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Friday, 31 May 2013

Renormalise

Today is 31 May, 2013. It is "World No Tobacco Day."  Fuck 'em.

For me, today was a very, very good Tobacco Day.  The snus fairy delivered fresh snus so that I can use it when I travel to the States in two weeks' time.  You might recall that I like to travel with snus when flying, because flying sucks these days.

By complete coincidence, the hand-rolling tobacco fairy visited today as well, and "magically" I now have a gorgeous supply of 50g pouches of Belgian-bought Golden Virginia, thus legally starving the UK of the tobacco duty they so desperately want from smokers.  Because why would you pay up to sixteen or seventeen quid for a 50g pouch that you can buy for only five euros in Belgium?

This is the consequence of raising the duty on tobacco so high to "nudge" me to quit smoking; this is the consequence of the tobacco control industry's failed initiatives and legislation to "denormalise" smoking.  I haven't quit. I'm not going to quit (unless the anti-smokers take me up on my offer -- but they won't, because they need that money to figure out why everything they've ever done has failed to reduce smoking rates and likely increased them). I'm simply going to source my tobacco from a less oppressive regime. And when I can no longer do that for whatever reason, then I'll grow my own.  And if they try to make growing your own tobacco illegal, such as they do with cannabis (another massive government failure), then I suppose I will become a criminal.

More likely, I'll just leave the UK to a more favourable clime.

So, how's that for World No Tobacco Day?  Fuck 'em. Fuck all and every last one of those bastards.  Let us all now raise a two-fingered salute (or one-finger if you prefer to give these nazis the bird) to every hateful, socialist, piece of fucking shit that works in tobacco control:  you are all -- to every last man and woman --  evil, massive cunts.  I hope you all live forever.

What else should we do?

Well, Smoking Hot from the Nothing 2 Declare blog sent me a short missive suggesting that we make a video of smokers enjoying themselves, you know ... happy, partying, enjoying their life as we try to do best.  I think it's a great idea, so I agreed to make a video like this.  But we need your help to do it.  Actually, we need your photos and/or videos of you smoking to do it.

What do you think? Who wants to be infamous?  Want to be in a video that simultaneously shows how awesome we are and gives nanny two fingers?   If you do, then great!  But there's a catch.  It's a pesky legal thing, but an absolutely necessary legal thing.  OK, it's a bit more than one legal thing. And yes, it's a huge pain but it has to be done this way.  Let me explain by telling you what we're looking for exactly.

1.  You must own the photos/videos that you want me to put in the video.  No exceptions. Do not send me other people's photos/videos or those you found on-line, don't send me your friends' photos, don't send me the photos that your daughter-in-law took, and definitely don't send me the photos you found on Xhamster or any other amateur upload site.  I cannot use them unless they, the copyright owners, send them to me, and I will certainly check all photos to see if they exist elsewhere.  The photos and vids must be yours.  So if someone you know has photos of you smoking, then you need to ask them to send them to me.

2.  You must specifically agree to allow me to use the photos/videos in respect of this video we're making.  In effect, you are giving me an indefinite, non-exclusive, royalty-free licence to use the photos for only the video.  If you do not agree to those terms, then I cannot use your photos.  Note:  YOU still own your photos and vids, the copyrights, and everything. You're just giving me permission to use them for the video only, which will be released for free and will never make a penny.  So don't panic about these legal terms. Legal terms are designed to make the average person baulk and run away to give solicitors, lawyers and other attorneys an advantage on this stuff. To take your money.

3.  The people in your photos or vids, if they are not you, must also agree to have their likeness used in the video.  So you will need to obtain their permission as well.  I will need written confirmation from each person depicted in the photos or vids, for each individual photo or vid you submit.  Yes, I know this is a pain. I will do my best to make it as easy as possible for you by creating and providing a template to combine multiple submissions into one thing.

4.  Both the photographer and the people (models) in the photos or vids absolutely must agree to waive their "moral rights" in respect of using the photos for this video only.  What does this mean?  Well, it means that once you give me a licence to use the photos and I create the video, you cannot at some future date force me to take your photos out of the finished video because you had a change of heart about images of you smoking appearing on-line.  Essentially, it's a safety clause for me, the licensee. I will not use any photo where the moral rights have not been specifically waived. Period.

5.  Photos should be at least 800 x 600.  No smaller than that, please.  Larger is much better.  1200 x 762 or higher would be ideal, because the video will be in high-definition. Super massive photos that are so large as to have their own gravitational pull are also good.

And that's it.  In summary:

- You must own the photos/vids
- You agree to licence the photos/vids to me for use in the video
- The models in your photos/vids must also agree -- (if they don't, or they are unable to, then I can blur their image, but really... that's crap, and I don't want to have to do that, and to be fair I probably won't use the image. People who are dead cannot provide permission so they are an exception. I can use images of dead folk, but only as long as you're the owner of the photo.)
- Both the photographer (the copyright owner / licensor) and the models depicted in the photos agree to waive their "moral rights" in respect of these photos for this video.
- No tiny pics  -- photos should be at least 800 x 600.

Simple. Right?  Yeah?  Hello...  er... Where did everybody go?

Anyway.  We want cheerful photos. Fun and funny photos. Real photos of you. Sexy photos are good, too. Parties. Raves. Defying smoking bans. Whatever! Also, you can make your own artwork rather than take photos.  For example, see the stuff that Lawson Narse has made. Same legal stuff applies to your artwork -- DO NOT USE anybody's copyrighted stuff to create your artwork and drawings.  There is lots of free public domain stuff out there, though. Just be careful and make sure you can use things. In some cases, attribution may be required if you use someone else's stuff. 

Anything that shows smokers  enjoying themselves and that smoking is NORMAL is absolutely ideal. 

Because smoking is absolutely fucking normal.  That's why these public health fuckholes are so desperate to "de-normalise" something that is normal for a significant percentage (45% maybe?) of people all over the world. So on World No Tobacco Day, I say, "Fuck 'em!"  And so should you, if you want to do that. We'll counter their evil, fascist, Hitler-inspired denormalisation regime with our own liberty and freedom renormalisation video.  It's going to fucking rock!

Unless nobody sends in photos. Then it's going to suck ass.  So we need your help.

Oh, there's just one more thing. We need to do this sensibly and make it a bit easier on me. So I'm going to ask you to upload the photos to an on-line site somewhere of your choice.  I would recommend Imgur.com or even using your Google Drive account and sharing the pictures through that.  I don't want to receive any actual photos/images by e-mail. And there is no guarantee that your photo(s) will be used.

Before we go whole-hog on this idea, let me know what you think in the comments, or e-mail with concerns, suggestions, or whatever. I'm thinking that once it's kicked off properly, we'll allow for about 30 days for submissions.  And um, yeah... that's the awesome idea that Smoking Hot came up with and of course I ruined with all of this legal bullshit.  But needs must.

Let me know, please.

Yours sincerely,
Jay

P.S.:  Huge thanks to everybody who shared the last video "The Root of All Evil".  Much appreciated. If you didn't share it, why the fuck not?

P.P.S:  I may request tiny pieces of your souls for the video too, at my discretion.  But that will probably be optional.

Thursday, 30 May 2013

Two Questions You Should Always Ask When Dealing With Professional Anti-Smokers

This will be brief.*

(*No, it won't.)

I'm always a bit disappointed any time I read, watch or listen to a programme that has people arguing for smokers' rights (pro-liberty / pro-MYOFB) and against smokers (e.g. tobacco control / public health prohibitionists).  This is my problem, obviously.  The reason I feel disappointed is that there are only two questions pro-liberty people really need to ask the public health prohibitionists, and I'll come to those shortly.

But what happens during these "debates" is that the pro-liberty folk want to challenge the clearly bogus tobacco control-invented stats and studies with actual facts, and that -- 80% of the time* -- will lead to the pro-liberty person(s) losing the argument in the court of public opinion. (*I just made that up.)

Why? Because most people don't care about facts. Not as much you do. Oh, they say they do, but they truly do not. What they want most is for people to tell them what to think, to tell them what the right answer is, to tell them what to believe.  That is why "propaganda" exists (and hundreds of religions).  It doesn't need to be truthful -- it only needs to sound like it's true. Plausibility is vital for selling your brand of propaganda.  If you give average citizens truly useful information and facts, most of the time they aren't interested. It's too complicated. That's why there are scientists and academics to figure this stuff out, they'll mutter.  The public does not care about facts -- what they and the press are interested in are sound bites. Catchy phrases. Things they can remember easily, so they can repeat them to their friends, family and colleagues to try to sound clever and knowledgeable.
"Hey, Mary," said Bob. "I was just listening to BBC Radio and did you know that smoking kills half of its long-term users?  It's true. I heard it on the radio. Don't ever smoke, because you'll die 'from smoking.' It's like guaranteed at 100%."

"That's great, Bob. I'll remember that," Mary said, and nods appreciatively.  "Did you see Coronation Street last night?"

"Of course. I never miss an episode.  Good show, eh?"
And this is your typical at-the-office conversation. There's no substance, only banter. But the message Bob heard on BBC Radio stuck and he shared it.  "Half of long-term smokers will DIE DIE DIE DIE DIE! THEY WILL ALL DIE from SMOKING!  SOMETHING MUST BE DONE, MARY! OH GOD, THE CHILDREN! WHO WILL THINK OF THE CHILDREN!"

Whilst completely bollocks, as propaganda the "half of long-term smokers" thing is certainly a beautiful piece of work.  You have to admire its simplicity. It exploits everybody's natural fear of death and kindly informs you that 50% of smokers will die. Like flipping a coin. But the subliminal message, or subtext rather, is that ALL smokers will die.

And that's true. All smokers will die. Eventually.  But not "from smoking."  In fact, there is no official cause of death for "From Smoking."  So, truthfully, and scientifically, nobody ever has died "FROM SMOKING tobacco."  Well, maybe someone lit up a cigarette and immediately died from smoking just that one cigarette. But if that ever happened, nobody has a record of it.

Now whether smoking tobacco is a cause for every last disease a human being can suffer from is another matter not worth covering in this post (nor covering in the comments, thank you).  We'll leave that one to the professional anti-smokers.

So, if you're going to challenge the anti-smokers in some debate with a moderator who already doesn't give a shit what you think and doesn't like smoking himself, then you need to be able to propagandise at their level. Because if you don't, you may have won the argument in the technical sense, but you still lost the debate.

That isn't to say that facts are not important or that you shouldn't challenge bogus statements. Absolutely you should. But you have to balance that with your own propaganda.

Now good propaganda isn't that hard to come by, but it takes a lot of work and finesse to come up with something that will stick. That's your job, debaters. You need to come up with something clever and memorable. Something you can repeat often and out-propagandise the propagandists.  It should also be true. Because tobacco control is all about lies and half-truths.  Your propaganda then must be factual.

I aim to help a bit.  And that's where the "Two questions you should always ask when dealing with professional anti-smokers" comes into play.  Ready?

1.  What should I die from?

2.  And when should I die?  (age)

That's it. You need to always ask these questions to Public Health and anyone else who wants to save you from smoking and drinking and gambling for that matter.

Be patient. Wait for the answer.  If they do not answer, if they use the classic evasion technique of asking another question to you instead, or try to spew out more bogus stats and other propaganda to support their hateful bigoted cause, then you have to persist and re-ask those two questions. And if they still do not answer, you then turn to the audience and you ask them the question.  It's important you do this last bit. Because the audience will definitely remember it. They will never forget it. You will have planted that one seed of doubt in their mind that something is amiss. Trust me on this. They won't know what it is at first, but they'll remember the questions. And it will stick.

And you should ask these questions on websites in the comments (expect hateful responses from anti-smoking trolls -- I get "you should die an early death from cancer" all the time. People suck in no large measure -- only anti-smoking, socialist, public health nutters would wish a cancerous death on anyone who doesn't conform to their belief systems. Which is why they're evil fucking bastards).

And you should ask these two questions when family or friends tsk-tsk about your smoking or tell you to quit.  You can also add that if you want to quit, then you will quit smoking. It's your choice.

And you need to remember these two questions, and you must never forget to ask them.  It's important. You might not think it matters, but it does matter a great deal.

Because they are both perfectly legitimate questions to ask the people in Public Health. They talk about premature death. Fine. What isn't premature? When should I die? And what should I die from?

You need to be relentless about this.  Make them answer the questions, if you can.

These are the only two questions you should always remember to ask during a debate.  You can then go back to your stats and facts to your heart's content. These two questions work for almost anything by the way, not just tobacco control. Got an alcohol prohibitionist to deal with? Ask them.

But please ask them. Until it sticks. Don't expect answers. But if you get any, please share them, publicly. Because that will be entertaining.

I asked these two questions again today, for like the billionth time.  This time it was during a tweeted conversation between Ailsa Rutter and me.  It went like this:

Click to enlargify
I'm still waiting for Ailsa Rutter to reply.

And if you've asked the questions and you need to deal with the non-professional anti-smoker joe on-the-street type who likes to do the fake cough thing, then I would suggest something akin to Leg-Iron's witty repartee, which you can read (or reread) over and over again and always laugh hysterically. 


Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Inspiration

Inspiration is a mercurial thing.  I never know what is going to inspire me or when it will strike.

I do know that I am rarely (if ever) inspired by the ubiquitous images with quotes and other sayings that unnecessarily eat up data transfer limits on the Internet. And that self-awareness subsequently inspired me. So I made this.


The irony of creating and sharing this image is not lost on me, I assure you.

Speaking of inspiration, that ranty freeman Cap'n of Lawful Rebellion is certainly feeling uninspired, and I completely understand how he feels. I cannot speak for anyone but me, but I would definitely say that most of us bloggers don't blog to be famous, or for any kind of notoriety. We blog for you, and of course for ourselves.  We hope that what we write inspires you -- gets you thinking, seeing things in a different way, or better, gets you doing something.  That last one is the toughest.

If I fail, then at least I tried.  There is no shame in failure. There is only the inexcusable shame in not doing something for fear of failing. Everybody fails. Nobody succeeds at everything all of the time. Nobody, not even The Root of All Evil (though his ego would never allow him to admit it, and if he did admit failure it would be somebody else's fault).  But if you don't like what I write, if you think my silly videos, music and images suck, then by all means let me know.  I cannot possibly know what works and doesn't work unless people say something. Yes, I'm talking to you. Take a moment and leave a comment now and then. Don't be shy - be honest and direct. I'd prefer that over silence any day.

Getting frustrated and angry because you have no idea if what you're doing makes any difference at all ... this is an entirely different thing.  I get how Cap'n Ranty feels. I feel precisely the same way most of the time.

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

The Enormous Importance of Packaging

I'm well aware that some of you, maybe a lot of you, don't care about how your cigarettes are packaged.  I understand why you feel that way because I know that what you're really interested in is what is inside the packaging -- the cigarettes themselves.  So an all-singing, all-dancing cigarette packet versus the tobacco control industry's plain packaging of hate and denormalisation to make you quit smoking probably means sweet FA to you.  I get that you don't care. Besides, there's always getting a cigarette case?  Yeah?

How many people care about what their plastic containers of milk look like?  If these contain milk, organic or otherwise, and if you can fit it inside your refrigerator, then that's about your level of interest in a milk carton or what have you.  Likewise for most everything you buy.  You care more about the what's in the box than the actual box.

Of course, packaging is more than just a storage container for whatever product you desire. Packaging is also used for branding. And it's this branding and the design of the packaging that a) helps you recognise what brand you're buying, and b) the packaging gives vital clues as to the quality of the product, whether you are aware of it consciously or subconsciously.

If you look over to the left of your screen, you'll see that there are now 64 posts tagged with the label "Plain Packs."  You might be wondering why I write about plain packaging so often when I know that some of you, perhaps many, don't care.  This is because, unlike anybody who works in tobacco control, I do have extensive experience with packaging.

And I do care very much.

I worked for over 10 years in design engineering, where I not only designed cool, new stuff for people to spend their money on, but I helped design the packaging that held that cool stuff.  I couldn't design the packaging all by myself, though. I relied on printers and packaging manufacturers to help me.  They knew their machines inside and out, and what was capable.  What I did was design a rough blueprint of what we wanted for the packaging, and I provided the technical specifications that the packaging needed to meet.  For example, the packaging needed to protect the product, to keep it in intact with no movement or damage after a fall from five feet or so.  I spent untold hours continuously dropping boxes from a five-foot height to test the packaging. Or stepping on them, if they were blister packs (those dreadful plastic things that are purposefully designed so that nobody can open them without a chainsaw).

But it didn't stop there at a functional test. The packaging had to look nice. I also worked with the marketing department throughout the entire design process of the product, including the design of the packaging.  We would mock up samples of the product and the boxes and send them off to Marketing for review once per week. They would then do whatever consumer survey mojo that was needed and then come back to me with roughly five billion design changes.  I would disregard 4.99 billion of them and do my best to incorporate the rest per Marketing's suggestions.  Marketing people are funny creatures. They don't care how a product gets built, they just want to be able to sell it.  And they have ideas about what sells and what doesn't. They even know who they want to sell stuff to down to the smallest demographic.  That guy, who works in the stockroom at Tesco -- yeah, they got him covered.  The ladies who carry small dogs in their handbags -- yep, got them covered, too. Marketers, the good ones anyway, know more about you than you do.  They are also evil, as Bill Hicks once said, but I suppose that cannot be helped.

So the packaging functions, and it looks nice -- it's got this on it, and that on it here.  But it's not done yet.  Because what the packaging really needs is the brand name, maybe a catchy slogan on it, and of course your company logo somewhere on there.  And that's where the legal department comes in and the design engineers run away for cover.

Well, I didn't run away.  After my career as a design engineer, I stumbled into intellectual property. I say stumbled, because most people stumble into it if they aren't recruited for IP whilst still at Uni.  Almost no child ever thinks, "You know what, I want to be a patent attorney or maybe a trade mark attorney when I grow up. Yeah. That would be life-affirming and fulfil my every desire."  If there is a child who thought that, I'd worry about that child a great deal.  But I digress.

Now it's the Marketing guys' jobs to come up with all sorts of bizarre slogans and product names.  And if you left them to it, they would put almost anything on a box of something to sell it to you.  It's the legal department's job to squash the hopes and dreams of every marketer in the world.  Not because the legal people want to do that, but because they must do it to keep the company from being sued for a variety of things.

So the first thing the legal department does is tell Marketing to give you only five or maybe ten potential brand names and slogans for use, because otherwise Marketing would give you roughly one million or so to check.

(Quick true fact: marketers dream about slogans and brand names every night and think about them all day long no matter what they're doing -- they come up with more dumbass slogans per day than there are atoms in the universe.)

The means for choosing these select five ("three, sir") brand names and slogans is done in a secret, underground battle arena that only professional Marketers can enter. I'm told there is a brain scanning device at the entrance, and if a combatant is not thinking about at least 500 slogans at the moment of being scanned, the device knows this and that combatant is excluded from combat.  The battles are bloody, and they can rage for weeks, sometimes months.  This is also an excellent time for every other department in a company to get some actual work done.  When the battle is over, there can be only five ("three, sir") victors.  Usually, there is only one victor with five different slogans hanging around his or her neck. And that Marketer will race to the legal department to display the spoils of victory.

The legal department takes this blood-stained list of brand names and slogans and does an initial sanity check on them. Is there anything deceptive or illegal?  Do these things violate any company guidelines and standards?  You can tell when the legal department is doing this kind of work by the howls of laughter echoing throughout the building.  Depending on the size of a company, usually about ten different people pore over every detail of these brand names and slogans.  Every brand name and every slogan  is checked to see if it already exists somewhere in the markets where you are going to sell the product.

(Another quick true fact:  Marketers always know who they want to sell a product to. They just don't know where they want to sell it, like, importantly, which country. This lack of foresight by Marketing presents a host of problems much later that are not worth mentioning in this blog post. Also, Marketing will often change its mind over what it wants to call the product. This can happen up to 5000 times per day.)

Right. Checking these the slogans (that Marketing is just going to abandon in a week's time) takes an extraordinary amount of effort and time.  It takes forever because the legal system wants it to take forever, otherwise attorneys would have little to do but think up ways to for the office to be more efficient -- and trust me, if the attorneys have time to think about stuff that isn't of a legal nature, it's bad for everyone.  There will be a great deal of tears. The legal process is also pedantical, petty, exacting, and annoying. When you think of all the horrible things that humans are capable of inventing, few compare to trade mark and patent laws, with the obvious exception of Dick Puddlecote's transport company's daily insanity.  A single typo on just one form can lead to thousands of hours of work years later, all because some guy working at the patent office in Macau doesn't like your accidental typo (because his boss doesn't like your typo, because that guy's boss misread the actual legal statute and decided that typos were akin to saying bad words to his mother).  I could go on, but I won't, suffice to say that one typo on a lone form may cause all of your other 300 forms you sent along with it to be rejected as a matter of course.  My point is that it takes a very special kind of person to want to do intellectual property law as a career and, more important, to survive it.

I survived. Barely.  I was very good at what I did when I worked in trade marks.  But I didn't like the work that I did, and I definitely didn't like that jerk in Macau. Not that I ever made that dreaded typo, but some of my predecessors had, and I spent years of my life trying to repair someone else's mistakes.  I am not special enough for intellectual property law in this regard.

Eventually, a winning brand name is chosen.  It's the legal department's job to get it registered as a trade mark, everywhere in the world.  Secondarily, if your all-singing, all-dancing packaging is very special, i.e. has some new novel feature that nobody has ever seen before, you might apply for a patent.  You'll likely apply for a patent for the product itself. Thirdly, you want to protect the product's overall design, and this includes the product's packaging design, too.  So, for instance within the EU, you will attempt to register a Community Design.  These are pretty easy to get, to be fair, as long as you aren't deliberately trying to register somebody else's famous design, you're pretty much assured of at least getting a Community Design. Not always though.  Sometimes, on a rainy day in Alicante, Spain, the men and women at OHIM decide that your accidental typo is a little too much for their liking and they'll reject your entire application, which you actually needed to be registered three months earlier.  But that's the legal system for you.

Now we have a finished product that is functional, looks nice, got someone's brilliant idea of a slogan on it, a brand name, too, and everything is either protected legally through patents, trade marks and designs, or in the process of being protected -- it can take a decade or longer in some cases to get all of the legal stuff sorted. By the time it is completed you aren't even selling that old piece of crap any more, and you don't need protection for it any longer, but you keep the legal certificates and protection anyway, because Marketing has a tendency to bring back the old stuff for the sake of nostalgia -- or perhaps there was no clear winner at the battle arena. Either case is likely.

I'm telling you all of this because 99.9999999% of all of the people working in public health or any of the control industries do not know any of this stuff. How could they? They have no experience with it.

So the question is, what makes these people think they're an expert on packaging?  They are not experts. What they do is hire consultants, because some consultants-for-hire will gladly tell you anything you want to hear, under the caveat that you don't sue later them if they're wrong.  I've met quite a few consultants over my years, and most of them are really nice guys. I wouldn't trust most of them, though. Especially the ones who have never done anything but consulting (often consultants hail from an accounting background, which makes it even worse).  You almost always need real-world experience, actually doing something, to fully appreciate and understand the impact of what something is and does, and how it came to be, and who it is most likely to affect.  And there is nobody in public health that has any experience in packaging.  Nobody.

But I do have experience. I've got dusty books on packaging design somewhere... More important, the guys who make make packaging for a living do as well; good men and women who depend on the marketers in companies all over the world to come up with the craziest stuff, and depend on the design engineers to create the crazy, and depend on legal departments to say it's all good. (I'm not even going to touch the Accounting department...) Start up the machines. Let's cut some cardboard. Let's blister some plastic. Let's splash some ink on it, too. 

(Final quick fact:  If you know nothing about artwork design, specifically Pantone colours, or the various equivalents for the packaging industry, consider yourself blessed. Marketers have Pantone colour charts, which contain thousands of thousands of shades of colours, embedded right into the meaty flesh of their forearms. For quick reference, you see. It's absolutely true.  And for marketers, there just aren't enough colours in the world to go round. It's not good enough that you have 8000 colours to choose from. No, what marketers need to do is invent a completely new colour by mixing any of these 8000 colours together. This usually happens after you've run the first 10,000 units or so off the production line.)

Anyway, the public health nutters at the Department of Health know nothing about packaging. As is evident in the freedom of information release dated 17 May 2013. 

If you read the entire release, you'll see that there are real jobs at stake. People -- real people, honest and hard-working -- are going to lose their packaging jobs to others overseas.  In this economy, and especially in Ireland, who are now saying they're going to draft legislation for standard packaging, can we ever afford to destroy a legitimate industry for the sake of some small-minded prohibitionists who hate smokers?

I'm just going to post up a small bit of it here, without further comment except to say that everything I have highlighted in this image is of enormous importance and this is why you need to fight against plain packs:

Click to enlargify
Source: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/200231/DE775233_Attchment2.pdf




Monday, 27 May 2013

Pure Evil

If you give the New Inquisition an inch, it will take a light-year.

Picture if you will a horrific, compassionless campaign of oppression against some of the most vulnerable people in society, relentlessly waged by a charity an organisation of hate that the dark lord of Hades would be delighted to call his own. In a dead-end street in Woolloomooloo, Sydney, stands a brick building worth a million Australian dollars that overlooks a tiny triangle of trees in Daffodil Park.  The occupants that toil and scheme within this structure look like any other ordinary figure you might bump into on the street, for those within do not have glowing red eyes, nor horns protruding from their skull. They look like us, but make no mistake, they do not act like us. Ironically, those beings inside the building in Dowling Street do not realise that they are the minions of evil; they believe that their mission is that of love, that they are doing good works. The same holds true for all of the world's greatest tyrants who brutally tortured and demonised minorities and other groups of people they deemed unworthy of living in their utopia. Do you now have the picture in your mind's eye?

It is time for this organisation of hate masquerading as a charity to be named:  It is called Action on Smoking and Health AustraliaASH Australia to be more precise.

We begin this sad tale of denormalisation with a recent Facebook post which outlines their evil plans to prevent the mentally ill from ... smoking:

ASH Australia, the most evil organisation down under (excepting the current government, of course)
It is always easy to target and bully those who are unable to fight back, so this is the campaign ASH Australia has decided to wage.  This is an act of pure evil; one of cowardice as well. While the Facebook message above comes as little surprise to those who are already aware of ASH Australia's campaigns of terror against smokers, what may be surprising and bizarre to some of you is that The Root of All Evil, Simon Chapman, the man whose acts and efforts throughout his entire life is the basis for which ASH Australia wages their hate campaigns against tobacco consumers, does not agree with ASH Australia's present course of denormalisation against the weak, the mentally ill.

We point our camera lens to the comments of that post:

Click to enlargify
I must point out that The Root of All Evil has never favoured outdoor smoking bans, with the exception of banning smoking at outdoor dining areas at caf├ęs and restaurants.  More to the point, The Root of All Evil understands that extreme actions such as preventing the mentally ill from using a legal substance has the potential to derail the freight train of denormalisation.  You see, in order for denormalisation to work, it must be implemented piecemeal, very slowly over time, so that the denizens of the world have adapted to the previous infringement of their civil liberties before surrendering the next infringement of their liberties.

The Root of All Evil is more clever than the minions within the brick building in Woolloomooloo; he understands how to implement denormalisation effectively.  But he set the train in motion down under, and this is the ultimate consequence of his actions. Evil always grows beyond your control; it is its very nature after all.

No doubt the sheep minions of hate at ASH Australia have frustrated The Root of All Evil by revealing their scheme a little too early in the battle for humans without compassion. The endgame for tobacco control is not yet here. Patience should be exercised if evil is to prevail. But having succeeded so many times on the slick track of denormalisation, the sheep minions are now unable to brake the train, not that they would ever want to do so.

Because if you give the anti-smokers an inch, they will take a light-year.

This will be their undoing. Expect the train wreck.

WATCH FOR HATE CAMPAIGNS IN THIS AREA

Sunday, 26 May 2013

Radix Omnium Malorum

Ten days ago I gave you this teaser.

Today is the reveal. (Link leads to my new music blog)

Ladies and Gentlemen, "The Root of All Evil":



Best viewed in full HD. You are welcome to share it on your sites (unless you're in public health or support tobacco control, then you can kindly fuck off).

For an additional bank holiday weekend bonus, feel free to compare my song and video with the one below:




As always, you decide...

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

You Can't Legislate for Good Manners

Apologies for the lack of posts. I'm still working on my music project, ensuring that all the legal stuff is in order, and simultaneously developing a new music blog for it.*

At about 2:00 a.m. this morning, I stumbled upon this video uploaded to Wikimedia Commons.  If you want to know how greatly attitudes have changed in tobacco control since 1973, this would be a good video to watch.  It's 4.42 minutes in length. I found it enormously fascinating ...

VICTORIA BANS INDOOR SMOKING IN PUBLIC SPACES 

provided by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC)




Video from Wikimedia Commons, released into the public domain under the Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Creative Commons License.

[*If you'd like a preview of the new blog (design still-in-progress and will change), have a nose about to the right of the screen -- shouldn't be too difficult to spot the link.]

Sunday, 19 May 2013

The Abject Failure of Tobacco Control in Wales

Right now, I suspect that quite a few tobacco controllers in Wales want to kill themselves. Why?  Because they're rubbish at their jobs of denormalising smoking, and because almost everybody despises them.  Actually, I have no idea if almost everybody despises them.  That was an embellishment -- I am allowed to do that.  But I despise them. So does Handyman Phil.  I'm sure there are plenty more people who despise the New Inquisition in Wales -- or at least what's left of it since some recent compulsory redundancies.

So the story is that the 2012 Health Survey reveals that there has been only a 1% drop in smoking prevalence in Wales since the smoking ban took effect in 2007.  That means, if we're to believe the figures, that 23% of people in Wales are smoking -- I believe the figure is likely higher, but whatever.  In this Wales Online article, the caption for the picture reads (emphasis added):

Almost a quarter of Welsh adults still smoke, despite the introduction of the smoking ban six years ago

OK, journos and editors of the world.  Pay attention: What's this "still smoke" bullshit?  Why do you need the word "still"?  Just write it as "Almost a quarter of Welsh adults smoke despite the introduction of the smoking ban six years ago."  Stop making the assumption that nobody should smoke. It's none of your business if people are smoking.

Anyway, the rest of the Wales Online article is a bunch of wibble from various figures in the New Inquisition with the blame on the government for not doing enough to meet arbitrary smoking prevalence targets.* It's interesting, yet unsurprising, that the article segues from smoking to obesity, with the usual shrill calls of "something must be done" to protect the chubby from themselves.  All of the smoky bloggers have been warning that this was going to happen for years and years. The day the programme of the denormalisation of fat, a hate campaign designed to make ordinary people stigmatise others based solely upon what other people look like through the rose-tinted lenses of the public health nutters, is nearly upon us. Expect it.

(*Never blame yourself for your own failure(s) is one of the most important tenets in the fanatical public health movement. Another is demanding more money from government so you can continue to fail spectacularly whilst also demanding more asinine legislation that doesn't work. And one last pro tip for the True Believers is never forget to blame capitalism and Big "Anything" (Tobacco, Alcohol, Sugar, Meat, Energy -- whatever) as the cause of the world's problems.)

What I find most interesting is not what's in all of the articles about the smoking prevalence in Wales; it is what isn't in those articles.  Allow me to explain by way of this handy chart produced in 2008 by NHS Wales.

click image to enlargify
So what do you see in that chart?  I know what I see. I see the total, abject failure of all tobacco control initiatives, legislations and hate campaigns in Wales since they began in earnest in roughly 2001, give or take a year or two. 

It's obvious. Before the display ban, before the vending machine ban, before the smoking ban, before graphic health warnings were mandated, before all of it, the adult smoking rate was dropping all on its own. And then from about 2000 when the hate campaigns were loosed onto the unsuspecting public, the rate has plateaued. It has barely changed a percentage point. There has been no significant statistical change to the smoking prevalence in Wales for 13 years.  None.  Everything the tobacco control industry has done in Wales (and by extension in England) has failed time and time again.

The message is most clear:  If you try to force people to conform to your beliefs, the people will reject it every time, either consciously or subconsciously. Prohibition doesn't work. Legislation doesn't work.  But if you leave people alone to make their own choices, they will by and large make the right choices for themselves.

You see, the problem with "tobacco control" is the word "control." It smacks of hatefulness.  You shouldn't even attempt to control people or their lifestyle -- this is what we expect from brutal dictatorships, not representative democracies. Few people like being told what to do and how to live their lives, and we certainly didn't ask anyone to save us from ourselves.

But the New Inquisition's tobacco control branch will never understand this; it is incapable of fathoming the most basic concept of "freedom to do something," instead replacing it with "freedom from something." They believe that the all people should be exactly as they are:  to think, eat, drink, dress, work, play, and hate exactly as they do. They call this "love."  It is not. The worst people in tobacco control believe the number of Twitter followers you have is important, as most cults of personality would do. It is not important. Tobacco control is a false religion with false gods and despicable leaders. The New Inquisition leaves only a miserable wake of destruction in its path, obliterating anyone and anything it deems unsuitable. The more they fail, and they always fail, the more despicable and oppressive they become.

The ordinary people of the world, however, are beginning to wake up and see the truth about public health's hate campaigns to force all of us to conform to some misguided belief of human perfection sold with the false promise of immortality.

Meanwhile the press and our governments still fail or refuse to recognise the will of the people. So they are desperately trying to maintain control -- sometimes it is through subtlety and other times it is through blatant propaganda or oppressive legislation.  Someday, although I know not when, they too will awaken from their dream of controlling every last one of us. They must. It is inevitable.  Perhaps it's time for all of us to begin prodding them from their slumber.

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Teaser

Lawson Narse created this fantastic artwork for the music project I've been working on. I love it.  More details coming soon.  Stand by.

The Root of All Evil artwork

Of course, if Lawson hadn't been available, then I'd have to obtain the rights to something like this:

Katie Fey - Sexy Woman Smoking
Eugenia Diordiychuk (a.k.a. Katie Fey) - Playmate of the Year 2009
Photo credit: Sergey Enenko
Source (NSFW - but we all know you're going to click the link anyway):
... yeah. Definitely, yeah. 

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Register Your Protest Against Hate Campaigns

Note:  This is a guest post by Penny.  I am presently busy with a truly awesome music project and watching the fifth season of Fringe (priorities, you know?), so Penny has kindly agreed to allow me to publish this.  -- Jay

***


How many people are aware - when they pop their cash into charity collecting tins or sponsor a pal involved in a fund-raising campaign for some ‘worthy’ cause - that the very charities who ask us to fund them may be actively involved in the hate campaign against the smokers of Britain?

That is certainly the case with the British Heart Foundation and Cancer Research UK and I find it personally offensive that these ‘charities’ should have involved themselves in persecuting the very people who fund them. They create highly emotive adverts, aimed at encouraging us to give to their causes, and then involve themselves in some very high-profile campaigns against the hapless smokers whose money they will still cheerfully take.

I cannot bear such hypocrisy on the part of organisations like CRUK and the BHF and therefore, a friend and I devised some ‘fake fivers’ to put in charity tins proffered by either organisation. In no way do these look real money, but they do state on them that they are intended as a peaceful protest against the coalition between charities and government in the campaign against smokers.

I hope plenty of people will use the ‘fivers’ in the future, as a demonstration to CRUK and the BHF that we strongly disapprove of their hypocrisy.

Well, I am no hypocrite, and today I found myself in the uncomfortable position of having to stand by my principles when friends asked me to sponsor them in the CRUK Race for Life. A laudable cause, by anyone’s standards, and a year ago, I’d have given them a fiver or two and wished them the very best of luck.

But today, something in my water told me that I had to stand by my own principles and the promise I made to register my protest. So, I told my friend (my hairdresser), and the rest of the staff and clients in the hair salon, that I was very sorry but I couldn’t sponsor her. I explained that I have signed up to protest against the persecution of smokers by organisations like CRUK.

As I put my case, even those who had at first scowled and grumbled at me started to see I had a point. “You are right to stand by your principles,” said one, having initially registered her shock and disgust at my attitude.

And I know that I AM. As far as I’m concerned, charities like CRUK and the BHF should either stop persecuting those who fund them and happen to smoke as well, or they should come straight out with it and admit they loathe smokers and don’t actually care if we refuse to donate to them. In my opinion, charities have no business to be involving themselves in politics anyway, unless that is one of the specific purposes for which they were created. Neither Cancer Research UK nor the British Heart Foundation can truly claim that they were inaugurated to spearhead hate campaigns against those whose lifestyles perhaps don’t fit the ‘ideal’ they envisage.

My hairdresser friend, and everyone else present at the salon today, accepted my argument and I didn’t feel hated for standing by my principles. Perhaps this is the way forward (or one of them, at any rate) for the smokers of this country who are so sick of being on the receiving end of such hatred from so many quarters.

My question, now, is whether to email or write to CRUK, enclosing a couple of my fake fivers and explaining that they’ve missed out on a tenner towards their otherwise fantastic cause. Would they care? I wonder. Perhaps not. Maybe my little, one-woman protest in the hairdresser’s today will count for nothing in the greater scheme of things. But for all I know, other smokers across the UK might be taking a similar stance and refusing to donate their hard-earned cash to a charity which uses its influence to persecute them. If enough ‘ones’ stand up to be counted, then eventually, we might make a difference and the powerful charities who contribute to making our lives such a misery might just have to climb down a peg or two.

Consider joining me, won’t you?


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Saturday, 11 May 2013

TobaccoTactics Wiki Stats Debunked - UPDATED with Awesomeness

[This post was originally published at 12:08 p.m. on Friday, 10 May 2013. It has been updated with further awesomeness and republished accordingly. See Updates 1 and 2 below.]

With all of the half-truths, distortions of fact, misdirection and flat-out lies that the tobacco control industry ejaculates on a hourly basis, sometimes the lies are so fantastical that the mind boggles.  I suppose we're used to it, or at least we expect it. Even so, you would think they would at least be clever enough to lie about something that no-one could ever prove false.  This is not the case it seems.

On the main page of the University of Bath's TobaccoTactics wiki, under the heading "Is TobaccoTactics.org meant for me?" and in sub-section "Visitor Statistics" is one such falsehood that can be proven false.  It reads:
Since it was launched in June 2012, the website has received 1.4 million hits, with over 800,000 pages served with a daily average of nearly 6,300 hits! These April 2013 statistics, along with positive feedback from users of the site, reflect its success and popularity.
Here's a screen-capped image, just to confirm the above:
Over 1 bazillion served! We would we lie to you? (Don't answer that.)

Really?  C'mon, pull the other one, ladies. 1.4 million hits from web viewers all over the world in 10 months' time is a huge number of hits for a brand new web site that doesn't have stolen images of nude celebs or Lolcats.  But the statistics the editors of TobaccoTactics have put on their main page do not seem to be true or accurate.  I know this because Tyler knows this the site's own statistics show an entirely different story.  Have a look:

Click to enlargify - see highlighted text

Those statistics shown above are screen-capped from the TobaccoTactics wiki statistics page on 9 May 2013. You can view the current stats here via this link.

The truth according to the wiki software, which is designed to keep track of this kind of stuff, is that the wiki has had only 409,826 views as of this writing.  That's a far cry from "1.4 million hits and 800,000 pages served."  And of those views, how many were generated by the wiki's editors and didn't come from outside of the University of Bath?

But it's worse than that.  Because apparently Anna Gilmore (the Queen of Junk Science) and Eveline Lubbers not only suck at lying, they might also suck at maths, too. The Visitor Statistics statement on the main page says they get "a daily average of nearly 6,300 hits."  OK, 6,300 is an average, a median, so some days the wiki would get less and some days more, but it's impossible for me to know what the highs are and lows are without having access to daily stat information.  We'll just have to go with their bullshit figure of 6,300.

So let's completely waste our time by doing some basic calculations.*

Let's put the date of the launch of the wiki at 1 June 2012 (it was actually around the 5th, 6th or 7th of June, I can't recall which day, but I'll give them a few extra days).

The statistics they gave were taken from 1 June 2012 to 30 April 2013, or eleven months, or 334 days.

1,400,000 divided by 334 =

4,192

But Eveline Lubbers wrote that the daily average was 6,300.  OK, let's calculate for that:

Let's multiply 334 by 6300.

We get  2,104,200 hits.

So the figure they gave is 1,400,000 hits, which is 704,200 hits fewer than the result calculated for an average of 6,300 hits daily.  Something isn't right.  I mean, sure it's possible that they they could have 20,000 hits in single day to come up with such a high average, but that possibility is extremely unlikely.

None of that matters, though.  Because the statistics page's View Statistics says they've only had 409,826 proper hits.  That's a difference of 990,174 hits, even after nine extra days have passed from the end of April.

The statistics page also says that "Views to non-existing pages and special pages are not included."  Is it possible that the special pages of the wiki, an area that few people would bother to look at or even knew existed, received a whopping 990,174 hits, more than twice the number of actual content page views?  Anything is possible in the fairy tale land of tobacco control, as we all know, but in this case probably not. The only possible explanations I can think of are spammers inundating the site with referral link spam all day long, or a few hundred web-crawlers (such as Google or Bing) indexing the entire site per day. Even those are beyond the realm of probability.  Another explanation is that the extra views are generated by the editors as they edit and upload files to the wiki.  If the latter is the case, it's incredibly disingenuous to count those as page hits on your main page. One last explanation I can think of is that maybe, just maybe, the statistics page is broken or was reset, but I think that is also unlikely.

So what do we know? We have 409,826 "proper" page views or all-time content page hits by 9 May 2013.  What's the real average?  Let's calculate from 1 June 2012 to 9 May 2013. That is 343 days.

409,826 divided by 343 =

1,195 (avg)

You know, 1200 hits average per day is not shabby. It's a decent figure. It's not huge; it's not tiny. It's a fair amount of hits for an anti-smoker hate site set up to attack bloggers and anybody that disagrees with the tobacco control industry. Sure, the wiki is not overwhelmingly popular by any stretch, but what anti-smoker site is? Regardless, why do they feel the need to state an average figure that is five times higher?  Why do they claim they have received almost 3.5 times more hits overall?

Well, maybe the answers to those last two questions is the tobacco control industry cannot help but make shit up to give the appearance of massive support. This is a public relations confidence trick. Tell people you have a huge fan base, and you hope that people will believe you are a force to be reckoned with. The truth, however, is that their support is marginal.

The truth is that we can never trust any person or organisation in the tobacco control industry. We certainly never trusted Anna Gilmore in the past, so no reason now to start trusting her or sidekick, Eveline Lubbers, either.

*If my maths are incorrect or if I missed something, please let me know in the comments so I can correct -- I had "indulged"with a few drinks last night whilst writing this post.

UPDATE (10 May 2013, 21:20) : I have just received a message that the TobaccoTactics wiki is updated with evidence of from their server logs or something. I haven't checked myself because I'm in the middle of something right now, but in the in interest of fairness I wanted to put a quick note on this post that they have responded. I will check later and certainly I will update this post further after I have looked at what they've posted. -- Jay

UPDATE 2 (11 May 2013, 00:20):  I have now had a chance to review Eveline's web statistics.  I thank Eveline Lubbers for having the courage to post them up.  I am pleased to say that my post above remains a more accurate picture of the traffic the TobaccoTactics wiki receives. I will explain below.

But first this very important message to Eveline Lubbers:

Look, Eveline. I don't know you, and I don't mean to be cruel, but you know absolutely fuck all about the Internet (using Google, Twitter and editing a wiki does not make you an expert) and you know even less about correctly interpreting web statistics. There must be hundreds of capable IT persons at the University of Bath.  I would strongly advise you to consult with any of them, and after that kindly update your wiki's main page accordingly. Or you could hire me.  My fee is twice the amount they are paying you. The upside to hiring me is that at least you know I would be honest and fair (if not a bit foul-mouthed at at times). The downside for me is that I'd have to spend time with the Tobacco Control Research Group and I cannot think of anything more horrible at present (excluding Karen -- she's a cutie). And if you think for one second that I enjoy writing about this shit, you're wrong. I'd rather be doing anything else, but there's no way in hell I'm going to sit back and let the tobacco control industry deceive everybody.  I certainly don't need to teach you how to analyse data. But hey, if you want a propaganda war, I will beat you at it every time -- I will "pwn" you.  I think you should stick to being an author or whatever you do best, and this gig with Anna, no matter how well paid it is for you, it is not for you. I hope we are very clear, Ms Lubbers. I'm sorry I have to tell you these things. You're ruining your reputation every day you work for the tobacco control industry. 

OK, so let's begin analysing the wiki traffic stats.  This is the image that Eveline posted up on the wiki to show their traffic:

Click to enlargify Source: TobaccoTactics
So I know that looks impressive -- 1,527,557 "hits" -- but hits are misleading until you understand what they really mean.  For now, let me highlight the only two important columns in your charts you need to concern yourself with to understand your "true traffic" stats.

The only data you should look at is "Visits"
See there?  The visits column is what you want.  And over the last eleven months you got 227,649 visits.  This is, unfortunately for the TobaccoTactics team, even worse that what the wiki statistics show and what I wrote above.  But here we have real data to look at and to do some maths on.  So I will.

The first thing to do in complete fairness, however, is to toss out the June stats, because I think the TobaccoTactics team didn't start their web traffic analysis until the last week or so of June, based on the stats.  June's stats appear to be very, very low.  So, as you do with statistics, we're eliminating them from the calculations (I'll add them back in later by assuming that the 2,345 is one week's worth of data). Likewise, I will exclude May's statistics, since we're only 10 or 11 days in, but will not add that in.

Here is a screen cap of my calculations based on the above data:

Jay's super awesome calculations in Excel

So from July 2012 to April 2013, you have had a total of 216,756 visits, with (and this is naughty, because averaging averages is absolutely rubbish maths, but the hell with it, the results are mostly identical for figures this small) an average of 713 visits per day during this time period.

That is respectable traffic. That is nothing to be ashamed about.

But I want to be fair. So I'm going to include June's data, and I'm going to have to adjust June's stats because the data provided above looks like an aberration. I will assume that the June data of 78 views and 2345 hits is only one week's worth of traffic. It could more, it could be less.  But I don't know, and neither do you, it seems.  So, I will multiply the Monthly visits by four, or 2,345 x 4 = 9,380.  I admit this seems a bit low, but... give me more and I'll fix it.  Here's an adjusted spreadsheet:

We should have left June out of the calculations

Right. The TobaccoTactics traffic is actually better off by excluding June altogether as you can see (and see how fair I am to you guys? I'm Mr Fairness. Definitely fair. So fair that ... eh, never mind).

If we count June, then we have an overall average of 677 visits daily and a total of 226,136 visits during those eleven months.  This isn't shabby either.  It's better than what I get on my blog -- granted, I haven't been posting much lately, but I digress.

So you're probably wondering why the crackers "hits" don't matter.  That's because one page view can generate 4, 5, 6, a dozen or more hits. Why? Because it does. It's a quirk of how the Internet works. But I don't want you to take my word as fact, so I've found this guy, whose job it is to analyse this stuff, to explain it to you:

Source: Elbel Consulting Services, LLC

See? I'm not making it up.  You might also want to read this page from that guy which explains how to interpret web stats much better than I ever could.

So, there you have it.  And now you know why we will never trust any research or data that comes out of the Tobacco Control Research Group at the University of Bath.  Because ... well, my friend Bucko The Moose put it most succinctly in his tweet this afternoon:

I favourited this tweet for its awesomeness.

Can you update your fucking wiki with the proper visitor stats now, please?  Thanks.

UPDATE 3 (11 May 2013 17:50): Grandad weighs in here with his post 9.2 million hits. Nice one.

UPDATE 4 (12 May 2013 18:12): Simon Clark of FOREST also wrote this piece called "Stats life – welcome to the fictional world of tobacco control."

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Battle Won, War Not Over Yet

Well, the Queen's speech is over and she made no mention of plain packaging.  This means that The Guardian's leading tobacco control industry journalist, Patrick Wintour, who wrote last March that plain packaging would be in the Queen's speech, was either deceived by an anonymous senior Whitehall source, or worse, Wintour made it all up as part of another dirty confidence trick by the tobacco control industry.  Perhaps it could be a little of both?  I don't know. 

But I do know that the Department of Health Hate has still not released the results of the so-called public consultation on plain packaging of tobacco products, so I fail to understand how government ministers -- with their "open minds" -- could have the necessary information to make an informed decision.  Because the results have not been released, it certainly lends some credibility to the theory that the tobacco control industry used Patrick Wintour to push for plain packaging legislation. And I suppose that it could be possible that they did this because Tobacco Programme Manager Andrew Black's report was unable to hide the truth of the overwhelming opposition to plain packaging in the UK.

That's all conjecture and speculation, I admit. I have no idea what is going on, or who has done what in respect of deceiving the general public with con tricks. Like you, I have no special access to ministers or civil servants; I have no connections to anyone involved with public health's hate campaigns against consumers of legal tobacco products.  I suspect that further Freedom of Information requests may shed some light on why nine months have elapsed since the consultation closed and there has not been a whisper from the DH about the results.

So we have won this battle, but the war is on-going. We have many more battles to fight. We need to keep the pressure on our MPs to do the right thing, which is to leave us alone and stop wasting taxpayers' money on denormalisation programmes that clearly have no impact on smoking uptake rates, if we are to believe the tobacco control industry's claim that more kids are taking up smoking than ever before.

To all of you who have written to your MPs, signed petitions or postcards and sent in detailed responses to the so-called public consultation on plain packaging, I sincerely thank you for your efforts.  You rock!

In closing, here are some fun images I made and posted up on Twitter and Facebook the past few days. Feel free to share them anywhere and everywhere. I made them for you to enjoy.




Sunday, 5 May 2013

The Root of All Evil Goes Too Far? - An Investigation

I know that I have been a bit quiet on the blogging front of late, but even so I have remained busy keeping an eye on the absurd antics of the health zealots.  A month ago somebody created a parody account on Twitter to mock Carl Phillips.  It came to my attention because that somebody followed me on Twitter.  Parody accounts are a dime-a-dozen on Twitter and sometimes they can be funny, but as a general unwritten rule you parody and make fun of the person only -- you should not involve the subject's family. Ever. Not only is that incredibly poor taste, it's just fucking wrong.  The somebody parodying Carl Phillips broke that rule with his very first tweet by mentioning and including an image of the real Carl Phillips's child (note: I've blurred the image of the child):


So when I saw the above tweet, I decided that I would never follow that evil fucker's account and I didn't want it to follow me.  I didn't block the account, merely forced the account to unfollow me. The reason I did not block this bastard's parody account is because I knew someday I might have to tweet to it (today is that day), and if the account is blocked, Twitter won't let you tweet back and forth. 

Despite my beliefs about what is and what isn't acceptable parody material, I decided to ignore it even though I had a good idea who created the parody and why they created the account.  A month ago, I saw little point in bringing any exposure to this cunt's hateful account on Twitter.  But the shitbag decided to follow me again, and that is why I decided to confirm my suspicions about who is behind this travesty of a parody and to write this blog post today.

Here's the thing. Everybody has a unique "writing style." I'm not talking about handwriting analysis (although that's a related discipline). We all have peculiar habits of speech, preferred word choices, grammar issues, punctuation usage, etc.  Do you prefer the Oxford comma or not?  Do you use single quotation marks or double quotation marks? Do you prefer certain abbreviations or writing short cuts? And so on. It is likely that you are not even aware of your own writing style. But you do have one, as do I. Indeed, I began this paragraph with one of my oft-used habits of speech: "Here's the thing."  I also like to begin sentences with a conjunction (often considered naughty), or I overuse the word "indeed."   Sometimes I confuse tenses or slip into a passive voice writing style because I often attempt to write as though I am speaking to a person in real life, and my real life speech is grammatically lazy.

It is not difficult to discern a person's writing style. Simply, you will need to pay close attention to how things were written over many samples of writing and then look for patterns.  By using this method, I believe that I have deduced precisely who created the Carl Phillips account. Whilst I cannot prove conclusively that my deduction is correct without having access to Twitter's IP logs or this somebody's computer, I feel about 95% confident that I am right.

Who is it?

I believe that Professor Simon Chapman, a.k.a. The Root of All Evil, created the parody account of Carl Phillips. What follows are the reasons why I believe this.

As of this writing, the parody account has tweeted twelve times.  This is a small sample, but it is enough. Here are the tweets in reverse-chronological order:

Click to enlargify image
* * *

Now, the first tweet in the list, which was tweeted today, is incredibly informative and interesting.  It reads:
I know there are "completists" out there who want to collect everything I write. See end of http://t.co/B7Tv1wYVvb #onanism #vanity
There are two important items in that tweet to notice.

The first item is the hashtagged word "#onanism."  This is an obscure word. I would think that few people know what it means.  You almost never hear anybody use this word in everyday speech, and rarely do you see anyone write it. It is uncommon. There may be a good reason for that, however, because the word either means "masturbation" or "withdrawal of the penis in sexual intercourse so that ejaculation takes place outside the vagina; coitus interruptus" so not exactly something you're going to hear in grandma's knitting circle, or any circle for that matter.  In the above tweet's context, I presume that the intended meaning is "masturbation."  But Simon Chapman knows what this word means; he has used it before.

Here on the Watching The Deniers blog, one of the Root of All Evil's favourite hangouts, is a comment by Professor Simon Chapman -- note the highlighted text and the bit that follows that says "not her words," which can only be interpreted as "Simon Chapman chose the wording 'onanistic rubbish'":

Not convinced?  OK, how about this tweet by Professor Chapman where he attacks an anti-windfarm advocate:


I checked the web page mentioned -- not one instance of "onanist" or "onanism" or "onan-anything" appears on that page. I also checked @stopthesething's tweets, and out of 450 total tweets at the time of this writing, not one tweet by @stopthesethings uses the words "onanist" or "onanism."  So we have another instance of Simon Chapman choosing the wording to describe an individual as a masturbator. I am beginning to believe that The Root of All Evil touches himself each time he has occasion to use any of these "onan-something" words.  

Of course two instances of using "onanism" or "onanist" proves nothing. So we need to find more writing style patterns.

The second thing to notice in the tweet above is the use of double quotation marks to emphasise a word on Twitter (note: you cannot italicise or bold words on Twitter, you must find another means for emphasis). In this case it is the word "completists."  Some people prefer to use single quotation marks for emphasis, others prefer to capitalise a word, and still others prefer to surround a word with asterisks like so -- *completists* -- to show only but a few ways one can employ emphasis on social media that lacks text formatting. The use of double quotation marks proves nothing, it is simply a marker or an indicator of one's preference, or more precisely, of one's style. The Root of All Evil is consistent in his use of double quotes in tweets for word emphasis when he's being nasty or for other ad hominem attacks on people, as shown in the following three examples (there are many, many more examples than only these):

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Out of 2,037 tweets from Simon Chapman's tweet history (excluding retweets of others'), he used double quotes 253 times (12.4%).  Obviously, not all of those double quotes usages are for word emphasis, but the majority certainly are.

So in only one tweet we now have two examples of Chapman's preferred writing style -- word choice and punctuation style (double quotes) for emphasis.  Bear with me, though, we are not done yet.

* * *

Let's look at another peculiar quirk of the parody account's writing style. Out of the twelve tweets, two of them use a shortened ellipsis (which should be three dots "...") by using only two dots as so: " .. ":
Anna Gilmore is a pretend economist, unlike me..I've never published a single thing in the dismal science, but don't let that fool you (https://twitter.com/CARLVPHlLLlPS/status/327115880582496256)

and this tweet (which I will cover again below):
Going to THR ball soon as Emperor with No Clothes. Hope my pony tail grows long enough to preserve my modesty. But hey .. not into modesty (https://twitter.com/CARLVPHlLLlPS/status/324444806417874944)
Simon Chapman, The Root of All Evil, uses this odd shortened ellipsis at least 40 times. Here are few examples, and please note that there are at least 37 more tweets where this quirky convention for ellipses is used:

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Well, even I have to admit that this is not incontrovertible proof ... yet.

* * *

Let's find another habit of speech.  Looking over Simon Chapman's tweet, it seems he loves to use the word "Guess" to start a sentence, almost always when being hateful and putting other people down. And will you look at this? The parody account does, too:
Guess who cites my research most? It's ME! (https://twitter.com/CARLVPHlLLlPS/status/325706117441286146)
And a few of Chapman's tweets:

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* * *

I know some of you may not be convinced yet. To be honest, I couldn't stand up and say for certain that the parody account was definitely Simon Chapman's by this point.  No, I needed to find more examples.  So I did.

The abbreviation of the word "committee" to "c'tee" for instance.  Here is the parody account's second tweet:
Hope RJR doesn't publicize my membership of BAT's scientific c'tee. Doing best to make out CASSA is grass roots pure  (https://twitter.com/CARLVPHlLLlPS/status/322289135148744704)
Here is one by Simon Chapman:

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Mere coincidence? It might be if it were not for all of the other coincidences listed above.

* * *

How about this, then?  The use of the words "pretty much."  The parody account's profile reads:
Parody account of Professor CarlVPhillips, self-declared & undisputed world authority on tobacco control & pretty much anything really.
Here's a tweet by Chapman:

Twitter link
* * *

Do you need more? Fine. In an earlier tweet I already covered above, here's a literary reference to the Emperor's New Clothes (or No Clothes):

Parody account:
"Going to THR ball soon as Emperor with No Clothes. Hope my pony tail grows long enough to preserve my modesty. But hey .. not into modesty" (https://twitter.com/CARLVPHlLLlPS/status/324444806417874944)
From Chapman's account:
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* * *
What? Did you think we were finished?  Hell, no. Here's another coincidence: using the words "snout" and "trough" (albeit a common expression, it serves to show that Chapman uses it, too):

Parody:
@Dick_Puddlecote what sort of a retainer are you on, Bigus Dickus? Keen to get my snout deeper in the tobacco trough. Can we share notes? (https://twitter.com/CARLVPHlLLlPS/status/329885237628780544)
Chapman's:  
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* * *

I don't know about you, but I think those are quite a few "coincidences" in only twelve tweets from the parody account.  Still, it is all circumstantial. There's no "hard evidence" that Simon Chapman, The Root of All Evil, is the shitbag behind the Carl Phillips parody account.  But the patterns in writing style certainly appear to the be same as Chapman's.  If only I had another dozen tweets from the parody account then I could be more certain.

There is something else to cover. Every crime needs a "motivation" and when someone goes on trial the prosecution presents its theory to explain the defendant's motivation for committing the crime.  So I'm going to present a theory as to why I believe Simon Chapman created the parody account to attack and defame Carl Phillips.

I'm going to call it "The Butt-hurt theory."  Yes, our little Root of All Evil is thinner-skinned than he would like everyone to believe. Chapman is the kind of guy who posts up a link to a PDF containing quotes from his "critics" on his Twitter profile, because he probably feels that some people were unfairly criticising him, to wit:

What a jerk!





But I think the reason that Simon Chapman created the parody account of Carl Phillips is because Chapman believes that Phillips created this parody account of Chapman, @SlMONCHAPMAN.

Loving the Kim Jong Un background.
And the reason I think that Chapman believes that is because of this tweet by the real Carl Phillips:

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I think this tweet made The Root of All Evil very suspicious indeed. In fairness, the "whoever you are" could be interpreted as a sly wink of some kind. But I personally do not believe that the real Carl Phillips created the fake Simon Chapman parody account. I say this because Carl asked me over a month ago if I knew who created the Chapman parody, and I truly doubt he would ask me that in order to create some kind of misdirection or trickery to cover himself.  Why would he? We're on the same side of the debate. I am certain that Carl would have told me if he had created the parody.

But Simon Chapman doesn't know who created the Chapman parody (nor do I, for that matter), which has been silent on Twitter for almost a month, so Chapman can only surmise like the rest of us. And I think the Root of All Evil got butt-hurt that someone would dare to create a parody of himself and retaliated by creating a parody of Phillips. To be honest, using "onanism" is the big giveaway. Nobody uses that word. Chapman slipped up there.

Nevertheless, if Professor Simon Chapman is in fact the Phillips parody account, and I have every reason to believe that he is based on everything I have shown you above, then it makes you wonder all sorts of things.

Like:  Why is a supposedly "respected" and tenured academic at the University of Sydney attempting to defame another individual through a shabby parody account on Twitter?  Surely a man in Chapman's position would be able to rise above such pettiness.

Oh, wait. No, the Root of All Evil is all about the pettiness.

He always has been

The real mystery is not whether Simon Chapman is behind the Carl Phillips parody, a vile and hateful account on Twitter that stoops so low as to attack and degrade an innocent, newborn baby in the very first tweet.  The real mystery is why anyone bothers to listen to such an awful, despicable human being?  And with all of the hateful, petty things the Root of All Evil has done (and will continue to do), why does he still have a job at the University of Sydney? And should he continue to be educating our young adults with his brand of filthy hatred towards others?

I cannot know the answers to those questions. I do know what I think and believe.  I'd be ashamed to be an alumnus of the University of Sydney, and I'd never consider sending my children to a school that condones of hate campaigns by one of its professors. Every day that Chapman remains a professor at that institution is another day the university is further tarnished.

Perhaps it does not matter what I think.  But I wonder:  What do you believe?  Does the evidence above convince you?  Has the Root of All Evil gone too far?

UPDATE (Monday, 6 May 2013)

If the above evidence isn't enough, then here's another "coincidence" with the abbreviation "supplt" that I missed the first time around:

Parody account:
All authors of @TC_BMJ's Endgame supplt are liars & jokes! Only I possess TheTruth. So why am I in the wilderness?(https://twitter.com/CARLVPHlLLlPS/status/324444237351497728)
Simon Chapman's:
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And here's something else to consider. Both the parody account and Simon Chapman occasionally tweet from an iPad (not all the time, only sometimes) as you can see from the two images below: