The internet is doing as much to create history, as it is to document history. In this section of the World of Questy we look at the concept of "truth by consensus" and explore the mind boggling proliferation of myths and legends.
I cringe every time I hear someone say "Google it."
There are countless numbers of websites where people can ask questions looking for answers. I frequent online forums where people share information and ideas. Inevitably some know-it-all overachiever will answer a question with a phrase such as "let me Google that for you."
The overachiever is trying to look smart by insinuating that the question being asked is so simple that a search engineer query should have been used to find the answer, rather than bother the overachievers on the forum. What the egotistical overachiever does not realize is they show their own ignorance by believing that a Google search should be considered the ultimate authority for all answers.
Google Search is the most used search engine on the World Wide Web. Because the term "Google" has become a word in the English language to describe a common action, do you assume that the answers it finds are always accurate? Google gives weight to web pages of a certain length. Sometimes the short and to the point answer is seen as less relevant that a long and rambling answer that misses the point. Ah, if only life were that simple.
Google rates and ranks websites based on popularity, not accuracy. According to Google, "Democracy on the web works." Google says, "We assess the importance of every web page using more than 200 signals and a variety of techniques, including our patented PageRank™ algorithm, which analyzes which sites have been 'voted' to be the best sources of information by other pages across the web."
Google filters out websites that they decide are bad, and gives extra value to sites they decide are good. Why let them filter your answers? Do the most popular people always have the correct answers?
The strange life of Nikola Tesla often reads like a the science fiction story of a typical mad scientist. The claims that Nikola Tesla's personal files mysteriously disappeared after Tesla's death and various government conspiracies surrounding the alleged the lost files sounds like an episode the television show the X-files.
Why would the FBI care?
As Nikola Tesla celebrated his seventy-eighth birthday in 1934 he made headlines by announcing he had invented a death ray that could stop at army from 200 miles away. Convinced that he had the plan to build the ultimate defensive weapon, in 1937 Tesla sent proposals to several nations asking for financing on what called a peace beam. Of all the countries to receive his proposal, the Soviet Union seemed the most interested. According to popular stories Tesla received $25,000 from the Soviet Union.
Nikola Tesla died in January of 1943 at the height of World War II. Tesla's estate, which possibly included the high tech plans for a weapon of war, was due to be inherited by Sava Kosanovic, an up-and-coming Yugoslav official with suspected connections to the communist party in his country.
Although the FBI did not take possession of Tesla's belongings after his death, there is documentation on the events after Tesla's death on the FBI vault website describing the events that took place. Near the beginning of the more than 250 pages of the FBI vault file on Nikola Tesla you will find an FBI document dated January 12, 1943, a few days after Tesla's death, that states the property of Nikola Tesla was seized by taken to Alien Property to the Manhattan Storage and Warehouse Co.
The removal of the property was done in a very orderly fashion, in the presence of several witnesses, and a certificate of ownership was issued to his nephew Sava Kosanovic.
On television and radio talk shows I often hear the phrase "drinking the Kool-Aid" to describe a person who follows someone mindlessly, without thinking about the consequences. In many cases the phrase "drinking the Kool-Aid" is used in conversation as mindlessly as the person it describes. I often wonder, does the person using the phrase really understand the very ugly event associated with that phrase.
The connection of the phrase "drinking the Kool-Aid" with the actions of an individual who mindlessly follows some idea or individual comes from one of the largest mass murders in modern human history. In 1978, cult leader Jim Jones persuaded over 900 of his followers to drink a fruit drink laced with cyanide. The event known as the Jonestown Massacre has been called a mass suicide by some, but survivors have told the story of mind control and manipulation that lead to one of the greatest cult tragedies in modern history. The tragedy at Jonestown included the murder of a U.S. congressman and NBC News correspondent during an incident that took place prior to the mass murder that resulted in the deaths of more than 900 people.
Charismatic cult leader Jim Jones
The leader of the Peoples Temple, Jim Jones, had a vision for a Utopian world. In 1956 Jones started the Peoples Temple in Indianapolis, Indiana as a racially integrated church that focused on helping people in need.
Jones moved the Peoples Temple to Redwood Valley in Northern California in 1966. California seemed much more open to accepting an integrationist church than Indiana. As the Peoples Temple expanded into the San Francisco Bay Area they established homes for the elderly and the mentally ill. They also helped addicts and foster children. The work done by the Peoples Temple was praised in newspapers and by local politicians.
At first people trusted Jim Jones, and believed he had a clear vision for his followers. As his community grew larger, Jones became infatuated with power, and his delusions grew as well, as Jones began to describe himself as Christ. Fueled by drug usage Jones became paranoid and believed that the government was after him.
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