December 3, 2012 at 9:21 pm (Icepick)

Update 12/4/2012: Seriously, everyone is watching you. Do you really think the government isn’t?

And the sad thing is this falls under the category of REALITY.

Original Post:

NOTE: The following is a draft of a post I started writing back in September. I didn’t publish it then because (a) I wasn’t finished with it and (b) the mathematical portion is a mess. In that portion I haven’t really used the mathematics correctly or clearly – what is there was a place holder until I could get back to it to clean it up.

Since then I haven’t actually returned to the piece. I kept meaning to, but it seemed like work and required more effort that I was willing to commit to at any one time. That remains true today.

However I have in the meantime come to a couple of decisions. More about those, at least one of them, later. But those decisions mean I’m not really going to go back and correct this piece. Rather than throw the whole thing out I’ve decided to publish the danged thing anyway. With a few minor edits, the original is posted below.

One Wednesday night back in September my neighbor came over and started a conversation. This was unusual as mostly our interactions have been about whether or not his dogs are trespassing on my property or my cats are trespassing on his property.

Anyhow, it got interesting. He has recently been borne unto the spiritual safety of the Heavenly Father. That is, he’s Born Again. He’s also gotten into conspiracy theories. This is where it gets interesting.

Now some of his ideas are just wrong. I’m not going to go into it, but they’re just wrong. Other ideas appear, at first blush, to be crazy. And this is where it gets interesting.

For example, take the idea that an international conspiracy of bankers and financiers is controlling everything. Crazy! Except that he then goes on to mention the Bilderberg Group. To quote the BBC

On Thursday the Bilderberg group marks its 50th anniversary with the start of its yearly meeting.

For four days some of the West’s chief political movers, business leaders, bankers, industrialists and strategic thinkers will hunker down in a five-star hotel in northern Italy to talk about global issues.

What sets Bilderberg apart from other high-powered get-togethers, such as the annual World Economic Forum (WEF), is its mystique.

Not a word of what is said at Bilderberg meetings can be breathed outside. No reporters are invited in and while confidential minutes of meetings are taken, names are not noted.

Hmmm. About 150 of the most powerful people in the world get together for a few days each year to do what? In complete secrecy? What the Hell? Nothing is completely secret these days. When was the last time ANYTHING was kept completely secret by that many people? It’s hard to not feel a little … strange … when contemplating this group. I mean, how would you even get all those people to agree to meet in one time and place each year?

A lot of these same people also meet each year at the Jackson Hole (Wyoming) retreat for central bankers. There is some overlap between the two groups. This just sounds worse. And then consider things like the IMF, the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the rest of the World Bank Group, the fact that this all got its start at Bretton Woods*, the fact that these folks have WON (in succession the group behind this has defeated the Fascists, the Nazis, the Japanese Imperialists, fractured international communism, rolled the Soviet Union and its empire, and even converted the Maoists) and the whole damned thing starts getting scary.

But wait! Hang on a second! This is all crazy talk! Right? Right?! Well, yes, it is all crazy talk. After all, think about it. The nations of the free world had to set up some kind of organizational structure to figure out how they would run things after the end of WWII. Quite obviously the old order was dead, and Hitler’s order seemed likely to fail. Then what? Well, let’s get our BESTEST and BRIGHTESTEST together to figure this out! They needed to have an eye towards rebuilding the devastated nations of Europe, they were looking how to handle exchange rates, how to work out repayment schemes for the vast sums that had been borrowed, what to do with the European colonies, how to confront their good friend and ally Joe Stalin, et cetera. It only made sense that they would get together and plan.

And it makes sense that the central bankers get together to work out various issues on a regular basis. This really isn’t all that crazy.

Except for that Bilderberg Group. What exactly are THEY doing? And why do they keep what they do so hush-hush? Most of the attendees come from nations that are what we call democracies. A fair number of political leaders from those nations attend. Why won’t they tell us what they’re up to? I’ll come back to this a little later.

Consider something else my neighbor brought up the other night. He mentioned that the government can track everyone by their cell-phones, that they can even turn them on and off so that they can listen in on you whenever they like.

Crazy! Balderdash! Except that they CAN track you by your phone. We all know this from watching any number of missing person cases. We know this because it was written into the law after 9/11 that all cell-phones had to have this feature. Steve Sailer used to highlight cases of dumb criminals that would steal cell-phones and carry them around right up until the point when the police nabbed them. So this part is well known.

Turning them on and off to listen in on you whenever they want? Would they do that? Could they do that? Well sure they could. That can’t really be all that difficult a hack given that the government has the geniuses at the NSA working for them. (I went to grad school with a guy that ended up working for the NSA. Believe it or not, I qualify for crap like the Triple Nine Society. That means I’ve got a BIG BRAIN, top tenth of the top percentile, IQ in the 150s. When I bother to use it, I’ve got a nice brain. This guy was noticeably more intelligent than I was. I wasn’t in his league. That’s the kind of brain the NSA likes to get hold of – and use.) Not to mention that some 15 year-old is working on doing that tonight in the hopes of turning on a schoolmate’s phone in the hope of catching a shot of her boobs. There’s no reason to believe that your phone couldn’t be turned on remotely.

But would they? We already know what they will do. They’ll admit to an ever-increasing number of warrant-less wiretaps. That doesn’t mean they’re turning your phone on when you’re not using it, of course. But can you really truly say they wouldn’t do that? Think about that the next time your phone has mysteriously lost its charge….

Now for a brief (I hope) digression about mathematics. And by brief I mean largely non-mathematical.

Fractals are marvelous mathematical objects. They’ve got all kinds of neat properties that make mathematicians feel all warm and fuzzy inside, like non-differentiability. And beyond that they can be used to create really incredible images. The objects exhibit self-similarity, can be computed iteratively and frequently are nowhere differentiable.

So now let’s imagine a line. On one side of the line is reality. On the other side is, for lack of a better term, crazy. And by crazy I mean that which isn’t real, the delusional, the made-up, the phantasms of deranged minds, and even just the nutty ideas of otherwise sane individuals. If the line is nice and straight, it’s easy to determine if an idea is on the real or crazy side of the line. Even if the line is curved, but otherwise smooth, one can probably discern where an idea resides.

But what we have is a fractal line. And it is bobbing and weaving all over the plane. Oh, some stuff is clearly far enough away from this line to know whether the idea is real or crazy. Examples: Reality is that Season 9 of the original Dallas sucked donkey balls; Crazy was the idea held by millions of teenage girls back in the day that George Michael might be interested in them.

But what about the stuff closer to the line? Is some cabal of international financiers and their government cronies secretly running the world? We have to dig down through many iterations, perhaps an infinite number of iterations, to figure out if the existence of the Bilderberg Group makes that Real or Crazy. At some iterations the idea is clearly Crazy. At some it is clearly Real. At others we can’t really tell where the line is.

Discerning what is Real and what is Crazy becomes more challenging every day. “Is the government spying on us with our cell phones?” “Well they CAN.” “But ARE they?” “I don’t know. Do you mean all of us?” “Sure, all of us.” “Uh, I don’t think they have the tech to spy on all of us at once yet.” “Are you sure? Isn’t that what the cloud is for?” “Uhhhhhhh….”

Somewhere, in the Byzantine complexity of the federal government, there may – MAY – be someone that can say “Yes, we are.” And that person could give a definite answer. But that person isn’t going to tell us. The government is so complex that no one, not one single person, can definitively say “No, we are not spying on everyone by using their cell-phones.” There is no such person because no one person knows everything that the government is doing. They may make such a statement, they may even believe it. But they don’t KNOW it.

* Which came to an end, of sorts, thanks to Richard Nixon.


  1. Icepick said,

    The news has supplied any number of stories supporting a paranoiac’s worst nightmares over the last couple of months. The latest:

    Cops to Congress: We need logs of Americans’ text messages

    Just remember folks, the Right to Privacy isn’t actually in the Constitution – it’s something made-up by legal scholars to impute meaning to the Constitution that isn’t actually there. And it can be manipulated as our lords and masters see fit to make certain they’ve got an ever tighter stranglehold on the rest of us.

  2. A said,

    Full employment. Half the people monitoring the other half.

  3. Icepick said,

    Full employment. Half the people monitoring the other half.

    Orwell was good, but his tech is dated. We won’t need half the people to monitor the other half – that’s what algorithms are for. And see above regarding the guy I knew that went to work for the NSA – very smart people are working on that problem now. Some (Sergey Brin, for example) have gotten very rich figuring out how to have computers monitor everything.

    The goal is not full employment – the goal is complete control. The fewer people involved the better. The fewer people with real personal wealth the better.

  4. amba12 said,

    The idea of the fractal line is very cool and very on target. (I am writing a short review of the a memoir called The Fractalist, by Benoit Mandelbrot, who discovered fractals.)

  5. TTBurnett said,

    This is seriously great stuff. I’ve been privately bemoaning the lack of intelligent content in social media, and here Icepick is, writing these amazing posts for the hell of it. People have suggested Icepick become an econoblogger or some such, and, as I understand it, Icepick has demurred, because he would be a very late entrant in the field. So what? I, for one, would read everything Icepick writes, because it’s good.

    So, whether you (Icepick) blog professionally, as a hobby, or just write more posts here, please do so, because it’s some of the clearest, most engaging, content-rich writing I’ve seen on the internet in something like forever.

  6. chickelit said,

    I couple years ago Google started freezing blogger accounts, demanding a cell phone number as ransom. This happened to me and a couple others who I could name. Since I didn’t see myself as engaging in criminal activity, I let it go. I do still wonder though what was up with that.

  7. kngfish said,

    People forget the degree to which so many of the positive things in life DEPEND on ignorance. What do I mean? The inability to track your phone, video everything,etc was the thin reed upon which your liberty depended. The Evil Bastards knew this; so the problem was NOT ‘Should they be allowed to spy on you?’ but ‘Can they’. When they couldn’t, such a question was ‘academic’, but when they can….

    They don’t overtly assert such rights; they’re in favor of ‘knowledge’, because we generally view knowledge is a good thing. But that’s not really true! Knowledge doesn’t care who knows it, good or evil alike. So what all this technological change forces you to do, is to actually really have to choose if your going to be good or evil. Generally evil people don’t like to have to make this choice….

  8. karen said,

    I always try to stay away from conspiracy theories because, being Conservative, i’m considered suspicious and paranoid enough:0).

    One theory i have heard lately is that vaccinations are really, really not good for you when given in infancy. Something about a body/brain developmental barrier(or something.) That the (medium) in the vaccines, the carrier or base(like eggs) are tainted w/mercury and also that cells from aborted fetuses are used instead of the egg- which puts dna into our bodies from another being(human consideration of said being not recognized as such). I don’t know what truth there is to this.

    Also, i was told to keep an eye out for a UN mandate for a worldwide vaccination to be made mandatory(& i’m sorry if i’m being redundant, here- using mandate and mandatory in the same sentence while they mean the same- i’m too tired today to look up the differences). Anyway- i’m told that our kids and pregnant women are going to be encouraged(forced) to get this vaccination(whatever it may be for)because “they are targeting our children- they want to kill our children.”

  9. Icepick said,

    Karen, this is one conspiracy theory I will address. The anti-vaccination crowd is a combination of people who are ignorant/stupid and those who are evil. They are spreading sickness and death in children.

    I’m not going to bother going into details, as they have been covered better elsewhere. In particular, the Respectful Insolence blog has made this the major purpose of its existence. My link is to a search on “vaccin” on that blog to get to the meat of things.

  10. karen said,

    I don’t necessarily think this person is anti-vaccination, but more worried about this barrier between the brain- idk- and babies getting vaccinations too early.

    How old were we when we got vaccinated? Were we babies, because i remember getting a shot before school as a 1st grader(i am a Kindergarten drop out, btw)and there was never any worry back then- or was there. Any autism, or was it under a different diagnosis.

    I’m not saying i agree w/these thoughts expressed(conspiracies)just that, when there is a clusterf**k of true and false info– i’d like the lines to be better visible. I suck at math– am amazed at your brain size(lol) and equally amazed at amba for doing this work on the guy who discovered fractuals… oooops, that’s ~fractals~! Told you i suck at math.

  11. kngfish said,

    Hi Karen….good to see you! :)

  12. A said,

    chickelit said ….Google started freezing blogger accounts, demanding a cell phone number as ransom.

    Yeah, Google did that to me, repeatedly demanding a number. I demurred
    (always hitting the “not now” or whatever it’s called option) and the weird retaliation was via captcha, which began to say over and over in red letters that I had not typed their nonsense back correctly. Do what the computer program tells you to do to prove you’re not a robot but a compliant human. When I was a little kid there was a TV program featuring an evil robot (a guy wearing stacked cardboard boxes) that had gone rogue when its name was stamped on backwards. Tobor. Somewhere in between Orwell and Google.

  13. mockturtle said,

    Wow, ice! I’ve been too busy to read this but now it’ll take me a few more days to fully digest it. My younger daughter thinks the Bilderbergers are behind everything. The fractal thing is fascinating.

  14. realpc920 said,

    “The anti-vaccination crowd is a combination of people who are ignorant/stupid and those who are evil. They are spreading sickness and death in children.”

    It is not ridiculous to be skeptical about vaccines. Infants and young children are especially vulnerable to unnatural or toxic substances. If you don’t know exactly what is in vaccines and exactly how they affect the body, then you should not be so certain.

    The anti-anti-vaccine people are generally all-out for the medical industry and support anything and everything it does.

    And by the way, I don’t have an opinion about vaccines. I just know the kind of brainwashed fanatics who have complete blind faith in modern science and medicine.

  15. realpc920 said,

    “Discerning what is Real and what is Crazy becomes more challenging every day”

    No, it’s easy to discern Real from Crazy. “Real” is everything our culture has programmed us to believe. “Crazy” is everything else.

  16. realpc920 said,

    Yes, technology is destroying privacy. And yes power does tend to concentrate, and yes we live in the age of the American Empire.

    But on the other hand, technology makes it easier for opposing groups to organize and for dissenting opinions to be heard.

  17. mockturtle said,

    BTW, in the ’60’s, it was the Trilateral Commission running the show.

  18. mockturtle said,

    The ’70’s, not the ’60’s. Sorry.

  19. Icepick said,

    My crazy neighbor brought up the Tri-Lateral Commission too. As well as the Free Masons! And the conspiracy at the heart of the music industry. It should probably just be called The Conspiracy at this point, because so many are involved. If you can find a Bilderberger on the Tri-Lateral Commission who is a high ranking Free Mason then you have found one of Satan’s elect! Woo AND hoo!

  20. mockturtle said,


  21. kngfish said,

    I have a great card game “Illuminati” which has all of these players in it….and the Goldfish Fanciers as well….they can control each other.

  22. mockturtle said,

    Seriously? What fun!

  23. kngfish said,

  24. mockturtle said,

    I wonder if there’s a video game?

  25. mockturtle said,

    The phone company is controlled by creatures from outer space.

    I’ve often suspected that.

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