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The Importance of Recognizing Fake News

Hamed Wardak and Fake News

The term “fake news” has grown in popularity over the past few years. While there has always been misinformation and propaganda, fake news is a strange but modern combination of the internet and lies.

How does Fake News work?

While the phrase “don’t believe everything you see on the internet” is incredibly common, it is not always so easy to follow this advice. When information spreads across social circles, news sites, or other forms of media, it tends to sweep those spaces like a virus. It can come in the form of memes. People will work messages into memes with photoshopped images that gain popularity. People will discuss this information on social media and forum sites. Over time this fake news spreads around and often becomes popular belief. One only needs to look at the current situation in Hong Kong to find examples of this phenomenon.

What are the Effects of Fake News?

This misinformation can have massive effects, both within society at large and on a personal level.

Fake news has turned into a useful tool for affecting public opinion. Readers may remember the controversy surrounding Russian meddling with the United States’ last election. They had people and bots operating fake accounts online who spread information to affect the opinions of United States citizens. Much of that disinformation ended up going viral and catching on in public discourse. This is far from the only example. More recently, there has been a ton of misinformation spread about the Hong Kong situation. Journalists have fabricated video clips and stories for publicity. People with political agendas have spread what is essentially propaganda to further their interests. Fake news has a real impact on the way issues are perceived.

Sometime false information is spread about individuals within their social circles. It can be used as a form of bullying when people spread rumors and false claims about someone behind their back in an attempt to affect that person’s life. Also, people can be falsely accused of atrocious acts. It is not unheard of for someone or a group of people to spread terrible accusations of someone who committed no wrongdoing. This can lead to people with no knowledge of the person joining in on the attacks in an ill-informed attempt for justice

What Should People Do About Fake News?

Vigilance is key. For starters, people should always be mindful of the potential for false information. When something is seen online without a source, try to find one. This is often a simple way to determine if something should be believed. Fact checking sites can be a great resource. Even videos and photographs can be faked or misrepresented. This has been another common problem surrounding the coverage of the situation in Hong Kong. Whether it’s a blog post, a social media post, or an online forum, people should always search for the originator of the information they see and find out if they offer any credible sources for their claims.

The Importance of Recognizing Fake News

LGBTQ Find Liberation From Homophobia At Tbilisi's Techno Dance Club

Hamed Wardak and the club in Tlisibii
 

The small nation of Georgia has a long and storied history. Lying where Europe starts to merge into Asia, it has been a stop along the ancient Silk Road. Today, this nation that was once dominated by the U.S.S.R. has again reclaimed an identity. It’s one place where residents are still trying to figure who they are and how to govern. Georgia’s capital city of Tbilisi is home to over a million people. It’s an area where divisions can bubble up again in some very unexpected ways. While many Georgians adhere to traditional, conservative values, there are people in Tbilisi who look for places where they can break free and find a different path. One nightclub has proven to be both a flash point of tension and yet a world that allows for incredible self expression at the same time.

Released From Below the Surface

Years of tight rule by the Soviets had the effect of tightening dissent. With the fall of the Berlin Wall, people here have found it possible to think about who they are. For members of the community’s gay and lesbian residents, this process has been freeing and scary. The state’s Georgian Orthodox church is ruled by those who are harbor homophobic views. Last May 17, they led a large crowd down the streets of Tbilisi along with homophobic banners to celebrate something they called Family Purity Day. It was a parade intended to express disgust at the city’s pride march.

 

Protesters in tlisibi on Hamed Wardak Blog

Finding a Haven

Despite these jeers, gay and lesbian residents have found one place where they can find a measure of safety from the society’s conservative leaders. One space is a hugely famous tecno club. People come here from the globe to party hard. It’s owners decided it was time to take a chance, speak out and fight what they see as the city officials and their unfair crackdowns on freedom of personal expression. In pursuit of that aim, they have created a night once a month known as Horoom. It’s a carefully vetted night for gay and lesbian people in Tbilisi to let go of the pressures of living in the community.

Many Security Measures

Protecting people at the club on Horoom is the major aim of the night. Anyone who wants to attend must submit a Facebook profile. They get a code and agree to avoid taking photography that could otherwise potentially reveal people who not yet out to a society rife with homophobia. This event has been in place for over three years. About a thousand people come here to let go in an event that was given the name of a famous Georgian war dance. It’s also a chance for people to fight against other customs in the area they find deeply unfair.

Many Arrests

Georgia is also home to some of the strictest drug laws in the world. As a result, more than a third of nation’s prisoners are behind bars for drug offenses considered minor in many other places. The owners have been very vocal in their support for an organization known as White Noise. This organization aims to reduce the reach of such strict laws including rules that allow anyone to be stopped and asked to take a urine test by getting patrons involved in local anti extremist drug laws protests.

Clashes With Others

After the Georgian police invaded the club, it was clear this was a conflict between multiple groups. People danced in front of the city’s parliament to protest their treatment during the raid. They were met with an organization with ties to the Neo-Nazis calling the dancers drug dealers and gay slurs. Government leaders and the leaders of White Noise suggested that everyone leave the area. Government official have condemned right wing violence and threats. The owners report ongoing efforts at harassment by far right groups in the area. Still, they remain committed to what they have started. The club will continue to provide Tbilisi’s gays and lesbians at least one night a month where they can free safe and happy. It’s a mission they consider an essential part of their lives as community activists.

Hamed Wardak and the gay and lesbuian techno

LGBTQ Find Liberation From Homophobia At Tbilisi's Techno Dance Club

What exactly is ‘Business Techno’?

There's no consensus on the definition of the label “Business Techno.” It’s a type of techno music but there are two opposing schools of thought as to whether it is a negative or positive label. It involves personal perspectives on factors as DJ fees and the ages-old battle between the underground and mainstream.

Definition
Referring to a disc jockey’s material as Business Techno indicates one of two possible definitions. It can be a pejorative that implies the DJ’s output is little more than unimaginative sell-out music. It could also be a simple recognition that today techno disc jockeys are able to get rich and travel via private jet.

Origin
The term goes back to a Twitter post in April 2018. It was reportedly first used by the Berlin-based producer Shifted in a response to techno-creator Truncate commenting on a review of Anja Schneider's EP “Prosperity” which opens with the claim that “techno is the new tech house”. Shifted tweeted back: “BUSINESS TECHNO is the new tech house” and a new insult or sub-genre of music was coined.

So what is it?
It’s difficult to fully determine what Business Techno music is. More often than anything else, those in the industry leave it at “you know it when you hear it.” Beyond that, defining it often involves having and spending money. It also involves booking the same disc jockeys to play the exact same sets to the same crowds every single week, and the use of facial recognition technology as part of the entry process.

The Business Techno set is similar to such superstar DJs as Calvin Harris and Steve Aoki. They’re the reported influencers of the electronic music genre. They’re attractive, have many followers, and are happy to rent their brand to various corporate sponsorships. Historically speaking, techno’s roots are underground while these disc jockeys want to make money.

One person who is especially outspoken on the subject is electronic music’s own Scuba. In one of his more memorable musings, he addresses the insulting aspect of Business Techno. He says it's “a term made up by people who are jealous of other people for making more money than them.”

So are those who use the label as a put down calling out “sell-outs” or are they simply jealous DJs who are annoyed because their careers aren’t successful. One thing seems clear, it's a label that has become a tool to fit the personal agenda of the individual utilizing it. It has, in short, become weaponized.

Business Techno can’t be easily defined in terms of a specific artist or sound. Many say it’s about success, capitalism, high-priced tickets, nightclubs where security takes priority over the real rave experience, and DIY venues being converted into what some call “Instagram-friendly” places. Perhaps Business Techno’s definition is more about a personal mindset. One thing is certain, whatever else it is, Business Techno balances on the concept that techno music is not necessarily a culture but a commodity.

What exactly is ‘Business Techno’?

The Techno Travellers Map

Hamed Wardak and the Techno Traveller Map is Launching New App
The Techno Traveller Map was introduced to the public three years ago. The original intent of the map was to help people find various clubs in cities, enhancing their travel experience. This helped so many when looking for raves that the idea of it took off with great speed.

Since going viral, the original creator Matthieu Rodrigues got the brilliant idea to take the concept and develop it into an app. The app would be designed to give the user full access to the names and events happening in their chosen search location. This will be available for use at locations all around the globe, making it relevant no matter where you roam.

 

While it was referred to as the Techno Travellers Map initially, the name has been changed to Clubeling. He wanted to release an easy-to-use app that made the most of the original Techno Traveller Map. This will be even more elaborate and efficient. You can access it directly from your mobile device, making it a great way to personalize the experience.

 

It has been stated that the direction of the app is geared towards clubs playing techno and house style music. It will give a comprehensive look into locations of interest, making it simple for users to have an exciting night out on the town. This will reduce the hassle of trying to figure out where fun locations are on their own.

 

You can even plan to visit venues before ever arriving at your location. This will simplify your trip so you can sort out your plans ahead of time.

 
Because the app is in its beginning stages of development, they will start by releasing a private beta version. The version will be accessed by a select 500 users. When the users operate the app, they will be able to make suggestions to improve the app functionality, working out any bugs or kinks along the way. They will be able to add any additional clubs that may be missing, maximizing the number of clubs listed.

This will give the developers direct insight on how to provide the best resources possible within the app. Once the app has been fully developed to satisfaction, it will be released to the general public and available for download.

If you travel frequently, enjoy clubs and raves, and are always looking for top-rated entertainment in your travels, Clubeling may be one to keep a lookout for.

Traveller Techno Appp and Hamed Wadakl

The Techno Travellers Map​

Protest And Optimism At Iceland Airwaves Music Festival

Hamed Wardak Speaks about Iceland Techno Scene
 

Iceland, a country of a mere 350,000 people, is currently a facing considerable economic difficulties and intimidating environmental problems. Not surprisingly, there is tremendous unease in the country over these issues; however, there is also a great deal of energy coming from people in Iceland that is being directed towards raising awareness of problems and making a creative transformation to a new era. A good example of this dynamic in action is the annual Iceland Airwaves festival held each November in Reykjavík.

Iceland Airwaves

The first Iceland Airwaves festival was held in 1999. The festivals are co-sponsored by the City of Reykjavik and the airline Icelandair. This year’s event will feature a diverse lineup of acts including Hatari, Agent Fresco and Attan. Organizers talk about about how Iceland’s landscape of snow and glaciers create a backdrop of majesty and power to the music itself. The general attitude is that the festival will be a good time but also a wake-up call in an era where glaciers in the country are disappearing because of rising temperatures. Over the years, the event has expanded from having mostly music to including other types of events as well. The 2019 event is scheduled to have speakers on topics including environmentalism, activism and ecology. There is also a hackathon scheduled, which is expected to be an opportunity for both locals and visitors to show off their computer skills.

Björk and Andri Snær Magnason

Before the 2016 festival, musician Björk along with writer Andri Snær Magnason held a joint press conference to make it clear that one of the festival’s themes would be helping to save the Icelandic countryside from rampant industrialization while there was still time. This has remained one of the goals of the festival since then. Magnason, who wrote the book “Dreamland: A Self-Help Manual for a Frightened Nation,” which advocates for grass-roots activism, has spelled out in his writings exactly what he feels people can and should do to help fight the ravages of climate change and over-industrialization. The pair had strong criticism for the government at the time, and this sentiment is shared by many performing at the festival in 2019.

Iceland Techno scene on Hamed Wardak speaks

Anger and optimism

Many in Iceland are uneasy as jobs in fishing and agriculture become automated and as other national industries are lose out to competition overseas. There is a sense, however, that the country can adapt. Two avenues for doing this are through tourism and music. More and more foreigners are coming to Iceland from all over the world to appreciate its rugged beauty, and artists like Björk continue to export music abroad, creating a positive image of the country and fueling more tourism.

DIY and punk music traditions

There is a long history of DIY marketing by artists in Iceland. For instance, in the 1980’s, alternative band The Sugarcubes sold post cards of Reagan and Gorbachev to finance their critically acclaimed records, and that self-reliant spirit is very much alive today. There is great pride among artists in Iceland in the punk tradition, and there’s even a museum of punk music in Reykjavik. Many of those active in the punk scene of the 1980’s are now policy makers today. One former punk even ran for mayor of Reykjavik as a joke, and, to his surprise, won.

Alternative culture from thirty years ago to today

During the years Ronald Reagan was in office in the United States, The Sugarcubes and other artists planted the seeds of an alternative culture of protest and activism that flourishes today at events like Iceland Airwaves. To see it in person, Icelandair offers package deals to the festival.

Protest And Optimism At Iceland Airwaves Music Festival

Fake News: What It Is and How to Spot It

Leading up to the Spanish-American War in 1898, Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst worked on their respective newspapers and fought to see who could sell the most. Critics soon argued that both Pulitzer and Hearst sensationalized stories to sell more papers. This became known as yellow journalism. When the U.S.S. Maine sank in Havana Harbor in 1898, Pulitzer and Hearst sensationalized the events and blamed Spain, inevitably leading to the Spanish-American War. In truth, no one ever found out who sank the U.S.S. Maine.

Are We Told the Truth?

Yellow journalism shows us that the news has not always been just the facts. Sensationalism, propaganda, and spin are all part of the news, back then, and still to this day. Sometimes, it’s difficult to know exactly what the truth is when we’re given information. With the advent of social media, this trend has only gotten worse. Tabloid media and concrete news used to be easy to tell apart, but today the lines are blurred more than ever before. This is making it difficult to trust what we’re being told.

Fake News

There are lots of reasons for fake news. Stories that are designed to influence decisions, encourage consumers to buy new products, visit web sites, or believe in agendas abound. It’s difficult to visit any social media platform without being inundated with advertisements, many of which look like genuine news articles that are designed to intrigue and potentially deceive. For people who look to social media to stay current on the goings-on of the world, it’s not always easy to know what’s the truth and what’s not.

Types of Fake News

Some fake news comes in the form of advertisements. Oftentimes, rather than simply advertising a product, entrepreneurs or businesses will write up genuine-looking articles tied to current events. As you look closer, you’ll notice that the articles are pushing a product, not information.

Fake news can also come in the form of propaganda, which pushes agendas or certain viewpoints. If these types of stories pique your interest and play to your biases, then you may be more likely to read them. Advertisers know how to target specific individuals based on browser history, so whenever you see news in an advertisement, there’s a good chance you were deliberately targeted due to your online interests and habits.

Clickbait is a type of fake news that makes you think you’re going to read about one topic but you’re lured into reading about a service or product instead. Oftentimes, clickbait has misleading headlines or pictures to make you think that you would be interested in reading further.

Oftentimes, fake news is just poor journalism. Writers don’t always get their facts straight, and what’s written isn’t always fact-checked. But once these pieces are on social media, they can gain traction and be believed by thousands or millions depending on popularity. It’s difficult to retract fake information once it’s believed by a large number of people.

How Can You Spot Fake News?

Always read thoroughly and think about what you’re reading. Never believe what you read on face value unless you know and trust the source. If in doubt, check other media, especially trusted sources like encyclopedias. This one is difficult but consider your own biases. In other words, are you going to believe something you read just because it agrees with what you believe? And finally, trust your gut but also accept that you can be persuaded. If you are and realize it later, that’s okay. The more aware we are of fake news, the more we can rid it from our lives.

Fake News: What It Is and How to Spot It

Nothing's Hush-Hush on This "Secret Project"!

 
If you are old enough to remember when techno music was brand new, and it was originally referred to as “synth pop,” then you are probably not surprised that it has returned in a new and big way. The kids and young adults of Downtown L.A. have been attending secret raves with this kind of music for the last two decades, and it just recently emerged from “the underground” into mainstream culture.

Young event producers with sound business sense and a good eye for what the kids want backed and booked special events that promoted this music. Techno festivals and concert events emerged into public view, and grew into something much more than just music. Here is a closer look at this recent festival that occurs every year now in Downtown L.A..

The Music

Besides techno, you can hear other types of “underground” music. Many of these new types of music are frequently accompanied with techno laser light shows that perfectly keep time and rhythm with the music. A very large standing room only space in front of the stage doubles as both dance floor and concert arena. Dance or don’t; it is entirely up to you, but the music is often infectious enough that you may not be able to resist. (Yes, dubstep still rules here, so get ready to show your moves!

The Art

As these festivals grew into a lot more than just a two-hour, techno spin-rave-dance party-in a “invitation only” secret location, other street arts were added. In the last few years, street artists (a.k.a., graffiti artists) and mural painters were invited to join the scene. They literally set the stage with their art, and create the right vibe for these events.

Being a festival with technology roots, recent animated graffiti artists have been added to the mix. Some of the art moves like the light-up advertisements in Times Square, while the rest is a vibrant mix of personal expression and traditional stationary form and color. When the music’s not jumping, you can take in the art.

Street Dance Demos

L.A. has always been the place for new dance moves and new dance types to be born and develop into signature steps. That is no less true of the street dance demos and dance-offs you can see at this festival! Some tried and true dance types make an appearance, but new moves may emerge from different street dancers.

It is the stuff you don’t want to miss, unless you want to be completely out of the loop when it comes to evolving modern-day dance. Usually, the new stuff has its own stage and time to present, but you might even see some of the latest and greatest dance moves break out on the dance floor when just the right song begins playing and the crowd parts for these dancers.

The Food and Drink

Back when this all got started, you had to bring your own agua in a reusable bottle, or drop on the warehouse floor from dehydration. After two hours, you needed to rehydrate, and leaving the scene meant you probably would not be allowed back in again. That has certainly changed a lot.

Los Angeles’s biggest and best food trucks and specialty mobile wet bars are everywhere at this festival. If you leave the music scene, you can get something to eat, something to drink, something alcoholic to drink, and still return to the dancing, no problem. After all, when you take a secret rave from two hours long to a public festival two days long, you are going to have a lot of hungry, thirsty festival-goers!

The Carnival Attractions

Depending on the year, this techno festival may or may not have some carnival rides. People typically come for the art, music, and food, but the addition of carnival rides gives you something to do between music sets that you are interested in seeing. You really do not know what you will find until a few weeks before the start date of the festival, but it is still fun to wait and find out if there will or won’t be any ride attractions.

 

Nothing's Hush-Hush on This "Secret Project"!

©2019  Hamed Wardak Blog