Conspiracy Theory

March 4, 2020

HOW happy is he, as all may see
Who has the good fortune a fool to be,
And what you tell him will always believe!
No ambition can grieve,
No fear can affright him
Which are wont to be seeds
Of pain and annoy.
This doctor of ours,
‘Tis not hard to delight him–
If you tell him ’twill gain him
His heart’s wish and joy,
He’ll believe in good faith that an ass can fly,–
Or that black is white, and the truth a lie,–
All things in the world he may well forget–
Save the one whereon his whole heart is set.

–Niccolo Machiavelli (1469-1527).

There are people who believe that the Earth is a flat disc, the sky above a sphere of acrylic with stars painted on its inner surface; the sun and moon are, according to these folk, mounted upon some sort of trackway that allows them to move, with the seasons and the days, above a stationary, flat Earth. This would not be surprising if the people who so believe were savages, with no knowledge of astronomy, geography, physics or any other science. But they are not; they are reasonably well-educated, not all unintelligent, citizens of modern, 21st century industrial nations. They believe that the powers-that-be know the truth–that the Earth is truly flat–but for some sinister reason are keeping it from the ‘sheeple,’ who must be kept in the dark (presumably on the underside of the disc), and not allowed to know the truth.

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Nigerian Scams

August 13, 2013

Enterprising chaps, the Nigerians. It seems that they have the monopoly on the informal pharmacology trade in South Africa; but it is the 419 scamsters of whom I wish to speak today. Some of them have moved their base of operations to other countries, and are operating local versions of scams in those countries.
I get these invitations to be fleeced via email all the time. Now they’re coming to my phone via SMS.

ATT!You cell number won you R950,000 in the NELSON MANDELA FUND/RICA 2013 Mobile Grant with ref/no SA0319. Send an email to
Info +27110518021

Presumably the people who go to the trouble to send these messages must do their sums and come to the conclusion that it is worth while to go to the expense of sending out ‘x’ messages with the expectation of receiving ‘y’ replies, and at least some of those replying will be gullible enough to be fleeced of the contents of their bank accounts. I have no idea what the scamsters costs are; but I assume that there must be some. Cellphone networks charge something, however minimal to transmit SMS messages; and I suppose that those folk who operate spambots do not do it from altruistic motives.
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