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The Impossible Battle against Fake News: The Horse Manure Crisis in London

The Impossible Battle against Fake News: The Horse Manure Crisis in London thumbnail
Illustration and initial text from a recent post on WUWT

Sometimes, I have this horrible feeling that the battle against fake news and propaganda is just impossible to win. The latest example is an article appeared on the unnamable WUWT blog, which repeats the story that someone in 1894 “predicted” that 9 feet of horse manure would soon accumulate in the street of London. And, of course, since that didn’t happen, we are free forever and ever from any and every possible kind of catastrophe.

Let me repeat it, this is a legend. I wrote that two years ago on the Cassandra blog: nobody ever wrote such a thing on “The Times” nor anywhere else. People keep repeating what they hear from other people and keep thinking that sheer volume means truth. It is pure invention, fake news.

What I found most bewildering is how slick it is the report on WUWT – note how subtly they link an article with the words “but fake“. It is a recent article by Rose Wild where she says exactly what I said in my 2016 article: There never was such a headline on The Times.

But the WUWT author, Larry Kummer, never states that explicitly. The hurried reader will surely think that the term “but fake” refers not to the existence of the 1894 article, but to its wrong predictions. This is reinforced by the sentence “accurately describing the views of the time.” It is hard to think that a non-existing article could be accurate about anything. Slick, indeed.

You would think that people have had enough of propaganda after having been duped so many times on so many issues but, no, propaganda continues to exist and thrive. Actually, it seems to be increasing in volume and importance. Maybe it is part of the way the universe works. Maybe the universe itself has been created as a giant propaganda machine to convince the Gods that the Ragnarok will never come and that Odin will never be eaten by the wolf Fenrir. Who knows? Maybe we are all the dream of a sleeping God who is having a nightmare.

Note: there are hundreds of thousands of Web pages reporting the story of the “Great Horse Manure Crisis of 1894” as if it were a historical fact – If there are any which say it is a hoax, they are extremely difficult to find.

206 Comments on "The Impossible Battle against Fake News: The Horse Manure Crisis in London"

  1. JuanP on Thu, 21st Jun 2018 7:40 am 

    Long live the POD!

  2. Davy on Thu, 21st Jun 2018 8:15 am 

    “Debt/GDP ratio really represents a systematic crisis more than a resource crisis. We could live differently to accommodate resource issues. Behavior is another story. You cannot not be yourself and not follow your nature very long. Debt/GDP is not some trade off like a resource to resource. Debt is the way resources and humans interact. This whole debt thing is not debt is bad. It is about the games we are playing economically, socially, and with science. Debt is just the reflection of this unhealthy activity. From an accounting standpoint debts and liabilities always cancel out. What does not cancel out is when you fudge the numbers and the standards. It is then you can make debt whatever you want in an “extend and pretend” world. When you act like an investment will bring a return far off in the future when it likely will not then this is a fudge with reality. Investments that are real and physical allowed to happen by debt pretended to be a higher quality than it is then is little more than a Ponzi arrangement eventually if this activity becomes entrenched.

    Our debt is a bubble and bubbles are Ponzi. Ponzi are games of have and have nots because once the Ponzi ends there will be those who have and many more who have not. In the case of a macro Ponzi’s which globalism is, it then becomes a dangerous issue of survival. At some point we must feed ourselves and battle entropic decay. So debt levels as they are now are a reflection of unsustainable behavior. It is that behavior that is the problem and a debt quality. It is a reality of bookkeeping and global flows of capital but the reality is something different once it is generalized at the level of civilization itself.

    We are in a late term civilization in overshoot and a slow systematic crisis of inconsistencies and irrational behavior resulting from this late term. In the pulse of life we have decline and growth happening. It is what occurs in the planetary ecosystem and web of life. We are part of that and we are destroying its basis. There are consequences for this. We can consider these consequences as debt too in a sense because those consequences are from activities that were supposed to be good activities but we are now seeing they are bad. This then is a kind of bad debt that must be fixed or rationalized. This malinvestment of our macro Ponzi arrangements manifests itself in the fraying of social fabric. When the parasitic entities of the global economic complex increase their share of affluence others suffer. Those others are consumers and producers. This is a house of cards type of bad debt. We are destroying trust in government, rule of law, and global currencies. These represent the trust that allows 7BIL plus people to cooperate in a kind of liquidity of action. Human competitive urges of survival and success are controlled through trust at this level. The alternative is the chaos of civil war of the species itself.

    Oil is part of this and other energy as well. Yet, debt is not only a thermodynamic problem this is about the system itself and even deeper and that is the collective of human wisdom. We are not choosing what knowledge we should be investing in wisely. We must also consider the life cycles of the planet themselves because at a certain level this is a self-organizing self-adapting system within a greater system that is the planetary system. We cannot fight these cycles we can only adapt and mitigate within them. We can also do something uniquely human and that is destroy the web of life as we know it through global suicide. No other species would naturally do this and yet we can consider it because of intelligence.

    It then becomes a wonder in ascending levels of abstraction if intelligence is an evolutionary dead end. Is intelligence itself the reason we are in this debt situation? Is debt then just the side of reality that is unreality that intelligence eventually succumbs to? It appears that intelligence has an urge of immortality and immortality is an unreality on a finite planet. In that sense then debt is the urge for immortality. Debt is the reflection of the unreality of linear thinking and living on a circular finite planet.

  3. MASTERMIND on Thu, 21st Jun 2018 9:20 am 

    Trent Reznor: ‘You’re seeing the fall of America in real time’

  4. DerHundistLos on Thu, 21st Jun 2018 9:41 am 

    My son invited the Nine Inch Nails to stay at our home during one of their tours around 1990. Then I did not realize the band’s wisdom, perhaps due to their preoccupation, at the time, with blow:

    “We aren’t these enlightened beings, here to take care of each other and think about our benevolent role in the universe as protectors and creators – we’re just a fucking mutation and an accident.” For Reznor, it wasn’t merely Trump’s presidency that brought on this Damascene moment – it was our online behaviour. “We’ve got dumber, more tribalised; we’ve found niches of other people that focus on extremity. For the miracle of everyone sharing ideas, I see a hell of a lot more racism. It doesn’t feel like we’ve advanced. I think you’re seeing the fall of the empire of America in real time, before your eyes; the internet has eroded the fabric of decency in our civilisation.” Social media meanwhile is “poisonous: I don’t think great art comes from being overly concerned or hyper-aware of what your audience’s expectations are.”

  5. MASTERMIND on Thu, 21st Jun 2018 9:47 am 

    Trent Reznor: ‘You’re seeing the fall of America in real time

    It doesn’t feel like we’ve advanced. I think you’re seeing the fall of the empire of America in real time, before your eyes; the internet has eroded the fabric of decency in our civilisation.”

  6. MASTERMIND on Thu, 21st Jun 2018 9:50 am 


    Reznor has a way with words..

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