At the very southernmost tip of Illinois, the pancake flat cornfields give way to the rolling, forested hills of the Delta.

Here, at the windy confluence of the Mississippi and Ohio rivers, it feels more southern than Midwest when you arrive at the old river port and factory town of Cairo, once made famous in Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

But Twain might not recognize Cairo today. In the past three decades, his hometown lost half its population. Alexander County is not only the poorest county in Illinois; it’s also one of the fastest depopulating counties in the United States.

Tired Of Promises, A Struggling Small Town Wants Problems Solved

Photos by Kirk Siegler/NPR

One day I will sweep into power, crush all resistance, and depopulate the Earth as an unholy sacrifice to my patrons and masters, but until then I am just enjoying a crisp dill pickle

11 French expressions translated
  • A friend indeed in a friend in need. - C'est dans le besoin qu'on reconnaît ses vrais amis. (It’s in the need that you recognize your true friends.)
  • It never rains but it pours. - Un malheur n'arrive jamais seul. (A misfortune never comes alone.)
  • Don’t count your chicken before they’re hatched. - Ne vend pas la peau de l'ours avant de l'avoir tué. (Don’t sell the bear’s skin before killing it.)
  • It’s the last straw that breaks the camel’s back. - La goutte d'eau qui fait déborder le vase. (The drop that makes the vase overflow.)
  • The early bird catches the worm. - L'avenir appartient à ceux qui se lèvent tôt. (The future belongs to those who wake up early.)
  • It’s no use crying over spilt milk. - Ce qui est fait est fait. (What’s done is done.)
  • Practice makes perfect. - C'est en forgeant qu'on devient forgeron. (By forging you become a blacksmith.)
  • You shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. - L'habit ne fait pas le moine. (Clothes don’t make the monk.)
  • Still waters run deep. - Méfiez-vous de l'eau qui dort. (Wath out the water that sleep.)
  • Absence makes the heart grow fonder. - Un seul être vous manque et tout est dépeuplé. (You miss one person and everything is depopulated.)
  • You can’t have your cake and eat it. - On ne peut pas avoir le beurre et l'argent du beurre. (You can’t have butter and butter’s money.)
Lying about Vietnam: it was now a Washington way of life.  The lies started with the war’s ontological premise.  We were supposed to be defending a ‘country’ called “South Vietnam.’  But South Vietnam was not quite a country at all.  Vietnamese independence fighters had begun battling the French since practically the day they stopped fighting side by side in World War II.  In 1954 they fought their colonial overlords to a final defeat at the stronghold of Dien Bien Phu.  It was the first military loss for a European colonial power in three hundred years.  Though these stalwarts, the Vietminh, now controlled four-fifths of the country’s territory, at the peace conference in Geneva they made a concession: they agreed to administer an armistice area half that size, demarcated at the seventeenth parallel (but for some last-minute haggling, it would have been the eighteenth).  A government loyal to the French would administer the lands to the south.  The ad hoc demarcation was to last twenty-four months, at which time the winner of an internationally supervised election in 1956 would run the entire country.
Instead, the division lasted for nineteen years.  The reason was the United Sates, which saw to it the reunification election never took place.  American intelligence knew that Ho Chi Minh, the Communist leader of the independence fighters, would have won 80 percent of the vote.  The seventeenth parallel was read backward as an ordinary international boundary.  If 'North Vietnam’ crossed it, they’d be guilty of 'aggression.’  Meanwhile, the CIA launched a propaganda campaign to depopulate North Vietnam, whose sizable Catholic population was shipped to 'South Vietnam’ via the U.S. Seventh Fleet.  There, they found themselves part of a citizenry that had no reason for being in history, culture, or geography; even as the U.S. pretended- then came to believe- they were a brave, independence-loving nation of long standing.  Actually the great city in the South, Saigon, had been France’s imperial headquarters.  There, France had crowned a figurehead emperor at the tender age of twelve.  During World War II, Emperor Bao Dai had collaborated with Vichy France and the Japanese.  This was the man the South Vietnamese were supposed to venerate as the leader of their independent nation.
He was replaced by someone worse: a wily hustler named Ngo Dinh Diem.  In 1952, Diem engineered a presidential election between himself and the emperor, with the help of U.S. government advisers, and 'won’ 98.2 percent of the vote.  He then revived the guillotine as punishment for anyone 'infringing upon the security of the state.’  His favorite rebuff to an insult from a political opponent was 'Shoot him dead!’  His sister-in-law Madame Nhu, who served as his emissary abroad, told Americans the last thing her family was interested in was 'your crazy freedoms.’  This was the government to which the United States would now ask its citizens to pledge their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor.  Diem was not a Communist.  And that, said America, made him a democrat.
Ho Chi Minh had no special beef with the United States.  He liked to quote the Declaration of Independence; on the march to Hanoi during World War II, his forces called themselves the Viet-American Army; after the war, Ho sent telegrams to President Truman offering an independent Vietnam as 'a fertile field for American capital and enterprise.’  (Truman never answered.)  The French reconquered Vietnam with what was practically an American mercenary force: 78 percent of the French army’s funding came from the United States.  More hawkish Americans lobbied for direct intervention; Richard Nixon, after his visit in 1953, advised Eisenhower that two or three atomic bombs would do the trick.  Ho Chi Minh’s supporters in South Vietnam began their guerrilla war in 1960.  It led to a kind of Cold War nervous breakdown.  Falter in Vietnam, Lyndon Johnson claimed in 1964, and 'they may just chase you into your own kitchen.
—  Rick Perlstein, Nixonland, pgs 100-101
Smug, greedy, well-fed white people have invented a language to conceal their sins. It’s as simple as that. The CIA doesn’t kill anybody anymore, they neutralize people, or they depopulate the area. The government doesn’t lie, it engages in disinformation. The Pentagon actually measures nuclear radiation in something they call sunshine units. Israeli murderers are called commandos, Arab commandos are called terrorists. Contra killers are called freedom fighters. Well, if crime fighters fight crime, and firefighters fight fires, what do freedom fighters fight?
—  George Carlin

Are you eating humans? Study finds human DNA in burger meat all across the USA.

You know, if you give me an RPG with townsfolk that can be killed by the player, I WILL wipe at least one town off the map just for shits and giggles.

If the leveling system allows me to eventually outpace the in game law enforcement to an absurd degree, I WILL depopulate the entire country at the end of my playthrough.

Fallout: If you thought the Post-Apocalyptic Wasteland was barren before you’ll be surprised what further damage I can do to it.

Fable: I’m pretty certain I single-handedly crashed Fantasy-Britain’s economy by slaughtering all those responsible for agriculture and trade, then I overthrew the government.

Deus Ex: Well, Detroit doesn’t have traffic problems anymore.

Skyrim: You really thought Dragons were the threat to the world?


لفتا، بوابة القدس الغربية | Lifta, the western gate of Jerusalem

لفتا قرية فلسطينية محتلة عام 1948 تقع غرب وشمال غرب القدس ،على ارتفاع 700م عن سطح البحر. ويمر الطريق العام الممتد بين القدس ويافا جنوبي غربي القرية مباشرة, كما تربطها طرق ترابية بمجموعة من القرى المجاورة.

تعتبر لفتا من القرى الاولى التي اخلت العصابات الصهيونية المسلحة سكانها منها عام 1948، واسكن فيها اليهود الشرقين من بداية الخمسينات وحتى الاعوام الاولى من الستينات.

الصور: ما تبقى من لفتا. تصوير: عيسى غريّب


Lifta was a Palestinian Arab village on the outskirts of Jerusalem. The population was driven out during the Palestinian 1948 Nakba. The village, which is mainly intact, is located on a hillside between the western entrance to Jerusalem and the Romema neighbourhood.
Lifta is the last remaining Palestinian village that was depopulated to have not been either completely destroyed or re-inhabited.

Photos: Lifta, all that remains. Photography by Essa Grayeb


This is Escape from Innsmouth, by Kevin A. Ross, the culmination of the Lovecraft Country sourcebooks detailing fictional locales made famous in Lovecraft’s stories (the preceding volumes tackle Arkham, Dunwich and Kingsport). Each describes a town practically house by house – its residents of note, its landmarks, its secrets (and endless adventure hooks). Each captures the town’s unique atmosphere - Kingsport’s dreaminess, the isolated forelorness of Dunwich, the tension between the modern world and the superstitious past in Arkham. As great as those books are, none accomplish their goal as clearly as Escape from Innsmouth.

Based on Lovecrafts masterpiece “A Shadow Over Innsmouth,” this is a fishing town in decay, largely abandoned, with half its xenophobic residents actually half-human hybrids of the fish men – Deep Ones – that live beneath Devil’s Reef of the coast. The deal between the two groups was made generations ago through sorcery and lingers on as a curse of the blood.

Because the town is so depopulated, there’s room for a short two-part campaign that ranks among Call of Cthulhu’s very best. The first part takes place after Lovecraft’s story and partly reenacts it – investigators visit the town looking for a disappeared grocery clerk and wind up having to escape when the hybrids come for them at night. The second acts out the raid mentioned in Lovecraft’s story, where the federal government takes military action against the town and its Deep One allies. The raid has multiple objectives (with players shifting roles from their investigators to stock soldiers) that occur concurrently, with the action cutting cinematically back and forth. In terms of construction alone, it is a masterpiece.

The book’s art is fantastic as well, if subdued. Jason Eckhardt has a special talent for drawing gloomy, abandoned buildings. Those drawings provide much of the rich atmosphere for the first half of the book. Meanwhile, John T. Snyder’s line work creates evocative portraits and horrific action moments. It is one of Chaosium’s best looking books.

One final note – if the plot of the adventure sounds familiar, you probably played the Dark Corners of the Earth videogame, which draws heavily on this material and is one of the best horror videogames out there.

today at work the forty five year old homeschooling dad who says barack obama wasnt born in the US and that george soros is trying to depopulate the earth said if we get up to two hundred parts an hour on the assembly line we will get a raise and he was like you know what i mean? and i said i have no clue what you mean its actually the opposite wed be giving the boss a raise by making the same number of parts in fewer hours

Sparrows and Lollards: The Historical Parallel

A few weeks back I promised @poorquentyn that I’d write up that comparison between the English heretics known as Lollards, their connection with the Peasants’ Revolt of 1381, and the Sparrows of ASoIaF. It took a bit longer than I’d hoped, but as promised, and for your reading pleasure, the case for why the Lollards and the Peasants’ Revolt is the strongest parallel we’ve got here, and their similarities - theological and political.

I’d also like to thank @meddlingwithdragons for her assistance with this essay.

Keep reading