Jo Cox Assassination could tip it for the “Remain” campaign

That’s the nightmare scenario for the “Leave” campaign. And it certainly isn’t helped by headlines like

Death to traitors, freedom for Britain

which is what the killer declared in answer to the Magistrates request for his name.

The decision on Thursday will be made by around 25-30 million citizens subjects for about 25-30 million different reasons. Probably less than one in ten of those reasons will constitute some degree of rational analysis. The rest will be controlled by the Amygdala. Which is not, I need to add, in case I get an accidental visit from the occasional gun totin’ conspiracy theorist  (like the idiots who believe last week’s Orlando massacre was “staged” to provide a pretext for seizing their guns) a newly discovered secret masonic Cabal.

National sporting success has been shown, for example, to dramatically improve the prospects of re-election for the sitting incumbents, but it’s difficult to map that effect onto an issue which isn’t so obviously partisan. So I was ruminating on what proportion of the decision would be controlled by the reptilian emotional control centre at the base of our brains, during the England Wales Euro match on Monday night, about 40 hours before Jo Cox was murdered by a man shouting “Britain First”.

You could feel the emotional shudder running through the entire country when that news came out. Bad enough to have a rising young “political star in the making” cut down, in her prime, on a British street while doing the job she was elected to do, but then to have her murder so nakedly dragged into the fractious political debate was far too hot a potato for the media to handle. And, to be fair, I haven’t seen any obvious attempts by the “Remain” camp to exploit it. Indeed the “serious” political response, on both sides, has been measured and dignified.

So I was a bit surprised to find so many “Leave” campaigners rushing to denounce any such attempts. Their denouncements have been far easier to find than the exploitation they’re obviously “frighted” by. Here’s a classic from the Daily Mail’s pet hater Peter Hitchens

If you scroll down below his forlorn dream that, if we vote to Leave, we’ll somehow get our 1950s version of England back, you’ll find

“I would not dream of exploiting the untimely death of a young mother for political purposes. I am grieved for all those who loved Jo Cox, and are desolated by her death. I extend my sympathy to them.

But I have the strong sense that others do seek to turn this event into propaganda for a cause. It has happened very swiftly. It needs to cease.”

No examples or links to examples, just “stop it!”

I can’t say that there are no such examples, but I certainly went looking and the only ones I could find were from those who had sympathy with the killer, such as this American nazi who actually thought that she put a target on her back or this British neo-nazi pleading that we mustn’t let the KILLER’S SACRIFICE be in vain! That story encapsulates the fear on the “Leave” side with the fantasist’s comparison between the current campaign and the Swedish campaign in 2003:

‘In 2003, Sweden was about to vote out of Europe. On September 11, 2003, three days before the vote, pro-euro Anna Lindh was brutally stabbed to death.

‘Debate was suspended in the media and replaced by eulogies for the politician. The polls reversed and Sweden adopted the euro.’

Not actually true. They rejected the euro but stayed in the EU. But the fear is on display.

And I suspect it will be justified. Things are so close that if it makes just 5% of  “Leavers” switch sides or abstain, and 5% of previously apathetic “Remainers” get off their arses to put in an appearance at the polling station, that would be enough to seal a “Remain” win.

Early indications are that just such a shift is on the cards. The “Leave” camp have been ahead in the polls for the past couple of weeks, producing ever more desperate tactics from the “Remain” campaign. They even dusted off Gordon Brown to see if he could reprise his role as the late game-winning substitute he played in the Scottish referendum. But this poll, taken just 2-3 days after Jo Cox’s death, is the first for some time, to show the pendulum swinging back.

Obviously a “Remain” win would be “what Jo Cox would have wanted” so it might be tempting to suggest that, if we get that result “at least she won’t have died in vain”. But that’s bollocks. If she’d been knocked down and killed pushing her children out of the path of a careless driver, you could argue, then, that she wouldn’t have been killed in vain. But nobody should have to die as the result of someone elses diseased and inflated Amygdala.

Graham Hancock would be spinning in his grave…

Fortunately, however, he’s not dead.

I hope he spots this little confirmation of his hypothesis from Supernatural (2005)

4 Failed Remotes? Coincidence? I Don’t Think So!

I wouldn’t usually bother you with the domestic trivia of failed remote controls. But this is some seriously weird shit. Thought a) you might be interested b) I want it on record.

It also occurs to me that perhaps I might not be the only one experiencing the weird shit. I can’t decide whether, if I’m not, that would make it more or less weird…

Beginning August 8, 2015 about 8 pm

The remote control on the TV stopped having any effect. In hindsight, I misinterpreted this. I’ve been having ongoing problems with the Sky HD box; having to reboot it daily, sometimes twice, because it becomes locked and entirely dysfunctional.


So I assumed it was another case of frozen Skybox, rebooted the little expletive and got on with my life.

One darts session later, I went to catch Newsnight. See what they’re headlining at least. The system was ludicrously unresponsive. It took multiple keystrokes before anything would react. Took me 5 minutes just to get on to BBC2 and 3 more to get out of the TV guide.

And this was with two different controllers; the one supplied by Sky and the Multi-Controller I use for everything. So now I’m sure it’s the Skybox. Can’t possibly be two simultaneous failures of two entirely independent remote controls.

Bollocks. Have to call Sky tomorrow and get the box replaced. Goodbye to all that good shit I’ve got stored. Never Mind. Bollocks.

Right, let’s watch the first episode of Ripper Street which I downloaded from iPlayer a few days back. See if the series is going to be worth recording this year…

Want to watch it on the big screen. Enable it on the PC, pick up the remote control for the TV and try to switch the input from Skybox to PC. The TV Remote has no effect. Bollocks, must be batteries. Change batteries. No change.


I try the same thing on the Multi-Controller. I don’t usually control the TV from the MC cos it’s too many keystrokes to switch between the different devices it can control. But it’s useful to have it as a fall-back in situations like this.

It didn’t work either. WTF?

Fuck it. Watch it on my biggest monitor in HD. Up close, it’s damn near as good as the big screen.

But I still want the sound through the hifi.

Redirect the PC sound to the hifi and try to reduce the bass so I can hear the speech more clearly. I’m losing the upper ranges. Have to compensate. No biggie.

Bleedin’ amplifier has become unresponsive to its remote control. WTF? WTF? WTFFFF???


What are the odds on that being a coincidence?

By coincidence I spun round in my chair and angrily pressed the relevant amplifier remote key again. But this time, the remote control was only about 25 centimetres – 12 inches in old money – from the amplifier. And this time, it worked. I was able to do whatever I wanted with the remote at this ludicrously short distance. Not so much a “Remote Control” as a “Close Control” and rather undermining the purpose of having a detached control unit at all.

Hmmm… I wonder if any of the other “Remotes” are behaving as “Closes”.

I shit you not. ALL FOUR ARE NOW FUNCTIONING ONLY WITHIN 12-15 INCHES of the devices under their control.

First thought. Solar flux? Somehow “damping down” the infra red remote control signal. Can’t see how that would work but let’s check it out.

Not today. Today’s solar flux is running just about as average as you can get – according to the data at Solarham

So now I’m stumped. I can only speculate that some other kind of radiation or electric field – and one which is not usually present – is acting as a “damping field” and massively reducing the range of my remote controls. What kind of radiation or field could that be? Or could even do that? And how can I detect or record it?

Will check periodically to see what range I’m getting. But just as an example, I frequently use the Amplifier Remote and Multi-controller from the other end of the living room which is about 15 feet from the devices. No problem at all. Usually.

I’m open to suggestions…


Postscript: 1 oclock in the morning. About to retire for the night. Decide to record the phenomenon with the intention of tracking any changes. Check they’re all still limited to close range. They are. Set up the video. Start videoing. I don’t believe it! They’re all back to normal range! So, apart from the camera itself, nothing else in the environment has changed. But whatever was damping the control signals seems to have retreated. Am I allowed to get paranoid yet?

Ad Blocking Software – Strongly Recommended

Check out this pleading inanity from one of my (otherwise) favourite sites

Dearie me, am I to understand that it’s a problem for Physorg that I choose not to conform?

Idiots like this just don’t get it. Some of us are not just immune to advertising, we actively and passionately object to it as a manipulative abuse of bandwidth.

This antipathy is more prevalent, perhaps, in UK citizens than most because we have the Beeb, producing consistently high standards of broadcasting without commercial breaks. Before we had our hard-drive backed digital TV services we often had to wait two hours before getting to pee.

Nowadays, we can just pause the program, which neatly eliminates the one advantage that commercial breaks could boast. And boy does it make for a massive culture shock when we are exposed to American TV. That culture must be behind the sentiments expressed by this drivel.

They clearly believe it is their god given right to advertise to me. As my regular reader will know, I obviously don’t believe in god given rights. And, as it happens, I don’t believe in human rights either. I believe in Liberty – which is merely the absence of constraint – and Reciprocity – treat others as you would wish to be treated in return. That combination covers every conceivable ethical question you’ll ever confront; including whether or not to tolerate intrusive commercials on a web page.

And I see absolutely nothing which justifies any constraint whatsoever on my ability to install Adblock and not just ignore your adverts but remain blissfully unaware of their existence. Adblock is a free Firefox add-on – strongly recommended if you’re as allergic to ads as I am. And those who might be inclined to follow my recommendation will not confuse the previous sentence with “advertising” because they will know I have absolutely nothing to gain by that recommendation other than the knowledge I am spreading a little more contentment. My motives, are, therefore, entirely honorable. As I’m sure is true even of some commercials. But not many…

What Physorg and those who think like that obviously don’t understand is that if I was forced to suffer their sites with ads, I would simply exercise my liberty to avoid visiting those sites. How would that improve the human condition?


Mindlocks on the horizon

Wasn’t expecting this development quite so soon after my mention of mindlocks in the context of Digital Telepathy. But is precisely the sort of thing I was talking about.

I first proposed brain based authentication in an email to Dr Larry Farwell about 10 years ago when I came across an article describing his own work as the discoverer of “Brain Fingerprinting” My specific proposal was based on the conjecture that, for example, my own brain wave reaction to, say, a photograph of my own late Father, would be dramatically and reliably different to anyone else’s reaction to the same photograph and that, if measured, that reaction could be used as a form of biometric identifier for the purposes of authentication.

But actually my main hope for brain based authentication is that it offers the only conceivable solution for the “final” authentication problem; viz the one thing we can’t yet test for – is the individual whose identity we have just verified operating under duress? This is a vital authentication test in certain critical situations. For example, it would very useful to build it into the protocols which control the launch of intercontinental ballistic missiles! I’m perfectly sure that existing procedures can reasonable verify the identity of the operators arming the missiles, but can it tell whether the operator is only performing their task because they have a gun pointed at their head? Of course it can’t. But it would be very reassuring to the rest of us if we knew the system COULD make that assessment and block the launch if the operator was found be performing under duress.

But it would also be just as useful, though not quite so dramatic, if we could ALL protect our important actions the same way. If and when I ever have a million quid in the bank, for example, I would quite like to know that I couldn’t transfer the dosh to another person’s bank account without the authentication system verifying that I wasn’t conducting the transfer under duress.

And, of course, in a Trusted Surveillance system, the same tests would trap all sorts of evil, from corrupt border guards to forced sexual consent.

The mindlocks which I casually mentioned in the Digital Telepathy story are based on a related notion, not, this time, of duress but of “intentionality”. The idea being that if – as in the story – we’re all capable of digitally recording everything we’re in range of, then the first level of abuse will be the illicit publication of such recordings without the consent of the other parties present. I propose privacy locks to solve that problem. They involve the recordings being locked with shared keys and a cryptographic protocol to ensure that all parties present have agreed and implemented the locks. But that would also prevent “private” playback within even your own head which is a) too restrictive and b) blocks potentially extremely useful functionality (aides memoire, personal diaries, recording minutes, private pleasure etc).

Mindlocks based on intentionality could solve that problem. They would permit private viewing of the recordings (only within your own head) and instantly lock the recording if they detected any intention on your part to share the recordings without the required consent of the other parties.

This research brings all the above a small step closer.

How Authority Works

Truly excellent. I’m not surprised to learn that this gem has been around for some time, but it’s still the first time I’ve come across it. More importantily, it explains, as well as I ever seen, the principle mechanism by which authoritarianism maintains its grip on society

The cartoon itself illustrates the importance of presentational skills. I guarantee it presents the message far more clearly and accessibly than the original academic study reference on which it is based; the snappily entitled “Stephenson, G. R. (1967). Cultural acquisition of a specific learned response among rhesus monkeys. In: Starek, D., Schneider, R., and Kuhn, H. J. (eds.), Progress in Primatology, Stuttgart: Fischer, pp. 279-288.” See, you’re already asleep…

Standardised Authoritarian Arguments

this nice little image got me thinking: Is there a standard structure to Authoritarian argument? I believe this piece illustrates the genre perfectly. The standardised versions I drew from it are listed below the image…

1 The proposed change is unnatural

2 The status quo is both necessary and sufficient because it produces the socially desirable result

3 Permitting the proposed behaviour will create undesirable role models for children;
3a Children need role models consistent with the status quo

4 Accepting the change would reduce the value of the status quo

5 The status has been quo for a long time

6 The issue should be decided by (whoever is most likely to decide it in favour of the status quo)

7 The proposed change is forbidden or not approved by religion

8 Permitting the proposed behaviour will encourage more of it

9 Permitting the proposed behaviour now will be a gateway to even worse behaviour later

10 The proposed change would change something so fundamental it should never be changed

11 There are alternatives which are acceptable to us and which you should accept.

Now try applying that to the authoritarian argument of your choice.

I’ll have a go at a few myself. Later…