I Am Leaving Facebook
At present, I have nearly 1.8 million Facebook followers, and I am grateful for the support. But a while back, I have expressed my concerns that perhaps I am doing more harm than good by being a part of Facebook, as I could be contributing to the invasive data mining, an idea that never sat well with me.
For those reasons, I decided that leaving the platform and going back to depending on email is the responsible way forward. If you haven’t subscribed to my newsletter yet, I urge you, your family and your friends to sign up now. I polled my audience and they agreed with my decision to leave.