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Fight Fake News (FFN)

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Right, we now have a superb opportunity to use good old fashioned investigative journalism and contemporary social capitalism to test two news stories, one slightly more important than the other:

  1. Yesterday, there was an explosion at a nuclear plant operated by the French. They say there is no risk of nuclear contamination / leakage. We have heard that before, but currently no one outside the plant knows, so how about the operators invite the world’s media over for a looksi? If it is so safe, (and it may well be), then they will have no hesitation to allow people to enter the plant without any protective gear and unfettered access to all areas. Energy plants are part owned by and for the public, so unlike a corporate facility where IP will need to remain hidden, they should have nothing to hide.
  2. As is customary this time of year, the UK’s tabloid media are predicting an apocalyptic 4 INCHES of snow this weekend. My Lord, we’re all going to die! It’s a wrap. Up. They have been saying this for years now and been wrong on each count. This leads me to an idea (“Ding!”), a news service that pays compensation to their readers/subscribers for each story that is proven inaccurate. Maybe even offer rewards to journalists for accuracy of reporting? After all, if you visit a restaurant and the service is sup par, the manager will sometimes reduce the bill or offer a complimentary desert. On the other hand, if the service is outstanding, you’ll drop a fiver on the silver tray as you grab that enticing chocolate mint. Likewise, if your train is very late, you are now entitled to a full or partial refund from the operator.

Fight BS club: Prove it!

UPDATE 2: February 21 2017 – Uhm…

UPDATE: February 16 2017 – Well, not a peep about the reactor explosion in France since. So, the media are all laying into Trump, but not investigated an explosion at a nuclear plant FFS!*

And of course, approximately 10% of the UK was dusted in literally less than 0.5mm of ‘snow’ that melted quicker than a precious snowflake at an anti-Trump rally.

Fake news? More like, no news of importance!

*Fudge Fudge Sugar


Written by Oflife

February 10, 2017 at 12:06 pm

Posted in Journalism, Media, Uncategorized

Tagged with

Idealog: News By Importance

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For over 15 years, been keen to suggest to another entrepreneur or have my company develop a service that displayed the news in such a way that each story was ordered and scored by importance. With few exceptions, the media tend to headline based on the immediacy, voyeuristic or short term ‘shock and awe’ value of a story, rather than it’s long term threats to a significant portion of the population and/or social stability. So, whilst in full on creative/achievement mode both on a personal and professional level, here’s a sample mockup feed based on the news TODAY only:

A few name ideas

  1. PNN – Priority News Network
  2. NBP  – News by Priority
  3. NBI – News by Importance
  4. NBT – News by Threat
  5. Etc! Any ideas?

Mockup example news feed

As of Friday 12 April 2013 – 23:21 GMT only

  1. Deaths by Bird Flu in China (NBC News)
    • 5/90 – Seriousness based on the Spanish Flu outbreak over 80 years ago. Positive contribution, population reduction = more parking spaces down town. (Humor.) If this was a real feed, NBI would need to seek multiple sources of educated opinion as to whether the threat was genuine rather than scare mongering. Slow incubating viruses are the most dangerous.

#birdflu #virus #h7n9 #h5n1 #flu #medicine #contagious #outbreak #apocalypse

  • Funeral of Lady Thatcher (BBC)
    • 50/60 – Could re-ignite class based civil unrest, initially in the UK, then abroad. Benefit, provides release to some, posthumous positive role model for others.

#politics #society #margaretthatcher

  • North Korea may launch missile to avoid losing face (BBC)
    • 30/40  Little danger unless of an accident and the missile hits a built up area triggering a conflict. Benefit, may force the world/USA to resolve the North Korea issue once and for all, to the benefit of all sides.

#politics #war #northkorea #nuclearweapons

  • Bionic hands (CNN)
    • 75/5 – A positive development that could improve the quality of life for those who have lost the use of one or more limbs or appendages. Only threat, misuse as a weapon – strangulation etc in the event of stronger than nature technology.

#medicine #medical #technology #robotics #cyber

  • Celebs engage in activities (Daily Mail)
    • 1/100 – Positives, increase sales of the same newspaper that focuses on some issues close to this blogger’s heart. (Not kidding!) Negatives, provides ongoing reasons for women to gossip, embarasses the people mentioned, further reduces the intellectual capacity of those addicted to such stories such that they fail to grasp the importance of those higher up the NBI feed.

#society #celebrities #schadenfreude #voyeurism

Of course, if there is an Earthquake or other disaster, this would immediately appear at the top along with any government advice/contact numbers etc, something that occurs in the regular news media anyway, so on that count, there is little need for change. Further, in a real feed, those tags below each story would act as hyperlinked filters.

Sorry! WordPress is breaking my html, each story is supposed to be numbered, from 1 to X, where X is the number of stories. The last </ol> tag keeps vanishing! Why? So annoying! #halp #html #wordpress

Written by Oflife

April 12, 2013 at 11:00 pm

Posted in Idealog, Journalism, The media

Tagged with , , ,

#Asylum #Lunatics #Running

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As most who I dialog with within the pubs of Oxford know, the book that had the greatest influence on my life and beliefs was Lord Of The Flies by William Golding. Whilst not specifically a commentary on the pitfalls of allowing inexperienced ‘incomplete’ humans to be given the reins, (from what I understand LOTF was more a study of how cruel the young can be), it was a heads-up to related issues. That has has been one of the guiding concepts behind this blog. Events mainly involving the British media have reinforced this view considerably.

Today, we have yet another example of how unprincipled / incomplete individuals have been given positions of ‘power’ leading to initially privacy invading consequences, and then tragedy, or as I like to call it, murder by humiliation. (It should be noted that television programming like X-Factor, Dragon’s Den and Strictly Come Dancing that profit from schadenfreude rather than the performances are little different.)

Recently I made the decision to begin publishing opinions on this blog that stood a high degree of threatening my relationship with friends, mainly in the password protected CORETEX section of this blog. (This would be no huge loss, my core friends share my values, and whilst that doesn’t mean we are right, it does at least allow us to gain strength from shared principles, support others with the same opinions and dialog with those who disagree – creating a productive discourse.)

Well, I’m going to go out on a limb here and suggest people of any age must have to apply for a license before they can be put into a position of power, whether it be pirate radio, a twitter account, a blog, a local rag, a major publication or national leadership. Said license to be based on similar characteristics to say an airline pilot whose behaviour effects the lives of quite a number of people. (For the record, I would happily apply for such a license for the right to publish this blog.)

Stanley Tucci as Caesar in The Hunger Games

© 2012 Lionsgate

Broadcasting or publishing is no different than owning/using an aircraft, dog, gun or high explosive and should therefore be treated such. Said license would not of course be based on political views, but on behaviour, with guidelines driven by the rule of law, including libel, health effects and other characteristics. Breach of such license should be punishable by a lengthy jail term, not a financial penalty, else a large entity may simply write off the cost against potential profits.

Freedom of speech is one thing, freedom to do anything you want to harm another individual without warrant is another.

Many have criticised Rupert Murdoch for what his publications did. Actually, he wasn’t in the loop and his YOUNGER staff engaged in unprincipled behaviour as was made fairly clear in the Leveson enquiry when Mr. Murdoch got to speak – under oath, if I am correct?

Entities that started out with grounded or ‘cool’ ideas have gotten out of control, bringing schoolyard behavior to the masses, humiliating and insulting people in public, breaching their privacy, making false or guilty until proven innocent accusations, not to mention public tittle-tattle that belongs in the toilet.

The issue today is that such a large proportion of the global population (in particular in the West) has been dumbed down, that few focus their energies on more pertinent issues, such as attacking or humiliating large corporations who are trashing the planet or (related) politicians who have vested interest in the dirtier way.

Fight back club: Support my suggestion for a license to broadcast no matter the medium, or at the very least, significantly stricter laws on what one can say about or do to other people without their prior permission and in the event of an accusation, a significan amount of legally binding proof.

Update: Sad to learn that a dignified broadcaster and all round (no pun intended!) super guy, Sir Patrick Moore has passed away. What a contrast between him and those this post is mainly about. And how much better our world would be if young people were able to watch his program rather than the trash that is shown during the healthier earlier hours of the day.

Written by Oflife

December 7, 2012 at 10:12 pm

nfi: validated crowd sourced news

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In view of the significant discrepancies with regards to events at Gatwick Airport today, and of course, conflicting reports/rumours from other incidents – Titanic included, surely it is time a service is developed that ensures witnesses to an event whose statements are made public go through a validation system first. In particular considering how fast rumours spread across the Internet through social media and emails.

Such a Citizen Journalist Rating? (CJR) system would be similar to those product review websites where the reviewers must provide information to authenticate who they say they are and in some cases, their qualifications. This would ensure any citizen (and trained!) journalist would build up an honorable reputation. Ideally, you want a few 5 star CJ’s at the next controversial incident!

With events like air crashes and other man made disasters, lengthy investigations and court cases will in most cases provide the truth, however, in other situations, in particular, murder, war, chaotic riots etc, there may be inaccurate reporting that can lead to individuals or groups being unjustly humiliated, vilified or even punished. In the case of this emergency landing, even the type of aircraft was reported incorrectly, and then there were reports a lithium ion battery caught fire, and then, there was no fire, not to mention the panicing flight attendants, who in reality, were doing their job to get people off the aircraft, just in case there was a fire. Clarity not.

nfi = need for invention!


Fight back club: Coders? Make it so!

Written by Oflife

April 16, 2012 at 7:48 pm

Posted in Journalism, NFI


with one comment

Ok. Several of you are keen to hear my views on Wikileaks. Problem is, I am way way too busy with work, that shall, until retirement, take presidence over blogging, tweeting and other social media induced distractions from the tasks at hand. Which is a pity, as this is a very important issue for several reasons that have already been discussed in this here blog.

Until the last release of cables, my views on Wikileaks where similar to those of student fees and one or two other subjects; On the fence! Arguments from all sides were reasonable, so it is difficult to form a rigid opinion. And that is one of the benefits of a free thinking flexible democracy, no? We scream and shout and compromise.

© 1977 Columbia Pictures

Where Wikileaks went wrong, undermining any good intentions was to release cables disclosing the whereabouts of ‘targets’ that if attacked by terrorists (or other entities), would threaten our national security, food supply and/or energy generation. The middle target pretty much several magnitudes of importance over all else. If you consider Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, we can suffice without power, but we cannot live without food. Remember what happened when we had a little snow a few weeks ago, and within just 1 or 2 days, supermarket shelves emptied due to panic buying? 1 or 2 days! Hungry animals will do ANYTHING to feed their babies.

This single release may well lead to untold harm to thousands of innocent people, including those who support Wikileaks.

It showed a selfish self serving attitude that causes one to question the precise motives of those behind it all. Whose side are they on exactly? Themselves, or the good people of the world, no matter their creed?

I will write more on all this after completing work deadlines.

Fight back club: Avoid letting the Close Encounters of the Third Kind effect tarnish your cause. That concept explained somewhere else in this blog refers to a specific scene in that outstanding movie where Richard Dreyfuss is in a room full of dubious* UFO fanatics who undermine the fact he really did see a UFO.

* #moonshine

Written by Oflife

December 6, 2010 at 10:49 am

Posted in Journalism, The media

Tagged with

Publish – and damn you?

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The events today concerning one of the most decent, honest and likeable UK politicians (who should have become PM), his family and a colleague are so appalling that I have re-activated VA just to post this. (During important work deadlines I de-activate the blog so I am not distracted by the urge to write.)

Beyond the behaviour of the print media who need the sales and advertising revenue so will ‘print anything’ to get eyeballs, we have the issue of blogs and forums where people are today free to literally say anything about anyone with no due process. An established newspaper (say, the New York Times or Daily Telegraph) will be comprised of considerate trained journalists who subscribe to specific codes of conduct: Discover a story, research it, double check the facts, ask the editor – and publish. (Or something like that.) And the reason for publishing is normally to uphold the public good by revealing something that may threaten our way of life or be illegal. In the case of disclosing something about the government, such revelations keep democracy in check by providing a counterbalance to overeaching power.

However, where we have a problem is in accepting and allowing (often self serving) rumor or voyeuristic behavior by just about anyone to be used to ‘generate’ a news story – without any concrete evidence, or more importantly, a viable reason to bring such rumours to the public attention. Beyond today’s appalling events, on certain technology blogs – and in direct contrast to how things were during the far more honorable 1980s, fairly successful entrepreneurs are sometimes insulted by random (envious?) individuals on public forums, with little chance of the targets being able to defend themselves prior to the publishing of the comments – which in most cases, are not moderated.


Fight back club: Surely it is time for the law (national, International?) to be changed so that anything published on a public forum that may cause unjustified distress to an innocent until proven guilty individual or individuals must be examined and validated by a qualified superior.

Update (2 Jan 2011): The boy friend of a recently murdered young lady appears to agree. See last few paragraphs here.

Written by Oflife

September 1, 2010 at 8:19 pm

Posted in Journalism, Law

Tagged with , , , , ,

Minority Report(er)

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One of the trigger points for putting much effort into this blog several years ago was my observation and first hand experience that the authorities were using entrapment to carry out (so called)  ‘law and order’. I won’t detail these events now, but it looks like the media are now engaging in such practices too – all for the same reasons as the authorities – profit.

The manner in which an innocent (possibly true?) remark by a recently resigned official of the Football Association was enticed out of him during a private conversation is out of order. And it is great to see that others feel the same way.

Fight back club: Speak your mind and don’t go wobbly when the PC brigade turn up.

Written by Oflife

May 18, 2010 at 6:52 pm

Posted in Journalism

iPhone ‘4G/HD’ ‘leak’

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The law needs to rapidly decide where the line can be drawn between blogging and credible journalism. Journalists exist to protect our democracy by challenging any diversion from that path. Bloggers exist to express opinion. It is the view of this here blogger that assuming what has been reported is true, Apple are very much in their rights to take action against whoever obtained their property. (And the engineer who lost it should not be punished, it was an accident.)

Whilst intentionally leaked ‘Mr. Blurrycam’ images of future gadgets and cars have been a permanent fixture of publications for decades, engaging in deceptive behaviour or spoiling the official launch party for an as yet announced product is inexcusable, no matter how much the Adsense revenue is worth.

Sorry to post this so long after the story broke, been a bit busy with work and more pertinent postings.

Written by Oflife

April 29, 2010 at 1:47 pm

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