I don’t know about you, but I’m sitting here in “second Winter” which followed “fake Spring”. It means we’re almost to real Spring. I have some other serious fake things to share, but first, I want to recommend a video about a subject I’ve been following for decades.

What causes the Hum?

The “hum” is a worldwide phenomenon where people in certain geographical areas claim to hear a near constant low frequency hum or rumbling. The sound is worse inside and can keep people awake and make them ill. Mysterious hums are a very Fortean topic – “Fortean” being associated with the work of Charles Fort who collected accounts of events that bumped up against scientific views and were, therefore, ignored or rejected. The presence of an unidentified and seemingly untraceable hum has become news in the past decades, as some municipalities have taken citizen complaints seriously. The hums aren’t just in people’s minds, they have been measured and independently verified. The most famous hums were documented in Taos, New Mexico, Kokomo, Indiana and Bristol, England.

A recent video that chronicles the investigation and conclusions from a hum researcher, Benn Jordan, left me impressed and better informed. Jordan has recorded hums around the world and has made a valuable contribution to figuring out what people might be experiencing. I hope he publishes his work. However, these days, you get the word out more effectively to 2 million+ people (and counting) via a 32-minute YouTube video.

As with any so called “mysterious” phenomenon, Jordan concludes that there isn’t just one answer to what causes “the hum”. It’s clear that industrial noise is rampant these days and people may suffer from individual auditory or mental health issues. Jordan puts forward two more interesting ideas – ototoxicity from medication, and resonance noise generated by high pressure gas lines.

The rise in reports of the hum correlates with the rise in use of pain medications, which can cause damage to the inner ear as a side effect in some people. This ototoxicity effect is a known issue that usually goes away when the person stops taking the drug.

The hum also correlated with proximity to high pressure gas lines where movement of gas through pipes exposed to temperature changes can create sound. This sound can travel particularly well through certain types of bedrock. He presents his evidence for these reasonable conjectures that are worth considering.

The worldwide ‘hum’ phenomenon will never be totally solved but, as I saw with mystery booms, the modern checklist of items for officials to check when trying to fix the issue has become more useful.

Fakebook and Shrimp Jesus

I check Facebook maybe once or twice a week just to catch up with my limited connections and neighborhood news. I noticed my feed content was about 70% ads for “suggested groups” that I had no interest in. Because of data sharing across the internet, Facebook knows the things I usually like to view. Since Facebook wants to keep me on the site and clicking, I got a barrage of customized suggestions. They were mostly gardening stuff or science content, most of which showed a non-believable image for marketing. I’m “vaccinated” against fakery on the internet and highly immune to such garbage, but it is annoying and I can’t help but click sometimes, even when I know it’s not good for me. I eventually did figure out how to adjust my feed to limit these traps. For people who don’t notice this clickbait slide, they may also not have noticed all the AI content on Facebook. Some if it has gone off the edge.

A feature from 404 Media Co. on March 19, 2024 had something to say about Facebook’s craziness. It was titled “Facebook’s Shrimp Jesus, Explained”. No, I hadn’t had the pleasure of Shrimp Jesus in my feed because “Jesus” isn’t a word I typically type into search engines or emails. But for people who do (and that is a lot of people on Facebook), they might have been seeing a bizarre digital meme of the typically imagined face of Jesus horrifically meshed with shrimp parts.

The 404 Media piece by Jason Koehler tells us why Jesus in Crustacean form suddenly became so popular and that other uncanny images are flooding the app:

What is happening, simply, is that hundreds of AI-generated spam pages are posting dozens of times a day and are being rewarded by Facebook’s recommendation algorithm. Because AI-generated spam works, increasingly outlandish things are going viral and are then being recommended to the people who interact with them. Some of the pages which originally seemed to have no purpose other than to amass a large number of followers have since pivoted to driving traffic to webpages that are uniformly littered with ads and themselves are sometimes AI-generated, or to sites that are selling cheap products or outright scams. Some of the pages have also started buying Facebook ads featuring Jesus or telling people to like the page “If you Respect US Army.” 

In other words, people clicked on Shrimp Jesus and may have then interacted with bogus “pages” created with the sole intent of serving them ads. Don’t take the bait!

Screenshot of ad for “Love God…” page by a fake account featuring “art” of Shrimp Jesus. Yikes. If you click on stuff like this just to comment, maybe it’s time to reevaluate your life choices.

Most of the graphics for advertising content online these days is heavily edited to the point of being fiction or AI generated entirely. The food isn’t real, the celebrity pics aren’t real, not even the pretty flowers, landscapes or cute animals are real. This is obvious; I sure wish everyone would recognize this and remember it when they are scrolling.

Facebook is LOADED with garbage (which is why I limit my use and really wish it would implode and die). But there is no reasonable alternative to it and, for many, it still is a necessary app. It makes me sad to see many people falling for ads for cheap or bogus products, reposting nonsense warnings that amount to modern chain letters, and wasting their time commenting on worthless pages or groups. There are better things to do.

$10 billion in fraud

In a related, disturbing trend, the US Federal Trade Commission reported that Americans lost more than $10 billion to fraud in 2023. That’s likely an underestimate because many people won’t admit they were victims that fell for scams.

The top scams are related to investments and imposter schemes, where digital tools and transactions make it easier to target the vulnerable and execute bad deals. Online shopping was regularly cited in complaints to the FTC. Scammers also use emotional hot button topics to get people to fork over cash – romance, immigration, and finances. Even those who think they are immune fall for them.

Often, older adults fall for online scams because they don’t realize how easy it is to spoof identity or credentials. According to the researchers, the AI content (such as voice cloning) is now fooling even younger people who grew up online. People in their 20s, however, are more likely to report scams even if they didn’t lose a lot of money.

The online world is fraught with peril. Be careful out there. Click with care. And maybe entirely avoid all creepy Jesus memes.

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