Successful criminals are the ones you don’t know about. They get in and out as quickly as possible. They follow well made plans with adaptability given predictable variables; they only gamble within very precisely defined math. Conspiracies are, after all, considerably difficult to successfully execute.

The Party of Lincoln Turns a Corner

Abraham Lincoln defeated Stephen Douglas in 1860 to become the 16th President of the United States. Political parties were in disarray at the time; fractious factions competed for dominance. Southern racists and slave-owners hated Lincoln and forcefully rejected his abolitionist plans so they seceded, leading to the Civil War. The North handily won and restored…


James Watkins on OAN

The Cost of Conspiracy

“The hope of impunity is a strong incitement to sedition; the dread of punishment, a proportionally strong discouragement to it.” -Alexander Hamilton

A conspiracy is broadly defined as a covert plan by two or more individuals to commit some unlawful or harmful act. The more people involved in the conspiracy, the greater the difficulty of successfully executing it without being discovered. The secret plan must be protected and acts toward the conspiracy’s goal must likewise be committed without drawing attention.

The conspiracy is akin to basic rules around network security. …


How it Started

Greek mythology sought to explain humanity’s role in the world and the forces surrounding it. Two of Zeus’ sons, Apollo, representing reason, order and logic, and Dionysus, representing wine, fertility, emotion and chaos, encapsulate for me the basic struggle of man between his nature and pursuit of something beyond self, order vs. chaos, logic vs. emotion.

In Euripides’ The Bacchae, written sometime late 400s BC, a pissed-off Dionysus visits Thebes where he whips a group of women into a frenzied festival that turns violent, the women shred cows with their bare hands and lay waste to villages. Eventually, Dionysus disguises…


It was called Web 2.0, a movement from static domain-generated content to user generated, empowering the individual over the organization. By the early 2000s, online purchasing had begun to disrupt Brick and Mortar sales while online publishing chipped away at print sales and Web 2.0 was going to revolutionize the way people interacted with one another on the internet.

Opening the Information Floodgates

For all of the internet’s infancy, there was a minor obstacle to publishing content, the need for a small degree of technical proficiency. “Blogs” (shortened from Weblogs) began appearing in the late 90s where a user could somewhat easily setup and…


It all started with a site called SomethingAwful. Created in the late 90s as a comedy site, it would give birth to many core aspects of internet culture later propagated on 4chan. There were forums where users could post jokes but rules were enforced and a membership fee was eventually charged for access. The community leaned heavily toward techy nerds and as such, somewhat resembled those early communities of the BBS.

The Birth of Internet Culture

In October of 2003, a teenager in New York, known only as “moot” released an imageboard called “4Chan”. A frequenter of SomethingAwful, moot took the open-source software from “2Channel”…


A Basic Pager

For a sliver of time, pagers were the rage. They could be stuck in a pocket or clipped to your belt. You’d call the pager number, enter your number and the person’s pager would alert them so they could then call you back. Pagers provided a new type of communication in an increasingly connected world.

“If it’s an emergency, page me,” was commonly said.

In New York, like many cities, you could hire an answering service that would provide the function of paging you so people unfamiliar or uncomfortable with the new technology would only have to tell the service…


Real World Season One, MTV, 1992

Ted Turner, a man famous for creating the first 24-hour-news network, CNN, and marrying Jane Fonda, was the keynote speaker at the National Debate Tournament my senior year of high-school.

Truth and Conspiracy

His speech was a chaotic mess that bounced from dubious claims about third-world countries to peculiar first-world conspiracies. I remember looking around to other students, happily realizing everyone thought the same as I did, “this guy is nuts.” It‘s comforting to know you’re in sane company and discomforting to worry you might be the insane one.

Debate is centered around evidence. Evidence describes truth. Teams spend countless hours reading through…


Rush Limbaugh, Howard Stern and I all share the same birthday, this has always irritated me. My first serious girlfriend, Katrina, also shared the birthday so I guess it balances out.

Limbaugh got his start in radio while living in Cape Girardeau, Missouri where he briefly lived off welfare. He has since died from lung cancer, a disease he claimed did not exist. My parents also lived in Cape Girardeau at the time, raising my oldest sister at the start of their marriage. They would later move to Kansas City, where I was born, before resettling in St. Joseph.

Information, Entertainment and Technology

Radio…


The late 70s and early 80s was a cool time to be a kid, our days punctuated with Star Wars, Dungeons and Dragons, parachute pants, ninjas and moonwalking; breakdancing was just around the corner. In 1981, my mom signed me up for a summer class on another neat, new thing: the Apple II Personal Computer. I was immediately transfixed.

During these early years, we lived in St. Joseph, Missouri, notable for the Pony Express, Jesse James’ house and a giant ball of string. Walter Cronkite and Marshall Mathers were both born there. The Pony Express provided a pivotal service for…

Ponyboy Express

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