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  • Fans of the conspiracy video, "Plandemic," are exhibiting patterns similar to cult worshippers.
  • Conspiracy theories increase during times of social uncertainty and trauma.
  • One researcher says conspiracists are more likely to assess nonsensical statements as "profound."
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Secretive agency uses AI, human 'forecasters' to predict the future

A U.S. government intelligence agency develops cutting-edge tech to predict future events.

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  • The Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA), a research arm of the U.S. government intelligence community, is focused on predicting the future.
  • The organization uses teams of human non-experts and AI machine learning to forecast future events.
  • IARPA also conducts advanced research in numerous other fields, funding rotating programs.
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There is no such thing as political neutrality

Being evenhanded with evil ideas is "ridiculous," argues Martin Amis.

  • Every piece of writing has a political bent, says Amis. Thus, in his view, neutrality is a chimera — a "mythical creature."
  • Some things are so "unshirkably ill-advised" — such as white supremacy — that Amis believes treating such views "evenhandedly," as an alternative perspective of equal moral standing to others, is ridiculous.
  • Amis says that he doesn't have it in him to be respectful toward people who harass the bereaved parents of Sandy Hook or Parkland, Florida.

3 proofs that debunk flat-Earth theory

We're finally here! We've been counting down the 10 most popular videos of 2018. This is #1...

  • Hey flat Earthers, it's time to put your theory to bed once and for all! "There are so many proofs that the Earth is round, it's difficult to know where to start. And it's not okay to think that the Earth is flat; this is not a viable argument," says NASA astronomer Michelle Thaller.
  • Thaller explains three observable proofs that instantly debunk flat-Earth theory with irrefutable evidence of the Earth's round, curvaceous, gloriously spherical shape.
  • The ancient Greeks figured out we were living on a sphere over 2,000 years ago, and there are things you can do to prove that the Earth is indeed round—just go to a body of water and look at ships or boats on the horizon with binoculars. Watch the video for the details!
  • You can follow Michelle Thaller on Twitter at @mlthaller.
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How skepticism can fight radicalism, conspiracy theorists, and Holocaust deniers

Why have some conspiracy theories been pushed back into the public? Because when you try to force them out of the mainstream, they'll find a wider audience on the fringes.

Liberal college students have taken to shouting down certain right-leaning speakers on campus that they don't agree with. Michael Shermer, the publisher of Skeptic Magazine, thinks that is the worst thing you can do. He posits that all you do when you prevent someone from speaking is make certain people want to hear them more. This has led to the rise of the conspiracy theorists and why fringe ideas—from something as silly as flat-earth believers to something as morally reprehensible as Nazism and Holocaust deniers—have been pushed back into the mainstream. Michael's new book is Heavens on Earth: The Scientific Search for the Afterlife, Immortality, and Utopia.

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