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Your Paracast Newsletter — February 25, 2018

Gene Steinberg

Forum Super Hero
Staff member
February 25, 2018

The Paracast Presents Cutting Edge Conversation on the Paranormal with Red Pill Junkie

The Paracast is heard Sundays from 3:00 AM until 6:00 AM Central Time on the GCN Radio Network and affiliates around the USA, the Boost Radio Network, the IRN Internet Radio Network, and online across the globe via download and on-demand streaming.

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This Week's Episode: Gene and guest cohost J. Randall Murphy present paranormal blogger Red Pill Junkie (Miguel Romero). As usual, RPJ provides cutting edge speculation about a whole range of offbeat subjects, such as whether there is any connection or resemblance between UFO experiences and psychedelic experiences. What about speculation about traveling across the multiverse, sometimes referred to as the Mandela Effect? In short, RPJ will talk about topics seldom covered in the field. Before he was famous, RPJ was an extra in a music video for Australian band Sneaky Sound. He is also responsible for the design used for The Official Paracast Channel on YouTube, and those special d.j. caricatures of Gene and Chris.

Chris O’Brien’s Blog: Our Strange Planet

Red Pill Junkie's Blog: red pill junkie – The Daily Grail

After The Paracast -- Available exclusively for Paracast+ subscribers on February 25: Gene and guest cohost J. Randall Murphy present paranormal blogger Red Pill Junkie (Miguel Romero) in a segment that continues the February 25, 2018 episode of The Paracast. Our crew talks about Ray Stanford’s scheduled appearance with Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday, where he details his paleontological finds. Our crew wonders whether Ray’s extensive background in the UFO field will enter the picture or give him “ammunition” to talk about the subject. In a brief discussion of UFOs and TV, the forthcoming sci-fi drama, “Blue Book,” based on the life of Dr. J. Allen Hynek, and a show from the 1970s, “Project UFO,” produced by Jack Webb of “Dragnet” fame, are discussed, along with Steven Spielberg’s blockbuster film, “Close Encounters of the Third Kind.” And are aliens from other planets impersonating humans? If so, would their behavior be strange enough to attract our attention that something weird is going on? Gene suggests alien operatives would be trained, so it would be difficult to know who or what they are.

Reminder: Please don't forget to visit our famous Paracast Community Forums for the latest news/views/debates on all things paranormal: The Paracast Community Forums. Check out our new YouTube channel at: The Official Paracast Channel

Fake News and Fake People
By Gene Steinberg

One of the hallmarks of the online world is the thin veneer of anonymity. At the beginning people took advantage of a faceless presence online to adopt a new persona, or just pick a nickname by which they were known. Sometimes they’d use their real names, as I did for no particular reason other than that I was establishing my name as a writer of books. Well that was a pretty good reason, I thought.

Over time, people added avatars, pictures or illustrations that were designed to express a particular aspect of their personalities, or the personality of the one they pretended to be. Gamers would adopt avatars as a matter of course.

As much as online communication could be friendly — and I met some of my best friends that way — others used it to play nasty pranks, or engage in flamewars, silly arguments designed as a form of perverse entertainment.

I didn’t accept such attempts at “humor.” So I was an occasional source of hateful responses because I worked as a paid forum leader on AOL for a number of years in the 1990s. Some “elitists” decided that AOL, being the so-called kindergarten of the Internet, shouldn’t be taken seriously, and they’d attack my postings with more outrage than factual content.

On one occasion I posted my usual serious response to someone’s flame. In turn, that person tried to lecture me on proper online behavior. “I flame you, and you flame me.”

Only I didn’t care to participate in endless arguments about unimportant things. So that discussion ended soon thereafter, after my presumed opponent gave up trying to drag me into a needless debate.

Message boards or online forums are very much the descendants of some of the original online watering holes, such as Usenet, the original online discussed board.

Most of you have visited our own message center, The Paracast Community Forums, where we have hundreds of thousands of messages about UFOs, the paranormal, pop culture and even politics. The discussions are mostly civil with an edge. Sometimes our members go too far, and so my forum moderators and I have to tone things down.

But we are mostly benevolent dictators, meaning we allow a fair amount of freedom in the back and forth debates before we finally take action.

We also respect a member’s anonymity until they attempt to abuse the process. If they do, we will encourage or force them to take a breather for a month or so or take a permanent vacation. The forum moderator controls or tools also include a Spam feature, where someone promoting fake stuff, trying to get a free ad, or otherwise misbehaving from the very first post, can be dispatched from the forum in a single act.

For reasons that don’t make any sense to me, some people join the forums with the purpose of impersonating someone else, or with a new name to conceal the fact that they have already been banned from the forum.

In recent weeks, someone posted mostly offensive messages using an avatar containing the photo of someone else, a blogger on the paranormal. We got a message from the person being impersonated holding a sign asserting he was not the one using his avatar on our forums.

We took fast action against the offender, and I’ve been slowly removing the messages that character posted.

One of our popular posters was impersonated some days ago, and that was taken care of quickly. The Spam command will remove a member if only a few messages have been posted. Otherwise it has to be done manually.

Some won’t take no for an answer. They are banned, only to return. But we have ways to track a member, since the forum will record the IP number used to login. Even if the IP differs from the one that banned member originally used, we can often check the location to see if they are the same or nearly the same. Some are more sophisticated, using a browser, such as Tor (the gateway to darknet) to shield their true IP numbers. It’s still possible to catch them in the act, but it may involve comparing words, the presence of unique phrases, similar writing styles and other telltale clues.

Now having been online for probably 35 years now, I have to tell you that I really don’t always understand the reasons people troll for trouble, or otherwise cause an online ruckus in a forum. I would hope they’d find better things to do than behave like utter fools. But I don’t even pretend to be a psychologist.

It’s also true that the being anonymous gives someone the feeling they can do anything they want without consequence, but that’s not necessarily true.

Such social networks as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter may terminate a member’s account if they post hate speech, or engage in illegal behavior.

At the same time, there should be no harm in role-playing as long as someone is doing it in the spirit of good fun, such as when playing online games. Where problems might occur is when someone is using their real name, giving enough details about their lives to identify who they are. Suddenly they can find themselves the target of online criminals who might try to snag them into am online scheme.

Last week’s episode of “Homeland,” featured the star, actress Clare Danes, opening an email containing a photo she expected, only to be infected with ransomeware, malware that takes control of your computer until you pay the requested fee to regain access to your stuff. In passing, it was entertaining to see how she dealt with the offender.

But such behavior is not uncommon. Internet villains are everywhere, and it’s easy to be tempted with fake stories or fake offers that are designed to attract your attention to one of their schemes.

My policy has always been to be careful about what I do online, knowing that, because of The Paracast, some people regard me as important enough to mess with. I don’t agree, but I understand why some people just seek out victims to give them a feeling of power, or to steal their money.

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