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Mere numbers

Yes we all have mere numbers, and it is nice that some are advocating the lack of numeric connections on the news. Consider that we are being confronted with a disease with an optional  death rate of 3.4%, however the news is being brought like that is not the death rate, it is the survival rate. From ‘Murder inquiries could be hit if coronavirus reduces police numbers‘, to ‘WHO says coronavirus death rate is 3.4% globally, higher than previously thought‘, in all this we see a massive level of overreaction by all (including media), why? Lets face it, it is a flu and 3.4% in fatalities is still lower then your chances to cross the road whilst the crossing light is red in Manhattan, Regent street London or Parramatta road in Sydney. The overreaction I see is just staggering, even now we see ‘Wall Street slides after Federal Reserve makes emergency US rate cut‘, all as we see the numbers that give us “Coronavirus Cases: 92,880 Deaths: 3,168” and this is all before you realise the slight side factor “Recovered: 48,589“, so as the amount of people are restoring it and as we see a level of fear mongering whilst the amount of people not alive is a mere 3.4%, in addition, as we see the small realisation that in a group of thirty including me, i would feel that I was the one not making it, that is until I realise that one of the other thirty is Rupert Murdoch, which would make him the unlucky fellow, age is apparently a factor, the young have a much better chance, so there you have it, playing Russian roulette with thirty others and one gun, making it one out of the thirty not making it, and when you realise that a pistol has 6 options, we see the overreaction. Age is a factor, making it a setting where the bulk of the people will end up having to pay their taxes. I did have fun last week, as i was in a train I stated on my mobile (with no one at the other end) “I’ve had the sniffles ever since I came back from China“, within a few minutes I was alone in that carriage, that will teach people lo listen to other people’s phone calls. Over reaction can work for you, I learned that a long time ago and I do have a flaky sense of humour to boot (every now and then I should just kick myself).

Even in the UK with now 51 cases, the UK still has no fatalities, we get it, it is a disease with an optional not happy ending, but we need to realise that so far the death toll is a mere 3.4%, some nations have a larger death population by drinking water. When you consider “Contaminated drinking water is estimated to cause 485 000 diarrhoeal deaths each year” and you consider that this flu virus has only taken the lives of 3,168 people, the overreaction by others is just a little too much. So as we are treated to adjustment in interest levels and we see US rate cuts all whilst the death toll in the US is so far 9 people, we see a massive overreaction, and it is time to call the media and governments to attention. In the US Heart disease will kill 165,000 people, cancer 152,000, no one cares, yet this flu that has killed 9 shows an overreaction that is uncanny, it is lower than diabetes, yet we overreact, all whilst sugar intake is off the charts.

Caution and the wind

We all need to take caution, I am not stating that this is the case, but the overaction seen all over the media is just stupid, a disease milked for circulation through the use of implied danger, not shown danger. The best headline is seen with ‘Corona Causes Stupidity To Go Viral‘ (at https://townhall.com/columnists/derekhunter/2020/03/01/corona-causes-stupidity-to-go-viral-n2562371), here we see “the United States has excellent care everywhere. While there is no “cure” for a virus, we have the ability to treat the symptoms more readily available than any other country in the world. And we also care to administer that care. Most of the rest of the world: not so much” for the most, the issue is spot on, even as we now see that the US has 9 fatalities, the media is all to happy about keeping people in the dark on the 3.4% fatality rate (at best), 

Still, we should not throw caution in the wind, yet between that status and the mediated one where we see “80pc of Scots could get disease“, all whilst no national numbers in any country show any numbers that could give rise to such a blatant form of miscommunication. I think that the danger of Scots becoming British nationalists is a lot higher, if you catch my drift.

Even if we for whatever reason ‘hide’ behind the numbers, we all take a position, the media as mostly fear mongering, the governments in easing whatever economic pressures there are and even me, as to the overreaction of so many others. A disease with a death rate of 3.4% gives a different optimistic side, my survival rate on most cardiac options I could get hit with is a lot lower than 96.6%, so I have a better chance to live longer if I get the Coronavirus, how sic is that?

China, South Korea, Italy and iran, all  have thousands of actual cases and there we see that ONLY China and Italy have a percentage of non-living that is at the 3.4%, South Korea has a fatality rate that is less than 1%, so 99% survives there, 32 deaths in 5,328 cases, as such Australia with one kill out of 39 is not in any danger of being an issue, especially as 21 cases have made a full recovery. Yet the media does not give us that part, does it? And when we see how it hits the places where poverty is a danger, is that because there are no cases in Monte Carlo? (fingers crossed), or perhaps it is because Saudi Arabia currently only has one case? 

No matter how we slice it, we need to sit down and take a sober look at the numbers, in the first it already is a pandemic, in the second we see the cold numbers give us that 96.6% will merely get sick and recover without dying of the disease. There were 4 flu viruses in the past, the avian version (1957) killed around 2 million, the manana virus (Spanish flu) killed 50,000,000. the other two killed a million each, this Coronavirus does not add up to anything serious, the numbers prove me right. There is a massive overreaction, especially when you consider serious diseases like Ebola, or HIV. Their death rates are indeed serious, this Corona event does not add up to much at all and it is time that we take that into consideration.

By the way what was the rate cut by the federal reserve when HIV became an issue? It seems to me that this is an event that the media, especially the financial writers seem to have forgotten (read: ignored). So whilst the media is giving us ‘Washington state residents frustrated over obstacles to get coronavirus tests‘, or even ‘WHO warns of protective gear shortage as global recession fears mount‘, in a case where we see proven that 96.6% will not endure any fatalities, the overreaction is clearly seen, yet the lack of governments making sure that all people realise that there is too much overreaction in the midst of a generic flu season is a little staggering. All whilst the headlines are spiked with phrases like “its battle against the deadly virus“, I personally believe that the fatality rate needs to be a lot larger than 3.4% before we have a viral publication of “the deadly virus“, at least that is my take on it, call me crazy, but a situation where a virus optionally kills 3,200 all whilst traffic kills 1,250,000 people annually is a stretch, especially when you realise that the virus could have been a mere complicating factor in several deaths, the elderly die for all kinds of non-natural causes, the virus is a given complication here, but there will be some debate whether the complications, or the virus was the killer remained to be seen and the elderly will get hit harder, no doubt about that.

When we consider the mere numbers, the ado about Corona becomes much about nothing, even if it does kill, 3,200 deaths does not amount to anything when we compare it to the lack of life through survival in Syria (Idlib, Aleppo) or all over Yemen, did you consider that?

 

 

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Death by tabloid

Yes, we all see it, we all know what is going on, yet there is the distinct stage where the tabloids get away with it as they still give the readers what they want, the people need entertainment and there is no entertainment that is so sincere when it is laced with a corpse. If there is one message that is true, then it is the message that Caroline Flack gives the story to, the stage of non-life. When we see “Articles about the death of the former Love Island presenter topped the media ‘most-read’ lists this weekend” we merely see what is above the waterline, it is what is below the waterline, that is the killer, ask the people on the Titanic, they can vouch for that part. 

So even as we see “The former director of public prosecutions said the presenter’s death “shocked a lot of people”, adding: “It wasn’t just social media, it was the media amplifying what social media was doing. It was both strands. There is a human impact.” We will be getting confronted by a part so incomplete and lacking. The Guardian is filled with responses, yet they read as incomplete, partially even insincere. The article (at https://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2020/feb/16/politicians-condemn-press-intrusion-after-caroline-flacks-death) gives a lot and shows remarkable little. We even see “Daisy Cooper MP, who worked for the campaign group Hacked Off before being elected in December, said there must be more self-regulation before content is published online“, yet the issue is ‘self-regulation‘, if there is one part that is a given, it is that the Leveson inquiry shows that press standards are waning and self-regulation is nothing more than a bad joke. 

We also see “Despite Whitmore’s pleas, there is little sign that change is on the cards. Individuals who work at leading British tabloids privately pointed out on Sunday that many of the people now criticising press intrusion into Flack’s life were likely to have been among the millions of readers who had previously rushed to click on articles about the presenter’s arrest in December for allegedly assaulting her boyfriend.” We could argue that those that the media turns into Clickbait tend to be of no other use than to create flames and to preserve flames that have been created, that and a few other parts is shown with “The Sun, which in December obtained exclusive pictures of her bloodied bedroom following the alleged assault, used its leader column to point the finger at prosecutors rather than media coverage of the star: “The Crown Prosecution Service needs to take a long look in the mirror and ask why it pursued its course of action given what they knew about her vulnerability. We may never know exactly what drove Caroline over the edge. But we will always remember how, like the weather at the TV villa, she brought so much sunshine into our lives.”” all whilst the CPS does what it needs to do, it is remarkable how the Sun points fingers at the CPS instead of their own mirror image. 

And at the end, we see the inescapable truth “Backlashes against the media’s coverage often accompany deaths; after Princess Diana was killed in Paris in 1997, the Daily Mail went as far as to pledge it would never again use paparazzi pictures amid widespread anti-tabloid feelings that were soon forgotten as the British public took an interest in a new round of celebrities. With Flack’s death likely to result in lengthy debates about how broadcasters treat their stars and an inquest into the circumstances, there will be no shortage of material for months to come.” There is at present every indication that the value of Caroline Flack will be a lot higher to tabloids then she was alive, is that the future that every presenter faces? If so, we better find a beter law to protect them from the intrusive tabloids, even now as we see 58,700,000 results on “Caroline Flack” It is not the first, yet Women’s Agenda (at https://womensagenda.com.au/latest/caroline-flack-life-under-the-tabloids-microscope/) gives us ‘Caroline Flack & life under the tabloids’ microscope‘, when we consider the assault she faced, the loss of a presenting assignment and other elements can we consider the optional issue (in light of) “On Sunday it was reported that 40-year old British television presenter, Caroline Flack, had died by suicide at her London home” hat she was murdered (pushed into suicide) by the media? When the media is facing that accusation, is it perhaps the stage where the media went knowingly after a vulnerable person that it becomes the optional responsibility of the CPS to dig in and have a look at all the articles published by the British media (read: tabloids)?

One person (Matt Haig) gives us “If a celebrity dies by suicide after a massive media onslaught this is manslaughter via the press. The media love ticking boxes and doing their mental health campaigns but fail to take any accountability when they impact people’s health.” it becomes time to hold the press accountable to their actions, and that need was already clearly established in the Leveson inquiry. Even as the article still blames the CPS with “The Crown Prosecution Service pursued this when they knew not only how very vulnerable Caroline was but also that the alleged victim did not support the prosecution and had disputed the CPS version of events” we need to realise that the CPS is following the optional investigation in an optional  criminal offense, that is THEIR job, the tabloids merely latched on like imaginative leeches and published whatever usable facts they could hold onto. 

So whilst we consider “The Sun, which had blanket coverage of the assault allegations against Ms. Flack, called her “Caroline Whack” in a December story. The tabloid faced online backlash in the aftermath of Ms. Flack’s death as social media users attacked it for its articles about her. At one point, #dontbuythesun and #thescum were both trending on Twitter.” we end up having to wait with baited breath if anyone will do anything about the tabloids, I once gave the simplest solution where tabloids will be sold including 20% VAT, as such the price of tabloids will increase with optional reduction in cisculation, it is time to gut the tabloids as it is gutting people under the guise of ‘the people have a right to know‘.

And in this case they might sell the story under the same price and will digress from ‘our articles are more likely than not the cause of death to others‘, because that would give too much consideration to the reader, would it not? Yet as I write this article, I see that the search now has gone from 58,700,000  to 57,700,000, as such we can see that in one hour 1,000,000 seemingly applied their right to be forgotten, making sure that THEIR article is no longer found under Google Search, I wonder which articles and stories are suddenly missing, that difference took less than an hour to take place. 

In this I wonder who is hiding and who is deciding to clear the stage, even as the Guardian gives us “The Sun, which in December obtained exclusive pictures of her bloodied bedroom following the alleged assault, used its leader column to point the finger at prosecutors rather than media coverage of the star: “The Crown Prosecution Service needs to take a long look in the mirror and ask why it pursued its course of action given what they knew about her vulnerability.” another press outlet handing a guilty verdict to the CPS, whilst the part of ‘her bloodied bedroom‘ is actually a clear reason why the CPS is investigating, blood tends to do that. and when we see ‘given what they knew about her vulnerability‘, doesn’t that make the Sun doubly guilty? #JustAsking

In all this it is time for the CPS to gather the media into a court and let them talk themselves out of these courts whilst this gets filmed ‘live’ so that the readers get a much bigger picture, the picture of spin doctors trying to keep the media out of the mess they get themselves in and as we see a much larger and much more debatable circus, it is time to give the media and their writers the limelight they push onto others.

 

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Travel by Ransomware

On Tuesday an interesting article was given by the guardian (at https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2020/jan/07/travelex-being-held-ransom-hackers-said-demanding-3m#maincontent), the title ‘Travelex ‘being held to ransom’ by hackers said to be demanding $3m‘ almost said it all and then I noticed something. First we get “Criminals are thought to be demanding about $3m (£2.3m) – to give the firm access to its computer systems after they attacked using the Sodinokibi ransomware on 31 December“, the price is not set without quarter, this we get from “They are reportedly threatening to release 5GB of customers’ personal data – including social security numbers, dates of birth and payment card information – into the public domain unless the company pays up” as well as “banks who use Travelex’s foreign exchange services to stop taking online orders for currency, affecting Sainsbury’s Bank, Tesco Bank, Virgin Money and First Direct.” You see Travelex, based in London, has a presence in more than 70 countries with more than 1,200 branches and 1,000 ATMs worldwide. It processes more than 5,000 currency transactions every hour yet, even as we see that it is on the London Stock Exchange, however the group is based in the United Arab Emirates. As for the actions we see “On Thursday 2 January, the Met’s cyber crime team were contacted with regards to a reported ransomware attack involving a foreign currency exchange. Inquiries into the circumstances are ongoing” here is the snag, what are the chances that US actions are impeded as it impacts 70 countries? Is there a reason why the FBI is not equally involved? You see, Sodinokibi is a spin off from Gandcrab and as we see (at https://www.bleepingcomputer.com/news/security/fbi-releases-master-decryption-keys-for-gandcrab-ransomware/) the FBI got those keys. Now the keys will not be compatible, but if they get one solution, they might get another solution. The fact that corporations are hit and we see “the developers behind the wildly successful GandCrab Ransomware announced that they were closing shop after allegedly amassing $2 billion in ransom payments and personally earning $150 million“, we would want to think that the FBI is on top of this and get some pay-back (I had to use that pun).

We also learn from Acronis “Sodinokibi ransomware exploits an Oracle WebLogic vulnerability (CVE-2019-2725) to gain access to the victim’s machine“, and when we go to the Oracle page we see that there had been a solution from last May onwards. there is also the part “Product releases that are not under Premier Support or Extended Support are not tested for the presence of vulnerabilities addressed by this Security Alert. However, it is likely that earlier versions of affected releases are also affected by these vulnerabilities. As a result, Oracle recommends that customers upgrade to supported versions” the question becomes did Travelex forget to do a few things? the article does not pan out on that.

Yet in all this IT News (at https://www.itnews.com.au/news/ransomware-shuts-down-travelex-systems-536191) gives us ‘Unpatched systems could be attack vector, say researchers‘, and they also give us “No evidence has surfaced so far that structured personal customer data has been encrypted, or exfiltrated. This is in contrast with a report in Computer Weekly that alleged the criminals deploying the Revil/Sodinokibi ransomware had attacked servers storing sensitive, confidential information that included customer names and their bank account and transaction details” and it does not stop there. They also give us “Troy Mursch, chief research officer at security vendor Bad Packets said it notified the forex multinational in September of a serious vulnerability in its Pulse Virtual Private Networking servers. The vulnerability went unpatched until November” which sets a much larger question mark on the entire issue as the news give us that the attack came almost a month after that. They curtiously also give us “Prior to that, security researcher Kevin Beaumont noted that Travelex was operating cloud instances of Windows Server on Amazon Web Services that had Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) enabled and exposed to the internet, but with Network Level Access (NLA) control disabled. An RDP flaw, known as BlueKeep, allows for full remote compromise of Windows without user interaction” and these issues are not asked about? At least the Guardian article does not stop on them. 

The most hilarious response is seen at the very end of the IT News article with “Despite the attack closing down online systems, Travelex said it does not currently anticipate any material financial impact for its parent Finablr” Travelex might have numerous issues to consider, but the customer does not make the high point of that, or as I would mildly put it, who cares about Finablr? Well I reckon that the London Stock Exchange cares as the value of Finablr made a crashing 17% loss, that is almost one in five pounds that is lost too those bright young lads (ladies also). They advertise (on their website) ‘Finablr is a global platform for Payments and Foreign Exchange solutions underpinned by modern and proprietary technology‘ instead of ‘Finablr is a global platform for Payments and Foreign Exchange solutions underpinned by modern and proprietary hackable technology‘. It is a small difference, but a distinct one, especially as Oracle had placed a solution for months and the second message by Kevion Beaumont does not help any I reckon. In support a source gave the BBC that they feel let down, complaining that their travel money is “in limbo”, which is interesting, as the Guardian article gives us “Travelex first revealed the New Year’s Eve attack on 2 January, when it sought to assure that no customer data had yet been compromised” and as the article came 5 days after, the absence of victim mentioning is an interesting one, it seems that Travelex is not handling this situation well on a few levels, optionally also in arrear of making mantion towards the customers, all in opposition to the text on Travelex.com, which gives (among more data) “Tony D’Souza, Chief Executive of Travelex, said “Our focus is on communicating directly with our partners and customers to protect them and their information from any further compromise. We take very seriously our responsibility to protect the privacy and security of our partner and customer’s data as well as provide an excellent service to our customers and we sincerely apologise for the inconvenience caused. Travelex continues to offer services to its customers on a manual basis and is continuing to provide alternative customer solutions in the interim. We are working tirelessly to bring our systems back online.”” 

As such we get Travelex giving us one part and the BBC giving quite the opposite, and at this point my question becomes, exactly how much money is ‘in limbo‘?

That and a few more parts all rise to the surface when I look into this matter, the entire time gap on the side of Travelex being the most prevalent one. The one part that Acronis made me wonder about was the exemption list, the fact that It will try not to infect computers from countries based on the locale setting of the computer, which gives us “Romania, Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuanian, Tajikistan, Iran, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tatarstan“, the reason is unknown to me, perhaps they fear those countries and their ‘justice system’?

By the way, the entire Finablr website mention was essential, they are so for the ‘future’ yet security is seemingly not among it. That part is seen when we consider “In April 2019, the Cybereason Nocturnus team analyzed a new type of evasive ransomware dubbed Sodinokibi“, as such it took the Oracle team months to get a solution made (which makes perfect sense) yet the lack of implementation by Travelex is less normal. From all information it seems to me that Travelex should have made larger steps to be secure no later than Halloween, so the issue is a little larger than we consider, and the fact that Sodinokibi is a much larger field that goes back a few billion dollars. This is a contemplated speculation when we look at CSO Online where we get “While Sodinokibi is not necessarily a direct continuation of GandCrab, researchers have found code and other similarities between the two, indicating a likely connection” implying that for at least one person $150 million was not enough. 

As such, the entire Travelex issue will be around much longer than the ransomware will be, there will need to be a larger amount of questions to its mother organisation Finablr as well. From my speculative side it seems that some players are lacking certain IT skills, or/and a larger shortage of it, that is the initial feeling I got when I saw the information that Troy Mursch and Kevin Beaumont handed over to the press, and so far the information as seen supports a larger failing in Travelex and optionally Finablr as well. There is support for my way of thinking, no matter who is on the board of directors, none of them are IT experts and that is fine, yet by not having a visionary IT expert leading the charge we see a larger failing coming their way. It is not merely having an IT department and a security department, someone needs to spearhead and protect IT issues in the Board of Directors and there is no evidence that this is happening, actually the Travelex issue gives rise that it is not happening at all. More important, the issue with the website is that it is highly sales oriented, and when I had a look there (I reckon the Sodinokibi members as well), I wondered how secure are Unimoni, Xpress Money, Remit2India, Ditto and Swych? When one of these points get attacked, will the board of directors act appropriately? It is optionally a little ironic that they are hit whilst they advertised a paper on their site on November 20th (a month before the attack) ‘Why data protection is your new strategic priority‘, my initial thought? ‘Sarcasm, when it backfires it becomes irony!‘ Yes it seems like a cheap ride from my side, but we forget that Common Cyber Sense is a real thing and corporations need a much larger vested interest in being safe than ever before, GandCrab showed that part months before this event took place and I reckon that Financial corporations need to take a much larger vested interest in that matter, or so I am led to believe, I could (of course) be wrong.

What do you think?

 

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The Lie of AI

The UK home office has just announced plans to protect paedophiles for well over a decade and they are paying millions to make it happen. Are you offended yet? You should be. The article (at https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2019/sep/17/home-office-artificial-intelligence-ai-dark-web-child-sexual-exploitation) is giving you that, yet you do not realise that they are doing that. The first part is ‘Money will go towards testing tools including voice analysis on child abuse image database‘, the second part is “Artificial intelligence could be used to help catch paedophiles operating on the dark web, the Home Office has announced” these two are the guiding part in this, and you did not even know it. To be able to understand this there are two parts. The first is an excellent article in the Verge (at https://www.theverge.com/2019/1/28/18197520/ai-artificial-intelligence-machine-learning-computational-science), the second part is: ‘AI does not exist!

Important fact is that AI will become a reality at some point, in perhaps a decade, yet the two elements making AI essential have not been completed. The first is quantum computing, IBM is working on it, and they admit: “For problems above a certain size and complexity, we don’t have enough computational power on Earth to tackle them.” This is true enough and fair enough. They also give us: “it was only a few decades ago that quantum computing was a purely theoretical subject“. Two years ago (yes only two years ago) IBM gives us a new state, a new stage in quantum computing where we see a “necessary brick in the foundation of quantum computing. The formula stands apart because unlike Shor’s algorithm, it proves that a quantum computer can always solve certain problems in a fixed number of steps, no matter the increased input. While on a classical computer, these same problems would require an increased number of steps as the input increases” This is the first true step towards creating AI, as what you think is AI grows, the data alone creates an increased number of steps down the line, coherency and comprehension become floating and flexible terms, whilst comprehension is not flexible, comprehension is a set stage, without ‘Quantum Advantage with Shallow Circuits‘ it basically cannot exist. In addition, this year we get the IBM Q System One, the world’s first integrated quantum computing system for commercial use, we could state this is the first true innovative computer acceleration in decades and it has arrived in a first version, yet there is something missing and we get to stage two later.

Now we get to the Verge.

The State of AI in 2019‘ published in January this year gives us the goods, and it is an amazing article to read. The first truth is “the phrase “artificial intelligence” is unquestionably, undoubtedly misused, the technology is doing more than ever — for both good and bad“, the media is all about hype and the added stupidity given to us by politicians connected the worst of both worlds, they are clueless and they are trying being dumb and clueless on the worst group of people, the paedophiles and they are paying millions to do what is cannot accomplish at present.

Consider a computer or a terminator super smart, like in the movies and consider “a sci-vision of a conscious computer many times smarter than a human. Experts refer to this specific instance of AI as artificial general intelligence, and if we do ever create something like this, it’ll likely to be a long way in the future” and that is the direct situation, yet there is more.

The quote “Talk about “machine learning” rather than AI. This is a subfield of artificial intelligence, and one that encompasses pretty much all the methods having the biggest impact on the world right now (including what’s called deep learning)” is very much at the core of it all, and it exists and it is valid and it is the point of set happening, yet without quantum computing we are confronted with the earlier stage ‘on a classical computer, these same problems would require an increased number of steps as the input increases‘, so now all that data delays and delays and stops progress, this is the stage that is a direct issue, then we also need to consider “you want to create a program that can recognize cats. You could try and do this the old-fashioned way by programming in explicit rules like “cats have pointy ears” and “cats are furry.” But what would the program do when you show it a picture of a tiger? Programming in every rule needed would be time-consuming, and you’d have to define all sorts of difficult concepts along the way, like “furriness” and “pointiness.” Better to let the machine teach itself. So you give it a huge collection of cat photos, and it looks through those to find its own patterns in what it sees” This learning stage takes time, yet down the track it becomes awfully decent in recognising what a cat is and what is not a cat. That takes time, yet the difference is that we are seeking paedophiles, so that same algorithm is used not to find a cat, but to find a very specific cat. Yet we cannot tell it the colour of its pelt (because we do not know), we cannot tell the size, shape or age of that specific cat. Now you see the direct impact of how delusional the idea form the Home Office is. Indirectly we also get the larger flaw. Learning for computers comes in a direct version and an indirect version and we can both put it in the same book: Programming for Dummies! You see, we feed the computer facts, but as it is unable to distinguish true facts from false facts we see a larger failing, the computer might start to look in the wrong direction, pointing out the wrong cat, making the police chase and grab the wrong cat and when that happens, the real paedophile had already hidden itself again. Deep Learning can raise flags all over the place and it will do a lot of good, but in the end, a system like that will be horribly expensive and paying 100 police officers for 20 years to hunt paedophiles might cost the same and will yield better results.

All that is contained in the quote: “Machine learning systems can’t explain their thinking, and that means your algorithm could be performing well for the wrong reasons” more importantly it will be performing for the wrong reasons on wrong data making the learning process faulty and flawed to a larger degree.

The article ends with “In the here and now, artificial intelligence — machine learning — is still something new that often goes unexplained or under-examined” which is true and more important, it is not AI, the fact that we were not really informed about, there is not AI at present, not for some time to come and it makes us wonder on the Guardian headline ‘Home Office to fund use of AI to help catch dark web paedophiles‘, how much funds and the term ‘use of AI‘ requires it to exist, which it does not.

The second missing item.

You think that I was kidding, but I was not, even as the Quantum phase is seemingly here, its upgrade does not exist yet and that is where true AI becomes an optional futuristic reality. This stage is called the Majorana particle, it is a particle that is both matter and antimatter (the ability to be both positive and negative), and one of the leading scientists in this field is Dutch Physicist Leo Kouwenhoven. Once his particle becomes a reality in quantum computing, we get a new stage of shallow circuits, we get a stage where fake news, real news, positives and false positives are treated in the same breath and the AI can distinguish between them. That stage is decades away. At that point the paedophile can create whatever paper trail he likes; the AI will be worse than the most ferocious bloodhound imaginable and will see the fake trails faster than a paedophile can create it. It will merely get the little pervert caught faster.

The problem is that this is decades away, so someone should really get some clarification from the Home Office on how AI will help, because there is no way that it will actually do so before the government budget of 2030. What will we do in the meantime and what funds were spend to get nothing done? When we see: “pledged to spend more money on the child abuse image database, which since 2014 has allowed police and other law enforcement agencies to search seized computers and other devices for indecent images of children quickly, against a record of 14m images, to help identify victims“, in this we also get “used to trial aspects of AI including voice analysis and age estimation to see whether they would help track down child abusers“, so when we see ‘whether they would help‘, we see a shallow case, so shallow that the article in the Verge well over half a year ago should indicate that this is all water down the drain. And the amount (according to Sajid Javid) is set to “£30m would be set aside to tackle online child sexual exploitation“, I am all for the goal and the funds. Yet when we realise that AI is not getting us anywhere and Deep Learning only gets us so far, and we also now consider “trial aspects of AI including voice analysis and age estimation” we see a much larger failing. How can voice analyses help and how is this automated? and as for the term ‘trial aspects of AI‘, something that does not exist, I wonder who did the critical read on a paper allowing for £30 million to be spend on a stage that is not relevant. How about getting 150 detectives for 5 years to hunt down these bastards might be cheaper and in the end a lot more results driven.

In the end of the article we see the larger danger that is not part of AI, when we see: “A paper by the security think-tank Rusi, which focused on predictive crime mapping and individual risk assessment, found algorithms that are trained on police data may replicate – and in some cases amplify – the existing biases inherent in the dataset“, in this Rusi is right, it is about data and the data cannot be staged or set against anything, which makes for a flaw in deep learning as well. We can teach what a cat is by showing it 1,000 images, yet how are the false images recognised (panther, leopard, or possum)? That stage seems simple in cats, in criminals it is another matter, comprehension and looking past data (showing insight and wisdom) is a far stretch for AI (when it is there) and machine learning and deeper learning are not ready to this degree at present. We are nowhere near ready and the first commercial quantum computer was only released this year. I reckon that whenever a politician uses AI as a term, he is either stupid, uninformed or he wants you to look somewhere else (avoiding actual real issues).

For now the hypes we see are more often than not the lie of AI, something that will come, but unlikely to be seen before the PS7 is setting new sales records, which is still many years away.

 

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Slapping the New York Times

This is a weird day, I for one had never expected to have a go at places like the Washington Post, or the New York Times; they are supposed to be journalistic bastions. Now, for the most I avoid slapping the Washington Post, Jamal Khashoggi was one of theirs, I get it, tensions and emotions run high. The New York Times does not get that excuse.

So when I saw ‘Saudi Arabia Is Running Out of Friends‘ I got a little hot under the collar. First off, this is an opinion piece and that makes it not really a New York Times part, or does it? They decided to publish it. The article (at https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/27/opinion/saudi-arms-sales-britain.html) raises a lot of questions, not on Saudi Arabia, but on the people and their comprehension of the issues that are involved. And it goes further than that. The start gives us: “a United Nations expert released a report calling for an investigation into the role of Mohammed bin Salman, crown prince of Saudi Arabia, in the murder of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi. The next day in Washington, the Senate voted to block arms sales worth billions of dollars, the latest in a string of congressional efforts to halt American support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen“.

  1. The full UN report (added later down).
  2. The Saudi-wed war in Yemen.

The first will be dealt with further down; the ‘Saudi-led war in Yemen‘ is a disruptive boast that has zero validity. First of all, the Yemen issue comes from the ‘Saudi Arabian-led intervention in Yemen‘, which came from the call for help by the internationally recognized President of Yemen Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi for military support, which was as far as I can tell, his right to do so, it was a response to attacks by the Houthi movement. In the entire article the following words are not found: ‘Houthi‘, ‘Hezbollah‘, and ‘Iran‘ they are all participating players on the side attacking ousted President of Yemen Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi. And for the more comprehensive part, what is regarded as Saudi led, which is not a lie also involves the United Arab Emirates, Behrain, Kuwait, Qatar (only initially), Egypt, Jordan, Marocco (until recently), Senegal, and Sudan. They all seemingly agree that the Houthi forces are the evil bringers here, and that is before we all realise that there is a mountain of evidence linking Iran to all that, and the press has done its massive share to not inform the public on those parts.

So as we get to: “As the chorus of condemnation grows louder, defending the arms supplies that have always been a core feature of the West’s ties to Riyadh has become a near impossible task“, well sell them to me, I will happily and proudly offer these goods to the Saudi government, any cowardly and weasel likened politician (mostly Americans) want to be in denial, I will step in. My commission and bonus comes from their share, some things come at a cost, as it should.

Then we get to the ugly part: “They want the sources of the present crisis to be resolved, not left to fester, which means a swift conclusion to the Yemen war and a satisfactory accounting for the murder of Mr. Khashoggi“, in this we will get to that journalist later, the entire ‘swift conclusion to the Yemen war‘ required the world to do something about the Houthi support system. This includes terrorist organisation Hezbollah and its hosting nation Lebanon, as well as Iran. The US as well as the European Union failed at least 5 times, mostly because Europe has this delusional thought that the nuclear pact could be saved somehow, in addition Iran has been facilitated to by Turkey who had a larger role to play and we will get to that soon enough. It failed by blocking arms and intelligence when it mattered most, it failed by not giving proper light to the activities of Hezbollah training, as well as optionally (still unproven) firing missiles directly into Saudi Arabia, in all this it might be unproven, yet the hardware used in conjunction with the skill that Houthi forces could not have, gives us a clear light that the operators of these missiles were optionally Iranian, or Hezbollah (Lebanese), the press steered clear of that part to the largest degree.

Then we get the empty threat: “If the world finally gets serious about tackling the climate emergency, a large proportion of existing oil reserves will have to remain in the ground, leaving the Saudis sitting on stranded assets“, so how about the reality that hits the US when 100% of Saudi Oil only goes towards Europe, India and Asia? When that flow to America stops, fuel prices (based on Chicago) will go from $3.62 per gallon, to $5.99-$7.51 per gallon within weeks. Good luck trying to have an economy in America at that point. In New York (where that paper comes from) the taxi costs will soon go up by 50% or more, what happened the last time that New York was completely dependent on public transport? And for those driving their own cars? That will be for the wealthy only, so let’s keep a real sense of reality, shall we?

Now we get to the hard part. There is an issue with: And in London — on the same day — a court ruled that Britain had acted unlawfully in approving arms exports to Saudi Arabia“, there is the optional stage where the arms deal is merely delayed. We see that in the BBC part: “Judges said licences should be reviewed but would not be immediately suspended“, which was a week ago. It comes from “Under UK export policy, military equipment licences should not be granted if there is a “clear risk” that weapons might be used in a “serious violation of international humanitarian law”“, this is an issue, but not the one you think it is. Yes, there is a chance that these weapons are used in Yemen, yet as I stated earlier, the entire Yemen war is misrepresented by ignoring three warring parties, the Houthi, Hezbollah and Iran. In addition Houthi forces have resorted to terrorist tactics by placing weapons and troops directly behind civilians, basically using them as a shield. In addition, Houthi forces have done whatever they could to stop humanitarian aid and claiming whatever they could for their own military forces, they are the catalyst to the Yemeni humanitarian nightmare and the media remains largely silent on it. We get additional evidence from Gulf News only 11 hours ago with: “Yemeni government forces had repulsed fierce attacks by Iran-allied Al Houthi militants that had targeted residential areas inside the coastal city of Hodeidah and outskirts, military forces said on Thursday“, this is still happening right now, but the media remains silent, why is that?

So as we finish part one of the hatchet job that the New York Times allowed to be published in their papers, it becomes time to raise part 2, the full UN report [UN Khashoggi Report June 2019].

There are several issues with the report but let’s start with the ruling premise that they place in item 37 “This human rights inquiry into the killing of Mr. Khashoggi raised many challenges. By the time the inquiry was initiated, much had already been reported about the killing and the likely responsibilities of various individuals. The risks of confirmation bias (the tendency to bolster a hypothesis by seeking evidence consistent with it while disregarding inconsistent evidence) were particularly high.

There are two parts, the first is ‘the killing of Mr. Khashoggi‘, now I personally believe he is dead, through methods unknown, and there is credibility in that statement, but there is no evidence whatsoever. If we are nations of laws, than we must adhere to these laws. We must also accept that the law is not always our friend, and here we see Turkey facilitating towards Iran to the largest degree. They had set a stage in motion by relying on here-say, using things like ‘might’ and adding evidence that is none of anything. When we see the rumour mill giving us millions upon millions of articles all based on hearsay and unverified anonymous sources, we see an engine that was designed to halt whatever positive actions Saudi Arabia were trying to do on an international stage. Turkey succeeded in being the puppet read: bitch) of Iran to a degree never seen before and let’s not forget, Turkey holds the current record of having the most incarcerated journalists in the world at present.

And the most damning part starts at the very beginning, but not in the direction you would like it to see. Here we see: “Mr. Khashoggi’s killing constituted an extrajudicial killing for which the State of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is responsible. His attempted kidnapping would also constitute a violation under international human rights law. From the perspective of international human rights law, State responsibility is not a question of, for example, which of the State officials ordered Mr. Khashoggi’s death; whether one or more ordered a kidnapping that was botched and then became an accidental killing; or whether the officers acted on their own initiative or ultra vires“, as I stated: ‘We can assume that Jamal Khashoggi is dead‘, yet where is his body? There is no evidence in any direction and it happened in a nation that is facilitating to a nation that is actively hostile and in a proxy war with Saudi Arabia, a fact no one seemed to acknowledge, that Turkey has currently imprisoned 68 journalists and is regarded to have killed dozens more.

Now we get to point 11 (page 5): “She also found that Turkey’s fear over an escalation of the situation and retribution meant that the consular residences or consular cars were also not searched without permission even though they are not protected by the VCCR“, Was it really ‘fear’ or ‘orchestration’? Turkey has scathed all laws for numerous reasons, broken promises and not adhered to issues, and now they are ‘suddenly’ afraid? I acknowledge that this is speculation from my side, yet aren’t all parties speculating here?

when we seek the word evidence in the report we see ‘no independently verified evidence‘ and all kinds of fusions with other words, yet not with ‘evidence found‘, is that not weird that the UN spend all this time on a report and there was no ‘clear evidence found‘?

You can check for yourself, the report has been added. The special rapporteur (or is that reporter) gives us: “The Special Rapporteur reviewed four potentially credible hypotheses related to the unlawful death of Mr. Khashoggi“, it merely turns paper A/HRC/41/CRP.1 into an essay, a very expensive essay I might add (OK, I am exaggerating here).

And now we get to the paper and the recommendations that start at page 95. Here we see: “Initiate a follow-up criminal investigation into the killing of Mr. Khashoggi to build-up strong files on each of the alleged perpetrators and identify mechanisms for formal accountability, such as an ad hoc or hybrid tribunal” Yes? How?

There is no evidence and most evidence was tainted by Turkish authorities by mismanagement and by allowing so called government officials make statement that had no bearing and touched no evidentiary surface. It became a 70 million article joke with references to burned remains and all kinds of photographs that show nothing at all.

In this I find item 480 even more hilarious. For the most (it seems) there is a lack of knowing what accountability means, you merely have to look at several issues in the UN with a special reference to the UN and UN security council sides in Egypt (1981) Assassination of Anwar Sadat, there has been several moments where it was uttered that certain paths were not fully investigated, does it matter? So when I see: “Accountability demands that the Saudi Arabia government accept State responsibility for the execution” whilst that evidence is not in existence. There is a case for rogue activities, if that constitutes evidence, than the UN should take a hard look at Viktoria Marinova, optionally investigating the mere accepted fact by the media that the ‘they did not believe the killing of Marinova was connected to her work, suggesting it was a “spontaneous” attack‘, or there are the unanswered questions regarding Abdul Samad Rohani. What is most striking is that the Taliban was never shy of admitting their acts, so why was his death closed when the Taliban was very apt in denying this one? It is important when we consider this unidentified government spokesman in light of the fact that this happened in a place where there is a flourishing opium trade, so as some gave clearly: “Rohani was killed for his reporting on drug trafficking and its possible ties to government officials“, yes because that has always been a reason to keep a journalist alive, has it? So Agnes Callamard, where are those essays?

It is in that light that I want to illuminate another item that was in the document: ‘Turkey failed to meet international standards regarding the investigation into unlawful deaths‘ (Page 4, Item 5). So why was that? There are always truckloads of excuses to find, yet who was responsible to keep international standards? Why were these standards not met? That term was used in several ways, yet the mention and clarification of Turkish ‘international standards‘ and more important which person, or perhaps more correctly stated which Turkish office was responsible for that is also missing in this Agnes Callamard document, is that not equally part of the investigation in all this? Why is that part missing in this document?

In the end the entire matter of Khashoggi smells and the Washington Post in this one instance can hide behind rumours and speculations all they want, the New York Times does not! In the end there are too much questions, but the participating player (Turkey) has its hands in too many Iranian issues and there is clear evidence (actual evidence) that the entire Khashoggi investigation got tainted and no longer an option to investigate. Yet that too is seemingly missing from the essay of Agnes Callamard (I remain cautious as I might have missed a piece in that 99 page essay.

I will leave it to you good folks to draw your own conclusion and the issues I reported, feel free to Google Search it, feel free to text search it in the document. the opinion piece did not mention the other parts making it unfair, unbalanced and as I personally see it completely unworthy of the New York Times, as such I do place blame, but from my point of view the buck stops at Dean Baquet, it is on his watch that this happened, we accept that everyone is allowed their opinion, but in a paper like the New York Times, it should not be this unbalanced ever, not for a global paper like the New York Times

UN Khashoggi Report June 2019

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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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Surprise, surprise!

There was an interesting surprise this morning. It was not any newspaper; it was no DVD or Blu-ray. It was a YouTube video (at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tu3mP0c51hE), the announcement of the Downton Abbey movie coming in September. Weirdly enough, I had not felt this happy since the initial teaser of Avengers: Endgame, a movie that is now less than $100 million away from breaking the Avatar record. It is weird how a TV series with 6 seasons have had such a profound impact on viewers and I am not the only one who is amazed and happy with the coming of the movie. Hugh Bonneville, who plays the lord (aka Mr Henry Brown in both Paddington adventures), Maggie Smith, Dowager Countess of Grantham (also famous in a very well-known hotel in India), and of course the list is not complete without Jim Carter as the undoubtable Mr. Carson and some might remember him as a Transformer too.

The list is too long to go into detail and it is important to remember that. Even as the record of I, Claudius is not broken. Downton Abbey got closer to breaking that achievement than any other series ever did. When ITV started this, they had no idea how large a behemoth this would become. The foundation was given by Julian Alexander Kitchener-Fellowes, Baron Fellowes of West Stafford. And we all know that as a member of the House of Lords he would be able to spin a fine yard under the most mundane conditions. Yet Downton Abbey is anything but mundane and that is the first requirement into making a legendary piece. I have mentioned it before, I, Claudius had all the elements in place, for the most so does Downton Abbey. The story is excellent, the cast is amazing and many fans feel linked to many of the actors and actresses to a larger degree. The writing got the start, but it was the player that embodies the script and there is not one who gave less than 110% that part clearly shows in the end result. So there will be forum upon forum that will ask and speculate on what they will get. I reckon that a fair amount will go into the speculations of Robert James-Collier (Thomas Barrow) on what he will be like in the movie, antagonistic, devious or a third still to be revealed part, and let’s face it, the man ‘grew up’ on Coronation Street (at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZNV_Hh5ZWaE if you forgot the tune, which should be unlikely).

There is no way not to get enthusiastic on the series and now we will be getting the movie. I believe it to be an important work as it is truly the first work that would be close to thumping ‘I, Claudius’ of the throne of being the best drama in the history of TV. I personally believe that it did not achieve that, but only by a nose length. Perhaps it is because the Roman era allowed for more murder and intrigue, perhaps it is the view of lavish parties, but for the first time, it is not about the actors, each set of players was pretty much on par with the other set of players, which was an amazing achievement. As for the script, I believe that the quality of drama Robert Graves and Julian Fellowes are on par as well; the element remaining is the director, the visionary in all this. It is impossible to do this, comparing Herbert Wise to Michael Engler, Brian Percival, Catherine Morshead is unfair, it is work separated by decades of vision and technology. The fact that they all try to meet the Herbert Wise standard speaks for Mr Wise as he set the bar half a century ago and the fact that this bar is still there is slightly too amazing for words.

Yet the fact that no one ever stopped getting there speaks for those pursuing excellence in any way possible and that is what Downton Abbey also embodies, a view towards excellence and that too drives us to the movies and the mini silver screen (aka TV). I think that the end of the Victorian age and the age of George V as the UK was led from WW1 towards WW2 is often ignored, but more important than most would think, the sinking of the Titanic in the pilot, the start of WW1 and the impact of the end WW1 and the setting of the veterans as we saw its impact in Downton Abbey is an eye opener, a side that the previous generation onwards ignored is now directly reflected towards us and it impacts us and how we look at this all. A similar impact was seen with The Crown in season one when some saw the episode ‘Act of God‘, I was not born in the UK as such that episode hit me hard, I never expected such a view on chimneys, the smog it created and what kind of a health hazard it actually was in 1952, as such the way we view health hazards and the way politicians neglect it nowadays is a too little astounding.

Downton Abbey had another part shown during the episode where one hospital takes over another one, it is that part where we see the impact to the population in those years, it hits us directly as it is a real setting, not some drama, or better stated drama that doubles as reality just a little too closely. In the end you cannot have anything but the greatest respect on a part of history and how it is portrayed to us, as such the movie, even as it is about a royal visit is likely to have hidden gems that have to be seen to be enjoyed, and that is likely what the makers are hoping for. A TV series that had 11 golden globe nominees and 3 golden globes won, in 2011, Downton Abbey made the Guinness book of world records with the highest ratings for any TV show, the first time a British show got that distinction. A stage that covers 13 years of history, so as the movie is set to 1928; I wonder what we will be treated to. There is no speculation from me, I am slightly scared to be right in this case and I hope that the readers want to see the movie all the way without any spoilers, other than the ones the trailer gives us. I think that this is the biggest part of my appeal to it. On how historic events affect the characters of Downton Abbey, which historic events we will be made aware off. There were the floods of the river Thames, the Oxford English Dictionary first edition was completed, the London and North Eastern Railway’s Flying Scotsman steam-hauled express train begins to run non-stop over the 393 miles (632 km) of the East Coast Main Line from London King’s Cross to Edinburgh (on my birthday no less), the voting age for women is lowered from 30 to 21, Amsterdam hosts the Olympics and the Dangerous Drugs Act 1925 comes into effect. All events of that year and some will be mentioned; optionally we will be introduced to the discussions on it. Downton Abbey will give so many reasons to watch it and as far as I can tell (judging from the TV series) absolutely no reason not to go see it on the large silver screen (aka not the TV).

We still have 15 weeks to go before the movie makes it to the big screen, and as I see it, September 2019 can’t come soon enough.

 

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