Posts Tagged ‘Amazon’

After a White House official used the term ‘alternative facts’ to refute accusations of White House falsehoods, sales of the 1949 dystopian science fiction novel 1984 spiked to the top of Amazon.com’s best-seller list.

The exchange quickly became infamous: on NBC’s Sunday show “Meet the Press,” host Chuck Todd interviewed Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway about her colleague, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer, who offered “provable falsehoods” during his very first meeting with the press: namely, the size of the crowd that watched President Trump’s inauguration.

After some arguing, Conway said: “You’re saying it’s a falsehood… Sean Spicer, our press secretary, gave alternative facts to that.”

“Wait a minute,” said Todd with an incredulous chuckle. “Alternative facts? Alternative facts?… Alternative facts are not facts. They’re falsehoods.”

Conway’s comment was widely derided by Trump opponents, and many claimed that the phrase “alternative facts” sounded like a comment from the oppressive police state known as Big Brother in Orwell’s famous novel.

That novel contains the line, “The party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command.” Many compared this to Spicer”s comments about the inauguration, despite photographs clearly demonstrating fewer attendees to Trump’s inauguration than to Obama’s eight years prior.

In 1984, society is controlled by a totalitarian government that watches nearly every aspect of human life. The main character, Winston Smith, is a minor bureaucrat with the Ministry of Truth whose job is to rewrite historical events to fit Big Brother’s version of events, including erasing all evidence that certain people ever existed.

A major theme of the novel is Big Brother’s manipulation of the truth to better suit the policies of the authoritarian state. Facts and reality are irrelevant, and only what Big Brother says is true matters. The novel coins many terms to describe this behavior, including “goodthink” (thought approved by Big Brother), and its opposite, “thoughtcrime.”

Orwell, a democratic socialist, was distressed by atrocities committed by both Hitler’s Germany and Stalin’s Soviet Union, and believed the western world was beginning to move down a similar path. Orwell died shortly after the book’s publication. 1984 is frequently read in the west by high school students, making it one of the most popular novels of the 20th century.

Spikes in 1984’s popularity often follow moments of distrust in the government. Sales increased significantly following the 2013 leak of NSA documents from Edward Snowden and others.

In the west, it has become common to compare governments the author dislikes to Orwell’s worst-case-scenario. A 2014 Forbes story had the headline, “Obama’s Corruption of the English Language Comes Right From Orwell’s ‘1984.’” A 2002 article from SFGate was entitled “Learning to love Big Brother / George W. Bush channels George Orwell.”

Contributors wishing to use the Bitcoin digital currency faced a threat from scammers but the illegal site was quickly shut down.

Only hours after the worst terror attack on US soil since 9/11, scammers took to Twitter to defraud bitcoiners by profiteering from the killings at the Pulse Nightclub that left 49 dead and 53 injured. A fake Twitter account claiming to be the nightclub was suspended on Monday afternoon after calling for Bitcoin donations to buy bottled water and Oreo cookies.

The scammers tricked hundreds of ordinary people by using the handle @PulseOrlandoUSA, attaching the account to various hashtags associated with the tragedy, and building the account’s profile by attaching thousands of fake followers to draw attention following the attack.

The Twitter account directed people to a shortened web address to make donations, but a few savvy social-media users noticed that the web address linked to an unrelated six-month old domain desifreemovies.net that featured a fake registration address in California.

Most people arriving to the site quickly ascertained that it was a scam, mostly based on grammatical errors on a plain HTML page adorned with clearly fraudulent Amazon Prime links. The page suggested that if people had trouble with the links they should instead send Bitcoins to a specified address. According to the cryptocurrency tracking site Blockonomics, the scammers came away with just 0.04293381 bitcoins ($30 USD) before the website was shut down.

The actual Orlando Pulse Nightclub GoFundMe has raised some $3.7 million in support of the survivors and victims’ family members following the horrific attack. Disney World has announced that it will donate an additional $1 million to aid with recovery, counseling, and funeral services. The page is hosted by Equality Florida, the state’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization.

At this hour, according to the website BitcoinWisdom, a single Bitcoin is valued at approximately $688, with the cryptocurrency seeing renewed interest from individuals seeking to sidestep national currency controls in a series of countries currently facing economic strife.