Paid to troll?

There’s been a long held view that a certain element on various interweb forums do what they do, not because, like most of us beknighted souls out in the dark little corners of the great electronic nowhere, they believe. No, these are what might be called ‘professionals’ who are specifically paid to spread disinformation beneficial to their employer. Now short of a number of insiders coming clean and ‘fessing up, the availability of proof is a little shaky, and without proof, all we have is unfounded assertion. Sure I’ve looked at the Alex Jones end of the spectrum, and what he says often touches a nerve, but he’s very fond of going off half cocked.

Nevertheless. There are most definitely people who fit the description of ‘paid shill’. A lot of these can be found on various forums, ironically often accusing each other of being ‘paid shills’ for various causes. The thing is, it’s not simply the usual suspects of activist organisations and industrial combines who have the odd zealot in their midst. It’s almost like there’s a burgeoning industry out there. The Chinese are known to do it. As are the employees of certain activist groups. Even Governments, and more often NGO’s were observed to be the source of annoyance, until their operatives realised their IP’s could be tracked, and started to use people working via anonymous proxies, working from home and Wi-fi hotspots.

To be honest, it’s hard to tell the difference from your average tinfoil hat wearer from someone who makes a few pennies from trolling and pasting false reviews. There are even rumours going round the block of ‘hit trolls’, those paid to assault particular forums because the ideas expressed there are not acceptable to the trolls employers. Fortunately these people are rare, because the scuttlebutt is that they aren’t paid well for the skill level required. And despite their blinkeredness in some ways, these people aren’t stupid. Well, stupid in having no independence of thought, courtesy or common sense with a fragile molecule thin ego the size of Jupiter, but technically quite bright. Albeit with the spiritual wedding tackle of a Weasel who’s just had a very cold bath.

Mostly, paid or not, Trolls are just time wasters who butt into conversations and smear metaphorical shit all over the place before running away. People whose parents spared the rod and thus spoiled their child. Fantasists stuck in low paid employment because they believe in their ’cause’. In short, the kind of people who roundly deserve what one of my expatriate Afrikaaner neighbours would, in an unguarded moment, call a ‘lekker slaap’. If only to wake them up from the sleep of ignorance.

Millennial angst appeal

July 21st.  Exactly five months to go before everything goes kablooie!  August, September, October, November and most of December.  At least according to those who believe that the end of the Mayan calendar on 21st December this year means the planet goes pear shaped and only those who prepare and believe will be ‘saved’.  Is everyone ready?  Are some of you getting ready to leave ahead of the rush?  Do any of you have any spare valuables hanging around and are concerned that they will just get wasted when humanity is wiped off the face of the planet by the coming end of all things?

Well worry no more because the Bill Sticker fund for the pointless acquisition of mere expensive fripperies is here to help.  Simply donate your hideous wealth by sending me legal title to your worldly goods, and I promise, hand on heart, that I will not waste them foolishly.  Simply leave the correctly filled out change of title with a reputable firm of lawyers, and sufficient funds to cover upkeep for 12 calendar months, and you can face your maker with a clean conscience and spiritual bill of health.

The Bill Sticker fund is undertaking this selfless and magnanimous gesture because we understand the awful burden being filthy rich can bring, and therefore, for the next five months only will provide this Karma cleaning service for a modest fee to all those wishing to offload their spiritually staining lucre.  In the case of the world ending, those who avail themselves of this service will see the Staff of the Bill Sticker fund go to Hell (At the end of their lives through natural causes) on behalf of their previously rich clients for at least half of eternity.  In the case of rapture or rescue by impossibly wise aliens from this blighted world, we at the Bill Sticker fund will hold your goods in escrow for six months before disposal, thus saving our clients from needless post paradise admittance guilt and anxiety while they can feel free to sneer down at us from their spiritually liberated and elevated position.

In the case of the world not ending, we will only retain half of your donation as a secondary millennial angst relief measure.  Thus relieving you from having the sense of narrowly missed Nirvana by a quirk of fickle fate.  Please give freely, because when the end of the world comes, remember, you won’t be ably to take it with you.  Trying to do so will only make your deity of choice extremely cross with the attendant risk of perpetual damnation, or the wise aliens shake sagacious enlightened heads (or comparable non human sensory clusters) at the idiot trying to shoehorn his mansion through the matter transference portal with only five minutes before total global annihilation.

This has been a public service announcement.  Thankyou.

Disclaimer; Unfortunately we are not a caretaking, janitorial or property management organisation, and cannot be held responsible for the condition of your donated property should it be damaged by natural or unnatural causes. A minimum payment of one standard ingot of gold or platinum bullion (400 Troy ounces, 12.4kg or 27.4lb avoirdupois) is required one month in advance.

More changes to the point of view.

Have made a few alterations to the look of the blog. Comments and such are on the front page now, but you`ll have to scroll way down to the bottom as with this theme there is no room for sidebars. I did toy with the idea of an animated header, but that would have been a little over the top, even for me.

Stepdaughters are on their travels shortly. One back to blighty to complete legal studies, the other to Africa, and thence to Australia to work. We`re subbing them out of course, and they are staying with friends and family, so no rent and food bills etc. We`ll get the payback in later years, seeing them comfortably ensconced in good careers. Not that this will be appreciated, but that`s my cynicism for you. There it is! I was wondering where it had gone!

No doubt they will have many travelers tales to recount about the long wait at immigration at Heathrow and how many times they were searched on the way to see certain events at the London Olympics. Not that I`d go myself, worked there for a few years and had a bellyful. Sure the money`s not bad, but quite frankly I`d rather bed down in a nest of rattlesnakes. However, we all have to learn for ourselves.

The sun is taking a rest break behind clouds for the next four days, which will give my sunburn time to turn into tan. The pool is covered and there is work to do.

Changing the point of view

Just playing around with wordpress themes really. Nothing much to report apart from some minor issues with my Interweb browsers. Firefox has been problematic of late as far as videos are concerned, something to do with Realplayer and Shockwave Flash. Can’t be bothered to fix it any more, so Chrome has been getting more use. Firefox may find itself going the way of Internet Explorer and Netscape Navigator. It’s not that I don’t like it, it’s just that I’m ticked off with having to mess around under the hood, so to speak.

As far as I’m concerned, Firefox is becoming like a vintage car. Looks great, even sounds wonderful; but getting a bit too slow, and getting too maintenance heavy.

Have been messing around with the blog template just to see what happens in a kind of Fisher-Price way.

The theory of cock-up part 1

There are some sources that will try to convince you that there is some huge ‘New World Order’ or ‘Bilderberg’ or whatever global conspiracy to grind all free men under the heel of some totalitarian boot heel. While I have a good deal of sympathy towards those who espouse these views, and understand that there are those who are attempting to work towards such an end I understand these dreams of power are doomed to failure. My own view is that the enemies of free men and women everywhere are more prone to fall under the category of ‘aspirational but inept’. The evidence for this contention is everywhere in plain sight, and does not require a massive intellect to spot.

To quote the Scottish poet Robbie Burns; the best laid plans ‘o mice and men gang aft a-gley.” In short; fuck up rules. The world is FUBAR. The first time this principle was openly vouchsafed by a public figure was in a furore over the relaxation of UK Sunday licensing laws. I believe the actual quote was; “It wasn’t a conspiracy – it was cock-up” The American version of which is known as Hanlons Razor. A pithier, more generalised form was uttered by Sir Bernard Ingham; “Many journalists have fallen for the conspiracy theory of government. I do assure you that they would produce more accurate work if they adhered to the cock-up theory.”

Living in Britain during the Blair years, and watching Brown decimate the UK economy (And two of my pension plans – the bastard) I was constantly struck by the ineptness of these people. They wanted power, but had not a clue what to do with it, nor the vaguest understanding of the things they sought power over. The situation has not improved with a PR man in the hot seat. You might as well have put Madame Tracey, Owner / Manager of ‘Curl up and Dye’ in the governmental driving seat, and I think said imaginary hairdresser might be doing a better job than the current incumbent. Same for the current Federal US administration.

Notwithstanding, my contention is that for every evil genius plotting world domination with scarred and bandaged hands from petting a bad tempered White Persian cat, there must be a dozen henchmen who bunk off early on Friday leaving critical henching jobs until Monday, having inconvenient bouts of illness, or bulk deleting important emails concerning plans for world domination after a heavy on the intoxicants long weekend. Having inconvenient dental appointments, or simply saying “But Boss… I thought you meant…” Which are pretty poor words to end a life as the trapdoor over the Piranha tank drops from under their feet. Even the late Ozzy B must have repeatedly ground his teeth to his jawline as a minion got cold feet over dying for his cause, or simply missed their bus because they got gossiping to an old friend on a point of religious dogma, or simply forgot to put a fresh battery in a detonator or soldered wire A to connection C instead of B. Fired a rocket launcher from within a car without opening the window to let out the backblast, toasting all within the vehicle. Bought raw materials for bomb making with their own personal credit card. I’m sure any anti-terrorist officer worth his salt can come up with a list of these comedy terrorist failures as long as your and their arm put together. The point is, the grander and more complex the scheme, the more likely it is that there will be too many potential points of failure.

Anyone who has been engaged in large scale IT projects, or even keeping a modest database completely up to date will be aware of this singular fact. ID Cards were (and still are) an expensive accident waiting to happen simply because databases are not static. Data values change with every passing hour and rapidly go out of date without constant intervention (Subject to aforementioned quality of staff and their motivation). The various schemes to bind everyone in red tape only work if everyone obeys the rules implicitly, not taking short cuts, or forgetting to check for typo’s. Show me such a perfect organisation with perfect staff, and I’ll show you the dayglo pixies living in my back yard.

Other examples would be the Euro. Wind and Solar power likewise. All top down, ill thought projects which were politically and ideologically driven. Ones that make no room for human fallibility. Schemes that are not practical but political. Aspirational rather than realistic. This is their weakness.

Practical objects work because they have purpose; a wheel rolls because it is round and will roll downhill until it reaches the bottom or falls over halfway and is left to rust. Certainly not because it is simply pushed. Purely political projects fail because they are impractical. Let’s look at the current mania for Wind Turbines. The only reason these things are going up is because they are huge subsidy generators, not because they are in any way, shape or form cost efficient generators of electricity. Greed, not need is behind their proliferation. The current Wind boom is a taxpayer funded bubble which is due to burst when the subsidies dry up, which is beginning to happen right now (Spain and Portugal – look it up). Simply because increased energy costs have demonstrably artificially prolonged the current world recession, meaning fewer employers are hiring, even more are laying off because they cannot afford to invest, so the downward spiral continues. To keep the subsidies mill turning the tax take has to increase, even though the taxpayer base is shrinking due to increased unemployment; which is due at least in part, to increased energy costs.

Again, the vicious circle tightens. The pips are squeaking and there is no more real money left in the system. The mania for ‘green’ jobs can therefore be seen to be destroying the real economy for which we will all suffer. The attempt to create a top down initiated ‘green’ economy can clearly be demonstrated to be a complete failure.

Not that anyone wanted everything to go tits-up, far from it, but the road to hell being paved as it is, this is what is happening and what must stop. Unfortunately it won’t. Not until those myopic carbon credit slobberers with their snouts slurping snugly in the subsidy trough have their swill supply cut off. That’s the problem, and it won’t go away until the subsidies do. Reliance upon expensive and unsustainable (Without subsidies wind and solar power technology will never be good enough) forms of energy generation because of the erroneous belief that carbon dioxide is a significant climate driver. That’s the cock up, and it’s so bloody huge that when it fails it will take half the world’s economy with it. Unless viable alternatives are allowed to be exploited.

On the other hand this seems to me like a self correcting situation. The subsidies will dry up because there’s no more money left, the political Environmental lobby that has demanded the ‘Green’ this and that will wither and die because their funding will shrivel. Their patrons money supply will evaporate as they move on to other tax-teats to suckle. Why? Because the political environmentalists do not do or produce anything useful, their memorial will be the stumps and rusting towers of defunct wind turbines when the subsidies dry up, and the West will slink into a dark age, silent but for the scratching of quills in candlelight as scholars and economic historians argue over what really happened. Not that there will be a dark age. Newer forms of affordable energy are becoming available, and unless the politico’s (Who, let’s face it, aren’t all that clever – most of them wouldn’t be in politics if they were really intelligent) completely fuck things up and somehow succeed against all the odds, at making more efficient energy resources illegal or too expensive, things shouldn’t get too bad. There’s no money for exploiters in abject poverty – apart for slum landlords and low pay exploiters. If you enjoy irony, you’ll understand this is the other side of ‘sustainability’.

However, in what passes for democracy in this day and age, policy swings with the political pendulum and that swings in time to the mood of a populace. Because when people finally understand that they’ve being played for fools, that mood can swing faster than a schizophrenic on bad acid. Policy can’t keep up, and tumbrils roll. In the meantime, the only people to get hurt by subsidy inflated energy costs will be John Q Public, who in their underinformed wisdom, vote for said politico’s, and fail to see that they are being bribed with their own money. Not that anyone who is part of the vested interests is going to ‘fess up and tell them what is in front of their own eyes. We humans are that good at deluding ourselves.

So there you have it; a classic example of how greed contains the seeds of its own undoing, and how cock-up both birthed and will bury it. Cock-up, Screw up, SNAFU, whatever, rules.

Another post on BC ‘Smart’ meters

Have been doing a little walking and talking (But mostly listening) of late, and heard some quite interesting snippets about these so-called ‘Smart’ meters.

Apart from the Smart meter recall initiative.

Word is that some smart meters are going back because too many ‘don’t work properly’

Word is that none of the meters are currently connected to the promised ‘Smart grid’ because of ‘issues’.

Word is that all the old meters won’t be reinstalled because they’ve already been ‘recycled’.

Word is there’s a political scandal brewing rather like that of the current furore over BC Liquor Distribution Licenses. Promises were made by politicians, then after a few visits from lobbyists, bing! “Smart grids are the future”. Verrrrry interesting.

Of course all the above is merely coffee shop gossip. Yet while gossip is often exaggerated and not wholly accurate, there is a seam of truth in what I’ve been hearing.

An old satellite and a song

Today is the 50th Anniversary of Telstar, the first proper TV relay satellite. This song is also from that time. As is the one below. Slightly weird, but fun. In a geeky sort of way.

Elder sibling bought a copy, or had it bought for him, and I found it in his old record collection. Honest guv. I used to play it on his old record deck, a mahogany cased monster of a thing. Good grief, the memories flood back. 405 line TV sets (The ones you had to hit to get a half decent picture), hiding behind the sofa during Doctor Who (William Hartnell era), and when Ford Zodiac Mark II’s were thought to be the bees articular interfaces.

Summer!

In contrast to last years relative washout, I am happy to confirm that Summer is here in BC. The outdoor pool has seen use while Mrs S and I were up in the mountains, and the outlook is for blue skies and a steady 25-31 degrees Celsius. Huzzah! About time too. The seemingly near constant rain was really getting on my nerves.

Now before any clever clogs claims this period of warmer weather is indicative of globule warming (climate change – whatever), and we are all still doomed, I’d like to point out that studies from San Francisco and Mainz in Germany (See articles in The Register and Wattsupwiththat) have conclusively ‘decoupled’ Carbon dioxide and climate. Man made or not. So back to the drawing board, scaremongers!

The studies, drawn from ocean sediment cores as proxies and more reliable data than a single tree from Yamal, indicate cooling over the past 2000 years. To quote the Stark family saying from ‘Game of Thrones’, “Winter is coming.” But not yet. Not for a long time. So don’t panic.

Sockpuppets

I’ve been taking some of my free time away from watching the antics of Hummingbirds outside my kitchen window (I’ve set up a feeder there) to read Chris Snowdon’s IEA report; ‘Sockpuppets – how the government lobbies itself and why‘. I’ve also been looking up cases where charitable status has been withdrawn and why in search of some form of possible solution to the issue. Here are three suggestions;

Solution 1: Charitable institutions may not lobby government.
Attractive but unworkable. Charities need to have some lobbying component in order to speak up for the cause they represent.

Solution 2: No more Government funding, or funding from NGOs. Again, unworkable, those who run the NGO’s will find proxies to fund people they have sympathy with.

Solution 3: Disband / defund all NGO’s. No more money for these dumping grounds for the inconvenient / incompetent with powerful friends. No more sinecures for retired politicians or their friends. This will still leave charities open to financial manipulation from large trusts with their own agenda, but it will at least stop governments playing the same game. However, making charities more financially transparent (With which true charitable trusts will have no issue) should level out the playing field, and threatening to withdraw the charitable tax status of activists and lobbyists might help.

The test of a true charity like the Red Cross for example, should always be “What good have you done lately?” By ‘good’ I mean lives saved, wells drilled, people helped, infrastructure rebuilt and messes cleaned up. Protest or advocacy should not on their own count as charitable activities. Charities should be seen, as the major part of their activities, to get their hands dirty. Many do. Those that do not, aren’t. It’s not difficult.