Tom Usher went to a flat earth conference in Birmingham, England; he met an array of people who believe that the Earth is flat, because they believe that powerful people have conspired to control the information they receive in order to secure benefits for the elite, and this belief (which has a wealth of evidence to support it!) has been weaponized by crackpots and cynical manipulators to convince them the world is flat (despite the wealth of evidence against this!).
Usher's brief interviews with the attendees are perfect examples of the weaponized media literacy identified by danah boyd: using the idea that you should consider the incentives of a speaker when evaluating the truthfulness of their speech to push denialist messages about climate change and guns, but also flouride and the flat earth.
To get a sense of what this looks like in depth, check out Ross and Carrie's interview with flat earther Mark Sargent, which is some of the most chilling audio I've heard in the past year.
"It's been a positive—a massive one, really," explained another Steve, who became a flat earther after losing his job and being told by a job center to watch YouTube videos on how to be more employable. "I believe in myself again, rather than everything I've been told."
"You either allow it to change your life, or you live a lie," added Allegedly Dave, who now travels the world benevolently helping people out with their life problems. He believes climate change is a fraud, and in drinking your own urine. So how has the idea of flat Earth changed his life?
"There are no tangible changes you make—it's more mental," he explained, staring deep into my eyes. "The fear of things, like asteroids destroying the Earth, or space stations falling down... you know, it's bullshit, so it removes fear."
I Went to a Flat Earth Convention to Meet Flat Earthers Like My Mom [Tom Usher/Vice]
(Image: Jake Lewis)
Celotex convinced the owners of Grenfell Tower and hundreds of other buildings in the UK to insulate with their RS5000 insulation product -- a product that had never passed safety tests. The company claimed it was safe for use because a different version of RS5000 (one that used much more flame-retardant) had been through the […]
Showman Mat Ricardo (previously) writes, "I've always thought it was a shame that the resurgence in cabaret and variety shows has tended to be adult-centric. Late night sexy circus shenanigans are all well and good, but variety shows should be for everyone - so I did something about it!"
When Theresa May became the British Prime Minister, her pick for Home Office Undersecretary of State was Victoria Atkins, a former prosecutor who specialised in jailing drug users, and who was on record for her uncompromising, evidence-ignoring stance on any form of drugs legalisation.
Businesses big and small use Microsoft Excel for everything from data visualization to bookkeeping, and chances are you’ve already had some exposure to this ubiquitous tool. Whether you’re looking to improve your hiring potential or boost your Excel efficiency, the Ultimate All-Level Excel Bootcamp can get you Excel-savvy with nearly 70 hours of training, and it’s […]
The workday is long, and inevitably, you’re going to find yourself needing to take a break from the daily grind. With Mini Materials Miniature Cinder Blocks, you can take some time for yourself and decompress by turning your desk into a miniature construction site. They’re available today in the Boing Boing Store for $22.49. Handmade […]
Handheld radios might seem a bit archaic, but in an emergency situation, few things will keep you as reliably connected to the outside world. This Emergency Multi-Function Radio & Flashlight takes the utility of the tried-and-true radio and combines it with a powerful flashlight and self-sufficient energy system. It’s available in the Boing Boing Store for […]