The First Amendment – Isn’t Thaty Its Purpose, Ketanji?????

Ketanji Brown Jackson ‘Concerned’ First Amendment Is ‘Hamstringing’ Government from Censorship

Justice Jackson said to the plaintiff, “My biggest concern is that your view has the First Amendment hamstringing the government in significant ways in the most important time periods.” She added, “You seem to be suggesting that duty cannot manifest itself in the government encouraging or even pressuring platforms to take down harmful information. So, can you help me? Because I’m really worried about that because you’ve got the First Amendment operating in an environment of threatening circumstances, from the government’s perspective, and you’re saying that the government can’t interact with the source of those problems.”


Commentator Charlie Kirk wrote: You CANNOT outsource censorship and call it constitutional. You CANNOT have the FBI harassing Facebook and not call it coercion. You CANNOT suspend the Constitution because you say COVID is a once in a lifetime event.



Summary by JW Williams

The Republican attorneys general of Louisiana and Missouri filed suit in May 2022 against President Joe Biden and others alleging they were using the federal government’s power to suppress free speech on social media platforms during the 2020 election and the COVID-19 pandemic. The case, Murthy v. Missouri, is now being heard by the the Supreme Court .

Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson appeared to be perturbed that the government could not censor social media posts in “the most important time periods.” Here are some examples of government interference in free speech on social media that were taken from a ruling from a judge in Louisiana:

  1.  Two months after President Biden took office, his top digital adviser emailed officials at Facebook urging them to do more to limit the spread of “vaccine hesitancy” on the social media platform.
  2. At the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, officials held “weekly sync” meetings with Facebook, once emailing the company 16 “misinformation” posts.
  3. And in the summer of 2021, the surgeon general’s top aide repeatedly urged Google, Facebook and Twitter to do more to combat disinformation.

Justice Jackson said to the Louisiana Solicitor General Benjamin Aguiñaga:

“My biggest concern is that your view has the First Amendment hamstringing the government in significant ways in the most important time periods.’ She added, “You seem to be suggesting that that duty cannot manifest itself in the government encouraging or even pressuring platforms to take down harmful information. So, can you help me? Because I’m really worried about that because you’ve got the First Amendment operating in an environment of threatening circumstances, from the government’s perspective, and you’re saying that the government can’t interact with the source of those problems.”

Aguiñaga responded that his view was that the government should intervene in certain situations, but it has to do so by following the First Amendment.

Jackson said a “once-in-a-lifetime pandemic” or other emergencies would provide grounds for the government to censor social media posts that are misinformative.

Conservative Justice Alito said that “The government is treating social media platforms like their subordinates.”

Commentator Charlie Kirk wrote: You CANNOT outsource censorship and call it constitutional. You CANNOT have the FBI harassing Facebook and not call it coercion. You CANNOT suspend the Constitution because you say COVID is a once in a lifetime event.



Washington Examiner:


No, Dear, There is a First Amendment RIght

Court Hands Down A MASSIVE Victory for Freedom on the Fourth of July

Court Hands Down A MASSIVE Victory for Freedom on the Fourth of July
(AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
On Independence Day, July 4, 2023, the forces of freedom won a major victory, and the Biden regime suffered a historic defeat. May there be many more days like this.

The Biden regime is authoritarian to the core. Like every hard-Left authority in the history of the world, it is intolerant of dissent and determined to stamp out all opposition, not by defeating it at the ballot box, and certainly not by besting it in the court of public opinion, but by forcibly silencing it. But on Tuesday, Judge Terry Doughty, Chief U.S. district judge of the United States District Court for the Western District of Louisiana, put a massive roadblock in the way of Biden’s handlers’ ongoing efforts to ensure that only their own perspective can be heard in the American public square.

In a landmark ruling in Missouri v. Biden, Doughty struck back hard against what he called “the most massive attack against free speech in United States’ history.” Doughty even began his decision by quoting the most famous adage regarding the importance of the freedom of speech: “I may disapprove of what you say, but I would defend to the death your right to say it,” a statement that is often attributed to Voltaire but which Doughty credits to the early twentieth-century English writer Evelyn Beatrice Hall (whom he mistakenly calls Hill, but that doesn’t detract from the power of his ruling).

Doughty declares that “in their attempts to suppress alleged disinformation, the Federal Government, and particularly the Defendants named here, are alleged to have blatantly ignored the First Amendment’s right to free speech.” He noted that “Plaintiffs allege that Defendants, through public pressure campaigns, private meetings, and other forms of direct communication, regarding what Defendants described as ‘disinformation,’ ‘misinformation,’ and ‘malinformation,’ have colluded with and/or coerced social-media platforms to suppress disfavored speakers, viewpoints, and content on social-media platforms.”

Specifically, Doughty noted:

Plaintiffs allege that Defendants suppressed conservative-leaning free speech, such as: (1) suppressing the Hunter Biden laptop story prior to the 2020 Presidential election; (2) suppressing speech about the lab-leak theory of COVID-19’s origin; (3) suppressing speech about the efficiency of masks and COVID-19 lockdowns; (4) suppressing speech about the efficiency of COVID-19 vaccines; (5) suppressing speech about election integrity in the 2020 presidential election; (6) suppressing speech about the security of voting by mail; (7) suppressing parody content about Defendants; (8) suppressing negative posts about the economy; and (9) suppressing negative posts about President Biden.

All that is abundantly true, and there are plenty of other examples of the regime’s hatred of dissent as well. Regime spokesbeings, however, will tell you that all they really want to do is protect poor, ignorant, distracted, gullible Americans from “disinformation.” It became clear when the Biden regime established its ill-fated and quickly disbanded Disinformation Governance Board that it had decided that labeling reports that departed from the officially approved line as “disinformation” was a likely winning strategy, both to circumvent the First Amendment and to hoodwink Americans into thinking that the crushing of dissent was a valuable service.

Related: Stanford University Launches New Censorship Initiative to Save ‘Our Democracy’ by Destroying It

Doughty, however, pointed out that it was not the government’s role at all to silence opposition voices; rather, he reminds us that “the principal function of free speech under the United States’ system of government is to invite dispute; it may indeed best serve its high purpose when it induces a condition of unrest, creates dissatisfaction with conditions as they are, or even stirs people to anger.” This is as far from the Biden regime’s conception of the function of free speech as Los Angeles is from Pluto’s moons, and that’s precisely why this ruling is so urgently needed, and so welcome.

Doughty wrote: “During the COVID-19 pandemic, a period perhaps best characterized by widespread doubt and uncertainty, the United States Government seems to have assumed a role similar to an Orwellian ‘Ministry of Truth.’ The Plaintiffs have presented substantial evidence in support of their claims that they were the victims of a far-reaching and widespread censorship campaign.” He added: “It is quite telling that each example or category of suppressed speech was conservative in nature. This targeted suppression of conservative ideas is a perfect example of viewpoint discrimination of political speech. American citizens have the right to engage in free debate about the significant issues affecting the country.” Yes, they do, and in Missouri v. Biden, Doughty has done a great deal to protect that right. This decision prohibits the government from working with social media giants to censor American citizens.

Will the regime fight back? Almost certainly. Will it craft a deceptive, Orwellian, disingenuous, paternalistic argument for censorship based on its claimed responsibility to protect Americans from “disinformation”? That seems likely as well. But the more it fights in cases of this kind, the more its authoritarian nature becomes clear. Will Americans quietly accept the yoke of censorship? We have a history of resisting tyranny. It is no accident, comrade, as Biden’s Marxist friends would say, that Doughty’s ruling came on Independence Day.


Insta-Info & What to Have You Buy

Instagram’s New Shopping Feature Exploits Users, Promotes Surveillance Capitalism

Instagram claims its new redesign will support small businesses and connect users with their favorite brands. But researchers warn the new “Shop” tab is more about collecting data and exploiting users’ emotions.

By Nazanin Andalibi

Recently, when I opened Instagram, I noticed that the usual spot for checking notifications is now a “Shop” tab. The Instagram blog post announcing the redesign said that the change will support small businesses and connect people with their favorite brands and creators.

This made me pause. As a researcher who studies social media, people and society, I’m concerned about the effects of surveillance capitalism. This includes social media companies profiting from collecting user data, making algorithmic inferences about people’s preferences and using this information to target people with advertising.

Features like Instagram’s “Shop” tab facilitate surveillance capitalism, so it’s important to look at their consequences. Many people use Instagram to share their lives with other people, but the redesign is shifting the nature of the social media platform toward online commerce. This shift opens people to highly targeted advertising and makes them vulnerable to advertising that exploits their emotional experiences.

Shift to shopping

Research, including my own, shows that people use Instagram to record their big and mundane moments, find community, exchange social support, express identities and keep in touch with friends.

In 2017, colleagues and I showed how ad hoc communities form around the tag #depression on the platform, and how much of the discourse is to make sense of the experience of depression, record it, share it with others and exchange support with other people dealing with depression. I argued that it is important for the platform to recognize the value users find in these communities and support them, rather than ban or nudge them to go elsewhere, when they come to the platform to express themselves and build solidarity.

The notification button, represented as a heart icon, brings up a screen that indicates the interactions people have had with your Instagram presence — for example, who has liked your posts and comments. It’s likely that the notification button was the most frequently clicked tab.

When people interact with technology, they form habits. I am probably not the only one clicking the new “Shop” tab when I mean to click the notification button. It’s possible that the company did this simply to ensure that Instagram users encounter the new feature, but there are other ways to accomplish that.

By choosing to make the “Shop” tab central to its platform, Instagram is sending its users a message: This platform is a business, and interactions on this platform are going to be commodified.

Though some people may come to Instagram to find things to buy, many don’t. App designers can provide an unneeded feature and create a need for it over time. This is not without precedence in the context of social media and shopping. For example, when Facebook, which owns Instagram, relaunched Facebook Marketplace in 2016, the Marketplace product manager, Bowen Pan, said: “We show you the most relevant items for you, even if you don’t know what you want.”

Potential harms

People share all kinds of personal information on Instagram, such as mental health, physical health, traumatic events, pregnancy, loss, infertility, becoming new parents and getting married. Social media companies’ access to such sensitive information is a concern, for how the companies could exploit the information and the risk of third-party access to the data.

Instagram can use computational techniques to infer people’s affective states — their emotions and moods — based on many signals available to the platform. These include what content users view and post. There is substantial evidence that emotions and affective states play a key role in advertising. While capitalizing on emotions and emotional personal experiences for profit is not unique to social media or algorithms, the data-driven, opaque and hyper-personalized approaches boost the scale of potential harm.

Presumably, what people see in Instagram’s “Shop” is personalized based on what the platform’s recommendation algorithm determines they would like and be inclined to purchase. How does the inferred socioeconomic, gender, age, race and other attributes shape what the platform recommends to users in the “Shop” tab? What shops get to be recommended and visible?

Instagram users can be as young as 13, the age required to open an account. How does personalization work for children? How does this feature affect the experience of individuals with low socioeconomic status? What principles and values is the platform adhering to in designing these recommendation algorithms, “Staff Picks” and other means of presenting products?

A major consideration is when people get recommendations to purchase items during vulnerable moments. Sharing or seeking information about a difficult, personal experience on a social media platform and then having the platform capitalize on an algorithmic understanding of the experience — which might or might not be accurate — is problematic.

What are the implications for impulsive buyers who may turn to Instagram as a space for community and peer support to resist impulsive purchasing, but who are instead confronted with things to purchase and have no way of opting out? How about for someone who is on the platform to find support while coping with a substance use disorder, but instead encounters recommendations to purchase items related to drinking? What happens if a person posting about experiences with pregnancy loss begins seeing ads for baby clothes? This last scenario has happened.

In recent and upcoming studies, I observed that, to varying degrees, people find social media platforms capitalizing on their personal, intimate experiences — especially those associated with negative emotions — manipulative and harmful. Social media platform designers and decision-makers should consider ways to address potential harms preemptively rather than retroactively.

The Instagram blog post announcing the “Shop” feature states that there are marketers and influencers on the platform and young people who want to purchase the same products their favorite creators use. This might be a need for some Instagram users, but not all. If Instagram is determined to emphasize shopping, and if opting in is not possible, I believe the company should allow users to opt out of the “Shop” feature.

Losing personal connections

Recent research has shown that people share less and less personal information on Facebook, which has had its Marketplace feature since 2016, and use platforms like Instagram to engage in more personal, intimate discourse. This is due in part to site features and whom people are connected to on each platform. By moving away from a focus on people and their connections, and by commodifying and potentially manipulating users to purchase items on the platform, Instagram could go down the road that Facebook did — fewer personal connections and less personal, meaningful content.

Instagram’s website states that it is “bringing you closer to the people and things you love.” But people and things are different phenomena, and the ways people feel closer to each other are different from the ways they are drawn to things, businesses and brands. By wanting to do both, or perhaps by using the former to benefit the latter, the company may be missing the mark on how to bring people closer together.

Originally published by The Conversation.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Children’s Health Defense.



What Soros Says…

“This Is Ludicrous” – Newt Gingrich Questions ‘The Soros Cover Up’

Authored by Newt Gingrich, op-ed via The American Mind,

Americans can’t let Twitter noise overwhelm political reality…

I have been watching a truly curious phenomenon over the past few days.

It seems there is suddenly a movement in media to silence anyone who speaks out against George Soros – and, specifically, his funding of radical prosecutors seeking to change the criminal justice system by simply ignoring certain crimes.

This happened to me personally this week while I was being interviewed on Fox’s Outnumbered. When I brought up Soros’s plan to get pro-criminal, anti-police prosecutors elected across the country, two of the show’s participants interrupted me and forcefully asserted that Soros was not involved.

Host Harris Faulkner, it seemed, was stunned by the interruptions, and did her part to move the show forward after some awkward silence. The next day, she addressed the strange moment during the show and condemned censorship.

Immediately after the show, Twitter and other social media went crazy. People were alleging that any criticism of Soros’s political involvement is automatically false, anti-Semitic, or both.

This is ludicrous.

Soros’s plan to elect these prosecutors has been well documented already – and it has nothing to do with his spiritual or ethnic background. The Los Angeles Timesthe New York TimesPoliticoUSA Todaythe Washington Postthe Wall Street Journalthe Associated PressCBSthe South Florida Sun-Sentinel – even Fox News itself, among others, have all thoroughly reported on it.

There are plenty of specific examples of Soros’s work in action.

Dallas County District Attorney John Creuzot, who campaigned on the promise that he would not prosecute a host of crimes—including thefts—admitted his campaign was largely funded through Soros or his groups. He has been so dismissive of crime and police that Texas Governor Greg Abbott has had to send in the Texas State Patrol to police large swaths of Dallas.

Soros gave $333,000 to the Safety and Justice PAC in 2016 to support then-Cook County District Attorney candidate Kim Foxx in Illinois—who is currently presiding over terrible violence and mayhem in Chicago, where murders are twice what they were in 2019.

Soros and his organizations spent $1.7 million to help get Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner elected in 2018. Before being elected, Krasner earned a name for himself by suing the Philadelphia Police Department 75 times. Since he took office, dozens of experienced prosecutors have either been fired or resigned. Criminal prosecutions have plummeted and crime has risen. Philadelphia now has the second-highest murder rate among large cities in the country.

Former Hugo Chavez advisor and current San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin was also funded by Soros and his groups. Boudin has called prison “an act of violence” and has refused to prosecute a slew of illegal acts, from public urination to the public solicitation of sex, which he deems to be “quality of life crimes.” By the way, Boudin is the foster child of Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn, of terrorist group Weather Underground fame. His birth parents were convicted and imprisoned for their involvement in an armed robbery-turned-homicide.

One of Soros’s favored PACs spent $402,000 to support a failed San Diego County District Attorney bid by Geneviéve Jones-Wright.

In 2016, a Soros-funded super PAC donated $107,000 to benefit Raul Torrez in his Bernalillo County District Attorney primary—which he won by a 2-to-1 margin. In fact, Soros’s huge funding prompted the Republican running to bow out because it was just too expensive to run against Torrez.

Soros-backed George Gascon is currently challenging Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey, who has been targeted and systematically harassed by Black Lives Matter supporters.

I’m not overly surprised to see the Twitter mob embrace a sudden, near-universal denial of these facts. I am alarmed to see that the force of this groupthink on social media appears to be strongly influencing professional media.

I think the heart of this mass denial is that Democrats and the Left are watching the terrible human cost of their misguided, pro-criminal, anti-police justice policies, and they are beginning to worry that the American people will realize who is responsible for them.

Rather than deal with something difficult—or admit they were wrong—the activists of the radical Left are trying to find some way to scream “racist” and get the media to follow suit.

America will suffer if our professional media continue to be overruled by our social media.

Speak Your MINDS

Censorship-Free Social Network “Explodes” After Adding 200,000+ New Users In Just A Few Days

By John Vibes / Truth Theory

The censorship-free alternative media platform Minds went down temporarily on Thursday, but came back online shortly after. When the site came back online, representatives of Minds say that the outage was a result of over 200,000+ new people signing up for the site one the same day. A large number of sign-ups were from Thailand, where increased internet censorship has forced users from mainstream platforms like Facebook and Twitter.

“Yesterday we saw 200,000+ new users. We are thrilled to provide privacy, internet freedom and digital rights for Thai netizens. This is exactly the reason Minds exists,” Minds CEO Bill Ottman said in a statement.

Some of the most notable social media users to recently migrate to Minds includes Wiroj Lakkana-adisorn, an MP for the disbanded Future Forward Party; social critic Sarinee Achavanuntakul, writer-translator Tomorn Sookprecha, satirical TV host Winyu “John” Wongsurawat, and academic Pavin Chachavalpongpun.

“We are immediately building out our translation and localization framework for Thai and many other languages. This should be finished within a few weeks. All of our project is fully open source at and people can submit requests at They can also inspect our software to make sure we aren’t manipulating algorithms or user privacy. We already have Thai developers helping with the code and building new tools,” Ottman said.

Last year, Ottman reported that the site had about 200,000 active monthly users, so gaining 200,000+ in a  few days is an incredible win for the site.

Minds was co-founded in 2011 by Bill Ottman and John Ottman, other cofounders were Mark Harding, Ian Crossland, and Jack Ottman.

In June 2017, the company raised over $1 million in the fastest equity-crowdfunded sale at the time. Then in March 2018, Minds exited Beta and launched a white paper and testnet for its new native mobile apps and Ethereum blockchain integration.

In October 2018, Minds raised $6 million in Series A funding from Medici Ventures, an subsidiary. Patrick M. Byrne, the founder, and CEO of, also joined the site’s board of directors.

You can sing up for Minds HERE, and make sure you follow Truth Theory on Minds


Mark My Words — No, Mark-ing your World

Facebook ‘News’: A bold step toward total control of reality?

Facebook ‘News’: A bold step toward total control of reality?
Facebook’s plan to hook ad-cash-deprived mainstream outlets on licensing payouts seems to be an attempt to hijack narrative control en route to total domination of the infosphere – the ultimate safe space, Zuckerberg-style.

More than two thirds of American adults get their news from social media at the same time that more than half expect that news to be “largely inaccurate.” Perhaps sensing a business opportunity, Facebook has moved in to manage that news consumption, reportedly offering mainstream outlets millions of dollars per year to license their content in order to present it to users authoritatively, as “Facebook News” – having long since ceased trusting users to share news among themselves.

But trusting Facebook to deliver the news is like trusting a cheetah to babysit your gazelles – all that’s left at the end is likely to be a pile of bones. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg warned legacy media last year that if they did not work with his plan to “revitalize journalism,” they would be left dying “like in a hospice.”

Dangling a few million in front of news outlets after depriving them of the advertising cash on which they once subsisted is merely the final step in the process of consolidation and control that began when Facebook removed actual news from its newsfeed in an effort to manage the narrative in the run-up to the 2016 election. A move ostensibly designed to “favor friends and family over publishers,” it instead plunged mainstream and especially alternative media into financial oblivion, setting them scrambling to recoup lost traffic as their place in subscribers’ feeds was taken by cat videos and family snapshots.Alternative media were further marginalized after Zuckerberg inked a deal with the Atlantic Council – NATO’s narrative-managers whose board is populated by some of the most notorious warmongers of recent history – who arrived to set the platform straight after it failed to deliver the 2016 election to Hillary Clinton. The group would ensure Facebook played a “positive role” in democracy in the future, a press release promised. Six months later, hundreds of popular political pages had been purged for getting in the way of the Atlantic Council’s version of “democracy.” Several more purges followed, many pages getting the axe for nothing more than espousing views “favorable to Iran’s national interests” or posting content with “anti-Saudi, anti-Israeli, and pro-Palestinian themes.”

Zuckerberg has never hidden his desire to see Facebook become an internet driver’s license, and he has no doubt watched gleefully as French President Emmanuel Macron’s government weighs requiring citizens to turn over actual identity documents in order to sign up to use Facebook. The platform was the first to adopt an intelligence-agency-friendly “real name policy,” irritating political activists, performers, and others who prefer not to have their social media activity follow them around in real life.

Privacy advocates are currently up in arms over the FBI’s recently-revealed plans to monitor social media platforms in real time. Combined with the recently leaked FBI decision to label all “conspiracy theorists” as potentially-dangerous domestic extremists, this looks an awful lot like a manufactured rationale to spy on the majority of the US population. Yet Facebook has been feeding users’ data to the government for over a decade. It joined the NSA’s PRISM program in 2009, providing the agency with its own convenient backdoor for slurping up the data others have had to hack themselves. Not that that’s been very hard – Facebook admitted last year that data on “most” of its users has been compromised at some point by “malicious actors.”

Facebook’s decision to hire one of the co-authors of the notorious PATRIOT Act as General Counsel earlier this year was touted as a move that would help the company “fulfill its mission.” Which would be what, exactly?

Despite its egregious privacy record, the areas of reality outside Zuckerberg’s control are dwindling rapidly. With the rollout of Facebook’s Libra coin, commerce, too, is falling under the shadow of this menacingly bland figure

When Zuckerberg was photographed traveling through Middle America several years ago, many pointed out it looked like he was running for president. His announcement around the same time that he had found religion – a vague, made-for-TV, feel-good faith guaranteed not to antagonize anyone – also had the feel of a campaign move. If Facebook – and Zuckerberg’s – history is any guide, he has bigger things in mind for Facebook News than a new tab on the user interface. Every campaign needs a press office, after all…

Helen Buyniski

Helen Buyniski is an American journalist and political commentator, working at RT since 2018.

from: Takes on Facebook

New Social Media Platform Dubbed ”The People’s Site” by Anonymous

By Claire Bernish

Facebook may have finally met its match. By directly targeting the social media behemoth’s lack of messaging encryption, infamously opaque algorithms, and government and advertiser accessibility, has earned the attention of privacy advocates, activists, and frustrated Facebook users—and has even garnered active support from Anonymous. By employing many similar features found on Facebook and other social media giants, Minds gives its users a familiar platform without the numerous privacy concerns plaguing the long-established sites.

Users will find the typical status updates, comments, and link-sharing as other social media, but Minds takes the government’s eyes out of the equation by encrypting private messages and using open-source code that any programmer can check. The platform uses a “reward’ system based on points to earn “views” for posts, so the more active you are, the more the network will promote your posts—-without hindrance from advertisers and profit models.

“For every mobile vote, comment, remind, swipe & upload you earn points which can be exchanged for views on posts of your choice. It’s a new web paradigm that gives everyone a voice,” explains the founder Bill Ottman told Business Insider, “Our stance is the users deserve the control of social media in every sense.”

As an answer Facebook’s enigmatic algorithm that has contentiously manipulated users’ newsfeeds for years—essentially strangling organic post reach, even for wildly popular pages—Minds has vowed its formula for boosting posts will be transparent and available. Instead of using inexplicable formulas that rely on Orwellian features like how much time a user lurks on a post, the new platform logically bases its system on user interaction.

These features have been so appealing, the site had 60 million visitors before the official launch on Monday—the majority of whom listed an interest in “alternative media” as their primary reason to be there. In fact, the Facebook page Anonymous Art of Revolution—with a following of over one million users—boosted the Minds website when it announced a hackathon. According to the post:

Anonymous is initiating a call to hackers, designers, creators and programmers to unite worldwide. Let us collaborate on the code of and build a top site that is truly of the people, by the people and for the people.

There have been many attempts to build alternatives to Facebook, but—with its heavy emphasis on privacy and transparency—appears to be the most promising yet.

Claire Bernish writes for, where this article first appeared. Tune in! Anti-Media Radio airs Monday through Friday @ 11pm Eastern/8pm Pacific.


Time Travelers & Social Media

Searching for Time Travelers, Scientists Look to Social Media

By Denise Chow, Staff Writer   |   January 10, 2014
time travel, wormhole
 art interpretation of traveling through a wormhole.
Credit: Les Bossinas

Time travelers, if they exist amongst us, have yet to betray their period-hopping ways online, according to a fun, new study aimed at finding visitors from another time, based on their digital footprints.

Theoretically, the idea of time travel forward in time should be possible according to Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity. In fact, scientists have already sent teensy particles called muons forward in time. But sending a large object, such as an entire person, into the future remains in the echelons of science fiction, for now.

Even so, over a summer poker game, Robert Nemiroff, an astrophysicist at Michigan Technological University in Houghton, sparked an amusing discussion with his students by asking: If time travelers were living in our midst, would they leave traces of their presence online?

The researchers chose two recent events — the March 2013 election of Pope Francis to lead the Catholic Church, and the sungrazing Comet ISON, which was first spotted in September 2012 — to search for premature online references to time travelers. Perhaps careless time travelers made mention of Pope Francis or Comet ISON on Twitter or Facebook before they were supposed to know about them, the researchers said.

“The Internet is essentially a vast database, and I thought that if time travelers were here, their existence would have already come out in some other way, maybe by posting winning lottery numbers before they were selected,” Nemiroff said in a statement.

Nemiroff and his students combed through results from search engines, such as Google and Bing, and social media sites, including Facebook and Twitter. Ultimately, their hunt came up empty.

“In our limited search we turned up nothing,” Nemiroff said in a statement. “I didn’t really think we would. But I’m still not aware of anyone undertaking a search like this.”

The researchers did find one blog post that mentioned a “Pope Francis” before Jorge Mario Bergoglio, then-Archbishop of Buenos Aires, was elected to lead the Catholic Church, but they think the reference was accidental, rather than a message from a time-traveling visitor.

Nemiroff and his students even created their own special blog post in September 2013 that asked potential time travelers to email or tweet “#ICanChangeThePast2” or “#ICannotChangeThePast2” a month earlier, on or before August 2013. But, they again found no signs of time travel.

Still, Nemiroff, whose research typically covers more serious topics such as gravitational lensing and gamma-ray bursts, said the study, while focused on a seemingly far-out concept, was an enjoyable undertaking.

“I’m always doing stuff on space and time,” he said. “This has been a lot of fun.”

Nemiroff said the study was conducted during his students’ own time, and without the use of any grant funding. The researchers presented their findings (or lack thereof) during a poster session Monday (Jan. 6) at the 223rd meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Washington, D.C.

– See more at:

Nancy Colier on Surviving the Virtual World

Psychotherapist, interfaith minister, writer and public speaker

Virtual Community: Can We Survive It?

Posted: 01/31/2012 2:20 pm

Community is a hot topic these days. Many people now complain that they feel isolated, that community has disappeared, and with it, the experience that community offers — belonging, inclusion, grounding, shared goals, connection, etc. The institutions that used to provide us with the experience of community — our schools, neighborhoods, spiritual organizations, etc. are not bringing us the same sense of connection that they used to. So what’s changed?

I recently asked a young woman why she spent so much time playing The Sims 3, the virtual character video game. Her answer: she liked the sense of community that it offered her. She could go out into the neighborhood, walk around and see other people in their houses and get a real sense of the community. As a result, she felt less cooped up in her own home and more a part of the world. The world she was talking about of course was a virtual world. When I reminded her that the people she was looking at in the other homes were not real, and the neighborhood she was wandering around in, also fake, she laughed and said she knew all that, but it didn’t bother her.

While people may still be participating in real-world communities, they are not engaging in them in the same way as they used to. Because we now rely on social media for our sense of connection and belonging, for community, we have removed ourselves to some degree from our interaction in the physical world. We are still there but in a less intimate way. At a recent visit to a local café, I noticed the so-called community table, a long wooden farm table that conspicuously evoked the sense of warmth from an earlier time, when generations of families convened over day-long meals. On this day in 2012, nine of the 10 people seated at the community table were staring into a personal screen of some kind. I laughed out loud, imagining the day when ten iPhones will occupy those community seats, sharing stories about the humans that they have to put up with.

Because we know that we can always get on Facebook, or tweet or text, the very manner in which we are interacting in the physical world has changed. We are less engaged and less committed, less dependent upon this moment of being together for our sense of connection and emotional nourishment. Physical interaction has become an impediment to our engaging with technology. We have to hurry up and finish with the people in front of us so that we can get back to tweeting and texting to people who are somewhere else. The system has flipped: People are now the distraction and our on-line world, the main stage.

It used to be that the time we spent together had an inherent importance to it. We could reach each other by telephone, but being together physically was special and an opportunity of sorts. If we were not visiting with each other, we were at home and apart. Now, together and not-together time is blurred. We are living in a continually together space, interacting constantly with no separation between the private and public experience. Sadly however, the more virtually together we are, the less genuinely together we seem to become.

The problem is not that we are shifting our sources of community, but rather that online communities cannot offer the same emotional nourishment that physical communities can. After hours of participating in virtual communities, people report feeling empty and isolated, just the opposite of the experience that physical communities provide. “But the online communities are just launching pads for people to meet in person,” supporters argue. In my research however, I have not found this to be the case. Social media is an end unto itself with its community experience remaining primarily in the online world

Since the beginning of time, humans have come together to create communities — because they are important to our well-being. We need them, to feel grounded and a part of something larger than just ourselves. The young woman who is deriving her sense of community by wandering through a virtual neighborhood, walking her virtual dog, looking into the houses of other virtual characters, is not, in my estimation, receiving the benefits that real community offers.

We are not going to lose our online communities any time soon and in fact they are proliferating. But they are not and should not be a replacement for our real life communities. When we are in direct physical contact with one another, the people we see on a regular basis, we can remind ourselves that such moments matter, can remember to land there in the interaction. It is important to honor the importance of the physical community, and the profound nourishment that it offers — nourishment that we in fact need. Physical and emotional presence are the building blocks of community. Both require effort, but it is effort wisely invested and unmistakably rewarded.


Change, Community, and Personal Power

Michele Hunt

Transformation Catalyst; Author, ‘Putting Vision and Values To Work’

 The Genie Is Out of the Bottle — People Everywhere are Claiming Life Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness
Posted: 12/ 2/11 09:44 AM

As we look around our world we see a plethora of outcries, protest and revolutions demanding change. On the surface they seem to be very different groups with different agendas, from vastly different cultures, different races and even different generations. The remarkable thing however, is that this phenomena is happening almost everywhere, in the same timeframe and at a volume unlike anything we have seen in the history of humankind. This should cause us to ask some very important, fundamental questions:

  • On a deep level, could there be some common yearnings in people that connect all of these cries for change?
  • Why now and why everywhere; is there a common cause beyond the obvious economic and political conditions?
  • Could there be a shared vision of life’s possibilities and potential growing in the hearts and minds of people around the world?

In the mist of the chaos and confusion of our time we tend to be too blinded by our “day to day” struggles and parochial focus, to see what might be unfolding on a macro bases. When I step back and listen to what people are saying — fundamentally, I hear the same cry for change. The “Arab Spring” revolutionaries in the Middle East; the “Occupy Wall Street” protestors in cities across in the world; the anti-globalization protesters at the G-20 Summit, all seem to be demanding the right be free to pursue their hopes and dreams.

While the messages of these revolts and protest speak to specific conditions: ending oppressive dictatorships, ending the income inequality, the fear of the growing marriage between corporations and governments, I believe the core message is fundamentally the same — PEOPLE FIRST! People around the world have evolved to the place where they are claiming their unalienable rights.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

The essence of this profound statement from the United States Declaration of Independence is shared by a rapidly growing number of people around the world, and impassioned US citizens are finding the courage to claim their Rights.

Why Now!

Since the beginning of the “civilized” world, people have been serving governments, businesses, institutions and the economic systems that support them. Under this model the world has seen continuous war and conflict, poverty, pain and the degradation of our planet. I believe the most devastating affect of putting people last, has been the damage to our individual and collective self-esteem, which has dampened the human spirit.

People are changing! People are now demanding an authentic shift in power from governments, institutions and systems to PEOPLE FIRST. We may be on the cusp of actualizing the social model most people have dreamed about and countries have fought for — a model that is — “of the people, by the people, for the people”. This radical change is evidenced by the proliferation of social media technology. Massive numbers of people and organizations are creating the technological tools to enable people all over the world to connect to one another, in real-time, unencumbered by governments, institutions, media, geography and cultures. Even language barriers are diminishing, thanks to Google translate.

The social media revolution is a phenomena created by people, for people. This revolution has dramatically enabled people to communicate with one another igniting what I call a “PEOPLE-TO-PEOPLE movement. This movement is growing at an exponential pace. The Arab Spring spread across the Middle East in a matter of months. The Occupy Wall Street movement, started in September of this year in New York City and San Francisco — today the Occupy Together Meetup website reports there are 2,683 Occupy communities throughout the world, including 95 countries around the world — all this momentum in just two and a half months.

In the early stages of these movements people were perplexed, critical and many were dismissive about their validity. Today many people believe they have the potential to go viral. It is not just the protesters we see in the streets crying for change — listen to your neighbors, the conversations at your local restaurants and bars and the conversations around the dinner tables — the silent majority’s frustration levels are nearing a breaking point.

It is impossible to calibrate the impact all of these movements and technological developments will have on governments and civil societies around the world in 1-3 years — I believe it will be enormous. The People-To-People movement is eliminating the barriers and boundaries that separate us. This is a historical game changer never before realized in the history of humankind. This movement is messy, unpredictable, and wrought with ambiguity. The old forms of social control are not working and this is creating fear, and confusion. At the same time, something far more profound is happening. On a very deep level people are beginning to understand that we all have far more in common than we differ. We are discovering common values and aspirations that transcend nations, cultures, race, ages and circumstances. We are learning that what people value most is fundamentally the same: Everyone shares the need:

  • To connect with others
  • To participate – be included, be heard
  • To contribute our talents and gifts towards something that matters to us
  • To learn and grow
  • To be recognized
  • To have a sense of belonging
  • Ultimately, to be loved

I strongly believe these universally shared-values resonate with all of us. Growing up, I was raised a GI Brat living in many places around the world. Over the last 25 years I have traveled 50-80% every year working in cities on every continent except Antarctica. I have worked in and with corporations, governments, and nonprofit organizations. I worked in a halfway house for adult female inmates and a prison for adult male felony offenders. In my diverse journey I have yet to find anyone who did not want to be included, to be heard, to be valued, recognized and to be loved.

The growing People-To-People movement, enabled by the social media revolution is bringing us out of the dark ages. We are becoming aware of the fact that everyone and everything is related. We are inextricably connected and bonded by a powerful life force that compels us to grow, evolve and pursue our dreams.

This new consciousness is rippling and multiplying across our world almost as fast as the technology that carries it. Although the media focuses on the negative aspects of people connecting to people, if we look below the waterline we will see that people are breaking out of the patterns of cynicism, hopelessness and despair and discovering the individual and collective power we all have within us to change our reality. The rapidly evolving internet technology has become a powerful tool for social, environmental and political action — and it is unstoppable!

A New Vision

What we need is a new story for the future of humankind. It is a new day; the past has relinquished its hold on the future. We need is vision that is inclusive and born out of our universally shared human values. A vision that inspires us to overcome our fears and compels us to recreate our governments, institutions, organizations and communities to be worthy of peoples commitment.

Imagine governments that authentically serve the will of the people — participatory democracies that are inclusive and transparent.

Imagine leaders having the self-confidence, inner strength and wisdom to become what Robert Greenleaf called — servant leaders. Leaders who see leadership as a function rather than a status.

Imagine corporations and consumers alike working together for the good of all. Corporations and business committed sustainable value — doing well and doing good as a viable business model. And people, making the commitment and having the discipline to buy products from companies and patronize businesses whose products, decisions and actions are ethically, socially and environmentally responsible.

Simon Mainwaring’s new book W First, proposes a compelling argument why we must alter the current free market capitalism from destructive capitalism to sustainable capitalism. He offers a new vision and specific ideas to “transform the entire private sector, corporations and consumers alike — into a force for global renewal” Mainwaring believes that We First is neither anti-capitalist nor anti-wealth. It is pro-prosperity”. He defines prosperity as — “Well-being for all” and believes that in the long run serving everyone’s interest also serves our own.

There are a growing number of companies and consumers that share Mainwaring’s vision of prosperity.

  • There are innovative mobile phone applications that enable consumers to become ethical shoppers. Barcoo, developed by a group of young Germans, is a free download application that allows customers to point their mobile phones at the barcode on products while shopping to cheek a company’s performance on social and environmental responsibility. It even gives information on how a company treats its staff.
  • Some Internet gaming developers and companies are beginning to use social gaming to solve real-world problems. Zynga, the worlds largest social gaming company is developing “Games for Good”. According to NPD Group, a marketing research firm, the on-line gaming industry, has grown into a 15.7 billion dollar industry – 60 million Americans have played a game on-line. Imagine if the Apps for Good trend accelerates.
  • A company out of Amsterdam, Oat Shoes, has developed sneakers that are attractive and environmentally friendly. When they wear out, bury them and they will blossom. OAT Shoes states on their website “The future of fashion lies in reconciliation between nature and industry. OAT Shoes strives to lead the way to that future”.

People are becoming passionate about changing the world. The explosion of social networking through internet technology is a powerful example of people’s hunger to connect with one another. People are not just demanding change — they are making change happen.

Communities of like-minded people are redefining ways of being together; moving from hierarchical, exclusive, separate constructs, to inclusive communities that flourish on the flow of ideas around common interest. While the media focuses on the abuses and destructive groups on the internet, there are far more positive communities creating new thinking, new possibilities and generating new actions and movements for change. People are coming up with bold ideas to change our world, many of which do not require a lot of money. They are not asking for permission or forgiveness but rather putting their ideas to work. The number of social networking groups connecting, learning and working together to solve problems is amazing. This authentic shift of Power to people has the potential to impact everyone and every segment of our society.

The genie is out of the bottle! People are claiming their power. That energy cannot be forced, coerced, bribed or beaten back into that the old controlling structures, systems or mindsets. The People-To-People movement, enabled by the powerful social media revolution, leads me to believe that a massive global movement to transform society’s unhealthy systems, structures and behaviors, to enable all life to flourish — is possible.