The LBC topic this week is online shopping, and this isn't about online shopping, but metamathematical analysis and predications to the London riots and looting which took place in 2011.
Hannah Fry from UCL has a nice video for the analysis. It seems that, yes the riots could be predicted, how the riot would spread, but not the spark to set things off. It turns out that the distribution of rioters travelling to the riots match the distribution of shoppers travelling (or rather retail spending flows).
And as for the five finger discount, or "shopping with violence", matches shopping analysis and also the predator-prey model.
Looking at mobile phone analysis (memo, turn your phone in the airplane mode, or off before rioting), the spread of the "idea to riot" follows the contagion model, and the spark zones matches the recent budget cuts.
Which means I need to look at the new austerity measures a lot more closely…
1. The number of Sun on Sundays (aka the 7th Day Sun, aka The Sun Of The World) purchased on its inaugural printing will be approximately equal to the number of the last edition of The News Of The World purchased.
2. The number for the second issue of the Sun On Sunday sold will be a good bit lower.
3. The LBC crew will be wondering why I’m not talking about this week’s topic, especially since its one of my suggestions this week. Sorry guys.
The call came from my Mum. “Will you buy me a copy”. This is the same request I received for the last edition of the News of the Screws. It’s not a paper that gets read in the house.
That is not to say that its never been purchased. Occasionally a CD or DVD was purchased with a free copy of the paper attached, but without the media bribe it, for us, remained on the shelf.
The numbers for the first issue will be trumpeted while its publisher remains under a legal cloud following its phone and computer hacking scandal continues. This is the scandal that prevented the Murdoch purchase of the remaining share of British Sky Broadcasting and lead to the closure of the Sunday paper that the new Sun is printing.
I did notice that the glossy “Fabulous” magazine that used to be bundled with the old title and continued to appear in the Sun On Saturday is now returned to a Sunday title. Back with the old.
One interesting thorn that will be pulled at is, will this new paper be treated as a new paper, or will it be smeared with the sins of the former title for a while? Time is going to tell this one. I guess that the April ABC figures will be the ones that show the greater truth. Unless, of course, they start attaching more media bribes I’ll be asked to collect.
Ubuntu, as well as being a very good operating system translates roughly from the South African root (not sure which language, sorry) in to English as “pleasure derived from the good fortune of others”. Its direct counterpart is found in German, namely Schadenfreude; “the pleasure derived from the bad fortune of others”.
For the last two weeks, its been a guilty pleasure working its way through the UK after the shock and anger has subsided. All of this has been aimed squarely at Rupert Murdoch.
I’m actually writing about this due to asking about the Loose Bloggers Consortium (LBC) that Grannymar writes with. That and I need a deadline to work with. This week’s topic, nominated by Anu is “Guilty Pleasures”.
And for many in in UK at least, there is pleasure to be derived… let’s ask John Finnemore on the BBC’s “Now Show“…
If you have been living in a cave (or in a compound using only dead letter drops containing USB disks for news updates) for the last few years you would have missed the power of Rupert Murdoch and News International. This man owns media properties throughout the world (and a few satellites above it) most famously a stable of newspapers in the UK and Fox News in the US. The man has had power, power to undermine and control the thrones of power in very high places. Prime Ministers, arguably Presidents, but certainly congressmen and Senators and, if the allegations are true, police were under his sway. And now he is falling from grace because of a child called Milly.
He is currently facing investigations in the UK, and the allegations of possible hacking of the telephones of 9/11 victims and their families have sparked FBI and Senate investigations in the US. Its conceivable that News International, now a US based company, may either be broken up, or will be forced to shed all the Murdoch family members at its heart.
It turns out that hacking a mobile phone, in Ireland at least, is actually pathetically easy. You have to know your victims phone number, say 081-1234567. If you dial 081-5-1234567 you go directly to their voicemail, and can attempt a remote login. Depending on the network the default password is 0000 or 1234. Given that most people dial in to their voicemail account from their registered phone, few people realise that there is a password to be changed and that they can access it from any handset. And if you can get hold of their phone, you can change the password in 20 seconds. Thanks to Brian Greene for the research (and he will never get to borrow my phone).
When someone generally disliked falls, you tend to find a few gleeful at the drop in power. Its a guilty pleasure.
But of course its not my guilty pleasure. Mine is the Transformers toys. I like the way they give you the impression of being one thing, guiding you one way, then uncovering that its something else. Or maybe slight of hand is my pleasure? Maybe. But its not as interesting as the still ongoing news story.
I got a late enough phone call telling me that it seemed that Michael Jackson had died. The vagueness of the call and the fact that there was a panicked family search on for keys (if you’ve met the family in panic mode you will have heard how loud panic is) I asked if I could call back.
Keys found, call made.
Yup he’s dead.
I’ll admit that his death will not bring out non-existent stories about being a fan for years or the extreme sadness felt. I didn’t know him, as much as I didn’t know Farrah Fawcett. I knew of them, but I didn’t know them. I sort of feel sorry for their families who I don’t know.
The most interesting thing about the first Big Brother was how different the contestants were when compared to the crop over the last eight years. Few of the contestants were fame hungry. No one really knew if it would work… it was a very expensive experiment.
As a group it seems that many of the first contestants are, well, not working. Some are still working somewhere in media (usually quietly behind the scenes now). True, none of them found the dizzying heights of fame as the most famous looser of Big Brother, Jade Goody, but few people let alone reality show contestants have.
If the first year was a test, the second year was a fine tuning exercise and the third year seems to be the brass ring that Channel 4 have been searching for ever since.
The problem with Big Brother is… its boring. Nothing can really happen. Its mostly people sleeping (along the way Big Brother introduced a “no sleeping during daylight hours” rule and will play alarm clock noises at dosing contestants. Yes folks, it eventually got that bad) and talking. True, occasionally bickering and insulting each other. Add in a bit of metaphorical back stabbing and you have the basis of a soap. But a soap is better acted and paced.
Which is funny if you think about it. The contestants are usually those that want to be famous. Every contestant now knows what is going to happen, but they still line up and go for it. Big Brother isn’t a talent show (so no dreams and or surprise performances) but a group of people (supposedly) being themselves for a number of weeks.
But a funny thing happened along the way. It started to get ignored.
The explosion of racism on Celebrity Big Brother 5 in 2007 meant that the TV show was being played out on international headlines. That summer’s show (Big Brother 8) was a quieter affair. You know how big a TV show is from the amount of coverage it gets off the TV. Susan Boyle made this year’s Britain’s Got Talent a “must watch” show, if for nothing else but the the ability to talk about it afterward. Who wants to talk about Big Brother, until there is an explosion anyway. Not literally. There have already been too many bomb scares in that house.
The biggest thing about Big Brother 9 was not Big Brother 9 but the Big Brother zombie based TV series Dead Set, parts of which were filmed at a Big Brother 9 eviction. No doubt there are jokes to be made about Davina McCall being a great zombie.
The first, opening night, show will generate media coverage. It always does. However how much of that coverage will still be there the following week. If on July 1 you approached a random man or woman on the street and asked them to name one of this years contestants, (barring an Irish contestant, Ray Shah got his local radio show partly from Big Brother) I’m sure they wouldn’t be able to tell you their name. Ratings are down for Reality shows in general at the moment, and the series mean ratings for Big Brother are on a decline.
Regardless of that Channel 4 does to the show, unless the contestants themselves are appealing, I don’t see a hugh surge in ratings yet.
As for the title, its actually from the “Literally” series of spoof videos for “Total Eclipse of the Heart”. But it applies. The series has slowly turned. I’m not too sure its turned for the better.
I’ve done the transcript of the video clip below mainly because audio indexing does not work that well for video clips. And video clips have a habit of disappearing off the web.
The other reason is that this clip seems to be the turning point for a lot of discussions. And possibly some action.
—Start of transcript
Mr. Chairman, I’m surprised at the minister there now.
First of all Mr Minister (directed at Minister Noel Dempsey) you made a bags of it in the beginning by changing the judges. You made a complete bags of it at that time, because I went to the La Foy commission and ye had seven barristers there, questioning me and telling that I was telling lies, when I told them that I got raped of a Saturday, got a merciful beating after it, and then stuffed…
… he came along the following morning and put holy communion in my mouth.
You don’t know what happened there. You haven’t the foggiest, you’re talking through your hat there. And you’re talking to a Fianna Fáil man, a former councilor and former mayor you’re talking to, that worked tooth and nail or you, for the party that you’re talking about now. Ye didn’t do it right, ye got it wrong.
And apologize for doing that. Because you don’t know what I feel inside me. You don’t know the hurt I am.
You said it was non-adversarial.
Throwing questions at us.
I tri.. attempted to commit suicide, there’s the woman who saved me from committing suicide, on me way down from Dublin, after spending five days at the commission. Five days I spent at the commission. They brought a man over from Rome, ninety odd years of age, to tell me I was telling lies.
That I wasn’t beaten for an hour, non-stop by two of them.
By two of them.
Non-stop from head to toe without a shred of cloth on my body.
My God minister.
And could I speak to you (comment directed to Leo Varadkar, Fianna Gael), and ask your leader, would you stop making a political football of this.
You hurt this when you do that.
You tear the shreds from inside our body.
For God’s sake, try and give us some peace.
Try to give us some peace and not to continue hurting us.
That woman will tell you how many times I jump out of the bed at night with the sweat pumping out of me. Because I see these fellas at the end of the bed with their fingers doing that (gestures) to me. And pulling me in to the room, to rape me, to bugger me and bate the shite out of me. That’s the way it is.
And you know what?
You know what, sometimes I listen to the leader of Fianna Fáil. I even listened to the apology. T’was mealy mouthed, but at least t’was an apology.
At least t’was an apology.
The Rosminians said in the report, they said they were easy on us. The first day I went to them. The first day to Rosminians in my home which is Ferryhouse in Clonmel, ’cause its the only home I know. He said “you’re in it for the money”.
We didn’t want money.
We didn’t want money. We wanted the pr… someone to stand up and say “yes, these fellas were buggered, these people were ra…”
Little girls. My daughter, oh sorry, my sister. A month old when she was put in to an institution. Eight of us from the one family, dragged by the ISPCC cruelty man. Put in to two cars, brought to the court in Clonmel. Left standing there without food or anything, and the fella in the long black frock and the white collar came along and he put us in to a van.
Not a van, a scut truck, I don’t know what you call it now. And landed us below with two hundred other boys. Two night later I was raped.
How can anyone…
You’re talking about constitution. These people would gladly say “yes” to a constitution to freeze the funds of the religous orders.
This state, this country of ours, would say “yes” to that constitition if you have to change it.
Don’t say you can’t change it.
You’re the governement of this state. You run this state. So for God’s sake stop mealy mouthing. ‘Cause I’m sick of it.
I’m sick of it.
You’re turning me away from voting Fianna Fáil which I have done from the first day that I could vote. Because. And you know me. You know me Mister Minister. You’ve met me on a number of ocassions. So you know what I’m like.
The words “Counselling services available” (closely followed by counseling services swamped, contact telephone numbers below) barely cover the horror of the “endemic” abuse suffered by children in Irish Catholic institutions over 60 years. The report details 800 abusers (both men and women) who were given approval by Irish society in their abuse. This is not the complete figure. A separate report about abuse in the Dublin region only is also due.
The full report, all five volumes of it, took nine years nine years to compile and while covering a period of six decades and finding thousands of boys and girls that were terrorized by priests and nuns, it dosen’t show the full picture. Public opinion at the time refused to believe the victims. The victims were vilified while the abusers took their lauded place in society. The victims left, be it through suicide, or through emigration.
The 800 figure is also wrong. Many others knew, and turned a blind eye. Refused to believe that those given the task to watch their morality could be the depraved ones.
To cap off the offense, the victims and the families were not allowed in to the press conference, which gave very little detail in the prepared speech, and permitted no questions.
It took a long time for the stories to emerge, and while the church is still respected by some, others find its protection if the abusers unforgivable (including those to “admire the bravery of the abusers“). I suspect that its the truth coming out behind these tales which have helped the numbers of regular church goers to dwindle.
Its also a national, and international news story now.
Volume three includes the witness statements, and chapter 14, about lay teacher abusing and being defended by the Department of Education, got extensive reviews on today’s Morning Ireland.
Shocked but sadly not surprised,
The HSE offers a free National Counselling Service for anyone who has suffered childhood abuse on 1800 235 234.
The related Connect service, for out of hours contact, is on1800 235 235 from the Republic of Ireland (freephone) 00800 235 235 55 from Britain and Northern Ireland (free from landlines). www.connectcounselling.ie
Dublin Rape Crisis Centre operates a 24-hour helpline on 1800 77 88 88.
Decisions for Heroes is a project that Robin Blandford has been working on for a while. And talking about it. In fact I assumed that the product has been launched a few months back. I was wrong; today is launch day.
And he’s built something amazing – technology that will help rescue teams save more lives. Its essentially a project management tool combined with an incident reporting mechanism that’s able to monitor team histories and readiness and raise alarms for expiration or under manning conditions.
What makes it different is that it is designed for a particular niche; rescue teams. Are the exercises and training reflecting the actual calls? Or the actually locations? Are there enough cliff climbers on-call this weekend? Are there certifications that are about to run out? This kind of thing actually saves lives. Its been studied, over 1,800 rescuers from Ireland, UK, USA, Greece, and Australia helped to trial and shape the development of the software. But one stands out. Robin is a volunteer member of the Irish Coast Guard (a cliff rescue climber to be precise) so he has seen first hand what is needed, and what is the most useful way to get that information across.
I’m sure that the basis of D4H can be used in more business-like settings, or indeed in logistic based industries.
And from saving lives, we move to a performance management technology that may cost the careers of a few politicians.
Created by John HandelaarKildare Street is, almost simply a database. A database of what is being said in both Houses of the Oireachtas, by whom, when, how often and the complete text of what they say so it can be parsed for content. Based off the UK project, theyworkforyou.com, you can keep an eye on your favourite politician, or all the politicians in a constituency, or even when a particular word or phrase is spoken in the Dáil or Seanad Éireann debates or in written answers or questions to the Dáil.
There are a few bugs still in the system (it is a beta and since Irish addresses are vague it can misidentify a constituency, particularly when one side of a road is in one constituency, and the other side is in another constituency. It happens), and there is up to a 24 hour delay between the speech in the chambers and the text of the speech hitting the system (not a fault with the system but with the source; debates.oireachtas.ie.
Its useful to find out which TD or Senator has stayed quite all along (the records go back to 2004), and finding out how they actually voted on subjects of concern to you. Then you can challenge them when they call around asking for your vote.
Do challenge them. Right now, I’m wondering if there is a version for the MEPs.
Two people who should be praised for being heroes and making a difference.
I’ll admit that I don’t travel that much. If I did then I would be looking in to getting a MaxRoam chip and account. MaxRoam is the brainchild of Pat Phelan and Cubic Telecom, and its a sim chip that lets calls be routed through local numbers and VOIP for the international sections of the call.
It also means that you can have multiple local phone numbers in different cities around the world.
But, until recenty it was mostly for voice (not sure about texts). About two weeks ago they struck a deal with Qik. This deal, called Qik Roam, is a Qik-branded SIM that users can user for cut-price calls and data.
The partnership with Cubic Telecom will see Qik give its users the opportunity to purchase Qik-branded SIM cards enabling them to stream video live from all corners of the planet – without coming home to an astronomical phone bill. The Qik SIM also provides massive savings on voice calls, email, web browsing and texting while they travel. Under the tagline “Go mobile, not broke,” Qik is offering its users a simple, inexpensive way to share live video no matter where they are.
This is something I should have posted sooner, but other things got in the way. I know Pat through the Cork Open Coffee and I haven’t met anyone with as much passion as he has.