Tag Archives: Richard Branson

Mouseketeers are Go(ne)!

Yes, we are today looking at the four small people who seemingly form the three musketeers thunderbirds style. The article (at https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/aug/03/four-men-given-life-sentences-for-plotting-lee-rigby-style-terrorist-attack) gives us a few items and it is interesting how the article does not mention certain items. They are Tahir Aziz, 38, Naweed Ali, 29, Mohibur Rahman, 33, and Khobaib Hussain, 25. Yet, ever as we see that they are from ‘the Midlands‘, yet we see no mention of any nationality. Is that not an interesting oversight? We see that two have met with Anjem Choudary, who is all about serving the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. Yet here the Guardian remains down to the ground with a mere mention of Islamic State. The Daily Mail and the Stoke Sentinel are even less useful with their mention of ‘bought £20 samurai sword from Hanley sex shop‘, for the record, a samurai sword cannot be bought for £20 and the fact that a sex shop sold it is even more irrelevant. Here we ‘suddenly’ see ‘details’. The massive lack of facts is upsetting to me. The media is slowly becoming an increasing joke; in this even the Guardian needs to get scolded here! It is interesting as it was in equal measure that the opinion piece in the Guardian (at https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/jun/07/anjem-choudary-hate-media-al-muhajiroun-london-bridge-terror-attack) gave voice to the issues with this certain social activist. It is the subtitle that gave us ‘Long before the attention-seeking al-Muhajiroun leader was linked to the London Bridge attack, Muslims despaired at the platform he was given‘. It is the start of the article that gives the goods that is one of many articles that tend to give the Guardian its value. With: “He wasn’t the infamous preacher of hate the media wanted him to be. He was a scrappy street agitator. Or, he was, until he got his big break“, we see that many see the difference, of what is truly an activist and what is merely a shouting bag of hot air. So as we see the four names with no nationality information, we see not merely the first issue, we see a collected set of facts not given to us, which in light of escalations in the middle east is important. For days we get the he said in Qatar versus they said in Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt. These four might not even be any of those, they might be of Iranian or Pakistani origin, it is so interesting how the press suddenly forgot the catchphrase on people and the right to know. So even as “The UK Sun, the Daily Mirror, the Daily Express, the Daily Star and the Mail Online, tabloids prone to fits of sexism with some regularity. They all ran stills of Whittaker either naked or topless in earlier roles“, we see that according to what some laughingly refer to a journalistic integrity seem to regard the breasts of Dr. Jodie Who as ‘important facts‘ yet the full nationality (or nationalities) of the 4 with serious intent to blow people up, that part is not a given need, how revolting is that?

With the BBC giving us at least “They had attempted to join an al-Qaeda training camp in Pakistan in 2011“, we might imply (speculative) that they were Pakistani. Yet are they merely Pakistani with UK residency, or with Citizenship. These details matter! They matter because it gives light towards and weight into the issues of home grown terrorism. With their not so bright approaches we might not see them as actual dangers as assumed to be Lone wolf terrorists, but with the fact that plans were underway, there is a clear case. It is nice to see that MI5 was on the ball and prevented it all (which is always good to read), yet the issue remains that certain ‘unknowns’ should never be so. As for the upcoming political excuse that they might have been trying to protect ‘innocent Pakistani’s’ is not entirely invalid, but the people need to know where the dangers are coming from. Now in the end, there is not a lot that the people could have done, yet when we watch the news and we are confronted with the nations banned by the Trump administration, and in succession, when we learn that the many terrorists who made it to their intended nations of target are not from those nations at all. Pakistan was not on that list, was it? Neither is Egypt who still has their fair share of Muslim Brotherhood extremists and in equal measure the few people in Jordan who are now starting to embrace Islamic State? They have options to move to America, not getting banned at all. All this we see and none of it makes the news. I know it is important to see that the bulk of Pakistani’s are not extremists or have terrorist tendency. The issue is that the press is keeping us in the dark too often and they are losing both integrity and are no longer regarded as reliable when it comes to the news. In all this the politicians have their part to play as well and are directly responsible for some of it. If they had the balls to actually stop the tabloid from being GST exempt because they should not be regarded as ‘newspapers’ we might have seen an increase of reported quality of events and as such would have had a dampening effect on the levels of fake news and innuendo in their version of reported events (the version the tabloids give us).

The media has let the people down on a global scale and that has to stop!

At present several media sites are giving us more and more information on the fact that Islamic State is now trying to increase pressures by attacking the Iraqi borders with both Syria and Jordan, meaning that we all have additional responsibilities. As Jordan was one of the first and in addition has grown into one of the largest support pillars for Syrian refugees, we can no longer sit idle. According to the United Nations, the total number of Syrian refugees in Jordan has surpassed 5 million. The immediate danger is not merely disease, hunger and lack of basic needs to survive; it is the dangers that those joining Islamic State for merely a meal could topple the Jordan government in several ways. The moment that this happens Islamic State will be at the borders of both Israel and Egypt, whilst Israel will be required to send part of its army to the farthest region of Israel to protect Eilat, which would also place two basis of the MFO in direct danger. The Italian contingent who patrols the waters there could become a target as well as SCC4 a mere 8Km from Eilat could be changed into an Islamic State staging post, one that has a large radio at its disposal, so there are certain dangers to be reconsidered as I personally see it.

How realistic is all this?

That is the issue with the speculation I bring. As the news of Islamic State gaining strength in Jordan grows, that threat would be very realistic. So the direct need for the UN to step in and set a lot of goods to these refugees becomes increasingly immediate. In addition, the Jordanians have been under increased pressure to deal with the refugees (feeding them mostly), as well as the impact on their own storage of mainly water. It is high summer there now and water has always been scarce in Jordan. It is driving local tension up by a lot. Now, for those not in the know (a perfect valid situation) water was always a scarce item in Jordan, so the opening of the first desalinisation plant in Aqaba was a relief for the Jordanians, especially as the Jordanian population was set at 9.5 million, now add 50% to that population (the refugees) and you’ll see that water shortage becomes an almost immediate issue in Jordan. The UN has been trying to assign $4.6 billion for support to Jordan in January this year, that whilst some parties know that it is a mere 70% of what they need. In the end, I am not sure how much has been achieved, yet as the news made no report of any success, we can assume that to some extent there has been no success for now and to the larger extent, we see that there has been no achievements at all, which is an immediate issue. So it is not the worst idea to send 250 containers and fill them to the brink with C-rations. Now we have all heard the news on that history and I actually lived on those C-Rations for a few days (I enjoyed them). The issue is that there is no food (read: actually there is a large shortage); there is real hunger, so I would think that sending food that will not go bad immediately would be at least a first step to lower tensions to some degree. Now, I agree we can all do better, but at present NOTHING is achieved and instead of having the conversation again and again is merely a joke, something needs to be sent, it needs to be done now. In addition, getting 50 bladder tanks with water over there whilst we seek longer term solutions is also a requirement. All these actions show the refugees that even if not perfect, things are getting done (to some effect), which leaves the people with hope and that diffuses the Islamic State recruitment drive, which is what this was about. So as we see that the NY Times is stating that Climate change and the Islamic State are the greatest threats, one of them can actually be dealt with to some extent in the short term, so in this I now claim that I made an initial step to solve 50% of the World’s Largest Threats. I also designed the concept of a new video game, but that seems a little over the top after solving a threat the world apparently fears.

So even as the India West reported 2 weeks ago “Shivam Patel, a Hindu sympathizer of the Islamic State, has been arrested on charges of making false statements on his application to join the U.S. military. The Indian American told FBI undercover agents he wanted to do “something bigger, better, and more purposeful,” including “dying in the cause of Allah” to support the terrorist organization“, I found a simple way to deprive Islamic State from gaining a thousand of more recruits. In finality to get it actually done, some governments need to actually act on certain needs!

All this by being direct, outspoken and precise, all things that the articles regarding the 4 arrested terrorists is not being done by the media. As we see the list of newspapers grow whilst they all merely mention things like ‘UK Court Sentences 4 Men to Life Imprisonment Over Preparing Terror Attack‘, in one case I see “plotting “Lee Rigby-style” attack on police or military, referring to the murder of a UK fusilier, who was stabbed to death in London by two Islamist terrorists of Nigerian descent in 2013“, we see no such descent on the 4 perpetrators. Is that not a nice oversight, the fact that they ALL did it, whilst the verdict has been given, and the rest of their details are missing is a larger matter of concern.

You see, it is not merely about the ‘musketeers’ in all this. Like common cyber sense, people need to start evolving observational skills. You see, the need here is actually a double edged sword in more ways than one. For this I need to quote from the Israel Institute of Technology. With the course sharpening observation skills we see “Skill at discovering new ideas, and delivering them, may be one of the most important practical job skills, in today’s and tomorrow’s job market. Creativity is an acquired skill, one that improves with practice. This course aims to empower individuals who believe they have lost their innate creativity, because they, their employers or teachers prefer the three R’s: replication, repetition and rote, to innovation” we see that there is a need to become more creative all over the UK, whilst the skills would also be the way where we start noticing the things around us that do not make sense. The UK government is relying on https://www.gov.uk/terrorism-national-emergency/reporting-suspected-terrorism to get there, but there is a larger flaw in the path currently in place. Too often the people are not aware because they were kept in the dark. Now, this path will means that it comes with leagues of incorrect reports, but in equality reports would be coming from places that were previously not flagged by the Police and/or MI5. As I see it there is a growing need that students as early as Year 12 where they start to be taught the observational skills that could lead to unforeseen innovation, it is the one need the UK has an actual dire shortage of. I have always and will always believe that the true innovator is merely around the corner as he/she did not consider something. When we see people like Jack Ma, David H. Murdock and Richard Branson, none of them ended up with any A-levels, but they had an idea, they noticed a need and as such they got cracking and are now on top of the world. These are three extreme, there are thousands more who got to a much higher point than most of us (including surpassing me) because they were observant to the need of those around themselves. It is this skill that is actually not taught at all (or at times incorrectly), often because it is not a business subject, yet the art of observing is in the foundation of resolving issues on EVERY level. It is a skill that should be harnessed for the upcoming generations, because it is the first one that gets the bacon and the niche market. It is that growth that we need and as such, it is equally a skill that helps prevent the larger harm to others becoming a success by all the unknown upcoming musketeers that are currently still at large.

I would offer as a thought that if the data offered by the news and other sources can no longer be regarded as reliable; we will need to learn to find the truth, the data and the insight ourselves. This thought is merely a thought, yet it needs to be taken a lot more serious than you think. In finality that evidence is seen through the Bloomberg article (at https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-07-25/u-k-s-terror-insurer-says-new-threats-create-gaps-in-coverage), you see, as I see it, the foundation of a stable life is becoming more expensive. With ‘U.K. Insurers Told to Adapt to Lone-Wolf Terrorism‘ we see “the view of Julian Enoizi of Pool Reinsurance Co., the U.K. government-linked body that backstops insurers against terror-related payouts. The spate of recent attacks in the nation’s capital and the suicide bombing of a Manchester pop concert in May highlighted shortcomings in coverage that need to be addressed, he said” it partially makes sense, yet I remember that in my policy there is no payout due to damage from unlawful combatants (or a nuclear explosion for that matter). The quote “Broadening cover would mean higher reinsurance premiums for Pool Re’s members, which include the local units of every major non-life insurer from Allianz SE and Aviva Plc to Zurich Insurance Group AG” gives rise to issues like premium rises, because as there would be payouts to lost earnings whilst there is no damage is one that insurance companies are dealing with and in fairness it has in impact on them. So as we see that insurances are evolving, e ourselves need to bolster new skills, not in the least to alert the right parties to take action and prevent serious losses to ourselves. Is that not fair too? You see let others solve it all is fine, yet if you remains ignorant to the largest degree is your anticipation of safety through ignorance valid? It might have been in 1969 where the greatest danger for a man in a park was a confrontation with a woman seeking love and sexual satisfaction whilst sharing a joint, those days of innocence are definitely gone, yet to us, we have not been asked and educated to step up to the plate. Many merely limited to be trained for a workforce of deadlines and the facilitation of greed. Now we see that the removal of creativity and the contemplation on the paths of innovation come with a much larger deficit. We can no longer meet the changed need and we move into the blame game. We see people blaming the police, because it happened, they blame MI5 because there were signals, whilst the people tend to ignore the optional part whether Jeremy Corbyn could be a larger threat to the UK than Salman Abedi was. In the end, it will be for others to decide. Yet if the people had better observational skills, is there a decent chance that the police would have been better alerted to the danger that Salman Abedi became? If the UK is valued at 68 million people, should the thwarted danger be merely dependent on 127,000 police officers and the 4,000 members of MI5? Or is the increasing need of properly informing the 68 million people and teaching them how to spot danger a much better solution as the years pass us by? If the world becomes more and more polarised in the application of terror and mass casualty methodology, is depriving options not a much better solution? Consider the simplicity of fighting fire. You do that by removing the fuel (flammable objects), depriving growth by not allowing it to breathe freely (replace oxygen with CO2) or covering the danger (powder extinguisher), lowering temperature is also an option (drowning with water). There are plenty of options yet it requires a clear mind and a trained mind to act. As we get Jordan the water it desperately needs we lower the temperature and the stresses that come with it, as we make sure there is food, the flames of hunger remain absent and as we are trained to spot things we allow for the actions to come earlier and prevent the damage to us and what is ours (generically speaking). Yet trained to spot things is also at times dependant on getting all the information and getting properly informed, so now consider the newspaper title I mentioned earlier. The mention of ‘bought £20 samurai sword from Hanley sex shop‘, has a few more implications. When you consider the BBC (at http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/7331099.stm), the press did not inform us that any people from the shop were arrested, especially in light of “Legislation against selling, making, hiring or importing samurai swords in England and Wales has come into force. Those breaking the law face six months in jail and a £5,000 fine“, so as we assume that the sex shop did not have a receipt informing us that they sold Tahir Aziz a 24 inch Japanese steel dildo, can we assume more arrests will be made in the very near future?

I am merely posing this question for your consideration, have a great weekend all!

 

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Finance, Law, Media, Military, Politics

Mayoral income £73,000,000

Yes, it is a grand day. A I see it, an optional first sign to some real life justice. As it is, some might remember some time ago, a holiday photo with three obese losers looking like they owned the world, with mention of sex parties (always a first to notice), cruises all due to high consultancy fees. They did not get away with it and now, one of its victims is claiming that large amount from the Lloyds Banking Group, more specifically due to the actions of its HBOS Reading arm. The victim here is the now former Mayor of Crinkley Bottom, the honourable Noel Edmonds. The only person who could be the look alike of Richard Branson, even more so when he wins his case as he will end up being in the same income and tax bracket.

The man who perfected the big pork pie, a meal that was designed by Sweeney Todd using politicians. In all this, we see the Guardian (at https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/may/10/noel-edmonds-compensation-hbos-fraud-lloyds) give us the goods in all this. A 10 year wait that ended up lowering our former mayor in a lifestyle that most people dread to get into. Lost speaking options, the dissolvent of the Unique Group, pain, suffering, additional damages and legal fees. Yes, it must be a real win for the HR of Lloyds to see what the consequence is of hiring people like Lynden Scourfield, whilst applicants like myself were not seen as dynamic and assertive enough. That might be true, but as Lloyds is now having to post close to 200 million pounds because some people had a quarter of a billion lifestyle over several years, that part must feel really good for the HR that signed them into that lovely life style. To be quite honest, I hope Mr Edmonds will end u with way more than that as a message to the Lloyds banking group to clean house and have a strong and hard look at their hiring policies. If only to avoid giving away 60%+ to litigation and payments for really bad form of banking and investment, which with the upcoming US Financial Choice Act will be even more important, because as the victims there might not have a case in the US, any UK or EU bank involved will suddenly see a growing list of claimants on claims that they were connected to, but never instigated. I hope that they remember that in Torts, the claims end up on the desk with the party that is the richest. It might not be fair, but that is the rule of thumb in torts. I especially like the quote: “A sex worker told the court that Scourfield resembled the actor Danny DeVito”, which seems to be fair as they both played with ‘Other people’s money’, however M DeVito played a role and he did so brilliantly (some might go weak at the knees hoping that he got the girl in the movie, the lovely Penelope Ann Miller), yet in all this he played an honest game of setting the stage of profit. In real life (played by the despicable Lynden Scourfield), the truth is that he willingly left people in a state of destitution without a second thought, merely to have the lifestyle he knew he wasn’t entitled to. In this case drug dealers are much higher on my list of people to have regards for. So as we get back to one of the best liked mayors in the United Kingdom. In all this when we see “Edmonds’ move comes as Horta-Osório prepares for Lloyds’ annual general meeting on Thursday, days before the government will be able to claim that the 43% shareholding bought by taxpayers to rescue the bank in 2008 has been entirely sold off”, we need to acknowledge that the timing is pretty awesome. You see, António Horta Osório, AKA, the man with the Julio Iglesias smile gets the opportunity to set in motion a massive overhaul of morally reformations that have been overdue in banks ad financial institutions for the longest of times. As the business world it trying to move faster and faster, we will see new technologies in these financial places. Having blockchains in testing phases might sound nice, yet when we consider that there are others like Lynden Scourfield, the ante is upped by a lot because the damages will move from millions to billions. Consider that this was a six-year investigation by Thames Valley Police. Consider what happens when the Blockchain issues start tumbling, a technology that is barely understood to the degree it needs to be, if such technologies are pushed in too fast, the consequence would be that the Crown Prosecution Services might not end up having a prosecutable case at all. That is the upcoming next stage and even if we want to remain in denial, under the guise of ‘the technology is not here yet’, consider that the happy victims of Tesco ATM’s where they got double the amount that was withdrawn. Now, I am really happy for those people, yet what happened if it would have been the other way around? How could a person prove that they only got 50%? By the time the tellers were corrected, whilst no one could prove anything, the CPS would not be there either, because it will be about the evidence (lack thereof), as evidence is central, getting any of it in any new tech is increasingly more complex, will take years and not always will the victim get actual justice. It is in that light that we need to look at the banks too. I am not blaming technology for any of the crimes, yet when the people get to abuse a system too often without any consequence or accountability (read: the acts of certain Wall Street people), how can we move forward with any financial system?

Hence I am happy and hopeful for the Mayor of Crinkley Bottom, yet in equal measure I hope that António Horta Osório sees this as a moment to reflect on actual changing the mindset of the bankers in his corporation and adjusts the mindset of those that his HR department appoints a position to.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Finance, IT, Law, Media, Science

What is the mission?

This is not about Russian jets, I feel that some members of the press are only now realising certain elements in that case (better late than never) and in addition, the second element towards the cauldron filled by the demons of idiocy will require a little more investigation (legal papers can be consuming, with an exam due on Monday that part must wait). What is interesting is the article by Keith Stuart called ‘Has video game reviewing become an impossible task?‘ (at http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2015/nov/25/video-game-reviewing-critics-industry). He starts with: “four of the year’s biggest releases – Fallout 4, Call of Duty: Black Ops 3, Star Wars: Battlefront and Rise of the Tomb Raider – three stars out of five. All are decent in a lot of ways, all have intriguing ideas and look beautiful – but each of them is lacking in fundamental areas“, of course with my passion in there (fallout 4) that 3 out of 5 is not an acceptable rating (perhaps I am slightly biased). Now by itself, Keith is very much allowed to give that rating. It is his view, his review and as such I will not become an anti-Keithereen, however I still disagree!

I will skip both Call of Duty and Star Wars battlefront. Apart of not having played them, I am not a fan of either title, which is a massive issue when reviewing games!

Yes, you can remain neutral, you can look at a title academic, but how many academics can truly explain to you a poem or a painting? These items must be heard and seen, reading about them is often not a workable solution. In this, you must rely on the names of reviewers who are enthusiastic on that type of game. Yes, we can get a good indication of any game, but the non-fanatic will more often than not miss things, if that person did not miss anything, we must allow for the notion that the article gets to be ‘coached’ by the game makers. This is not something we want to see, especially when we consider the results from Ubisoft these last two years.

In this paragraph I will illustrate what I mean by giving a view, which will be revealed at the end (no peaking readers! see if you can make out what it was).

When I look to my left I see a man in pink, well groomed standing between a couple naked. They are outside and I notice the bunnies, a cat, blackberries, with blooming trees and a little pond in the foreground. When I turn to the right, I see what is either a gangbang or an orgy. I cannot hear the music, but there are plenty of musicians and no one in that crowd has any clothes on, I see a lady holding what seems to be a wine can, I noticed her firm breasts. She does not look happy, I think she is the waitress and this is the outfit of the evening. The other guests are enjoying the company of each other and they seem to leave the lady alone. In the distance I notice a mill and a castle burning. Perhaps this is what they are celebrating? I cannot tell! In front of me there is another garden party, none seem to be dressed. The people are talking and eating fruit. I see it all form a distance, I am not invited to this party.

You might find the paragraph weird, but the explanation will follow at the end.

You see, I do not disagree with the Rise of the Tomb Raider review, I would have given the same, but only because of the graphics, which are sublime to say the least. The game is not unlike the previous game, too easy to play and to finish, not that large in the end and repetitive and scripted items are too common in this game. I would state that this game is, to some extent, nothing more than a next generation version of ‘Dragons Lair’. I felt massively happy that I did not pre-order this game. When the game gets priced down to $29, I will most likely get it, because the graphics are truly amazing, no doubt about that. You see Fallout 4 is definitely 4 stars. As a fan I would like to give it 5 stars, but there are flaws and there are a few glitches (which is utterly unavoidable with a game of this size).

Now we get to a few quotes that bothered me: “The reviewer would then play it for a few days, often to completion” the second quote is to the point: “There were occasions where reviewers were forced to assess an incomplete version of the game, in which case the publisher would send a list of known bugs and beg that you ignore them, because they’d all be sorted before release“, I have been there several times. I had no issue with that, yet in the old days QA was a lot better dealt with by software houses, whilst the game makers are pushed by their marketing department to push out as soon as possible and rely on patches. So Keith is correct here, in the old days there was a straightforward process. In those days the makers were in charge, not its marketing department. Then we get “Nowadays, publications determined to get a review out on day one will be asked to attend special events, where access to the review code is strictly controlled and monitored” They did exist in the old days too, but they were pretty rare. In several of those cases it involved a gold master for let’s say PlayStation and only a developers system could run that, so going there was pretty essential. I had a few of those visits to London where I went to Virgin Interactive Entertainment. Whilst on the way back I bumped into Richard Branson and shook his hand, apparently it was Noel Edmonds (from Noel’s House Party), so I had that little embarrassing moment to survive.

This brings us to the event where Keith hits the nail on the head: “These days, you’re not a consumer when you buy a new game, you’re an investor. That’s a weird psychological leap to make“, I agree and I do not totally agree with the setting there. When we take a beta game as an early adopter (like Elite Dangerous) I get it and that is fair. When we look at a $110 full game that is incomplete and lacking it becomes something else. We again get to Assassins Creed Unity, which should never have gotten the 80% ratings that many gave, especially with the lack of stability, the bugs, the glitches and a few other failings. Any reference to ‘new console’ should be ignored as Black Flag did not have those bugs (as far as I saw). Personally I believe that software houses are more and more blocking reviews when their release is flawed, the fact that in light of AC Unity there were stories about embargos and NDA’s, which only made things worse.

Yet Keith has more gems to offer in the article: “Since the very beginning, game reviews have operated in a confusing no man’s land between arts criticism and product assessment“, this is where I agree almost completely. In my view it is a merging of both, without the console you cannot play, without the insight of the art you cannot comprehend, both are required. The third element here is the topic, the theme or the environment. You must have a certain feel for it, because without the third part the game will not be adequately be dealt with, the review of a product the reviewer did not understand. I will try to explain it. In those days we had ‘Myst’, which now seems to be ‘the Talos Principle’. If you have no patience for puzzles and mind boggles, you will miss out on the game. In my days there was Myst, I played it to some extent and the graphics were beyond believe, but I never got some of the puzzles, which meant that you become an aimless ‘clicker’ on objects, hoping that something will react. That takes away from the experience as frustration will set in sooner rather than later.

The next part is a little less agreeable. “Reviews would compartmentalise each game into its constituent parts – graphics, sound, playability – with each often separately rated in ever more complex conclusion boxes. This approach reached its logical conclusion with the 1980s magazine ACE, which reviewed games out of 1000, and provided a “predicted interest curve”, which attempted to map out the longevity of the game – like the lifecycle of a vacuum cleaner“, I disagree here. Yes Keith seems to state his view decently, but he forgets a little part here. When we see Rise of the Tomb Raider, we see a 30Gb game on a Blu-ray, yet the very first one Tomb Raider on PlayStation (one), offered 300% more gaming, challenges and puzzles on a disk no more than a CD (600Mb), when you know that you will be playing this for MONTHS longevity becomes a factor. And in those days there was no internet with cheats and walkthroughs, you actually had to get through the game by yourself, or with friends giving you clues (many false ones). In those days Lara was truly exploring stuff and as a result so were you. I still remember those final bosses and how one if the very first secrets in level one was one that I did not solve until much later. The massive increase of graphical quality should also not be ignored, that part has been continued, but as the games are now almost utterly flawless, the size of the game seems to be a mere fraction of that what was.

Yet, this is not a given, you see, RPG’s only became bigger, much bigger. Fallout 3 and Fallout 4 show this (as does Skyrim and a few others). I personally believe that the games are not more complex to review, for the most the makers are now too scared on any level of quality critique. So as Fallout 4 got 3 stars from Keith, the makers will have seen this game as a clear 5 stars (I remain at 4 stars), which is at the heart of the issue as well. Marketing fears the reviewer because they lose control at this point, which gets me to Ubisoft and their embargo and NDA. I have only faced one NDA ever, that was from Adobe and they had the valid reason as I got access to the product several months before release. So basically I could prepare the review and much closer to the release date (I believe roughly a month before the official release). I got the final product to write about and upgrade my initial article. That is a valid part. Game makers have for a larger extent lost the visionary part that the old makers had, which is also part of this situation. It is not just the reviewer, it is the product! Keith does go there! He quotes: “But unlike books or movies, games are now evolving platforms, open to updates and improvements“, again I disagree. The game in its core foundation should be the reviewed product. ‘The last of Us’ is an amazing achievement all by itself, ‘Left Behind’ is just an additional element which is totally worth the extra cash. The relaunch of Tomb Raider for all its graphical brilliance was not. There is another side to the quote of Keith and it does matter. When we see Skyrim his words do definitely hold meaning, but in another way. You see Skyrim was a complete product, people played it and then they improved upon it. Even today, 4 years after release that game is still being improved upon. Console players like myself miss out and for all the options I am jealous not having a decent gaming PC. That is seen in https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OCU862nVpJ0. Here we see some of the most incredible graphics. 4 years after release that game can be replayed and the amazement of graphical brilliance will overwhelm you. So here we also see longevity in another way. Bethesda created a game that allows people to enjoy the RPG world for a lot longer than we bargained for and as such we will anticipate an almost equal evolution and the first mods are already available. This takes care of the RPG, but I will not increase the score for that reason because it would not be fair to the other game styles. The issue is that Fallout 4 is massive, even as I relaunched the game, find places I missed the first time because I turned right instead of walking on the same road. Houses that are not on the map, places with some lovely items for my survival. More important, Fallout 4 is nothing like the previous version. In the previous version repairs was important, now guns will not break, but evolving weapons into something a lot more powerful (believe me, you will need that). The game has elemental differences which makes for an evolved game, which makes it partially a new game. My old tactics did not work as well as I expected which was awesome! Evolving new tactics is part of the fun. I heard that there is even an option to get through a big part of the game without killing the animals, how is that for a challenge? Yes, Fallout 4 is my baby so I give it a higher rating, not the highest as I am a realist. Yet my version does not invalidate Keith’s view.

Keith ends his article on strong curve: “All art forms are subject to erosion, but with games, that impermanence is now built in like a self-destruct mechanism. As a consequence, reviewing games is like reviewing a relationship: you only know what you have in that moment, and even then, nothing is certain or solid. Both the author and the reader need to understand that now“, it is a good view to have, but is it relevant? The impermanence is only founded on multiplayer issues. The solo part of a game remains a reality for a long time. Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots can still be played and as long as the PS3 is around the game remains playable. Keith is right, Mass Effect 3 multiplayer will at some point stop, but with Destiny it is all multiplayer, so like World of Warcraft, the game will evolve, the servers will evolve and we will end up with an upgraded version, this does not invalidate the previous review, it would only validate the newest review. I also agree that reviewers need to adapt, but in all this I disagree with the title, reviewing a game is not an impossible task. It just requires the right editor with a good set of balls and mentoring skills, because the best reviewers tend to be younger and they lack journalistic skills. Now for the conclusion, I promised to talk about the ‘description’. I was looking at The Garden of Earthly Delights by Hieronymus Bosch. I shows that I am not an art critic and I left out a few details too (on purpose here), yet what items would I have forgotten? That is the part that matters, that is why a level of passion for certain games are required. I will never review GTA because I personally do not like that game, it needs to be reviewed by a fan of that play style with a firm foundation of realistic reviewing. In all this do not forget that you do not have to agree with me and that Keith is from his point of view not wrong, I just think he was not correct, which is not the same. My view evolved from reviewing games all the way back to the VIC-20, the beginning of the 8-bit era, a lifetime ago.

And it is merely my view on the matter.

Leave a comment

Filed under Gaming, IT, Media, Science

The cold light of logic

I have been jabbing my head whether I should write this. You see there is a witch-hunt going on and I honestly have an issue with witch-hunts. In my mind, a witch-hunt is never ever done under the light of reasoning. It is always done hiding behind and exploiting waves of emotions. All this started when a barrister called Charlotte Proudman decided to link to another barrister named Alexander Carter-Silk. The man accepted and wrote the quotes “Always interest to understant people’s skills and how we might work together“, he was delighted to connect, but the statement (given before the quote) that became the issue was “I appreciate that this is probably horrendously politically incorrect but that is a stunning picture”.

The wave of accusation that followed regarding ‘misogynistic behaviour’ regarding a Human Rights Barrister is now completely out of control. Anyone who has a chip to grind seems to go out on a free for all.

For my view? It is a stunning picture. I say that after have been a photographer for wel over 25 years. I started my photography passion in the late 70’s and seldom have I seen a photo of this level of quality. I’ll up the ante! I state here and now that you will not find 1000 photos of this quality in LinkedIn, a place with 300,000,000 registered members. I compared the photo of Charlotte Proudman to Kim Kardashian, Ariana Grande (Nickelodeon actress), Taylor Swift and Zac Efron. They are not even close to the photo result of Charlotte Proudman. Now, as a photographer the first person I blame for that is the photographer.

After that I wonder whether Charlotte Proudman (in this specific case) is overreacting. Consider the emotion you feel when I state this! I am not claiming she is, I am wondering whether she is. That remains a valid question and if you cannot consider that, then you should not judge because whatever you think you are weighing, you are definitely weighing elements you are not honestly considering, which implies the act of misjudgment

The writer stated from the beginning “this is probably horrendously politically incorrect“, in all this he mentioned the picture, not the person.

And let’s be clear, When I digged a little and found the same picture in high resolution (from her website), which it is the same pic we saw in both LinkedIn and on her Twitter account. The photo is what I regard as pristine quality, now the question the follow are mere questions. I do not know the person, I never met her and I have no idea what she is like. Yet the image shows her skin to be perfect (was it photo shopped?), her eyes have a colouring and clarity I have seldom witnessed in person. I compared them to the close ups of the eyes of Ali Larter, Mila Jovovich and Claudia Schiffer. Not the colour of the eyes, but the super sharp colouring of the eyes. All these facts do not make for the mind of Charlotte Proudman, but take these elements and now consider a very professional photo of Charlotte Proudman. Her photo stands miles above the photos of women (men too) that make a living from their looks. In all the witch-hunting waves, no seemed to have taken a rational look at what was stated by a Human Rights Barrister.

Not some lawyer or Judge in the commercial field, nope a Human Rights Barrister!

Now, we can agree that the statement was unfortunate and it was most definitely not the best statement to make, but this barrister must have been blown away by the image that was linked to the connection, I was blown away and I have been a photographer for a long time.

There is another quote (at http://www.theguardian.com/law/2015/sep/08/charlotte-proudman-alexander-carter-silk-linkedin-photo-comment-law-firms), it is “Most people post pretty unprofessional pictures on LinkedIn, my comment was aimed at the professional quality of the presentation on LinkedIn, which was unfortunately misinterpreted“. I personally agree with that part.

In her own statement “The eroticisation of women’s physical appearance“, so in that light how should we see the LinkedIn photo from a Caroline Pemberton? She is a TV presenter, a producer and her photo shows the image of an experienced model. We could go on with models like Nikki Prat and Sue Di Chio, The quality of the photo of Charlotte Proudman beats them all with miles to spare. No one took a good look at the picture and they all hid behind the emotions of text. By the way, the pictures of men (even those dependent on looks) are massively worse. Russel Crowe, Zac Efron, Richard Branson even Barack Obama. Now, I cannot vouch whether those profiles are real, yet with 8 million followers at least one real profile will be amongst them.

In all this there is a reality. “‘I am on Linked-in for business purposes, not to be approached about my physical appearance or to be objectified by sexist men“, as she herself states. There is 0% doubt that this does not happen, yet in all this, I have some serious doubts whether Mr Carter-Silk had any intention of being that kind of a person (I never met him, so I cannot vouch for that part), yet in all my years on LinkedIn those in heavy professional walks of life, most of them rely on LinkedIn and pardon the ‘unacademic’ phrase, those who rely on that part of life: “we tend to not shit where we eat”.

Meaning that people like both Alexander Carter-Silk and Charlotte Proudman both see LinkedIn as the professional portal it is. The massive witch-hunt wave I am watching unfold now seems to be about people and their own political agendas. When we see quotes like “Feminist barrister Charlotte Proudman explains why she is NOT for ‘equality’ & how Feminism is NOT about ‘equality’” (from @FeminismIsLies), we must acknowledge that the spinning is starting. In final thoughts, I must give mention to Sam Thomas (@iamsamthomas) with “Spot of advice, gents: “I appreciate this is probably horrendously politically incorrect” is never a promising opener“, he is absolutely correct! In equal measure mention must be given to Sarah Butcher (@MadameButcher) who stated “What to do when someone tells you your LinkedIn photo is ‘the most stunning they’ve ever seen“.

Both sides made mistakes one side for stating amazement the other, not for speaking up (which one should always do), but by speaking up against the one person who more likely than not had no misogynistic or sexist objective in mind. I have been wrong in the past, I will be wrong in the future, but here, I get to rely on 35 years of experience in photography and it is unlikely that I could have made that shot (but then, I was never graduated with a degree in photography.

Delta Python Lobster

Leave a comment

Filed under Law, Media, Politics

Exit strategies anyone?

Today is an interesting day. The article in the Guardian (at http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jun/28/european-union-exit-will-harm-britain-says-cbi) is well worth reading and in addition, I must state that I am not sure whether I have made up my mind what would be the best course of action. I have been on both sides of this and I am currently on the fence. First of all, the UK must do what is best for the UK and beyond that the UK should do what is best for the Commonwealth. I personally think that this is the status as it should be at the moment. The question becomes whether Europe is the best for the UK. I am not talking about the Juncker issue (even though that seems to be part of any decision), but where should we be? The headline states “EU exit will harm UK, says leading British industry group“, yes THEY will talk in their own interest, they always do. The Eurostat numbers are unconvincing (at http://epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/cache/ITY_PUBLIC/2-22012014-AP/EN/2-22012014-AP-EN.PDF), today’s reserved savings are tomorrows signal to abundantly overspend funds, that much has been seen again and again ever since 2009, when the taps should have been closed. This is also at the heart of the matter for what is best for the UK. And in all honesty, the UK has overspent their quota a fair bit too. Now we have a new issue. Up to 2013 we got to see a picture from some of the more decently reliable sources, yet, now later in 2014, there is almost nothing on the projected and actual numbers for 2013. There lies the hidden issue, it is not that there is little, there is too little information now, so who to believe. When governments are not boasting, they are definitely hiding some issues under the carpet and those issues will impact the UK too. I will not bore you with the numbers UKIP gives us (at http://www.ukipmeps.org/uploads/file/Cost_of_the_EU_25_5_11.pdf), they are talking their own brand of flavour, as would Prime Minister David Cameron, but where is the truth?

My benefit here is that I speak half a dozen languages, which gives me additional sources. The ‘Nederlands Dagblad‘ gives us (at http://www.nd.nl/artikelen/2014/februari/28/lagere-overheden-verwachten-te-hoog-tekort) the following: “Gemeenten, provincies en waterschappen verwachten dat hun begrotingstekort dit jaar uitkomt op 3,7 miljard euro. Dat is zeshonderd miljoen euro meer dan volgens de afgesproken norm mag” [translated] “Municipalities, counties and Water boards (a flood control and water resources management group) expect that their budget shortage will total at 3.7 billion, which is 600 million more than agreed upon“.

So the Dutch are already coming up short at present. This does not mean that this will be the end result! At http://www.bnr.nl/nieuws/beurs/487506-1302/liveblog-economie-krimpt-begrotingstekort-naar-33-procent-in-2013, we see the mention that the Dutch will have a budget shortage of 3.3% in 2013 and 3.4% in 2014. How much of this is correct, and when were some projections made?

We see the Dutch news on how the American economy is down 2.9% and that Bank managers are now getting a sizeable raises, yet the overall shortages of the Dutch is not really discussed on sites with above average reliability (like the NOS). The only one in a ‘happy happy joy joy’ position is Germany who now seems to have a budget surplus. Again, the harsh cuttings Germany did from 2010 onwards paid off, but they seem to be the only one. France deficit was set at 4.1% for 2014, so as we see the list grow, is it truly a good idea to stay in the Euro group? Industrials might think this, but they will not be confronted with the financial measures that will hit the UK and its taxpaying citizens. I was at first in the same boat where I thought that going out of the Euro was a bad idea, but as we see the growing concern of nearly all EEC countries going over the deficit limit, can the UK afford to stay in there? Moreover, will staying in until 2017 turn out to be a dangerous issue?

This is part of the issues, which I have stated before. When, not if the American economy goes over the edge, those in deep debt will get a new approach to humility. That part is still a dangerous situation for the UK as well (with a balance of almost minus 1.5 trillion). So, the dangers of additional debts from Europe would cripple the UK as well. This is as I see it part of the reason why the UKIP got such a huge success. The bulk of the politicians and all the other parties have been dancing around the economic situation. Most people have noticed it and 26 months of ‘feigned’ economic recovery is nice for the industrials, yet the people have not seen ANY improvements in their lives, which is the centrepiece of all the stress out there. This is part of the situation all are avoiding.

If we consider the Independent (at http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/tony-blair-nigel-farage-and-ukip-are-deceiving-british-public-and-holding-back-the-unemployed-with-immigration-rhetoric-9472289.html) we see another side. I would be willing to agree with this, yet the voice of Ed Miliband is not giving decent clarity and David Cameron is voicing the need of big business (to a larger extent), they all are talking in their own fast lane and the people end up being not in any good place.

Even now, less than an hour ago, Ed Miliband is quoted by Reuters as ‘looking to shed the anti-business label‘, which gives a lot less security to the people. In this confusion Nigel Farage is cleaning house as he is stating what people seem to want to hear. The correct critique remains how truthful are his statements?

This is what is driving the people in regards to an exit strategy. As the news is playing a game of what I personally regard as ‘managing bad news’ in several nations, the people are catching up and losing faith in governments in general. This is partially driving the demand for a European exit. The people are losing faith in the ‘facts’ as presented, because good news gets overinflated, bad news is managed and the press seems to help out governments and big business in not giving proper tallies, as too many are depending on advertisement funds (often from Big Business). We all seem to watch a weighted scale. Under those conditions, many prefer to go it alone and see that part return. Let’s not forget that before the Euro, the UK was in a pretty good position. The entire mass flocking to UKIP are remembering those days and they are hoping that they will return to these days and UKIP is talking right into that alley of expectations.

In regards to the article with the quote involving Tony Blair “The answer to the white, working-class unemployed youth in alienated communities in Britain is not to tell them their problems would be solved if there were fewer Polish people working in the UK, he said“. I tend to agree, but the truth is that these Polish workers seem to be getting some jobs and this is causing more stress with those desperately seeking work. I am not voicing any anti-Polish thoughts, the question becomes how did they get those jobs and more important, if this is how some businesses are getting cheap labour, why is this not dealt with in regards to unfair working conditions. The Telegraph (never a great source for quality info) is publishing articles on how 10% of a company is Polish. This is getting to the people, who do not look at the whole picture. The Independent is bringing us a much better story quality wise (at http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/migrants-in-britain-a-decade-on-the-poles-who-brought-prosperity-9278710.html). The article by Emily Dugan shows the story of a Polish entrepreneur, who because a success through hard work, employing dozens of people. This Radomir Szwed shows another side, one that does not get illuminated that often. It is a story all should read, only to show that immigration is not a source of job losses, but one that brings jobs too, yet the Telegraph is not that likely to bring such a story.

All this brings us to a less appealing story in the Guardian (at http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/jun/18/nigel-farage-far-right-european-parliament). As the power of Nigel Farage grows in regards to his European side whilst joining with former members of French ‘Front Nationale’ and a more extreme viewed Swedish party, the issues will continue. Even though there is debate on Nigel Farage, he sees himself as the person to voice the needs of Britain, a voice Prime Minister Cameron lost when his opposition to Juncker was defeated 26-2. If Nigel Farage delivers any victory for the British people in any way, the powers in the UK will change leaving the Tories very little options in regards to the EEC. Will David Cameron be forced to call an early vote to exit Europe? Perhaps Nigel Farage will have that option as he currently has the strongest options in Europe. However, not all is well in that regards either, now the votes are done, we see a splintering in what was a solid danger. Some are re-establishing themselves and some are defecting to the new Le Pen group. So, not all is quiet on the eastern front with the EEC.

These matters will bring question to any exit strategy we see on the European front. No matter what happens, until the people get some clear information on how the debts are, where they are and how deficits are going as well as their own options, there will be no relief. The party that brings the best story and adds true relief on the hardship the people in the UK currently have will get a massive spike in votes.

I am not sure any exit strategy will bring that, yet, when we consider the response by Richard Branson (at http://www.virgin.com/richard-branson/why-an-exit-from-eu-would-be-bad-for-british-business), my response is that this is not a given either. If we see what some Commonwealth partners are agreeing to within the TPP (Trans Pacific Partnership), then we are seeing how politicians seem to be lining American Big Business pockets, whilst not overly protecting the their own local interests. This will in the end hit back to the UK as well. Consider that these Trade Agreements are not at all discussed out in the open (which makes sense until some point is reached). It seems to me that the UK needs to talk to Australia, Canada and New Zealand at that point. Because not only will the TPP impact the UK, whomever signs the TPP could be in for a long rough spell whilst US and Japan will hunt down a new currency, which is no longer the dollar, but a currency named IPR (Intellectual Property rights). IPR will be the new gold over the next 10 years. Those who have enough of them survive.

This is the unspoken side of the exit strategy. As the EU is chained to the US in several ways, the UK must secure its future in any way it can, yes we must all get rid of our debts, but in equal measure the UK will rely on its entrepreneurs, which includes people like Radomir Szwed, that is the side UKIP is not really talking about and their immigration changes would have negatively impacted the UK.

I remain on the fence on whether the UK should or should not leave, but complete clarity is a must which is a side the press, in all their whining after the Leveson trials have remained awfully unclear about.

 

1 Comment

Filed under Finance, Media, Politics