Monthly Archives: April 2016

Facts, and Opinions: from Ireland’s Rising to the dogs of Costa Rica; a prison rodeo to dissing women

Commentary:

Remembering the Pillar, by Brian Brennan

A century ago, on April 29, 1916, the Irish Republic ended its brief existence with an unconditional surrender. Though successfully thwarted, it set off a series of events that led to the outbreak of an Irish war of independence between 1919 and 1921. Brian Brennan writes about his experience of Ireland’s independence movement halfway between then, and now.  … read more 

Related: The Causes of Ireland’s Rising. By Conor Mulvagh, Explainer … read more

READ: Boris Johnson: schemer or charmer? -- Jonathan ManthorpeThe Trump virus goes global, by Jonathan Manthorpe, F&O International Affairs columnist

Trumpery – the political disease that is convulsing the United States and which is characterized by  incompetence, boastfulness and danger – appears to be mutating into a world-wide epidemic. Like America’s Donald Trump, London’s Boris Johnson and Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines are riding a wave of public disgust for traditional politicians. … read more

America’s hate-on for women, by Tom Regan, Summoning Orenda column

It was a rough week to be a woman in the public eye in the United States. Not that normally it’s a piece of cake. This week, however, gave us a rather disturbing view of what happens when a woman angers the army of Internet and social media male trolls whose hatred for women cannot be understated. … read more

Reports:

Illegal Gold Mining in the Amazon, by Bruno Kelly

An area the size of Switzerland belongs to the Yamomani people. But in their lust for gold illegal miners — who in the 1980s used guns and disease to kill 20 per cent of the population — continue felling trees and poisoning rivers with mercury. Authorities stage raids and destroy the miner’s equipment. But who are the illicit business interests behind the miners? … read more

Alvaro Saumet plays with stray dogs at Territorio de Zaguates or 'Land of the Strays' dog sanctuary in Carrizal de Alajuela, Costa Rica, April 22, 2016. In a lush, sprawling corner of Costa Rica, hundreds of dogs roam freely on a hillside - among the luckiest strays on earth. Fed, groomed and cared for by vets, more than 750 dogs rescued from the streets of Costa Rica inhabit Territorio de Zaguates or 'Land of the Strays', a pooch paradise. The 152-hectare sanctuary in the centre of the Central American country is funded by donations. Around 8,000 dogs have passed through the refuge. There are more than a million stray dogs in Costa Rica, where the government outlawed putting animals down in 2003. REUTERS/Juan Carlos Ulate Land of the Strays: Costa Rica’s Lucky Dogs, by  Juan Carlos Ulate

In a lush, sprawling corner of Costa Rica, hundreds of dogs roam freely on a hillside – among the luckiest strays on earth. Fed, groomed and cared for by vets, more than 750 dogs rescued from the streets of Costa Rica inhabit Territorio de Zaguates or ‘Land of the Strays’, a pooch paradise.

How a bank turned a $10 billion profit into a tax loss. By Tom Bergin

When Barclays sold a fund management business to U.S. financial group Blackrock Inc. in 2009, the larger-than-expected price tag was not the only good news for the British bank’s investors: they reaped a tax loss, earning billions almost tax free. The legal deal is an example of how some companies benefit from tax regimes that regulators worldwide are trying to crack down on. … read more

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Facts and Opinions is a boutique journal of reporting and analysis in words and images, without borders. Independent, non-partisan and employee-owned, F&O is funded by our readers. It is ad-free and spam-free, and does not solicit donations from partisan organizations. To continue we require a minimum payment of .27 for one story, or a sustaining donation. Details here; donate below. Thanks for your interest and support.

F&O’s CONTENTS page is updated each Saturday. Sign up for emailed announcements of new work on our free FRONTLINES blog; find evidence-based reporting in Reports; commentary, analysis and creative non-fiction in OPINION-FEATURES; and image galleries in PHOTO-ESSAYS. If you value journalism please support F&O, and tell others about us.

Posted in Current Affairs

AI chills and thrills, climate pledges, a Nazi haven, children’s lit, and a film about a genius: Facts, and Opinions, that matter this week

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry kisses his two-year-old granddaughter Isabelle Dobbs-Higginson after signing the Paris Agreement on climate change at United Nations Headquarters in Manhattan, New York, U.S., April 22, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Segar

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry kisses his two-year-old granddaughter Isabelle Dobbs-Higginson after signing the Paris Agreement on climate change at United Nations Headquarters in Manhattan, New York, U.S., April 22, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Segar

Reports:

Ban Ki-moon (2nd from R), Secretary-General of the United Nations, delivers his opening remarks at the Paris Agreement signing ceremony on climate change as French President Francois Hollande (2nd from L) looks on at the United Nations Headquarters in Manhattan, New York, U.S., April 22, 2016. REUTERS/Mike SegarChina, US, among those pledging to ratify Paris Agreement. By Michelle Nichols & Valerie Volcovici  Report

China and the United States, the world’s top producers of greenhouse gas emissions, pledged to formally adopt by the end of the year a Paris deal to slow global warming, raising the prospects of it being enforced much faster than anticipated. The United Nations said 175 states took the first step of signing the deal on April 22, the biggest day one endorsement of a global agreement.

Focus on Artificial Intelligence

Figure-1The chilling significance of AlphaGo. By Sheldon Fernandez  Magazine

In March, a computer named AlphaGo played the human world champion in a five-game match of Go, the ancient board game often described as the ‘Far East cousin’ of chess. That AlphaGo triumphed provoked curiosity and bemusement in the public — but is seen as hugely significant in the artificial intelligence and computer science communities. Computer engineer Sheldon Fernandez explains why.

The Sunflower Robot is a prototype that can carry objects and provide reminders and notifications to assist people in their daily lives. It uses biologically inspired visual signals and a touch screen, located in front of its chest, to communicate and interact with users. Photo by Thomas Farnetti for Wellcome/Mosaic, Creative CommonsA one-armed robot will look after me until I die. By Geoff Watts Magazine

I am persuaded by the rational argument for why machine care in my old age should be acceptable, but find the prospect distasteful – for reasons I cannot, rationally, account for. But that’s humanity in a nutshell: irrational. And who will care for the irrational human when they’re old? Care-O-bot, for one; it probably doesn’t discriminate.

And from earlier this year:

Product and graphic designer Ricky Ma, 42, gives a command to his life-size robot ''Mark 1'', modelled after a Hollywood star, in his balcony which serves as his workshop in Hong Kong, China March 31, 2016. Ma, a robot enthusiast, spent a year-and-a half and more than HK$400,000 ($51,000) to create the humanoid robot to fulfil his childhood dream. REUTERS/Bobby Yip SEARCH "ROBOT STAR" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIESBuilding a humanoid Hollywood Star. By Bobby Yip  Report

The rise of robots and artificial intelligence are among disruptive labor market changes that the World Economic Forum projects will lead to a net loss of 5.1 million jobs over the next five years. Where will they come from? Why, we can make them ourselves. Or at least some of us can, and do.

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Commentary:

By Brian McMorrow - http://www.pbase.com/bmcmorrow/image/45156182, CC BY-SA 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=833719This Week’s Other Birthday, by Jonathan Manthorpe, International Affairs  column

Until quite recently, while Queen Elizabeth and her family were celebrating her birthday every April 21, a group of elderly men in south-west Africa were nursing the effects of the birthday toasts they had drunk the night before, to Adolf Hitler,  born on April 20, 1889. The men had been senior  Nazi officials, and had managed to escape capture by the Allies at the end of the Second World War. What is now Namibia offered a lasting sanctuary.

Why Bernie Sanders need to fight on … and surrender, by Tom Regan, Summoning Orenda Column

It looks like the end is nigh for the Sanders campaign. But it is absolutely necessary that Bernie not give up running. Yes, he should start to encourage his supporters to support Clinton. I am, however, totally in favor of him building up his delegate total and going into Philadelphia in late July demanding that the party’s platform reflect his point of view.

Those Healthy Yankees: Graham and Alcott, by Jim McNiven, Thoughtlines Column

Sylvester Graham and William Andrus Alcott were men of their disease-ridden times, amongst the first American promoters of “health food,” “phys-ed” and temperate living for health in both the here and now — and the afterlife.

The crew of the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Healy, in the midst of their ICESCAPE mission, retrieves supplies in the Arctic Ocean in this July 12, 2011 NASA handout photo. Kathryn Hansen/NASA via REUTERS/File PhotoAfter Paris climate pact, let’s get personal. By Gwynne Taraska and Shiva Polefka  Loose Leaf salon Column

Reengineering global economic dependence on carbon pollution requires conscious commitment and action from individuals as well as governments and corporations.

Arts:

image-20160421-30266-12jsnvsHow GH Hardy tamed Srinivasa Ramanujan’s genius. By Béla Bollobás   Report

Throughout the history of mathematics, there has been no one remotely like Srinivasa Ramanujan. There is no doubt that he was a great mathematician, but had he had simply a good university education and been taught by a good professor in his field, we wouldn’t have a film about him. Credit is due to GH Hardy.

Why children’s books are serious literature. By Catherine Butler Report

Once a generation, it seems, a cri de coeur goes out, in which a representative of the world of children’s literature speaks with revelatory authority to the literary establishment and makes it reassess the place of children’s books.

Last but not least: alongside the many musical tributes to the American artist Prince, who died this week at age 57, his appearance on the Muppets should not be missed:

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Facts and Opinions is a boutique journal of reporting and analysis in words and images, without borders. Independent, non-partisan and employee-owned, F&O is funded by our readers. It is ad-free and spam-free, and does not solicit donations from partisan organizations. To continue we require a minimum payment of .27 for one story, or a sustaining donation. Details here; donate below. Thanks for your interest and support.

F&O’s CONTENTS page is updated each Saturday. Sign up for emailed announcements of new work on our free FRONTLINES blog; find evidence-based reporting in Reports; commentary, analysis and creative non-fiction in OPINION-FEATURES; and image galleries in PHOTO-ESSAYS. If you value journalism please support F&O, and tell others about us.

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Good reads: fresh Facts, and provocative Opinions

KINGS OF THE RANCH. By Brian Brennan   Feature

After a historic cattle ranch was added to a major conservation site in the foothills of the Canadian Rockies, the two eccentric brothers who originally owned the ranch were again in the spotlight. Although they saw the property appreciate in value to an estimated $6 million during the 60 years they lived and worked on it, Maurice and Harrold King always gave the outward impression they were barely keeping the wolf from the door. They were squabbling bachelors who disagreed about almost everything yet couldn’t live without one another.

Inequality threatens democracy — investors. By Laurie Goering  Report

Global wealth inequality is becoming a fundamental risk to democracy and to economies around the world as more people feel government rules are “rigged” in favour of the rich leave them with few options, say investors and governance experts.

Move everything, to curb climate change — investors. By Laurie Goering   Report

 Meeting the goals of a new global agreement to tackle climate change will require social change on an almost unprecedented scale,  sustainable investment experts told a global conference. That includes shifting trillions of dollars each year into renewable energy – up from $345 billion last year – and making everything from transport to agriculture and consumer products much greener very quickly.

Khamis, 24, (Back) and Khlouf, 25, prepare an artificial limb inside a mobile truck clinic in the rebel-controlled area of Maaret al-Numan town in Idlib province, Syria March 20, 2016. Two university students forced to interrupt their studies have learnt to make and fit hundreds of new limbs in the past four years in opposition-held areas of Syria. A mobile clinic operating from a truck has gone some way to improve access to treatment. While most patients are between 15 and 45, the clinic also helps children and the elderly with replacement limbs. REUTERS/Khalil Ashawi SEARCH "SYRIA AMPUTEE" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIESSyria’s mobile amputee clinic, photo-essay. By Khalil Ashawi  Magazine

In what looks like an ordinary white truck, two men are helping victims who have lost limbs in the conflict in Syria to walk, play, and even herd sheep again.  The five-year war between the government of President Bashar al-Assad and insurgents has killed at least 250,000 people and wounded many more. Most of the wounded are between 15 and 45, but the clinic also fits children and the elderly with replacement limbs.

The fix: world waterworks near obsolescence, Erica Gies   Report

Globally, water systems in developed countries are nearing the end of their useful life. The lead-poisoning crisis in Flint, Michigan, was a wake-up call. Can innovative technology and financing prevent the next disaster?

In Commentary:

The despair and death of America’s middle-aged women, Penney Kome, Over Easy column

Americans are dying in their prime years, especially middle-aged white women. The rise of an entire population’s death rate shows the folly of America’s insistence that health care is a private matter and not a public responsibility.

Why I fear Americans more than terrorists, Tom Regan, Summoning Orenda column

A true story of living in a country overwhelmed with firearms, and how it constantly leads to you imagine the worst. About a month ago, I went to see the movie Zootopia with my family in Frederick, Maryland. We like to sit close to the screen, so we planted ourselves about six or seven rows back. I noticed a tall young man sitting in the very front row, but didn’t think much about it at first. As the pre-show features came to an end, that changed.

Jim McNiven’s Thoughtlines column and Jonathan Manthorpe‘s International Affairs column will return next week.

 

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Facts and Opinions is a boutique journal of reporting and analysis in words and images, without borders. Independent, non-partisan and employee-owned, F&O is funded by our readers. It is ad-free and spam-free, and does not solicit donations from partisan organizations. To continue we require a minimum payment of .27 for one story, or a sustaining donation. Details here; donate below. Thanks for your interest and support.

F&O’s CONTENTS page is updated each Saturday. Sign up for emailed announcements of new work on our free FRONTLINES blog; find evidence-based reporting in Reports; commentary, analysis and creative non-fiction in OPINION-FEATURES; and image galleries in PHOTO-ESSAYS. If you value journalism please support F&O, and tell others about us.

Posted in All

The back story, to the troubles facing Brazil’s Dilma Rousseff

Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff looks on during a meeting with state governors at the Planalto Palace in Brasilia, Brazil March 4, 2016. REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino

Reading: BRICS turning to rubble, by Jonathan Manthorpe. Above, Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff looks on during a meeting with state governors at the Planalto Palace in Brasilia, Brazil March 4, 2016. REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino

A Brazilian congressional committee has recommended the impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff. For background on this story and what was recently seen as one of the world’s champion developing economies has plunged into chaos see Jonathan Manthorpe’s column published by F&O on March 17th. Excerpt of the piece, BRICS turning to rubble:

The leadership chaos in Brazil and South Africa is a timely reminder for emerging economies that unless they also press ahead with political, administrative, judicial and social reform they are doomed.

The presidents of both Brazil and South Africa are clinging to office by their fingernails in the face of accusations of corruption and administrative incompetence. Both Jacob Zuma in South Africa and Dilma Rousseff in Brazil have already taken confidence in their countries’ economies down with them and will probably do more lasting damage to the political institutions before their scandals are resolved…. continue reading BRICS turning to rubble

Other new works on Facts and Opinions include:

Burma’s Aung San Suu Kyi: The Image And The Reality
Pakistan’s Long Road to the Lahore Bombing
JONATHAN MANTHORPE, International Affairs Column

The healers of Australia's outback. © David Maurice Smith/Oculi

The healers of Australia’s outback. © David Maurice Smith/Oculi

Panama Papers: 

A Conflict of Whistleblowers vs Elites
ARNE HINTZ  Report
The Psychology of Tax Fairness,
STIAN REIMERS  Expert Witness
What are ‘Tax Havens’?
TOMMASO FACCIO  Explainer

A Dyeing Tradition in Egypt
AMR ABDALLAH DALSH  Photo-essay

Australia’s other ‘flying doctors’
GEORGINA KENYON   Magazine

Attend to the Real Clash of Civilizations 
The West’s racist response to terrorism
TOM REGAN, SUMMONING ORENDA Column

AI: Building a Humanoid Hollywood Star
BOBBY YIP  Report/Photo-essay

 

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Facts and Opinions is a boutique journal of reporting and analysis in words and images, without borders. Independent, non-partisan and employee-owned, F&O is funded by our readers. It is ad-free and spam-free, and does not solicit donations from partisan organizations. To continue we require a minimum payment of .27 for one story, or a sustaining donation. Details here; donate below. Thanks for your interest and support.

F&O’s CONTENTS page is updated each Saturday. Sign up for emailed announcements of new work on our free FRONTLINES blog; find evidence-based reporting in Reports; commentary, analysis and creative non-fiction in OPINION-FEATURES; and image galleries in PHOTO-ESSAYS. If you value journalism please support F&O, and tell others about us.

Posted in Current Affairs

Fresh facts, and opinions, this week

 

Burma’s Aung San Suu Kyi: The Image And The Reality, by Jonathan Manthorpe, F&O International Affairs

It has come as a shock to Aung San Suu Kyi’s international groupies and fans that the Burmese freedom icon is not the ethereal Princess in the Tower of their imaginations.  Instead of the pure visionary of a silken and untainted transition from nearly 60 years of military rule to the sunny uplands of inclusive democracy, Suu Kyi is proving herself an assertive and determined knife fighter … read more

Panama Papers:  A Conflict of Whistleblowers vs Elites, by Arne Hintz

The Panama Papers have brought the powerful role of whistleblowers back into the public consciousness. The struggle over controlling this kind of information is one of the great conflicts of our times. … read more

Panama Papers: The Psychology of Tax Fairness, by Stian Reimers

The tax dealings of politicians are under scrutiny, following news of their offshore holdings in the Panama Papers. We want a fair tax system, in which everyone pays what they are meant to. The problem is that different types of fairness are pitted against each other… read more

Panama Papers: What are ‘Tax Havens’? by Tommaso Faccio

As well as charging minimal or no tax to residents and non-residents, tax havens lack transparency and information exchange. As the leaked files of Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca show,  individuals and companies use them to stash cash away from prying eyes. How do they do this? … read more

A Dyeing Tradition in Egypt: Photo-essay, by Amr Abdallah Dalsh

Egypt’s hard-currency crisis and competition from modern factories in Asia and at home threaten one of the last dyeing workshops in Egypt but one of its owners takes comfort in the trade’s ancient resilience. …read more

© David Maurice Smith/Oculi

Australia’s other ‘flying doctors, © David Maurice Smith/Oculi

Australia’s other ‘flying doctors,’ By Georgina Kenyon

How can modern medicine include traditional bush healers whose spirits fly around at night diagnosing people’s problems? … Read more

In Case You Missed It, our recent stories include:

Attend to the Real Clash of Civilizations/ TOM REGAN, SUMMONING ORENDA Column

Pakistan’s Long Road to the Lahore Bombing/JONATHAN MANTHORPE, International Affairs Column

AI: Building a Humanoid Hollywood Star/ BOBBY YIP  Report/Photo-essay

How to write a best-selling novel./ANDY MARTIN   Expert Witness/Arts

Rescued from Slavery, Nepalis Rediscover Circus Magic./KATIE NGUYEN   Arts/Publica Report

The West’s racist response to terrorism/ TOM REGAN, SUMMONING ORENDA Column

“Feeling the Bern”/ ROD MICKLEBURGH   Column

Party dissent in China as time for a new mandate for Xi nears/ JONATHAN MANTHORPE, International Affairs Column

Scan of Shakespeare’s Grave Suggests Skull Missing/Reuters   Arts Report

 

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Facts and Opinions is a boutique journal of reporting and analysis in words and images, without borders. Independent, non-partisan and employee-owned, F&O is funded by our readers. It is ad-free and spam-free, and does not solicit donations from partisan organizations. To continue we require a minimum payment of .27 for one story, or a sustaining donation. Details here; donate below. Thanks for your interest and support.

F&O’s CONTENTS page is updated each Saturday. Sign up for emailed announcements of new work on our free FRONTLINES blog; find evidence-based reporting in Reports; commentary, analysis and creative non-fiction in OPINION-FEATURES; and image galleries in PHOTO-ESSAYS. If you value journalism please support F&O, and tell others about us.

Posted in Current Affairs

Fresh Facts, and Opinions, this week: from a robot to the circus, civilization’s clash to Pakistan’s madness

A large crowd, taken just after a Muse concert in Paris. Photo by James Cridland, Creative CommonsAttend to the Real Clash of Civilizations, by Tom Regan, Summoning Orenda  F&O column

 “Am I my brother’s keeper?” How you answer this question tells a great deal about you as a person and about the kind of society in which you would like to live. And the great clash of civilization is between tolerance and intolerance.

Pakistan’s long road to the Lahore bombing, by Jonathan Manthorpe, International Affairs   F&O column

The Easter Sunday suicide bombing in Lahore, which was aimed at Christians but killed and maimed mostly Muslims, is a gruesome metaphor for the religious madness that has consumed Pakistan since the country’s creation in 1947. From the start, Pakistan has been a crippled state and no one seems able or willing to fashion a prosthetic that will allow it to function. Added to the religious turmoil, which is as bloody inside Islamic communities as outside, the political class is overpopulated with craven self-servers, bereft of courage or vision.

Product and graphic designer Ricky Ma, 42, gives a command to his life-size robot ''Mark 1'', modelled after a Hollywood star, in his balcony which serves as his workshop in Hong Kong, China March 31, 2016. Ma, a robot enthusiast, spent a year-and-a half and more than HK$400,000 ($51,000) to create the humanoid robot to fulfil his childhood dream. REUTERS/Bobby Yip SEARCH "ROBOT STAR" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIESBuilding a humanoid Hollywood Star. By Bobby Yip  Report/Photo-essay

The rise of robots and artificial intelligence are among disruptive labor market changes that the World Economic Forum projects will lead to a net loss of 5.1 million jobs over the next five years. Where will they come from? Like innumerable children with imaginations fired by animated films, Hong Kong product and graphic designer Ricky Ma grew up watching cartoons featuring the adventures of robots, and dreamt of building his own one day. Unlike most, Ma realized his childhood dream, by successfully constructing a life-sized robot from scratch on the balcony of his home.

How to write a best-selling novel. By Andy Martin   Expert Witness/Arts

Maybe I shouldn’t be giving this away for free, but, beyond all the caffeine and nicotine, I think there actually is a magic formula. For a long while I thought it could be summed up in two words: sublime confidence. Don’t plan, don’t map it all out in advance, be spontaneous, instinctive. Enjoy the vast emptiness of the blank page. It will fill.

An Indian boy holds a placard during a demonstration in New Delhi June 21, 2004. Bachpan Bachao Andolan or the "Save Childhood Movement" - a non-governmental organization-on Monday staged a protest against trafficked Nepalese children working in a circus in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. REUTERS/B Mathur AH/SHRescued from Slavery, Nepalis Rediscover Circus Magic. By Katie Nguyen  Arts/Publica Report

As a little girl, Doli from Nepal found it hard to resist the thrill of the circus. When scouts came looking, she was captivated. “The circus sounded like a magical place, so I wanted to go, too,” she recalls in a teaser for a documentary about Nepal’s first and only circus, made up of rescued victims of human trafficking. … read more

Recommended, elsewhere on the web:

Generation Anthropocene: How humans have altered the planet for ever, by Robert Macfarlane, the Guardian. Macfarlane, a British academic and writer, is always worth a read.

We are living in the Anthropocene age, in which human influence on the planet is so profound – and terrifying – it will leave its legacy for millennia. Politicians and scientists have had their say, but how are writers and artists responding to this crisis?

In Case You Missed It: Our recent stories include:

Last but not least: Were you fooled on April 1? Most of us were, if only for a few seconds.  Jokes work by seeming plausible, or taking us by surprise so that we let our guard down. For example:  The land-locked Canadian province known worldwide for its oil sands announced on Friday  it would ship its oil to markets by zeppelin. Stated Alberta’s premier, “Balloons are a safe and environmentally friendly means of transporting our energy products.” Uh huh ungh …  it took a beat to get the joke, because in in the politicized energy industry, how are balloons less bizarre than pipelines or trains?

And then, sometimes we’re gullible just because we really, really want to believe. Take the April 1st meme about a certain orange-haired contender resigning from his bid to be America’s president. The whole campaign was merely a publicity stunt for a new reality-TV show about politics, he reportedly confessed. But, hahaha.

Meantime, companies of all kinds wrap marketing around April Fools, none slicker than Google:

 

As one wag said, April Fool’s day may be the only day of the year when we try hard to to think critically about everything we see online. Maybe we should have April Fool’s every day.

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Facts and Opinions is a boutique journal of reporting and analysis in words and images, without borders. Independent, non-partisan and employee-owned, F&O is funded by our readers. It is ad-free and spam-free, and does not solicit donations from partisan organizations. To continue we require a minimum payment of .27 for one story, or a sustaining donation. Details here; donate below. Thanks for your interest and support.

F&O’s CONTENTS page is updated each Saturday. Sign up for emailed announcements of new work on our free FRONTLINES blog; find evidence-based reporting in Reports; commentary, analysis and creative non-fiction in OPINION-FEATURES; and image galleries in PHOTO-ESSAYS. If you value journalism please support F&O, and tell others about us.

Posted in Current Affairs