Scientology Daily Digest: November 4, 2013

Editor’s note: This is the first post of what I hope will be daily summaries of news from around the Scientology universe.  Initially, I’ll focus on the three key blogs: Tony Ortega, Mike Rinder and Marty Rathbun.  Over time, particularly if some people can help me, I’d like to include a roundup of key Scientology-related posts on WWP, ESMB and other forum boards.  I’ll typically try, schedule permitting to get this out around 10pm US Eastern Time, though I can’t guarantee this.

I need feedback to determine what would make this document maximally useful to you; this is an evolving document and I’m very flexible on what to do with it, or even whether it’s necessary.

Tony Ortega’s Underground Bunker

Tony’s lone article today continued Claire Headley’s series of actually “doing” Scientology. Today, she described what it was like to do the OT 1 level, the first stage past clear.

My take: As always, getting even a taste of what it is like to do Scientology training is interesting for a never-in like me.  The OT 1 level itself sounds pretty lame, hanging around out in public and looking at people and trying to figure out what they might be thinking.

Though the article didn’t go into it in any great detail, I recall reading from other sources that the cult pulls on people is to make it difficult for them to start doing the OT levels at all.  That’s the “OT Eligibility” process that Claire references in the article.  Interestingly, it costs $9,800 while the OT 1 level itself “only” costs $3,300.  I’ve heard that the OT Eligibility is where they like to throw lots of curves at you, magically discovering that there was some screw-up way back when and you now need to redo a whole bunch of lower-level stuff before you are going to be permitted to join the big time.

Key comments:

  • Chuck Beatty gave a nice firsthand description of watching people walk around the neighborhood of the Big Blue building in Hollywood doing their OT 1 observations.
  • Longtime member Patty Moher weighed in with her recollections of how the cult dragged out the OT Eligibility process for her, even though she was a loyal and successful OSA operative at the time.
  • J. Swift dredged up a copy of a legal threat from Scientology to WikiLeaks in 2008 for posting the OT materials on line.  Yeah, that obviously got Julian Assange whimpering in the corner.
  • “Guest” presented one of the nicer parodies of a missive from ham-fisted cult spokeswoman Karin Pouw to emerge in a while.
  • Bruce Hines mentioned that the OT 1 level went through a few radical revisions over the years.  I’m not sure I understand the details, but this is a source that may be worth noting. Anyone know Bruce’s history?  Apparently he was there.
  • Observer dredged up a link to a story from The Skeptic’s Dictionary where Hubbard allegedly subjected bacteria to jets of steam and tobacco smoke to determine whether they inherited instincts.  This is in a beautifully snarky review of Hubbard’s Rediscovery of the Human Soul, a book which I hadn’t previously seen.  It appears to be almost as pathetic as A History of Man, which Tony had leading evolutionary biologist P. Z. Myers review back in August.  The scientific method demonstrated in Hubbard’s experiment looks positively medieval.

Mike Rinder’s Blog

Mike reports that the cult has now filed permits for street closures, well after the normal 30-day deadline.  He references a Tampa Bay Times article filed this evening that the cult is going to request that busy Ft. Harrison avenue be closed during the entire weekend of November 17th, a prime beach weekend.  While the article quotes local officials as attempting to be flexible, one wonders whether the economic firepower of the tourism industry will overpower the fear-driven clout of the cult.  There are a couple interesting details:

  • The cult has asked for several traffic signals to be removed to support filming, which the city has refused to consider. This little detail, if granted, would apparently cost in excess of $100,000 per signal.
  • The cult plans on putting Jumbotron style video screens in the area so you can get a video feed of the festivities anywhere in the neighborhood.  Of course, this means they have to get the streets blocked so protestors can’t film the video on these screens with their phones.
  • Spackle Motion

    I prefer your blog’s daily round-up plus your “take” to actually reading many other blogs. This is perfect, and you even gathered the better comments on the Bunker. I refuse to give Rinder and Rathbun site views and I stopped trying to wade through comments at the Bunker (and who knows if that will still be around), so I appreciate the “Capitalist Re-Cap” designed for the thinking public. I like this.

    • John P.

      I loved “Capitalist Recap.” Wonder if I can trademark that…

  • sugarplumfairy

    I think I’m gonna like this, John P.

    I missed some of those comment highlights.. Glad you caught them for me..

  • AsthmaticDwarf

    Hi John – a quick suggestion, for the branding/image: have your programmer(s) if not you, get a “favicon.ico” image into your HTML code. So that on the “tab” on browsers, that little 18 x 18 pixel image will show your chosen image, not the “e” of explorer, or whatever browser one is using. (if you’re not familiar with ‘favicon’, your HTML people will be.) Ciao- love your work! Looking forward, The Dwarf.

    • John P.

      Thank you. Great suggestion. I’ve put it on the to-do list. Since I have control of the hosting environment, I can control the favicon image. Only problem is that I’m brain dead in those regions of the cortex having to do with artsy-craftsy ability.

      Any digital graphic artists out there with experience in such things who would like to take a stab at doing a favicon for my site? I’m not sure how to try to put some meaningful humor in a space that small. And actually, I don’t have a larger logo that could be shrunk down.

      Anybody with experience in WordPress theme design (or basic HTML and CSS-fu) should also feel free to step forward. I want to make some changes to this layout, including a background image that the title goes over, but don’t have the necessary skills.

      Contact me via e-mail at johnpcapitalist at (gee male) dot com.

      • Eivol Ekdal

        I can possibly help….
        For icons you need to drop a favicon.ico and and apple.png on the root of your webspace.
        Email sent.

      • Eivol Ekdal

        We need some theme ideas for a brand identity A favicon is a nice small place to start. Thinking of capitalism and logic crushing cult aims.

        • ThetaBara

          How about a brain knocking over the doublecross?

  • PoisonIvyHerself

    Great summary, John P – I LOVE this feature! Things will be heating up for me a little work-wise shortly and this will greatly help keep my addiction satisfied during the busier times.

    The part about the permits really pisses me off. I think I’m going to be pretty enraged and disgusted if Clearwater backs down. I was doing some quick back-research on the od IRS stuff/new botched FBI raid and somewhere in the piece on VV, Marty Rathbun is quoted as saying to the FBI, “You’re no match for Scientology.”

    The more people buy into this way of thinking, the more powerful the cult remains. As Marc Headley says, “You think the cult has all this power over your life….until you realize that it doesn’t.” THAT for me will be the tipping point – when Clearwater, the Fed, and the media all have the same “cognition” – that Scientology are a bunch of well-funded bullies but they’re really snivelling, incompetent cowards just beneath the surface.

    A girl can dream, can’t she?

    NIght all!

  • Karen de la Carriere

    Very cool John P. Analysis is very helpful and the global audience of Scientology watchers has a heck of a lot of never-ins.
    I will be a regular here !

  • This is one of the most useful contributions possible. It’s also hard work, so I hope you’re able to do it without too much extra burden. If you were already taking the time to browse through it all, I guess you can manage 🙂

    We did have a similar project on A.r.s. – the “week in review” postings which were highly valued.

    • John P.

      It actually turned out to be somewhat time consuming since there were 2,000 comments on Tony’s blog by the time I started last night. Fortunately, a bunch of them were in three major flame wars which meant that I could skip a bunch of stuff.

      • Eivol Ekdal

        I am still creaking along on a P4 with XP and 3.5 GB of ram. Thinks get pretty slow after 1000+
        This is clean, light and fast, so far.

        • John P.

          The browser probably has more to do with your performance than processor speed. I use Chrome and, as long as I have fewer than about 100 tabs open, it runs OK. Firefox is a complete memory and performance pig when it comes to running flashy AJAX-y applications like Disqus. And IE is a complete disaster.

          On the Mac side, I would think that Chrome is a good bet because Safari has many of the same limitations in running JavaScript as Firefox.

          • ThetaBara

            I have an old creaky mac and firefox is a PITA. Chrome works much better.

          • I use SeaMonkey, which is a faster sibling of Firefox, and is available for Mac and Linux OS systems as well.

          • Eivol Ekdal

            I use Chrome but it is most likely my privacy plugins causing the delay. Tony’s site has a lot of background connections going on.

        • ThetaBara

          Hitting “collapse thread” is your friend in DQ. It’s a little minus sign at the far right top of the comment. It only appears when you mouseover. 🙂

  • V4Vacation

    “Demolishing absurdity under an avalanche of logic and reason.” That is sublime. ;D I’m looking forward to your roundups.

  • 0tessa

    Your blog reminds me a bit of Reader’s Digest.
    Now we have a Scientology’s Digest.

  • Eivol Ekdal
    • Eivol Ekdal

      …another Wise Beard Man.

      • scnethics


  • HCO Chief

    Incredible work John. You sir, are a freak of nature. I don’t know how you find the time.

    • John P.

      I got a lot more productive when Red Bull started coming in the 2 liter bottles instead of those tiny little cans.

  • tetloj

    John, I still hit ESMB at least every other day and am happy to post anything of interest in the comments (I have posted the odd piece at the Rodeo)

    • John P.

      I would love to have some help keeping up with ESMB. If you could send me any interesting comments in bullet form with links back to the comment, I would be grateful. I typically plan to start writing the daily summary at around 9:00, when the supermodels are starting the three-hour process of doing hair and makeup before heading off to dance the night away at all those trendy clubs in the Meatpacking District. E-mail to johnpcapitalist at “gee male”.

      Musing aloud: over time, as readership grows, it would be really great to have people volunteering to cover the news in a particular forum on particular days (so people can have days off). With a schedule, we can know for sure that specific news sources are covered so readers can have confidence that the Scientology Daily didn’t miss much…

      If any of you have any thoughts on how to entice people to sign up for a volunteer commitment like that, I’d love to hear it. I do OK at management by intimidation and management by dry sarcasm, but don’t have much experience in management by kindness and enthusiasm…

      • ThetaBara

        Brilliant idea to have shifts. I’m thinking asking should work! 😉
        I can take WWP for at least one day a week. Maybe ask for volunteers, see how many you get and for which sites, and go from there.

      • 1subgenius

        Ultimately I think you’ll have the same problem as you have expressed about Tony’s.
        The format is too linear. So things get buried in the avalanche. I don’t know how anyone would have the time to go through so many posts for any reason, especially with so much chaff. So it’s a good thing that your other gig is just a part-time job.
        And then discussion (or even action) dwindles on a particular issue when there’s a new post and attention moves on.

        I understand that you may have to work with what you got, but at least this blog should generate massive profits.

        • John P.

          I share your concerns. But I am an eternal optimist, for better or for worse. If this blog gets as many readers as Tony’s, then the avalanche of comments will indeed be a problem, though it would certainly be a first-class problem to have.

          But even if the problem lies in limitations of software, I don’t want to re-invent the wheel to try to solve the problem of comment chaos with a piece of custom software. There are already way too many comment systems, blog engines, and forum site packages.

          There may be some software-based solution from Disqus as they evolve; they power sites with an even bigger avalanche of commenters than Tony’s site. I would suspect at some point in the next couple years that Disqus will come up with a for-fee “enterprise edition” product that will allow multiple comment streams per site, or subject-tagging of comments, or some other means for readers to filter comments on popular sites.

          There may be a way to add other capabilities like a general chat room to the site. I’m just getting started, and I want to stay focused on building readership and being able to deliver consistently on a pipeline of daily articles.

          But I think the most-leveraged approach to managing chaos is to try to build certain norms into the culture at the outset. For example, once people understand the difference between analysis and opinion, then it’s pretty clear that an essential founding principle of this site needs to be no ad hominem attacks. If people are sold on this from the beginning, it becomes more self-policing than if one tries to tamp out personal flame wars later on. We would have all killed each other on Wall Street long ago if we responded to every disagreement about whether to buy or sell a particular stock with ad-hominem attacks. We have to live with some ground rules for a truce that are relatively rarely broken.

          I don’t want to be overly controlling about the culture, in part because I don’t want to waste my limited time on police action. I want to write. If people understand that there are some different norms if you’re going to collaborate on analysis where there are legitimate differences of opinion and you can’t fall into grudges and flame wars, then that could help get things pointed the right way.

      • tetloj

        Woops. Missed this before posting under the comments today (5th). I live in +8GMT so am 12 hours ahead (non-daylight savings). Most reliable time for me to contribute is 8-9pm my time – during your evening I can’t always post (disqus on my sodding work computer allows me to read but not post).

        I think it would be difficult to regularly post comments (tho’ some do stand out from time to time). I’ll keep it in mind but will post threads for the time being.

  • WhereIsSHE

    What a wonderful way to start the day!!

  • aquaclara

    The city officials in Clearwater are up against a formidable foe once again. I hope they do not cave-the cult keeps acting like permits are unnecessary, and the city officials a nuisance.

    Scientology, it’s the other way around. You are the nuisance.

  • Crimsontide

    Looking forward to reading your blog. Perhaps I can make some sane comments in the future.

    • John P.

      Welcome. Is Crimson Tide a function of your love for a particular university’s football team, or is it a reference to one of my favorite Steely Dan songs? As you know, Steely Dan is the official band of Tony’s Undergound Bunker, largely because of my campaign to make it so. I noted long ago that there are a remarkable number of rabid Steely Dan fans among the Bunker community; far more than in the world as a whole.

      Here’s a particularly good live version of their song that name-checks the Crimson Tide:

      By the way, it goes without saying that Steely Dan will be the official band around here, and, while I hope never to have to wield the deadly sword of electronic disconnection, to challenge this will invite one to be “disposed of quietly and without sorrow.” 🙂

      • 1subgenius

        Make a bid for romance
        While the dollar stands a chance.

        I never saw the movie, but I’ve heard it was based on you.

        Oh, and supermodel #1 makes an appearance in the video.

      • Crimsontide

        I was Baptized as a Tide fan shortly after birth. The “Bear” has his own cult following, though I think he is/was much saner than LRH or the tiny midget. Yes, I know he was an ass hat, but an acceptable ass. I could go on and on with stories……
        Steely Dan rocks! BTW, LS “Sweet Home Alabama” sucks.

  • ThetaBara

    Good stuff, JP. If I find noteworthy stuff over on WWP (which can be immensely useful but also has a ton of static) I will pass it along. Cross pollination is so valuable as all these sites seem to be booming lately.

    One suggestion: if it is possible to have a comments link at the bottom that would be nice. Not a big deal though. I’m really glad you are doing this.

    • John P.

      Thanks for the encouragement. I’m not sure I understand what you mean about a “comments link at the bottom.”

      • ThetaBara

        Right now, there is the title of the post, followed by a link that says something like “27 replies” which you have to click to see comments (they do not autoload, at least not for me on chrome on an elderly mac). Having a second link at the bottom of the post would be convenient. But it isn’t like I can’t scroll back up after reading.

        • John P.

          Got it. I have put that on the to-do list. I will research how to do this. It may take a little while given that there are a lot more loose ends than I expected, and given that this may stretch the limit of my HTML-fu skills.

          • ThetaBara

            It’s a tiny thing. I am not a wordpress expert (at all) but someone else might be… I think content is king, as opposed to little details.

  • Gerard Plourde

    Great start to the blog. I hope that you’ll include large helpings of your excellent analysis as well.

    • John P.

      That’s the goal. Ideally, I’d like to lead the way on deep analysis and trend watching, and then create a community of like-minded souls who want to do the same. It’s way more fun than doing it alone… Predicting the future is addictive when you get good at it — that’s about the only reason I’ve stuck with Global Capitalism HQ as long as I have. An easy way to learn the lessons I’ve learned the hard way might be really fun for people.

      • ThetaTomato

        I’m looking forward to learning some of your predictive analysis methods and skills.

  • Marta

    Hello John P.

    I’ll be here – uncertain how much I’ll be able to contribute from my limited “old-timers” experience, but where I can I will. Community dynamics is a favorite and start up just adds to the fun!

  • Good Fella

    A venue we’ve all been waiting for. Thanks, John, for setting forth the editorial direction that will, hopefully, bring back the ‘old heavyweights’ of yesteryear. No more post after post of mindless babbling (I trust). Like many readers and posters I just don’t have the time, patience or interest to browse through 2000+ comments in search of important content, content that has changed my life in many small and big ways over the years.

    You have a strong purpose and goals. Your analysis and conclusions are excellent and gratefully appreciated by myself. I suspect you want the same or similar level of response or — GTFOH!

    • John P.

      Just to be clear: I’m not against funny. Quite the opposite.

      My favorite time of the week is Sunday morning while Supermodel #1 sleeps in and I curl up with a cup of coffee at 7:00 on Sunday to write something snarky about the Sunday Funnies.

      I just want to build a culture where people look at their comments and take a second to ask themselves, “if I click “Post this” now, does it maximally forward the action, or can I do better?

      It’s like all that discussion on Tony’s site the last two days about “Koki” always saying “A big hello from LRH’s Bulgravia.” Don’t just say the same damned thing. Grow it. Work it. Run with it. Think big! As I tried to illustrate in my examples to him, it would take only a few seconds to make Bulgravia and Hubbard’s arrogance about one of the most politically complex parts of the world into a really funny source of ongoing humor. Just posting the same tired one-liner doesn’t forward the action and it’s a massive missed opportunity. It only takes a couple minutes to be really funny. In three minutes, I knocked together a captioned picture that got a few chuckles and moved the Bulgravia scene forward.

      So I want to encourage people to be funny, but in a way that they dig deeper than ever before so that they are at their funniest. In other words, I want people to bring their “A” game when they comment here, funny or serious. Leave the mediocre game where you say the same stuff that anyone else can say at home. And for people whose “A” game isn’t going to get them into the major leagues today, if we build the culture right, I want to be welcoming so they can stick around and learn.

      • Good Fella

        Thanks for the reply to my somewhat glib comment. Not a promising first start. I appreciate the frankness and common sense. Consider me learned — that’s a better start.

  • Drat

    I look forward to your excellent analyses, as always. I understand the stringent poster qualifications, so will probably just hang around to watch and learn for now. Thanks for providing this service.

    If you ever need a donate button and it isn’t against any laws, call it “Invest”.

    • John P.

      I am not trying to intimidate you. I have really respected the stuff you’ve written over at Tony’s blog. My basic attitude is “Everybody needs to bring your ‘A’ game.” That’s the only way to play it at Global Capitalism HQ, because the stakes are high. And it’s not that difficult to bring your “A” game. It usually takes about three more minutes on a post, even one of moderately large size, to turn something average into something really good, or even great.

      What really frosts me about the current state of commentary on Tony’s blog is the avalanche of one-liners saying stuff like “Me, too” or “I agree.” If something like that happened to you, too, give details. More “mass” about what the cult did to you helps to move activism forward. And if you agree, why? This is the stuff that your English teacher tried to beat into you in high school.

      It’s like this whole thing that blew up with “Koki” always saying “Big hello from LRH’s Bulgravia.” It’s not funny to say the same damned thing 400 times. It’s not funny in English and I’m sure it’s not funny in Croatian, unless Croatians are the world’s stupidest people. As I demonstrated today, with literally about three minutes’ work, I was able to find a photo and caption it in a way that lampoons Hubbards arrogant dismissal of the “Bulgravians,” who he undoubtedly thought were simpletons. I got a few laughs and a few compliments with very little work. If Koki were to invest three minutes a day into upping his game, he’d have people going out of their way to look for his posts, instead of being annoyed when he keeps doing the same thing.

      So when I say “bring your ‘A’ game,” you should certainly not be intimidated. I do, however, want to intimidate the people who aren’t willing to spend 3 minutes taking something banal and turning it into something a bit more valuable.

      • Drat

        I missed the Bulgravian Affair.

        I totally understand, support and really appreciate your request for the ‘A’ game. It makes reading and participating very enjoyable. I didn’t mean to sound intimidated – what I meant was, I respect and wish to honour your request (and wish to refrain from spamming your blog with inane babble – I’ll leave that to OSA, who should be as conspicuous as a prostitute wearing her work clothes to church here).

  • Larry

    Excellent decision John. Thank you for that (i.e. this blog).

    Lacking any significant contribution with my first post I will just leave this link here:!!!

    You being a finance man extraordinaire might have an interesting perspective on what HelluvaHoax said in his post over at the ESMB. Seems a possibility the COS/DM is approaching it’s end game (in some form or fashion). At least where the internet is concerned.

    • John P.

      Larry, thanks for stopping by and for sharing that ESMB article. I don’t have time to keep up with ESMB, so I depend on others to pass along useful stuff. As we grow, I’d love to get a team of people who can take turns keeping an eye on ESMB, WWP and other sites to ensure that our “Daily Digest” will have comprehensive coverage of everything that hits the web regarding the cult. When we can be reasonably confident that the “Daily Digest” is thorough and complete, its value to the whole of the anti-cult world will go up substantially. Getting everybody on the same page with what’s going on helps keep people engaged, and helps keep them thinking more effectively about what to do next.

      As far as whether the cult is circling the drain, I think it is. One of the reasons for starting this blog is to publish a document I’m calling the “Cult Collapse Scenario,” which is my best estimate for how the wheels come off the Church of Scientology. I’m working on this document be publishing the first version of it in a couple of days. There will be a couple of other key research documents on this site including estimates of cult membership, the current status of Narconon, etc.

      The first drafts will necessarily be my opinion alone, but over time, as I attract more readers, the idea will be to make these documents more of a consensus of the best available thinking on what’s going on in the cult. In other words, I would hope to have fruitful discussions with others to test the assumptions and the reasoning process as well as the final conclusions. As things change, such a document needs to be updated with new information and perspective. For example, the move of the tent from the UK to Florida is very significant because it could portend the collapse of the events business and a retreat of the cult from Europe. New information on the impact of this shift in event strategy will need to be incorporated into future versions of the document, typically updating it at least every 3-4 months.

      The trick in predicting the end of the cult is not to let one’s desires get ahead of the reality. A lot of people said that the cult was finished after Operation Snow White sent top management to jail, and that was 36 years ago. And other setbacks have made other people call the end game many times since.

  • Dana Knight

    The idea of a “daily news roundup” is exactly what I have been looking for. Now I can stay up to date on the cult within minutes. I also have a financial background, so I am looking forward to your analysis.
    Good luck John. Your website is on my favorites bar and will be the first one I check.

    • John P.

      Dana, thanks. We should compare notes via e-mail. I might need some help with various things, so I’d love to learn more about your experience. Thanks for your kind comments about the site.

  • KJP in Portland

    Greetings John: I like your approach in your new ‘blog’. Congratulations for taking this on. I hope I can learn more about the statistical and prognostic chances about the CULT’s impending demise here. You provide a lot of well thought out ideas in the posts of yours that I read in the past 4 months. I too, like to try and use my statistical and accountant background to brainstorm what / where Scientology is heading over the next XX months.

    Thank you for starting this up. I don’t foresee posting irrelevant things, and I hope the reception over here will be as spot-on, A-game and warm as well.

    Thank you

  • N. Graham

    Great synopsis! It’s nice to get the scoop on the Bunker since it is a victim of its own success. Like everyone, I’m glad to see it get the interest it deserves and am grateful that so many Wogs are getting educated about the cult. But of course that means reading through over a thousand comments every day. Most of them are great but who has the time? This is a great way to feed my addiction, to come here and read what I missed! Also, the article from the Skeptic’s Dictionary was great, here’s a review they did on Dianetics that was good:

  • Larry

    Ok, given this thread is an opening thread I will take a liberty I will not be taking in the future. Meaning I am posting a (Chinese ?) proverb below, dedicated to this blog, and to the author of it (John P.) I am doing so owing to the spirit I believe lies at the heart of this blog (i.e. it is all about helping people…understand…know….participate, etc):

    “If you want happiness for an hour — take a nap.

    If you want happiness for a day — go fishing.

    If you want happiness for a month — get married.

    If you want happiness for a year — inherit a fortune.

    If you want happiness for a lifetime — help someone else.”

    • Zana

      I heard that the Chinese say it this way…

      If you want to be happy for a night — get drunk.
      If you want to be happy for a week — get married.
      If you want to be happy for a lifetime — become a gardener.

  • Freddie Hubbard

    “More perilously, there are many prominent ex Scientologists who used to be fixtures on Tony Ortega’s blog who are rarely seen there”

    Simple answer:

    Tony describes Scientology in such a way that the only logical conclusion is you’d have to be an idiot to be a Scientologist.

    I could say more, but I think that’s enough, isn’t it?

    Most exes I know had some kind of positive experience that encouraged them to continue in Scientology.

    Most of these exes I know like Tony’s blog for exposing the evil of Scientology, but they would NOT comment there. They wonder about Tony – they think he’s a little “off.” And these exes I speak of are some very intelligent and talented people.

    Tony is not completely honest in his coverage of Scientology.

    His blog and comment section are hate-based!

    Emotions can be very contagious, and fomenting hatred against a group is never cool.

    Recently Tony ran something called “Jon Atack Answers The Question: How Do Smart People Fall for Scientology?”

    Jon Atack talked about hypnosis, mind control and psychological defect. Who would want to cop to that? There was some truth in what he said, but it’s not the whole story.

    We’ve all heard about the “thought terminating cliche”. Terms like hypnosis and mind control are so old, and ultimately too vague … in a sense, they are thought terminating cliches in themselves. They don’t explain much.

    Falling for Scientology has to do with the mind, and that subject goes deep!

    Find yourself a cognitive scientist who was once a Scientologist, who knows what the experience is like (as a reference), and maybe then you would start to get some real answers as to why smart people fall for Scientology.

    Tony recently criticized The Economist. The article in The Ecomomist talked about the need to

    “delve deep inside the cognitive and psychological world of a faith and its adherents … enforcing liberty of conscience can be a ‘religious’ question.”

    Excellent point! It’s not just about belief, but what you believe about those beliefs, which itself is a belief.

    Where do you draw the line when it comes to freedom of belief? Who gets to decide? Based on what belief?

    This statement from The Economist may be a philosophical one, but I think it raises an important question.

    There is more known today about the subject of “belief” than ever before …

    First of all, is perception itself a form of belief?

    Our five senses are not infallible. Any magician knows that. Just to perceive the world around us, there’s a lot of processing that goes on in the brain, and that processing is not always perfect.

    We are goal-oriented creatures … but to have a goal, don’t you need to believe?

    And all of these things have their roots in unconscious thought processes, which do not always distinguish between fantasy and reality …

    So, where do we as human beings draw the line between ‘belief’ and what we consider to be real?

    Science? Or personal experiences?

    Perhaps a combination of the two?


    But what if someone says they had a “win,” recalling pleasant memories from this lifetime, using L Ron Hubbard’s “Self Analysis”?

    Get out the pitchforks?

    “I look forward to starting a fun intellectual adventure with those of you who read this and those who join the conversation in the future!”

    Yeah, right.

    • Espiando

      Care to reverse this scenario? Let’s say that there’s a pro-Scientology blog out there (yes, this would require Scientologists to actually have permission to use the Internet, but we can alter our perceptions for a moment to make this happen). Now, let me go on there and describe the wins that I’ve had taking, among others, Paxil, Lexapro, Cymbalta, and Zyprexa.

      Pray tell, what would the reaction be? Would anyone acknowledge those wins? Would anyone grant me enough beingness to say that those wins would be possible? Or would everyone go into a frothing rage about the Evil Psychs and Psych Drugs Will Enslave And Kill You and You Need To Do The Purif, Now? I think you know what the answer to that is.

      The reaction at Tony’s to Exes who say that they’ve had wins from various processes, what you characterize as “hate”, is incredibly mild compared to the reaction that I postulated above. When Claire was recalling the TRs, a lot of Exes said that they had fun on those processes and that they learned things. You know what happened? Not a pitchfork in sight.

      If you’re an Ex rather than being an OSA plant, you’re still stuck with the mentality that was programmed into you by Scientology: you’re either with us or against us. Valid criticism does not equal frothing hatred. Here’s my belief, which you yourself stated is perfectly valid and is real: the Circle The Wagons mentality of Scientology is simply a mechanism to control you and tie you further to the cult by expanding your perception of being someone “special” because you’re in.

      Try thinking like a wog for a bit and note how different your perceptions are. Clear teaches you that you mocked up your own reactive mind. OTVIII teaches you that you mocked up everything negative in your life. Thinking outside of the cult’s set boundaries teaches you that you’ve mocked up your own prison. Time to open the bars.

      • Freddie Hubbard

        “If you’re an Ex rather than being an OSA plant, you’re still stuck with the mentality that was programmed into you by Scientology”

        Completely false.

        (you can put away your pitchfork!)

        • Espiando

          In what respect is it completely false? You don’t cite any examples to prove your assertion. “NO U” is not an acceptable answer in a debate, regardless of what Scientology tells you.

          • Freddie Hubbard

            Let me say this – I love Tony Ortega as a writer. He creates a sense of transparency, and then he adds a drop of flava … I think he’s very talented.
            Sorry you didn’t like my criticism. Forget it … for now. Peace.

    • John P.

      I would like to address a couple of your points here, but I don’t have time to address all of them. Perhaps the most important is the last issue you raised:

      But what if someone says they had a “win,” recalling pleasant memories from this lifetime, using L Ron Hubbard’s “Self Analysis”?

      Speaking for myself only, I have figured out how to reconcile the “wins” people claim in auditing versus my skepticism in the general effectiveness of auditing as a therapeutic technique. After talking to a few ex’s who had claimed significant wins in auditing and trying to look at alternative explanations that may have contributed to their positive life changes, I was able to agree that they in fact had gotten significant value out of auditing.

      However, I have enough experience in looking at drug trials and in other sorts of population analysis. Let’s consider a rigorously controlled trial of auditing versus a placebo form of auditing, perhaps where the dial on the e-meter is set randomly based on some external factor unknown to the auditor, or there is some other mechanism for divorcing the e-meter’s feedback from what the device would indicate in the test group. I strongly suspect that a rigorous clinical trial would reveal that auditing is relatively close to a placebo in its effectiveness. There are ways to do clinical trials for qualitative factors including therapy — there has been validation done of common methods like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and also for some specialized techniques like EMDR for PTSD.

      So how do you recognize the apparent contradiction of credible anecdotal stories of significant life changes from auditing versus a general model that says auditing isn’t particularly effective? Scientists would say, “the plural of ‘anecdotes’ is not ‘evidence.'” To get from positive stories to a model showing effectiveness, you have to include a) all the people who tried auditing and got no value, and b) all the people who got auditing and had mind-blowing wins in a couple sessions but can’t remember anything about the other 300 sessions they experienced in the ten years they were in Scientology. In other words, failed sessions count in the model too; no matter how many positive anecdotes you collect, they don’t add up by themselves to a model that is generally valid.

      The other issue with Scientology auditing is the punitive mechanism that requires you to immediately state what wins you got from the session; failing to state a win sends you or the auditor to ethics, and potentially sets you up for expensive “case repair.” So you have a powerful incentive to attest to results as stronger than they actually are, coloring your future memory of them.

      Trying to get from anecdotes to science is like thinking in stereotypes: “I met a black man who was shiftless and lazy, the worst I ever met. And a few of my friends have met black people like that, too. Therefore, black people are usually shiftless and lazy.” The same two problems apply here: your interviewees don’t know how many black people they’ve met who aren’t shiftless and lazy, and they don’t have a valid statistical sample big enough to be valid for all black people.

      Anecdotes can be useful in piquing the interest of scientists, and perhaps ultimately getting them to look at doing a full trial of something. Sildenafil was a heart drug that delivered sub-par results in Stage III trials, and it had some odd side-effects that emerged in some patients’ diaries. When Pfizer shut down the disappointing sildenafil trial, it asked for the unused drugs back, as pharma companies routinely do. But a surprising number of patients refused to return the drugs. When they investigated this odd behavior, Pfizer realized something really unusual was going on. The most frequent side effect, where the drug elicited strong erectile response in normally impotent men, turned out to be a fairly valuable problem to solve, and Viagra was born.

      I plan on writing a longer piece about this dichotomy of strong anecdotal stories from some people about the wins they got in auditing versus the likelihood that a general case would be much less positive. That’s a reasoned scientific view, versus a knee-jerk response of a “hater” who would say that “auditing never works.” It is as unlikely that auditing works 0.00% of the time as the cult’s statement that “the tech works 100% of the time when applied standardly.”

      To your comments about Tony being a little “off,” I’ve always been suspicious of people who lead with ad hominem attacks. Some of the prominent ex’s who don’t comment on his site have not mentioned anything about concerns with his coverage as the reason they don’t spend much time commenting there; they have specifically cited the avalanche of comments that are too hard to read through any longer.

      Rather than leading with an ad hominem attack on Tony, it might be instructive to those of us who are skeptics (willing to be convinced in the face of credible evidence) rather than cynics (unwilling to be convinced even in the face of overwhelming evidence) if you tried to sell us on where Tony’s journalism has fallen short of the mark.

      Let’s take apart piecemeal your broad generalization about Tony’s blog. You seem to be a defender of Scientology. Would you join Scientology as it exists today, based on what you know about it? I didn’t think so. Would you join Scientology today knowing only what you would read from news reports that are readily yielded up by a quick Google search for ‘Scientology’?” I didn’t think so, either.

      I think that it is entirely possible for a reasonably intelligent person to have gotten sucked into something like Scientology back in the day when information was hard to come by, when you couldn’t just whip out your iPhone and ask Siri, “is Scientology good or bad?” When I lived in SF in the early 1980s, I met more than a handful of people who were the usual sorts of boring professionals from good schools who renounced their worldly lives and moved up to Oregon to follow Rajneesh. Scientology seems to be a lot worse than other groups in terms of what happens to you once you’re in.

      And it’s not clear that people stay in Scientology because they’re stupid. Some are. Some are too far gone to be rehabilitated to reality even with abundant therapy. But I think a surprising percentage of those who stay are miserable but they are staying for supremely rational reasons: their customer base or family members are in the cult and the “exit cost” is far too high. It’s a supremely rational calculation. The cult of Scientology retains members exactly the same way that Al Qaeda and other large terrorist groups do: you lose not only your own life (perhaps not literally in the case of Scn) but the lives of your family are at risk too. There are a large number of “under the radar” people who pretend to do Scientology only to avoid the cost of walking away.

      Lastly, your writing style reminds me of someone I have had very similar discussions with in the past. I’m wondering if you might be a big fan of the art of Chagall.

      • Freddie Hubbard

        JohnP, did you see what Espiando said?

        Are you seeing this?

        My first post on your blog, and it’s the same insanity all over again!

        Yes, there are SPECIFIC examples of auditing having a beneficial effect. You spoke in broader terms …

        To talk about these specific examples, I could go to a more Scientology-friendly site … but I’m not into Scientology, I’m into brain science!

        I find brain science endlessly fascinating. It inspires me in a ‘spiritual’ way, if you can imagine that.

        Questions like “Is there a God,” are non-falsifiable … it’s hard to prove or disprove.

        But consciousness is an unmistakable reality.

        Anyone reading this sentence is conscious.

        It just so happens I am fascinated by the question, “What is consciousness?”

        To me, you would answer that question FIRST, and I think science offers the most interesting and intelligent discussion of that subject. And yes, there are specific examples of auditing where I feel my consciousness was modulated in way, and that’s interesting to me. So, does that make me different than the other scientology-haters? Because I do hate it, even though there are some aspects of it that I still think about from time to time.

        When I was a clam, I thought of spirituality being the source of everything.

        I can still look at things in that spiritual way. It’s easy. But I don’t NEED to look at it that way. Been there, done that!

        I’m much more open minded. And it’s great to read books written by highly intelligent researchers, even if they’re atheists!

        No Scientologist wants to hear about the brain.

        Even Jon Atack said, when he tried to read about brain science, he found it repugnant!

        It just goes to show – a lot of these exes still think like Scientologists! Tory Magoo, Jon Atack, J. Swift with his clam cosmology, and on and on.

        I would recommend certain books to them, and tell them to pay special attention to those ideas which contradict Scientology!

        That’s how you get that scino shit out of your system! You expose it to the light of real science.

        Yet, when I talk about the brain on your blog, geniuses like Espiando think I’m still “in”:

        “If you’re an Ex rather than being an OSA plant, you’re still stuck with the mentality that was programmed into you by Scientology”

        And if I disagree with Tony, (about anything), that means I’m an OSA troll.

        WTF? How frking stupid is that?

        Out of respect to you and your blog, I don’t want to curse Espiando out … but I feel very frustrated.

        If an ex is treated unfairly on Tony’s blog, Tony never says anything to stop it … in fact, he encourages it!

        He calls them “dupes,” and in effect, he’s giving Bunkerites the green light to treat certain exes in a condescending manner … that’s when intelligent conversation crosses over into hate-speech, but I already went over that in my previous comment.

        Blogs, like nightclubs, take on the personality of the proprietor.

        JohnP, I’m hoping your blog will be something better.

        If you truly want intelligent discussion, you must set the tone.

        (If not you, whom?)

        I think people will follow your lead if you say something about intellectual fairness and respect.

        (Last Call !)

        SAY SOMETHING, JohnP!

        Or it’s “kiss the check-out girl goodbye.” 🙁

        • John P.

          While I am also intrigued by thinking about big questions like “what is consciousness,” I don’t think I have accumulated enough expertise to have something useful to say. I had a friend who was a cognitive neuroscientist, and while I loved to hear her talk shop, I wasn’t able at that time to indulge my intellectual curiosity enough to be meaningful. As a result, my thinking about larger questions of consciousness is likely to be limited. One of the things you learn on Wall Street is to STFU when you don’t know something with an appropriate level of confidence for the discussion. That applies to me here.

          Ultimately, it would be very interesting, once the almost unanswerable question of “what is consciousness” can be pinned down a bit, to try to do a top-down derivation of Scientology principles and see what, if anything, Hubbard actually got right in his “research.” But I don’t think that waiting for a day when that’s possible should prevent thinking about slightly more pragmatic questions, like a cost/benefit analysis of auditing. One doesn’t need to have the perfect theoretical model to fit auditing into before one can assess whether it’s all that useful.

          That said, I’d welcome anything carefully researched and well written that tries to explore a subject related to Scientology, and would be happy to republish as a contribution with whatever level of attribution you would require. I am enough of a pro to be willing to publish something with respect that I might not agree with, if I thought the logic and research behind it were competent. I do that all the time at work…

          In particular, it might be fun to try to establish whether therapy assisted by some sort of diagnostic device (a future hypothetical headband-sized fMRI machine, perhaps) could be the actuality of what Hubbard fantasized about when he appropriated Volney Matheson’s e-meter device 60 years ago. Let me know if you’d be interested in taking a stab at that.

          • Freddie Hubbard


            Ultimately, it would be very interesting, once the almost unanswerable question of “what is consciousness” can be pinned down a bit, to try to do a top-down derivation of Scientology principles and see what, if anything, Hubbard actually got right in his “research.”

            I’m sure his ” research” was correct, but only from the viewpoint of hyperspace, relative to the space-time locus of pill-popping nights on his rust bucket in the Mediterranean.

            It seems to me the mind sings a certain song.

            The mind likes to see the whole as one.

            How did Hubbard focus that, like killing ants with a magnifying glass in the sunlight?

          • Freddie Hubbard

            “The mind like to see the whole as one”

            “Global Versus Local Processing – The distinction between global and local processing originates in cognitive psychology with the classic study by Navon (1977). In order to test the hypothesis that people tend to first look at the gestalt rather than at the details of a structure (i.e., the global precedence hypothesis)”

            “I should mention another striking feature of inspirational thought, namely its GLOBAL character … Moreover, I would maintain that a remarkable globality is already present in our conscious thinking generally.” Roger Penrose, “The Emperor’s New Mind.”

          • John P.

            It would be interesting to think about global versus local processing in reading, particularly in Western versus Asian ideographic writing systems. I’ve heard that there are significant differences in brain activity when reading the two languages, demonstrable in both one-language speakers and in those who are completely bilingual, reading the same words in translation. A book I glanced through at one point about this subject suggested that this drives many of the differences between Chinese/Japanese/Korean culture and the West. Any thoughts?

          • Freddie Hubbard

            Interesting stuff!

            “Any thoughts?”

            You ‘re the best!

            The first thing that came to mind was something I remember reading about women using both sides of the brain … ironically, sometimes I think of femininity as a sense of connectedness … so it shouldn’t surprise me that their brains are more connected than ours!

            “women processes verbal language simultaneously in the two sides (hemispheres) of the frontal brain, while men tend to process it in the left side only.

            Curiously, oriental people which use pictographic (or ideographic) written languages tend also to use both sides of the brain, regardless of gender. ”


            So, when Asian men read, they’re using their brains the same way women do. Does that mean they like chic-lit? 50 Shades of Wei?

            Also, children who grow up speaking a tonal language like Mandarin, who start music lessons by age 4 or 5, have a very good chance of developing perfect pitch!

            It’s amazing what a difference language can make.

            BTW, back in the seventies, I was a Scientologist and I liked Steely Dan.

            Back then, there was only one lyric that ever made me think of Scientology:

            “This is the day of the expanding man”

            I always got the feeling they were goofing on Scientology. And I have to admit, I felt a little ‘busted!’ The words seemed so right to me, but I knew they couldn’t be serious!

          • John P.

            I am not sure that any of the generally accepted Steely Dan lyric interpretations advanced by the rabid Steely Dan fan community have to do with Scientology. However, there’s a song on Pretzel Logic called “Barrytown.”

            Fagen & Becker went to Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, in Dutchess County NY. The village south of Annandale is called Barrytown. Shortly after they graduated, Sun Myung-Moon’s Unification Church opened a seminary on land in Barrytown. The lyrics don’t really come into any sort of specific focus until you understand this connection.

            It’s close but it’s not Scientology.

          • Freddie Hubbard

            I remember reading that Becker said they’re always being confronted by fans who are SURE they know what their lyrics mean.

            Isn’t Deacon Blues about being second best? Being the deacon, but never the priest?

            Really, I always thought it was about being an absolutely amazing musician, but that wasn’t enough, because someone else was so much more amazing it was like you never existed.

            When I got into scn, I noticed an increased (and expanded!) use of the word “expanding.”

            “Expanding across the dynamics.”

            “If you’re not expanding, you’re contracting!”

            You know, shit Scientologists say …

            So when I heard, “This is the day of the expanding man,” I thought it was about becoming the best that you can be. Maybe now I’d see it as an unattainable goal. Do you know if any other interpretations?

          • John P.

            Every good song by a good songwriter has some element of definitive interpretation but also some universally applicable elements. In “Barrytown,” above, when one has knowledge of Fagen & Becker’s history and what they heard about Barrytown (which was bought by the Moonies a couple years after they graduated, BTW) from friends, makes a more specific interpretation reasonable. At the higher level, even without the specific interpretation, it would seem to be about the normal human tendency to be suspicious of “the other” when someone is wearing/carrying markers of membership in a radically different “tribe.” Lots of merchants would be more suspicious of someone coming into their store dressed maximally “hip hop” than the same person coming in wearing Brooks Brothers.

            I am not aware of any definite interpretation of the specific line about “the expanding man” among the rabid Steely Dan crowd. I have always taken the song to be one of what I consider to be Fagen’s “landscape paintings,” where he describes something of a “still life” rather than describing a story with protagonist and action. I thus think of “Deacon Blues” as more in the vein of “Aja” or “Pretzel Logic” than one of the more “action oriented” songs like the story in “Cousin Dupree.” In that view, an individual line like “the expanding man” is relatively less important.

          • Freddie Hubbard

            I like to talk to you about Steely Dan because a lot of the time I learn something!

            I never played with Steely Dan, but I’ve met Tom Barney, and I used to play in a band with a bass player, Zev Katz, who did a session for Donald Fagan but it was never released.

            Also, there’s a (woodwind) musician I’ve met who recorded with Steely Dan who is an ex- Scientologist!

            This guy was ahead of his time.

            Back in the pre-Internet early-1980’s, he was an ex-Scientologist who did a lot of research into Scientology, and he was sharing that information to let people know what a scam it was.

            One of the things I like about Becker and Fagan is their quasi-religious respect for great musicians, and their love and respect for certain styles of music, like jazz and old soul.

            I remember Fagan talking about a certain level of musicianship which he described as a kind of “Sonny Rollins rhythmic integrity.”

            Is it reasonable to say they pay homage to the great music of the past?

            Here’s my point:

            I saw the The New York Soul Review with Fagan, and he sang “Drowning In A Sea Of Love.”

            I absolutely LOVE “Things I Miss the Most” … but at the same time, I hear “Drowning In a Sea Of Love!”

            Any thoughts?

            [btw, this is a covert continuation of my discussion of cognitive science, because comparing melodies is a NON-VERBAL way of thinking.

            And coincidentally remember Claire Headley’s description of the non-verbal nature of solo auditing, “Solo auditing is non-verbal. So you will ask yourself the questions as a non-verbalized conceptual thought.”

            That’s a direct line to the unconscious!

            Freud abandoned hypnosis. He preferred free association …

            But, with free association, he noticed transference, where the patient would direct certain feelings towards the therapist.

            In France, a psychiatrist testified that there was a powerful element of transference in Scientology.

            BTW, Hubbard said that a “clear ” thinks so fast that words just couldn’t keep up, forcing the ‘clear ‘ to think non-verbally …
            To me that sounds like another blow-harded rip-off of 1940’s philosopher Count Alfred Korzybski!
            Korzybski referred to non-verbal thought as “the silent level.”]

          • I have a mathematician friend whose boyfriend is Chinese, said boyfriend stated that the Chinese language is structured in such a way that it would’ve made it impossible for a Chinese Newton or Leibniz to invent the Calculus.

            When you look at all the inventions that the Chinese came up with, it seems very strange that they weren’t able to tie together how there are underlying physical laws governing how they all work.

            For example, Feng shui was originally begun from studying the best placement of crop trees on foothills and mountainsides so they would be least affected by the prevailing winds in a given area. If you look at Daoism, it’s a very complicated system of correspondences between the physical and spiritual world dating back to the 1st Century C. E. or even earlier.

            I have a particular interest in this area because my mothers’ side of the family had Chinese/Anglo-American ancestry on both sides, she had lost her ability to speak Chinese because of her time in a Japanese Army prison camp where Chinese was forbidden to be spoken, as well as coming to America a few years afterwards where English became her only language, although she could still understand some of it.

            I had a summer job working in a Chinese restaurant, and I observed that the woman who owned it would be talking in English to a friend of hers there, and then I’d leave to do a chore and come back 5 or 10 minutes later and she’d be talking to her friend in Chinese. Mom explained this by stating that there were some concepts that were easier to say in Chinese than in English, and vice versa.

            You see similar concepts that don’t map with Indo-European languages in other languages as well. My noble spouse was born and bred in the Philippines, and she speaks a language related to Malaysian, such that some words are identical, like “dua” for the number 2. In her language there are no exact equivalents for the abstractions of brother or sister. An older sibling is either “manong”, meaning older brother, or “manang”, meaning older sister. “Ading” is used for referring to a younger sibling, without identifying the sex of said sibling. You couldn’t translate the title of Chekovs’ play, “Three Sisters” literally in her language, you’d have to title it “Manang Olga, manang Masha, ading Irina.” This is probably related to the importance of birth order in family dynamics in Asian cultures.

            In Korean culture, it means that in cases of twin births, the sibling who is born first is considered the older of the twins, even if the birth order is a difference of hours or even minutes apart.

            One of my granduncles pointed out how different my mothers’ family was because my great-aunt who was older than grandma was the one who did the housework and served her and grandpa tea, even though in traditional Chinese culture it’s usually the duty of the younger sibling to serve and obey the older sibling if they’re in the same household.

            There is also a a neutral third-person pronoun instead of he/she him/her in my wifes’ language and it becomes noticeable when sometimes in English a Philipino will refer to a woman as “him” or a man as “her” while speaking English because of this. It makes a certain amount of sense anyway, because you usually know the sex of a person from their name anyway, so it doesn’t really need to be reinforced on the pronoun level.

      • Freddie Hubbard

        Of course I like Chagall.

        I don’t know much about him, but I like the colors … and I like how he portrays being in love.

        I think he was a good guy, the kind of man who’s happy because his woman is happy! Probably nothing made him happier …

        This painting makes me think of the old song, “Make Someone Happy”

        PS btw, self analysis is done without the e-meter. it’s just remembering things. you ideas about trials and tests are beautiful, but I’m thinking on a way more basic level than that.

        • Freddie Hubbard

          Of course I like Chagall.

          I don’t know much about him, but I like the colors … and I like how he portrays being in love.

          I think he was a good guy, the kind of man who’s happy because his woman is happy! Probably nothing made him happier …

          This painting makes me think of the old song, “Make Someone Happy”

          PS btw, self analysis is done without the e-meter. it’s just
          remembering things. your ideas about trials and tests are beautiful, but
          I’m thinking on a way more basic level than that.

  • Penny

    Thrilled about your new blog. My congratulations! As a former member of the cult with many wins and losses under by belt, I would just like to extend my appreciation for your informative and witty writing style. I did post a link first thing this morning announcing your new blog on my FB page and I am sure, many will do the same. After 42 years in and now 3.5 years out the decompression continues. Although I no longer consider myself a scientologist, there are certain aspects of what I learned and experienced, much of which was culled from other writers and philosophers, that has stayed with me. When time and energy, possibly I can describe the exhilaration of eliminating a negative persistent thought from one’s mind that is gone forever. I would compare it to catching a really great wave when surfing. You’d have to have been there. That was the only thing that kept me in when the water got rough and it got very rough the last few years as a public person. You are off to a great start!

  • aegerprimo

    VERY IMPRESSIVE John P. ! This and a roundup of ESMB & WWP posts would make this one-stop shopping of Scieno news. I’m a big fan of your take on anything Scieno!

    • John P.

      Thanks. I would love to get help with ESMB and WWP posts by people who spend a lot of time there. I will circle back and put you on the list of potential volunteers. Until we get big enough to formalize that, please feel free to e-mail me with anything particularly “must-see” from those sites and I’ll include them, even if I’m not promising people that I am totally on top of everything that gets posted there.

      • aegerprimo

        Might I suggest starting a thread at both places, asking for volunteers?
        Though I spend a bit of time at ESMB, I mostly browse stuff that interests me in between studying. I graduate at the end of Dec, and take my boards. Meanwhile If I do see something interesting, I will email you (bulleted list of links style).

  • Science Doc

    Page D7 of the LA Times today is a full page ad for Wright’s book. I love the cover art.