Monday, August 20, 2007

Odds and Sods pt1

I'm currently going through a bit of a catch-up session with comments, links and emails that have been left under or in response to posts in this blog

A few chunks of fallout from that exercise...

For starters, there's this rather special graphic from The Daily Mash...

The Daily Mash has also recently managed to punch clean through the Taste Barrier with this tribute prayer to Princess Diana...

Princess Diana, who art in Hermes,
Chanel was thy favourite brand name.
Thy King did come.
But he fancied another one, as did you anyway.
Give us this day a flash of your smile.
And forgive us our paparazzi,
As we forgive those who paparazzi against us.
And drive us not into the side of a tunnel,
When we aren’t wearing our seat belt. Amen.

Outstanding work ...which I won't be showing to my Mum

and whilst on the subject of daft fuckers in the financial markets, someone also left a few links relating to the very interesting Nassim Taleb and his work on randomness, especially 'Black Swan' events

'Black Swans' being large-impact, hard-to-predict, and rare events beyond the realm of normal expectations. The problem being that many of the people earning large sums as risk professionals appear to have no conception of Black Swans and carry out their business on that basis

Where I personally disagree with Taleb is when he maintains that Black Swan events, and Taleb cites 9/11 as an example of a Black Swan, are undirected. Maybe in the natural world but in the realm of human affairs at least some of the Swans are the result of deliberate planning - after all, people may differ over who it was exactly but someone did plan 9/11

And on the subject of 9/11 and the markets

There are a couple of key elements of accepted and often quoted 9/11 Conspiracy Lore that have always bothered me

The first being the short-trading of airlines stocks before 9/11. There did seem to be informed trading before the attacks and those trades certainly were widely reported after 9/11. However, if the people behind the trades really did know about 9/11 in advance they should have expected their trades to attract attention and be traced back to them after the event. You can't play the markets anonymously.

Unless the traders knew they were somehow immune from investigation - which is effectively how things panned out

On top of that, the potential profit was only a 'few' million dollars. So, why take a risk on exposing an operation with a multi-billion $ outcome for what was, relatively speaking, peanuts?

And then there's the story about Larry Silverstein, the lease holder of WTC1, WTC2 and WTC7, admitting months after 9/11 that he gave his consent for WTC7 to be 'pulled'

Many conspiracy theorists quote Silverstein's comment as being a confession that 9/11 was a staged event, that WTC7 along with WTC1 and WTC2 was wired for demolition but the plane that was supposed to hit WTC7 (Flight 93) was destroyed over Pennsylvania and so WTC7 was blown up anyway, without being hit by a plane beforehand

Of course, the big problem with all that is the question why would an alleged key figure in the carefully planned covert 9/11 plot casually blurt out a confession after the event?

This video attempts to address those and other similar anomalous issues...

If anyone is interested in 9/11 and hasn't seen it, it's worth a spin

Whoopsies, Richard Dawkins is back on tele tonight up to his usual, 100% intellectually honest, self-effacing tricks which only leaves me an hour or so to find some rotting fruit to chuck at the box. I shall have to finish this post later...

Contrary to what some people believe, ammonites (foreground) offer inconclusive evidence for the theory of evolution and actually appear to have evolved 'backwards' in the later stages of their existence - as has the enormous G8 in the background of this picture



Anonymous said...

One of my odds 'n' sods and carrying on from the Rat Park theme and the overall theme that lying in order to create myths (eg muslim terrorists / war in Eye-rack etc) makes huge amounts of money for people is here!

It's called "A Drug War Carol." It's based on Dicken's Christmas Carol with Scrouge being played by one of the early Drug Czars.

Stef said...


Obviously a labour of love...

Anonymous said...

I read the book a long while ago and still enjoy reading it from time to time. There are some excellent scenes ... having to sleep in the bath, the chains that the G-men had built for themselves including this like TVs, cars etc that they had stolen. One of the things I missed last time round but disappoints me now, is that a part of the human condition is classified as a disease.