Saturday, 12 December 2009

Tiger Woods Fallen Angel or Willy Loman

The announcement today that Tiger Woods is going to take an indefinite leave from golf appears to confirm his status as a Fallen Angel. He has lost his heavenly status in Brand Heaven, and what we are witnessing is really the
Death of a Saleman Just like Willy Loman in Arthur Miller's novel Tiger appears to have arrogantly believed that he is better than he really is. I don't mean this in terms of sporting prowess, which is of course, self evident, I mean it in terms of navigating a course through life.

Tiger Woods seems to exhibit many of the characteristics of Hubris This idea from ancient Greek culture is popularly associated with phrase 'pride comes before a fall'. Something that seems to dog the rich and famous unless they are careful and grounded.

Wikipedia define hubris as:
"...pride, haughtiness, or arrogance, often resulting in fatal retribution or Nemesis...actions which, intentionally or not, shamed and humiliated the victim, and frequently the perpetrator as well. It was most evident in the public and private actions of the powerful and rich."

Success, power and wealth are very beguiling. They have a curious effect on people. Frequent and consistent success lead the successful to believe that they have a special 'gift' or have even been chosen to be successful. Everything they have done has been a success therefore everything they will do in future will be a success too. Nothing can ever go wrong. This is also known as Victory Disease

Power and wealth can lead people to believe that the normal rules of nature and society don't apply to them. Doors have always opened and always will, people have always hung on their every word and always will, transgressions and and behaviour have always been overlooked and always will. They are in control of events not at the affect of them.

Psychologists talk of the Hubris Syndrome Here's a taste of some of the characteristics of someone suffering from it:

a narcissistic propensity to see the world as an arena in which they can exercise poor and seek glory.

restlessness, recklessness and impulsiveness.

excessive confidence in their own judgement and contempt for the advice or criticism of others.

exaggerated self belief, bordering on a sense of omnipotence, in what they personally can achieve.

loss of contact with reality, often associated with progressive isolation.

We see this alot and it touches all aspects of life:

So, will Tiger Woods return to golf? can he return to his former glory? or has he fallen from grace for ever? I suspect the Hubris industry will swing into action now with a series of books and programmes about this fallen angel. Let Willy Loman have the last word:

"Before it's all over we're gonna get a little place out in the country, and I'll raise some vegetables, a couple of chickens…"
Death of a Salesman
Willy Loman, to his wife Linda, Act 2

Saturday, 5 December 2009

How Do You Know If You Are In Love?

Love is a curious thing that has had poets and philosophers pondering over its nature for thousands of years. As Satine and Christian say in Baz Lurhmann's film Moulin Rouge:
Satine: Besides, I can't fall in love with anyone
Christian: Can't... fall... in love? But, a life without love, that's... terrible...
Satine: No, being on the street, that's terrible.
Christian: No! Love is like oxygen!
Satine: What?
Christian: Love is a many splendored thing. Love lifts us up where we belong. All you need is love!"

The crucial thing for scholars of Gullibilty is that often love is blind. That's why we frequently ask the question 'How Do You Know If You Are In Love?' We have to perform a sanity check at the very moment of sanity. This suggests that deep down we know we are at risk of being duped.

My guess is that the very fact you ask the question 'how do you know if you are in love' indicates that you are in love! Which really means that the real question is how do I know if a guy likes you or how do you know if a girl likes you. And isn't that the thrill? The risk involved in trying to find out. The chance of utter elation or crushing disappointment. The prospect of looking and feeling great or looking and feeling stupid.

What matters is how to tell if the other person is love with you not if you love the other person. So how do you make sure you aren't being gullible? Well the answer has to be try and avoid assumptions. Assuming how the other person feels is like trying to mind read so the best thing to do is gather evidence. Now evidenceisn't the assumption and speculation of your best friend. Its clear evidence of intent. A spoken commitment or a gesture from the other party. Even then though how do know that it isn't a trick?

Well the human race hasn't got round that one. We are designed to deceive Simply asking 'do you love me' won't work either because there are so many types of love that can be answered in the affirmitive. The ancient Greeks for example identified 5 types of love. Agape the true form of love, Eros physical attraction, Philia loyalty to friends, Storge natural affection for family, Xenia hospitality.

So if someone 'fancies' you is it just Eros at work or something more profound, if they say they 'like' you do they simply mean Philia is driving things, or perhaps 'it would be great to go out for lunch shows Xenia in operation!

Here's a sure fire tip. When the person you are thinking about is sitting down. Go and sit close next to them. Watch their reaction. Do they run a mile? do they become stand-offish? do their eyes light up? do they move closer to you? This is real evidence. Act on it!

Still not sure? Check out Am I In Love

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Let The Bankers Blow Their Brains Out

So the Royal Bank Of Scotland Board are threatening to resign if they don't get their bonuses. Go ahead guys!

I think what we see here are people behaving to type. Self interested, self serving and self agrandizing. People who regard themselves as so important and smart that they are indispensible. Well gentlemen. Nobody is indispensible so I suggest you leave.

They seem to have mistaken the good fortune of working in a large institution, navigating head hunting and interview processes for creative talent!

Just make sure there are six bullets in the chambers! Being bankers I'm sure the maths won't be too challenging.

Averting Your Eyes From Tiger Woods

As we know the social media and networking is a very public space. Worse still for major celebrities like Tiger Woods whose lives are always under the spotlight. It seems that we lack a moral code for how to behave in new social media spaces believing that because things can be easily placed in the public domain we have the right to pore over every detail.

Maybe we should practice the etiquette of 'averting our eyes' something common in Asian cultures. In crowded spaces this is often the only way to give somebody the privacy they need.

Tiger Woods seems to be going through a very normal difficulty in his marriage and quite frankly its none of our business. The press should 'butt out' and we should only show interest in his sporting activities. In that situation he has committed to a public life and his marital affairs should remain private.

Monday, 30 November 2009

Paying For Newspaper Media Content

Before you read any further I would like to explain the new pay as you go policy I have introduced to this blog. Please insert quarters and dollars in the coin slot provided to read on!

I got this great idea from Johnston Press a UK newspaper owner who are acting on the ideas of Rupert Murdoch to charge for on-line content. What do you think? If you're having trouble paying by the way our 24 hour helpline are always available to help.

The latest news on this subect is interesting. Of course as we know information is power and if its scarce it always has a value. The thing is though that it all depends on value to the reader, and in the case of social media (the clue is in the title) there is the matter of media philosophy too.

Newspapers (locked into an old media paradigm) will naturally try and run new media by the old rules. Understandable really as they try a forestall a slow and grizzly death. But if 'we the people' are the orginators of content and have the technologies to share it what is the role and purpose of a newspaper anyhow?

Johnston Press also seem to have an audience issue (sic) If what they do is so compelling then it would have a large audience which in turn would generate advertising revenue. The truth is that their form of media is as unnattractive to a lot of advertisers as much as their content is unnattractive to a lot of readers.

Local communities can manage their own news and information. The days of the local paper rag are dead and gone.

Sunday, 29 November 2009

Why Dogs Don't Blog

Putting the obvious stuff to one side like 'my dog doesn't own a PC', paws aren't built for keyboards, dogs don't care about world affairs, technological developments, personal development, hobbies, making money, affiliate marketing etc etc. Dogs probably don't blog because they have better ways to socially network.

I started to ponder this as I sit here trying to think of something to post (dog has just brought toy to play with), and as I trawl the news sites and technorati, it seems that there is not alot of news even though there is alot of news. (Dog has just started to whine) Clearly I'm not living in the 'now' (Thanks Cesar) hmmm what if I became The Blog Whisperer? I could offer advice to bloggers about why their blogs are mischevious and badly behaved. What if you can only blog when your are 'calm-assertive'???

Now there's a thing. Could you take your blog for a walk? We could even have electronic 'poop bags' for the crap that is sometimes posted too! (Dog has just got on her bed) Great time to really go for it with this post..............damn another inspiration block.

Come on Muse throw me a bone. Give me a treat, tickle my chin....aha...something's we go!

Now what if the guys who invented Twitter had called it Bark instead. Would it have made a difference? what would the apps have been called? Woofsuite? Growl deck?...hmmm doesn't seem to have the same feel.

Fact is though the Dogosphere would be quite a straightforward place, not many topics of concern. Food, Sleep, Smells, Treats, Walks, Other Dogs...and selling merchandise on Zazzle.

Friday, 27 November 2009

Tony Blair Did Not Lead The Blind Into Iraq War

As more evidence emerges from the Iraq Inquiry it is becoming clear that Tony Blair did not lead a blind public or a blind administration to war. There were a significant number of people who saw past the flimsy justifications and they are being vindicated as the Iraq Inquiry unfolds.

The lesson is clear. Problems and their solutions are characterised differently by the powerful and the people. The Iraq situation is also a lesson in truth, even the power of a pragmatic version of truth is overwhelmed when ultimate power resides in the hands of a few at the top.

Greenstock saw this:
"If you do something internationally that the majority of UN member states think is wrong, illegitimate or politically unjustifiable, you are taking a risk in my view"
Sir Jeremy Greenstock

A significant number of people had a hunch that Britain's reputation and the reputation of its Prime Minister would be undermined by the path of head on war with Eye Rack. It seems Blair had it right with making al qaeda being the priority and then his view was shifted to an participating in an Iraq Spectacular. The question is what made him shift his opinion?

Why did he think swinging in behind George Dubble Yu would be a good idea?

Friday, 20 November 2009

Thierry Henry Shoots Himself In The Foot With World Cup Handball

In a gold plated example of gullibility Thierry Henry has undermined his reputation and sent his brand sponsors running for the hills in case they are associated with cheating.

Sacre Bleu! Quelle tricherie. There is clearly an inverse ration between soccer skill and acumen. Nobody like a cheat and nobody likes an internationally uncovered cheat. How shallow any success in the World Cup will be for the French Soccer team now.

Va va voom the Irish are pushing for a Renault (oops I meant Replay) and the French are making sure that it isn't handed to them on a plate. In 2006, Henry was valued as the ninth most commercially marketable footballer in the world. Not any more his product endorsements look like they might stall.

As for his other sponsorships? perhaps they need to review their straplines?

Nike - Just Do What You Have To To Win

Reebok - I'm Not What I Seem

Gilette - The Worst A Man Can get

Pepsi - Dare To Call Me A Cheat

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Camilla Dallerup Celebrity Out Of There

So Camilla Dallerup is the first to bottle out of I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here. I am a bit suprised that she didn't expect food to be in short supply after all the series has been going for Seven Years. Doesn't she watch the telly?

Mind you the psychological melting pot that is IACGMOOH works in mysterious ways. What if she sensed a confrontation to her ego, what if she sensed the potential for personal change. Avoiding these things has to be rationalised somehow.

So, when her agent called was Camilla Dallerup gullible in accepting the offer to star in the show?

No doubt the real reason will come out in her celebrity block busting autobiography at some point. I can't wait...yawn....

Saturday, 14 November 2009

The Meaning of Words

How much time do you put into making sure you are clear about what you mean? How much time and emotional energy do you think is wasted because the meaning of the words you use are given a different interpretation by the reader or listener?

Lanaguage is a great asset. It is the means by which ideas get from my head into yours. You'd think that when people speak the language that would be a trouble free thing. We know different. Words are used to deceive as well as inform and clarify and they are able to decieve because of the way in which can hold different meanings.

I think that being gullible is related to taking words at face value, or assuming what they mean without seeking further clarification, or evidence. The situation is made worse because often we are too polite to probe for what the other person really means. When people are defensive and un-helpful about making things clear for you then this is really fishy and sure sign that something isn't right.

In education and higher education in particular students are often confronted with the ambiguous meaning of words. One of the biggest weaknesses (how would this have read if I'd said failings?) in student writing is that often they do not explore the definitions and and alternative meanings of the key terms they are discussing. This is down to the social habit we all have of assuming that words have fixed meaning and that your take on what a word means is the same as mine.

The people who try and make sense of the words we use (Grammarians and Semanticists) show us that a word is not static and absolute it is dynamic in its application and its meaning. Popular examples of this are the words 'bad' and 'gay' as this old Ovaltine advert shows.


The downside of checking the meaning of everyword of course is that it takes time too. We all hate being called Pedantic. The thing is that it's really not the word Pedant that we dislike but its meaning! As this definition explains, "A Pedant is a person who is overly concerned with formalism and precision, or who makes a show of his learning"

One group of people who are deeply concerned with the meaning of words are people of study and practice neuro linguistic programming The chances are that you have heard of it if you read blogs like Gullibility. For those of you who are less familiar, it is an approach to communication and sense making used by therapists created by Richard Bandler and John Grinder. As well as being inspired by the work of counsellors and therapists they used ideas from Noam Chomsky the father of Grammar and Gregory Bateson the anthropologist. Their main book is:

This stuff has real world implications for organisations and business too. Think of a university. Now, do we call the people who come to learn at the university 'students' or 'customers'? Depending of the choice of label this affects the way we think about and act towards those people. The same in commercial life, do we serve audiences, segements, customers, buyers, consumers, users, clients,partners, co-creators of value, targets,suckers, punters? What is the prevailing word in your business and what does it really mean!

In our personal lives the same concern for word meaning applies. Being alert to what people mean is a crucial way in which you can stop people taking advantage of you.

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Rupert Murdoch Sincerely Believes We Need His News

Powerful Media Tycoon Rupert Murdoch is always keen to get people to pay for the content his organisations create. At a basic level this is only fair and natural.

It is clear that he is operating from a particular mind-set that might, just might be slightly out of touch with a changing world. This mind-set is one that belongs to the 20th century. It is an exploitatitive and extractive mind set that flourishes in the world of transaction and not the world of relationships.

Don't get me wrong. Origination and creation are prized possessions that the originators have every right to benefit from to the fullest extent. But there is something troubling about Mr Murdoch's attitude and intention in regard to his ambtion to stop search engines such as Google citing headlines created by his organisations in search lists.

Can I put my finger what I feel the issue is here? I think it has something to do with the several interconnected things. Firstly the Murdoch Empire must benefit in some way from doing searches to their content mustn't they? Secondly the headlines (whilst orginated in the Murdoch-verse) are merely 'cues' not full content and are no different to newspapers being displayed in shops and on forecourts. Are we going to be charged for 'looking' at his newspapers as we walk past the shelves in shops next or pulling up on a garage forecourt? Thirdly in his bid to control content is he under-estimating the relational and knowledge dimensions of nature of social media? Google and other search engines are primary methods by which people get information about the world. Do we really need, are we really so dependent on Rupert Murdoch for what we know about the world. We have choices too. I don't rely on his organisations to tell me about the world. I'm even thinking that wall to wall 24/7 news coverage is bad for the general psyche of the nation anyhow.

If I have to pay him to find out what he would like to say then I'm not really interested. Imagine...if I was powerful enough and technically sophisticated enough to block him and his staff from reading this post unless they paid $20,000. Now of course he would say that it all about perceived value and that his news headlines are worth more than my blog post. He might have a point, and yet my readers might think otherwise.

If enough people vote with their clicks then Mr Murdoch might just find that he pushed media readers a little too far. What do you reckon?

Friday, 6 November 2009

Fort Hood Shootings A Microcosm Of Global Complexity

The murderous acts of Major Nidal Malik Hasan at Ford Hood Texas say something about the globally connected and complicated world we live in.
Clearly he was unable to reach a balance between his cultural and religious orgiins and the duty he was obliged to perform as a member of the US military.

The accessibility to lethal fire power for people who have torn loyalties and commitments is self evident. But what if anything can be done to prevent it unless we degenerate into the tribalism from which such behaviour is spawned in the first place.

I imagine a flash solution will have passed through many people's minds. That solution will have been along the lines of some form of 'ethnic-psychological cleansing' that thinks that the solution to this problem is to only recruit people from particular backgrounds.

If the real war for in Iraq and Afghanistan is over a 'world view' then proceeding down this path means that the Taleban mindset has won. They have a tribal dogmatic mind-set and they want us to come down to their level to fight.

Whatever the shock and individual grief these sorts of acts create. We need to live together peacefully in a multi-cultural and vibrant world where difference is respected and dissimilarity is celebrated.

Becoming an homogenised conformative unimaginative and simplistic human being is an evolutionary cul-de sac.

Because "His death is not imminent," as Lt Gen Cone has said. He will be justly and tried and sentenced for this heinous crime as an individual who has broken the law not as somemone who represents a culture, a religion, or an ideology.

For more read this post The Psychology of Hasan: The Ft. Hood Shooter written by John M Grohol PsyD November 9, 2009

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

The Consumer Vision of University and Student Commitments

There is an interesting assumption behind the so called Vision For Universities which seems to imply that students should be worshipped as 'customers' because they pay fees.

I completely agree that the experience of university should be a good one and that the thinking power in universities should be tapped to solve real world problems (as well as develop cultured reasoning and understanding of our world). Like any conceptual statement there are real world implications for charactersing students as 'consumers'. This implies that there is knowledge on a shelf which students simply access and 'swallow'. Anybody coversant with the way in which adults learn knows that this is a gross and misleading simplification. Higher Education isn't the mere consumption of knowledge it is a transformative experience. It requires the student (clue in the name btw) to enagage in effortful thinking about definitional issues, conceptual issues, categorical issues, and issues relating to what consitutes 'reality' and how things are known. Education and learning is not a product in the transactional sense.

There is an issue of commitment though. Sure universities and their staff can commit to providing a good student experience, they can commit to articulating the value proposition and the 'deliverables' but this omits consideration of a crucial element the system...the student themselves.

The 'value' and outcomes of a university experience are co-created. The student attitude and behaviour is directly correlated to what they are likely to get from the experience as much as the 'contact' time, tutor capability and facilities. What part do students play in the creation of their university experience?

What responsibilities fall to the student? If they turn up hungover at 2.00pm in the afternoon after getting to bed at 5.00am is there an entitlement to penalise them for adversely affecting a lecture or seminar experience for other students and the tutor?

Can tutors penalise students who don't engage and participate and make seminars more like seances? And don't give me the 'its all down to the tutor' argument that is simply unfair and untrue.

In the commercial world if attendees to a meeting were disengaged, sulky, hungover uncommitted then the person in charge of the meeting would have the right to remove them and even possibly sack them.

Just how 'real' does Mr Mandelson want a University to feel for the student? If he wants universities to get real then I don't see why universities don't get real with students. Instead of molly coddling them with 'formative feedback' and respecting their individuality, perhaps the weaker students should be told exactly how it is?

How would this go down? 'I don't think you are intellectually capable of doing the work? You are idle get your arse into gear, I don't like your attitude, sort yourself out or get out of my seminar, if you don't bother to contribute don't bother coming, if you persist in texting and checking facebook whilst I'm lecturing get out of the room, if you haven't bothered doing private study and reading the articles for the seminar I'm not letting you join in the seminar etc etc.

Commitments work both ways. If Mr Mandelson wants to 'up the ante' I'm all for it. I'm confident that tutors can deliver excellent experiences and courses. I'm not so sure students are up to the same commitment.

Monday, 2 November 2009

Professor David Nutt Confuses Facts and Judgements

There might of course be a hidden agenda larger than the issue of making statement based on scientfic facts in the case of the removal Professor David Nutt.

As a natural scientist and an academic it will have been important to him to air information in a spirit of free speech in the hope that his learned reputation as an objective researcher entitled him to a point of view that would be believed.

This might be regarded as politically naive or very astute. A scientist will operate on the assumption that there is a difference between facts and beliefs. It is clear that Professor Nutt believes that the facts should be allowed to speak for themselves and that social factors do not apply. In making a case for 'the facts' he is emphasising his belief that Politicans approach truth in a pragmatic rather than objective way.

The fact is politics is about social judgement. It is about pragmatic truth not objective truth. The scientific facts about the impact of drugs are different from the socially believed impacts. Further more the scientific 'facts' about social impacts depend on assumptions about the 'metrics' that are deemed valid. If the £Sd of medical and policing impacts are the only measure then perhaps he has a point, if other less objective factors are considered then perhaps he doesn't. How do you measure the social consequences and impacts of leniency in this case? How do you know the very long term effects in individual cases? What are the philosophical assumptions of his position?

So what was Professor Nutt's real agenda?

Friday, 30 October 2009

Scared To Death of Doing the Duke of Edinburgh Award

The latest recipients of the Duke of Edinburgh Award are seen here dancing for joy after gaining their award.

When interviewed, candidates said they were originally attracted to the scheme following the comments of HRH Prince Edward who explained that one of the benefits of the award was the allure of death.

The Prince who has allegedly taken a Chartered Institute of Marketing qualification said that it was important that the benefits rather than the features of the award were conveyed to prospective participants. He also said that he read in one of the texts for his module that fear sells and so he was putting the latest marketing thinking into practice.

Because a crucial factor with the Duke of Edinburgh award was customer lifetime value he went to say and that in relation to participants being killed it was not necessarily good for business. "Obviously we don't want that to happen. Certainly that's not the intention: we give them the skills to go out there and do it safely and constructively. It was just that psychology, about what makes young people tick,"

So, it seems that if you have a necrophilious character
then the Duke of Edinburgh award might be worth considering.

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Did Dead Girl Really Meet Man On Internet?

It pays not to believe everything you read in the newspapers, on line, or blogs. It also pays to develop the skill of cutting past the attention grabbing headline too.

Are headlines such as this latest one from the BBC,
Dead girl 'met man on internet' indicative of poor journalism or poor science teaching?

Anybody who seriously thinks that a dead girl met a man on the interent must be pretty gullible.

This isn't the reason why Facebook are offering virtual memorials is it? Do they have some sort of Sixth Sense for where the blogosphere is going next? The latest social media application -'chatting with dead people'

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Will The BNPs BBC Appearance Open Their Minds?

The liberal idealists of the BBC have fallen into the trap that almost every day dreaming liberal falls into. They have assumed that everyone in the world is open minded and delights in being persuaded of alternative perspectives so that they might change their point of view.

This might be fine slugging a bottle of Pinot over a nice dinner with learned friends. This is not what happens when confronted by people who have entrenched dogmatic mind-sets.

The principle of the BBC's current affairs programme Qustion Time is founded on an expectation that views are expressed and debated in an informed and intelligent way. This cannot be expected from the BNP. Typically they characterise problems in simplistic ways and offer simplistic solutions. Which is exactly the diet of the intellectually lazy. The less effort you put into understanding complex social and political problems and the less effort you need to put into inventing solutions is precisely the reason an appearance on Question Time is a waste of time. Nothing will be achieved.

Aha! I hear you say, but we'll let them hoist by their own petard. Sadly no. They are so utterly convinced of their own rectitude that they will be impossible to shift. Liberal democracies are built on sophisticated understanding of issues and informed debate. The BNP will simply rant and derive a perverse kudos by 'appearing' to have the same merit as the others who will be appearing.

Aha! again I hear you say, but giving them air time will show them in their true colours, any 'logical' person will see the flaws in their arguments once they are confronted by sophisticated responses. The problem here of course is two-fold. Firstly Question Time viewers are probably not your typical BNP voter so they don't need to have the BNP message revealed for what it really is. Secondly any BNP orientated viewers will simply listen to the points that support their world view and reject the rest out of hand, so nothing will be gained.

Believing that getting the BNP on Question Time and that suddenly the scales will fall of their eyes and the eyes of proto-BNPers in a massive 'on air epiphany' is almost bordering on compulsive optimism. Some might call it gullibility!

Interested in more?
Appealling to alienated communities
BBC explain their decision

The Dinosaur Behaviour of The Royal Mail Workforce

image thanks University of Chicago

Future business archeologists have discovered what look like the remains of a huge organisational juggernaut that was believed to have last roamed the earth in the early part of the 21st century.

The beast has provisionally be named Royalist Mailastodon.

Speculating on its demise Professor G.Ullibility suggested that the animal failed to adapt to changes in its environment, choosing to behave in increasingly out moded ways. It is thought that it devoted alot of its scarce energy to posturing rather and ritual stand offs rather than develop new ways of living in a changing world.

The scale of the fossil find and the arrangement of the bones further suggests some sort of death wish behaviour. All of the animal finds so far have huddled together and seemed to have simply given up on the quest for evolutionary competitive advantage. "Its like they just went on strike" the Professor said.

Friday, 16 October 2009

Social Networks and Brand Communities as an Extended Memotype

Most of us know the general mechanics of digital social networks and there is plenty of conversation about digital community types and ways to manage digital communities

Each version of what they are, how they should be constructed, how they should be managed is nevertheless based on some prior assumptions. Prior assumptions are invisible, frequently undeclared and more often than not 'taken for granted'

These assumptions guide the advice that people give and the actions they take. Marketing people might 'see' digital communities different from, sales people, lawyers might understand them differently to charity workers. I'd like to suggest that these differences start from memetic differences. The idea of an extended 'memotype' is inspired by Richard Dawkins who came up with the idea that that artifacts and effects of animals in the real world are the result of the genes in the animal. The example he gives is Beaver Dam. The beaver's genes want to live on, they exist in the phenotype we call 'Beaver' and the extended phenotype is the Beaver's dam which is something it make to support having a family. See:

Memes (Dawkins' idea) being culturally transmitted ideas, that enable notions to leap from brain brain, might consequently have extended 'memotypes'. These are 'forms' of digital communities that are created based on the dominance of the memes at work in the minds of the people who produce them.

We can therefore characterise digital communities by their memotype. We could create a customers base, a prospect list, a value segment, a lifestyle segment, a co-creation group, an experientially connected group.

Each of these conceptions (memotypes) is developed out of the difference in memes that make them up. The implication is that there might no singular right way to construct a digital community. Each form depends on the needs of the community and the environment. Some will prefer Ning, others Facebook. Each is a memotype with paticular characteristics that serve particular puropses. Their continued existence will depend on relevence and evolutionary adaptability.

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Royal Mail Strike Stamps On Customer Service

The threatened Royal Mail Strikes planned for this October, reveals a self interested streak in the strikers.

The threat of strike is a tactic that is past its sell by date, and fails to take account of the competitive position of the Royal Mail. How gullible is that. The point is we don't need them. There are plenty of alternatives. We all use e-mail such as hot mail of goggle mail, and we can get our parcels delivered by several other providers. The strikes that could affect UK mail might win some short term benefit for the workers, but that is all. The strike action will ultimately undermine the brand.

Mail services depend on a reputation for reliability. They have to be service we can trust. If the Royal Mail is unreliable we will try more reliable alternatives.

The Communication Workers Union is sealing the envelope of the Royal Mail's future. It will be the work force that will become unstuck in the long run. As for demanding that the long term business plan be revealed how daft is that! Further evidence that the CWU have no idea what business they are in and the fact that that business is competitive.

Their case has as many perforations as a sheet of stamps.

The UK Mail Market

Saturday, 10 October 2009

How Do I Get Good Grades At University?

The questions 'how do I get good assignment grades' or how do I improve my marks comes up surprisingly often with university students. The puzzling thing is the way in which university students seem to overlook the clue in the title of their vocation.

Students are called students because they...wait for The origin of the word simply means 'one who is studying', which in turn means someone who is applying effort to gaining knowledge and understanding.

A significant number of students seem to assume that attending lectures and seminars is enough to provide them enough knowledge to achieve good grades. Frankly this is a gullible approach. Many also assume that they will 'told' all they need to know by the tutor. Gullible again.

Themes and issues in higher education are complicated and often ambiguous. This goes for the natural sciences too. The exciting elements of any subject are the frontiers where the answers aren't definitely known.

Getting to 'know' a topic takes time because there are no short cuts in reading. Further time is needed for the mind to process and ponder. Really understanding a topic means reading several sources, this obviously takes time too.

So often too students say they have a day 'free' when they are talking about self study time. Yet another clue in the title. Full time student spookily enough means 'full time.'

Good grades not only depend on understanding, them depend on analysis, and more importantly a clear ability to synthesise a range of perspectives, make sense of them and articulate the implications. The word 'because' is greatly underutilised. Students often assume the relevance and justification of their points is self evident.

Another crucial aspect of getting good grades at university is structuring your assignements well. This is a real 'knack' that comes with practice. If I could offer one piece of advice its to develop the skill of creating 'themes'. Significantly these only become apparent after reading several sources about a topic. Bad grades reveal limited reading not only in the depth of knowledge but the marked lack of any themes being identified and used.Assignment themes are 'bigger chunks' than the descriptive detail. They are the bigger grains that provide an assignment with a logical structure. See Chunking for more on this key process.

So what might themes look like. Some generic approaches seem to come up time and time again.

1.The Introduction Theme. Paradoxically whilst this is the first thing we read it is often better that it is the last thing that is written. This is because it should be a top level summary of what is to follow. It should also 'signpost' to the reader the key themes to be covered. e.g "I will approach this in 7 sections. Section 1 is..."

2. The Definitional Theme. You will be writing about a subject. It will be unlikely that this has one wholly accepted definition of what it is about. Different writers explain subjects in different ways. Show this.

The same might go for key concepts in the subject.

By doing this you a)show you have read, b) show you are critically aware, c)make good progress of wordage!

The Scope and Levels theme. Your subject will have boundaries. Where are they? Do writers agree? You subject can also be understood from different perspectives or levels of analysis. e.g. Macro, Meso, Micro. Culture, Society, Families, Individual, Behaviour, Mind, Brain, Neuro-chemistry.

The Trade Offs theme. Often things involve balancing two or more issues. They involve things that require a judgement. What are they? Strength versus Lightness, Control versus Creativity, Speed versus Quality etc.

The My Opion theme. Here you explain your position and why you take it. The quality of this theme will depend on how well read you are. If you talk about your opinion without justification this will get you good marks. In the UK this is known as the 'man in the pub answer.

The Concluding Theme. This is where you confirm how the subject has much more to it than meets the eye.

Obviously good grades will relate to specfic and correct calculations in natural sciences and other arithmetically specific disciplines, accurate points of law in legal subjects and technical accuracy where it is needed e.g. design and music.

Always refer to marking schemes. They are inavariably based on Blooms Taxonomy and you can use this generally to assess your own efforts. This is essentially a list of intellectual skills in ranking order. Regurgitated knowledge is less sophisticated compared to Synthesis of competing themes and ideas.

In the end you have two ways to get good grades at university. One is to copy the work of someone better than you. This is plagiarism or cheating and you will be caught and punished. The other way to get good grades at university is to think of an amount of time you are going to devote to reading for an assignment and multiply it by 4.

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Blind Faith Neumanns Get Sentenced

Blind faith kills. Dale and Leilani Neumann allowed their beliefs to take precedence over knowledge and their daughter died as a result. They have been sentenced to 6 months.

The Age of Enlightenment put clear blue water between Metaphysics and Physics. It drew a line in the sand that divided Belief from Knowledge. A line that separated spiritual matters from physical matters.

People are able to believe things that are not true and disbelieve things that are true. I do not necessarily disagree with the Neumann's decision to pray for their daughter's health. What I do disagree with is the fact that they only prayed for her health.

Their dogmatic standpoint prohibited them for looking at many perspectives and allowing the perspective of physics, biology, and chemistry to play a part too.

Ethically they deserved a harsh sentence because they did not do everything in their power to ensure the survival of their daughter. They might claim that they were driven by a higher abstract purpose. This is an abdication of personal responsibility. It's like a kid saying 'well Johnny made me do it'.

Their position isn't 'knowing' because it is sanctimonious. It isn't spiritual because it's destructive. It isn't acceptable because it is exploitative of the weak and vulnerable.

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Social Networking and Blogging with Squidoo

If you are not familiar with Squidoo and its unique style of social networking and blogging then you should seriously pop over and give it a try.

If you don't know much about Squidoo its a way that you can blog, photo blog, make money blogging and social network all at the same time.

I was recently awarded Giant Squid status. The minimum requirement for this is to create 50 so called 'lenses'. Lenses are a general template that you populate with pre-created modules (think of them as mini templates)You select from a wide range of types. The squidoo modules allow you to post your own written content, photos,videos,run polls, and integrate things such as Amazon, eBay and Zazzle. You can also link to Twitter, Flikr and bring in RSS feeds.

Lenses are themed on topic of interest. For example I've built ones on a wide range of themes like my genealogy and family history lens The Border Reivers, and I've created lenses on quirky themes such as How to open a champagne bottle using a sword another on Disguise Camouflage Deception and Mimicry business themes such as Marketing Ethics and Criticism, and other business themes such as Leadership, and ways to achieve Competitive Advantage.

A full list of my lenses can be found in what the Squidoo social networking community call a Lensography.

When I first started on Squidoo I only had a couple of lenses for many months. Then I was contacted by Michelle Willow to join a social networking group of Squidoo users who share tips and encouragement to go for Giant Squid status. I was drafted into a sub group led by Free Lance writer Carol Fisher, who was a great help in offering content and design advice.

As you learn more about Squidoo and the people and relationships in the Squidoo social networking community you discover that it is supported by a huge range of resources, it has its own forums and specialised squidoo lenses and there is a constant and vibrant technical development programme that adds and refines lens and module features.

Where did the idea originate from? Squidoo was the brainchild of Seth Godin, you can learn more the background to Squidoo here.What is Squidoo.

I really enjoy Squidoo. It is good way to do social networking, its a complementary form of blogging, it allows you to share knowledge and know how, and to photo blog as well. My next task is to create 100 lenses.

Friday, 2 October 2009

100 Things To Think About If You Live To 100

News that half of the babies in modern western societies could live to see their One Hundreth Birthday makes you stop and think. What will a world full of Centenarians look and feel like. (Careful now no other ageist sensory jokes here)

1. Will everything bodily still be in working order
2. If I'm a man could I still have children
3. If I'm a woman might I be able to have children later in life
4. I will have had 40 years as a pensioner
5. I could save quite a bit of cash
6. How much heat would be generated by the candles on my birthday cake
7. Will I outlive my grandchildren
8. Will petrol cars be a quaint historical idea
9. What subjects could I study to PhD level
10.Will my blog still be read
11.Will I still be blogging
12.Will I have reached my 50$ Adsense payout threshold
13.How much will I have earned from my Squidoo Lenses
14.How much will I have earned from my RedGage site
15.How long would my grass be if I stopped cutting it
16.How long would my hair be if I stopped cutting it
17.How long would my nails be if I stopped cutting them
18.If I lived to 100 my birthday would be in 2056
19.The second world war would have started one hundred an 117 years ago
20.The Beatles might be considered classical music
21.My grand children could be in their 50s
22.We might have landed on Mars
23.We might have a permanent base on the moon
24.We might have discovered extra terrestrial life
25.A third nuclear weapon will have been used in anger
26.I might have started and sold my own business
27.I could have achieved a Michelin Star
28.I could have learned to play the Cello
29.I was known as a popular and respected author
30.I might be kept alive by tubes and medicines
31.My kids might resent me
32.I would be champion table tennis player in my old folks home
33.I might be on my third marriage
34.I might have learned HTML
35.I might have learned Mandarin Chinese
36.I might have walked from Lands End to John O'Groats in the UK
37.I could be the oldest man to have climbed Everest
38.Would Blogger still be in existence
39.Would Twitter still be used
40.Would Facebook still be working
41.How many great great grandchildren would come and visit me
42.Would I have had time to learn Tolkein's Lord Of The Rings by heart
43.Would I have read War and Peace
44.Would I have any friends
45.Would I have alot of enemies
46.What I get the meaning of life
47.Would I be scared of dying
48.Would I want to die
49.Would I remember my childhood
50.Would I keep repeating myself
51.Would I keep repeating myself
52.Would I keep repeating myself
53.Might we have learned how to speak whale and dolphin
54.Could I be cloned
55.Would I have bionic eyes
56.Could I have a bionic heart
57.What would I like for my 200th birthday
58.Would I have been into space
59.Will the rainforests be bigger than they were when I was 50
60.Will anyone give me a life assurance policy
61.Will I have all of my teeth
62.Will I need a chaffeur
63.Will I still be playing golf
64.Will I still be playing the piano
65.Will my Atari ST be classed as an antique
66.Will my Commodore 64 with Jet Set Willy game be worth thousands
67.Will cold fusion be a reality
68.Will be still getting signals from Voyager
69.Where will Voyager be
70.How many Star Trek films will have been made
71.Will we all be dressed in the same clothes like in Logan's Run
72.What dance style will be popular in clubs
73.What hairstyle will be popular
74.How many new elements be discovered
75.Will maglev trains be the standard
76.Will more gospels have been found
77.Will a unifying religion have been created
78.Will I be rfid tagged under my skin
79.Will chimpanzees have learned to speak
80.Will the Kennedy assasination be fully solved
81.Where is Wally
82.What does the universe expand into
83.How many dimensions are possible
84.Will the Ford motor company still exist
85.Will MacDonalds still exist
86.Will Disney have created a character more popular than Micky Mouse
87.Will it have been worth it
88.What's next
89.Can we travel back in time
90.Can we fast forward time
91.Are there any new questions
92.Will we have departments of 'Pre-Crime' like in Minority Report
93.Will humans do 100m in less than 9 seconds
94.What will I remember
95.Who will be a hundred with me
96.Will I have known them all my life
97.Will people live to 200 hundered
98.How will my world view have changed
99.What will I think is the most important thing in life
100.Will I be happy

Will you live to 100?
The secret of living to 100

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Are Female Students A Perk Of The Job?

Carl Sagan said "Knowing a great deal is not the same as being smart" and Terence Kealey, of Vice Chancellor of the University of seems to be living proof.

He claims that Female Students are a perk of male lecturers job!

What an outrageous thing to say. Notwithstanding the fact that we are all adults and we know all about the birds and the bees. A university is a professional learning environment, where students are 'learners' not targets of lustful attention.

He has clearly had a humour bypass, and has been entirely gullible in regard to the impact of his 'laddish' statements. This has entitled him to a free entry in my Jackasses Squidoo lens. You can vote for him in the Jackasses roll of fame now!

He wrote:
"Normal girls - more interested in abs than in labs, more interested in pecs than specs, more interested in triceps than tripos - will abjure their lecturers for the company of their peers, but nonetheless, most male lecturers know that, most years, there will be a girl in class who flashes her admiration and who asks for advice on her essays. What to do?

"Enjoy her! She's a perk."

The damage this type of utterance can have to the student / lecturer trust is immense. Does the student now think they have achieved the grade through academic achievement or through personal appearance? What will future employers think? Might they begin to think 'is she really qualified?'

How do male lecturers behave now? Will any sort of familiarity be construed as a 'come on'? Might they over-compensate and mark more harshly to avoid accusations of 'babe-ism'? Will any glance at a female student lead them vulnerable to a raft of accustations?

I think Doctor Lurve should step down.

Much has been researched in this area
Physical Attractiveness and academic performance
Sexual harassement on a university campus
Expectations, Impressions, and Judgments of Physically Attractive Students

Interested in become a student at a British University? check out...
Choosing A British University

Stealing Intellectual Property

The food company Sharwood's make a big thing in their advertising about travelling the world to find recipes that they can bring us in their products.

Now am I missing something? If they take a recipe that has been shown to them and they don't pay a royalty then isn't that stealing?

If they modify the recipe then they should state that they have done this and not claim that the recipe is authentic.

We get hot under the collar about child labour. We should do the same in this instance.

Friday, 18 September 2009

Has Social Media Ever Changed Business Strategy?

I'm presently in a Social Media - So What? zone We're told that everybody's doing it and that if you're not doing it you seriously ought to consider doing it.

If you need to know the best way to do it then Scott Monty shows how the 'social-media book' industry has swung into overdrive to bombard us with the wisdom of gurus.

Not only that there are gurus telling us which gurus are the most guru-like. I guess this could be called Gurullia Marketing.

Authors and social media I get, Journalism and social media I get, knowledge collaboration I get, but where is the evidence of the direct influence of social media on the way organisations produce products and serve their customers?

Go on. Google it, google anything to do with the impact of Social Media on business strategy and you'll find nothing. You'll find lots about how its the 'new marketing paradigm'(puke), lot's about how to craft the right social media strategy itself, lots about how fantastic it is to listen in conversation and narratives and hold onto your multi-media phones folks...'speak to other human beings!'.

But So What What happens with the accolades and the complaints? what happens with the deep semantic analysis of positive and negative sentiment. Where does it all go? What impact does it have? what changes are made as result?

No one can tell you. Check out academic journals too, there's nothing there!. Not a jot.

Millions of people are blogging and interacting and telling each other 'what' they do with their social media budgets. The really smart people simply spend their time advising others 'what' they should do with their social media budgets. The tools might have changed but has the nature of getting the business job done changed in any substantive sense at all?

Reporting hits, twits, and bits of info is simply that...a description of what 'is'. Where is the sense-making, where are the implications? Are there any implications? What, if anything, are people doing with all of this conversational data?

No one it seems can explain 'how' social media is changing what businesses do in any strategic sense. Have they got smarter? Have they got faster? Have they got smaller? Have they got bigger? Have they become more effective in any way shape or form?

Perhaps Social Media is simply that great big coffee machine in 'the cloud'. A place to idly pass the time chatting with others in an unproductive way at some other guy's expense.

Read More:
Amber Naslund of Altitude Branding take a look at who controls who.

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

How Did You Find Dan Brown's Lost Symbol?

Another mega-seller from Dan Brown raises an important question. How do you decide what is Fact and what is Fiction?

I forget who said it but, human beings are curious (perhaps not enough!) because they can believe things that aren't true and disbelieve things that are true. Dan Brown skillfully taps into his habit of ours.

Basically when reading any of Dan Brown's books, The Da Vinci Code, Angels and Daemons and now The Lost Symbol, he is challenging us to sort out fact from fiction. Or is he? What if he is simply writing a good story that stimulates our imagination to see patterns and make connections that are in no way connected to the truth?

When you read the The Lost Symbol which bits do you choose to believe and which bits to reject? On what basis do you this? What evidence are you willing to trust? Is it the word of someone else? How do you choose between person 'A's word and person 'B's word? Is it seeing, hearing of some other sensory input? Do rely on a memory of some perviously related facts? Do you work it in your mind and if it stacks up you go with that?

So here we have a problem. We might believe Dan Brown's story The Lost Symbol but can we really know the facts?

I can't wait for the sequel, I remember hearing a famous author saying that given the facts so far it is a logical move for Dan Brown to follow The Lost Symbol with The Lost Marble.

Beware of people who claim to have all the answers! and this includes a like

Lost Symbol Fan? check out The Lost Symbol

Thursday, 10 September 2009

Spot The Dick

Saints preserve us! Have the staff at Flinthshire council got nothing better to do with their time?

Concerned at the historical (and hysterical) innuendos about the name of the traditional British pudding they have decided to rename this popular dessert

They hoped to put an end to the nudges and winks of customers by renaming the classic pud 'Spotted Richard' or Sultana Sponge Pudding

Now wonder they don't work in marketing and advertising. They've clearly had an inspiration bypass. This is Political Correctness gone made. The scourge of post-modernist language deconstruction and connontation mania has finally reached the humble British pudding.

They may even be more dismayed when they learn that the etymology of Richard means 'Hard Ruler'!!

Ooer missus give me some of your hard ruler baby!

Perhaps it might be better named Flintshire Folly.

Here's the recipe so you can make your own without having to trouble the delicate sensibilities of Flintshire County Council serving staff.

Monday, 7 September 2009

Three guilty of airline bomb plot

Whilst the physical battle is being fought in Afghanistan. The war is being fought in the mind.

"Ali and Sarwar went to deliver aid to the refugee camps - and their experiences radically altered their world view.

Abdulla Ahmed Ali, the ringleader of the group, was shocked by the appalling conditions. His anger was compounded by the failure of the 2003 mass protest against the Iraq war." BBC

Howard Gardner suggests that changing minds is as difficult as pushing string.

Posted via web from Gullibimundi

The Truth is the 'Honesty Test' should be reviewed

So, researchers agree that there is no real absolute version of 'social truth', and that people have differing views on what is right and wrong.

Mind you I suppose the clue is in the title when it comes to deciding legal matters. A 'Judge' is exactly that. They make judgements not measurements.

I cannot tell a lie because you might not think it is one. You could always pop to the Honesty Lab to see if I'm right.

Posted via web from Gullibimundi

Saturday, 5 September 2009

Gullible 20 pledge tougher bank action

The aptly named 'G' fo Gullibility 20 claim to have come with a way of controlling the banks.

They have come with no specific limits on the amounts our banking friends can get.

Does the G20 seriously think that the bankers are running scared? Of course not. What they say sounds good.

Have you ever heard a paper tiger roar.

Posted via web from Gullibimundi

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Prison Guards Locked in Psychic Prison

The Howard League are urging the educational development of Prison Warders and the The Prison Officers Association say: see All prison officers should be educated to degree level

"The Prison Officers Association said personal qualities not qualifications helped make a good prison officer.

It added the idea was "naive and narrow-minded".

What more compelling evidence is needed than this for a significant intellectual up-skilling of people in Prison Service!

It is not a question of either/or. Either /or thinking is indicative of lower order intellectual ability. Of course excellent social skills are needed. Aren't they in any profession?? Prison officers will be accomplished social influencers. And...

If the profession is develop beyond mere 'single loop' problem solving it needs critcially reflective practioners. People with the intellectual tool kits to enable them to characterise and make sense of their worlds and experiences in new and imaginative ways.

To suggest that prison officers don't need professional development is the outlook of the Luddite and indicative of the intellectual experience of the people running The Prison Officers Association.

This way of thinking is typical of the rear guard argument of a paradigm that feels under threat. it is indicative of a paradigm that is less than self assured. It is a Psychic prision from which the POA doesn't want to escape from.

The POA should read:
The advantages and disadvantages of a university degree

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

How To Stay Younger Looking

How often do you ask the questions, how to stay attractive? how to keep attractive? am I attractive? So many of us are looking for ways how to stay younger looking. We've all heard the sayings:

Benjamin Franklin:"Dost thou love life? Then do not squander time, for that the stuff life is made of."

C. S. Lewis:
"The future is something which everyone reaches at the rate of sixty minutes an hour, whatever he does, whoever he is."

Mark Twain:
"Time and tide wait for no man. A pompous and self-satisfied proverb, and was true for a billion years; but in our day of electric wires and water-ballast we turn it around: Man waits not for time nor tide."

So can anybody explain the Cosmetics Industry to me please? and more importantly can anybody explain the obsessive use of psuedo-scientific many barrelled gobbledy gook product names!

age cream

What the heck is "re-perfecting"? basically it implies "you are now ugly but you can do something about it!"

When you just read the words without the packaging and the glamorous model its clear these products are creation of the advertising mind. A mind that heightens fears and worries, turns them into a problem, and then offers a miracle solution all wrapped up in quasi scientific jargon for added "authoritative effect and enhanced scientific underpinning" sounds good eh! want to buy some?

Youth Surge SPF 15.
Superdefense SPF25 Age Defense
Super Rescue Antioxidant Night Moisturizer
Turnaround Concentrate Visible Skin Renewer
Repairwear Deep Wrinkle Concentrate
Total Effects Eye Transforming Cream
Total Effects Targeted Wrinkle Repair

and so on...

So is there a solution? I think there is because most non corporately hitched scienists would recommend a good diet and exceriseover face cream.

How about this? Sit back in your chair and I'll turn back time. Close your eyes and I'll transport you there. I've re-created...

My Youth Club Disco

Get dancing and stay young!

Other ways to keep us young are being worked on by scientists who reckon that soon there will be 100 year olds with the body of a 50 year old

Fountain of Eternal Youth by Lucas Cranach

Sunday, 30 August 2009

Andy Roddick's Twitter Gullibility

I think Andy is being gullible if he believes that everyone in the lucrative game of international tennis are as social media savvy as he is.

Rules are introduced to set boundaries. Its the people at the edges of understanding or of moral rectitude that need to have them defined.

He also underestimates the impact of inadvertent Twttering on Personal Brand and Brand Equity in particular. Just one thoughtless tweet and a Tennis player's reputation and the commercial brand they represent could be tarnished and that would end the earning power of the player.

Just look at what's happened to Kerry Katona. OK she wasn't tweeting but her income was directly linked to her alleged behaviour.

The risks are considerable and they need regulating.

What if, someone found an unattended multi media phone or laptop and started twittering on his behalf? what if he had a bad day a fired off a twitter he later regretted, what if he was in 'party mood' and twittered something inapproriated?

The problem is not with communicating but with the speed and reach of social media. Say something controversial and it doesn't 'stay in the room'

My son has just been on a stag weekend. The rule was 'what happens on tour stays on tour'. That was until one of the group decided to reveal all (sic) on Facebook! Mud sticks and the face to face human impacts of his cyber slips of the tongue (true or false) were huge.

Andy the regulations are not lame they are astute.

Posted via web from Gullibimundi

Thursday, 27 August 2009

Kerry Katona's Ex Factor

image credit eyebrow magazine

Kerry thinks: 'What am I going to do nEXt?

In order to be the 'Ex' of something I guess you have to have 'done' something in the first place. She be gullible if she EXpected that her 'public' will stay with her forever, with her alledged cocaine consumption and now the alledged assault on her accountant.

Kerry's list of 'Ex' roles is fomidable, and it will be interesting to see what her next 'Ex' will be.

Let's see so far...:

Ex Atomic Kitten
Ex Wife of Brian McFadden
Ex Winner of I'm a Celebrity
Ex Endorser of Iceland

What do you think her future Ex's will be? Ex-celebrity or even Ex-Con perhaps?

Friday, 21 August 2009

Ali al-Megrahi and the Gullibility of Scottish Statesmanship

The release of Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi might well become known as:
'The Scottish National Party Gullibility Conspiracy'

Consider this scenario:

The Times commented today that Scotland has spoken for itself and that Mr MacAskill "was at great pains to establish his authority"

It was clear that he was unhappy about the lack of elaboration about the details of the supposed 'agreement' to keep al-Megrahi locked up in Britain. His indignation was self evident. He was aghast at the lack of co-operation from the British government. The British government was unhelpful at best and inept at worst. BUT...

What if he was 'set-up'? What a great way to torpedo the Scottish Nationalists! Give them enough international rope to hang themselves on the global stage. What if Westminster thought...if they want to play in the big boy's playground let's let them have taste of what happens.

Whilst the intention of the Scottish Justice Minister was noble indeed, he and his fellows have displayed a degree of gullibility in the field of international statesmanship.

What 'authority' does the SNP have now I wonder? They have stood on their own two feet and they have released a mass murderer on the basis of attempted philosophical one upmanship.

They seem to forget that al-Megrahi has been treated 'compassionately' enough already. He was tried fairly, he was sentenced fairly and imprisoned fairly. In other countries he might have been summarily executed or locked up in a 'hell hole'

The reputation of the SNP and the cause of an independent Scotland has been undermined because it hadn't the will and foresight to keep a wasting and dying nobody from becoming a martyr.

Some have said 'Why has Great Britain released this murderer. Let's be completely clear about this. It was not Great Britain who did this it was Scottish ministers acting as they aspired to - independently. And they should take the criticism independently too.

Should do wonders for their tourist industry!

48 hours on we can see just how Scottish judgement is viewed on the international stage as FBI director Robert Mueller launches severe critcism and says:

""Your action in releasing Megrahi is as inexplicable as it is detrimental to the cause of justice. Indeed your action makes a mockery of the rule of law.

"Your action gives comfort to terrorists around the world who now believe that regardless of the quality of the investigation, the conviction by jury after the defendant is given all due process, and sentence appropriate to the crime, the terrorist will be freed by one man's exercise of 'compassion'."

Not alot of room for misunderstanding there then.

Lockerbie minister facing critics

If you are Scottish and your toes are curling (pardon the pun)at the release of al=Megrahi then you might like to distance yourself from the decision by wearing this:

Check to see if your surname is eligible here:
Border Reivers

Saturday, 15 August 2009

Border Reiver Genealogy and Family Names

Does your family name tell you that you have an exciting family history? If your family name belongs to one of the British Border Reiver clans then its almost a certainty! Rugged families of the English-Scottish borderland from the middle ages, cattle rustlers, mercenaries and tough. If your family has roots as one of the infamous Border Reivers clans these are the people who are celebrated in Mark Knopfler's atmospheric single Border Reiver off his album 'Get Lucky'

As we know, the first man on the moon was Neil Armstrong. He was given the freedom of Langholm the home of the Armstrong clan who were one of the most infamous Border Reiver clans. The Reivers were probably the least gullible of clans people because they didn't 'buy into' the nation state politics of emerging Britain. They were renowned pragmatists siding neither with the English nor Scots in particular.

Respected horsemen they raided the English/ Scottish borders and they are the ancestral clan names of many modern day famous people such as Richard Nixon, Captain Scott, Bobby Charlton, Bobby Robson etc.

A sample of Border Reiver family names includes, Elliot, Bell, Dixon, Johnston, Graham, Charlton, Kerr, to name just a few. These clans were subject to a curse placed on them by Archbishop of Glasgow, Gavin Dunbar in 1525 who was exasperated at their outlaw behaviour. The Curse is remembered in Carlisle UK with a monument called the Cursing Stone and the curse begins:

"I curse their head and all the hairs of their head; I curse their face, their brain (innermost thoughts), their mouth, their nose, their tongue, their teeth, their forehead, their shoulders, their breast, their heart, their stomach, their back, their womb, their arms, their leggs, their hands, their feet, and every part of their body, from the top of their head to the soles of their feet, before and behind, within and without."

Not much love lost there then!

Find out all about the Border Reivers here:
The Border Reivers

Thinking about getting someone a Border Reiver gift?

create & buy custom products at Zazzle