September 21st, 2010 · 12 Comments
A Martial Development Meta-Investigation
I can see inside Vyacheslav Bronnikov’s head.
Not because I possess the disputed X-ray vision skills–though if I did, I would probably keep quiet about it. No, I’m just saying that I may understand what Bronnikov was thinking when he did what he did.
I should back up, and tell the tale from the start. Derren Brown is a renowned ‘psychological illusionist,’ a performer who combines magic, suggestion, psychology, misdirection and showmanship in order to seemingly predict and control human behavior. Imagine a younger, more talented, and more personable version of James Randi…
For the past ten years Derren has created TV and stage performances that have stunned audiences, debunked the paranormal and encouraged many to improve and enhance their own mental abilities. His first show appeared in 2000, Derren Brown: Mind Control, and followed with Trick of the Mind, Trick or Treat and a series of Specials including the controversial Russian Roulette and the hugely popular Events.
In the second episode of his latest television series, Darren Brown Investigates…, the illusionist set out to test The Bronnikov Method of human potential development. Created by Vyacheslav M. Bronnikov, this system–based in ancient Tibetan Yoga–promises to awaken dormant human skills and abilities, among them the ability to see while blindfolded, or indeed with no eyes at all.
Derren traveled to a Bronnikov seminar in Belgium, accompanied a woman who has been legally blind for more than a decade. As for what happened next… [Read more →]
Inside the company’s daring plan to control the news
The greatest trick that Google Corporation ever pulled, was to convince the world it didn’t exist. Although its shareholders know it as a profitable advertising brokerage, the majority of Internet users believe it to be nothing more than a benevolent purveyor of web search, email, and other free online services.
Google is a fierce and formidable competitor. Its network of websites is the Internet’s single most popular destination; it processes more search queries than all its competitors combined, including stalwarts Microsoft and Yahoo; its annual revenues and profits are measured in billions. Through all its successful expansions, Google has worked to maintain an image of simplicity and altruism.
Google’s bungled launch of their Buzz platform illustrated the pervasiveness, and the deceptive nature of this public image. [Read more →]
November 28th, 2009 · 5 Comments
If you have to choose between seeing Ninja Assassin and Red Cliff this weekend, I recommend the latter–even if this abridged US release is not quite as good as the original 4-hour Chinese version. (Curious John Woo fans can order the longer cut of Red Cliff on DVD today.)
Fantastic tales about Ninja clans and other secret fighting societies are depressingly common in the martial arts world. These legends are used for marketing and entertainment purposes; repeated often, but rarely taken seriously.
Benjamin Fulford wants to be taken seriously. Formerly the Asia-Pacific bureau chief at Forbes Magazine, Fulford spent years reporting on the highest and lowest echelons of Japanese society, from politicians to Yakuza gangsters. [Read more →]
November 6th, 2009 · 4 Comments
Did you know?
In 1982, Chuck Norris was choked out by the famous Gracie Jujitsu family. A decade later, everybody started copying him. We now know this phenomenon as the UFC. (pg. 57)
On the set of “Walker, Texas Ranger,” Chuck Norris once took a live rattlesnake by surprise. Then he set it down on the ground, and grabbed it again. The director fleed the scene in terror. (pg. 2)
Chuck Norris is half Irish, and half leg. (pg. 20)
In the interest of full disclosure: I owe Chuck Norris a favor. It was by introducing his “facts” to the mainstream audience back in 2006, that I first established this blog as a premier source for martial arts humor, news, fact and opinion. As payback, he has kindly allowed me to review his latest book, [Read more →]
October 29th, 2009 · 6 Comments
You’ll never know what freedom really means, until you’ve been pinned against the wall with no hope for escape.
Google defines freedom as “the condition of being free; the power to act or speak or think without externally imposed restraints.” Popular culture and public schools promote this childlike view of freedom, wherein our supposed inherent rights are actually another person’s liabilities. [Read more →]
From Chuck Norris’ recent column in World Net Daily…
God and guns were so important to our founders that they established our protection to exercise them in the first two amendments to our Constitution-–the uninhibited and unrestricted freedom to choose our own religion and bear our own firearms.
But, more and more, these pillars of American life and liberty are being attacked and abandoned, not only out of sheer bias but ignorance of our founders, the Revolutionary period and our Constitution. Instead, these pivotal American rights have become the brunt end of cultural jokes and are often regarded as biased lifestyle components of “rednecks” and rural citizens.
The indifference, lack of education about and passion for all of our Bill of Rights gravely concerns me. [Read more →]
In a revamped health care system envisioned by senators, people would be required to carry health insurance just like motorists must get auto coverage now. The government would provide subsidies for the poor and many middle-class families, but those who still refuse to sign up would face fines of more than $1,000.
The details were unveiled Thursday July 2, in a health care overhaul bill supported by key Senate Democrats looking to fulfill President Barack Obama’s top domestic priority.
Called “shared responsibility payments,” the fines would offset at least half the cost of basic medical coverage, according to the legislation. The goal is to nudge people to sign up for coverage when they are healthy, not wait until they get sick.
[continued at The Seattle Times]
If you were given a choice, would you vote for or against this proposal? Why?
Last week, action movie star Jackie Chan gave a controversial speech to Chinese business leaders. What remarks caused such an uproar?
According to Associated Press reporter Min Lee, Jackie is “confused” about the value of “freedom” for his fellow Chinese people, and suggests that perhaps they should instead be “controlled”.
Technically, Jackie Chan never said any of this at the Boao Forum; his speech was not given in English. Thus, English-language reporters have the right–and responsibility–to reinterpret his words into an analogous cultural context.
What do you think after reading this speech excerpt? [Read more →]
Excerpted from The Report From Iron Mountain.
Lasting peace, while not theoretically impossible, is probably unattainable; even if it could be achieved, it would almost certainly not be in the best interests of a stable society to achieve it.
That is the gist of The Report from Iron Mountain. Behind its qualified academic language runs this general argument: War fills certain functions essential to the stability of our society; until other ways of filling them are developed, the war system must be maintained—and improved in effectiveness.
The authors choose not to justify their work to “the lay reader, unexposed to the exigencies of higher political or military responsibility.” The Report was addressed, deliberately, to unnamed government administrators of high rank; it assumed considerable political sophistication from this select audience.
To the general reader, therefore, the substance of the document may be even more unsettling than its conclusions. [Read more →]
October 10th, 2008 · 2 Comments
In last Tuesday’s presidential debates, moderator Tom Brokaw asked the candidates a difficult question: will the economy get worse before it gets better? Arguably, it is the President’s job to inspire confidence in our financial system, not to deliver candid investment advice. Unfortunately, such cheerleading amounts to a tax on the credulous buy-and-hold investor, favoring those who better understand the political game.
As I skimmed Technorati’s State of the Blogosphere 2008 report yesterday, I was reminded of McCain and Obama’s earlier performances. Technorati’s investigation reveals that bloggers are “savvy and sophisticated,” and their daily output is “integral to the media ecosystem.”
Technorati, in case you didn’t know, is a blog aggregation service, whose business is built upon the free content we bloggers create. Like our presidential candidates, it is not necessarily in Technorati’s best interest to provide a frank assessment of our future. So let me provide my own frank assessment. [Read more →]