Déjà vu Is a Neurological Phenomenon Scientists Claim.


Have you ever experienced déjà vu? If so, you are among the 60-70% of the population who has. The majority of those who report déjà vu are between the ages 15 and 25. I’m a complete rationalist who believes that every phenomenon, no matter how strange or supernatural it appears, has a scientific reason behind it. Even so, I’ve met several people and walked into a few situations where, though I had never been there before or met the person before, I suddenly felt awash in a bizarre familiarity. This transcendental sensation can shake beliefs such as mine right to their very core.

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But I wasn’t ready to denounce science yet. And I’m glad. Because it turns out, there is a rational explanation. Though some radical notions have in the past been connected to this strange feeling, such as déjà vu being a momentarily aligning with a past life or another you in a parallel universe, or as my editor suggests—a glitch in the matrix, scientists now believe it has a neurological basis.

Unfortunately, the feeling is here one minute and gone the next, making it difficult to study. Even so, there are quite a few theories on what causes it. One traditional hypothesis, posited by psychiatrists, is mismatched brain signals. For a second it feels as though we are transported to a moment in the past and we mistake it for the present. This may be why it’s been associated with the idea of reincarnation.

Another theory is that déjà vu is our brain trying to piece together a situation on limited information. A third states that it is a misfiring in the parts of the brain that recall memory and decipher sensory input. Sensory information, rather than taking the proper channels, leaks out of the short-term memory and into the long-term one. In this way, current experiences seem to be connected to the past. Some studies even suggest that familiar geometric shapes give us a sense of knowing something about a place that is, in reality, totally unfamiliar to us.

Instead of a glitch in the matrix, déjà vu may just be a glitch in our memory.  

Since we are completely aware of everything that’s going on when we experience déjà vu, this suggests that every part of the brain need not participate for the sensation to take place. Psychologist Anne M. Cleary at Colorado State University, in a study in 2008, found that déjà vu followed patterns we associate with memory, specifically recognition memory. This is the kind that gets us to understand that we are confronting something that we’ve seen or experienced before. If you’ve ever recognized a landmark, a friend from across the room, or a song on the stereo, you’ve experienced recognition memory.

Familiarity-based recognition is associated with it. Here, we have that feeling of familiarity, but we can’t quite place where we’ve seen this person, place, or thing. For instance, you recognize someone across the street, but can’t remember their name or where you know them from. Prof. Cleary conducted several studies which found that déjà vu is a form of familiarity-based recognition. Her work suggests that our memory stores items in fragments. When there is a certain overlap between old and new experiences, we have strong feelings about the connection, which we interpret as déjà vu.

Recent studies looking at epileptic patients made impressive breakthroughs in our understanding of the phenomenon. Epileptics with certain intractable conditions require electrodes to be placed inside their brains in order to locate the source of their seizures. During this procedure, some neurologists have had patients experience déjà vu. They soon discovered that the phenomenon takes place in the medial temporal lobe, which is responsible for memory. The electrodes are usually placed within the rhinal cortex—the most important piece of which is the hippocampus, the structure responsible for long-term memory formation. French scientists have found that firing current into this cortex can trigger an episode of déjà vu.

Location of the amygdala and the hippocampus. 

The French study, published in the journal Clinical Neurophysiology,measured EEG wave patterns from patients with epilepsy who experienced déjà vu through electrical stimulation. The areas of the brain they examined included the amygdala, which is responsible for emotion and the hippocampus. Researchers found that electrical patterns, emanating from rhinal cortices and the amygdala or the hippocampus, caused déjà vu to occur. These neuroscientists believe that some sort of electrical phenomenon in the medial temporal lobe activates the memory in such a way that it causes déjà vu to occur.

Stranger still, scientists in the UK have actually found patients who experience “chronic déjà vu.” In this case, experts identified four senior citizens who encounter the feeling on a consistent basis. What is the impact of such a phenomenon? It made them feel as if they were clairvoyant. All four refused to go to the doctor, believing they already knew what the physician would say, and avoided watching the news, thinking they already knew the outcome. That’s because each time they took part in either activity that was the result they came to.

Each individual experienced some type of problem with the temporal lobe of their brain. The circuits in that area were in a sense stuck in the “on” position. It just goes to show that when we don’t know the reason for a phenomenon or sensation, our mind assigns a meaning to it. But that isn’t necessarily the correct one. And even though knowing the neurological basis of déjà vu may evaporate the supernatural awe surrounding it, understanding the phenomenon better puts a scientific mind, like mine, at ease.

source:http://bigthink.com

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‘The Matrix’ Reboot in the Works at Warner Bros


The 1999 sci-fi movie is coming back.
More Matrix? Bet on it.It’s still not clear what shape the project will take, but sources tell The Hollywood Reporter that Warner Bros. is in the early stages of developing a relaunch of The Matrix, the iconic 1999 sci-fi movie that is considered one of the most original films in cinematic history, with Zak Penn in talks to write a treatment.Sources say there is potential interest in Michael B. Jordan to star, but much must be done before the project is ready to go.

At this point, the Wachowski siblings, who wrote and directed the original and its two sequels, are not involved and the nature of their potential engagement with a new version has not been determined. Certainly, Warners would want the two filmmakers to give at minimum a blessing to the nascent project. The studio had no comment.

Joel Silver, who produced the original trilogy, is said to have approached Warners about the idea of mining The Matrix for a potential new film. However, Silver sold his interest in all his movies to the studio in 2012 for about $30 million, according to sources. Warners is said to be leery of including him in any meaningful role, as he not only has a reputation for budget-control issues, but apparently has a strained relationship with the Wachowskis. The siblings hold much more meaning for fans than the producer. Silver’s reps did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Written and directed by the Wachowskis, the original movie sees humanity living in a simulated reality, unaware that humans are in pods in which their bodies are being harvested for energy. A computer programmer named Neo (Keanu Reeves) slowly becomes aware of this suppressed existence, eventually becoming humanity’s one true hope (Neo = One) to overthrow the oppressors. The pic also starred Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss and Hugo Weaving.

The Matrix was released in a quiet period of the 1999 release calendar — March 31 — and Warner Bros. didn’t have outsized expectations for an action movie with obvious Manga and comic-book influences. But the story and ground-breaking special effects (including the slow-motion “bullet time” effect, which launched dozens of imitators in the years that followed) became the highest grossing R-rated film of 1999 in North America, and the fourth-highest grossing film of the year worldwide. It also won four Academy Awards.

Two sequels, Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions, were not as well received, but Reeves’ deal for those films made him one of the richest actors in Hollywood.

While promoting John Wick: Chapter 2, Reeves said he would be open to returning for another installment of the franchise if the Wachowskis were involved. “They would have to write it and direct it. And then we’d see what the story is, but yeah, I dunno, that’d be weird, but why not?” he told Yahoo Movies. However, it is likely that Warners will look elsewhere to attract an A-list director and star.

While some at Warners consider the title among the studio’s sacrosanct properties, such as Casablanca, others see a need to redevelop it in an environment where studios are desperately looking for ways to monetize their libraries and branded IP is hard to come by.

The idea of adapting The Matrix as a television series was nixed in recent months. But Warner Bros. sees a model in what Disney and Lucasfilm have done with Star Wars, exploring the hidden corners of the universe with movies such as Rogue One: A Star Wars Story or the in-production young Han Solo film. Perhaps a young Morpheus movie could come out of the exploration, as an example.

Penn is a writer with deep roots in the geeky genres in which Matrix travels. He created the Syfy network’s super-powered show Alphas and has been involved in comic book movies ranging from the X-Men franchise to The Avengers.

Glitch In The Matrix? Many People Claim to Have Seen a Movie That Never Existed


This is one of the strangest internet stories you will likely ever read: There are people on Reddit and Twitter attempting to find a movie called Shazaam which starred actor and comedian Sinbad as a friendly genie. According to those who claim to have seen this movie, it came out before Shaq’s critically panned comedy called Kazaam, and was a relatively enjoyable ‘90s comedy.

The only problem is, there is no record of such a movie ever existing, and Sinbad himself says he never acted in it or even heard of it before random people on the internet started asking him about it.

The magazine NewStatesman has just published a fascinating investigative article about the conspiracy, and some theories as to why so many people have vivid memories of watching a movie that there is no evidence has ever existed. Literally, there are no records of the movie ever being made—no photos, no old VHS tapes, nothing. That’s despite cash rewards from people eager to prove it is real.

Some people believe the group is falling victim to “the social contagion of memory”—essentially, all of the talk about the movie is creating realistic false memories in people’s minds. Some people believe the movie was “disappeared” because Sinbad himself hated it. Some people believe it is an example of the “Mandela Effect,” which essentially states that multiple realities have existed, and splintered versions sometimes converge (in this case, in one reality Shazaam was real).

Either way, it is really, really strange.

16 Signs That You’re A Slave To The Matrix


Today’s world is a strange place. We are inundated with signals from early on in life, encouraging each of us to walk a particular path, establishing blinders on us along the way to discourage us from looking for alternatives to what the herd is doing or thinking. Life is so complex that overtime, if we are paying attention, we realize that there are an infinite number of possibilities to what the human experience could be, and we come see that the world is on fire because individuals all too infrequently question why things are the way they are, failing to notice that their mindset or behavior needs adjustment in favor of more intelligent, common sensical, or sustainable patterns of existence.

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Not meant to be overtly critical of anyone’s lifestyle choices or personal situation, the following 16 signs that you’re a slave to the matrix are meant purely as an observational approach to helping you identify the areas of your life where you may be missing an opportunity to liberate yourself from someone else’s self-destructive design for your life.

Read on, and please take a moment to comment below with anything you’d like to add to the list or object to.

1. You pay taxes to people you’d like to see locked up in jail. This is perhaps the biggest indicator that we are slaves to the matrix. The traditional notion of slavery conjures up images of people in shackles forced to work on plantations to support rich plantation owners. The modern day version of this is forced taxation, where our incomes are automatically docked before we ever see the money, regardless of whether or not we approve of how the money is spent.

2. You go to the doctor, but you’re still sick. Modern medical care, for all of it’s scientific progress, has sadly become sick care, where we are rarely advised to eat well and tend to our mental and physical health, but instead are routinely advised to consume expensive medications and procedures that are pushed by the for-profit healthcare matrix.

3. You’ve picked Team Democrat or Team Republican and argue with your friends, family and co-workers about politics. This is what the control strategy of divide and conquer looks like in our society. Both of the major parties are corrupt through and through, and independent candidates are not even allowed to participate in public debates. By believing in one of these parties and burning your personal energy on arguing with other ordinary people you are turning over your soul the matrix, and doing your share in making sure that ‘we the people’ will never be united against corruption.

4. You work hard doing something you hate to earn fiat dollars. Work is important and money does pay the bills, however, so many people lose the best years of their lives doing things they hate, just for money. The truth about money today is that we do not have money, but instead, inflationary fiat currency that is privately owned and manipulated. Since it is still necessary to get by in this world, it is best that you get more value for your time by doing something you enjoy or by working with people you do not despise. It is easier than you may think to live on less money than we believe we need, we just have to be willing to go against the grain realize this.

5. You’re willing to accrue personal debt to fund the acquisition of a consumer oriented lifestyle. Each time a credit card is swiped it creates digits on the balance sheets of the banks that are most involved with the financial looting of the world today. These digits are then multiplied electronically by the fractional reserve system, which exponentially increases the power of these institutions. To participate in this, and by agreeing to pay this fake money back with interest, in order to maintain a certain lifestyle, is a strong indication that you are bound by one of the main tenets of the matrix –consumerism.

6. You converse with real people about the ongoing happenings of TV shows. TV is the most potent tool used for mind control, and the ‘programming’ that is available, while certainly cool, fun, or entertaining is geared to reinforce certain behaviors amongst the masses. Dramatizing the ego’s importance, over sexualizing everything, glorifying violence, and teaching submissiveness to phony authority are the main features of modern TV. By taking what is happening onscreen and making it a part of your real life, you are doing your job of supporting the matrix’s desire to confuse us about the nature of reality, proving that something doesn’t have to actually happen in order for it to feel real to people.

7. You don’t have anything to hide from total surveillance. If it does not bother you that someone, somewhere, working for somebody is watching you, listening to your conversations, and monitoring your movements, then, you are a good slave to the matrix. Invisible surveillance is an insidious form of thought control, and by using the logic of, ‘I have nothing to hide, therefore, it will do me no harm to be surveilled,’ then you are mindlessly admitting that you have an earthly master and are not of sovereign mind and body.

8. You think the world would be safer if only governments had guns. This is a violent world, and criminals engage in criminality against honest people at every level of society, including from within the government. Sure, in a perfect world, weapons wouldn’t be necessary for anyone but, sadly, our world is anything but perfect, and firearms are indeed a very effective form of protection against common criminals and abusive governments alike. The willingness to forego your right to self-defense is a sign that you’ve relegated personal responsibility to someone else. Having the masses abdicate personal responsibility is one of the most important aspects of controlling them. Welcome to the matrix.

9. You knowingly drink fluoridated water. Of all the health debates taking place today, the topic of fluoridated water is the easiest to understand, for it is a toxic by-product of an industrial process… poison. Water is supposedly fluoridated to aid in dental health, which is debatable in itself, but if this were so, then the involuntary fluoridation of public water is a medication without your consent… a form of slavery. Knowing this and continuing to drink fluoridated water is a sign that you’re content with your slavery to the matrix. Here are 18 scientifically validated reasons to end public water fluoridation.

10. You knowingly consume toxic poisons like MSG and Aspartame. These two chemicals are widely known to be toxic to the human body. Knowing this and continuing to poison yourself with tasty, but chemical-laden processed foods is a sign that the matrix has programmed you to place less value on your health and future than on your immediate gratification.

11. You depend on the pharmaceutical industrial complex for the management of your own mental health. The use of psychotropic medicines is rising rapidly in our society because people have been convinced that mental and emotional states can be classified as diseases, while the truth about natural mental health has been obfuscated by corporate media and a for-profit medical establishment. If you’re taking psychotropic medications, then you are under one of the most potent forms of mind control available. Part of this control is to convince you that you have no authority over your own mind. This is perhaps the matrix’s most terrible lie, and by willingly taking these psychotropic medications you are conforming to the worst kind of slavery, and inhibiting your natural mental and emotional responses to the life stressors that are signaling to you that you need to change your behavior and habits.

12. You haven’t yet stopped watching your local and national news programming. The mainstream news media is a tool of control and manipulation, and by continuing to support their ideas and world views by giving them your attention you are volunteering to be a slave to this not-so-subtle form of mental programming. Even the local news is scripted at the national level by agents of the handful of corporations tasked with shaping our opinions of events.

13. You’re more concerned with televised sports or other mindless distractions than you are with the quality of your natural environment. The Deepwater HorizonAlberta Tar Sands, the rise of Fracking, the sacrifice of the Amazon, and Fukushima are all life-changing events that will severely impact our future on planet earth. To be unconcerned with all of this while tuning into a never-ending stream of sports trivia and distraction-based living is a sign that your sense of self-preservation has been stolen and replaced with an impulsive tendency for triviality and escapism.

14. You’re skeptical of any area of life that hasn’t been ‘proven’ or validated by modern science. The very essence of science is the inquiry into the unknown, implying that until science can grasp something, it is unexplainable. By discrediting or ridiculing experiences that other people have, which yet evade scientific understanding, like near-death experiences, acupuncture, or the life changing effects of Ayahuasca, then you are slavishly reducing your understanding of the world to a narrow range of possibilities. The matrix is made possible by the efforts of volunteer gatekeepers who are unwilling to think outside of the box.

15. You’ve never questioned the popularized version of ancient history and the origins of our civilization. There are many unanswered questions about the origins of the human race that point to a different version of human history than what is taught in school. Read 2o history questions they refuse to answer in school to discover some of the many ways in which our history has been hijacked. By never questioning what we’ve been told about our origin we are acquiescing to many of the imposed belief systems and narrow-banded views of human potential that the matrix promotes.

16. You haven’t yet realized that you are a spiritual being living a human experience. 

If you can relate to any of the items on this list, then the matrix has you, and it is now your duty to engage more deeply in your liberation.

Bank of America analysts think there’s a 50 per cent chance we live in The Matrix.


Report cites SpaceX founder Elon Musk and Oxford philosophy professor Nick Bostrom.

Analysts at Bank of America have reportedly suggested there is a 20 to 50 per cent chance our world is a Matrix-style virtual reality and everything we experience is just a simulation.

The report, which was issued to clients, also implies even if our world was an illusion, we would never know about it.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch backed up the claims by citing comments from leading philosophers, scientists and other thinkers.

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“It is conceivable that with advancements in artificial intelligence, virtual reality, and computing power, members of future civilizations could have decided to run a simulation of their ancestors,” the report stated.

The analysts took inspiration from inventor and SpaceX founder Elon Musk, who believes there is a high probability the world is part of an artificial intelligence created by a future civilisation.

Elon Musk – The chance that we are not living in a computer simulation is ‘one in billions’

Its claims also appeal to the work of a philosophy professor from the University of Oxford. In 2003, Professor Nick Bostrom concluded there is significant possibility we “live in a simulation”.

Astrophysicist Neil DeGrasse Tyson also maintains the likelihood of the universe being a simulation “may be very high”.

Philosophers dating back to the 16th century, notably René Descartes, have suggested we cannot rely on our sense experiences to perceive the world.

The Bank of America’s report, which was looking at the implications of virtual reality, explained: “Many scientists, philosophers, and business leaders believe that there is a 20-50 per cent probability that humans are already living in a computer-simulated virtual world.

“In April 2016, researchers gathered at the American Museum of Natural History to debate this notion. The argument is that we are already approaching photorealistic 3D simulations that millions of people can simultaneously participate in.”

In the 1999 film The Matrix, humans live in a simulated reality created by machines to control the human population.

All Eyes Are On the Control Matrix


No matter if you’re asleep at the wheel of life or have awoken to not just the consciousness of reality, but also the corporatocracythat has hijacked our world, most of us are paying attention to our shrinking wallets, as well as the political circus. The system is in the limelight, but not how the power structure would like it to be.

All Eyes Are On the Control Matrix

The social engineering agenda of dumbing the masses into good little minions of the system has been highly successful, however too many people are now suffering and looking for answers why. Sometimes it feels that the alternative media gives them too much credit too, because it’s also been highly successful at exposing itself and therefore waking up people to their enslavement, as well as the lies, deception, toxicity and control matrix itself.

In response, grass roots truth and sovereignty movements are budding all over the earth in a decentralised and impenetrable way. People are organising all across the planet to peacefully resist the enroachment on our freedoms and build healthy and progressive alternatives to a profit-before-morality model which has infiltrated our economic, political, medicinal, entrepreneurial and philosophical spheres.

Money has talked, but the real people have started to walk.

In addition, those who lie in the middle of the lie are curious about all the noise happening in both the alternative and matrix-media, so their concentration has been captured too. Simply, most eyes are focused on the money, and the political arena.

And haven’t the existing order embarrassed themselves. Their propaganda narratives have been indisputably exposed and are therefore falling apart before our collective eyes. Ask any average joe on the street and they will tell you that they’re not being represented, or cared for, by the corporate and political elite.

This great shame is the beginning of the end to their game.

The type of attention that is generating from an increasingly unsettled populace is unwanted by the powers-that-will-no-longer-be. They’re fumbling as a result. They’re making mistake after mistake. They’ve also shown conclusively that they’re not as powerful as they would like us to think; even with all the control they have over the money and the information, they have not been able to stop the paradigmatic shifts in our collective consciousness.

They had no chance anyway when an energetic expansion has been working against them.

Their time is nigh but make no mistake, they won’t go down without a fight. After all, this shadow order still controls the system at its core. It’s an absolute embarrassment that we’ve allowed it to get this far, but we can find solace in the fact that it’s all part of the process, it’s all part of the spiritual experience that we designed ourselves in.

The energetic shift which is guiding the emancipation of humanity creates an internal conflict in anyone who ‘chooses’ to stay ignorant of the way the world really works, which surfaces as either a subconscious or conscious search for alternative answers. Whether we’re aware of it or not, we’re all looking for new ways of being, which is why all eyes are on the control-system by default.

If the hidden hand had its way, it would just continue with the same old story of a left/right illusion where the people actually feel like they’ve got a genuine choice in the affairs of their future. The political system should no doubt be capitalised on to educate society and facilitate the actual change we need, but depending on the old duopoly will always end fruitlessly.

This is why the Thump vs Hitlery vs Flanders theatre has actually been a good thing for America, and the rest of the world, because its illustrated clearly how money, not morality and intelligence, is what controls who is in power and what decisions they make.

All Eyes Are On the Control Matrix - FB

Of course there are still those who fall for the left/right deception, but too many of us now know – regardless of how little of the big picture we understand – that a choice for either side is still a choice for the status quo. And nobody who understands the gravity of this mess wants to continue to line the pockets of the so-called elite and transnational bodies at not just our expense, but our future generations, and our natural systems too.

Inspiringly though, there are many serious issues and concerns which are strongly garnering not just the attention, but the response of the people. The hibernating inner activist has been shocked into action for more and more individuals.

Examples include this political sell-out, an impending fiat-debt implosion, our environmental degradation, a dying middle class, increasing health issues, big money tax evasion, widespread socioeconomic disadvantage, Middle East tensions, societal unrest and the drugging of our society by the pharma monopolies, to name but a few.

Even the most highly indoctrinated can somewhat see the plethora of issues we face.

All this chaos, however, really is about creating order. A new order. The control grid is of course designed to create a ‘New World Order’ and who knows, they might be successful. But if so, it will only be for a short while. That’s because waves ofhigher consciousness are sweeping through a tsunami of truths that will inevitably crash onto the shore of our system. The tide has already turned; eventually, the new order will be one of truth, equality, abundance and freedom.

Ultimately, one day we’ll all look back at our current state of affairs and see it for what it is; a matrix of control that enslaved us not just materially, but spiritually as well. As an individual we have the responsibility for our own emancipation too, yet we mustn’t forget that we should also dutifully represent it to our fellow man.

Joe Rogan and NASA Physicist: “We’re Living in the Matrix”


Joe Rogan and NASA Physicist Tom Campbell discuss the nature of reality. They explore the simulation theory of existence as well as the importance of creating goals for yourself, making a mental place holder for yourself in the future.

They most importantly touch on the capabilities of the emotion of love and how using love as our method of interacting with others, we can achieve connectivity and spiritual growth where as fear of others leads to loneliness and selfishness.

Information is at the core of our existence.

Watch the video. URL:https://youtu.be/MOBT-TVAhM4

 

Computer programming: Why we should all learn to hack.


Owning a computer once went hand in hand with understanding exactly how it worked. That may have changed but Tom Chatfield says it’s time to reclaim the past.

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There is an old joke amongst computer programmers: “There are only 10 types of people in the world: those who understand binary, and those who don’t.”

Not funny to everyone, but it makes a neat point. We now live in a world divided between those who understand the inner workings of our computer-centric society and those who don’t. This is not something that happened overnight, but it is something that has profound consequences for our future.

Rewind to computing’s earliest decades and being a “hacker” was a term of praise rather than disgrace. It meant you were someone who could literally hack code down to size and get it to do new things – or stop it from doing old things wrong. You were someone who could see through the system and, perhaps, engineer something better, bolder and smarter.

In the early 1970s, Steve Jobs and his co-founder at Apple, Steve Wozniak, worked out how to “hack” the American phone system by using high-pitched tones, so that they could make prank calls to people such as the Pope (he was asleep at the time). It was a mild kind of mischief by modern standards – and a sign of a time in which the once-impenetrable realms of mainframe computers and institutional communications systems were beginning to be opened up by brilliant amateurs.

As you might expect, the phone system has become considerably harder to hack since the 1970s, and the divide between those who use computers and those who program them has also widened as the software and machines have become more complex. Having started out as outposts of do-it-yourself home computing, companies like Apple have become pioneers of seamless user experience, creating apps and interfaces that don’t even demand anything as technical as the use of a keyboard or mouse, let alone insights into the inner workings of the technology involved.

Year of code

This relentless drive towards technology that blends seamlessly into our lives leaves us in an increasingly bifurcated world. Information technology is a trillion-dollar global industry, with legions of skilled workers creating its products. Outside of their ranks, however, the average user’s ability to understand and adapt the tools they are using has steadily declined. It is a situation that is unlikely to change overnight – but there are movements aimed at bridging this gap.

In the coming weeks, a UK foundation will launch the Raspberry Pi – a £16 “computer” aimed largely at schoolchildren. Unlike your tablet or laptop, however, this computer is not a glossy, finished piece of kit, and deliberately so. The credit card-sized, bare bones circuit board is more akin to the early DIY machines that the likes of Jobs and Wozniak created and played with in the earliest days of computing. It demands to be tinkered with or “hacked” – and that is the whole point. It encourages people to better understand the hardware at their fingertips.

Across the Atlantic, meanwhile, a young organisation called Code Academy has made the increasing of people’s understanding of the code that runs on their machines into its mission. With over half a million users registering just during its first month of operation in 2011, Code Academyis a rapidly-expanding service aimed at imparting the basics of coding to anyone wishing to learn, free of charge. Its initial focus is the web language JavaScript, and it is inviting users to make 2012 their “code year” by sending out emailed prompts to complete one interactive coding lesson every Monday.

In professional terms, it’s easy to see why knowing how to put together a program is a valuable skill: more and more jobs require some technical know-how, and the most skilled students have glittering prospects ahead of them. But with only a fraction of those signing up for free lessons ever likely to reach even a semi-professional level of skill, are movements like Code Academy able to offer more than good intentions?

The answer, I believe, is a resounding yes. Because learning about coding doesn’t just mean being able to make or fix a particular program; it also means learning how to think about the world in a certain way – as a series of problems ripe for reasoned, systematic solution. And while expertise and fluency may be hard-won commodities, simply learning to think like someone coding a solution to a problem can mean realising how the reasoned, systematic approaches someone else took might not be perfect – or, perhaps, neither reasonable nor systematic at all.

‘No magical safeguards’

Like Neo’s moment of revelation in the first Matrix movie, learning to picture the code behind the digital services you are using means realising that what you are looking at is not an immutable part of the universe; it is simply a conditional, contingent something cooked up by other human coders. And this is the divide that matters more than any other between coding insiders and outsiders: realising that the system you are using is only a system; that it can be changed and criticised; and that, even if you do not personally have the skills to rip it apart and report on the results, someone else probably does and already has done.

This last point – the ability to benefit from others’ expertise, and to know how to begin searching it out – is an especially important one. From cynical corporations to shadowy spam-mailers, there are plenty of people who would like nothing more than a digital citizenship ill-equipped to ask what lies beneath the surface. Thinking differently does not demand coding mastery. It simply requires recognition that even the most elegant digital service has its limitations and encoded human biases – and that it is possible for more troubling cargoes to be encoded, too.

In 2010, for example, an FBI investigation revealed that one suburban Philadelphia school district had included malicious software on laptopsgiven out to pupils that allowed the computers to be used for covert surveillance via their cameras and network connections. The software in question would have been undetectable to all but the most devotedly expert of investigators. Since the case emerged, however, the widespread documentation and discussion it provoked has left those alert to such possibilities far better prepared to defend against them in future.

Code Academy and its ilk have no magical safeguards to offer or instant paths to understanding. For many people, though, signing up will be a first step towards asking a better class of question about their online world – and searching a little longer and harder for better answers within it.

And in case you are still wondering – 10 is the binary for two.

Source:BBC