Sunday, 21 October 2012

Jimmy Savile and the Problem of Abuse


Oh what a to-do.  Poor old Jimmy will be turning in his grave.  Well he will be  - literally - when they get their way and exhume him and move him to an unmarked grave.  It is all very pathetic really.  Tragic!  And I probably don't mean tragic in the way the mainstream of our culture would like to think it is tragic.

For many years now I have had a problem with abuse.  The problem seems to be that most people don't know what is wrong with abuse.  I did ask a lady from the Children Services once and the backlash was frightening.

Esther Rantzen expressed the view that she was distressed at how "we" failed to recognise what was going on to the point of possibly colluding with Jimmy Savile.  It appears that the world at large may turn on Esther in a scapegoat kind of way.  Esther should continue her good work and should be 'included' in the conversation about abuse and not 'blamed' or 'excluded'.  However I do have one observation about Esther's presented position and it is this;  "We" missed the signs because "we" don't understand what is wrong with abuse.  I get no indication from Esther's work or comments that she really understands what is so wrong with abuse and I get very little hint that anyone really understands what is wrong with abuse.

The general public consensus seems to be sentimental.  The mainstream view seems to be that abuse is wrong because it is distressing for the victim.  It is the pain that the victim suffers that we dislike and deem "wrong".  It is that slightly empathetic simulation of what the victim is feeling that we can recognise as unpleasant and we would not like to experience.  It seems to follow that it is, therefore, "wrong".  But this is not what is most importantly 'wrong' with abuse.  The pain and discomfort are unpleasant and it is perfectly human and reasonable to regard the experience as undesirable and to respond to that empathetic feeling by questioning it but it is not the 'reason' abuse is so wrong.  There are lots of things that are unpleasant that we don't deem wrong 'because' they are unpleasant.  Having a bad tooth extracted might be one example.

What is so worryingly 'wrong' about abuse is that it damages the person.  And it damages them in a way that perpetrates the abuse.  It damages the person in such a way as to prevent them functioning as well as they were functioning before.  Although we all suffer some degree of abuse in our lives and as humans we are quite robust and cope with a lot of damage it is the damage that makes us perform less successfully and in some cases prevents us functioning creatively and constructively at all.  But there is worse to come...  It turns people into abusers.  So, in some way, the problem with abuse is it creates abusers.  Abused people cannot, by definition, respond accurately to their environment.  They are malfunctioning and this is detrimental not only to their individual well being, which is important enough, but also to the well being of the society, the culture, and ultimately to the evolution of this particular sentient life form in this weird old universe of ours.

It makes me so MAD!


That took me by surprise!  My sister turned up.  Now I have many sisters and some are easier to get along with than others.  An objective a view as is possible from a subjective position would suggest that the more damaged the individual the harder they are to get along with.  The irony of this is probably exposed in the fundamentals of Christianity - Love your enemies!  However I am subjective and I am in a very bad place - I am, in fact, quite injured.  This particular sister is normally okay but she does have a tendency to promote positive thinking.  I guess what I see is the same problem I have with religion in that they are so unconvinced of their own beliefs they actually require reassurance that they are right to bolster their failing conviction.  They are trying to maintain their own delusion that allows them to trample on other people where necessary to keep themselves feeling good.  It only happens when you abuse people so the evidence is clear that there is a lot of abuse about but hey - we knew that.  Anyway she starts with the "How are you?" gambit which is designed to make her feel good by being a caring person.  Why do I say that?  Because when I don't kowtow to her requirements and alleviate her of any guilt in my pain by lying and saying I am fine she feigns concern and asks for details but in no time at all she is invalidating my answers as if to prove that I am somehow inherently wrong.  She tells me, amongst other things, that she has discovered that the only person who can do anything about your life is you.  So she points out quite clearly that the only person who can make my life better is me.  I do point out that that is not true but she exclaims that it isn't up to other people - at this point it becomes a little hard to reproduce her insanity because when I stop to think about it it really doesn't make sense.  That is why I want a recording device.  But I do point out through gritted teeth that she might try pointing that out to the Jews.  At this point she complains that I always introduce these bigger pictures and she is not talking about the Jews.  So I suggest she tries telling it to the American Indians or the Witches or the victims of the Inquisition or the Industrial Revolution.  But I am apparently still wrong because she isn't talking about any of those.  At this point I had raised my voice but then she told me not to shout at her.  So I stopped.  Then she complained that I was sulking.  I left the room.

So now I have written a tiny piece to vent a miniscule part of what is profoundly upsetting me.  No one wants to read it.  It will sit in cyberspace floating around in a metaphorical, hypothetical, virtual void.  Ok so I indulge in a little surreal artistic literary creativity.  But it probably makes sense anyway.  My point is that this is like a molecule or a grain of sand - seemingly insignificant in its individual existence but the beach and the whole world are made up of bits like this.  I really am going to have to write the book.  But what I want to write about now is the Jimmy Savile scandal.

Friday, 19 October 2012

Mebeverine in a Bag

So who is responsible for calling it Great Britain?  And does one put a question mark after a rhetorical question?  I went to the pharmacy today to pick up my prescription for Mebeverine.  Mebeverine is a gastric muscle relaxant and I take it to relax my gastric muscles.  I have what they term "Irritable Bowel Syndrome" but what is in fact too many years of profound distress and anxiety caused by an immersion in a toxic culture of abuse.  Specifically the worst of it has been the result of the most dreadful behaviour by one individual and their chronic psychotic and vindictive malicious behaviour.  But I digress.

Exhibit 'C'


This is a photo of what I was given by the pharmacist.  Admittedly they had hidden it inside a paper bag and so I didn't discover this until I got home.  I opened the paper bag expecting to find either a pharmaceutically branded box containing a medical preparation in the form of tablets or, perhaps in these austere times, a local pharmacy branded generic box for pharmaceutical concoctions.  But instead I found a plastic bag with the tablets stuffed inside.  I guess the pharmacist is covered legally by inserting the information leaflet but this is so disturbing I am almost lost for words.  Although I am not a frequent drug taker I suspect I would get more effort and respect from my local drug pusher than from this pharmacy.  Damn it they even manage to paint smiley faces on tabs of acid!

A plastic bag!  I do find it hard to believe.  It is one of those press seal bags you can buy in any supermarket for your sandwiches and to add insult to injury it wasn't even sealed.  It was just a load of drugs served up in a clear plastic bag.  That's it.  That is the state of the Health Services in this country.  It looks more like an exhibit in a court case.  "On examining the accused the officer found exhibit C stuffed up the rear orifice m'lud."

They used to advise against getting your drugs online but you will get better service from the perfectly legal online clinic at HealthExpress (where you can get legally prescribed Viagra) or from other remedial outlets like Holland & Barrett, Home Herbs or Healthy and Essential.  There is little more to say really except I am really pleased that that "fucking pleb" "Thrasher" Andrew Mitchell MP has had to resign.  Between Mebeverine in a bag and "Fucking Plebs" running the show I think this country is going to the dogs - except that I think dogs would run the country better.

Toast & Turbines

I woke up this morning with a number of strange ideas going on in my head.  One was about requesting an email newsletter from a company called con.com and another was spreading butter on half toasted grainy bread.  But behind all of that was this simmering volcano of anger about the abusive culture that I am experiencing.  The Post Office incident is the first port of call but it soon matches the Children Services issue and [my father] and [my x-wife] and the [local] High School and the hospital school and the dentists in this town and the Education Officer and it goes on.  Currently I am fuming about the Emperor's New Clothes.  People seem to have this delusion they wish to maintain and if I get anywhere near questioning it they will annihilate me.

This could so easily be interpreted or represented as paranoia but tell that to the Holocaust Jews or the "Witches" who were burnt at the stake.  Tell that to the victims of the Inquisition or the American Indians.

As I sit here and think of writing this up for the blog I realise that I don't have the impetus or the energy.  I don't have the conviction that it is worth anything.  I can hear people saying "Oh shut up and do something about it."  So then I picture myself not pursuing the complaint which is, in some sense, the attempt to change other people but rather doing something to fix my situation like paining pictures and selling them for money.  Then I realise two things.  The first is that it is what they want and the second is how it becomes impossible to do anything with so many outstanding problems to solve.  The first issue is difficult because on the surface it seems that the "reason" for not doing it is "because" it is what they want;  As if it is a child with ODD (this is slightly satirical because of course children don't "have" ODD - it is given to them by abusive adults).  But it is simplified as the reason for not doing it being because it is what they want on the basis that it is actually their agenda in the first place.  Within a cultural context I have been told to act in compliance with an abusive paradigm.  I have been well educated and am placed in a situation where I am supposed to work for a living.  If it were as simple as that I would be happily doing it.  I have had many jobs but by defending people from injustice I have progressively been marginalised, ostracised and ultimately deprived of a way of "earning a living".  Now I am told to knuckle down and get on with something that is within their agenda and which is either harmless to them or collusive with their nonsense and makes them a huge profit and maintains the paradigms of control and abuse.  So I am supposed to crawl away into a corner and neurotically paint little pictures which will earn me just enough to survive in poverty and pain.  It would be fine if I were starting out from 20 years old and fit and healthy but at my ripe old age and my now desperate state of ill health it is not a practical solution.  So it is seen as kowtowing to their abuse, hence not doing it because it is what they want.  The second issue is similarly complex and is understandable with a little explanation.  One of the ways we operate as humans is to categorize phenomena.  One aspect of this is to simplify handling information.  We split things into categories like work and home life;  Home life is split into leisure and house work;  Housework is split into shopping and cleaning;  Shopping is split into getting there and the shopping list etc.  We do this as a way of keeping our brains tidy and making it possible to function.  Failing that we live in a bizarre and  unmanageable mess.  I can't just "do something" because I can't decide what to do because there are too many unresolved problems vying for attention.  I need to clear up some of the outstanding mess.  That mess, unfortunately for me is caused by other malicious people.  Well they may not be intentionally malicious but there lies another philosophical issue.  What constitutes malicious?

This blog will just have to be the tired and frustrated, confused and disjointed ramblings of a lunatic/genius in pain until I get this resolved.  I have had four months of inactivity because I have been paralysed - nay, petrified - by the insatiable insanity that is our culture.  I will resolve the issues and I will solve the problems - but it is going to take a little while and it may seem arbitrary or disconnected or unfocused or completely off the point until I begin to make it coherent.

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

The Fly and the Cow

As I roam around in my chaotic world my thoughts cascade and whilst they are current they seem quite important and consequential.  But moments later something else seems just as important.  As time goes by all these thoughts seem like junk in an attic.  On the one hand they are a pile of clutter and on the other hand they are all unique, possibly useful, and they certainly don't want chucking away.


What thoughts?  Well the funny thing is that most of the time I can't remember.  It is like one of those dreams that you know you've had but you can't quite recall.

However I am confident that they all have their place in my life and there is significance in them even if I can't see it myself.  Like all that stuff in the attic.

"So when exactly are you going to take personal responsibility for the actions you take on behalf of someone else?"

Like that.  It was with respect to an imagined pharmacist's response to my claim that the Tax Credit people had screwed up and not sent the replacement prescription exemption card.  I imagined that they would say that they couldn't give me the prescription without charge if I didn't have the card.  So do I get needlessly ill because someone else has screwed up?  The concept extends to numerous people in positions of making decisions on behalf of organisations like bank clerks and policemen.

But then there are the less easy to grasp notions like when I ponder how a human might imagine what a cow seems like to a fly.  I heard once of a native American idea that one should try to imagine what it is like being various animals.  I think the idea was that by imagining what it is like to be a snake one can master the art of patience and stealth in stalking one's prey.  We are intuitively empathetic - some more than others - and it is quite natural to try to imagine what it feels like being something else.  In fact we do not generally think highly of people who can't even imagine what it is like to be another person.  But another layer to this idea is to imagine what it is like being another animal, like a fly, imagining what it is like to be another animal, like a cow.  But to start with one has to get an idea of what a cow seems like to a fly.

It reminds me of what is called indirection in software.  It is like an index to an index.  So you have a list where the seventh item points to an index.  That index currently contains the reference to the ninth item in a list.  But this second index might be altered by some other criteria and the 9 might be replaced by 22.  Now the seventh item in the original index points to the twenty second item in a list and not the ninth as before.  This indirection can be very deep and complex.  I guess one could try to imagine what it is like being a fly imagining what it is like being a cow imagining what it is like to be a human.

There is a purpose to all of this and it is not to discover what a fly thinks.  The purpose is to become familiar with the practice of considering various complex points of view.

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Tax Credit Security

Three months since the last blog entry.  What happened?  Life is convoluted and full of paradox and pain.  Maybe I will write a book to explain but then no one really wants to know.  So here is a complaint that I failed to send to the Tax Credit people about two years ago.


Complaints Manager                  7th June 2010
Directors Office
Complaints Team
Trinity Bridge House
5th Floor
Chapel Wharf
2 Dearmans Place
M3 5DU

Dear Sir/Madam

I am a sentient carbon based life form currently residing on planet Earth.  I had cause to phone the Tax Credit help line on 0845 300 3900 earlier today.  I waited for what felt like half an hour which was difficult in my current condition.  However, I coped.  Then a very polite gentleman who's name I cannot recall answered the phone.  He was exceptionally patient and helpful in spite of the difficulties I experienced and which have caused me to write this letter to you.

First of all he said something about asking me questions for security purposes and mentioned a company called Experian.  I immediately asked why they were involved.  He said it was a new security measure and you have been using them for several months now.  It worried me no end.  I have had cause to deal with these people in the past and I really don't like the idea that government agencies such as yourself are sharing data with a private company with its own interests, agendas and morals.  Your man assured me that the data was one way only and that Experian were simply providing security questions.  I hope this is true and if so it still seems worrying to me because now you are in possession of information which Experian have about me which may or may not be correct.  This is all very worrying.

Finally your man asked me two questions which he explained were to save me having to go through all these iffy questions from Experian the next time I am talking to you.  He asked me where I was born and what my first job was.  The place of birth I could manage but what does "my first job" actually mean?  Was it the first time I washed my father's car?  Was it a paper round?  Was it casual work picking strawberries?  Was it working on a ship or was it perhaps the first salaried job I had after qualifying with a Master's Degree in computing?  Or perhaps it was the industrial placement that I did as part of my education.  On presenting this conundrum to your man on the help line he pointed out that the answer didn't matter I could pick any job it was just a case of a security question.  So I am expected to invent a rationalisation for picking a particular activity and then have to remember that some arbitrary time in the future if I am speaking to the "Tax Credit" people.  That strikes me as not only ridiculous but verging on dangerous.

It seems also a little arrogant on your part.  Much as the Tax Credit system may be the most important thing in your life unfortunately I have a lot of other issues that either have to be dealt with or that I want to be deal with.  Many of them are doing similar thing too.  There are passwords coming out of my ears and security questions and reminder questions coming out of any available orifice.  In fact the attempt to increase security because of the communication age is having the reverse affect and it is becoming a rather silly game.  The more "secret" answers and codes and nuggets of information that float around the more need there is to keep them on computers and the more vulnerable they become to automated retrieval systems.  So the illusion that we are "more secure" is in fact an illusion and will probably lead to more clandestine and undetectable subtle security breaches.

It did strike me that you might as well tattoo a unique identifier on my arm and that way you really could be sure I am who you want to think I am.  In fact, since my life is being destroyed by red tape, procedures, security issues, identity problems, form filling, data capturing, it crossed my mind that it might be useful to just pop me in a camp and then you'll know exactly who I am, where I am, what I did today, if I've evacuated my bowels and you can even read the tattoo on my arm just to make sure I'm not lying.

Or did someone try this before.  I suffer mild amnesia and I can't remember now.  And what was it that I decided to "name" as my first job?  Could you let me know so that I can get it right next time you ask.  But then you ought to know you are giving it to the right person so I should tell you first.  Now where did I put that particular piece of information?

I'm sorry if I have wasted some of your allotted time on planet Earth to convey this message to you.  Life is unique and valuable.  I would hate to waste your life.  But at least you are getting paid for it.  Unfortunately I had to spend money to have my time wasted by your system.

Seriously I think this issue is getting very dangerous.  You should be in charge of knowing who I am in whatever manner is relevant to our relationship.


Yours faithfully

Monday, 2 April 2012

Black Magic works for me at TESCO

How Tesco offered to pay me £1.75 to take a box of Black Magic chocolates!

I was shopping on the internet (actually getting £5 off my shop from Tesco) when I came across a £6.51 box of Black Magic chocolates at half price.  I looked at the price per gram and noticed it said £0.00/g so I gave them a ring on their freephone number.  I asked if I could have the box at £0 and the gentleman said he didn't know how to make it free in my current order and would I accept a £5 OFF voucher instead.  I agreed and got my shopping for £10 less than it should have been.
Can't be bad!  Had I bought the chocolates at the reduced price of £3.25 I would have had the chocolates plus £1.75 off the price of my shopping.  I hope this trend continues.  You can read a little more about it at Black Magic Tesco on the Toxic Drums web site..

Monday, 5 March 2012

The Education Officer and Miss Spiky.


I have just discovered a deception that occurred 3 years ago.  My daughter was having difficulties at school and the Education Authority was involved.  The Education Officer was an officious authoritarian pretending to be a sympathetic avuncular man.  He was decidedly unpleasant.

Things were not easy and, partly on the basis that she was finding it difficult to attend school, my daughter was testing the idea of getting some counselling via the National Health.  I know it is all very paradoxical but we live in a paradoxical world.  The idea being that my daughter has been so unfairly treated that she is unhappy and if you are unhappy in this culture there must be something wrong with you so you can get medical help in the form of counselling.

The lady counsellor that we saw was a little spiky and full of positive attitude.  She made a ridiculous comment on one occasion saying that of course she would try to change my daughters mind.  Given that my daughter had expressed her concerns over people trying to do just that, it was tactless if not philosophically stupid and clearly insensitive.  But even then one can almost feel that there is something wrong with one's self for being hypersensitive in disliking the woman and not trusting her one inch.  That event came and went and my daughter did get a brief session of counselling with a friendly person but declined further offers from Miss Spiky.

For one reason or another I have been trawling through some old documents and I have come across a report from a social worker referring to the issue with my daughter's non-attendance at school.  This report mentions that the Education Officer and a 'social worker', Miss Spiky, were liaising.  I checked the dates and it was during the consultation period with Miss Spiky that the two of them were colluding (oops - liaising - sorry).  It is astounding to realise the implications of this.  The lady in the counselling environment is a social worker and was talking, behind my daughter's back, to the officious little Hitler of an Education Officer.  And those prats think it is 'other people' who are fukced up!

Ruddy Christians:  Matthew 18:6 (1611 King James Bible) "But who so shall offend one of these little ones which beleeue in me, it were better for him that a milstone were hanged about his necke, and that hee were drowned in the depth of the Sea."

So it follows that both the Education Officer and Little Miss Spiky would both be better off drowned with a millstone round their necks.  I conclude that according to Christianity I would be doing a positively holy thing, and God's will, to drown them both.  I wonder if the river would do - it would be so much more convenient.

Philosophically it is ridiculous to suppose that lies and deception can bring about anything other than pain and suffering.  Why do these people, who like to think of themselves as so good, indulge in such treacherous behaviour?  Is it because they think no one will ever find out?  Is that the depth of their perception?  Are they really as shallow as they appear?  Are they, in fact, already dead but still happen to be moving about?  I would suggest they are dead.  In biblical terms they sold their souls to the devil for a cushy life, self-satisfaction and a pension.  Much as I am suffering at the moment I do get some pleasure watching all those teachers and social workers getting themselves so distressed about their pensions being reduced.  I think they should get no pension and should have to pay back their salaries to give the new young people a good and free education.  Just for the record I sincerely despise sanctimonious, hypocritical, officious, smug gits. (Just in case you had any doubts.)

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Making money on the internet

Making money on the internet is not as easy as it used to be.  It has rarely been easy.  Well it is like winning the lottery is easy - if you win.  Some people have made very easy fortunes on the internet like the million dollar home page but it is not easy to come up with ideas that make money and there are no easy recipes.  There are ways, however, to do it.  The way I do it is to create adverts for merchants on affiliate networks and place them on my web site.  I write content and stuff for the web site and if certain products or services are relevant then I can point to the adverts.  People find the adverts and click through to the vendors website.  If they buy something I get a small commission.  It doesn't cost the customer any money and it is a very neat targeted marketing plan for the merchants.  They only pay if they sell something.  I create pages like ...


So if you are wondering how I make money on the internut - that is how!  It's not easy and it doesn't make much at the moment.  But the revenue is growing and if I keep at it I might get out of this poverty hole I am stuck in.  And here is some really neat labelling software if you want to create address labels quickly and easily.  Like that!  And if you want to make money out of thin air that is really easy.  If you want to know something interesting that is easy too :)  And I like making animated gifs too!

Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Total human height is about the diameter of Pollux.

Some say the Eridanus Supervoid is a gateway to a parallel universe.  As gateways go it is a little large at 5000000000000000000000000 meters in diameter and it is slightly cooler than the rest of the universe at -270.5 degrees centigrade.  At 25 nanometers a modern computer chip transistor gate is a less than half the diameter of a Human Immuno Virus (HIV).  A strange quark is about twice the diameter of a charm quark and strangely it is 50 times as massive as an up quark whilst being less than half the size.  The holes in spacetime foam are possibly the smallest thing known to humanity at about 0.000000000000000000000000000000000001 meters.

All this and more is beautifully illustrated in a zooming animation by Cary and Michael Huang on their htwins.net site at http://htwins.net/scale2/

And to top it all off they have included the very civilised Russell Teapot.

Thursday, 23 February 2012

What I had for breakfast!

An alternative read for the politically sensitive as a response to Mr Dinner's blog.

When I woke up this morning you were on my my my what the £µ¢∇ is going on here?  The interface has shifted and the baby is drinking wine from its mothers bladder.  She really shouldn't have drunk so much at lunch time.  These middle class goddesses are glueless cod balls of fatty excrement.  Mustafa Fag was eating shreddies and they weren't his wife's when the old bill arrived and arrested all the white men.  Nag Nag Nag.  There is a Crack Down in the matrix and the shattered glass is splintering the collective conscious charade.  Way back in the 1980's Richard H Kirk said of Red Mecca "It's not called that by coincidence.  We weren't referencing the fucking Mecca Ballroom in Nottingham!"  It was clear even then to the more observant that there was an Islamic revolution in the making.  But the emperor has beautiful new clothes.  Aldous Huxley knew what was going on in the 1930's and the education system has been grinding away at the corn since.  The combine harvester was Ken Kesey's metaphorical vehicle expressed through the Chief in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest to describe the relentless, all pervading, harvesting and grinding down of the population on all fronts.  George Orwell's thinkpol are already here.  I have no time since breakfast to explain the whole damn edifice but it is a heinous construct and it is coming down.  My brain is numb.  I need more drugs.  Where's my doctor?  Religion is a crime and we are not to speak out about it for fear of the wrath of God.  Fear lust thou rabid mortals.  Surrealism and Dada have been consumed, ingested, digested, degraded, decomposed, mutated, reformed, and incorporated into the ethereal Soylent Green to sustain the relentless terror-formation of the oppressor's simulacra.  Freedom of speech was once regarded as sacrosanct.  No more my friends.  No more do you possess freedom of thought let alone speech.  I have to be politically correct because I carry adverts on my blog and web site and I want their money.  And anyway there aren't enough intelligent people out there who can understand what is being expressed.  "Nobody's going to sink this ship because they've got a fear of drowning."  A line from a sadly lost song from a late 1970's post punk northern industrial band called Graph.  So if you want "What I had for breakfast." go read the Ichthys Fish or Anorexia in an insane culture.  I'm fading out and have to go to a funeral soon.  I wonder who's it will be.

... oh, and could you please pass the butter?

Friday, 10 February 2012

Protecting Our Children

Episode 1: Damned If They Do, Damned If They Don't

This documentary was broadcast by the BBC on Monday 30 January 2012.  The short summary on the BBC website says:

Follows Bristol's child protection teams over the course of a year to see frontline work first-hand and explore how the crises of the last decade have had an impact on their ability to safeguard children.


Newly-qualified Susanne is working with a 'low risk' family. But even the most straightforward situations often develop into something more ominous.


Her first case is to help a family with their three-year-old son Toby, who has learning difficulties. His parents need support and advice about how to improve their parenting, as well as the conditions of their small flat. However, father Mike's hostility towards Susanne means she can't help the family in the way she would like.

It seems a fair commentary on the essential substance of the documentary.  But what is the real problem?  There are two polarised perspectives here.  Either one can see the parents as failing in their role as parents or one can see the social workers failing in their role.  It is clear that the social workers see the situation from the first perspective.  It is also clear that the impartial documentary is from their point of view too.  The devastating problem is the inherent prejudice.

At the beginning of the documentary Susanne claims that social work is the most hated profession in the country.  She's wrong.  There was  a survey done some years ago and Doctor's receptionists topped the bill.  Estate Agents came in a close second.  Susanne could be accused of over dramatisation and paranoia (She probably would be if the boot was on the other foot).  One problem with paranoia is that it leads to pre-emptive assault.  She is already laying down the foundation for a disastrous outcome by her own expectations.  And early on in the documentary Mike says "You're here to split the family up. Let's get it straight... You're out to do one thing Susanne and I know you're out to do one thing... and I'll repeat it now with the camera, you're out to wreck us."  Well history proved that he was right.  So we start the documentary with a social worker who has already been proved to be wrong and a father who is honest and clear in his communication and actually factually correct.

This documentary is clearly judgemental.  The parents are fat, stupid and dirty, and much as the well educated, well spoken, well trained, intelligent, responsible social workers try, they can't make the parents behave the way they think they should.  It is clear that there is a problem and that the child is not experiencing a level of well being that this society would like.  Most viewers of the program will feel that the child's circumstances could be dramatically improved.  Most viewers will do what most people do and imagine themselves in the position of the parents.  Most viewers, because this program was broadcast into houses with enough money to have a television, will imagine they would clean up the mess, they wouldn't let the dog shit on the carpet, they would tidy up the kitchen and they would generally do a better job than the fat stupid parents.  It is easy being prejudicial.  It is self serving and very satisfying.  But what is the consequence?  The child was put up for adoption and the parents' lives were devastated.  God only knows how the child will feel in years to come when he finds out what happened?  But the good bit is that he seemed clearly happier away from his parents.  So the viewer is left feeling that the social workers have an almost impossible job to do and the viewer would not like to have to do it but, tough though the decisions were, they did the right thing for the child.  So the viewer comes away with a heavy heart and wishing things weren't like this but glad that at least the Children Services are there to do the dirty work and help the dear children.  So, unbeknownst to the viewer, they are giving themselves an almost subconscious pat on the back for being so compassionate.  Smug, self satisfied, supercilious, sanctimonious hypocritical viewers.  Just what Aunty (the BBC) wants.

So consider these questions:  What did the social workers do to help the parents?  What did they do to help the child have a better relationship with his parents?  What did they do about addressing the underlying problems?  What did they do to give the parents support?  What did they do about the dignity and self respect of the parents?

Unfortunately the answer is not just "nothing" it is far worse;  They assaulted the parents with a sense of superiority.  They judged the parents negatively.  They patronised the parents and brought the full force of the institutionalised judgemental, oppressive and destructive powers of our culture down on them.  They stole the parents' child like any good child catcher would do.  They had no respect for the parents.  They had no compassion for their lives.  They had no concept of the bigger picture.  In fact they were remarkably un-Christian for a bunch of self satisfied jerks.  I only bring Christianity into this because the UK regards itself as a Christian society with Christian values and the actions of the social services must appear to be in line with the Christian moral paradigms.  You can hear them bleat "...but we were only trying to help.", "...we only want what is best for the child."

An aside: There is somewhere in the region of 50,000 social workers in England so maybe 80,000 in the UK.  This is not including support staff so it is at least of the right order.  The average salary is around the £25k mark.  Many receive less and a few receive significantly more but again it is in the right order.  So the pay handed out to social workers is in the region of £2,000,000,000 per annum.  That's a fashionable two billion pounds.  Unemployment in the UK stands at about 2.5 million.  So if all the social workers were put out of work and the money handed out to the unemployed (now including the 80,000 ex-social workers) that would amount to £775 each per year.  Not proving what I would have wanted it to prove.

What the self orientated social workers don't understand is that they have a job, they have a pension, they have a house and even a home to live in.  They are treated with respect on the high street as civilised 'citizens'.  They are afforded a sense of security and self respect in their 'conforming' life style.  They are fundamentally psychologically secure.  The people they 'visit' have probably had none of that all of their lives.  The people who are in most need of the services provided by the democratic government and funded by the tax payer are exactly the people who have been abused, ostracised, marginalised and even criminalised by the culture.  They are the least educated in our society.  They are the poorest in society.  The unconscious arrogance of the social services simply oozed out of the television set.

The summary of the program says "However, father Mike's hostility towards Susanne means she can't help the family in the way she would like."  Am I the only person who can see the cruel arrogance of that?  If the social services were seriously trying to help the disadvantaged people that sentence simply couldn't be said.  First of all the reference to Mike's hostility assumes it is ill-founded as if there is something 'wrong' with him.  It was not ill founded at all;  Susanne's attitude was superior and she clearly regarded these people as inferior.  Mike was actually extremely tolerant of her condescending and judgemental attitude, but he quite reasonably, and with a damn site more honesty than Susanne ever exhibited, stated that he didn't like her and couldn't work with her because she was simply out to take their child away.  His hostility was a very restrained and understandable response to the circumstances.  But the sentence goes on to say that [poor] Susanne couldn't help the family the way SHE wanted to.  Whatever happened to the idea of helping them they way THEY wanted to be helped?  So Susanne (representing 'us' the civilised viewers), poor thing, couldn't get what SHE wanted which was to be a really nice, kind, compassionate, helpful person (needing her father's approval to survive - you know that Freudian stuff).  That is what I mean by arrogance.  The parents clearly needed help and seemed perfectly willing and able to respond to serious help if it were available.  But the social services wanted to dictate how they should behave and frankly it was unreasonable in their state of poverty and with their lack of education and social skills.  Net result - justified child theft.  And the wonderful thing about that is that the social workers all get paid, the tax payer feels they are getting value for money, and the social services funding gets a boost for another child purloined.  Unfortunately the reality is that they are parasites getting fat (metaphorically) preying on the poor.

The Telegraph's review: Protecting Our Children: Damned If They Do, Damned If They Don’t, BBC Two, review is as naively arrogant as the BBC's documentary.  It claims "This first episode focuses on nervous trainee Susanne..."  immediately putting her in the 'sympathy' chair and a few sentences later says "He’s [the son] also extremely aggressive – but when we witness obstinate Mike arguing with Susanne and the rest of the team, it’s not difficult to see how he has acquired that particular trait." totally writing off Mike as an unreasonable and positively aggressive person.  But the child was angry and demonstrative (understandably) and Mike, the father, was not aggressive.  He never once threatened any of the social workers or television crew and only once mildly threatened his son but not even to the level of the euphemistic "appropriate discipline" (smacking) currently being debated in the UK and being supported by the more (arrogant, rich) right wing conservatives.  What the Telegraph is referring to is his audacity at daring to say what he thought and to state that the Social Services were out to wreck the family.  A fair observation and one he has a perfect right to express.  It is only a threat in so far as it threatens to expose the hidden agenda.  What the social workers are trying to achieve is an immoral objective; They do not want it questioned.  The writer for the Telegraph (Isabel Mohan) has obviously succumbed to the authoritarian control of her parents and schooling because she interprets Mike's statements as 'aggressive'.

This documentary, unfortunately, is prejudicial and does nothing to advance an understanding of the complexity of the problems in our society.  It only bolsters the sanctimonious justification for institutionalised child abuse to appease the middle class conscience.

More reading around this subject:
• 'Child protection' wreaks havoc on a loving family once again
• A judge attacks my 'one-sided' child protection stories - but it cuts both ways
• Children Services Abuse
• TV review: Protecting Our Children: Damned If They Do, Damned If They Don't
• 10,000 children taken into care: Numbers have doubled in the past four years
• Magistrate attacks care system saying it 'criminalises children' by prosecuting for trivial matters
• Thousands of British children are taken into care each year, isn't it time we invested in prevention rather than cure?

Monday, 6 February 2012

Get another job

People who enjoy what they do for a living recognise that they are fortunate.  People who work for a living and criticise people who are unemployed clearly hate their own job.  It wouldn't make any sense otherwise.  "You should work for a living instead of leaching off society."  Well wouldn't they work for a living if it were so much better?  So my question is this: Why spend your time as a human being doing what you hate?  Is it perhaps because you are kowtowing to the bullies?  Is it because you have been emotionally bludgeoned into doing other people's dirty work?  Is it because you are really a snivelling wimp wiping the bottom of the bully?  Do you get compensatory pleasure from feeling "richer" than other people.  Do you revel in the privilege of having more benefits than other people.  Are you basically greedy?  Greed being that horrible compulsive need for "more" than others.  It is a comparative thing and simply gives one a feeling of being superior but really it hides the cringe-worthy depths to which you will descend to save your sorry arse from the bullies.  In fact you become one of the very people you hate.

So there are different ways people respond to their circumstances.  People who are in work, earning a living, and reasonably content with their circumstances, are not heavily critical of people who are unfortunate enough to be out of work.  But the people who work to bolster their own self image, which is evidently in need of some support, have no choice but to view others who are out of work as somehow deficient because that is what they would regard themselves as if they didn't work.  People who bolster their own self image, as opposed to improving it, by being judgemental about others are perhaps the worst scum of the Earth.  They are the little Hitlers that support the oppressive hierarchy and require people to be less fortunate than them to make sense of it all.  They are simply sacrificing their own self respect and dignity to survive.  They are self contradictory, malfunctioning, biological waste that has sold its soul to the proverbial devil.

(I wonder if this counts as being judgemental?)

Kaboom

This image is from http://www.nukefix.org/weapon.html which has lots of interesting info about the effects of nuclear weapons.
Just watched an interesting animation of the timeline of all atomic explosions from 1945 to 1998 by Japanese artist Isao Hashimoto.  Food for thought!



Check out the Death Toll Counter for a different perspective on death and destruction.

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Smack Smack Splat!

What the Fµ¢∇?  How £µ¢kïÑg Neanderthal can these humans be.  Now I haven't spelt the word "fuck" (oops) because people don't like stuff like that on web pages.  Well some do and some don't.  But the pretentious and manipulative attitude is to be shocked and horrified at such expletives.  Admittedly it doesn't do well in scientific theories and educational papers and there is a reason.  Expletives are emotional expressions.  Very rarely is the "F" word used to communicate the act of fornication in itself or of sexual intercourse in a loving marriage (there's an oxymoron for you).  So it is not informative or precise enough to use expletives when trying to explain detailed information in an educational context.

There is a reason for this.  Expletives assume a meaning, they don't describe it.  Expletives are typically part of "patterned" behaviour.  They are quick and robust ways of conveying assumed attitudes and beliefs.  They are culturally context sensitive.  For example "What is that paper doing on your desk?" is a simple question but "What the £µ¢k is that paper doing on your desk?" suggests it shouldn't be there.

A little aside; I once said to my 5 year old daughter "What (with a silent £µ¢k) is that doing on the floor?"  It was clear to me what I meant.  I was saying it shouldn't be there, I was accusing her of leaving it there and I was effectively saying "Pick it up."  She, not accustomed to all the assumed crap, simply looked at it, looked up at me and said, with a smile, "Sitting there."  I got it.  I was not asking the question but was rather forcing (or trying to force) her to "know" what I "know".  It is part of how prejudice works.  Saying something like "Anybody with a grain of sense knows hitting children is wrong." is manipulative and tricky.  In order to have an opposing view, that hitting children is not wrong, one has to deal with the projected logical corollary that you, therefore, don't have a grain of sense.  If that were the case then your opposing view would be invalid anyway.  That explains how these assumed perspectives are projected but expletives do it in an even less explicit way.

There is no question, as I have explained in another blog page, that hitting children is not a good idea.  But some people can't get their head outside of the blame culture, and because they have experience of when hitting a child seemed to them the best thing to do at the time they can't accept that in general it is not a good idea.  But sometimes we do things that are not ideal.  So if hitting children is wrong then the person doing the hitting must be punished according to our blame culture.  Hence you get laws which have ridiculous consequences.  If you are going to have rules of law without justice then a law stating that hitting people is wrong is simply divisive.  It is controllers trying to unfairly impose their will on other people.  Personally I think it is a fine law to say that bashing children around is not legal.  I think it is primitive and paradoxical to have laws stating that you can't even touch another person let alone hit them so long as they are an adult but that it is perfectly legal to bash children.  However, if, as a consequence of this you legitimise an authority kidnapping children, breaking up families, and psychologically abusing people then you have got it all wrong and out of proportion.

I suspect that, in line with the good old Judaic tradition we might consider the approach of an eye for an eye in this case.  So if there is a legal case to answer where a parent is accused of hitting a child then the same punishment should be applied to the parent.  That makes it proportionally more reasonable.  If you think that to save your child from being run over by a bus your best action was to hit them then you would presumably be quite willing to accept an equal hit (in your child's interest of course).  But if you were the sort to regularly punch your child would you be willing to receive a punch every time you did it?  Oh, and just to keep things in proportion the punch should be proportionally in scale.  In other words if you punch a child with a mass one sixth of your body weight with the force of a four pound bag of wet sugar at a speed of 15 miles per hour you should be hit with 24 pound bag of wet sugar at a speed of 90 miles per hour.  Oh, and you get to keep the kid as well :)

A recent poll suggested that 33% of Conservatives smack their children, 26% of Labour supporters smack their children and only 15% of Liberal Democrats smack their children.  I regard Conservatives as self satisfied sanctimonious control freaks.  I regard Labour supporters as treacherous to their own cause because they actually support the status quo of the hierarchy and I regard Liberal Democrats as having good ideas but not having the ability to either understand their own ideas or to do anything constructive about them.  So I guess these figures make complete sense to me.

I find it interesting that the perception of "hitting children" is usually within the context of less sophisticated or lower class people.  But it is the Conservatives (the upper/middle class political arena) which wants more of it.

And to finish off with an almost unrelated joke:  What goes "TAP TAP SPLAT!"?  Answer:  A blind man crossing the road.  And a variation on the theme: What goes "SLAP SLAP SPLAT!"?  Answer: (the clean one) A parent chastising their offspring before they are run over by the bus.

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Bashing kids about is a good idea!

When I was a wee sapling I told folk I was from Mars. There was a simple reason: I didn't want to "belong" to the human race. But it had another consequence. I could look at humans as an alien race. I could look at them with more compassion in a detached way.
David Lammy, former Labour Education Minister, has said that the law against hitting children should be repealed because it led to the London riots in 2011. See the Daily Mail's "Smacking ban led to riots".

Not only do I find the article funny I find it amazing reading the comments. The Daily Mail, Mr Lammy and most of the comment writers are so Neanderthal. These poor humans don't seem to be able to connect three logical thoughts. So often in these over simplified debates they can only deal with two ideas at a time. The fact is that hitting children should be illegal. It is not right to hit children.

I'll say that again: It is not right to hit children.

So what do you do if your child has grasped an electric fire which was not earthed and you can't grab them because you will get stuck to them? You hit them to knock them away from the fire. Ok so this is not a brilliant example but there are cases where you might hit a child to save them from harm. So hitting children is right! That's what these politicians, law makers, and probably 90% of the commentators don't get. It is not a simple case of "hitting children" being right or wrong. But all other things being equal it is true to say that simply "hitting children" is not a sensible, humane, beneficial, compassionate, productive, practical or even rational thing to do in general.

So if we start from basic principles it seems clear that hitting children is not a good idea. Mr Lammy goes on to say that parents are "no longer sovereign in their own homes" and that they live under constant fear that social workers will take away their children if they chastise them.

UH!? What?

Is it only me that sees the complete lunacy of that? If cuffing a child for stamping on another child's foot justifies the draconian Children Services stealing the child then it seems to me there is something very wrong. But it is because we live in this mind numbing authoritarian blame culture. There is no need to take any offensive action against a parent that smacks a child. But that doesn't equate to establishing in law that it is perfectly fine to smack children.

We are obsessed with trying to make rules that make us perfect. Well - that is not quite it. What is really going on is that some people want power over other people. The way they achieve it is to criticise others and justify their offensive action because the other person is 'to blame'. But what needs to happen is that the authorities start to act under the same rules as the ones they are pretending to try to uphold. They could start by being honest and accountable. But they are not.

If you want to see how the Children Services measure up to their own criticisms of other people check out the Children Services Abuse section on Toxic Drums. They are appallingly self contradictory. They clearly imagine themselves to be above the law. They are incredibly abusive and apparently not accountable.

Another funny thing about this article in the Daily Mail is that Mr Lammy is black (well to be correct he is sort of a dark shade of brown) and he quite reasonably makes the amusing point that the law specifies that any force that causes 'reddening of the skin' is prohibited. He goes on to point out the irrelevance of that to black (or brown) children. I can see South Park making a meal out of that. Black people should be allowed to hit children and middle class white people should not. Simples!

What I wish is that folk would stop this stupid attempt to justify abuse against others. The Children Services should be there to assist in difficult situations. They have all the potential of being a really benign organisation improving the social conditions in this country for children. But instead they are employed to go around terrorising both parents and children in some Gaddafi style attempt to keep order. And we know where that ends up!

Monday, 23 January 2012

Au Contraire!

Q:  What's the connection between Harold Shipman, Mark E Smith, a Practice Nurse, Stephen Mallinder, God, Bob Dylan and an East German Rabbit?
A:  They all appear on this page.

I had a friend phone me about my blog on the Practice Nurse.  She asked why I hadn't mentioned Harold Shipman to the nurse.  Now you may not know this but Harold Shipman is regarded as one of history's worst murderers.  He is the ONLY British doctor ever to be found guilty of murdering his patients and it is conservatively estimated that he killed at least 218 of them.

I was talking to my teenage daughter and mentioned that this friend had called and mentioned Harold Shipman.  My daughter asked who Harold Shipman was and I explained that he had murdered hundreds of his patients.  A gleeful smile spread across her face as she announced with delight "Oh good - I have another hero."

Au Contraire!

The general cultural perception is that: a) Harold Shipman is a bad man and b) that there is something wrong with my daughter that she could be instantly impressed by him.  But there is something going on here of which most people seem blissfully  unaware.  We are NOT living in  a benign culture!

The trouble seems to be that most people are not living up to what might be called a personal morality but rather a collective perceived morality.  They are desperately trying to get the approval of the culture.  Humans are working collectively to define themselves as what they wish they were.  So the culture assumes hitting people is nasty and not desirable whereas being all sentimental about sweet babies is positively admirable.  There is nothing wrong with that on the surface but dig a little deeper and it soon becomes evident that the higher up the hierarchy you ascend the more ruthless people become in defending the collective ego and its self perception that it is "good".  It only takes a cursory glance around to see that the large institutions like the banks, the legal profession, the pharmaceutical industry, the NHS and the Children Services are all psychopathic in their defence of their image.  It only takes a little personal experience to realise that they collectively apply a morality to control the individual whilst not complying with that morality themselves.

The thing about my daughter is she sees this with a clarity that is beyond me.  She already knows what the false charade is about.  She is like the astronauts who saw the earth as a whole majestically delicate perfect living entity floating in space for the first time.  She sees the duality of the collective conscious and unconscious of humanity.  She already knows that the institutionalised judgemental view is perverted for its own benefit, and sees through the facade to the inner workings of society.  She knows that if Harold Shipman was killing his patients that hundreds more are doing it and probably with a more convoluted and perverse deception.  What she is elated about seems to be that he did what hundreds are trying to pretend they would never do.  It is, perhaps, the sanctimonious hypocritical attitude that promotes (or demotes) the likes of Harold Shipman to an extreme as if he were an aberrant exception in order to elevate themselves that she sees instantly and with clarity.  It takes philosophers, psychologists, anthropologists, sociologists and spiritual people years of their lives and generations to understand the world of humanity.  But my daughter sees it with no need for an explanation or any justification or excuses.  She knows what is going on like most of us cannot imagine.

It is possibly the human honesty in Shipman that resonates for her.  For any Christians reading this blog just recall that your elevation of a man to a God in the name of Jesus was the one to make clear to the religious hierarchy that tax collectors and prostitutes were equally God's creation.  It was He who was crucified for loving ALL people.  He understood that externalising "evil" was an offense against humanity and, in your terms, God.

Now on the subject of Harold Shipman it was The Fall who produced the controversial track "What About Us?" which was a interesting angle on the Harold Shipman issue.  The song is about an East German rabbit that emigrates to the UK for better grazing.  It starts of...

Bah ba ba ba ba ba ba ba bah
Well - Oh yeah - Wha wha yeah yeah yabah yaah (or something like that)

I am a rabbit from East Germany
I was very happy

It goes on...
Then I moved to Great Britain
I became an immigrant
I could frolic around all night
Eat all the green grass
I was so happy
Bah ba ba ba ba ba ba ba bah

The rabbit found himself...
By a rubbish receptacle
I saw a newspaper
I was not very happy
There was a man
He was dishing out drugs
He was a doctor
Dishing out Drugs
To all the ladies

I said "What about us?" Shipman
"What about us?" Shipman
"What about us?" Shipman
"What about us?" Shipman
"What about us?" Shipman
"What about us?" Shipman
etc...

I couldn't decipher all the lyrics in the time available and couldn't find them on the internet.  But that should give you the gist of it.  I met Mark E Smith once in Cabaret Voltaire's factory studio.  That's not Factory Records where I got viciously assaulted by a bunch of Manchurian thugs but rather Cabaret Voltaire's studio which was housed in an almost derelict old factory in Sheffield.  Mark E Smith is one of a few people I have ever met who have struck me as intensely human.  He is one of those people you just know is how people are meant to be.  Unassuming, inquisitive, kind, thoughtful, creative, friendly and somehow your life is enhanced simply by his existence.  Mal (Stephen Mallinder of CV) and Judd (another Steven) of Clock DVA were of the same mould.  But I digress as I name drop but want to give credit where it is due.

Here's a my favourite renditions of "What About Us?" and a glimpse of Mark E Smith getting an award which shows his eccentric take on life and normality.

This is my favourite recorded version of "What About Us"

The Fall Diesel U Music Awards 2005 (Mark E Smith)

"You can be in my dream if I can be in yours."  Bob Dylan said that.
"We are not who we wish we were but we need to be who we are or there is no real reality available to us." I said that.

Thanks to Wakefield Prison for the fair use mug shot of Harold.

Child Tax Credits: Student Definition

What qualifies a child as a student for Child Tax Credits purposes?
What is the definition of a student for Child Tax Credits?
What is the government definition of Higher Education and Further Education for a child between 16 and 20 so that the parent or carer can claim Child Tax Credits?

Those were the questions I was struggling with and I have heard a number of different definitions.

I did some searching around and I found the HMRC (Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs) web site and eventually found the Tax Credit calculator.  You can use this HMRC Tax Credit calculator to get an idea of what you might be entitled to.  There are two aspects to Tax Credits: yourself and your children.  If your income is low you can qualify for Working Tax Credits and if you have children you can be entitled to Child Tax Credits as well.

There is a slightly difficult area when the child reaches the age of 16 and one major issue for many people is understanding if their child meets the criteria for Child Tax Credits.  I won't go into details here but if you have a child between the age of 16 and 20 who is still in education and your income is low you may be entitled to Child Tax Credits to help in these financially catastrophic times.

The salient point I was looking for was the precise definition of a student.  I used the calculator and on one page it asked the question:

Is this child in full time education or on an approved training course? (You only need to answer this question if this child is aged 16 to 19 or if this child is aged 19 to 20 and was enrolled, accepted for or started full-time education or approved training before they turned 19.)

And there were links to helpful information for full time education and approved training course.  This information gave the definition required as follows:

Full-time Education

A young person aged 16 and under 20 is classed as being in full-time education if they are studying

• at school or college, or a similar recognised establishment
• for a qualification up to and including A level, NVQ level 3 or Scottish national qualifications at higher or advanced higher level or equivalent. This does not include studying for a university degree or similar qualification
• for at least 12 hours a week during normal term time, not including meal breaks or time spent on unsupervised study.


A young person aged 19 must have enrolled, been accepted for or started full-time education before they turned 19.

A young person will still count as being in full-time education in any week where

• as part of the curriculum, they are on holiday or preparing for exams
• they are away from school or college due to sickness or ill-health but are intending to return to that course of education
• they have ended one course of education but have registered for a further course starting in the following term, and the only reason for not currently studying is that they are waiting for that course to start.


Approved Training Course

An approved training course is one of the following and is not provided through a contract of employment.

• England - Entry to Employment, Foundation Learning Programmes or Programme Led Apprenticeships
• Scotland - Get Ready for Work Skillseekers or Modern Apprenticeships
• Wales - Skillbuild, Skillbuild+ or Foundation Modern Apprenticeships
• Northern Ireland - Programme Led Apprenticeships (Apprenticeships NI), Jobskills, or Training for Success: Professional and Technical Training.

If your child is 19 years old, they must have enrolled, been accepted for or started approved training before they turned 19.

So there you have it.

You can find out more from the Child Tax Credit Calculator at: http://taxcredits.hmrc.gov.uk/Qualify/DIQHousehold.aspx

And thanks to Fredler Brave for the picture of students.

Friday, 20 January 2012

Videos Keep Freezing Browser

If you have a Windows XP computer or Windows 7 you might find YouTube frequently causes the computer to crash or your computer freezes.  Sometimes the video continues playing but the browser freezes.  You might ask yourself "Why does my computer freeze?"  Well I was having this problem and I found out why my computer freezes!

Image by Andreas Tille
Strictly speaking it was only the browser and not the computer that was locking up and not responding.  It was happening more and more as I used YouTube.  I searched the internet for a solution but found endless "problem pages" with hundreds of people asking why their computers locked up or froze when watching videos but no useful answers.  I hate these "forum like" sites that elicit questions from users only to offer no answers but hundreds of adverts.

But I persisted and I came across a useful bit of software provided by Microsoft which analyses the codecs on your cvomputer to inform you of any possible clashes or problems.  Codecs are bits of software that facilitate digital video streaming in Windows and various media players.  The software executable is called MicrosoftFixit.Codec.Run.exe and you can download it from: http://support.microsoft.com/mats/video_freezes_or_crashes/en-us.  The reason I mention this is because you don't always know if you can trust downloads nowadays and I have checked this out extensively and used it on my own computer with complete success.

The software checks all the codecs and informs you of any clashes.  You then get the option to disable ones with a problem.  This is always a bit worrying since you don't usually know enough about what is going on inside your machine to feel confident about disabling or deleting system stuff.  But the information I got from the software was pretty straightforward.  It told me there was a conflict problem with a particular codec installed by RealPlayer.  Given that RealPlayer are getting more pushy I don't use their software if I can help it so I was happy to let this software disable RealPlayer's codec.  I have had no more freezing videos.  Problem solved!  That easy once you have a reliable source.

So if your videos keep freezing your browser causing it to hang up you might want to visit http://support.microsoft.com/mats/video_freezes_or_crashes/en-us and download the MicrosoftFixit.Codec.Run.exe program.  Running it to see if anything is wrong doesn't change anything on your computer and you always get the option to fix the problem only if you want.

The Notched Stick

I couldn't find a legally available picture of a notch on a stick for this article so I settled for this picture of the Washington Monument by David Iliff (License: CC-BY-SA 3.0)
Human beings regard their knowledge as rather extensive and generally think they are very intelligent.  There is a vast volume of literature on every subject one could think of.  The British Library which is the biggest library in the world in terms of items held has over 14 million books.  The USA's Library of Congress which is the biggest library in terms of shelf space has over 30 million books.  Along with all the other documents, manuscripts, patents, newspaper and so on the total number of words held is stupendous.

Pretty well the sum total of human knowledge is held in written form.

Computers have a way of representing words.  The most common way is to represent each letter by a number and to hold that number as a binary digit.  Which reminds me of a t-shirt a friend has which says:
There are 10 types of people in the world:
Those who understand binary and those who don't.

But I digress.  Any sequence of words can be represented by a number which is a sequence of digits.  If the decimal point is placed at the beginning of the sequence then that number is a fraction.  So, for example the sequence of digits 521 can be represented with a decimal point at the beginning making it 0.521.  If you take a stick and make a notch in it at exactly 0.521 of its length you can give it to someone else who could carefully measure that position of the notch and decode the number.  So any sequence of letters could be represented by a notch on a stick.  In theory you could take all the literature ever written and create a number.  Admittedly it would be a very big number but a number all the same.  This could then be turned into a fraction and represented by a notch on a stick.

So:
All human knowledge can be represented by a notch on a stick!

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Thank you Wikipedia

Wikipedia has taken the unprecedented decision to black out all English language content of its web site for 24 hours to raise awareness of SOPA and PIPA.

If you are reading this during the blackout you can view the site by adding ?banner=none to the url.  Try this http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Main_Page?banner=none for example.  You can also disable your browser from running JavaScript and then you can view the website perfectly fine.

In this oppressive, hierarchical, control freak world we live in, there are too many jerks who think they are important and know what's best for everyone else.  Their methods have been proven consistently throughout history to benefit no one but themselves and actually to cause a great deal of harm to the majority of nice folk.

Those sanctimonious dictatorial prats waltzing around the halls of power  in their clean cut suits pontificating to all and sundry about the moral values that need to be maintained are nothing more than vicious little bullies.  They are self-serving opinionated bastards.  They are no better than Colonel Gaddafi and his security forces or the Nazis or Fascists.  The only difference is that they are fooling enough people at the moment to avoid having to use open violence.

But their need for control is insatiable.  They continually erode the hard won acknowledgement of real human values.  They are relentless in their attempts to define and control the world and how it works.  Ironically King Canute sat on the beach to make the point that he was not all powerful.  He has been entirely misrepresented by control freaks.  It is ironic because they (the control freaks) actually think they have more power than they actually have and try to illustrate that they understand the limitations of their power by ridiculing Canute.  It is a little like the ancient Turks who religiously put mistakes in their rugs because only God could make a perfect rug.  The irony is missed on control freaks

These rather intellectually stunted testosterone driven gnomes relentlessly interfere with perfectly good principles in their egocentric attempts to prove themselves "good" by making new laws to protect individuals from harm.  But the only individuals they "protect" are themselves and their cronies from being hoist by their own values.

I have a hard time believing the utter ridiculousness of laws which profess to protect liberty but are clearly quite the opposite.  I have spent too much of my valuable life troubled by, and wondering about, these issues.    The conclusion to date is that people in power are grossly stupid and that they succeed insofar as they manage to dull the minds of so many people that they get away with it.

SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) and PIPA (Protect Intellectual Property Act) are the two issues which are currently scheduled for debate in America and which have given rise to Wikipedia's 24 hour blackout.  I have read around the subject and both these proposed laws essentially turn things on their heads.  If you consider the premise that a person is considered innocent until proven guilty these laws do just the reverse.  If, for example, someone leaves a comment on my blog with a link to a site which is linked to a site (presumably ad infinitum) which has content which is simply believed in good faith (woolly phraseology) by some authority to be in breach of any law then I am, by association, assumed to be guilty and my website can simply be shut down until I can prove in a court of law that the final offending material is not in fact illegal.  These proposed laws are simply broad brush legalised censorship.  They are intellectually contradictory (they would make the activities of the White House illegal but - hey - what's new?), pretentiously complicated and basically bullies giving themselves a sense of legitimacy.

I personally object strongly to the American Administration making utterly brainless and bad laws like SOPA and PIPA and I don't even live in the USA.

Freedom is not only freedom to do what the hierarchy demands.  To have a free society one has to accept that sometimes some people will do things you don't like or agree with.  The thing is you have to deal with those occasions when they arise and not make laws to prohibit anything that might be undesirable.  And it is very important to prevent the bullies and the bad guys from making the laws.  It is essential that the control freaks do not alter the laws for their benefit.  It is what happened in Germany prior to the Second World War and precipitated the holocaust and it is currently happening in the USA, the UK, many countries in Europe and God knows where else.

By the way - the holocaust never happened!

Woops!  Don't link to my web site now or you might be taken down.