Thursday, August 30, 2012

Gettin Real

I saw an ad on a music channel, something about it stuck and made me think, and I guess that is the point of ads (I can't believe I am posting about an ad).

It was for the Toyota GT 86 (I had to look it up ^_^ I remembered it was a red Toyota GT something). The thing is I guess it must have been aimed at guys, but some of the underlying concept chimed with me also (I can't believe I am posting about a car ad).

It has this sort of noir look, like say sl’s Dead End City but I am guessing might owe more to Grand Theft Auto (seen but never played).

In the Ad the Avie is in this sim looking to “score” something real. He knows the place to go. You see a real burger and a real plant, then he picks up the Toyota, real and covered in a dust sheet in a garage.

He drives round town, none to careful of the paintwork, like footage from some traffic cops reality show, but less fuzzy. Then, in a kind of Thelma and Loise moment, uses the car to smash right out of the sim into reality.

There is an empty road one second and then in a shower of shards the already real car is through into rl, on the road and off into the distance… no regrets…

Kind of reminds me of a "Fastball" track also, I'll leave you to guess what one.

On his own! He had a spare seat.... He could have taken me along for the ride (pouts).

So maybe the ad partly plays to the idea of avies being able to break out into rl? I guess it also plays to guys who have driven awesome cars virtually in games and might want to try it for real.

I thought after (weird thought), if rl was actually really a totally convincing sim, how could we ever tell?

Look for the developer’s short cuts and cheats maybe?

Friday, August 24, 2012

WikiLeaks Saga #III

Extradition and the US

This is fun, like being a detective... Your intrepid reporter investigates further...

Can we say what the US Government’s real thinking on Assange is? Officially not much going on in the open. It looks like they don’t want to make any pronouncements to destabilise the situation.

Semi Officialy? Well VP Joe Biden has publicly identified Assange as a "hi-tech terrorist”. There really have been calls for Assange to be hunted down and killed (tho not from the Government) and Hills Clinton is said to see some of what WikiLeaks has done as “an attack on the international community”.

A grand jury in Virginia looks to be preparing a case of espionage against Assange and WikiLeaks. Also a recent leak (Ironically ^_^) suggested that the US government has already issued a secret sealed indictment against Assange.

Also you never know when some DA or ex DA with an eye to the next step on the political ladder might try something on, just look at the Lawsky vs Standard Chartered Bank shake down. A nest of vipers being burned out by a righteous All American hero? Or some poor old unsuspecting elephant in a ruthless poachers sights?

So there is enough smoke to seriously suggest flames. To suggest that the US has the “hots” ^_^ for Assange. That those who matter think he may have done them harm and ought to pay.

The UK government (more later) seems absolutely and self destructively crazily desperately keen to ship Assange off to Sweden presto allegro. How come?

Is Assange right to worry about being extradited to the US by Sweden? Everyone involved is sure being careful to avoid promising it won’t happen for sure.

If it were me, and I am honest, I guess I would not want to trust it wouldn’t happen. Would you?

It seems more like to me that this so called "SEX-CRIME!!" is really mostly a “he said/she said” nothing much of anything and I do wonder how it is still in the air.

Is there really any reason it could not be done by an interview? Even conference e-link? Would there really be any real forensic evidence?

Is there really any credible case or chance of a prosecution, or is it more an excuse to get him to Sweden?

Political Assylum the Brits and Ecuador

Assange has, maybe not absolutely without reason, felt he needed to obtain political asylum, to avoid extradition from the UK. He popped into the Ecuadorian Embassy while waiting extradition to claim asylum.

While he was in there the British Foreign office, mostly known for their devotion to the UKs membership of the European Union, and (touchingly) the belief in their regularly channelling Machiavelli ^_^ if you would believe the more hairy anti Brit US survivalist conspiracy sentiment and many arab/middle east states.

The British press seem to be mostly briefed against him, talking of him being holed up in a tiny stuffy room they do seem to especially like the word stuffy. There are dozens of cops surrounding the Embassy.

So why would those officials for some weird crazy reason threaten or at least suggested the police might be able to try to justify raiding the Ecuadorian embassy to arrest Assange? .

If it was a terrorist siege with gun play maybe, but for this?

They must have known what they were suggesting was against the spirit the law they were trying to use was drafted in and if they did it, it would weaken the diplomatic protection of British embassies in many places where the Geneva convention barely protects them.

All it did was make up the Equadorian’s minds for them and mobilise practically all of South American opinion against The Brits, and probably badly weaken their position against Argentina in the continent, something way more important than Assange. How is a Latino guy going to react if he is threatened/insulted in public?

What is going on with that? On the face of it it looked to have been plain crazy, inept stupid, and I am being nice here..

If it wasn’t that then it is so deep I have not figured the angle yet.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

WikiLeask Saga #II

Julian Assange and Extradition... for so-called Sex crimes

The MSM are always a bit “reticent” about the Swedish so-called sex charges against Julian Assange. I did some digging and I am a little less ambivalent on this subject than I was before.

From what I can find out Assange “went to bed” with two (I think slightly scary) women who were friends, not at the same time, ^_^ something like consecutive nights .

They had consensual sex, at the time, and a condom was used both times. But on the second one night stand the condom used broke at some point.

Some time later the two women compared notes. There is some evidence to suggest one of them, Anna Ardin (one night stand #2), decided to get the “two timer”, she carefully considered her options and came up with a doozy.

Now I think that this is the “relevant” bit, getting into the legal technicalities, because there is a suggestion the agreement to have sex was dependant on the use of a condom.

There is an argument that if he carried on after he was aware it broke without replacing it then the consent is no longer there. Best as I can tell the extradition is based round this. Unless some one can credibly tell me otherwize.

The thing is it sounds like she was not aware it broke till after, so call me naive and innocent but if she didn’t notice, would he have done? In the height of passion and all?

I probably won’t be so popular saying it but when you get into the height of passion if someone wants to change their minds they better be very clear and loud or they honestly just might not get actually heard with people concentrating on the job at hand.

And being, not so delicate here given the subject, there does come a point where all the evidence suggests to me that a guy really just can’t stop his bodily fluids doing what they do, the best he can do is try to withdraw.

So My question is, when does she think she withdrew consent? Can it be retroactive? Did she really withdraw it when she found out he had been with her friend as well?. Or from when he may have become aware the condom stress test failed? If it was after when they were arguing over the damp patch then that is crazy.

There are all sorts of things flying about to muddy the waters over this, but these is also some suggestion Ardin has her finger in quite a few pies, including a US Fundamentalist Christian one and an Israeli one. Interesting circles she moves in. Mata-Ardin?

WikiLeaks Saga #I

I have been thinking of doing a post on the whole Wiki leaks saga for a while, but it is all quite complicated.

I read an article that said support for Julian Assange is quite split. Not sure how big the sample was but basically it said guys mostly supported him and girls mostly didn’t.

Except for girls it was spilt with right and left being against him but with the committed “liberal element” more supporting him.

It also said women were much more ambivalent towards him because of the Swedish "sex crime" linked extradition request.

I think some of the opinion is not absolutely based on facts people bother to find out more on propaganda and lazy reporting.

I am sort of ambivalent in places. I think I do on balance support Wiki Leaks. I am not sure I would say I was “politically” Liberal, maybe more classically lassies fair liberal in places?

I think doing a whole post on all the connected stuff in one go would be totally cumbersome and really boring, even for someone interested. So I won’t do that. I’ll try to do it in bite sized chunks.

So first bite size chunk… WikiLeaks

I am restricting this part of the post to just that. No talking about such as Assange, who he may have slept with, extradition or asylum just yet.

My feelings about Wiki Leaks are quite complicated I do really believe that generally whistle blowers perform a good service to us all, and often suffer for doing it.

They bring wrong doing or terrible incompetence out into the light of day and often seem to have tried to fix things quietly before through channels that are supposed to work but get blocked. They get blocked and trodden on by their organisation.

Stuff ranging from pollution and environmental damage where the perpetrators want to conceal it to politicians taking what they are not entitled to on to Medical incompetence that costs lives. Keeping things hones and above board by the rules.

I did have some reservations about some of the intelligence/military related links because lives can be on the line and not always those of any “wrong doers”. Some information could maybe cause terrible damage so that is a difficult call. It is a difficult responsibility to decide.

On the other hand how much worse if covered up and then it comes out?

One thing is for sure. If you set yourself up to blow the whistle on any and everyone, right up to and including nations then you will have lots of very powerful enemies used to breaking eggs to make omelettes, who absolutely did not and do not want to be whistle blown on, justified or not.

Some people mis-interpret Union General and US Senator Carl Schurz’s “My country right or wrong” allowing them to justify terrible things.

I think Shursz was closer to the Wiki Leaks side of the argument than the uncritical so-called “patriot”

The full quote is: "My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right."

Generally I absolutely do see careful responsible last resort whistle blowing as a good thing. The aim should be to “set to right”.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Logical Fallacies II

Well here is a really good example of “Ad hominem, tu quoque”.

So good, and so soon after my post on it. I figured it could do with an extra extension to the post instead of a comment on it. Maybe it is really more a variation called “ad feminam”? You judge.

A gender neutral translation of ad hominem is "to the person", ad feminam is gender-specific and describes attacks on women, as women, or because they are women.

So what am I talking about? I was commenting about economics on a post I said I thought:

“…It all seems so wonderfully technical and complicated where only really, really, clever economists and bankers and such can understand it all, but that is bs. If you can balance a household budget you can understand this stuff. For me it helps thinking in terms of a household budget.”

And someone called Mark came back at me:

“Oh my goodness. That is it. That is it.
Do you agree that it is helpful to think of the national economy in terms of a household budget, Tom?”

To his credit Tom replied with an instant “Yes”

So unless I am being paranoid and Mark really had some damascene moment because of my wonderful insight into economics ^_^ then I think his comment was at least an ad hominem put down to me, and because I had put economics in terms of balancing a household budget (housekeeping being often seen as more a feminine/home maker thing) maybe it was more ad feminam?

His attack does nothing to actually attack the validity of my argument. It attacks me. It seemed he just reflexively saw it as a stupid comment to relate the two. But I was arguing that… to put it all fancy… a household budget can be regarded as a microcosm of the national budget in the macro economic environment. Like a wave tank in a lab can tell you how a ship might manage in a storm..

If he felt I was wrong in some way he was perfectly at liberty to tell me how and why. I can only guess he thinks I see it far too simply and need a patronising pat on the head to send me on my way back to the kitchen sink or something.

In his world you probably need to be a really, really, clever (Keynesian?) economist to understand not maxing out your plastic.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Oh, those Russians...

Well there seems to be so much to talk about just now. Spoiled for choice. The UK seems to be happily shooting foot off in mouth Just now with practically all of South America.

Maybe later? So in the interests of solidarity, a fairly gentle hard-ish (thinking polonium here) hat post about (swerve continents here)Pussy Riot.

For anyone who does not know. Pussy Riot is a Russian girl punk protest band.

They mostly protest against what they and many others see as the corruption of the Russian constitution, public life and democratic process that looks to be needed to keep the Putinvedev in charge.

So the girls staged a protest song in a church.. Now they have been sent down to the big house for two years on some trumped up “religious hatred” charge.

The thing is, it looks like the powers that be in Russia quite like it to be really “in your face” obvious they can get any one pisses them off enough, and if someone does time for “jaywalking” so much the better, as long as everyone knows why and no one can prove it.

It is quite a powerful message of intimidation.

The Leadership of the Orthodox Church obviously knows what side their bread is buttered on and seemed to go happlily with the travesty talking about blasphemy, or had any “second thoughts” conveniently waaay too late.

Shame on them, there was a time when the church was one of the few things could stand up and be counted, although that was maybe more Rome.

Maybe just being guurlz and not being taken too seriously by tough outdoorsy macho guy rulers has an advantage? So they have got to do a couple of years, at least they can’t easily be disappeared or shot in a dancing accident, could have been worse, no one invited them to tea.

(acknowledgements to Frank Farion, Fred Jay and George Reyam)

"There is a certain man in Russia don't you know
He is big and strong, in his eyes a flaming glow
Most people looked at him with terror and with fear
But to Moscow (Orthodox) chicks he was such a lovely dear


Thursday, August 16, 2012

Logical Fallacies - Bloggers and Commenter’s pitfalls

This post isn’t really "hard hat" post. Unless you are one of the people who does this ^_^.

This post sort of continues JMB's Latin theme and looks at one of a whole bunch of different kinds of broken logic/faulty reasoning.

They, as a group, are called “Logical Fallacies”. Tricks and mistakes that stop a person following the true logic of an argument and bury the actual facts, often by clouding them with emotion.

You see them sometimes in posts on some, mostly political, blogs and/or in some of the comments.

There are two reasons to use this sort of argument. One is you are smart enough to see it makes no real sense yourself, but cynically know that lots of people will not be able to work that out and will be convinced. So you can convince the careless and gullible and “win” an argument dishonestly. Political arguments are just the type these are used in.

Where it is more important for a person to “win” an argument and seem right, than to actually be right. Ok until a someone runs into the brick wall that was argued not to exist. Or relies on the brick wall it was argued existed to keep out a burglar.

The other reason is someone who doesn’t get it when something makes no sense and has no experience of real debate..

They are a fascinating subject all on their own and it is actually useful to know them, like it is useful to watch those TV programs about cowboy builders, fake products and con men. It is useful to know, so you can tell if someone is trying to con you and so you don’t fall for it.

If you spot a logical fallacy then you need to be wary of being suckered.

So. Here is one (and here comes the Latin tu Moggsy?). “Ad hominem tu quoque” (literally “to the man” and literally "you also"). It sounds way complicated and fancy, or even rude ^_^, but it isn’t at all. it is real simple. It is to do with attacking the person making an argument to try to make it seem invalid.

Here is an example and you will see. Imagine a father giving his son advice about marital fidelity saying:

“Son if you mess around behind that girl’s back you’ll regret it” (classic county and western theme here)

…and the son saying; “Oh Yeah! Like I’ll take that advice from someone who played around behind Mom’s back, is divorced and was never there for me”.

The son’s argument is a fallacious (great word that also sounds really quite dirty ^_^) because it is about the father’s character. The father in the example might be being hypocritical, He might be selfish, he might have messed up, he might also be speaking from regret and hard won experience.

Whatever… _None_ of it makes what the father says less logical, less valid.

Apropos of nothing special, except maybe the verbal fallacy of equivocation and an implied syllogism..

“Why did Farmer Giles get awarded the Nobel prize?”
…Because he happened to be out standing ^_^ in his field.