The more we learn about governments around the world and the kinds of things they've done in secret, the more horrified we get. Things that people thought could never happen because they were just too awful have, in fact, happened. Governments have experimented on minority groups, they've destroyed entire cities, they've poisoned communities, etc. But that stuff is in the past, right? We're better than that now and these sorts of things would never fly ... or would they?
One Reddit user asked:
What experiments/tests do you think the government are doing that we have no idea about?
Honestly, the responses were interesting and terrifying. Here are some of the ones that really stood out. Some of these are compilations of the initial comment as well as some supporting responses. Brace yourselves, the possibilities aren't pretty.
They're learning so much about us through social media I doubt they need to do human testing right now.
Misdirection. Some real sh*t goes down and we're preoccupied by things on purpose. Remember that "this is the calm before storm" awkward statement from Trump? If not, it's because within 4 days kneeling became the alleged top concern of our entire country.
Your comment made me think of Melania's "I Really Don't Care" jacket. There is absolutely no way she or their team didn't know it was going to be an outrage and all people would be focused on for days.
The panama papers thing just flew right the hell under the radar simply because no major news organization said a word about it. That's all it takes for something that huge to be buried, is CNN doesn't talk about it.
23 And Not Me
Hear me out: the FBI and CIA have been known to secretly sponsor programs similar to this. Not only are they getting DNA samples of their citizens but they're getting citizens to PAY for it.
In the contracts for them, it says that the company owns your DNA sequence.
The "Boring" Stuff
All these borderline conspiracy theories, while mine is pretty mundane: Military and Intelligence.
No one had any idea about the B-2 Stealth Bomber or the SR-71 until they were used (and not even for a while after that, with the SR-71), and there's still plenty of things we don't know about them! Lots of theory crafting on how to get a spy network or just intelligence in general into other countries, both friendly and enemy, because knowledge is power.
Y'know, the "boring" stuff.
I've always been a fan of the conspiracy theory that the government was behind #ThrowbackThursdays as some sort of social experiment to get people to digitize and upload old pictures of themselves online so that they could use them to make facial recognition/age progression algorithms better.
Mood Manipulation Through Media
Manipulating what we see and how we react:
Show people sad stories, they get sad & post sad stories. Show them happy ones, they get happy and post happy.
Facebook already got in trouble for doing this without user consent. I have zero doubt the government was either in on it, and/or is still doing it. I'm surprised but not surprised that so many people are unaware of this. I remember a few years ago there was a different article posted every day about a parent leaving their child in the car and that child dying. That shit was shared connnnstantly! You never hear of it anymore. It still happens, but it's not as public. Facebook isn't favoring those stories in their algorithms at the moment.
This stuff even predates Facebook. Remember 2001's Summer of the Shark? For a whole summer, the media was absolutely obsessed with shark attack stories, despite no increase in actual attacks.
It's Still Happening
Everything we have caught them doing in our recent past is still believably going on because we haven't really given our government a reason to change.
That includes illegal human experimentation, editors from major publications (like the NYT) being on the CIA payroll, mass surveillance by the NSA, torture at blacksites...
The Hawaii Scare
I'm about 99% convinced the nuclear scare a while back in Hawaii wasn't an accident at all, but a dry run to gather data in case we get to a point where the real deal might happen.
What if it was a real threat, but the government handled it before it happened. Then they just play it off as an accident.
The Solution Is Worse Than The Problem
Geoengineering. So that if we don't get our act together before global warming gets out of control, we can do something like blast monatomic sulphur into the stratosphere or into strategic points in orbit to reduce the amount of sun hitting the planet and cool the earth if all else fails. And as we don't seem to be getting off our duff as a species really fast, it just might.
Sadly, this is one of those SyFy Saturday Night solutions, right up there with Sharknado, where one "solution" breeds 100 unexpected and deadly side effects that taken together could be even worse.
Up to the point where the concerned scientists try to storm Mission Control to stop the launch screaming NO NO NO while President-for-Life Pence presses the button and launches the rocket. And everything looks great for about two days until the shit starts coming down.
Learning Your Patterns
Cryptography and statistical/entropy analysis of online users to be able to identify someone by their speech and text patterns online, regardless of any other connections between profiles or websites.
Banks and other sensitive companies use this type of analysis to prevent fraud. They build a profile of how each user interacts with their platform and flag suspicious activity when usage changes. (e.g. Time of day, ip address, scroll wheels vs scroll bar, Common clicks, amount of time it takes to type password.) They even temporarily make the cursor disappear to prompt the user to shake their mouse to find it, giving a distinctive mouse movement pattern. The combination of all these data points gives companies high levels of confidence to determine if each user is who they say they are. Here's a link from the NYT.
God is a big part of life.
It's become a contentious topic in life for many to discuss.
So people are so driven by faith.
And many others find it just a fun fantasy.
But what many of us believe is deeply personal.
And that should be respected.
Redditor Glittering _Leading74 wanted to talk about one of life's most controversial issues: God. They asked:
"Do you think God is real, and why?"
I believe in God. I just sort of have to. I'm also afraid of death.
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"At this point in time, No. I've explored several denonminations and attended a church faithfully for a big part of my life, participated in Sunday school as a child and adult, read the bible, prayed."
"But finally accepted that I don't believe in God. I think the God concept is more about feeling connected to something bigger than yourself. Feeling connected to yourself and others. But I don't feel connected and I don't have faith or trust."
"Live a good life. If there are Gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are Gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones. - Marcus Aurelius"
"I really hope God is real but lacking any proof it seems like a fantasy to me. I'm terrified of death currently because I don't have a real belief system. I'd be so comforted if I were able to rely on any afterlife at all."
"Yep if God doesn't understand why I didn't believe then he is not God! 1000s of religions pick the wrong one suffer for eternity! Once again all eternity humans are full of sh*t were barely a blip in the universe's timeline."
"One of the biggest reasons I don't believe in God is precisely because i presume it was an invention made by a group of people who used their new religion as a weapon to earn easy cash thanks to the fact that it was really not hard to fool people in that era (even easier considering that they probably targeted poor people who needed something to give them a will to keep living in awful conditions)."
"Thats why they tried to silence a lot of intelligent people (for example, Galileo Galilei, who supported the idea that the Earth and the rest of the planets were the ones orbiting around the Sun, instead of the greek theory that the Catholic church imposed that said that the planets and the Sun orbited around the Earth) who, if they hadn't been stopped by the Church, technology would be a lot more advanced than what we have today."
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"No, was raised a Christian but have had so much loss and general not having enough proof and such and just didn’t enjoy it that I quit believing in it."
Being raised certain ways can lead to more questions than answers.
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"I do but I don't really follow any religion. I have my own ideas about everything. And there ain't really a reason why. I guess I just wanna believe that there is life after death or something."
I can’t handle that...
"My dad was a minister. I tried SO hard to believe for my parents’ sake mostly. But I just can’t. I also cringe so hard when people talk about 'God was with him, that’s why he was ok' or 'God saved her!' or 'God was obviously present in this terrible tornado because the bibles in the pews were unmoved.' I can’t handle that. That’s like saying God abandoned the person who wasn’t ok."
"God didn’t want to save that other person. God cared more about bibles in a building than he cared about the actual real lives lost in the tornado. I can’t believe or worship something like that. I also used to say I believed in something, but wasn’t sure it was the Christian God. Now I’m not even convinced of that. Most of the miracles I see happening are the pure results of science."
"I have major issues with organized religion. But I can't be sure about anything else. I feel like maybe there is something there, and idk what it is. But I'm trying to live my life as a decent person either way. I do like the story of Jesus. With or without all the majorly religious stuff, he was just a good guy running around being nice to people and telling people not to be a**holes."
"I like the way that Jesus didn't have any problem with anyone who wasn't victimizing another person.
ETA - honestly it's the story of Jesus that gives me such huge issues with organized Christianity. This is their savior, right? Paid for sins and set the world right. But apparently they want to keep Judas-ing him, the way they act."
"Having faith of a God kind of just gives me more purpose and makes me more at ease about whatever comes after death. Even if he turns out not to be real then the important thing is I had guidance to follow instead of pondering the point of my useless existence and living for nothing. It's not about following God, It's about following your own beliefs that give you comfort in this crumbling world you will one day leave."
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"No. Raised religious but it just never appealed to me. I don’t think about it, question it, or wonder about anything religious or spiritual in nature. Just complete non-interest."
This will probably never be an issue with an answer that makes anyone happy. So believe what brings you comfort.
What do you believe happens after death? Let us know in the comments.
Most of the wild kingdom is far more ingenious and kind than us.
And when they do get "snippy," it's usually in reaction to humans.
They share food, build one another home, and will adopt lost creatures from another family.
We have a lot to learn from them.
Redditor pancakebunny15 wanted to discuss the best knowledge that can be shared about animal kingdom.They asked:
"What is a wholesome animal fact you know?"
I have two dogs. They make me feel better. That's my wholesome take.
Dam ItWorking On My Way GIF by San Diego ZooGiphy
"When they hear running water, beavers will automatically start to build a dam. We know this because people put a speaker playing sounds of running water next to beavers, and the first thing they did was start building a dam on the speaker."
"There are reports of elephants finding humans sleeping under trees and the elephants think they're dead. People have woken up with elephants gently stroking them with their trunk and in some cases they try to cover them with branches and sticks as a 'burial.' Elephants are one of the few animals who mourn their dead and have rituals."
"I saw a video not too long ago of some research ravens given small toys to play with. When the researchers came to collect the toys the ravens hid the toys and tried to trick the researchers into looking in fake hiding spots so they wouldn't find and take the toys away."
"Ravens are crazy smart. They can use tools to solve problems, remember human faces especially ones they have a grudge or connection with, and will sometimes bring trinkets for people who give them food and such."
"Orcas have incredibly complex social structures. They have different languages and regional dialects. They have names. They sing and dance. Pods that are close and speak the same language will mourn deaths and celebrate births together, even from other pods, other families."
"Their young are largely taught by the matriarch(s) of the pod, and they're able to teach verbally, rather than by showing. This means they have culture. Traditions, not just instinct or patterns. One of the only animals in the world that has that."
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"In Switzerland it is illegal to own only one Guinea Pig as they get lonely."
Two of every pet is always best.
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"Despite all the weirdness that is the Platypus, they are still discovering weird things about it. Within the past two years it was discovered that platypus fur glows blue-green when exposed to ultraviolet light."
"Wild wolf packs and murders of crows form bonds over time. The crows help lead the wolves to live prey and in return and crows get the scraps after the wolf pack has eaten their fill. Crows have been seen playing with wolf pups and bringing them sticks and feathers as gifts."
"These same crows and wolf pups reunite as adults and do the deal time and time again. Sometimes the birds and carnivores just hang out together, supposedly just to enjoy each other's time. Like Hood Nature (Casual Geographic) once said, 'There's a Disney movie in here, I just know it.'"
Sharing is Caring
"Vampire bats will share food with other vampire bats who haven't fed in the last day or two (their metabolism means they die if they don't eat roughly every three days). This helps support members of the colony, even though it puts the sharer at risk. It is considered one of the few forms of altruism observed in non-human animals."
"My father in law worked for a commercial plumbing company. They got a job putting in all the water related stuff for the primate enclosures at the local zoo. While working near orangutans, they had to not leave their tools unattended, and take inventory when they left. The orangutans would try to use the tools to take their enclosure apart."
"Bonus Wholesome: Years later, my son got a book on animals at the book fair. Reading it together, when we got to the part about orangutans it said, 'orangutans are so smart, plumbers working on their enclosures at the (Hometown) Zoo had to be careful not to get their tools taken when working on their enclosure.'"
"I said, 'Holy crap, they are talking about your grandpa!!'"
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"Zebras can’t sleep alone which leads to my theory Marty spent like 80% of the Madagascar movies as a raging insomniac hence explaining his erratic personality at times."
I love animals. They're so much better than us humans.
Okay hear me out, Zombie apocalypse films all get it wrong.
They focus on things like ammo, cool cars, and buff people trained in hand-to-hand combat (all of which are cool things) but fail to take into consideration that the true hero of the apocalypse is likely to be... secretly freaky suburban moms.
Reddit user DrillSargeee asked:
"What common household item would be priceless in a post-apocalyptic scenario?"
We'll get back to my theory that Britney Spears from the "If You Seek Amy" video might actually be our post-apocalyptic final girl superhero, but first let's talk to Reddit.
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"Absolutely. You only need a teeny tiny bit to make a lot of water drinkable."
"I was told by one of my patients who survived in Germany during WWII. She asked me multiple times if I kept enough bleach at home. She said it was by far the thing they used most, in order to purify water for drinking."
"Bleach starts to degrade after six months and gets less effective by 20% every year. And that’s if you store it properly. So make sure to adjust calculations if using older bleach."
"That's uselful for anything"
"Much like the Force, it has a dark side and a light side and it binds things together."
"Every time we go hiking my dad brings duct tape, and every single time we use it. It's pretty impressive stuff"
"I remember seeing one of those prepper shows, and he was talking about legit prepping for a zombie apocalypse."
"This bit always stayed with me cos I thought it was genius, but he was suggesting wrapping duct tape around clothes to create a kinda makeshift leather armour. to protect against bites."
Multi Use Shovel
"(based on a roleplaying session with very limited tools. My character was quickly nicknamed 'Shovel' based on the multitude of problems he could solve with the only item he could find)"
"Digging holes, cracking skulls, digging holes for the cracked skulls"
"Ah, that satisfying 'Pang!' from hitting a face *just* right! -Chef's kiss-"
"Is it a Tactical Shovel with 1,000,001 uses including eating ice cream?"
"When my mom took me and my sister to stock ourselves with a bug out bag, one of the first things I grabbed was a collapsible shovel."
"Entrenching, making fire pits, one edge is serrated for cutting wood, and the handle is designed to make it easy to use as a makeshift battle axe. Probably in the top 3 of most important tools I have."
Iron, Cast Iron
"I have a cast iron skillet that I use so much it feels like part of my hand. Seasoned to a black mirror shine. It's a pan, it's a bowl, it's a melee weapon, what more could you need?"
"I had so many answers, then I read this.."
"It's just too useful to leave."
"Proper iron intake is essential for survival. You get iron simply by cooking in your skillet. You may have the best answer here."
"Who knew, right?"
"Books, because hiding out in a bunker would probably get old quick"
"Things like manuals, encyclopedias, atlases and even cookbooks hold a lot of knowledge that would definitely come in handy."
"I have an antique pharmacists' guide from the 1890's that I bet would be useful!"
"It doesn't just list how to make medications. It lists how to make things like lotion and diaper rash cream and toothache powders. All types of daily things."
"Nice one. Cabin fever might be the intro to full-blown mental breakdown."
Unibrow Or Not, Useful .
"Tweezers… I know that’s not a kitchen thing… but they come in handy from splinters to unibrows. As for an actual kitchen thing, perhaps a sturdy pot and sharp knife (weapons and food prep)."
"I'm letting my unibrow go if we get to post-apocolypse. (Tweezers are super useful though)"
"So many medical uses for tweezers! You can perform a minor surgery with tweezers and a sharp knife."
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"A Leatherman multi-tool."
"We called them diggits in the navy. I always have one on me and my wife got me an upgraded one last birthday."
"Good to know. I just bought my boyfriend one for his birthday."
"Ha ! Was here for saying that. It's a tool with a range of uses beyond imagination."
"Weights and measures are often overlooked in dystopian fiction. But they form the very basis of early/emerging economies. Having a reliable scale means you can conduct trade and bartering effectively and consistently."
"Especially an analogue scale. Digital scales will eventually need rechargeable batteries and a screen replacement."
"God damn. You just blew my mind. Never once thought of this, thank you"
"Especially if we go back to precious metal dependence"
"I have a feeling you're going to be dosing medicinal herbs before you conduct trade."
"Or mixing up saltpeter, sulfur and charcoal."
"But good answer 👍"
Buy Or Harvest , Vitamin C
"Humans cannot produce it but need it. Depending on what SHTF scenario, transportation might be impacted, meaning no fresh foods and no vitamin c until you can grow something. Some cheap vitamin c tabs could prevent issues due to vitamin c deficiency"
"Nettles make a wonderful spring tonic due to all of the needed chemicals they contain. People used to make a tea with nettles and peppermint (it's really tasty too) to help recover after a long winter."
"I don't know where you live but in my area most people have dozens of plants that contain high concentrations of vitamin C right in their yards, and many can be harvested year round"
"Birch bark tea/sap fixes that issue."
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"Good quality knives."
"Knife sharpener too"
"This is the only good answer here. People think perishables and medicines will matter. Those things only matter in society because we continue to replace them. In the apocalypse, they are only stop-gaps."
"They buy you time but they solve nothing. You will eventually run out of them and you will be back at square one. Everyone here is also assuming the incredible privilege of sheltering in place. In a true apocalypse, nowhere is safe. You will have to be a nomad or be incredibly lucky to find a tiny oasis of civilization. Even then, there won't be anything remotely resembling modern drug production or agriculture."
"The only people surviving the apocalypse are the people already living like they're in one. (Not me)."
Well, we're certainly going to add some of these items to our bug out bags if Z-day every does come.
Do you have something to add to the list? Let us know in the comments below.
I have been truly moved by the tributes and messages honoring the life and work of Nichelle Nichols, our very own Lieutenant and later Commander Uhura on Star Trek.
Although our original series ran only three seasons, we became bonded as the fans of our show organized, convened and ultimately pressed for movies and spin-offs of the groundbreaking show. Nichelle and I spent the following decades together as not only colleagues from the bridge of the Enterprise, but as lifelong friends.
Much has been said about what a trailblazer and role model Nichelle was for so many young Black women, who saw in her hope and promise for their own future. I wanted to take a moment to share some stories about Nichelle that aren’t as well known, and which highlight her lively spirit, her incredible kindness, and her warm generosity.
Courtesy of the Takei Family
Our friendship began six decades ago, before Star Trek, when she came backstage after a performance of a civil rights musical I was doing called “Fly Blackbird” in Los Angeles. I will never forget that first meeting. She was stunningly beautiful. But beyond her beauty, she stood out. It was a time when many African American women “conked” their hair, which meant straightening it, as was the current fashion. Instead, Nichelle wore an enormous natural “Afro” sphere on her head. It was natural, it was proud, and it was glorious. I knew right then that she was a singular individual.
Back in the 1970s, after our series ended on television, I became active in local politics and even ran for city council in Los Ángeles. That required a lot of fundraising dinners and political campaigning, and I knew that I could always ask Nichelle to be our featured performer. She always donated her talent and made every event feel special and glamorous. Indeed, Nichelle made a point of being at every important milestone of mine that she could, including the opening of Allegiance just a few years ago on Broadway and later in Los Ángeles. As a trained stage actress, Nichelle knew how special such occasions were to us.
Courtesy of the Takei Family
When my husband Brad and I got married, we asked Walter Koenig, who played ensign Chekov on the show, to be our best man at the wedding. We asked Nichelle to be our matron of honor. In her characteristic fashion, Nichelle declared, “I am not a matron! If Walter can be best man, why can’t I be best lady?” Noting that Walter’s “best man” title implied the awkward title of “best woman,” she was determined to be known as the “best lady” to the guests. I told her, “Of course you are.”
When my father passed away, Nichelle came to the funeral and she saw many Japanese Americans with envelopes. They were handing them over to a receptionist in the lobby. She was always a curious soul, so she asked me, “George, what are they bringing to the funeral?” I said it was friends and relatives making financial contributions to support the funeral costs. Nichelle had never heard of the Japanese tradition called koden. A few days later, an envelope arrived in the mail from her. Inside was a check for $500, a very generous koden.
Bettmann / Contributor via Getty Images
So while fans will miss and honor the famous actress who opened so many paths with her presence on the screen, I will also miss the dear friend who always let you know she was there to support you, to love you, and to go through this strange and wonderful life alongside you.
Nichelle Nichols, you were one in a million in so many, many ways.