URLs du Jour


  • If you'd like to spend some time checking out some (um…) unconventional thinking about whether Barack Obama is using covert hypnotic techniques in his speeches: a brief article from the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS) website is here, which links to a 67-page unsigned PDF article from the "Freedom's Phoenix" website here. Sample from the AAPS article:
    Hand gestures can be used as hypnotic anchors, or to aid in hypnotic command implantation. They can be difficult to distinguish from innocent gestures used for emphasis. Obama, however, uses some gestures extraordinarily often and for very specific words such as “believe” and “chose.” His characteristic thumb-and-forefinger gesture looks like a hand holding a pencil—as if you were in a voting booth. The gesture of pointing sends the subconscious message that a person in authority is giving a command.
    I would wager that this is all lunacy. I came to it via Language Log, which points out that the AAPS is "ultra-conservative" (true enough). "Freedom's Phoenix" is even more fringy; as near as I can tell, it never saw a conspiracy theory it didn't like.

    However, you might also want to check this provocative post from Dilbert creator Scott Adams:

    Suppose you were a skilled hypnotist, and so charismatic that you knew you could change the opinion of an average person simply by your choice of words. Would it be ethical to be that persuasive?

    To make it interesting, let's say you believe in the rightness of your own views, and you are talking to someone who firmly believes the opposite. You both have the same information at your disposal, so it is simply a case of different opinions. If you knew you could sway that person with your words, without adding any new information to the mix, would it be ethical to do so?

    I encountered this dilemma after learning hypnosis. …

    So, hm. Even insanely conspiracy-obsessed squirrels can find a nut at times? I doubt it. But still…

  • I like Rich Lowry, but Margaret Soltan targets one of his recent articles as an amusing demonstration of why it's a good idea for writers to avoid picking items at random off the metaphor shelf.

    (Yes, those metaphors were intentional. Sorry.)

  • If you're looking for a web hosting provider, Patterico provides a domain-hijacking horror story that should be scary enough to send you fleeing in terror from 1&1. The charitable interpretation is that 1&1's service is shoddy and unprofessional.

    (Apparently they noticed that they were receiving quite a bit of attention from media and expedited Patterico's recovery of his domain.)

    Pun Salad has been hosted at Arias Web Hosting for a couple months now, and, other than a couple of brief DNS glitches, it's been fine.

  • My mom had a pet peeve: seeing signs of Christmas before Thanksgiving.

    Obviously, that was a long time ago.

    Now I'm starting to notice the early warning signs: the local church's "Holiday Fair" is this Saturday; magazines are sending us offers for gift subscriptions; inamongst the political ads on TV are pitches for toys and whipped cream.

    And the Onion's Doyle Redland reports that Christmas suicides are coming earlier every year.