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Possibly potentially one of the most dangerous practitioners of the art of manipulating the way people think is Derren Brown, if his TV shows are anything to go by.
While, if all his skills are based on what he says and the tricks work as he describes (not necessarily so?), he is safe enough so long as he sticks to magic but if ever he decided to do something else he could be very dangerous indeed!
In fact it is his sort of use of carefully planted visual images and verbal clues that tips one off to the possible plausibility of such a notion as the Flag issue.
Incidentally, one should not discount the "celebrity factor" in decision influencing. Well I do, but many do not. Celebrity endorsements, especially in an era when "celebrity" means simply being well known for nothing much at all ought to have no effect but it seem, from their continued use including in the political arena, that there is some value to someone.
On the subject of Derren Brown, I'm pretty sure he doesn't do his magic tricks in the way that he gives the impression he does. My evidence for that is from an ITV show that was on a couple of years ago called "Penn & Teller: Fool Us", where relatively unknown British stage magicians performed a magic trick in front of famous US magicians Penn & Teller. The idea of the show was that P & T had to guess how the trick was done in broad outline terms, and if they couldn't guess correctly (which happened about 10% of the time), then the performer won the prize of boosting their career by being invited to perform the trick in front of a Las Vegas audience. On one show there was a Derren Brown style magician who acted as though he was manipulating minds by planting suggestions, but P & T declared that this was BS, and as I remember it the performer didn't dispute their claim (I think P & T guessed how he really did ithe trick). The mind manipulation thing may work to some extent and particularly on some people, but it would need to be 100% reliable for a stage magician to base his entire act on it.
Apparently videos of Derren Brown are used in sales training, as mentioned in this blog post by a blogger called 'Notung':
The blogger is generally sceptical of 'neuro-linguistic programming' (NLP), which is similar to the idea of getting people to lapse into the System 1 mode of thinking, and is critical of Derren Brown's implied promotion of NLP in his magic act.
There was a recent news story on the CNSnews website reporting another debunking exercise by Matt Briggs. I can imagine this exercise turning into a future Youtube video at some point.
Basically some scientivists have carried out a study using a computer model that was originally funded for a different application by NASA, and the conclusion is that the world needs to adopt eco-socialism, or face the collapse of civilisation.
The study was originally reported in the Guardian by Nafeez Ahmed. I get the impression that Ahmed is seen by the Guardian and the BBC (he's been interviewed a few times by the BBC) as being the new George Monbiot.
If only NASA could separate itself from the Hansen Climate Science in just the same way they are busy putting distance between themselves and this study.
There is a certain amount of fudging around the funding issue and Nasa'S remit that makes you wonder whether these funds weren't misapplied but now no-one dare say anything.