Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Becoming a Scientologist

Crystalfrost Jones recalls how she became a Scientologist.

Comments Shed Light on Low Numbers

Some interesting comments from StumbleUpon about Jeff Jacobsen's article on Project Chanology which I commented back in Dec 17.

These comments I think explain much about why the numbers of protesters crumbled down. They align quite neatly with what I thought about it so far, namely, that more informed onlookers do not share the belief of anti-Scientologists that Scientology is that bad, and the fact that the original Anonymous feels its spirit has been sort of betrayed.

Most of the comments fall in reason 1 above, with reason 2 being an important part as well.

Indeed, at the time of writing, there are 25 comments made during the last 5 days. Seven of these could be said to fall in reason 1, and four to fall under reason 2. Four are comments about the photo, tl;dr, or are non-sensical, living the ten remaining comments to be split between neutral, positive, and negative.

Here are some representative excerpts:

Reason 1:
  • Scientology doesnt seem to be that big of a problem to me. It just appears to be about as bad as other religions. I really just wish these kids would channel this energy and creativity into better forms of protesting.
  • There are far more important/interesting things in the world that they could have focussed their attention on. Can't help feeling that this is just a bit of attention-seeking by a bunch of geeks whose only achievement was to take someone's advice and get out more.
  • Scientology is not worth your protesting.
  • (From one Andizzle314:) Anonymous has to be the most self-righteous bunch of assholes on the internet next to 9/11 conspiracy theorists. Grow some balls and take on a real religion that actually has influence on world matters.
  • Andizzle is right on the money.
  • They cannot be serious , and they are not funny either . Bunch of clueless spoiled teens , having no other stuff to do in their life (like work for money , protest some REAL issues , or just do anything creative/intelligent ) throwing overused memes on a sci-fi club . Some people decided to use their herd (sheep) mentality for their own purposes and this is how "project failology" was formed . Anonymous might seem like a good idea , but they are doing it wrong . I wont even say cancer , because 4chan = Myspace . Get over it , and find better chans to lurk .

  • Whatever... this is not my fight. Let them do what they want. It keeps em busy anyway.
Reason 2:
  • Fucking moralfags ruin everything.
  • Project Chronology, though it has roots in anonymous, is not anonymous. Someone wanted an army to combat Scientology, and they culled them through 4chan. It is an offshoot, they are "moralfags". Wearing V for Vendetta masks and rickrolling Scientology places does not make you anonymous. And while they are a diverged group from anonymous, I think that what they are going is pure win.
  • Epic win for Project Chanology, but I can't help but think that an anthropological examination of anything related to /b/ is a wasted venture.
  • i was there, the first day it started, the DDoS attacks that followed... then after a while the fags came in and ruined everything, there came millions of people who said "anonymous, the anti scientology group". wtf, that's not what anon is... this one is okay.. at least it's not a site about "anonymous" that's just about scientology.

Ten Million Members

Daniele Gounord, the spokeswoman for the CoS in France, has now made a blog entry about the result of Google's most researched terms for the "What is..." topic, about which I commented back in Dec 10. It's in French. Among others, she claims that :
La religion de Scientologie a été fondée par Ron Hubbard. La première église a été établie aux États-Unis en 1954. Depuis lors, le Scientologie s’est développée et compte plus de 7500 églises, missions et groupes et plus de 10 millions de membres dans 164 pays.
(More than 7,500 churches, missions, and groups, and more than 10 million members in 164 countries.)

Now the 10 million figure (growing from 8 million a while ago) is most probably an inflated one, but the 7,500 figure for the various type of Scientology organizations around the world should be something that could objectively be verified.

If true and if you count an average of 10 members by organization, that would make the total figure to 75,000. Let's be generous and say there really are 20 per organization on average, that would bring us to 150,000, which I think is a relatively fair representation. Make that 300,000 and you probably won't be far off from the truth.

Back in the 1970's, when I believe the number of people attending courses was higher than it is now, we indeed had maybe 20 to 40 persons regularly attending courses in the average-sized organization where I was staff. However, we did have a "central file" of more than 2,000 persons to whom we would mail promotional material from time to time. If now you multiply 7,500 by 2,000, of course you get a figure of 15 million.

The CoS probably takes its 10 million figure from something like the central file, but it really is not very representative. The central file is made of every person who ever gave their address to the CoS, either buying a book or even just taking the personality test. Their address would probably be pulled out from the file if they write back asking for it, but if they just throw the promotional literature they receive in the garbage, their address would still be there and counted among the 10 million.


Diskeeper Story Picked Up by The Register

The register now picked up the Diskeeper story, previously reported on Slashdot.

Check also the two interesting legal analysis by would-be lawyers Tikk and henri, taken from the Diskeeper discussion thread in ARS.

Take into account, though, that the two are prominent anti-Scientologists, justifying arbitrary bans on their supposedly "free speech" pet IRC channel which they share with Dave Touretzky, and thus make room for massive bias and misinterpretations.

Bye Bye Bush Shoes

An hilarious article at http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7796047.stm:
"The Syrians claim the shoes were made in Syria and the Turks say they made them. Some say he bought them in Egypt. But as far as I know, he bought them in Baghdad and they were made in Iraq, " the brother of shoe-throwing journalist Muntader al-Zaiditold the AFP news agency.
This does not prevents the Turkish firm, Istanbul-based Baydan Shoes, to be mostly recognized as the maker of the shoe, until then called "Model 271", but now renamed "Bush Shoe" or "Bye Bye Bush Shoes".

He is overwhelmed by orders and have had to hire 100 extra staff to face demands, including from the US (18,000 pairs) and Iraq (15,000), while a British distributor has asked to be the firm's exclusive European sales representative.

Related blog entries - R-Bushoe-