Sunday, August 05, 2012

Olympic false flag?

The photo above shows Erith Pier and a couple of local anglers (click for a larger view). The ships moored to the dog leg of the pier have become regular visitors - they are Dutch bulk carriers, and it is quite usual for one or more of them to be moored at the pier at any time; the crews can often be seen buying supplies in the adjacent Morrison's supermarket. The ships certainly add a small degree of international flavour to the area.

This week I have been working from home, as my journey into Canary Wharf was likely to be rather disrupted due to the Olympics. As pretty much all of what I do can be done via Email, online collaboration or telephone, it has little impact on my working day if I am not physically present in the office. One unexpected side effect of this is that I have been witness to the comings and goings that normally take place when I am in London; the postal deliveries, the leaflet drops and the unwelcome advances of various religious groups who continue to labour under the misapprehension that collaring someone on their doorstep will make them amenable to their ideas. What has become abundantly apparent is that many of the fast food leaflets that I had erroneously assumed were being delivered by employees of the particular fast food outlet are actually coming from a completely different and unexpected source. The Post Office. I have caught the postman delivering nothing but a leaflet from Pizza Hut and a promotional flyer from Farm Foods on a single day this week. No letters, parcels or useful stuff whatsoever. It would seem that since people have pretty much stopped sending personal letters (a combination of the ubiquity and ease of use of Email, and the fact that it can now cost more to put a stamp on a letter than it does to buy the paper and the envelope) the Post Office is in an unenviable position of not having the clearly defined role that it used to; I detect much scrabbling around and repositioning of senior management as they try and find a way of both generating a fresh revenue stream, and continuing to justify their existence. In the meantime, the innocent homeowner gets deluged in paperwork they may not want or need, and there seems to be no way of avoiding it, as from my experience putting a notice to the effect of “No spam mail” on the front door frame makes absolutely no difference.

I have been reading some fascinating research this week into the whole thorny subject of climate change – and before you mentally switch off, it is not quite what you might be thinking. My own personal view on the contentious subject is that there are a lot of vested interests and hidden agendas on both sides of the climate change camp. Much of what we now may attribute to warming due to increased CO2 levels in the atmosphere may turn out to be periodic fluctuations in the output of the Sun – however, I believe that we cannot afford to take the chance based on any particular entrenched dogma; and secondly whatever the actual situation, one unescapable fact is that we have finite natural mineral resources, and it may be several hundred years before mining the moon or the asteroid belt becomes financially or technically viable. In the meantime we have to try and reconcile the current situation: The global warming advocates are mainly financed by large grants or bursaries from the research universities – it is in their vested interests for climate change to be real; conversely the climate change deniers are financed by various big businesses and mega corporations, and they too have their own biased axe to grind. It would seem to me that the opponents are pretty much as bad as each other when it comes to trying to get an unbiased, accurate view of the situation. That may have now changed, a report published last week throws a great deal of uncertainty into the very building blocks of climate change research – the temperature and weather data used. It turns out that much of the weather data has been gleaned from a network of mostly privately owned weather stations around the United States of America. Some of these stations have been operational since the early 19th century, though some are much more recent. One thing that has come to light, is that for many years a phenomenon known as UHI (Urban Heat Island) affects the readings from weather stations; in essence, urban areas with large amounts of concrete, asphalt, warm buildings and vehicles make the temperature readings appear warmer than they really should be. This effect is more marked after dark as these surfaces retain the heat of the sun, and release it slowly, just like a giant storage heater. The results recorded by weather stations in areas such as these are understandably skewed. The problem has been that over the last hundred years or so, urban sprawl has happened; weather stations formerly in countryside areas are now in fully developed, urbanised regions. The previous system for measuring temperature change did not take into account the location of the weather stations, so the results were biased in favour of a large degree of temperature increase. Researchers have been revisiting the historical data to try and reconcile the results against modern Urban Heat Island information. It would seem that once this is taken into account, the actual increase in global temperature is minimal at best, and certainly something that the climate change experts need to carefully ponder – it would seem that both pro and anti camps have been working from incorrect data for years. It will be interesting to see where this all leads. I suspect the popular press will pick up on this soon.

The BBC News website has been covering the thirtieth anniversary of the Commodore 64 this week, which is a fine and laudable thing. It does rather overlook another couple of computer related anniversaries that I consider to be of even greater interest; The 30th anniversary of the launch of the Dragon 32 computer, and the much overlooked 35th anniversary of the launch of the Radio Shack TRS-80 model 1 computer, with which the Dragon shared a great deal of technical DNA.  The Dragon 32 was a Welsh designed and built 8 - bit home computer from the early 1980's; it was meant to compete with the Sinclair ZX Spectrum and the BBC Micro. Technically it was pretty simple. It was to be built in a factory in Wales - the idea was to retrain and employ unemployed miners - to teach them a new, high tech trade and thus reduce the dole queues. If this sounds very similar to the notorious scheme John Delorean set up to build cars in Northern Ireland to reduce the dole queues there at around the same time, it is because it is. The lure of huge government grants to reduce unemployment in key areas tempted a number of business people into what became notoriously dodgy deals. Where does the connection between the Dragon 32 and the TRS-80 come in? Well, the Dragon was not designed from the ground up as a new computer - that would have taken too long, and cost too much money. Instead the Dragon was an almost identical copy of a later version of the TRS-80 - the TRS-80 Co-Co (colour computer) - a pretty dire "also ran" in the early 80's home computer race. So close a copy was the Dragon, that around 80% of the software written for the Co-Co would run unmodified on the Dragon, and vice versa. In the years before effective computer intellectual property rights, this kind of situation was pretty common. Neither the Dragon or the TRS80 Co-Co were actually very good, and both ended up sinking with pretty much no trace, which is why the BBC News website is celebrating the anniversary of the Commodore 64 instead.

There has been much press coverage in the last week over the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games; Jeremy Vine on BBC Radio 2 hosted a phone in show on the subject. Much praise has been heaped on the performance of Rowan Atkinson during his spoof performance of “Chariots of Fire” with the London Symphony Orchestra. I would have called his humorous mime a Mister Bean like” performance, rather than being precisely the character of Mister Bean himself, though I do stand to be corrected. What strikes me is that as far as I can ascertain, nobody aside from myself has twigged that the whole comic performance was a huge piece of product placement by one of the Games’ biggest corporate sponsors. Did anyone notice that as his character got bored with playing the repetitive single synthesiser note, he pulled a Samsung Galaxy SIII phone from his pocket? He played around with it for nearly ninety seconds in front of the largest audience for a single event since the Royal Wedding. Samsung are a major Olympic sponsor, and I note that the phone was in white, to better show up against the dark background on TV to the audience of millions. This all is regarded as normal in the world of marketing today; a pity – the character of Mister Bean would not have used a mobile phone for two reasons – he does not speak in a conventional sense, just makes adenoidal noises (clever, as it means no subtitles or translation needed for foreign markets) and secondly the character is so selfish and mean spirited that he does not have any friends. Just my take on things.

You may recall that back in February I had a bit of a rant about banks, and how several of them were issuing new and replacement debit cards with RFID chips by default? My own debit card had come up for renewal, and my bank sent me a replacement one with an RFID chip "for my convenience". I promptly visited their Bexleyheath branch and explained that I did not want an RFID enabled card. To their credit, they did rather promptly replace it with a "vanilla" card, but they also said that at some point in the future, all credit and debit cards would come with RFID by default. This is worrying, as the whole near field transaction authorisation system, and its' encryption system is fundamentally insecure. The video below (kindly supplied to me by one of my invaluable anonymous local contacts) gives a good overview of the problem. The news article is American, but the problem in the UK and Europe is at least as bad, if not worse. Be worried. Please feel free to leave your thoughts and feedback below.

It has taken almost no time at all for the (mainly American) conspiracy theorists to come out of the woodwork to “explain” the initial bout of empty seats in the premium locations in the various Olympic venues. Never mind the officials were loath to leave the comfort of their West End hotels, or to cut short their shopping trips, now that the shops were unexpectedly empty thanks to the previous scare mongering amongst the press and media in general. After all, it was only the initial heats, nothing much to write home about. That is, until the BBC Sport cameras caught great swathes of official and corporate seating left unused, when the public galleries were heaving with enthusiastic supporters. You and I might wonder about a lack of organisation and poor complimentary ticket control; or cluck knowingly about the recently introduced Bribery Act 2010, which was brought onto the statute books last year; this piece of legislation is widely regarded as the most draconian anti corruption law in the world, with wide powers over acts of bribery involving British subjects anywhere in the world. You can read details about the act and its’ powers by clicking here. The upshot of this law is that many of the Olympics corporate sponsors are utterly terrified of giving away free tickets to use up their spare allocation, as they think they will be prosecuted under the draconian new bribery law. Better to suffer the empty seats in silence, and hope the officials eventually deign to turn up and use them. This however is not the way a significant minority of observers in the USA and elsewhere see things. Watch the video here for some of what they think.

False Flag believers think that events such as the destruction of the twin towers, and the London 7/7 bombings were not the works of terrorists; rather they were carried out by the US and British governments in order to create an atmosphere of fear and loathing, and thus to raise support for their actions in Iraq, and later Afghanistan. This is all supposed to be leading towards a “new world order” with a cabal of international industrialists called the Illuminati running the show. The false flaggers are utterly convinced that the reason for the empty seats at the Olympic events is that the senior Olympic and Government officials are “in on the plot” and that they know the venues are to be hit in an effort to make it look like Islamic terrorists, when it will be their own side carrying out the actions. To be honest, there is really no way to convince these people that they are seeing shapes in the clouds. For a start, no government is competent or leak resistant enough to carry out an action of this type, and the number of people who would need to be “in the know” would have to be so large that someone would blab. In the age of Wikileaks and Twitter do they really think a humungous conspiracy could really be kept quiet? This is very much from the same stable that insist that the moon landings were faked, and actually filmed in a TV studio somewhere – an act that would have been more difficult to carry off successfully than actually going to the moon was. There are a few dead giveaways that prove that NASA successfully visited the moon and returned the astronauts safely to the Earth. One factor the conspiracy theorists conveniently ignore is that the transmissions to and from Apollo 11 were made “in the clear” with no encryption; thousands of fellow radio amateurs tracked the progress of the craft, and recorded the conversations – the transmissions were clearly and demonstrably coming from space, and the lunar capsule. Secondly the astronauts left a laser reflector on the moons’ surface, which is still used on a regular basis to measure the minute changes to the distance between the moon and the Earth. Universities and research institutes worldwide use this reflector on a regular basis – hardly possible if no visit to the lunar surface was made. On top of that, the tracks made by the lunar rover on later missions, along with the actual remains of the orbiter launch platform, and even the still standing U.S flags are still present (if rather bleached by the incessant Ultra Violet radiation from the sun). The list could go on. Suffice to say, I think the theories constructed by the conspiracists say rather more about them than they do about the state of the world. The people who construct some of these outrageous theories generally want to feel that they are “in the know” and superior to the general public, who they seem to regard as little better than cattle to be manipulated by governments and the Illuminati – they often disparagingly refer to ordinary people as “sheeple” . Whatever you say to counter their views, they will come back with “well you would say that wouldn’t you?” or “Oh you fell for that lie did you?” They are so deluded that trying to gainsay them is a exercise in futility. Just be aware that it is quite likely this story will appear in some form in the poplar press in the next few days.

I could not really avoid it - here is a look at the first full length trailer for the new James Bond movie - Skyfall. Feel free to leave a comment below.


  1. Thanks for bringing to attention the article and video on the Encripted Credit Card. I happen to have that type and am going to take immediate action to prevent having my information stolen and I am going to pass this information on to my friends.

  2. Hugh,
    You can contact the mail preference service, like the telephone one - it's a start to stopping junk mail & I think there is a link to the post offices own version on their web site.

  3. Well having ridden on the 'arabfly dangleway' with the wife last week I have to disagree with you completely - its a brilliant ride that adds to the fun of visiting the olympics venues. We used it to get from jubilee line at the O2 to Excel - so it does go from somewhere to somewhere! It does look quite incongruous I'll grant you - a ski lift ride in London - but its a funny part of that rich tapestry of daft things to do in London. I waved to the metal breakers below!!
    The events were fun too - volleyball best of all where we saw Russia beat USA after being match point down. The USA fans took it pretty hard which was, I have to say, quite amusing after they barracked the Russians so hard.

  4. Hi Hugh.
    As a bank employee who spent the last five years in the field of credit/debit cards, please allow me to share a bit of information as of why banks are so keen on the so-called 'contactless' cards.
    Most banks also run 'Acquiring' services, i.e. the companies who provide the banking and hardware (PDQ machines) enabling businesses to collect payment by card. NatWest have Streamline, HSBC Global Payments, Lloyds have Cardnet... the list goes on. Those organisations (usually separate legal entities part of the wider banking groups) make their money from hiring the terminals and the fees they charge retailers. Their profits on the latter are net of processing fees and 'interchange', which is a tariff set by Visa and MasterCard which regulates the net cost of each transaction to the bank depending on the type of card used, location, risk etc.
    'Contactless interchange' is much, much lower than Chip and Pin interchange, however banks charge retailers exactly the same. Hence much higher profits. Add to this the gains in replacing entire estates of terminals and you quickly see why banks are so keen.
    Makes the world go round, eh?
    Thank you for your blog, it's one of the few things I look forward to reading to on a Monday morning!