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Exposing lies?

We are confronted with lies all the time, the CIA (who is truly gifted in the act) uses it to spread all kinds of discourse, but that is their operandus mondi, so we are not surprised. Yet now we are confronted that these tactics have been embraced by both the FBI and the Pentagon. And it is not my source; it is an American source that gives us this part.

To get to the heart of the matter, we will have to borrow a TARDIS and do some time-travel (a valid Dr Who reference). During this trip we will not be looking at apples and oranges, but we will be investigating fruit, and this has all the bearings on the case.

Trip one

Let’s travel back to November 24th, 2014. It is a sunny day at Sony Square New York, 21 degrees, nice and relaxing weather. It had all the marks of it being a lovely day, were it not that someone decided to hack Sony and they did it, not only did they do it, they left all the markers blaming North Korea. The FBI send their cyber experts and behold, they too agreed that it was North Korea. Even as we were extremely aware that they had no way of doing it, the FBI stood firm on their findings.

Trip two

We are pushing the envelope and stopping at 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018. We are given “North Korea’s offensive cyber capabilities” and we see Randall Schriver, a top Pentagon official and all the ‘so called’ expressionistic ideas on how North Korea is the big nasty, the large danger and the big hacker. In addition to this the Financial times gives us (at https://www.ft.com/content/cbb28ab8-8ce9-11e9-a24d-b42f641eca37) “Pyongyang controls an army of thousands of hackers who bring in hundreds of millions of dollars annually, according to experts’ estimates“, which was given to us in June 2019.

Into the Heart of Darkness

It was only hours ago that we were given the first light of truth by the Washington Post. To give you that we need to change the topic to fruit and not apples or oranges. You might realise that to get ahead, you need to be ahead. Unless you build a system yourself, you need access to a system of equal quality to hack into a place. Unless you have the passcodes (current password = Inc0rrect%) and inner workings, you cannot hack past the Pentagon Cray, it is close to impossible to do with even the most updated equipment and North Korea is well over a decade behind. It is defended by firewalls and other encrypted matters. Sony is not that advanced, yet still has a lovely set of firewalls and other means to limit access. Yet North Korea, with technology that was considered advanced in 1990, was nothing of the sort a decade before they hacked Sony. In addition, certain access methods or planting of other abilities would have required 4G mastery, a mastery that they do not have. The digital footprint does not match up and it is there that the Washington Post (at https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/leaked-documents-reveal-huaweis-secret-operations-to-build-north-koreas-wireless-network/2019/07/22/583430fe-8d12-11e9-adf3-f70f78c156e8_story.html) is giving us the goods.

So as we are given: “Before 2008, North Korea struggled to find multinational companies willing to build a 3G network in such a risky business environment. That ended with the creation of the wireless provider Koryolink, which emerged from a discreet visit in 2006 by Kim’s father, Kim Jong Il, to Huawei’s headquarters in Shenzhen, China” this is the first piece of evidence, 6 years before the hack North Korea did not have access to 3G, it was not there, as such the knowhow of hacking would have been severely limited. In addition to this we need to consider “Alexandre Mansourov, an adjunct professor at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, who in 2011 wrote about North Korea’s digital transformation. “They decided to work with Huawei from that time on.”” gives us that in 3 years that stage was not surpassed, or even achieved. The paper by Mansourov also gives: “less than 3 percent of the population currently use modern telecommunication services, it has adequately trained human capital, a rather developed industrial and technological base, and sufficient financial resources to pursue the digital revolution to the benefit of the majority“, which now implies that the fall back is actually a lot larger. If they truly had a ‘rather developed industrial and technological base‘, then they would be the oranges that need not rely on Huawei, yet they are technologically speaking merely apples, they are both fruit, but on a different shelf, a lower shelf and that is where we see the technology fail (especially in North Korea). In his paper we also see: “Because the cell phones connect to Chinese cell phone towers it is difficult for the North Korean government to eavesdrop on the calls, but it does mean use is restricted to the border area“, this implies that the limitations in North Korea are actually larger and as such knowledge is more limited. that last part came from ““How Chinese Cell Phones Help Information Flow,” Martyn Williams, 1 April 2010” which was 4 years before the hack, there is no way for any nation to evolve their technology level in that amount of time without having billions, as well as all the technology available for installation and implementation. Which was never the case, North Korea is hardly on the 3G path keeping them a decade behind everyone else.

Fruit, Apples and Oranges

So even if I am looking at fruit, looking at mobile technology versus hackers is like setting apples against oranges, yet the larger truth remains, a hacker cannot surpass certain levels of access if they lack access to the current generation of technology and that is where we see the flaw in all this. To have antiquated equipment access the Sony mainframe calls for all kind of issues as the access requires speed, and if you rely on old technology there is a limit to what you can get. For example getting a 4TB drive for a PlayStation 3 is bogus as it cannot address the complete drive, so when you look at it from that path, you lack the ability to store all that data and Sony was all about data. More important, if the skill to get behind a 4G system is not there, there was not even 3G, how can you get into the hack? Now we might rely on normal lines, but the flaw is already shown, you need a larger comprehension of technology and telecommunication to proceed and North Korea is stated that it could not get 3G without Huawei; at that point we should recognise that it could not get into Sony. If they actually had done that, then they would have been able to design and build their own 4G (which would still be half a decade too late), but that would be the premise. That absence gives us that the Washington Post, who also gives us: “According to a 2008 contract, Panda would transport Huawei equipment to Dandong, a town in northeastern China known for cross-border trade. From there, it would be taken by rail into Pyongyang“, as well as “In spring 2008, Orascom and Korea Post tasked Huawei with developing an encryption protocol for the network, noting that the government would create its own encryption algorithm, according to the documents” this much larger stage does not absolve Huawei (it is not about that), but the fact that encryption protocols were not in existence implies a delay of at least 2-3 years to get their 3G up and running, the entire matter would have given North Korea less than 2 years to get trained to the levels required to visit the Sony Server and become an actual cyber threat. There is no realistic chance that this would be the case and again, when we consider the press visit to North Korea (somewhere in 2012) where the Dutch press learned that their high ranking escorts had no idea of what a smartphone was, that alone gives a lot more insight in the technological limitations of North Korea and its army.

There is no doubt that North Korea would love to be an actual threat, but when it cannot comprehend 3G to the degree it needs and it has no 4G, how is North Korea an actual threat? I believe that Sony was hacked by someone else, there is also enough valid intelligence to see that those people would love to do business with North Korea, yet the entire matter connected to Huawei implies that North Korea is missing several links on the chain of telecom cleverness, the reigns of the horse of innovation and the armour of progress is all rusty, heavy and useless. In this stage the North Korean cavalry might be the most advanced they had but it still does not match up what other nations have had access to from the late 1800 onwards, when you realise the difference to that degree, do you still believe that North Korea could have been the hackers?

That is seen when we look at ‘The Hill’ in 2017. There we get North Korea and the quote: “Today, when warfare can include the operational use of nuclear weapons, the cumulative consequences of underestimating “friction” could be exponentially more serious. This conclusion is true by definition and thus, thoroughly incontestable” yet when we see in a 4G world that North Korea has not even mastered 3G to the degree it needs, we see a shift of needs, needs that are all about the consultants charging their overexposed ego’s by the hour, whilst we see a lack of evidence on the abilities towards the dangers that we are seemingly exposed to. In that regard the FBI and the pentagon has played into the hands towards consultants like Randall Schriver, yet the actual evidence (implied to be) as we now see in the Washington Post gives us another picture, one that bounces against earlier accusations and speculations. March 27th, 2019 C-Span gives us the premise that China and North Korea are set together as a threat, yet the overbearing accepted evidence shows that the division sets the stage where China is 99% the threat and North Korea a mere 1%, yet together is nice to bump the budget. So far no actual or factual evidence has been shown where North Korea is an actual cyber power. As I personally see it, even the NY Times is in on it.

When we are given: Their track record is mixed, but North Korea’s army of more than 6,000 hackers is undeniably persistent, and undeniably improving, according to American and British security officials who have traced these attacks and others back to the North“, as well as “North Korean hackers tried to steal $1 billion from the New York Federal Reserve last year, only a spelling error stopped them“, and “only sheer luck enabled a 22-year-old British hacker to defuse the biggest North Korean cyber-attack to date“. when we are confronted with ‘spelling error‘ and ‘sheer luck‘ we are sold a bag of goods, the fact that North Korea is at the most about 3G, we see the lack of certain abilities. If these hackers were that good, than their abilities would have been to acquire all the technology that we have full access to and that has seemingly not happened. In any war we acquire the weapons to be an equal footing, or more advanced footing, von Clausewitz and Sun Tzu taught us that. You do not rely on the flintlock when the opposition is walking with a 7.62mm MAG. The accusation (also from the NY Times) “the country is suspected of having thousands of hackers capable of carrying out global cyber-attacks, like the recent ransomware attack in more than 150 countries” gives us that they are a large threat and this is only possible with a large established infrastructure. That is seemingly not the case so as we ponder ‘suspected‘ we see the speculated inflated danger that North Korea is, and until today, until the Washington Post gave us the article, that part was too eagerly accepted.

There is no doubt that there are hackers in North Korea, but as the technology shows, they are fighting with one hand on the back wearing a blindfold. It does not make them less dangerous, but it also implies that the events that have taken place were done by others and as such the cyber operatives trying to stop it are not merely failing, they are at present completely unaware who they are actually up against and that is the sad part of this story. after all the billions they got they are still clueless in the dark, a sad story that only came to light as the Washington Post gave us: ‘Leaked documents reveal Huawei’s secret operations to build North Korea’s wireless network‘, seemingly a 3G network no less. And even there we have no evidence at present. That part is given through: “Since then, any company to provide Panda with telecom items intended for North Korea and containing at least 10 percent U.S.-origin content without a license would be in violation of the export ban”, so not only is there a question on one side, the lack of evidence at present gives rise to a lot more issues and that makes for such a sad situation at present.

 

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Is it a rerun?

We have all seen reruns, some are pleasant. There is the rerun of Charmed (three gorgeous women who can put a spell on you), there is the rerun of Gilmore Girls (two generations of flaky women in the best of times), we see another rerun of the X-Files, Star Trek, Gunsmoke, Will & Grace, the list goes on and for the most we do not mind that these series have reruns, some were great, plenty were fun and a few are merely guilty pleasure. Yet how to react when we are confronted with a rerun of the sex acts of Jeffrey Epstein, a rerun with new and different girls now?

ABC is giving a partially different story. They give us: “According to an indictment, Mr Epstein arranged for girls under the age of 18 to perform nude “massages” and other sex acts for him in his New York and Florida homes, and paid some girls to recruit others, from at least 2002 to 2005. Mr Epstein had faced similar charges in 2007, but negotiated a deal to avoid federal prosecution and plead guilty to a single Florida state prostitution charge“, I actually covered this in my article ‘As we judge morality‘ on January 7th 2015 (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2015/01/07/as-we-judge-morality/), as well as ‘That what is ignored‘ on January 25th 2015 (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2015/01/25/that-what-is-ignored/), I even added the Palm Beach Police Department Probable Cause Affidavit in PDF form.

Now, we all have rights, and it seems that the rich have more rights, so the idea that (according to SBS News) ‘Jeffrey Epstein applies for house arrest over underage sex trafficking charges‘, an optional rapist and child molester gets to live in a golden cage on a space up to 15000 square feet, living the good life for the crimes that he is accused of is a little too rich for my blood. He might have the best lawyers when we see the quote: “Epstein’s lawyers argued home confinement, along with electronic monitoring, surveillance and a bond secured by a mortgage on his $US77 million ($A110 million) Manhattan mansion would be enough to ensure that he does not flee the country“, yet I do not agree. A man who was until recently labelled a billionaire, so to consider a person with well over 1,200 million not a flight risk when he optionally sacrifices 8.3% of his fortune to avoid 45 years in prison makes him very much a flight risk. I will do you one better, his lawyer, if he flees must spend 10% of that jail time in prison and forfeits his bar admittance when he does flee. How does that sound? Will his lawyer stand by his defence at that point? I actually doubt that. We can argue that it is not fair on the lawyer, but when we hear the lawyer state that he is not a flight risk, is it fair to hold his lawyer to account when he does? Is it really that unfair an expectation to have?

I already had a lot of issues with the 13 months he spend in 2008, even as there was a clear stage of sexual offense against a minor, so the issue is twofold, not only did we clear the Catholic priests, but we are going to clear Wall Street financiers too? How does that go over with you?

Initially I was in a stage where the law could not double dip, the case was closed, yet ABC gives us: “Prosecutors said Mr Epstein paid $US 100,000 in November to a person identified in his 2007 non-prosecution agreement as a possible co-conspirator. They said he paid $US 250,000 in December to another person identified in the agreement as a possible co-conspirator and employee“, it implies (implies not proves) that the case was a lot larger than first seen, so this is a renewed investigation. Even as the ruling of the house arrest is a little over 27 hours away, I believe that there is a lot more coming to the wires. When we revisit the parts I had, now by Global News Canada, we get: “In 2008, Epstein pleaded guilty in Florida to state charges of soliciting a minor for prostitution under an agreement that required him to spend 13 months in jail and register as a sex offender. The agreement has been widely criticized for secretly ending a federal sex abuse investigation involving at least 40 teenage girls at the time that could have landed him behind bars for life“, the issue of 40 girls was unknown, I know that there were several, but not 40, as such if that number is proven we need to investigate the entire court matter, as well as the judge on how this person got only 13 months initially. It is nothing less than a complete travesty of justice. So even as we see that there was an agreement in one state, there are another 51 states that can have a go at him and the state of New York has decided to do just that. This gets us back to the SBS article and then too we can agree that we have to oppose “Epstein would nonetheless agree to be fitted with an electronic ankle bracelet, surrender his passport and de-register his private jet as conditions of his house arrest” a person with that many millions does not need a passport and hand over the keys of his jet, a person like that has loads of options on the side, he remains a flight risk, especially as he used to be so privileges with allotments a thousand times what the average person will ever have, the idea to spend the rest of his life in a room that is 7 feet by 12 feet is enough to forsake well over 75% of his well over 1200 million value, whatever he has left would be enough to have a decent life anywhere on the planet. Yes, this man remains a flight risk. It gets to be even worse that the lack of exposure he had in 2008 is no longer an option now. The people are angry and they will watch the media like a hawk, so the media has everything to lose by leaving this issue alone. Those who go soft will see a much larger impact, and as such they are all out for blood now.

So as the Insider gives us: “The FBI prepared a 53-page indictment against Epstein, but his lawyers instead started plea negotiations with Alexander Acosta, then the US District Attorney for the Southern District of Florida“, we see that his lawyers used whatever they could to stop the FBI indictment, and it goes beyond that. When we consider the Trump links and the fact that the person (Alexander Acosta) who was the US DA of Southern Florida is now United States Secretary of Labor, I wonder if this is all merely a coincidence and an actual prosecution, or whether this is something more. When we consider the quote: “The prosecutors had identified 36 victims of Epstein, most of them having no prior knowledge of the agreement and no opportunity to give input. The deal has been the subject of criticism by the Miami Herald and others“, we see an optional Republican perversion of justice, one so disgusting that we might open the floor to the debate whether a person like Alexander Acosta should be accepted in any public office ever. An optional stage where 36 victims, several regarded then to be minors were just left to their own devices. Can we argue that if any of those victims were the children of Alexander Acosta, would Epstein be walking free after 13 months? That is fair enough a question too, is it not?

And the plot does not stop here, if the reports from Global News Canada are to be believed, we are given the optional fact that Epstein’s New Mexico ranch not named in latest indictment despite older court records alleging abuse at compound. So we see another stage where a place of sexual transgression is not in the cards for prosecution, why is that? I for one do not understand why the FBI was taken out of the equation by Alexander Acosta. We have a clear setting of locations that Epstein owned in three states, making it a clear FBI case, there are alleged transgressions in at least two of them (I use alleged as this is about accepted evidence in court), as such this should have been the top issue for the FBI to a much larger extent. And when we look deeper into the New York Times, we see that they incriminate themselves to a much larger degree. With the quote: ““I’m not a sexual predator, I’m an ‘offender,’ Mr. Epstein told The New York Post in 2011. “It’s the difference between a murderer and a person who steals a bagel.” Ms. Siegal recalled, “He said he’d served his time and assured me that he changed his ways.”” it is if the stage is correctly set. The article refers to Peggy Siegal, an A-lister event organiser, the fact that a person like this is left in the dark on one of her ‘highly regarded guests’ makes for a more concerning stage. If it is true that there is an implied lack of scrutiny and the stage of her events are merely the level of the bank account, we see that there is a chance that she would throw a party and that an unsuspecting guest would be exposed to people like Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier, Manuel Noriega, General Sani Abacha, and so on. How good would you feel at a party like that? When we consider this, we see that there has been a much larger cape of protection around Jeffrey Epstein and that should worry us all. We could have argued to some extent that this was a mistake, yet when we see that a certain Secretary of Labor left a large bulk of 36 victims away from consideration, we see a much larger danger, there is no Justice, not when the rich and famous can avoid prosecution to this degree.

I wonder how a person like Peggy Siegal will defend her next A-list event, I wonder how any A-lister feels about mingling with predators, murderers and dictators, do they like their life to be that spicy and non-discriminatory? So in addition, to those who are not considered an A-lister, when a person like Jeffrey Epstein was one: Chadwick Boseman, James McAvoy, Jason Bateman, Cara Delevingne, Zoë Kravitz and Karen Gillan. Just a few names that are at present (as far as I was able to find), not officially set as A-lister. It does not matter whether they want to be one or not, the stage is that they are a dozen times more worthy as social role model than a person like Jeffrey Epstein is and that matters, it changes the view.

Now, I still accept that he is innocent until proven guilty, but he admitted to events in the past and now that we see that the accusations were optionally ten times worse, we see a shift in what we accept and find acceptable. I reckon that the next two weeks will be a lot more pressing for America than they comprehend, after the entire Catholic scandal; people are a lot less accepting of certain acts. The nice part is that the world is full of fathers and mothers, the idea that children, dozens of children might have included one of their children is making them really angry and well over 120 million parents are in the US, so whatever the law does, they better take a long hard look at themselves of whatever deal they make, I feel certain that the parents of America will not see it in that light. It also calls for a larger investigation on what was done in the past and there is a larger stage of the acts of some that might now be seen as totally unacceptable. I also wonder whether the FBI has looked into the 36 victims and whether they have all been interviewed by the FBI on the matter of what was avoided the last time around by a certain District Attorney. When we see politicians claim that these people need to be beyond clean, I wonder how many people have just endangered their own careers by allowing one DA make one person get away with proverbial murder.

Yet in addition to what I wrote earlier, only 5 minutes ago, 7 News Boston gives me ‘Jeffrey Epstein’s New Mexico ranch linked to investigation‘, it also gives us that Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta is stepping down amid the tumult over his handling of the 2008 deal with Epstein. It seems that the proverbial rats are fleeing the ship as fast as they can, it seems a harsh expression, but I always had an issue with the mere 13 months, now we see that a stage like this can impact to a much larger degree and I personally believe that this is a good thing, even as I personally believe that this case was set to such high visibility to impact the Republican party to the largest degree possible, we can all agree that several steps to ‘protect’ Jeffrey Epstein to the degree he was should never have been done, or openly be seen as acceptable. Yet I feel it is only fair to give view to the setting as Acosta gives it (in the New York Post), there we see: “Acosta said that as the US attorney in Florida more than a decade ago, he decided to offer Epstein a sweetheart no-prosecution deal on federal charges because state prosecutors were supposedly ready to let him walk free”, that is an important view too. If he can prove this, than there is a much larger issue, yet we were also given that a lot of the victims were not heard, so there is still that to account for. No matter how we slice this, this event and the event to those involved in all this from 2007 onward is far from over. A case that disgusts the bulk of people and it took 12 years to get it all to the stage it is today at, the law failed to too large a degree as I personally see it.

So this case will linger a lot longer than we initially thought, I can’t wait to see the bail hearing and to hear what the judge decides in this case.

 

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The shows on E3 (part one)

Jedi Fallen order, which looked pretty amazing, I saw several parts, a few questions did rise, but as this is merely a pre alpha part, I will wait until there is a final version. It did what it had to do, amazed gamers and as such Fallen Order succeeded 100%. A little additional caption is that the droid is the cutest Star Wars droid ever.

There was more Battlefield 5, FIFA and Madden 20 and Sims 4. Basically more of the same and for the fans of that type of game, that is good. With FIFA it came across as a lot of bla bla consistency bla bla technical improvement on one on one with keeper bla bla bla. OK, I am not a FIFA fan (no soccer fan either), what I took from the game that the claimed in game capture did look better than previous versions of FIFA. Graphically all these games looked top notch, there is no denying that.

Madden_Cover_SocialI will not touch it further was my initial setting; however that was before the Madden 20 presentation was given. There we see a lot more than just good graphics.

Abilities, X-Zone, The fact that a signature is linked to one quarterback is not just a game changer, it makes for choices to stage the gameplay you want and then you still need to be good enough to make that play. It will raise the game and to get such a surprise after 20 years of Madden is pretty impressive. So, ever as EA did not have a lot to offer, what they offered was up there.

Still, when we look at the overall part EA did not overwhelm, and with one actual new game (Fallen Order), it seems that there is not a lot to look forward to, in my case the absence of NHL20 is a little lame, but that is the nature of the game. With a presentation set around 6 titles where 4 are merely expansions or annual renewals gives us not a lot to work with. The presentation was too much of a ‘Yo Bro!‘ gig, which is a choice. Overall I will give that presentation a solid 70%.

Next will be Microsoft and after that Bethesda so this article will be updated on Tuesday.

 

 

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Games and more

Yes, the E3 is upon us, it is now mere hours away and anyone who is into gaming will be hyped to see what comes. It might be about their franchise, it might be about a maker, or it will be a little more generic. No matter how we slice it the next 4 days will be about that is likely to come, what will be hyped and let’s not forget the giveaways, free DLC codes and optionally the speculated hardware.

What makes the headline?

It is important to see the headline in this, and the headline is Google Stadia. We see several sources giving us information, yet the direct impact is there and it is less positive than one might gather. Let’s look at two quotes, first there is Techradar giving us: “A world in which all you ever have to do to start gaming is open up your browser, select a game and start playing – no lengthy download required. This could soon become a reality if Google’s cloud gaming service, Stadia, delivers on its promises – you’ll be able to go from opening a Chrome tab to playing a 4K, 60fps game, in five seconds, no installation required“, this seems awesome, yet I have been around long enough in this business to notice that when someone states ‘look left’ I also ‘look right’. So when I look to the right, I see PC Gamer giving us ‘Stadia 4K streaming will use up 1TB of data in 65 hours‘ and that is not a good thing. Now, we all accept that gaming takes power and resources, yet 4K gaming in a setting where in some countries that could set you back $1,000 per month is not something you want to consider. Here in Australia (no Google Stadia coming here for now), a person pays (when it is not unlimited) $10 per GB, so that adds up really fast in a non-unlimited contract stage, yet with unlimited there has been noise that above a certain usage the download speed gets throttled, so there could optionally be that risk to consider.

Before we start crying, there is the additional info given with “That works out to around 15.75GB per hour of 4K streaming, 9GB per hour of 1080p, or 4.5GB per hour at 720p“, when you have a 1TB contract, which is a lot, you get 65 hours, 110 hours, or 227 hours of gaming. So options 2 and three should be fine, it is a reality to face that 4K gaming is not immediately available for usage for all, and that is beside the setting whether you have a 4K TV or not.

Gizmodo

Gizmodo was a lot less positive (at https://www.gizmodo.com.au/2019/06/is-stadia-already-screwed/), and when we see: “We have an updated guidance here,” he said. “You actually need 10 Mbps to stream at least 720p, but actually, it could be higher depending on specific details of the kind of network situation or your game. And then to comfortably stream 4K—the best experience—we recommend 35Mbps.” It takes out all the wireless 4G players, they can pretty much forget about it and even in the lowest mode there will be issues, even if you are with a major Australian player like Optus, it is the direct impact of bandwidth and it is likely to remain an issue in the foreseeable future, yet only until you get 5G, at that point speed is no longer an issue, total usage might remain, but that is depending on the providers and no one has any clear information at present which makes sense for now.

The writer gives us: “as long as it’s streaming over a broken internet, it’s fucked” at the very end, which is only a truth for today, and even then it is still only a partial truth. Google has been playing the long game for enough time to know that anyone getting 5G will seriously consider Google Stadia, especially Online players in MMO games. It gets to be even better when you consider the Verge who has the list (at https://www.theverge.com/2019/6/6/18655380/google-stadia-games-list-cloud-streaming-service-e3-2019), It includes the newest games as well as other games like DOOM Eternal, Rage 2, The Elder Scrolls Online, Wolfenstein: Youngblood, Final Fantasy XV, Tomb Raider Definitive Edition, Rise of the Tomb Raider, Shadow of the Tomb Raider, NBA 2K, Borderlands 3, Mortal Kombat 11, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, Just Dance, Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Breakpoint, Tom Clancy’s The Division 2, Trials Rising, and The Crew 2. I believe that to be a decent start of any service. There is a little too much uncertainty on pricing; one source gave me $10 per month for a pro license, which is not outlandish when you consider the game list. In addition Google Stadia has started its own game development studio, headed by Jade Raymond. A well-known producer who has earned her marks at both EA and Ubisoft.

In this regard, I believe it might be seen as a rocky start, but not a fatal one, in the long run Google is now set up to remain a force to be reckoned with. I also disagree with the view that Forbes has. Paul Tassi gives us trivialisation like ‘this offers something like Microsoft’s Game Pass the ability to eat Stadia’s lunch‘, which is true, yet Microsoft never fixed their problems, did they? Not in 6 years, and as he gives us: “While Google is indeed starting to develop its own games in-house, it could take years for those to arrive, and there’s absolutely zero guarantee of their quality when they do“, this is true too, yet the failing of quality by Ubisoft has been noted for years, what has he done about it to illustrate that? And when we saw the lack of Microsoft exclusives last year, the mention of ‘their lengthy roster of must-have exclusives‘ should be regarded as work in progress. That few to none part is easily rectified, and even the PS4 had loads of long delays for some of their games and exclusives, with the Ubisoft Watchdogs the delay was long enough to get your wife pregnant and still not being able to play the game until the child was born, so pot and kettle are both utensils of a similar colour in this setting.

Then we get the last overstated statement with: “but with 200 million consoles sold every year and untold number of gaming PCs“, I wonder how he got those numbers, over 6 years Sony sold 93 million consoles, Microsoft is on that same stage at 41 million at best and Nintendo in 2 years got to 34 million, so his math is in the toilet as well, unless he includes the handhelds which is a skewed finding, still there the 200 milllion a year will not be reached, not even close.

I believe that Google is an early starter in a stage where Microsoft hoped to get their Scarlett (whatever they named it in 2018) system, I am not sure it has a real chance, but I have been wrong before, it might work, Google on the other hand still has a lot to learn and optional plenty of promises to break, time will tell where they go, but there is space to succeed, especially when 5G arrives at homes it is then that Google Stadia truly gets an option to earn its laurels, and it is likely to do so.

There is a part that matters, Paul rightfully asks the question: “it’s hard to know how this actually poses a threat to traditional industry staples like Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft“, it does not as such, but Google has the option to grow on the side, the fact that many consoles have online and multiplayer issues (mostly due to the software), we see the setting where this failing falls away (having to download massive patches again and again will not be an issue for the Google Stadia), MS Scarlett might have been the initial option, but Microsoft has issues and they have also been in denial of that to some degree (that is my personal view).

As I stated it will be a rocky start, yet those with a good internet stage and a decent income will have this option there as early adopters. For these people they have no interest in walking into a game shop trying to find a game, Google Stadia, like Netflix lets you browse and try and try and try, until you find something you like. It is optionally the stage where gamers are born and is Google Stadia the worst place to start gaming? For years people started their gaming habit on Facebook and was that such a hi-res 4K solution?

Paul Tassi asks good questions and they are real questions that need answering, but he also overlooks (as a hard-core gamer) on something he forgets. When a person wants to do 4K gaming, he needs a console or a PC, when you see the cost of a good 4K system; you have the risk of cardiac pressure issues. With Console, will you go Sony, or Microsoft? The fact that Google is now option 3, but not set in hardware is a choice, an option, one that was not there before. So what is needed? An internet connection and a TV, yes when you look deeper it is a 2 choice system, now with option 3. He is right, there are issues (for now) and I believe that with the arrival of 5G many issues will resolve itself immediately, yet at that point, will Google be standing as a survivor? I believe that with the right games it will and that too is the setting for the E3, how much more support for Stadia will we see. It seems that Ubisoft is on board and so is Bethesda, yet how many more players will commit to Google Stadia? That is where Google Stadia could win making unique or remastered good games. There are dozens who could become Stadia hits, 3 generations of games that are still regarded by some as excellent games, some are even legendary.

We will just have to see and wait how it all unfolds, there is plenty of space for a new player in this game and it also means that some of the other players will have to up the ante to remain a choice with consumers, which is equally a good idea.

Then there is another reason, for well over a year we have seen the stage: “a higher-end Xbox One X replacement as well as a less-expensive entry-level machine“, yet there is a host of issues especially with Microsoft, can the entry model update to high end? If that is not possible will we see any other impact on gaming? Will Microsoft keep their bully to ‘be online’ issues. Will Microsoft force advertisements on their consoles (like with the Xbox One)?

Microsoft has lost so much credibility (as I personally see it), the fact that the correlation between entry model and Google Stadia is so high that plenty might consider Google over Microsoft and I think that they know this. Another issue is how close Microsoft streaming service ProjectXCloud is next to Google Stadia, all issues that will optionally come head to head in the next 4 days. We can lose time reading on speculations or wait, I decide you need to wait and even better watch the live shows on YouTube.

The biggest issue will be on the last day, Nintendo have amazed nearly all with the Switch and all they have done in these two years, now that the larger games are due this year, it will be a sight to see, at the very end one or two little spoilers. It seems that Sony has gotten themselves in a little spot of hot water. Tom’s Hardware (at https://www.tomsguide.com/us/ps5-120hz-ps4-cross-save,news-30268.html) gives us: ‘120Hz Display Support‘, this is really good news if it was not for the fact that most 4K TV’s, even the ones from Sony do not support this speed yet, so yes the PS5 will be a sight to see, when you  get the TV that supports it. Then there is crossover play, so you can continue your ps4 games on ps5 forth and back (switching between consoles so you do not lose anything like friend lists and game saves, this is really good news, and a nice feature to have when you get the console in 2020. I have my mind set on that and do away my Xbox One completely, the one game I bought it for is on Sony as well now so there is no reason to keep it around any further, especially when it options me to remove Microsoft from all considerations, it is not like they have been considerate.

Even as it is about the games, I do hope to see some hardware as well.

See you all on the flip side, and don’t forget to seek the YouTube streams of the E3, missing out is such a drag.

 

 

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Bones and Boobs in gaming

Gaming has two sides, the hardware and the software side, or as some might call it the boobs and bones of gaming. We will look at the boobs later (desert always comes last), yet the bones are another matter. Forbes (at https://www.forbes.com/sites/davidthier/2019/06/04/there-are-tough-times-ahead-for-the-playstation-4-and-xbox-one/#3ca33e3562b4) gives us ‘There Are Tough Times Ahead For The PlayStation 4 And Xbox One‘, I do not really agree, and if so then mostly for the Xbox side, but the man makes a decent point and that is always a good reason to contemplate an article.

Bones

Even as he makes the case, I believe him to be wrong on certain matters. The numbers only partially support him. In case of Microsoft, they had a good run on the Xbox360 and they had decent sales even beyond the Xbox One launch. The reasons was that those with too small a budget decided to pick up a pre-owned console as those prices went down by a lot. Even today, people still buy Xbox 360 games, which is pretty astounding. The premise holds true for the PS3, from day one the PS4 was the child to have and for the next two years there will be plenty of people upgrading from PS4 to PS4 pro as Sony will be dumping the prices for that puppy. The market will slow down, but I believe that Sony has a good foundation to work with, Microsoft a little less so.

Nintendo remains the larger question in this. They are still ascending by leaps and bounds and even now we see in Forbes (three weeks ago actually) ‘The Nintendo Switch Just Topped The PS4’s Lifetime Sales In Japan‘, and that sounds overwhelming, yet the global numbers with PS4 on 97 million and Switch on 35 million gives the equal global sales towards the Xbox, but not the PlayStation. It has only been two years, whilst the other two have been around 7, the Nintendo Switch is still gaining momentum and it is doing so faster than last year. The fact that two of the most enticing (and addictive) games are free helps matters. With Fallout Shelter and Gems of war being great games to play on the Switch, we see a larger appreciation of the console. Nintendo upped the ante by handing all those with an online subscription (less than $40 a year), we see that they all get access to the old games from Donkey Kong, Metroid and Super Mario Bros, with dozens of additional games, all for free for those with the online account. It is one of the most enticing deals you will find in console land. As such the Switch goes on and on and on. That and the pre-owned market makes me oppose the view that Dave Thier has to some degree. the part that is also in debate is “I could even imagine PlayStation 4 sales recovering after the PlayStation 5 comes out and people realize they can still get good use of the old machine, which is likely to see a price-cut“, I believe that he setting is sound, yet I have seen Sony Marketing in action, as such they will cut prices on all options long before the sales recovery issue becomes a real issue for Sony. With exclusive titles like Last of Us 2 (2020), Death Stranding, Sekiro, Ghosts of Tsushima (2020), there is everything to look forward to and besides the fact that there are still plenty of people without a PS4 (or Xbox One for that matter), many of us (including me) still have not upgraded to the PS4pro (a budget issue), for many mainly because we have no 4K TV and that is the big factor (equally so for the Xbox One X), so as Sony starts bundling it’s console with a 4K TV, we might see another rush to upgrade. With several brands (including Sony) offering 55” or larger 4K TV’s for less than $1000 at present, the push for package deals will be very alive at the end of this year pushing the options of additional consoles right up to 2020 at that point the PS5 (and whatever Microsoft has) will become an optional issue. We have seen that many day one people held on to their previous console. I still have the PS3 and Xbox 360; I just never expected that the 360 would be higher regarded than the Xbox One (by me). These are all elements that play a part, as such I partially oppose the view Forbes gave us and I believe to be handing out the correct version (I have been proven correct often enough).

I agree with his slowing down part, but not to the degree he expects it, and the additional factor is not the slowing down, it might be: “New consoles pose question marks for the industry, and people are inclined to wait for answers before making large purchases“. I believe that to be the correct statement, but there was one other factor, it is 4K gaming and that is slow because the larger group of gamers does not have a 4K TV at present, as 4K will be the bees knees this Christmas, we will see a push to a much larger degree and Sony has an advantage over Sony here. It is how I got my PS3 and I never regretted that, especially as that TV was dirt cheap in those days, I expect Sony to do the same caper this year (and other brands as well), which is as I see it the larger stage for the difference between Dave Thier and me, as well as the large purchasing part, there is no ‘wait for answers‘ anymore on 4K TV, as such it optionally prevents a larger slowdown on the consoles and to be honest, you need to see Xbox One 4K with AC Origin to believe just how amazing 4K can be, it blew my socks off let me tell you that; and yes it was on a Xbox One X. Ubisoft & Microsoft actually got that part truly right.

Boobs

Yup, we got there, or as the Bloodhound Gang would state: ‘Hooray for Boobies‘ Yet the software is always a happy place for any gamer, whether it is Minecraft or Spiderman, seeing stuff in 4K is always reason to cheer. So when we look at value how angry do we need to get? When we are confronted with a AAA game (triple A game) we think it will be about quality, but it is not. It merely means that the game comes from a ‘mid-sized or major publisher, typically having higher development and marketing‘ and as I see it, it will be mostly about the marketing. So here comes Ubisoft who as far as I can tell is the only one who truly mangled and downgraded the IP of two franchises, namely Assassins Creed and optionally now Far Cry.

In comes a hard truth: ‘AAA game development has been identified as one environment where crunch time and other working pressures that negatively affect the employees are particularly evident‘, a given that is handed to us by Tweaktown and GamaSutra. In Tweaktown we see: ‘Ex-Ubisoft dev reveals the grim reality‘ with the quote: “it’s more like a mechanized assembly line than a dream job“, this might be a true stage, yet in all this it is not the creators, it is its board of directors as well as their marketing department. Like several software makers, setting a realistic goal is not something either department is any good at; the horrendous Far Cry 5 is clearly evidence of that. I completely disagree with the ratings that IGN (89%) and the 81% that Metacritic gave, I fall in line towards Digital Trends and their 60%. There should be a stage that games like that can no longer be called AAA games when its rating to become this below average. I even have some reservations on the games I traded in for this new version (at $23). Far Cry 5 infuriates me; they really had to do a better job. Not the graphics guys (gals included), graphically Montana is so overwhelmingly amazing that I would be willing to move to Hope County with the next available flight (if there is a decent job there). The story is something I leave in the middle. It is over the top, but there is a side that is actually enticing and you haven’t felt hatred until you are getting a tattoo on your chest by John Seed, the characters (even the over the top ones) are impressive. It is the game play itself that got to me in a massive way. To name just a few:

  1. Planes that touch a tree top dead in their track and in some cases end up on the ground in perfect working order without a scratch.
  2. Like the screaming eagles in Far Cry Primal (one every other minute) the stage comes when planes are there and they are there all the time, I have shot down enough to make a nation go bankrupt, but not for the Seed family, they merely seed more planes (or is that conceive?) And it is not merely me; I found hundreds of posts of gamers irritated by that, it seems that some people at Ubisoft are unwilling to learn.
  3. Spawn, not the Todd McFarlane hero, but the spawning of opponents. In a bunker scene (trying to avoid spoilers), the troops started spawning in front of me, which is a big no-no! This all indicates that the game was either never clearly tested, or the test results were ignored, either way that is an easy 20% degrading on any 89% score, so we are already on 69%. The fact that these issues were never addressed one year down the road implies additional failings on the Ubisoft front.
  4. Ballistics anyone? I love my sniper rifles, it gives me an edge and even in a bunker, the rifle can be a huge advantage, even if you only have 35 bullets to work with (unless you find more ammo). So when that rifle suddenly does not kill with a head shot, but only knock of the helmet, I am speechless. You see, anyone who knows their weapons would know that a helmet is protecting in nature, but the impact of a .50 that travels at 3,029 feet/second giving an impact of 13,350 ft-lbf (foot pound force) does not merely take off the helmet, it rips of the entire head. Now I get and accept that Ubisoft is not giving us that image, but to not see a headshot as an immediate kill is just stupid and silly. That should be 35 instant kills, even in the chest the power alone will crush the chest to death, and no Kevlar thickness in the world will stop that.
  5. The enemy avalanche. I get that throughout the game, it becomes more and more taxing, but the boss fights with wave after wave, where topless people keep running after 5-7 shots is just silly. And it is not 2-3 we get thrown into a stage of dozens and Ubisoft is unable to learn that wave after wave gets to be tedious and actually does not make a game better. Now there is an arcade more and I am not touching it, arcade is arcade and there the rules tend to be slightly different, which is fair enough. Yet in the normal game, Ubisoft makes the same mistakes we saw in Far Cry Primal and Far Cry 4. What was Far Cry 3 has become less and less (as I personally see it).

There is a lot Ubisoft got right too and the extra’s (like the Vaas outfit) and particularly the outfits you get when you have another Ubisoft game is cool, an immediate reward for those who have other Ubisoft games like the Rainbow six outfit is actually really cool to see (I did not have the game so it did not unlock for me), but the effort towards its gamers must be recognised. The bubbleheads (for in the car) if you have certain games is also cool and gives a little extra a fact that has always mattered to gamers.

Tweak town gives a lot more, but when I read: “When people realize they’re just one very replaceable person on a massive production chain, you can imagine it impacts their motivation“, I see it and it might impact, but that is an HR problem, not on my watch here, it is an element I care not for at present. There is also: “How do you get the right message to the right people? You can’t communicate everything to everyone, there’s just too much information. There are hundreds of decisions being taken every week. Inevitably, at some point, someone who should have been consulted before making a decision will be forgotten. This creates frustration over time” that is an issue, it is management that is either not there, not properly ready or even worse, it is ignorant. That also gives light to the connection of testing, an issue that Ubisoft has had for at least a decade. The experience that even now in Far cry 5, the event of looting a corpse and switching the weapon they dropped are nearly always overlapping, making a quick grab for ammo impossible and at times even disastrous. An issue not fixed since Far Cry 3. The article (at https://www.tweaktown.com/news/49863/ex-ubisoft-dev-reveals-grim-reality-aaa-games-development/index.html) had a few more items, but it was less important for me in this case. Gamasutra (at https://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/282922/AAA_game_dev_lifestyle_is_unwinnable_says_veteran_game_designer_Amy_Hennig.php) gives a few more items, issues like: “There are people who never go home and see their families. They have children who are growing up without seeing them” get a different rating, it is either a lack of time management, or slave labour, one is a choice the other is criminal; you tell me which is which. Yes, I trivialise the issue here, but at some stage you need to recharge and if you decide not to do that, you burn out. It is the quote: “It’s pressure that rolls downhill and piles onto those behind the industry’s biggest releases, forcing them to go above and beyond to meet rapidly approaching deadlines” that hits pay dirt, they either haven’t learned to neuter their marketing department, or the board members have forgotten what realistic time frames are. Either way it tends to stop proper game testing and that is how we get a screwed up product and we have seen that from AC Unity onwards, Ubisoft has had way too many events like that. As such as we see the quote referring to ‘over-expectant publishers‘, the view we see matches mine pretty much flawless. If you cannot control your marketeers with their hype creation, you fall flat and you get the pressures that should have been avoided in the first place. The evidence is there too, for example Project red with Witcher 3 as well as Cyberpunk 2077. There no one is fussed about the 2020 release, we all know that they broke the mould with Witcher 3 and we want to see that again, we the gamers are willing to wait for excellence, mainly because it has become such a rare thing. A 93% rating comes at a price. It is the oldest stage of sales.

You can have something cheap, something fast and something good, but you can only chose two of the three elements, so the product ends up arriving slow, becoming a bad product or an expensive one, which of those three can you live with the best? Of those three the late arrival is the best (my personal view), but as far as Ubisoft goes, they got that choice wrong more than once, because they were unwilling to delay the release late, costing them points all over the place. It is me not liking Odyssey that requires me to quote Samuel Axon who wrote a massive story on ArsTechnica. He ends with: “Odyssey was not a perfect game. But it was the perfect game to win back this series superfan. It’s so good, I want to go back and replay older games in the series—even some of the bad ones—just to examine and appreciate the evolution“, I get his vision yet it is not my view on the game and that is fine. Ubisoft does not need to appease me, it needs to protect its IP and there we might not see eye to eye on the matter. This is fine, I am merely one view and that too needs to be taken into account, Samuel clearly had another view on the take and I accept it because the article (at https://arstechnica.com/gaming/2019/03/i-played-11-assassins-creed-games-in-11-years-and-odyssey-made-them-all-worth-it) is an absolute must for any Assassins Creed fan.

When I look back, no matter how much we like to stare at the boobies, when they are not the ones (or shape, or size) you hoped to see, the interest fades really fast (unless you are a hungry baby) and that is the core for Ubisoft, the absolute essential part was proper testing and fixing (optionally with a day one patch) is something they seemingly have not been steered towards for too long and it shows. As I see it, they efficiently massacred two IP’s at present; the question becomes what will happen with Watchdogs 3? When we accept (I do) that the second was way better than the first, I fear for the third, because they need to get it right. I only got Far Cry 5 well over a year later when it was sold at a mere 17% of the full price gives rise to what we are willing to pay. When you consider that this was a game with a budget close to $100 million and a rising amount of gamers will no longer consider it at full price, and even as it made $310 million, how much money did Ubisoft in the end miss out on? Going home with $200 more is still good, but what could they have gotten? I wonder if they learn this lesson too late, perhaps it is me and perhaps I expect too much from the gamers of today. I merely chase excellence in gaming, and a game that is created substandard will not ever give a feeling of excellence, which is sad on many levels, especially when someone forked out an 9 figure number.

Just consider that GTA5 made $6 billion so far, Red Dead Redemption had a $725 million opening weekend, and that list goes on, all games that have a 90% score of better. It shows when we see that (according to VGChartz) Far Cry 5 seemingly sold less than 4 million copies, God of war far beyond 11 million, and that is also set toUbisoft being on three systems, whilst God of War was on only one system. I see it as the main difference between a 70% game and a 95% game. A difference of 250% or better in sold copies. I reckon that Ubisoft needs to focus on quality a lot more than they are currently doing and that view is shared by global player on an increasing larger scale endangering Ubisoft initial revenue more and more.

 

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Dyslexia for dummies

I have at times (more often than not) an evil demon in my brain, it uses its pitchfork to stab into my brain and dares me to prank, often calling me a pussy if I resist. Sometimes I give in; just the idea of friendly pranking is overwhelming. I also tend to do this as a form of justice, but more about that later. The image you see is not mine, it was Facebooked to me and good ammunition is hard to come by, so when I was in a bookshop getting the idea that someone looked bored, I asked for the book and showed the image. She was busy for at least 5 minutes before she figured out that she was being pranked.

There was no evil from me, it was not to give a person an intentional hard time (the one exception which will be mentioned soon), and there was no aftermath, it was a little harmless fun, whilst letting the victim know that they did nothing wrong and of course, the mandatory ‘I’m sorry‘ was added on my side, it was all in good fun. The exception to that rule was when I witness some manager dress down an employee too loudly in public on how their knowledge lacked. At that point my demon did not need to alert me, I looked around and whilst I appealed to his ego, I pleaded for his help to find something and of course as the so called boss he was ready to comply. It was about two minutes later when he gave the task to a worker there. He had been unable to locate the Vegan Beef Burgers in any of the freezers, I cautiously informed the worker what I had done and tears of laughter dropped to the floor, he was able to refrain from loud laughter, it was priceless.

So there I was asking for Dyslexia for dummies and as the salesperson knew me, I wasn’t going to get far. Yet that was not why I was there. There was a sale going on and I got my fingers on a really nice book for $5, sometimes one gets to be lucky. So there I was holding onto a pre-owned copy of The Leper of Saint Giles. I saw Cadfael on TV, but never read it and that is why I got at it. It was then that it dawned on me that I had lost the pleasure of reading to some extent. There was Tolkien, Deborah Harkness, Stephen Fry but those are the older books, during my law degree, I was ‘forced’ to sit down and read so much that the pleasure of relaxing and read a book had faded to some degree. Whether it was merely that or the mountains of digital information that were offered to me on an hourly basis, I cannot tell. The age of me being a bookworm had faded to some degree. There is the notion that I currently find writing more fun than reading and the 1200 articles I have written so far seem to indicate that. I think that creating articles, working on Intellectual Property concepts, as well as an idea for a TV series, and three video games; it seems that the creation bug is in me and it is taking its toll in other ways.

So why write about it?

The Guardian gave me something this morning that lighted the spark of reading and feeling that spark is a little overwhelming. It was yesterday’s story (at https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/jun/02/jack-the-ripper-victims-had-to-be-whores-anyone-saying-different-deserves-a-trolling) that links to the February article called ‘The Five by Hallie Rubenhold review – the untold lives of Jack the Ripper’s victims‘, I was always intrigued by that era (as well as the individual known as JtR from L) and any detective reader will feel the pinch when Jack the Ripper is called for. I believe that the first movie regarding it was Murder by Decree with Christopher Plummer (Sherlock Holmes), it is the Michael Caine version (Chief Inspector Frederick Abberline) with Lewis Collins (Sergeant George Godley) and Jane Seymour I liked the best. It has a whole range of top notch actors and the premise of the setting of the movie is also quite unique, as such it was an excellent mini-series to watch on DVD and this all leads me to the book.

The book gives rise to a lot of issues that the movies never got to, the fact that there is that historian Hallie Rubenhold took an actual look at the women, the five victims, she sets a stage that the police had worked on assumption on a few levels and it also gives rise as the two movies had inclined to some degree.

In murder by decree, there is a stage that one of the women gave birth to a son from Prince Albert. The mini-series gives rise that there were questions, but I never looked at it from certain sides in depth, because I never had any reliable materials to read, as such and through exposure on a multitude of ways, the five were merely prostitutes. Now we see Hallie Rubenhold digging into historical records and we are confronted with: “In three of the cases, there is no evidence to suggest that they were professional prostitutes, and convincing reasons to believe that they were not“, this is huge because it implies that not only was the entire matter a joke towards investigation, there is every chance that the police had been looking in the wrong direction and the fattening of the stories through newspapers did not help much. The fact that I am also exposed to “Ripperologists have devoted lengthy blog posts and podcasts to attacking her research and her credentials” is just unacceptable. whether it is a true work of history, or even a dramatized writing based on published fact is open to debate, but I am not willing to do that until there is credible evidence (actual evidence) that this is a mere work of fiction. I particularly like the quote: “Rubenhold’s book quotes the judge in the 2008 “Suffolk Strangler” case, who instructed the jury considering evidence against the serial killer of sex workers to put aside their “distaste” at the victims’ “lifestyles”, an extraordinary echo of the same sentiment, 120 years after the Ripper murders“, it seems that there is a correlation of ‘sex workers’ and ‘they deserve whatever they get’ and the fact that it survived the tests of time for centuries. An aspect I had never anticipated. I find one other part disturbing, the view that the writer Stephanie Merritt has when we see Ripperologists and the enigma of Jack the Ripper his enigma lends a macabre glamour, and to shift the story away from sex to the more mundane Victorian social issues of poverty, homelessness and addiction, as Rubenhold has done, is to interfere unforgivably in a narrative they feel belongs to them. I would argue that nothing of any of it belongs to them, history belongs to all, and we can do with it (to some degree) what we like. Historians tend to redress those times into a framework that we today can relate to, fictional writers add pizzazz to it and as such we now know that there were 15 commandments, not 10 (Mel Brooks), some try to adhere to futuristic endeavours like Jane Webb (1827) who would give us the original story of the Mummy and how Brendan Fraser and Arnold Vosloo modernised it well over a century and a half later. History has a great edge, what has happened has been open to interpretation for the longest time, you merely need to read the factual Treaty of Clermont (1095) and how it led to centuries of pillaging of the Middle East.

History can be read in many ways, so what is to state that Hallie Rubenhold is reading the right or wrong historical facts? First to consider is that (as the story goes) that Rubenhold has been trying to get a fix on their lives and even as most will focus on the Ripper and partially ignore the fact that there is serious doubt on the five victims in more than one way, we see one part with: “There is no evidence, Rubenhold argues, that Nichols or Chapman or Eddowes ever worked as prostitutes; the police conviction that the killer targeted women of “bad character” perverted the inquiry. The Ripper’s victims, she suggests, were targeted not because they were soliciting sex but because they were drunk and homeless and – most importantly – asleep. The killer preyed on women whom nobody cared about and who wouldn’t be missed” the stage is a setting that is true even today, the homeless will be targeted more often than anyone having a decent roof over their heads and consider that street lights were rare in 1888, the fact that people in the dark are an open invitation is a given.

The partial fact that we see with: “Nichols, daughter of a blacksmith, spent her first years in Dawes Court, where Dickens had imagined Fagin living with his pickpockets in Oliver Twist.” is a part that almost no one would know. The Charles Dickens fans optionally, yet how many of them are that as well as Ripperologists? Some of the records that are available, or used a quote giving rise to the fact that Police surgeon Dr Frederick Gordon Brown and Police physician Thomas Bond have been in disagreement regarding Catherine Eddowes and there is another part that struck me when I was reading some of the accounts. The fact that I read: “instead of turning right to take the shortest route to her home in Flower and Dean Street, she turned left towards Aldgate“. My issue is not with the route, but more about the reasoning that the police might have had. What was the difference in illumination? A woman would shy from dark alleys and short cuts, especially in those days. A 10 minute longer walk where there are lights would be a common sense reason and this is merely speculation because the streetlights in those days were rare and in poor area’s unlikely to be there or working. In addition, as we look at the autopsy, we see that Thomas Bonds version is supported by both Local surgeon Dr George William Sequeira and City medical officer William Sedgwick Saunders, and what else has been ignored? What more do we not know and that is where the book comes in, because is all versions I have seen the women were downplayed and trivialised as prostitutes. The version of them being down on their luck and more important pushed into a life of self-medicating alcoholics have always been portrayed as the element linked to prostitutes.

Hallie Rubenhold gives us in ‘The Five’ a different stage, when did anyone realise that this was a much larger case riddles with issues linked to preconception and ego? When we see: ‘they came from Fleet Street, Knightsbridge, Wolverhampton, Sweden, and Wales‘, one was Scandinavian? London was filled with immigrants, which was no secret, but I never knew that not all these five were English; it opens another stage in all this. I am not claiming that the version of Hallie Rubenhold is the perfect or most correct one, but unlike other works, the victims are the full focal point and that needs to be placed first and that is where we are, a book that suddenly made me curious and gave me the spark and is driving me to read (that book), I have not had that feeling for quite some time and as such this work might be a lot more interesting than anyone is willing to admit to.

When was the last time that a book or a topic made you want to read something from a writer you never read before?

This gives an optionally needed call towards a ‘new’ version of Dyslexia for dummies, not because the person cannot read, but because writers relying on history are attacked without proper scientific or evidentiary support, giving a dangerous setting where the reader was in danger of not seeing this book at all. So perhaps we need a book (Dyslexia for dummies) starting with the premise that the world is flat and the centre of this solar system, and whilst the Hallie Rubenhold trolls focus on these amazing facts, the rest of us can relax and take a good look at the plight that 5 women went through, up to the moment they were confronted with a man who would later be known as Jack the Ripper.

 

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When stupid people aren’t

Something woke me up from relaxed to fuming. It started when the headline ‘Austerity to blame for 130,000 ‘preventable’ UK deaths‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/jun/01/perfect-storm-austerity-behind-130000-deaths-uk-ippr-report) was given.

And it is all from the IPPR think-tank. This was nice because this gives us a target to look at. The first thing to realise is that Austerity is a tool to get out of debt, from the 90’s onward, the UK amassed a debt that is now approaching £2,000 billion, the debt is now getting to multiple trillions and a democracy that is at the mercy of banks and corporations is not a democracy at all, it is not even a monarchy, it becomes a feudal stage. Like the US, the UK let slip their tax laws and was a bitch of the EU when tax laws were pushed that gave freedom to really large companies to end up paying a mere 1% or less (the FAANG group being a very nice example).

So whilst the penny is out there, remember that the British people as a voter should have voted down excessive spending, but that was never done and now two decades of austerity will follow. The British children get to pay for what their parents spend, or used. In addition, the IPPR joke gets to be a little larger with ‘Two decades of public health improvements have stalled‘, Lets go back 8-10 years when we learned that the Labour government launched an IT improvement that never worked. It comes down that the NHS ended up spending £11.2 billion on a computer system that never worked. It is a collection of stupid people, short sighted demands and lack of comprehension that pushed for a system that never came. So where will the NHS get these funds to fund health improvements? Well they spend it on a computer system that never worked. I wonder if that is in the think tank research (me thinks it is not).

So when we are confronted with “An estimated two in five (44%) of health visitors reported caseloads in excess of 400 children, well above the recommended level of 250 per visitor needed to deliver a safe service.” The report recommends another 5,100 training places for health visitors. In a statement, the Local Government Association said the government urgently needed to reverse the £700m reduction in public health funding since 2015 and plug a £3.6bn gap in funding for adult social care by 2025“, a finding that is most likely correct and on the money is on the money for funds that the UK does not have. As the UK government is in the red to the degree of two thousand billion pounds, it needs to cut costs or increase corporate taxation to a degree that is acceptable, until the debts go down we would all have to make do with what is left until there is more. So when I see: ‘The IPPR calls‘, in addition to ‘radical new prevention strategy‘, I say, let’s call a spade a spade and not give it the illustrious stage of calling it a money scoop, because there is no money. In addition, the stage of ‘radical new prevention strategy‘ tends to refer to untested actions that have not been proven to be successful and we have had more than enough of those.

So when I start looking at the IPPR I find a few interesting parts. First, their HQ address is: 14 Buckingham Street, WC2N 6DF, not the address of the charity, the address of their headquarters. Now apart from it being right in front of the Victoria Embankment gardens, a place where real estate that is so expensive, I get to wonder how a charity has any money left. Its Director Tom Kibasi also draws flak from others; one Editor in Chief was able to give us all: “Tom Kibasi is at one or other of the leftish think tanks and therefore, by definition, doesn’t know his economic arse from his elbow. This coming into stark relief when he starts to talk about the effects of Brexit. For he’s claiming that the European Union will, through general nefarity, manage to steal away all Britain’s industry. Without realising that they’ve simply not got the ability to do so“, as I myself have admitted to have no economy degree at all (more than once), I feel slightly too short on economic qualifications to counter one side or the other, but the article (at https://continentaltelegraph.com/brexit/its-a-pity-tom-kibasi-doesnt-know-anything-about-the-economics-of-brexit/) shows a few sides to consider. Yet I feel that the editor giving us: “Getting the basics of the balance of payments wrong is embarrassing for anyone purporting to tell us about economics. We can’t have a balance of payments crisis. It’s simply not possible” a larger consideration to address and what I saw and he might have seen is the danger behind the quote: the UK is heavily reliant on foreign investment – the “kindness of strangers” – which would likely collapse“, this is only half a truth, what is set through “giving sufficient time for firms like Airbus, Nissan or AstraZeneca to relocate production” is a larger danger. You see these companies have been hiding the ‘discounted taxation or we leave’ card over our head for the longest of times. The car industry left Australia because there were cheaper deals to be found elsewhere, in that time Australia basically legalised slave labour, what a rush!

Yes, these people can relocate, yet to players like AstraZeneca we can impose a no trade deal, we give their competitors (like India) the option to giving generic medication. Let us push to pharmacy button who claims ‘It is all the same sir, it is just cheaper‘, and see how that goes. As I see it, when Astra Zeneca has to report a lost consumer base of 68 million, the game changes for them by a lot, will it not?

The issue with IPPR is larger, it is seen in their own funding, those who fund over £50,000 (at https://www.ippr.org/about/how-we-are-funded). Do you not think that they have their own agenda? Stephen Peel, a former senior partner at the global private equity firm TPG CapitaLand private equity investor? Some might call him a philanthropist, but you have to spend money to make money is merely one example. The IPPR is not evil, they are political presenters, they are politically left inclined, optionally far left and they want to stage the labour needs to end austerity, but that government spend so much we are all still paying the bills. But I will make a counter offer to Tom Kibasi:

Any action regarding ending austerity requires a balanced budget to be presented on time, any government that does not achieve that is liable for prosecution and prison sentence for no less than 3 years and all their assets are to be auctioned to recover losses. In addition, that party is not eligible to sit in office until the agreement ends (after the completion of the election of 2097), it is time to deal the banks the chains that they are putting around the necks of governments and people.

I agree that my solution is Draconian, but people like Tom Kibasi aren’t leaving us any options are they?

Do they have a case? Well, yes they do to some degree, there is truth in the matter, there is no denying that, merely the stage where the ‘presenter’ has a case of the denials when it comes to fact that the children (parliament) used mommy’s credit card (HRH Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor) to an unacceptable degree is a fact the UK faces, there is a cost of doing business and a consequence to excessive overspending, the mere issue that most players refuse to look into that direction is additional cause for concern. The fact that they still refuse to look there is a danger as they will do this again and after an £11.2 billion spending spree on an IT system that never worked is too large a danger to allow for. The fact that the IPPR found it not to be important to look at these budget cuts (which regarding their paper) might be relevant, but in light of their conclusion the so called: “if improvements in public health policy had not stalled as a direct result of austerity cuts” was seemingly not done. The actual need for austerity in all this was utterly ignored, how does that make for a functional think tank? Should the board not be observed from all angles? And if that was not the goal for whoever requested that study? What this study conceived by Director Tom Kibasi? He just woke up and said: ‘Let us look at this issue‘, or did he get a call from someone who told him to look into that matter, as exposure would be profitable for those who need these results in the open? The stage that this part of the Think Tank occupies is (at present) utterly in the dark raises other questions too, do they not?

When someone uses a charity to expose the need to spend money, someone is making money in the process; the human condition has shown that to be a truth for the longest of times.

 

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