Monday, 15 July 2013

More from the Conspiracy Files

I had the utmost pleasure of viewing UFO's: The Secret Evidence one evening a year or so ago, devoting to it two hours of my unwavering attention. I learnt that the Third Reich may have been creating an anti-gravity device, and that hovercraft are among us.

I also learnt the value of misinformation in that I lost three hours debunking all the myths and rubbish portrayed in this programme. Perhaps, most importantly, I learnt the lesson of using one's time productively by avoiding nonsense programmes.

One might also add, that like with the case of the Great Global Warming Swindle, also on Channel 4, that one always ends up appealling to authority and reputation when negotiating scientific facts in domains where one is not an expert.

Channel 4 has no such mission of informing society, unless you include misinforming.
Voilà the soures I used that evening.

Mythbusters -
1 of 2:
2 of 2:

Nick Cook:
1. UAVs (in 2000!)
2. Book review
3. microwave bommmmbbbbbb
4. Review on Salon

Jane's Defence Weekly

Why it's a myth

Teslas Down Under



Loony Nazi Project


Monday, 16 July 2012

Desolation in Simulation, Demulation in Aural Reprosolation

This blog is dying, alone in the wilderness, with all the tools for survival but defeated by cold indifference. Mother nature may look after its own, but the unit of salvation is not the individual. Stumbling blindly through the forest, I seek the life of another whose blood can enrich my iron deficiency. But there are no boars, goats, or rabbits in my blind colour-depleted vision, and I can only stumble back to an infested town, where I succumb to a glitching Z whose arm reaches through the floor boards and causes me to bleed my remaining life away.

I then respawn on the beach, and in a reversal of hatching turtles, I scramble to the hills away from the shore, while snipers sadistically take the easy-pickings, and other turtle+s rush to steal my beans. Such are the South Coast Beans Wars.

DayZ has been around for a while, but I joined in after a number of RPS posts which almost inevitably boosted player numbers into the stratosphere. Like all video games, immersion and experience can be broken at any point by logging out and making a warm cup of tea to take with choice biscuits.

In contrast, a wander across the vast plains of Novaya Zemlya requires foresight and perseverance, but may reward via immeasurably beautiful desolate plains and windswept colonies, and occasional Russian environmental governance, i.e. abandoned works of industrial activity strewn across the landscape. I have not, and know not if I will, traverse the quietest places of the Northern Hemisphere, and am currently chained to drab domesticated Northern English damp, illuminated by an old monitor. But had I to choose a sonic outlet to experience somewhere between this life and the next, then I would listen to Thomas Köner's reflective experience of this place, which for me is but a location for extracting screensavers from Google Earth...

(Source:, by )

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Social Networking and Crowd Behaviour

The opportunistic looting we have seen in Manchester, London, and Birmingham has been a new phenomenon in Europe - the emergence of new forms of crime assisted by rapid social networking.

As the British Government starts to look at the role of social networking in August disturbances they would do well to draw on expertise of experts in thoses areas rather than bandwagoning populist waves of anger. While the initial riot itself in Tottenham may have its parallels in the Parisian banlieus and the LA riots, the looting that followed was a new phenomenon that emerged from appearance of rapid anonymous social networking, organised crime, and opportunistic crowd behaviour.

Soon after the riots began, the forces of law and order suddenly found themselves against superior numbers who had similar systems of communication to orchestrate crimes ranging from common mischief to homicide. No longer was it the decidedly non-assymetric street battle of water cannons and tear gas (not used in the island of Britain yet happily employed in Northern Ireland) versus stones and Molotov cocktails. These disturbances were characterised by highly mobile and coordinated youths who employed a number of strategies to beat the "feds".

Firstly, a group would conglomerate and a minority would separate to distract the police. The remainder would descend on Foot Locker or other purveyers of desired consumer goods in such numbers that the remaining police could not successfully intervene.

Secondly, when a sufficient number of police officers had amassed at a location, the looters had already communicated to each other through Blackberry that they were to descend on a new destination to repeat the process. Their communication is anonymous and cannot be easily traced, thus they act with relative impunity.

Flash mobs using new social media have been used to orchestrate public performances or protests but here they were used for looting, apparently a common activity in US cities such as Philadelphia where they have a curfew in place to prevent late night looting. The violence is a mixture of the usual suspects plus participation from opportunistic bystanders.

The Government will contemplate breaking encrypted networks such as this but there will surely emerge new forms of data sharing that evade this, just as has been the case with P2P networks. Such opportunistic crime may be with us to stay now, and expect more fun and games next summer 2012, just in time for the Olympics...


I recommend, if only for the surreal humour, this Newsnight report on the looters themselves, confirming what we already know - that rioting is fun if you could not give a flying fuck about the consequences and "ethical issues" like these lot. Chris Morris could not have done better...

Also, I cannot resist linking to this video. Scenes may be disturbing to some viewers.