Sunday, 27 November 2011

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Andrew Werritty To Be Probed By Fraud Squad

Well there is no smoke without fire I say. So no wonder that Andrew Werritty is likely to be probed by the fraud squad.

It is often the case that deception relies on a lack of forth-rightness and a deliberate generality of explanation. This is because people who deceive others instinctively know that ambiguity is a trump card.

Provide general information without further substantiation and allow your audience to fill in the gaps. Let others conclude what is meant by the phrase 'advisor to' etc. People who operate in this fashion are invariably self-serving. They also become addicted to their 'theory for social success'. Which relies on being 'economical' if not downright spartan with the facts. This strategy frequently works because most of us are quite gullible.

It will be interesting to see if Andrew Werritty's pride comes before a fall. His over confidence has already destroyed the career of a cabinet minister. One clue is for sure, anyone who sets up a charity to facilitate their personal finances rather than to support the needs of other people has to attract serious scrutiny. Actions betray the concepts upon which they are based.

Monday, 10 October 2011

Thought I'd share the news that my lens How To Become An Executioner just collected a Purple Star. I'm smiling from ear to ear!

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Footage Of Fox Back Scratching

When it comes to political back scratching there is a fine line to be trodden. Whilst Liam Fox might be comfortable with any investigation into his dealings with Adam Werritty it sort of misses the point doesn't it?

Regardless of the extent and sensitivity of information and situations that Adam Werritty was exposed to, the fact that he was involved in governmental affairs at all begs questions regardless. Aren't we talking about a senior minister's lack of judgement here? The concern is not whether allowing unofficial access to government departments was a good or bad idea. That's a no brainer. It's a bad idea. It seems to me that a gross failure of judgement has occurred because Liam Fox seemed incapable of  forecasting that his friend was a bit of a loose cannon more self interested than public interested. This means we have a senior government minister in charge of the security of British people who makes poor judgments. Not good.

Andrew Werritty's referal to himself as an 'advisor' on his business card is symptomatic of an underlying attitude and mode of behaviour. Liam Fox should have known his close friend well enough to recognize these traits. If Adam Werritty is capable of being vague about his remit on his business card then he probably has the habit of being vague about his intentions generally. People are vague for typically two reasons. They either lack knowledge and clarity of thinking or secondly they are being deceptive and evasive and have something to hide.

If Liam Fox has encouraged the access of Adam Werritty into the British defence establishment, then if we have case one - lack of knowledge and clarity of thinking, what on earth would someone who is inept doing there? or if it is case two, what are the true reasons for his access. In the world of gullibility hustlers provide vague explanations. They do this hoping that people will not critically probe past the facade.

Liam Fox is now promoting a face of being honest and transparent. Which is no doubt true. The problem is there is usually a depth behind the face, and that depth seems to have been lacking in this case.

Footage Adds Pressure To Fox

Friday, 23 September 2011

A Bloody Halloween Story To Dye For - Mwhaha

I thought I'd tell you the scary story of my blood drenched neighbor who came knocking on my door in the dark. Can you imagine opening your front door to a sight that looked like it came straight from the horror movie Carrie?

That's what happened to me one October night. My next door neighbour was an artist who often worked late into the night. She was finishing her portfolio for her Masters degree in fine art when something dreadful happened.This spooky short story can be read in full here A Bloody Halloween Story To Dye For

Monday, 29 August 2011

What Do You Wish For In All The World?

I'm sure we all have wishes. I was wishing for some inspiration for a new Squidoo lens and a got it! A lens to help you make your wishes come true. Take part in the Wish Polls and as you vote, make your wish, it's as simple as that. Amplify’d from

Make A Wish Come True

use this lens to make your wish come true

What Do You Wish For Most?

vote and make your wish

I wish for

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Does the way you use a paper clip say something about your inner motivations? Do you use it for its intended purpose? In which case are you meticulous and ordered? Do you twist and break them into pieces? In which case are you tortured and troubled? Or perhaps you shape and combine into new creations in which case you might be an innovator and artist.

I created a Squidoo Lens to explore more...

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Inside The Mind Of A Looter and Rioter

It's tempting to think  in terms of single cause and effect for the riots affecting the UK. This naturalistic scientific approach however doesn't really work with psychological and social issues. Things are much more complex and stratified.

There is the situation, the social psychology, cognitive psychology and the impenetrable unconscious. This means commentators will be pre-disposed to emphasise their favoured lens of explanation.  The aftermath will be a TV full of expert opinion. That's why we some people suggesting its upbringing and social background, others will describe the power of crowds, others will paint a picture of sociopathic behaviour and criminality. The riots are surely a deadly cocktail of all these. The perfect social storm. And the trigger?

I like this article from Zoe Williams of the Guardian who refers to Alex Hiller's analysis that alienation of individuals incapable of feeding the consumerist habit that they have been trained in for decades by business underpins their drive to take what they apsire to but have no means to buy. The advertisers are skilled psychologists who ensure we all feel inadequate unless we buy into the dreams only their products can satisfy.

And so we have stratified problem that needs stratified solutions. The immediate requires robust action, the social will take longer, and the attitudinal might never be achieved in decades. The Feral Rats are outside of societal norms.Ultimately there is evidently a lack of belief in consequences. This can only be addressed at home and in school. The consequences will be becoming apparent  to the culprits to be sure.

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

The Psychology Of The London Riots

The London riots are the manifestation of a value and attitude system that is based on sullen selfishness and a perverse sense of entitlement. The rioters, of course, claim that society has let them down. Well those of them who are capable of fairly sophisticated rationalisations do.

The riots are explicable in many ways. Idiocy, greed, criminality. These things however are surface manifestations of something far darker and deeper. A whole sub-class of young people have had their desires and needs tweaked in such sophisticated ways by consumer goods suppliers they have been become addicted to the labels and technologies that feed their ego centric craving for social identity.

When the opportunity to get hold of the materialistic baubles that are dangled in front of them 24/7 like high tech designer carrots they are already wound up into a feeding frenzy. As soon as the constraints (either physical, social or psychological) are removed then what we have seen with London riots is readily explained.

Add these extrinsic motivational factors to intrinsic factors that have been developed over decades of a particular type of socialisation that foregrounds entitlement and cosseting and you have the form of Frankenstein-esque petulance that we see on our TV screens today.

Working away underneath our society is a managerialist 'customer' discourse that has generated the twisted and unexpected side effects of the London riots. Years of fawning to people as customers in every walk of life has created an attitude of 'you owe me, I don't owe you anything'.

Its not just young people in the areas we see on TV either. Recently in a lecture on Imagination to some final year students, the lecturer was interrupted from someone at the back of the room who said "I don't need to listen to this crap! I just need you to tell me how to get a good grade".Why? because the student is being told he is a customer. They have been hot housed by the secondary education system and fed like chicks. Gaping mouths incessantly demanding sustenance and attention. Entirely passive and incapable of fending for themselves.

The rioters don't care. There is no point of appealing to a value set that simply doesn't recognise or 'get' the values and norms of our society in general. This is why stringent constraints need to be applied. The application of some straightforward Skinnerian reinforcement is probably the only way to teach these people the social limits of acceptable behavior.

In a liberal society rights come with responsibilities. The London rioters want rights without any responsibility and actually believe that it is OK to think that too. It is time to stop pandering to these self indulgent, poor me's and treat them with the stringency that is equivalent to their disregard for the rest of the community.

Saturday, 16 July 2011

Why Rupert Murdoch's News International Big Business Is Too Big

There's nothing new in the idea that big business, big media, and big pharma are not necessarily good for society. Arguments against big business run along the lines of consolidation of wealth in a few hands, the homogenization of society, exploitation of scarce resources, and risks associated with single supply.

The scandal that has engulfed Rupert Murdoch and News International hint at another consequence that might be of direct concern to business owners rather than markets customers governments and suppliers. The elephant in the room involves the capability of any business owner to be in touch with what their business is doing operationally.

Taylorian approaches to management have implied that division of labour and hierarchical structures will solve that problem. Corporate Governance rules approach the solution to size from legislative point of view. These mechanistic processes have little hope influencing human action on the ground in advance of mistakes. Large corporates and large institutions per se are in this fundamental sense un-manageable.

Financiers and economists will hanker after economies of scale. This excludes any conversation to be had about the organisational downside of scale. Systems have a way of re-balancing themselves. This homeostatic effect seems to have tripped in with News International. Too big, too obsessed with profit, and too out of control. Put arguments about monopoly to one side and business leaders need to think about the size of an organization in proportion to capability to manage what it does.

There are unintended consequences for any action. Owning a big business means less awareness of the specifics, more distance from the sharp end, more chance of the organisation doing something you didn't expect. The bigger the barrel of apples the more probability you will find some bad ones. Big organizations mean that their owners and senior executives are pre-disposed to reactive fixing rather than proactive leadership and management. Setting up management reporting structures, delegating responsibility doesn't mean a business owner can delegate accountability. Omnipotence doesn't necessarily mean you are omniscient or omnipresent.

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Rupert Murdoch Goodbye And Thankyou

What do think this image by the Daily Telegraph of Rupert Murdoch arriving in the UK portrays? Some will clearly think its the cyncial PR stunt of a bare knuckle fighter cum entrepreneur. Others might think its the feeble act of an old man who has lost touch with reality. But...

As media experts know, images have more than one connotation and as psychologists know behaviors are invariably founded upon sub-conscious attitudes.

Just ask yourself what has happened over recent years, and more particularly to the News Of The World News Paper. Now look again at the photograph. This is the picture of a businessman who has arbitrarily shut down a newspaper that was a profitable going concern and put hundreds of people on the dole.

Might it be the case that the picture symbolizes a callous disregard for the social welfare of other human beings? Might it be prima facae behavioral evidence of a person that shows absolutely no compassion for the feelings and opinions of others?

It seems that nobody needs to point anything out here because the act speaks for itself. Anybody working for News International might take stock and consider the nature of their employer at this time.

Open Letter To The Staff Of The News Of The World

Like many people I have read and followed with great interest the developments leading to the final publication of the News Of The World. Like many people I have been astounded at the lack of compassion ex-employees of the newspaper have displayed in their zeal to get a story.

I have also heard and seen the anguish and upset that the closure of the newspaper has created for a huge number of people at the publication and have no reason to doubt whatsoever your journalistic credentials and enthusiasm for your profession. You must also have realised just how expendable the News International organisation has regarded you. It is in situations like this that scales fall off the eyes of many of us who have been loyal servants of organisations, passionate about the brand, and committed to quality only to find that the rhetoric of organisational loyaty and being a team is a shallow facade.

It is a common belief that we depend on organisations for our livelihood and therefore we must be fore-lock touchingly grateful for the employment provided. The organisations in their turn dupe they talent they employ into feeling this is true and they totally depend upon the organisation for their survival. Of course there is reciprocity here. However when talent is treated in the way you have been treated it must be obvious who really needs who.

Today you and only you produced the final edition of the News Of The World. Your talents and know how created the content and brought it publication. News International its founder and his acolytes didn't do this. This means that real value of the News Of The World was its people and that the paper was an manifestation of your capability.

I would urge you to set up independently. Capitalise on your talent. Never again become beholden to a vast organisation that treats your talent with contempt and places before you a senior executive who bumbles managerialist patronising rhetoric at you. The world of media is changing and it is changing the model of reader engagement.

Have faith in your capabilities. Pursue your journalism on the principles you have stated. Set up on your own and your readers and advertisers will follow. Good luck to you all.

Thursday, 7 July 2011

The News Of The World Does A Ratner

The instances of phone hacking allegations that are being associated with the News Of The World newspaper seem to be confronting the newspaper organization with a Ratner Moment. The ruthless competitiveness of the newspaper industry clearly creates circumstances in which certain individuals might be pre-disposed to deceptive, ethically questionable behaviour.

If the allegations are proven (invariably there is no smoke without fire) then I would like to see the culprits questioned on live TV in order that we can hear their rationalisations, ans so that their ethical credentials can be exposed for eternity. It is significant that the Royal British Legion has dropped the News of The World whilst allegations that the paper hacked the phones of families whose family members were killed in action in Iraq and Afghanistan serving their country. Unlike the News Of The World journalists who seem to prefer to serve their own interests.

If the phone hacking allegations are proven then the roaches who committed the act should be castigated for betrayal and dealt with accordingly. Here Hugh Grant reveals how he identified and trapped a roach reporter.
Paul McMullan and Andy Coulson stand at the centre of the NOTW firestorm which seems set to engulf the total management structure of the News International group, it will be interesting to see the outcome.

News Update at 20.00 pm 7th July 2011 - News Of The World Prediction Comes True.

The News Of The World is now Old News

News of the World to close amid hacking scandal

The following book probably has too many big words in it for a News International journalist.


Thursday, 23 June 2011

Money Making Wizzley Article Writing That Pays

If you are into article writing then you are probably familiar with sites like Squidoo and Hubpages. These sites are communities of article writers that build article pages using content modules which are then published as micro-sites.

The latests article writing community to gather some traction is Wizzley. Similar to Squidoo and Hubpages you are responsible for generating article content on topics that you know about or find interesting. Your hard work as an article writer is rewarded by getting income from context adverts via Adsense that are placed with your articles and also through affiliate modules such as Amazon Associates, Zazzle the print on demand site and Allposters.

The user interface is really easy to use, you can add your photos and images to text modules to really bring your writing to life and there is a rapidly growing and vibrant community of supportive and friendly writers there too. It seems cliched to say it but of course 'content is king'. Why else would anyone want to search for and read what you have to say?

One of the good things about Wizzley as an article writing platform is that is emphasizes content. You are given a word counter that requires a decent amount of article content wordage before your article can be published. And that's not all the revenue share set up is favorable to the article writer.

The Wizzley Facebook community can be reached here. You can sign up for Wizzley for free.

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Is University Knowledge The Same As Knowing?

The BBC reports that India aims to be the next university superpower and the metric chosen to indicate this 'super-powerness' is the number of graduates.

Just stop and think for a minute. Is that really the most appropriate measure of how intellectually powerful your nation is? It's the same as a student claiming that an assignment of 10,000 words is better than than an assignment of 2,000 words.

The other issue is that churning people out of university with extant knowledge is not really an adequate measure either. What about new ideas, new ways of characterising problems and deriving solutions? As Casanova might claim 'its not the size of the boat, its the motion on the ocean'

Knowledge is a crude nominalisation of the adverb knowing. Knowing implies insight and wisdom. Knowledge implies collecting and hoarding. Knowing implies an awareness of one's own pre-suppositions and how they affect our approach to the world, the nature of reality and what are claims to certitude are based on. I wish India all the very best in her ambitions. She should not mistake the filling of undergraduate heads with 'stuff' as an indicator of knowing, and then multiplying the amount of stuff collected by the number of people with that stuff as how good her universities are.

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Is A Degree Worth It?

If you think a university degree is going to get you a job just because you have got one then you might be very gullible. The BBC report today that the Graduate Jobs Market Is Tough Competition. I have problem with the whole idea of a 'graduate jobs market' because it suggests that it is somehow separate and different from any other form of employment. A job is a job is a job.

 An investment in a higher education is simply a personal investment that is about developing your intellectual capability. There are of course 'practical' elements to most courses, but the point of higher education is to develop the way you think about the world, problems and yourself.  This might have a tendency to set you apart when applying for a job but it can never guarantee a job. It might make you more employable but it will never get you employed. You can also create a mistaken sense of superiority (hubris) by thinking that there are 'graduate jobs' and other jobs. There are plenty of good forms of employment that demand every day practical knowledge. A higher education provides a capability for conceptual thinking and of sure many courses include lots of applied work too.

The fundamental point is that assuming you stand more chance of getting a job because you have a degree is misleading. Sure the big corporates sift applicants for their corporate 'soldier' jobs by 2:1 status. If ever there was an example of like recruiting like by like there it is. Of course many Public Service roles filter applicants by educational level,  to develop an academic career you need academic qualifications, and vocational professions demand higher education qualification is a necessary part of the professional career.  This I suppose is what is meant by the 'graduate job market'. But think small medium sized enterprises (where many graduates go job hunting) and they'll foreground 'you' and background your certificates.

For holders of more general social science based degrees its easy to be duped into thinking that we should 'love' our work (and the the employer will love us back). Nonsense. A job is primarily to earn a living. Now that said if you have a university degree, they can't take it away from you. Use it to your advantage. The priority is to get into paid work first, then use your education and that income stream as a platform for change. And if you land a corporate job? beguiled with promises of bonuses and fast track managerial careers? and corporate cultures that emulate the some of the excessive behaviours of The Apprentice then keep this blog in your bookmarks and come back when your 35 and tell me all about it.

Oh yes, and natural science degrees are different. Aren't they? If you do choose to go to a university then it is wise to find out more about them, hopefully this free Best University Guide will put you on the right track. If recently graduated, then how about using all that intellectual horse power to start your own business. Now that would be standing out from the crowd!

Monday, 9 May 2011

The Mistakes Of Headline and Copywriting

It's funny how meaning is made and how it relies on the correct context. The BBC science and nature website link headline of 6th May 2011 read Mass culling 'may be unnecessary'

I thought immediately that Richard Dawkins had perhaps made a U Turn. The idea that either the religious act itself was deemed necessary for culling or that the people who attended them needed culling seemed like a very extreme idea indeed.

Now recognising that there is always a 'hidden agenda' and that I do not suffer from 'critico-deductive minimilisitis' or gullibility as it is termed in psychology circles, I reckon a bored copywriter at the BBC knew exactly what they were doing. It worked, because I then went on to read the article, which is further proof of Eagly and Chaiken's dual process model of information processing.

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Someone Has Explained The Gullible Mind

I was delighted to read this article called The Gullible Mind Explained by Mike Adams.

Mike has captured several aspects of gullibility in this piece. The lack of critical thinking, undue deference to authority, not suspecting hidden agendas etc. This is a good article. It does of course emphasise the angle that its the failing of the individual that creates gullibility. I still feel that situation plays a major part. That said you are always cruising for a bruising if you have misplaced confidence in your own infallibility.

Also like any social phenomenon Gullibilty might be better explained by Structuration Theory which accounts for both agency and structure.

Monday, 18 April 2011

Using Zazzle To Raise Money For Local Communities

I've been dabbling with the Zazzle print on demand online store for some time now. There is certainly potential to earn money using this print on demand site because I had a steady trickle of sales despite being a relative newbie, and I'm confident that with clear product design strategy and online marketing strategy that my store could really fly. Whilst my store is quite general I'm looking to set up more specific niche stores in future.

Recently I came across a great niche idea for using the Zazzle online store to generate additional money for local projects. The Upper Saxondale village site makes use of Zazzle to create a range of gifts, greetings cards and merchandise all featuring landscapes of the village and its surroundings.

The generic nature of the landscape photographs has been used to make several xmas greetings cards, which of course can be furthered personalised using the Zazzle customisation options. This seems a really interesting way to make use of print on demand gifts to promote fund raising projects for an english village set in the attractive setting of rural England. Here's is a explanation of what was done with the Upper Saxondale Zazzle online store as a short introduction to the idea.

Monday, 28 February 2011

Gary Hart Rationalises The Selby Rail Crash

Gary Hart who fell asleep at the wheel loosing control of his vehicle which then left the road and hit a train killing ten people displays that classic aspect of humans. The rationalistion.

He does not accept the part he played in the problem, preferring to to manage his cognitive dissonance by claiming "I believe in fate and I was meant to be there that morning."

Saturday, 12 February 2011

Justice Minister Goads Middle Class

It seems rather perverse that someone with the title Justice Minister should be telling a huge section of the voting public that they are to get prepared for suffering caused by a very tiny number of the voting public. Kenneth Clarke is reported on the BBC as believing the Middle Class are clueless. "I don't think Middle England has quite taken on board the scale of the problem."

Do us all a favour Ken. Of course we do! We paid the collosall sums out of our tax pockets to keep the banks afloat. We also know that bankers are laughing and whilst the very people that bankrolled them suffer they guzzle huge bonuses for simply messing about on spreadsheets and computers all day.

The Egyptian people have provided a clear path to peaceful regime change and this could well set a precedent. How dare Kenneth Clarke patronise the hard working people of this country by insinuating that they are somehow childishly ignorant of the mess the bankers have created for our country.

Kenneth Clarkes comments are unjust.

Friday, 11 February 2011

Salute The People Of Egypt

The people of Egypt have moved the world and won the admiration and respect of people everywhere. Their resolve, their dignity and their bravery are to be much admired. I wish your country and countrymen peace and prosperity.