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The ‘Pizzagate’ conspiracy theory of 2016 claimed that Hillary Clinton and other high-ranking US Democratic Party officials were operating a child sex-trafficking ring from a popular pizzeria in Washington, DC. The conspiracy had migrated from internet message boards to the national news when a 28-year-old man wielding a rifle set out to investigate the claims for himself, and ended up firing three shots inside the restaurant before finding nothing suspicious and surrendering to the police. It’s easy to write off the gunman, and anyone else who came to believe ‘Pizzagate’, as gullible, disturbed and severely misguided. But as this short documentary from the UK filmmaker Charlie Lyne argues, the insidious way in which conspiracy theories plant seeds in the human brain is far more complex. In fact, it’s likely that you’ve fallen prey to one or two conspiracies yourself. Shrewd and darkly funny, Personal Truth has been a film festival favourite in 2018, screening at the Full Frame Documentary Festival, AFI Docs and Aspen Shortsfest, among others.
What is it like to clean the world for tomorrow while the rest of a city sleeps?
Philosophy of mind
Caring for the vulnerable opens gateways to our richest, deepest brain states
History of ideas
How did ‘personal responsibility’ evolve into its opposite, ‘everyone for themselves’?
The nearly forgotten origin myth of Hawaii’s third-gender healers, as told by one
A whirlwind tour of Hong Kong’s high-rises is an awesome meditation on urbanity
An artist grapples with the loss of his brother, and the problem of canine abduction
Sports and games
After a day’s toil in California’s fields, labourers let loose in street races
History of technology
Remarkable historical footage is locked behind paywalls. It’s time to set it free
Thinkers and theories
Bigger isn’t better – the renegade ‘Buddhist economics’ of E F Schumacher