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This week, Sebastian Gorka was fired from his White House post. If he’s eventually forced to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee, many think he’ll be a must-see.

He seems, however, to be more like a not-see.


• As Donald Trump speaks out for white supremacists, Daron Acemoglu and Simon Johnson suggest America found a “new republic.”

• Wallace Shawn talks about people, including our Entertainer-in-Chief, using cruelty to amuse.

• A WaPo op-ed argues Gawker is desperately needed during the Trumpocalypse. Seems a grandiose statement.

Tyler Cowen worries about designer babies. I’m worried that he thinks Rex Tillerson might be a good Secretary of State.

Spiegel explains why modern Germany couldn’t elect a Trump-ish figure.

• Tom Simonite says “banning ‘killer robots’ just isn’t practical.” Probably correct.

• Bill Joy believes we should “put everything online.” Not a great idea.

• A rare TV appearance from Jerry Lewis’ long, complicated life.

• Old Print Article: John Wilkes Booth receives a second burial.

• Two notes from 1930 about an eclipse “talkie”

• This week’s Afflictor keyphrase searches: Claude Shannon, oikophobia, etc


10 search-engine keyphrases bringing traffic to Afflictor this week:

  1. inevitably posthuman
  2. china technological surveillance
  3. claude shannon jimmy soni
  4. alan kay dynabook
  5. windows xp background image
  6. oikophobia
  7. alfred hitchcock profile by oriana fallaci
  8. report from gaza london review of books
  9. americans are serial amnesiacs
  10. the white house has become a grotesque, excruciating freak show

This week, Donald Trump fired Senior Adviser Steve Bannon, but there was a touching moment when they parted.

If you should ever need me, you can find me fellating myself in the gutter.

I honestly thought my life couldn’t get any worse.


Charlottesville is perhaps prelude to greater unrest in America.

Edward Luce analyzes America after Charlottesville and Trump’s putrid presser.

Notes on Confederate statuary from John Marshall and a 1909 letter by a Union vet.

• Elon Musk thinks AI a more pressing threat than North Korea. Oh, goodness.

• Megan Molteni reports on the refreshing diversity found at CRISPRcon.

• James Surowiecki pushes back at the promised robopocalypse.

• Old Print Article: Julius Streicher captured in the aftermath of WWII. (1946)

• This week’s Afflictor keyphrase searches: Jennifer Doudna, Nicole D. Wallace.

10 search-engine keyphrases bringing traffic to Afflictor this week:

  1. a lot of things around us happen almost by magic now
  2. bombings of hiroshima and nagasaki
  3. americans living in a mental fog
  4. richard seymour essay about trolls
  5. nicole wallace sarah palin
  6. chris cillizza cnn
  7. apple wants constant surveillance
  8. jennifer doudna a crack in creation
  9. andrew mcafee and erik brynjolfsson q&a
  10. engelberger’s machine caretaker ISAAC


• Vladimir Putin’s propaganda outlet suddenly excoriates Donald Trump.

• Nicole Wallace discusses Sarah Palin, Trump’s forerunner in many ways.

Kurt Andersen thinks our embrace of unreality helped create the QVC quisling.

• Peter Thiel thinks the Trump may end in disaster. What was Dr. IQ’s first hint?

• Nick Bilton thinks Mark Zuckerberg can heal America’s ills. No, he can’t.

Putin puppet Julian Assange promises violence should Trump be ousted.

• If “traces of an explosion” were found on Lech Kaczynski’s plane, it’s no shock.

• Ray Bradbury thought history would be taught in “audio-animatronic museums.”

• Anna Fifield conducted an AMA about the exploding U.S.-North Korea tension.

• Ross Andersen observes the history of humans experiencing solar eclipses.

• Increasingly autonomous cars cause drivers to suffer from skill fade. Of course.

• Old Print Article: Interplanetary wars and synthetic weather predicted. (1945)

 A brief note from 1951 about a silent prayer in Hiroshima.

• This week’s Afflictor keyphrase searches: Farrah Fawcett, Joan Didion, etc.


10 search-engine keyphrases bringing traffic to Afflictor this week:

  1. trump slice them and dice them with a knife
  2. class in britain and america
  3. mars experiment in hawaii
  4. william gibson on apocalypses
  5. hugo gernsback inventor
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  7. american heiress jeffrey toobin
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  10. when did e.l. doctorow die?

This week, before fleeing that rat trap of a White House for a long vacation after accomplishing nothing, Donald Trump had one final phone call to make.

Listen, Presidente Nieto, we’re going to pretend Mexico will pay for the wall because New Hampshire is a pisshole full of inbred crackheads. They drink their own bathwater and gargle with cat vomit.

You’ve accidentally called Chipotle again, Mr. President.

Well, will you pretend to pay for the wall?

No, we sell burritos and tacos.

Send over some grub fast. The White House cooks don’t wash their hands after using the can. Lincoln died from food poisoning. Not too many people know that.

I alienate everyone and my life will end in utter disgrace.


A few thoughts on John Lanchester’s LRB article about Facebook.

• Trump is utilizing Fox News as a state-sponsored propaganda outlet.

• Ruth May details how Russian oligarch money has spread throughout the GOP.

• As the US recuses itself from the global stage, China’s increasingly militaristic

• Chauncey DeVega interviewed Tom Nichols about Trump, expertise, etc.

• Laurie Penny wonders if automation will force us to reconsider masculinity.

• A new CRISPR breakthrough has been likened to a moon-landing moment.

• Lawrence Klepp pushes back at Yuval Harari’s vision of a post-human society.

• Christopher Wareham considers the wealth inequality of life-extending science.

• William Gibson analyzes our seemingly endless dystopian fantasies.

• The exorcism business is on the rise in France. Why?

• In 1973, 16-year-old cult leader Maharaj Ji vowed to create a techno-paradise.

• In the ’60s and ’70s, Leo Litwak reported on Rolfing, hypnodramas and est.

• Old Print Article: Vidkun Quisling faces the firing squad. (1945)

• Old Print Article: Bat Masterson dies an ink-stained wretch. (1921)

• Two brief notes about the widow Houdini conducting séances.

• This week’s Afflictor keyphrase searches: vegan extraterrestrials, Liz Smith.

10 search-engine keywords bringing traffic to Afflictor this week:

  1. liz smith gossip columnist interview
  2. humans will become massively connected
  3. george a. romero obituary
  4. billionaire savior complex
  5. timothy mcveigh hero worship
  6. leonard cohen you won’t like what comes after america
  7. frank pierson my battles with barbara and jon
  8. president andrew johnson bear chair
  9. vegan alien race
  10. kasparov vs deep blue

This week, the President caused an uproar when he addressed the Boy Scout Jamboree, turning it into a politicized hate rally and telling off-color stories.

In summation, kids, I had a friend who sold his business for a lot of money and bought a yacht and, wow, the whores. Make America great again!

What, did I cross a line? No problem. I’ll get Scaramucci to fix it for me.

You little cocksuckers talk and I won’t give any of you cocaine or handguns.


• At the Youngstown rally, Trump was oddly focused on “young, beautiful girls…16 or 15” being murdered with knives.

• Mike Bloomberg thinks Donald Trump has a good shot at 8 years in the WH. I’ll bet the under.

Liz Smith was at the center of the culture, when the culture still had a center.

Governments are utilizing new tech tools to coax and control citizens.

John Thornhill writes of how the battlefield is redefined in the Digital Age.

• Tristan Harris says smartphones have “hijacked” minds. That’s a misreading.

• Roombas, TVs, etc., are already in our homes collecting information about us.

Siddhartha Mukherjee says the thorny future of genetics is already upon us.

• Tim Parks and Riccardo Manzotti debate whether the mind is just the brain.

• Jimmy Soni and Rob Goodman conducted an AMA on their Claude Shannon bio.

• An item to add to Noah Smith’s list of causes leading to Americans living in a “mental fog”: tackle football.

• A note from 1908 about experiments in “electric sleep.”

• This week’s Afflictor keyphrase searches: Jeet Heer Abbie Hoffman, etc.

10 search-engine keyphrases bringing traffic to Afflictor this week:

  1. clifford and edith irving
  2. abbie hoffman interviewing clifford irving
  3. f is for fake
  4. tasaday people
  5. is elvis really still alive?
  6. evel knievel death defying
  7. claus von bulow interview
  8. jeet heer and jean baudrillard
  9. bruno hauptmann electric chair
  10. donald trump could kill and eat a small child on the white house lawn

This week, neckless SkyBridge slug Anthony Scaramucci was appointed White House Communications Director, leading to the resignation of Sean Spicer, who immediately secured a job as spokesperson for Hitler’s disembodied head.

We simply don’t know who built those Holocaust centers.

Herr Spicer is right. It could have been anyvone!


• Susan Glasser and Elizabeth Drew talk Watergate & our current political crisis.

• Brian Beutler and Timothy D. Snyder analyze Trump’s authoritarian dreams.

Gormless pundit Chris Cillizza was asked suitably brutal questions in an AMA.

• The question James Surowiecki asked about automation isn’t the best one.

Noah Smith addresses the costs of drugs, lead and poverty in America.

• Tom Simonite analyzes Elon Musk’s disproportionate fear of Intelligent AI.

• A look back at Norman Mailer’s dark interpretation of the moon landing.

• Old Print Article: The Icarians settle in America. (1853)

• A brief note from 1946 about Damon Runyon’s death.

• This week’s Afflictor keyphrase searches: left-wing militias, Einstein’s genome.


10 search-engine keyphrases bringing traffic to Afflictor this week:

  1. left-wing militia story
  2. richard feynman nuclear weapons in the future
  3. einstein’s genome
  4. freeman dyson’s green universe: a vision
  5. becoming a computer to defeat computers
  6. personal memory enhancement
  7. neuroscientist christof koch technological species
  8. trump and bannon could automate populism
  9. steve schwarzman’s 70th birthday party
  10. madalyn murray o’hair fascism

This week, Donald Trump Jr. was caught repeatedly lying about a meeting with Russians. The President quickly pivoted.

I never even met this guy.

But he’s your son.

No, he isn’t. He was conceived when Ivana had sex with a trout.



• In 2017 America, some citizens believe the Earth is flat while others dream of an AI President.

• David Frum and Edward Luce seek solutions to our “modern-day Versailles.”

America’s gun obsession informs a left-wing militia and a right-wing town.

• Masha Gessen analyzes the Donald Trump Jr.–Russia revelations.

• Jeet Heer writes of a time of simulacra and our “first postmodern President.”

• In 1945, Henry Miller predicted humans would create a nuclear Disneyland.

• Naomi Klein discusses the “billionaire savior complex.”

Bob Stein offers sketches from 1982 of an “Intelligent Encyclopedia.”

• Old Print Article: Cherry Kearton photographs Penguin Island. (1931)

• A brief note from 1948 about Canadian space exploration.

• This week’s Afflictor keyphrase searches: Hunter S. Thompson, Gary Indiana.


10 search-engine keyphrases bringing traffic to Afflictor this week:

  1. will trump stay in office for four years?
  2. jack ma predicts maybe we’ll have wwiii
  3. garry kasparov deep thinking review
  4. rodney brooks recent comments about intelligence machines
  5. bernie sanders us elections are personality contests
  6. signor blitz ventriloquist
  7. future technology in baseball
  8. new york yankees wife swap 1973
  9. hunter s. thompson big sur
  10. gary indiana “america loves the successful sociopath and thinks it’s normal to dream of becoming like him”

This week, a stern President Trump arrived at the G20 Summit determined to confront Vladimir Putin over tampering with our elections.

They think Russia interfered in the Presidential election and helped me win, but that isn’t true, right?

Of course it is. Your campaign helped. If you’re lucky, you will be allowed to resign in disgrace. Or maybe you’ll hang for treason. Now we’re trying to breach America’s nuclear facilities.

See, nothing happened.

Let’s shake on it.

Do you have prostitute pee on your hands?

A lot.

Don’t worry. So do I.


• Lawrence Wright covers Texas’ combustible 2017 legislative session.

My Fellow Americans: Happy 4th Of July!

• In 1967, Norman Mailer and Oriana Fallaci met for a conversation.

• Matthew Cobb asks if CRISPR is a “techno-thriller writing itself in real time.”

• Andrew McAfee and Erik Brynjlfsson talk on automation, climate change, etc.

• Christopher Mims wonders if iPhones–and society–will be transformed by 2027.

Abigail Cain explains how the Windows XP desktop background came to be.

• Despite little violent crime, Japan’s police force is growing.

• A brief note from 1926 about Napoleon’s cane.

• Old Print Article: A freak show funeral via Edison “Talking Machine.” (1895)

• This week’s Afflictor keyphrase searches: Garry Wills, Father Divine, etc.

10 search-engine keyphrases bringing traffic to Afflictor:

  1. garry willis 1974 all the president’s men
  2. philip zimbardo on donald trump
  3. trump “tapp my phones”
  4. trumpism social safety nets
  5. kremlin machismo
  6. thomas friedman sending us troops into syria
  7. yuval harari upgrading human beings
  8. tim harford technocrats
  9. father divine accentuate the positive
  10. we’re disgusting and barbaric

This week, Donald Trump decided to soften his image after publishing a tweet in which he encouraged violence against journalists.

Hey, Bones McCoy, I gotta seem like a nice guy. Let’s do a photo op at a petting zoo or a military cemetery or some crap like that.

I wish I was dead.

Why is that orangutan pointing at me?

Somebody bring me that little shithead so we can get out of this dump.


• Thoughts on Garry Kasparov’s Deep Thinking from Nicholas Carr and me.

• Frank Rich compares the scandals of Nixon and Trump.

• Bruce Bartlett offers a searing takedown of GOP anti-intellectualism.

• In 1952, Wernher von Braun dreamed of launching gas chambers into space.

• Steven Levy quizzes Sebastian Thrun about the necessity of flying cars.

• Alexis Madrigal wonders about the wisdom of brain-to-brain interfaces.

• Jennifer Doudna addresses her key role in the “CRISPR Revolution.”

Vice explores pet cloning, a very inexact and terribly expensive art.

• A brief note from 1928 about Rockefeller dimes.

• This week’s Afflictor keyphrase searches: Jack Dorsey, the Wonderland murders.


10 search-engine keyphrases bringing traffic to Afflictor this week:

  1. will trump moderate?
  2. jack dorsey on trump and twitter
  3. thomas nast political cartoonist
  4. rev. billy sunday baseball preacher
  5. guglielmo marconi’s funeral
  6. bonnie and clyde getaway driver
  7. thomas mann at the white house
  8. the swami laura horos
  9. the wonderland murders
  10. the last straw was the dead doctor in the pool house

This week, the GOP may wreck healthcare, though I’m sure the doctors Americans will soon be able to afford will be fine.

Drop your trousers, cupcake.

Take two of these and call me in the morning.

Oh snap, that was the wrong leg.

I don’t treat Mexicans.

I’m prescribing lots of bed rest.


• Something I wrote about the GOP in January seems truer now with American healthcare on life support.

• Identity politics allow the GOP to not worry about bad policy.

• Jack Ma thinks our technological revolution may lead to WWIII.

• Sue Halpern asks pertinent questions about “whistleblower” Julian Assange.

• Germany spied on the US as the US spied on Germany. Not at all surprising.

• Human moderators, not algorithms, scrub the worst of the Internet.

• A raft of technologists and futurists consider conscious machines.

The Great Leveler author Walter Scheidel thinks further about wealth inequality.

Andrew O’Hagan addresses the fate of the novel in our wired, unreal age.

• Tim Kurkjian predicts what the MLB will look like in 2037.

• Old Print Article: Robert Louis Stevenson dies in Samoa. (1894)

• A brief note from 1928 about pet giraffe prices.

• This week’s Afflictor keyphrase searches: Eugene Landy, MADCOMS, etc.


10 search-engine keyphrases bringing traffic to Afflictor this week:

  1. brian wilson psychologist eugene landy
  2. timothy leary prison experiments
  3. robert white head transplant surgeon
  4. alexandre dumas’ personal physician dr. gruby
  5. doctor hypnosis
  6. ted nelson predicted technological future
  7. machines are for answers, humans are for questions
  8. executed by an elephant
  9. madcoms machine-driven communications
  10. i’ve been writing about the potential for authoritarianism in the united states for 20 years

This week, President Trump Googled “treason” and learned it was sort of serious. He immediately called his best lawyer.

What do you think, Morty? Am I going to get a warning?

It’s a capital offense, dum-dum.

That sounds bad. Will I have to pay a fine?

You’ll be hanged by your neck until you die, and it’s possible your head might pop off.

I don’t want kids kicking around my head like a soccer ball, Morty. Make sure someone picks it up.

Will do, peabrain.

Can everybody please excuse me for a moment. I have to take a call from a very prominent chimpanzee lawyer.


Jeet Heer writes of Trump as a capo with nuclear capabilities.

Bill Kristol thinks Trump may be the ruination of the GOP.

• Richard Evans offers historical context on Trump’s baffling behavior.

• Richard Reeves takes aim at the mockery that is American meritocracy.

• Sara Roy reports from the Gaza Strip, a deeply desperate place.

• Kazakhstan’s EXPO 2017 in Astana is a $5 billion boondoggle.

• Zeeya Merali considers the morality of humans creating baby universes.

• Cars that are almost driverless are useful but not transformational

• Ornithologist Rich Prum answers question about duck copulation.

• Old Print Articles: The last days of Sigmund Freud. (1938/39)

• A brief note from 1945 about J. Edgar Hoover.

• This week’s Afflictor keyphrases: Roxane Gay, Tex Rickard, etc.


10 search-engine keyphrases bringing traffic to Afflictor this week:

  1. roxane gay essay about birth of a nation
  2. donald trump cologne
  3. rev. sun myung moon mass wedding
  4. oriana fallaci in people magazine
  5. abe lincoln’s wife
  6. early personal computers tony hiss
  7. cambridge analytica
  8. thomas pynchon american camelot
  9. fight promoter tex rickard
  10. muhammad ali anchor punch

This week’s Comey testimony took an unexpectedly strange turn.

I have some questions for you, President Comey.

I’m not President.

Did I impeach you?


Did you resign?

No, I was never President.

I’m cold. I want soup.



• Masha Gessen argues Trump’s incompetence doesn’t preclude authoritarianism.

• Matt Yglesias reminds that Congress is to protect us from Presidential misconduct.

It’s difficult to imagine the Ryan Congress impeaching Trump, no matter what.

Bernie Sanders explains why he despises the “personality contest” of US politics.

• Our prolonged period of relative global peace may be interrupted in the worst way.

• Suki Kim went undercover in North Korea, that deeply troubled state.

• Garry Kasparov says, quite rightly, that AI won’t be in the hands of the few.

• Old Print Article: Old Print Articles: Deadwood, the widow-maker. (1877)

• This week’s Afflictor keyphrase searches: Stephen Jay Gould, Alexei Navalny, etc.


10 search-engine keyphrases bringing traffic to Afflictor this week:

  1. who took your prosperity?
  2. societal collapse of the west
  3. trump presidency will end in calamity
  4. putin adversary alexei navalny
  5. elon musk benjamin franklin
  6. israel settlement in the 1920s
  7. charles r. knight dinosaur art
  8. stephen jay gould scopes monkey trial
  9. grindell-matthews death ray inventor
  10. essay our alien zookeepers

This week, Donald Trump withdrew the United States from the Paris Accord, which was aimed at averting environmental disaster.

I will not stop until America is a small, hot cinder I can hold between my thumb and index finger.

Now that I’ve gotten revenge on the world because I was never hugged as a child, I can get back to the links. Just have to make one call first.

Hi Vlad, this is Don. I did what you told me to do and now America is in a deeper hole than Gregg Allman. So, you won’t leak incriminating information about me, will you?

Yes I will, dum-dum. I’ll ruin you at just the right moment.

Why would you do that?

I’m evil. It’s sort of my thing. Have to run now and have sex with dog in swimming pool. Bye.


You’re looking particularly lovely this evening, Princess Sassy.


Elizabeth Drew considers the recent debacles of the Trump Administration.

• Bernie Sanders, noted Caucasian whisperer, talks about Trump.

• Stephen Fry’s Hay Festival talk analyzed the coming Digital Age challenges.

Martin Rees meditates on the Big Bang, post-human intelligence, etc.

• China is pouring resources into efforts to Artificial Intelligence research.

• Walt Mossberg writes of “ambient computing” and its troubling seamlessness.

Tim Dunlop on the potential upside of DeepMind dethroning human Go champs.

• A brief note from 1922 about the “Teleview.”

• This week’s Afflictor keyphrase searches: John Dean, Billy James Hargis, etc.

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