Abandon All Fear

What nobody else seems to be saying…

Archive for February, 2009

[Your Data] How Often Have They Lost Your Data

Posted by Lex Fear on February 17, 2009

Open Rights Group have a questionnaire which should tell you!

via: Ideal Government

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Posted in Absolute Power, Anti-Terrorists, Bad Company, Buyer Beware, Copywrong, Databases, Financial Terrorism, Free as in Speech, Minitruth, Pharisees, Predatory Systems, Realpolitik, Technology, Uncircumcised Philistines, WhatTheyDontWantU2C | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

[Atheism] Probably

Posted by Lex Fear on February 15, 2009

I was really happy to see the atheist bus campaign get into full swing. God Bless those atheists, another medium for which they can use to rage against their parents.

I have purposefully held off from writing about it until now, after the dust has settled and things can be fully absorbed.

I’ll start by saying I also found myself disappointed by the weakness of the message. I would much preferred something more assertive, more disdainful of religion. Instead we get probably.

Funnily enough all sorts of speculation took place in the atheist blogosphere and fora as to why include the word. There were some rather feeble apologetics using such idioms as “intellectually honest”.

Since I had followed this saga from it’s inception and was following the commentary at The Friendly Atheist I thought I should help bring clarity to the perception of the ‘Christian response’ as well as information as to how probably got in there:

1) British Christians views on the signs range from ‘Meh’ to ‘Great! More opportunities to talk about God”.

The fact is the Christian religion is led by a man who was violently, brutally killed as a convicted criminal – Call it insane if you will but most genuine Christians see persecution in any form as a privelege and opportunity to stand with Christ and spread the gospel!

Through history, the church has done better in times of persecution and it will always.

2) There are a few who are weak in faith and perhaps new Christians, or they have lost their way and these will protest.. and when they do the media will always give them the microphone to broadcast their ignorance.

But so far the worst response I’ve heard from any Christian is that it’s silly. That’s it.

3) I personally wish that they had dropped the ‘probably’ and gone for something much stronger. I wish it DID say “THERE IS NO GOD”.. with it the slogan is very poor and really isn’t worthy to be considered an attack or something like that. (Also the excuse given to include “probably” has to be the weakest excuse I have ever heard- very stupid)

The proposer of this campaign – a Grauniad journalist – originally gave the reason that she had seen ‘probably’ used in another ad (see Carlsberg) and assumed it was for legal reasons. It’s not, it’s a nod to the British talent for understatement. Silly woman!

Must try harder.

Which was quickly refuted by a commenter called Aj:

The Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) advised her that “the inclusion of the word ‘probably’ makes it less likely to cause offence, and therefore be in breach of the Advertising Code.”

Lots of people are getting this wrong, so here’s a quote. Lots of atheists don’t believe “there is no god”, they can only agree with statements like “there is probably no god, although I and others prefer “almost certainly” as it’s more accurate.

He went on to include a quote from Ariane Sherine (from a later article).

There’s another reason I’m keen on the “probably”: it means the slogan is more accurate, as even though there’s no scientific evidence at all for God’s existence, it’s also impossible to prove that God doesn’t exist (or that anything doesn’t).

Oh dear, how intellectually dishonest. He left me no choice but to quote the original article by Sherine in response:

“After that, I Googled Carlsberg and found this marketing site, which suggests that using the word “probably” at the start of the ad saved Carlsberg from litigation.” – Ariane Sherine, Atheists – Gimme Five, 20/06/08

Long before the article you quoted. They’ve given all manner of excuses since then.

And the Carlsberg Ad:

http://www.brandrepublic.com/Campaign/News/472122/Scandinavia-Great-nordic-conquerors/

“According to Jakob Knudsen, Carlsberg’s international brand director: “The Scandinavian understated sense of humour is an integral part of the brand’s DNA. If you take other premium Scandinavian brands such as Bang & Olufsen, they won’t tell you they’re the best. Instead, they let the quality speak for itself.”

Only America would produce, “King of Beers” or “World’s Finest” and market their products as the biggest, best, favourite, fastest, greatest etc…

This advertising (up until recently perhaps) would never work in the UK, but picture 2 blokes in a pub, one declares “This is the best lager I’ve ever tasted!”, the other, being British is likely to respond “I don’t think so, I think I’ve tasted better.” But if the first was to casually mention “This is probably the best lager I’ve ever tasted” then the other may likely agree with him “Probably.”

Typical MSM journalist, gets her research from an internet forum rather than the source.

Oddly, no-one then seemed interesting in arguing the point with me and just ignored my second comment completely. Not what you would expect from intellectually honest people but there you go.

Here’s a great quote from Lib Dem MP, Martin Turner:

Imagine that you saw any of the following advertisements:
“The speed camera probably isn’t loaded”
“You probably won’t die in a car crash”
“You probably did turn off the gas”
Telling someone that something probably won’t happen doesn’t stop them worrying about it. Quite the contrary. And, if the millions of lottery ticket buyers are anything to go by, telling someone that something they very much hope for is unlikely to happen does nothing to stop them hoping.
If “there’s probably no God” is the strongest statement that, on reflection, atheists dare to make in public, then they have moved a long way from the certainties implied in their name.

But my favourite quote on worry has to this:

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?” – Jesus

As well as beating The Grauniad to the post by almost 2000 years, there’s something rather more elegant, meaningful and poetic than “Now stop worrying and enjoy your life”, don’t you think (if you are being intellectually honest)?

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Posted in Apologetics, Doublespeak, Doublethink, Duh!, Laymans Theology, Londonland, Minitruth, Opinion, Propaganda, Quoteyness, The Love of Libel, Uncircumcised Philistines, V for Vendetta, Warring Memes | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

[Heroes] Fax Off

Posted by Lex Fear on February 13, 2009

This has to be one of my favourite stories of 2008:

OK. Fine by me. One great advantage of my VOIP provider (Primus, for anyone who cares) is that their base package includes many interesting features, including the possibility to redirect any number to another. Thirty seconds later, I had the fax number redirected to the receptionist’s number.

From: The Consumerist.

See my previous post on Culture Wars – dealing with corporate bullshit.

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Posted in Bad Company, Buyer Beware, Financial Terrorism, Ha-has, Predatory Systems, Takeback | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

[Fundamentalism] Meet The Science Extremists

Posted by Lex Fear on February 10, 2009

Religion has Osama Bin Laden*, politics has it’s fair share of Stalins and Hitlers, Atheism has Auvinen,  Sport has hooligans and Hollywood has Uwe Boll (just kidding). What about Science?

Five Mad Scientists Who Went Too Far in the Name of Science

*or is that politics?

Posted in Analogies, Morals & Ethics, Religion & Science, The Religious Wrong | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

[Unconstitutional Alliance] – Where does the Rule of Law come in?

Posted by BHudson on February 8, 2009

I’m having a state-the-obvious day, because (for want of another reason), not many people seem to be seeing things as they are.

I hold these points to be self evident:

  1. The UK has a constitution.

  2. The constitution is uncodified but partially written.

  3. One of the sources of the constitution is the rule of law.

  4. Hence, the government is bound by the laws of the land.

These are pretty simple, fundamental points. The thing is, the rule of law would not allow the wilful suppression of evidence relating to a torture case. So why does Miliband continue to pass off the UK’s spineless response to the USA’s strongarm tactics in the name of ‘national security’? Suppressing evidence is against the rule of law. The relationship between America and Britain enforces the suppression of evidence. Hence, the alliance is (on this front) unconstitutional.


As Crispin Black comments in the Independent on Sunday, the problem stems from the USA’s unilateral foreign policy. We can have a ‘special relationship’ with their government, as long as we don’t step out of line. “There is little cost/benefit analysis of our relationship with the Americans. And absolutely none about the intelligence relationship… We persist in an ‘intelligence cringe’ – the Americans know more, the Americans know better. Well, they did not know what was going on in Iraq… Quite why we should think they understand what is going on any else better than we do remains a mystery.”


In the words of Shami Chakrabarti, “Despite best efforts to shine a light on the grubbiest aspects of the ‘war on terror’, the Foreign Office has claimed that the Obama administration maintained a previous US threat to reconsider intelligence sharing unless our judges kept this shameful skeleton in the closet. We find this Foreign Office allegation … surprising.”

The bottom line is that by withholding evidence, both sides are implicit in torture, regardless of whether they were before (and I’m pretty sure they were). Yet another nail in the coffin of the War of on Terror that will no doubt have no effect.

Posted in Absolute Power, Doublespeak, Doublethink, Global Alarming, Justice & Mercy, Little Hitlers, Londonland, Minipax, Morals & Ethics, Opinion, Protest, Quoteyness, The Elite | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

[Misadventure Capitalism] – The Fat Cats That Got The Cream

Posted by BHudson on February 8, 2009

Royal Bank of Scotland – 68% nationalised
Lawrence Fish, non-executive chairman – paid £6.6m in 2006, receiving a £1m pension from April.
Fred Goodwin, former chief exec. – paid £4.2m in 2007, due for a pension of £8.37m

HBOS – 40% nationalised
Peter Cummings, former head of corporate lending – paid £2.6m in 2007
Michael Geoghegan, chief exec. – paid £2.955m in 2007

Bearing in mind that their companies are now owned by the taxpayers, one would have thought that they could show some restraint in pouring out bonuses. Nonetheless, RBS alone seems to think it’s a good idea to pay out a billion pounds of money to their fat cats as reward for nearly killing the economy.

I hold these points to be self evident:
1.Wages are a reward for the individual’s input of the factors of production.
2.Banking is a service industry, hence the factors offered by the executives are labour and entrepreneurship.
3.Most executives seem to do very little work. Hence, their input of labour is little.
4.Good entrepreneurship does not result in almost going bust. Hence, their input of entrepreneurship is very little.
5.Hence, they are due little compensation for their efforts.
6.Bonuses are a reward for extraordinary success.
7.Ending up mostly owned by the government is not an extraordinary success. Hence, they are due no bonuses.

Anything there sound ridiculous? To be honest, they ought to pay back all their bonuses for the years of unwise lending that got us in this state in the first place. Now the government has bailed out the bankers and decided to nationalise them, they ought to take a stand to stop such ludicrous profiteering, rather than trying to ‘coax’ them into playing ball. If America, France and Germany can do it perfectly easily…

Posted in Bank Robbers, Corporate Irresponsibility, Financial Terrorism, Little Hitlers, Londonland, Named and Shamed, Opinion, Profiteering, Protest, Untouchables, Wealth Creation | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

[Fallacies] What If Your Premise Is Wrong?

Posted by Lex Fear on February 8, 2009

HT to Purify Your Bride for this YouTube clip:

Rather than answer the question, Dawkins makes the presumption that the young lady in question is “brought up” in a Christian home and then turns the question back on her.

I’d love to see how Dawkins addresses someone like me who was brought up without beliefs, dabbled in the occult, rejecting the faith of Jehova’s Witnesses, going from atheist to agnostic and opened myself up to whatever kind of higher power or beings were out there before becoming a Christian.

I don’t know why supposed intellectual people cheer for someone who so obviously doesn’t want to accept the possibility of being wrong.

However it appears that Dawkins has softened his stance on the existence of a higher power himself more recently, as Mattghg writes.

It seems Dawkins, though tirelessly never to admit he is wrong, considers there may be something “grander and more mysterious” than God out there after all. Of course by suggesting this we get in to all sort of ad infinitum arguments, and I’m surprised he would take it upon himself to answer the the old atheist chesnut “Who created God?”.

Maybe if Dawkins’ only personal objection to God is that the idea of ‘God’ for him is… boring.

Read Is Richard Dawkins Still Evolving? by Melanie Phillips.

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Posted in Doublespeak, Little Hitlers, Pharisees, Religion & Science, Warring Memes | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

[MAFIAA Pwn UK] All Your Rights Are Belong To Us

Posted by Lex Fear on February 8, 2009

Two items of interest posted last year on TorrentFreak and The Register, that I never got round to commenting on.

Both Cleveland and Lancashire police caught defrauding the music industry, much like those it has arrested in the OiNK case before. Cleveland particularly appear to be hoisted by their own petard in this case, being the force to bring prosecution against the OiNKers.

Meanwhile it seems that Gordon Brown is also embracing piracy, by failing to acknowledge creative commons licensing.

I’ve been wrong all theses years. The government understands freedom perfectly, it just doesn’t want us to have any.

If the MAFIAA succeed in prosecuting Lancashire Police, then we are truly approaching a state where intellectual property rights trump all other forms of rights we know.

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Posted in Absolute Power, Bad Company, Civil Disobedience, Copland, Copywrong, Doublethink, Free as in Speech, Morals & Ethics, Pharisees, Untouchables | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

[Pseudoscience] Snowball Warming

Posted by Lex Fear on February 6, 2009

Watching news reports this week, it is appearing the man on the street that, as I predicted, global warming theory (uh, sorry, it’s a fact, because theory in science means fact… y’know like there is no word for speculation in science it’s all Feoryact) doesn’t have the ring of consistency to it as is being propagated, even before the recent snow storms.

Recent snowfall in the UK has perhaps helped the middle classes to stop and question something they are being told to believe in without question. The snowfall has managed to shut up even the loudest uninformed global alarming peddler, but it hasn’t prevented the more astute to start pedding two specific reasons, or rather, excuses for the snow.

The first one is an easy debunker. “Global Warming doesn’t mean it always gets hotter, it means more extreme types of weather!” Can anyone tell me what is so wrong with this argument? Well for starters it’s a catch all.. if you think about it, any type of extreme weather means global warming, hot or cold, dry or wet, delightful or devastating. If you’re trying to debate this logic intelligently you won’t win. Global Warming is essentially happening, regardless of the actual state of the environment.

The second one is this: Snowfall used to be much more common, but the Global Warming trend means that it’s occurring every 20 years (instead of, say, every year).

OK this is a bit more tricky, sounds believable right? But the remarkable thing about this argument is that it’s, like, almost dead on. We’re not talking about 25 years here, or 15 years, but we’re actually talking approximately 20 years. How are scientists able to predict this so accurately? Is it down to data provided by studying the global warming phenomenon or is it more like… the Zany Ones?!

Could it be scientists are stating 20 years, because, well, snow like this fell 20 years ago! A bit like if I told you house prices are going to rise this year because they’ve been rising since 1996?

I have one question for the Global Alarmists, if an unmoving linear Global Warming trend is happening despite record warmth, record cold, growing antarctic ice, receding antarctic ice, clouds affect data, clouds don’t affect data, we don’t rely on past data/history, we rely on past data/history, it’s not sunlight, sunlight fell in the Northern Hemisphere… can someone tell me how the heck we are going to know:

a) When we have succeeded in our mission to cool the earth down? and
b) If we actually do enter a Global Cooling period?

Perhaps if we start experiencing lots of freak heatwaves, this will be an indicator that we are in danger of Global Cooling and need to act fast to warm the earth up?!

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Posted in Doublespeak, Doublethink, Global Alarming, Predatory Systems, Propaganda, Warring Memes, WhatTheyDontWantU2C | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

[Fools And Their Money] Property Investor Mentality

Posted by Lex Fear on February 4, 2009

Bet this guy feels like a right tit now.

“The place is full with slightly mad people, to say the least. Not a dangerous kind of mad, just weird kind of mad. The fact that a crash might not occur is simply beyond their comprehension. It’s pretty odd how people can be so ignorant towards possibilities. I don’t think there will be a crash per’se, but I wouldn’t laugh or disrespect anyone who thinks there is going to be one.

How magnanimous of you. Heh. Here he is whinging about one of his tennants, something he is prone to do every now and then if you read through the archives.

Which reminds me, I just refused to pay rent rise to my landlord for the second time in 6 months. Ho hum, I guess we’ll be looking at a bigger place for the same amount of money anyway come summertime. The lettings agent is practically begging now (they’ve bolloxed all the paperwork, something tells me they stand to lose a large amount of money soon).

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Posted in Dorks, Duh!, Ha-has, Opinion, Property Market, Quoteyness, Wealth Creation | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »