A Civil War reenactor tried to frame Antifa by fabricating threats against his own Civil War reenactments

Remember back in 2017, when the entire Right Wing Propaganda Machine suddenly decided that Antifa — literally just some loose affiliations of scrappy anarchists in black bloc attire — were the single greatest threat that humanity had ever faced? (And were also somehow being funded by Hillary Clinton and the DNC and George Soros even though they're anarchists and not liberals?)

One such event, which threw the National Review into a tizzy, involved the Cedar Creek Battlefield Foundation, which had to cancel its annual re-enactment of the Battle of Cedar Creek for fear of violent attacks by "lib-terrorists" in balaclavas who are somehow also snowflakes. The group received a letter, in an envelope marked with a red-and-black flag, saying:

You need to cancel your coming up celebration of the Civil War on October 13, 14, 15, 2017…Many of us have dogs, so will bring dog feces to throw on people! We will also throw cups of human urine! We might resort to actually firing guns into the camps and at the re-enactors! We will put poison in the water, we will use noise to disrupt the battles and sleep! These events must stop! Our local organizer tells us he is ready to go! You have been warned, now if it is not called off, we will destroy you! You have less than 1 month to issue a cancellation notice, do it asap!

Then, during the actual event, an unexploded pipebomb was found on the premises — further proof of the Intolerant Left and their evil agenda. Read the rest

Russian Central Bank shutting down banks that staged fake cyberattacks to rip off depositors

The Russian Central Bank has withdrawn licenses from at least three banks who are alleged to have hired hackers to break into their own systems and empty out depositors' account, secretly giving the money back to the bank less a commission. Read the rest

Imaginary ISIS attack on Louisiana and the twitterbots who loved it

Gilad Lotan has spotted some pretty sophisticated fake-news generation, possibly from Russia, and possibly related to my weird, larval twitterbots, aimed at convincing you that ISIS had blown up a Louisiana chemical factory. Read the rest

You Are Not So Smart podcast 016: Conspiracy Theories

You are Not So Smart is hosted by David McRaney, a journalist and self-described psychology nerd. In each episode, David explores cognitive biases and delusions, and is often joined by a guest expert. David concludes each episode by eating a delicious cookie baked from a recipe sent in by a listener.

This episode of You Are Not So Smart is brought to you by Squarespace, the all-in-one platform that makes it fast and easy to create you own professional website or online portfolio. For a free trial and ten percent off go to Squarespace.com and use the offer code PIPE.

Who is pulling the strings? Who is behind the coverup? Who holds the real power, and what do they want? How deep does the conspiracy to control your mind go?

In this episode we discuss the history, social impact, neuroscience, and psychology behind conspiracy theories and paranoid thinking.

Our guests are Steven Novella and Jesse Walker. Listen as they explain why we love conspiracy theories, how they flourish, how they harm, and what they say about a culture.

Steven Novella is a leader in the skeptic community, host of The Skeptic's Guide to the Universe, and an academic clinical neurologist at Yale University School of Medicine. He blogs at Neurologica, Skepticblog, and Science-Based Medicine.

Jesse Walker is the book editor for Reason Magazine and author of the new book, The United States of Paranoia, a Conspiracy Theory. Walker's articles can be seen in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and many others. Read the rest