Thursday, April 21, 2011

ASI Blogger's Bash


I will, along with numerous other libertarian type bloggers, be attending the 'Bloggers Bash' at the Adam Smith institute tonight.

Details are here

If you're coming and we don't already know eachother in person please do come and say hi. I'll be the scruffy dodgy looking one who you might mistake for a long haired stunt double for Frodo Baggins. My secret night time vigilante identity is 'the incredible hobbit'.

No I haven't been drinking. Yes I will be tonight. :)

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Ammo: Climate Change Churnalism

*for an explanation of 'Ammo' see here.

Anyone who follows Watts Up With That, or similar climate sceptic blogs will have seen this recent - and absolutely barking mad - story 'Fish carried up a mountain on backs of llamas to escape global warming'.

As you'd expect, the story is torn to shreds both in the comments on the original story at the Telegraph and at WUWT. Aside from the fact that this cubed idiocy is even tolerated is the fact that it has been reported uncritically by our ever useless media. Just how uncritical is the reporting though? Now we have a superb tool to discover the answer to this question: churnalism.com. This story was an ideal test case.

The premise behind the site is that the majority of content we receive from the media is simply recycled propaganda - a.k.a. 'press releases' - from institutions, organisations and individuals to whom the media are happy to give an uncritical free ride. The site has access to the 'journalisted' database. What the site creators ask users to do is to find press releases and paste the content in, which it then compares with its archive of news articles and provides links to any articles that appear to have been cut and pasted, along with a percentage of content so copied.

Finding the press release is usually fairly straightforward - just look for the organisation or body they are referencing and look for press releases on their site. In the case of the llama-fish article, I soon found the Environment Agency press release here. Copying and pasting this content into churnalism.com, here are the results (click on the image to see a full size version):



As you can see - the press release has been cut and pasted for the majority of content in three of our largest media organisations. The publicly funded BBC has 75% of its content cut and pasted. Great value for license fee money, eh?

The churnalism database now has a permanent record of this here.

Now a number of people have started adding content to the database, the site is now able to offer some interesting categorical breakdowns here.

The more people who make use of this facility, the more useful it will be. In addition it offers API functionality for programmers, opening interesting possibilities for automating the checking of proliferation of bullshit from certain sources (Number 10 I'm looking at you). It also opens up fascinating avenues for genuine comparative research - for example, how much and how often the BBC uncritically cuts and pastes content from certain sources relative to others.

It also hands those of us in the libertarian leaning or climate sceptic communities an immensely powerful weapon - especially if we all make regular use of it and highlight the media's pathetically compliant churnalism. But we need to use it and promote it! Please do share this around and make use of the facility for your own blogs. Rest assured there will be plenty more 'churnalism' stories coming up here thanks to the research facility churnalism.com now offers.

This could be a game changer.

Use it!

Fight the endarkenment.

Ammo for the Freedom Fighter

This is a short blog post to explain the new series of blog entries I am beginning today, 'Ammo for the Freedom Fighter'.

Too many of us libertarian leaning bloggers are unduly focused on bad news and analysis of said material. Whilst this is an essential activity for us to undertake (don't expect any less angry commentaries from me), what is often lacking is a focus, if only occasional, on very real actions, techniques or technologies that we can use in our ongoing war against statism and the coming endarkenment.

Forthcoming over the next few weeks will be continuing series from me sharing tools, practices and philosophies that have been of great benefit to myself and others. Some of these things will simply be of help with gathering, analysing, dissecting and disseminating the constant diet of crap feed to us by the political and media classes. Others will be much more positive, focusing on very real ways to help yourself and others become much stronger, more powerful individuals. Literally. I'm increasingly of the belief that it is truly the latter that our hateful would be overlords and corporatists fear most so I hope you give at least one of them a sincere try.

The first entry will be up later this afternoon. Remember to keep on keeping on, all of you.

It's not about the size of the army, but the fury of it's onslaught.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Crushed

Looks like LPUK (the Libertarian Party of the UK) has become nothing short of a full on liability to have anything to do with.

Read the whole distressing and profoundly disappointing story over at Anna's place.

Aside from feeling completely crushed by this I think it also goes without saying that I won't be renewing my membership of the party.

What a complete and utter tragedy for both Anna and family and the hopes,dreams and energy of everyone who got involved with the party.