This Week in the New Normal #86

Our successor to This Week in the Guardian, This Week in the New Normal is our weekly chart of the progress of autocracy, authoritarianism and economic restructuring around the world.

1. Neuralink “Telepathy”

Elon Musk’s Neuralink AI company released a video this week of their first patient playing chess on a computer using an implant in his brain.

Livestreaming on X, quadriplegic Noland Arbaugh compared his new ability to move a mouse cursor by “imagining it moving” as “like using the force”.

But the question of functionality was never the concern with such technology, doubtless it has applications for amputees or paraplegics. The question is what other applications do brain implants have, and are we ready for them?

For example, what implications does a neural implant connected to the outside world have for privacy? Could implants be used to block or limit certain behaviours? Are they vulnerable to “hacking” or could they be given kill switches like modern cars?

What does all of that mean for being human?

For much of the past century, our technology has expanded faster than our ability to understand it – reach exceeding grasp – and this is yet another example. We live in interesting times.

2. Kate Has Cancer?

Kate Middleton emerged from months of hiding this week to announce she has cancer, putting an end to increasingly complex speculation about her whereabouts…briefly.

In the short video, the Duchess claims to have been diagnosed with cancer and started chemotherapy. If true, that would make her the third member of the royal family to get cancer this year.

The video hasn’t silenced all the speculation about her well-being or whereabouts either, as it does very little to explain the total silence, doctored photos or other weirdnesses. Some doubters have even suggested the video might be a deep fake.

What’s the point of this story? Why are the royals getting sick and dropping dead? Is it about phasing them out, or something else?

Since Kate is only a relatively minor part of a centuries-old blood-sucking machine, does it matter at all? Is this story in the slightest bit important? Does it signify reality or is it just manufactured drama? Would they be acting so strangely if something really odd was happening? Or are they acting strangely to create the impression something odd is happening?

Who can tell?

Certainly, it’s getting more media attention than the roll-out of digital currency.

3. British Free Speech is Dead

Last weekend, Manchester United beat Liverpool in the quarter-final of the FA Cup. As you’d expect in a tense knock-out game between two storied rivals, the fans got over-excited.

One man – Michael Bernard Avery – was caught on video making gestures that seemed to be making fun of the Hillsborough disaster.

He has now been arrested and charged with a “public order violation”, for which he faces up to six months in prison and/or a weighty fine.

A handful of other fans are under investigation for what they call “tragedy chanting”, chanting slogans during the match calling Liverpool fans “murderers” and claiming they are “always the victim”.

All of this is distasteful and offensive, but should it really be illegal?

Isn’t the whole point of free speech that it protects our right to be callous, offensive, rude and ignorant?

After all, if being rude is a crime we are at the mercies of those who decide what “rude” means.

It’s not all bad…

I haven’t listened to or shared any Neil Oliver monologues in a while, but this one is one of his best on the toll our society is taking on our children, and costs of lockdown four years on.

Professor and author David Miller won his employment tribunal hearing against Bristol University this week, you can read about it in detail here.

Actor Gary Oldman turned 66 this week, and to celebrate this here’s a quote of his I saw yesterday:

Also, the eagle-eyed among you may have noticed that following our announcement of a “big update” to the site…everything looks the same. Working out the final touches has taken longer than we thought, but it’s coming. It happens when it happens.


All told a pretty hectic week for the new normal crowd, and we didn’t even mention ISIS’s sudden turn on Russia or the ever-growing list of potential “cancer vaccines”.

There’s a lot of change in the air, a lot of agendas in the works, if you see a headline, article, post or interview you think is a sign of the times, post it in the comments, email us or share it on social media and we will add it to the next edition.


If you enjoy OffG's content, please help us make our monthly fund-raising goal and keep the site alive.

For other ways to donate, including direct-transfer bank details click HERE.