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MH370 latest: 10 things that have NOT yet happened.

12 Mar

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10) Boeing may be releasing statements but they are not answering questions.

9)  China has not revealed anything it knows about the flight because nobody has had the balls to ask it.

8)  The US Navy has not divulged a single detail despite its huge presence in the area at the time of MH370’s loss.

7)  The Malaysian government have not been asked why they look so damn scared and are clearly playing for time.

6)  The South Vietnamese (see 8) have not mentioned anything except a bloke on an oil rig who might have seen something.

5)  Malaysian Airlines has not really been asked anything at all.

4) US Military has not been pressured to reveal if it has more data, harvested from its sophisticated local Intel. (see 8)

3) China and Russia cannot deduce technological advances in US radar due to silence by US (see 8)

2) Innocent role of US as ‘helper’ means that China, Vietnam and Malaysia dare not put pressure on US for fear of revealing their own ignorance to the US. (see 8)

1) This diplomatic constipation means that nobody has had the honour nor integrity to tell the grieving relatives that there is absolutely no chance that there are any survivors and that the date of their kin’s death was 8th March 2014.

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Malaysian Airlines MH370 – dangerous connections?

10 Mar

069jet night

The loss of Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 three days ago with 239 people on board is fast becoming a tragedy of ever greater significance as Malaysian official responses flounder in what appears to be a mixture of incompetence and inertia. Despite praise from one US Commander in the area for the Malaysian Forces ability to organise the search areas in detail, both the government and airline are failing under international scrutiny.

The United States, Chinese and Vietnam Navies are applying intensive resources to seeking answers and, combined with other neighbouring countries, have more than forty vessels traversing the estimated crash area. In contrast, very little is being done by the Malaysian authorities to engage either with the mourning relatives – of which there are a great many – or provide more information.

Relatives of the 38 Malaysian passengers who have been waiting in Kuala Lumpur are now being told simply to ‘expect the worst’ – hardly a constructive or compassionate response and days too late to be expressed. Likewise, in Beijing, grieving relatives of the 153 Chinese nationals on the flight are complaining about being unable to find information from officials.

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Malaysian airport security did not check the passports belonging to passengers boarding the flight against the InterPol ‘Lost and Stolen’ computer directory. Both of these passports which were stolen in Thailand and subsequently used by two people to board the flight had been listed there for the last year.

If Malaysian authorities are not checking the movement of suspicious people who pass through their airport hubs, then what exactly are they checking? Until the flight’s black box can be recovered, the suspicion that these two unknown passengers were terrorists remains. But with no terrorist group having so far come forward to claim responsibility, this line of reasoning fades with each passing hour.

But even with what little we know so far, Flight MH370 has more similarities with some previous airliner crashes than are immediately apparent. With the disappearance of the flight being currently so distressing it is not helpful to speculate without reason but below is a very short list of similar tragedies:

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August 1947: BSAA Flight CS59 – Avro Lancastrian

In 2014, global weather patterns are now known to be partly driven by the Jet Stream – a band of super-fast winds that modern jet airliners ‘ride’ to get to their destinations sooner or avoid when going in the opposing direction. Back in 1947, a passenger airliner climbed above the cloud-covered Mount Tupungato on its way to Chile from Argentina. It was never seen again. Conspiracy theories abounded, aided by the mysterious and repeated final Morse signal sent by its navigator – “STENDAC”. Fifty years later, the plane’s wreckage was found in the mountains. It had flown into a snowy peak, causing an avalanche to fall on top of it, covering all wreckage. Not realising that they were flying into the Jet Stream’s strong winds, the crew’s mathematical calculation that they had passed over the mountain did not take into account the fact that, in reality, they were barely moving forward in relation to the ground. Their unforeseeable and tragic demise was unraveled by modern computing and the understanding we now have of the Jet Stream. “STENDAC”? This word puzzle has never been solved but one theory is that the Morse code operator in the Lancastrian was suffering from hypoxia (oxygen starvation – the plane was not pressurised) and believed that he was confirming his DESCENT.

January 1949: BSAA – Avro Tudor MkIVB

The Bermuda Triangle was a bewildering mystery throughout the 1940’s and ’50’s when entire ships and even whole groups of fighter planes disappeared without trace. On a fine day and with an experienced crew and a well serviced plane, this flight from Bermuda to Kingston was effectively an unremarkable and routine flight. The only note of doubt was caused by ten minute blackouts of radio signals that day across the area of sea which was being flown over by the Avro Tudor. Even so, its pilot’s clear messages to gound control were noted and served as confirmation that all was well on board. The plane never arrived at Kingston. Extensive searches found no wreckage. In the 21st century, we now know that the area of sea called the Bermuda Triangle is the location for occasional ferocious and random volcanic eruptions on the sea bed. Gases rise as bubbles to the surface in millions of cubic litres from the under-sea volcanos. If you are a boat or ship on that part of the ocean, you will sink immediately because the water you were floating on is suddenly filled with air bubbles and becomes ‘non-buoyant’. If you are flying above the area in question, the hydrogen and oxygen of the air may be replaced by other gases, either starving your engines or creating massive turbulence. Landing in the sea will give you the same problems as a ship or boat and you will sink without trace.

July 1988: Iran Air Flight 655 – Airbus A300B2

290 Iranians (including 66 children) and 38 souls from other countries had just left Bandar Abbas on a half hour flight to Dubai, having originated at Tehran. The Airbus was transmitting “IFF” signals (International Friend or Foe) and was expected to be where it was and it was flying its agreed route. Eight minutes into its flight, the Commander of the United States guided missile destroyer ‘Vincennes’ (nicknamed ‘Robocop’ by his fellow US Naval officers for his apparent lust for seeking conflict) decided that this particular A300 Airbus was instead an Iranian F-14 Tomcat fighter, trying to attack him. He ordered the firing of two anti-aircraft missiles into it. The passenger jet disintegrated. Although its black box was never found, the Vincennes itself was loaded with all the data necessary to prove beyond doubt what had happened and the United States inquiry uncovered weak leadership, inexperienced crew and ignored warnings of the A300’s true identity to have conspired to create a ‘regrettable accident’. The United States denied guilt but payed millions of dollars in out of court settlements.

December 1988: Pan Am Flight 103 – Boeing 747-121

A few months later, on its way from Frankfurt to Detroit, American Pan Am flight 103 took on more passengers at London and departed for America. With its 259 occupants (189 American, the rest from other nations) settling in as they flew through the darkness above Scotland, a bomb in the luggage hold exploded and the airliner disintegrated. The inquiries and assertions of both British and United States investigators were widely doubted from the start. There were and still are deeply held beliefs of many relatives and political commentators that the tragedy was dishonestly blamed on one man – a Libyan Intelligence Officer put forward by Libyan Colonel Gaddafi as responsible. The man, Abdelbaset al-Megrahi was arrested and jailed in Scotland. In 2003, Libya admitted responsibility but not guilt and settled multi-million dollar compensation claims to the relatives of those who died – in return for political and economic sanctions being lifted. Although this Boeing 747 flew in Pan Am’s colours, it in fact belonged to the United States Civil Reserve inventory of aircraft. One of the earliest Jumbos built, it had been completely overhauled and modified two years earlier to allow it to carry out diverse alternative roles such as freight carriage. The case has so many astonishing and unbelievable  inconsistencies within it that a new inquiry is due to be set up in 2014.

June 2009: Air France Flight 447 – Airbus A330

228 souls passed on when this plane – an Airbus A330 – left just a few pieces of wreckage on the surface of the Atlantic when it crashed. The black box was not recovered until much later on but – almost immediately after the airliner ‘disappeared’ – Airbus confidently announced that blame lay with the crew: human error. How were Airbus so sure? Well, the A330 is the aviation equivelant of your friend who is always on their iPhone. Flight 447 sent a string of messages back to its manufacturers – Airbus – as it flew, alerting them to the fact that things were not going well on the flight.

The plane used ACARS – the Aircraft Communicating and Adressing System – to transmit data over the last three minutes before it crashed. Airbus certainly possessed that information three days after it had crashed.

Does the Malaysian Airlines Boeing  777-200ER use the ACARS system?

Did it send messages to Boeing?

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The amazing future of Asia’s growth needs flight security from today’s West.

Over the next 20 years,  the Asia Pacific area is predicted to account for almost 50% of the world’s growth in air traffic. Both Airbus and Boeing are anticipating delivering nearly 13,000 new airliners to operators in this zone. Airbus is heavily investing in Indonesian refurbishment centres and cabin conversion operations.

This level of investment is truly staggering in its size and implications for mass transit. It also illustrates the shocking contrast in standards between the established manufacturers and operators’ commitment and the seemingly casual incompetence of Malaysian airport security.

Malaysian Airlines operates more than 100 modern jets and flies to over 80 worldwide destinations each day. It has a good safety record.

Ukraine: Western leaders consider snub to Putin

7 Mar

fist love hate

Roadwax’s Elena Handcart has just sent this report from the Crimean peninsula:

As the RAF Chinook helicopter from Odiham in Hampshire dives through the darkness of the night towards Razdolne, Captain Sandy “Toxvig” Thompson’s tense voice rings out in my headphones.

‘Remember, Elena…not a word about this being an MI6 job and no names. Don’t mention how you got here or who you met. Right?’

I nod in agreement as the muscular physique of Chaz “Minty” Mintoe looms towards me, un-buckles my harness and drags me towards the open hatch.

“Who dares, wins…!” he says and hurls me into the darkness while the Chinook is still thirty feet above sea level. I smile and wave goodbye to one of the most handsome and brave lovers I have ever known. So sad, then, that he could never sustain an erection.

I land roughly on the waves and my unconscious body is dragged towards the shore by the savage riptide.

I awake to find myself lying on a clean yet overpriced bed in the 2-Star Radzolne Holidaya Inska. Smiling back at me from the compact yet modern bathroom area is a face I do not recognise.

‘You do not recognise my face, do you?’ The man smiles and laughs.

I get dressed and leave him. His army clothes – all insignia removed – lie scattered around the room. There is no doubt though, from the way he rubs toothpaste into his genitals, that he is actually elite Russian forces.

The hotel concierge refuses to accept my credit card and instead leads me through the maze of coridoors to the back of the hotel and freedom.

‘ My name is Dmitri and I am pro-Ukraine. Not everyone loves Putin here. Do not mention me or I will be killed.’

I nod my head and thank him.

‘Take the footpath over the mountains and you will arrive in Yalta. It is hard climb. God be with you!’

I walk round the side of the building to the main entrance and get in a taxi.

‘Yalta.’ I say. The ancient Mercedes moves off and I settle back in my seat and watch the tired faces of the tired women as they catch fish with tired faces.

Within minutes, we arrive at a checkpoint and I am arrested.

"Well...THAT was a complete bloody waste of a war."

“Well…THAT was a complete bloody waste of a war.”

Ukraine: Obama Putin Skype call – latest

5 Mar

Roadwax’s very own Elena Handcart sends this report from her covert position in the passenger footwell of Mobile 6, parked on the double yellow lines outside Downing Street:

Obama: Hi

Putin: Privet

Obama: Yes, I got the NSA to check. Its all private.

Putin: I give up…

Obama: You do…? Oh, I am so glad…I er…I applaud your wise and er…

Putin: No…! My stupid friend…privet…is hello in Russian…privet means hello.

Obama: Oh…privet…that sounds like…

Putin: I not have time for this. Where is Merkel…?

Obama: Merkel…? I thought it was just going to be you and me, Vlad…

Merkel: Hi…

Obama: Angela…! What a pleasant surprise…! Vlad and I were just wondering…

Putin: Be quiet, Barack. I’m paying for this call so you listen.

Obama: Oh, now…there’s no need to be like that…

Putin: Cameron…! David Cameron…!

(silence)

Putin: Angela…you have something you wish to say…?

(silence)

Putin: Do not make that face with me, Angela…

(silence, short sniffing sound)

Obama: Angela…don’t let him bully you…he always sounds really angry but…

Merkel: Barack, please will you not talk?

(sound of Putin laughing)

Putin: There…! She is like lioness…! Angela is strong woman, Barack, like Michelle…!

Obama: I think it is time that you stop all this playground nonsense, Putin…it’s getting boring…

Putin: Barack, Angela has something she wants to say…yes, Angela…?

Cameron: …and another bottle of 2009 Dom Perignon…and some pain-killers, okay…?

Putin: Cameron, be quiet you idiot.

Cameron: Goodness…! Didn’t realise we were switched on…well, well…

Obama: Dave, shut up.

Cameron: Absolutely. Sorry.

Putin: Say the words, Angela…

Obama: I shall not stand by idly while Russia…

Putin: Yes you will. Shut up…! Angela…say the words…!

(sigh)

Merkel: I, Angela Merkel, wish to thank Mr Putin for providing my country with 30% of its gas needs.

Putin: There…! That is good, brave woman…like Russian woman…! You hear that, Obama…?

Obama: Aw…c’mon, you know you forced her to say that…

Putin: Angela…Angela…tell my stupid friend…

Merkel: I, Angela Merkel wish to deny the vicious capitalist slur that I have been forced to say this.

Putin: Obama…see…? I give you another lesson in diplomacy, yes…?

Obama: Hardly…

Cameron: Oh, great batting, Barack…! Top man…!

Obama: Shut the fuck up.

Cameron: Right. Sorry…

Putin: Cameron…

(silence)

Putin: Cameron…Angela is good East European woman. Do you understand…?

Cameron: Not really. She wasn’t slow in voting with her feet and jumping over the wall, was she…?

Merkel: David, what car do you drive…?

Cameron: BMW…and very good it is, too…

Merkel: Exactly…so please, David, sit down before you try and think. I don’t want you to hurt yourself.

Cameron: Well I think that’s rather rude if you don’t mind me saying…

Putin: I do. Do not speak anymore unless I call your name.

Obama: I suppose the Jaguar is with the mechanic…in Mumbai…

Cameron: Oh, you bloody turn-coat…! Well, I’m not licking Putin’s arse. You go ahead…

Merkel: Stop talking, you imbecile…!

Obama: Cameron, you are out of your league…shut up and listen…

Putin: There…my stupid friend is telling you good advice, Cameron…listen…

Cameron: Fine…

Putin: Now…Obama, I want you to get Kerry to wear a dress in public tomorrow….and make-up…

(sound of Cameron laughing)

Merkel: What is so funny about wearing a dress, Cameron…?

(silence)

Putin: Cameron…answer Frau Merkel..

Cameron: …oh, really…this is ridiculous Vladimir…I mean, come on…

Obama: Goin’ in…! (laughs)

Putin: Cameron…you have many Russian tax exiles in London, yes…?

Cameron: Bloody right! Jobs a good ‘un…! Osborne has got a hard on like he’s on Viagra

Putin: Exactly…you have taken all the gangsters and all their money out of my country…yes…?

Cameron: Nearly all…still got room for a few thousand more and we’re working on that…

(sound of champagne cork popping)

Merkel: You brain-dead moron…

Putin: Shushh, Angela…let me handle this…

Obama: Blue leader down…blue leader down…

Putin: Cameron, listen…are you listening…?

Cameron: …(burp)…yes…

Putin: I want you to keep shouting your big mouth off about how bad I am…yes…?

Cameron: …absley fine by me…shoo…siuuu…shoots me fine… (hiccup)

Merkel: What a knob-cheese…

Obama: Angela…! I’m surprised by you…! Did you really say that…?

Putin: Obama…my idiot friend…take a lesson from Angela, yes…?

Obama: Okay…but I’m not doing that thing with Kerry. That is demeaning…

Putin: Obama, I want you to put lots of American war films on American TV…understand…?

Obama: Don’t quite get it but…fine with me…

Cameron: …jushhh another norm…normal day in ‘merica…total bollocks….

Putin: Shut up.

Cameron: …shorry…mmm…

Merkel: I have to go now. I have my people to think of…

Putin: All of you. You tell me one thing. Like British actor, Ray Winstone…

Cameron: …shafuckin’ goo bloke…is Ray…fuckin’ lovely…good bloke….

Putin: All of you…tell me…Who is the daddy now…?

Obama: What…?

Merkel: Its a BritGrit prison film from 1979. Just say: “you are, Putin”.

Obama: Oh…well…right…you are, Putin…

Merkel: You are, Putin…

Cameron: whooozadaddy nowwww….eh…? Fuckin’ brillian’ line….I’ve taken too many pilshhh…

Putin: Cameron…

Cameron: Yeshhh…?

Putin: Stick fingers down your throat. Make you sick. You feel better soon.

Obama: Total lightweight…eh, Angela…? What a noob…

Merkel: Don’t pretend I am your friend…I have not forgotten NSA…

Putin: I am the daddy….I am the daddy now…!

(line disconnects)

UK In Floods Of Tears

17 Feb

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Frustration

Sadness

Loss

Despair

Release

Relief

That is the Official List of British Tears and the order in which they must be presented to the TV News crews.

Already, the national news here in WaterWorld is skewing slightly to highlight a traditional and typically British attitude: cynicism towards our own government and armed forces. Damp locals huddle in chilly pubs and draw diagrams of Kevin Costner’s boating equipment from memory. If you approach too close to them, they close ranks while one of them swallows the plans.

And in this next clip, Prince Charles is seen talking with a selection of pre-selected and security vetted locals. Prince Charles sticks it to Prime Minister David Cameron by openly voicing his doubts on the very matters where David has been pretending all is good.

So, Cameron responds by saying everything that can be done will be done…and that includes what he describes in pure political euphemism as “an end to the pause in dredging on the Somerset Levels”

An end to the pause in dredging? Do you now see why we Brits get cynical?

So, if I decide one day that I shall not to pay my taxes, when I am dragged in front of the judge months later, I can simply explain to him that I was pausing. I shall now ‘end the pause in my paying taxes’. I am sure the judge will understand.

Today, Cameron has announced that he is bringing the Army in to check the flood defences. They (the British Army) will achieve within five weeks what normally takes two years when left to the Environment Agency. They will work at 20.8 times the speed of an expert agency.

Why are we Brits so cynical?

Have you ever seen the British Army in action? They are remarkably effective at what they excel in which is essentially beating the crap out of non-UK passport holders. You don’t even have to come to them – they are quite happy to visit you in your own country. But the last time a Prime Minister was stupid enough to let them loose among British taxpayers was during the General Strike of 1926.

Briefly, in the 1980’s they were ordered to drive ambulances. It went badly. The Army only stopped when patients finally demanded to be driven to hospital instead by a local fourteen year old in a stolen Vauxhall Astra. Survival was more likely than being driven through busy London streets at high speed in a dark green and camouflaged ambulance by an enthusiastic eighteen year old from Manchester.

It was a PR disaster in 1926 and it was a hugely covered-up tragedy during the ambulance strike in the 1980’s. From then on, every British Prime Minister wrote in pen on the inside of their hand: “Don’t let Army near UK’s hard-working taxpayers. V. Important! Doesn’t work!”

Now Cameron is about to break this rule.

And we will now have thousands of well paid soldiers grabbing away the work from the specialist civilian workers in the Environment Agency who are paid much less and are facing redundancy anyway?

Oh, well done, Prime Minister!

And the Army, who are not in the least bit knowledgeable at a local level of Britains flood water defences will be working at 20.8 times the speed of these Environment Agency specialists who are being swept aside and made redundant?

Oh, well done, Prime Minister! What could possibly go wrong…?

The photo at the beginning of this article shows the author after having been coated from head to toe in raw faeces during a storm on a waste treatment site. I am shown smiling through my tears. (advanced students only).

Do you see that brown line around the tank on the right?

That is not caused by rust…

 

Trolling: Understanding what it is and also why it happens.

24 Sep

Introduction

The topic of ‘Trolling’ is being discussed in great detail on the internet and in the media these days.

Or is it…?

To celebrate yet another confused and inaccurate article being launched on the BBC’s internet site, Roadwax feels that the time is right to encourage proper debate on the topic. One should never encourage a troll but one needs to know what food they like to eat.

This post is a stripped-down “How-to” guide for those of us who do not have much time right now but need to understand more about trolling. It is intended to inform and also to encourage a clearer understanding of what ‘trolling’ actually is.

By necessity, this article also discusses internet bullying. However a separate Roadwax article deals with this topic in more detail.

If anyone wants to read the full, unabridged articles then please email loopwithers@live.co.uk and ask for a copy. Don’t all rush at once. Oh – there aren’t any pictures in this post. Trolls do not really go for pictures. It is all about words. Bring on the trolls.

The current situation: where we are right now

A quick search through the world’s top English-language internet news sites reveals that the word ‘trolling’ is being frequently used but never properly explained. A longer and more refined search will just make you want to weep. It soon becomes clear that the word is being thrown around without a clear understanding of its meaning. After more than thirty years of trolling on the internet across the world, we rarely find a definition of exactly what a ‘troll’ is.

Is ‘internet trolling’ actually being discussed and described or is it simply being mentioned, like a fashionable buzz-word…?

Now is a good time to clear up some frequent misunderstandings that are beginning to creep in to the current debate. If we do not agree a clear understanding of what trolling is then we cannot effectively deal with the topic.

A brief history of the troll

Trolling has been around for centuries. Every culture with a well-established language has always had trolls. Trolling particularly appears at times when there is war and conflict. Diplomatic statements and war-time propaganda messages are often good examples of simple trolling. Over the last couple of decades, ‘internet trolls’ have appeared. We owe them a debt of thanks. If the internet community had not labelled them as ‘Trolls’ for the first time, we would never have realised that they existed.

The differences between a troll and bully

Trolls are not necessarily bullies…but bullies can be trolls.

Think of it like this: A house can be a home but a home is not necessarily a house.

The current focus in the media is to describe trolls as bullies. This is a dangerously incorrect assumption because it masks what is really going on and…is quite possibly a form of trolling itself!

It is very important that we separate out ‘trolling behaviour’ from ‘bullying behaviour’ to understand what is going on when we look at our screens.

Here is a short list explaining why we should make a distinction:

1) Bullies get given elevated status in society if described as trolls – a label which they do not deserve.

2) Bullying is a form of psychological or physical pressure used to unreasonably coerce people. Trolling isn’t.

3) Trolls and bullies both cause disruption but in different ways. They operate similarly but differently.

4) Trolls wreak destruction and disorder but bullying causes distress and depression.

5) Knowing the difference can keep us protected both on and offline and it can even save lives.

How to spot an online bully:

Online bullying can only take place on websites that allow people to ‘comment’ – write and upload statements that other people can read. Think hard on this point. Notice how many websites do not allow the posting of comments or else ‘suspend’ the writing of comments for a while. Often this denial of the ‘comment’ facility is being carried out to stop bullying or trolling being possible.

So, online bullying takes place most often in ‘forums’ – where a topic can be discussed openly by anyone who want s to have their say. YouTube videos, News Website articles, Enthusiast Forums, Bebo, Askfm…the list of places who offer forums or the opportunity to comment is almost endless. This is where trolling and bullying takes place.

An online bully will always make a personal attack or a particular threat to writers in the forum. Always.

Here is an imaginary ‘thread’ on an imaginary forum:

Bob123:          ‘I think this video is great. I love cats! Cats are so cool!’

Fishman:        ‘Check out 1’24” when the cat goes nuts! LOL!!!’

ZZZmonkey:   ‘You think video footage is real? You are so stupid.’

Bob123:           ‘F**k you, a**hole, you are just a sad piece of sh*t. Go play with yourself.’

ZZZMonkey:   ‘Video is not real! If you think cat actually jump then you are nuts.’

Fishman:         ‘In English please? Are you another crazy Russian who eats cats?’

Bob123:           ‘You f***ing piece of commie sh*t. F**k you.’

ZZZMonkey:   ‘Video is fake. I am not commie. You know nothing.’

There is only one bully in this example. It is Bob123. ZZZMonkey is holding a different opinion about the video and tries to persuade others that they are watching fake footage and believing it is real. ZZZMonkey is straightforward and also rude but he doesn’t bully. Bob123 immediately responds by attacking him personally and then Fishman adds what is possibly a racist slant in his reply which has nothing to do with the points being made by either side.

Now, read the thread again and imagine that:

Bob123 is aged 11 years, female, goes to school.

Fishman is aged 33 years, male, works in telesales.

ZZZMonkey is aged 42 years, transgender, CCTV operator.

Notice how the internet removes so much information that can help us make sense of what appears to be a pointless conflict situation. Bullying often seems more horrifying precisely because it often appears to be so personally vindictive yet it is conducted by apparent strangers.

Bullying is often carried out by people who are struggling to understand what is going on around them. They feel insecure and threatened and so they lash out. They will continue to do this until they are forced to stop. It becomes an exciting new power and the thrill of hurting people is – as adults eventually learn – addictive. If bullying is allowed to go on, then that is exactly what it does. It goes on, and on…and on.

How to spot an online troll:

Trolling is the opposite of bullying. It is often carried out by people who are confident and assured about the world they see. They feel excited by the chances to mess around with the comfort level of less confident or less well informed online guests. They get their fun from wrecking, derailing, destroying and challenging the view of others. They don’t get their thrill from attacking people but instead from manipulating what people think.

Trolls love the power they get from controlling proceedings, dictating what the debate is actually about. Trolls might also bully but then – if they do, they have failed as trolls and should be desribed as bullies. Trolling has nothing to do with bullying.

Trolling is all about power and manipulation. Bullying is all about hatred and aggression.

Let’s run the same scenario again. Remember – we know nothing about the three people who are commenting.

WigWax: ‘I think this video is great. I love cats! Cats are sooo coooool!’

108566M: ‘check out 1′ 24″ when the cat goes nuts! LOL!!!’

Nobby:  ‘My dog could eat that cat. Dogs rule. sorry but thats the way it is.’

108566M ‘Dogs spread disease and suck up to their owners. You sad moron.’

Nobby: ‘Grow up. Cats spread more disease than dogs. Fact. Is a cat gonna save you in a robbery?’

WigWax: ‘Great. A drug dealer wants to lecture me about how great his dog is. Sad.’

Nobby: ‘Maybe I sell your mother all the crack she takes just to put up with you. What’s wrong with that?’

WigWax: ‘Why don’t you get a real job and stop wrecking people’s lives? You scum.’

108566M: ‘I feel sorry for you. You will rot in Hell. God will punish you.’

Nobby: ‘My dog just ate your God. And your cat.’

Nobby is an internet troll. Nobby just derailed this thread and turned the conversation from the love of cats to the morality of drug-taking and religious concepts. Nobby did this without using threats or bullying. Nobby relied on WigWax and 108566M to respond with anger and abuse and Nobby is now firmly in control of this thread. You can use your own imagination to work out how much fun Nobby has over the next few hours…

Notice also – and this is so important – how this thread would simply stop if nobody responds to Nobby’s last comment. The troll cannot continue to dominate unless others allow that to happen by posting replies. The troll can only

a) have the last word in the thread

b) kill the thread by killing off the orginal discussion

c) encourage a Moderator to delete the thread because it is now wrecked

If someone now posts:

Girlfriday: “Nice trolling. Anyway – back to the thread. Cats ARE cool…!”

…then there is still a good chance that Nobby will dive back in and continue. Remember – Trolling is about control and manipulation. Do not feed the trolls.

Trolling on world News Sites:

All news sites – ABC, NBC, BBC, Reuters…every news site in the world – are trolled every day. The trolling takes place in the section of the site where people can leave their comments. Some trolling is done for the sheer twisted fun of it but some trolling is done for a darker reason – to stifle proper debate and to crush dissent.

I could put a link in here to a real-life example that is happening now. Unfortunately, by the time you click on it, the debate will either have moved on or else the comments will have been removed.

Instead, I encourage you to click on your favourite national news site and find a breaking news item which also has a comments thread – and watch it evolve. See if you can spot the point at which an internet troll begins to change the topic under discussion.

Is it a story about a car crash that suddenly changes to a discussion on banning older drivers? Is it a news item on a new hospital brain scanning procedure and the comment thread changes into an argument about abortion?

Hopefully, (to prove my point here) as soon as you see this happening, a Moderator for the site will ‘close’ the comments so that no more posts are allowed.

The comments thread will disappear from view if you revisit the site.

The troll will have successfully stopped open debate and discussion.

The troll will have won.

Trolling on ‘SIF – Sites’ (single interest fanatics) – and YouTube

YouTube provides a fascinating and vibrant introduction for anyone who wishes to study trolling, bullying or any aspect of mass culture. If you watch YouTube, you will see examples of trolling easily and quickly. They are identical to those you may find on the thousands of sif-sites around the world.

YouTube is the most influential and powerful internet media site in the world of 2013. Facebook simply pales into insignificance by comparison, even if one takes their already mathematically corrupted viewing and membership figures…and doubles them.

YouTube allows anyone to upload any piece of film and audio footage for the world to see. It is a place where all you have to do is type in any ‘search’ word and you will find a list of uploaded film relating to that topic. It is hugely influential, whereas other sites are not.

Precisely because of its universal accessibility and worldwide reach, it becomes far more valuable than any single news channel. Notice how, when a new story breaks on a world news channel, one can frequently discover related footage existed a few hours sooner on YouTube.

YouTube allows users to ‘comment’ on footage uploaded by other users.

Think of a popular topic that interests you personally. Go onto YouTube and search for films and videos on that topic. Read the YouTube ‘comments’ and you will see trolling and bullying laid bare. You may also find supreme examples of ‘Moderating’ – where potential trolls and bullies are put in their place by third parties – other visitors to the site.

However – for the sake of clarity – remember that YouTube’s own Moderators use a firm but light touch. YouTube – like Twitter – is a citadel of free speech and expression and therefore it aims to censor as little as possible. YouTube singlehandedly defines the complex struggles involved in maintaining a world concept of ‘free speech’ by simply allowing it.

To many new viewers, this is quite a shocking and revelatory experience. YouTube allows us to see, experience and come face to face with the often shocking world of free speech. Free speech can easily be controlled by bullies and trolls and those who are spectacularly ignorant.

It should be borne in mind that a vast proportion of the most extreme comments on sif-sites and YouTube as well are left by children aged 12 – 18 years. Whether this consideration makes you feel better or worse probably depends a lot upon how you value the power of education.

Trolling as a means of stifling dissent.

As we see in the example of News websites, a troll can stop debate taking place by encouraging the Moderator to close the thread down because it has got out of hand. It has collapsed into a vicious fight between overheated commentators who are now verbally abusing each other.

Most news sites used to try to keep trolls out and keep any debate going but this proved to be a thankless and exhausting task. Now, newsgroups simply ‘pull’ the thread. It is safer and cheaper. Discussion forums – where enthusiasts go to talk with each other – still allow trolls. They cannot really close the forum just because a troll has moved in. Instead, they warn them against trolling – either by an online message for all to see – or privately and more discretely.

A wise troll will move on once their actions are identified. There used to be a saying: “Please do not feed the trolls”. Some web forums still use it but, in truth, that request is usually lost on the very people who should heed it. Trolls have plenty to feed on.

Professional Trolling

But suppose that the troll is employed by a political party? Suppose the news item on the news site or the article in a discussion forum is about a piece of legislation being proposed by The Gorilla Party (hey – I’m just making up a name to keep things simple) and The Ostrich Party doesn’t want that piece of news to give attention to their competitor?

Suppose the Gorilla Party announces support for “free day-care for all children of working single mothers. Vote for the Gorillas and get free day care!”

The Ostrich Party are pretty sure that this legislation will never get passed because it is too expensive. They have worked out the costing figures and they are certain that the Gorilla Party have too. But they are annoyed because the Gorilla Party is bringing to people’s attention the fact that the Ostrich Party do not have their own solution on offer. It makes them look un-caring by comparison.

Do you really believe that the Ostrich Party will keep clear of the ‘comments’ section on that news item? Of course not! They will get a troll in there as soon as possible, to wreck the debate and hopefully get the comments page closed down as quickly as possible.

Stifle debate.

Unintentional trolls

Especially when it comes to news sites, people sometimes become trolls without realising it. They add comments without understanding that they have derailed the discussion.

If a news item is about an accidental house fire where a baby has tragically died, the comments may be mostly from people who wish to express their sadness and support. This is normal and well meant. It goes on all the time. Feelings are intense and people want to express their grief or sympathy.

Now is a bad time for someone to point out the fact that the parents were recent immigrants to the country and they had trouble calling the emergency services because they could not speak the same language.

This comment might have actually been intended as a helpful explanation. It might be a very significant factor that needs to be addressed by the local fire department.

The comment has the opposite effect on the thread. It appears sudden and insensitive and detracts from the emotional integrity of the other comments. The comment thread collapses into accusations of racism, xenophobia, bitter personal abuse and the moderator has to close it down since meaningful debate is now long gone and no postive advantages exist to keeping it open.

This imaginary example shows us how trolls can sometimes be innocent commentators who merely make a badly-timed or poorly-judged observation but meant no actual harm. It illustrates how we can all unintentionally appear as trolls if we mis-judge the mood on a forum or a comment thread.

We might be intending to make a postive or constructive comment – to encourage the debate to broaden out and not simply dwell on the tragedy but instead the cause – but we get it wrong. Suddenly, we have appeared as a troll in the eyes of our peers.

Part-time Trolling

Anyone can be a part-time troll. If we understand anything about trolling then we realise the power that trolling can give us. If we take the power of the troll and turn it to good use, is that not a good thing?

So, suppose you saw a bully attacking someone on a website. Would you ‘troll’ them as a way of stopping them carrying on? Would you try and draw them off their poor target by a display of intelligent trolling without becoming a bully yourself? I reckon that you might. A lot of people do.

Maybe, you would never dream of trolling but then you accidentally stumble across a comment thread where one writer is abusing another simply because of their ethnic background and not for their views. Would you do something to stop it? Of course, the choice always rests with you.

Although trolling is almost always carried out to stifle or subvert debate, it can be seen how trolling can sometimes be used as a weapon against hatred or bullying.

Basic Trolling

At its most basic, trolling is just a means of subverting or suppressing debate. Basic trolling is seen when an internet  discussion suddenly gets ‘hit’ by someone who types: “Buy viagra. Meet beautiful girls and get love pills for free when you click on this address: www.khfskfh.com Best tablets guaranteed.”

They upload this message five or six times in a row on the thread. Let’s be honest, they have probably killed any conversation stone dead. Still want to discuss how mortgage interest relief can be used as a social tool? Nah…nor me.

Sophisticated Trolling

Some trolling is outstandingly sophisticated. It is carried out to undermine or discredit people who are – in the eyes of the troller – deserving to be trolled. People who make overtly political statements, politicians of all levels, are frequently trolled by their adversaries. After all, politics is a dirty game. Trolls silently read the comments left by a particular person over months or even years until they find the right moment. Note – the troll never breaks cover by joining the debate. They just sit and wait and bide their time.

Then, when their ‘target’ – frequently a politician, media professional or social advocate – appears to be gaining fame and popular support, the trolling starts.

‘Great speech. Funny how you support free childcare now but stood against it last year. click this link to your earlier comments: www.abvkdzz.com

Off we go. The trolling has started. The debate is being diverted away from the wishes of the speech-maker.

Governments and politically-charged departments are the most sophisiticated trollers of all. Who can forget the British Government’s encouragement of the belief among the world’s people that Adolf Hitler only possessed one out of a possible maximum of two testicles?

Serious questions raised in the immediate aftermath of 9/11 quickly focussed on asking how the terrible catastrophe had happened in the first place. Go look at the threads now. 99.9% of the arguments are buried under tons of trolled nonsense. The aeroplanes were holograms and the whole thing never happened. It was the Illumnati. It was little green men.

It is now almost impossible for anyone find out how the events on 9/11 actually managed to happen. Sophisticated Trolling at its finest.

Conclusion:

Trolling is an integral part of modern internet communication. it is the art of subverting or suppressing debate. But there is a great reluctance within the world’s government and media to discuss in detail what it is and how it works.

Now, isn’t that strange?

Here’s a picture of a kitten:

"He told you there would be no pictures. He lied to you. And I'm not a kitten.."

“He told you there would be no pictures. He lied to you. And I’m not a kitten..”

TB-infected beef sold back into UK food chain by DeFRA

30 Jun

cow2JPGAccording to the Sunday Times today, DeFRA – The UK government’s Department for the Environment, Food & Rural Affairs – has been selling diseased cattle meat to caterers who supply hospitals, schools and the armed forces.

They have bought the carcasses of cattle infected with bovine tuberculosis and sold them back into the food chain.

Despite concerns by several agencies, Defra sees no wrong in its actions.

“We are the UK government department responsible for policy and regulations on environmental, food and rural issues. Our priorities are to grow the rural economy, improve the environment and safeguard animal and plant health.”

The above quote is from their website.

DeFRA recently charred its already dirty reputation with most Brits by shrugging off the scandal of horse meat appearing in beef products. When the news broke in Europe, DeFRA’s head of public affairs legged it over to France for an ‘important meeting’ and laid low. As the full extent of corruption in the food chain was revealed over following weeks, DeFRA seemed curiously detached from the situation.

Is it not puzzling that a Ministerial Department responsible for regulating and monitoring the food supply chain in the UK should

*decline to take leadership in a contamination crisis?

*generate approximately $14m revenue by purchasing and selling diseased cattle meat into the human food chain?

*not mention anything in its mission statement (above) about human welfare – any duty to citizens and consumers?

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Perhaps, their point is that their priority is to maintain the wealth and prosperity of those who own the fields and the cows. That they are not concerned with any consequential issues. Not concerned with issues relating to health and the possible spread of disease – however small.

But in a political era where the UK government has fostered exaggerated fears of terrorism, economic uncertainty, financial insecurity and invasion of privacy among its citizens, is it not strange that one of its own departments intentionally sells tens of thousands of tons of meat from diseased cattle into its own country’s food chain?

It does not take a conspiracy theorist to notice that DeFRA have again expressed not one single concern at their wildly indefensible actions while the Press and public are again outraged. Once more, actions that are highly likely to cause distress and concern among the public have come from…a government department. 

Can DeFRA’s actions really have been the result of ignorance and innocence as to the risks being taken with the public’s health and wellbeing?

The Sunday Times quotes DeFRA’s chief scientist Ian Boyd warning that bTB (bovine Tuberculosis) could “spill over” to pets and “potentially to humans”.

M bovis, the bacterium that causes bTB can survive cooking up to 60C. – source: Sunday Times, 30th June 2013

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