Monthly Archives: July 2023

  • MoD: you have Mali!

    Mali flagToday’s Guardian reports that civil servants at Whitehall’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) inadvertently sent classified emails intended for the United States military to Mali.

    How did this happen? Email addresses for the US military come under the .mil TLD. By omitting the letter i from this TLD, one is left with the two letter country code top level domain .ml, denoting Mali.

    To cover its blushes from this glaring example of digital dyslexia, the Ministry has commented as follows:

    We have opened an investigation after a small number of emails were mistakenly forwarded to an incorrect email domain.

    We are confident they did not contain any information that could compromise operational security or technical data.

    All sensitive information is shared on systems designed to minimise the risk of misdirection.

    The MoD constantly reviews its processes and is currently undertaking a programme of work to improve information management, data loss prevention, and the control of sensitive information.

    Whitehall is currently illuminated bright red by all the embarrassed faces lurking behind all the impressive military statues of senior dead white squaddies fronting its main building in SW1.

    Maybe such a cock-up would not have happened had the ministry’s civil servants paid proper attention to what they were typing on their email clients instead of constantly reviewing their processes!

  • New Twitter logo – a suggestion

    Twitter logoToday’s Grauniad reports that Elon Musk, the super-rich man-baby allegedly in charge of social media platform Twitter, wants to change the company’s famous blue bird logo. Announcing his intention, Musk is said to have tweeted: “And soon we shall bid adieu to the Twitter brand and, gradually, all the birds”.

    Since being acquired by Musk in October 2022, Twitter has had its business name changed to X Corp and it is on a design involving an X that Musk wishes logo efforts to be concentrated, with him also announcing the following:

    “If a good enough X logo is posted tonight, we’ll make (it) go live worldwide tomorrow.”

    As someone with an intense dislike for Musk and all he stands for, your ‘umble scribe has not been on Twitter since his takeover and has deleted his account* despite the large number of friends and contacts I’d made on the platform all over the country and the rest of the world.

    Nevertheless, your correspondent would like to suggest to Musk not to bother with a logo featuring an X, but something far more familiar to those with whom Twitter comes into contact, particularly if they are from the fourth estate or the media in general. It’s shown below for the benefit of Musk and his cultists.

    Turd emoji

    No, your eyes are working perfectly. It is the turd emoji. And it’s appropriate for many reasons. Firstly, there’s the mismanagement of the platform since Musk’s acquisition, including allegedly unlawful sackings of staff and the reinstatement of accounts of previously banned persons (such as that of the deeply unpleasant disgraced former 45th president of the US of A).

    Furthermore, press and media inquiries to Musk/Twitter now receive the turd emoji as their sole response to him/the company. It is hence far more representative of what the company has become under its present ownership, not to mention the mindset of its billionaire proprietor.

    However, if brown’s not your favourite colour, an alternative could be to tint the turd emoji the shade of blue used by the social media platform.

    Blue turd emoji

    * = Now on Mastodon, but that’s the subject of a future blog post. 😀

  • Strike at Auntie’s Bristol base

    Walking up Whiteladies Road this morning, your ‘umble scribe spotted a picket line outside Broadcasting Brainwashing House as local radio journalists down tools for the third time in recent months to protest about cuts to jobs in the corporation’s local radio stations.

    NUJ picket line on White ladies Road BS8
    NUJ picket line on White ladies Road, BS8

    According to the NUJ, “Despite the dispute winning huge support among the 5.4m loyal local radio listeners, MPs and councillors of all parties, a huge range of charities, non-league football fans, and community groups, the BBC is going ahead with plans to cut local content by almost half, with many popular presenters losing their jobs or choosing to go“.

    Solidarity! 😀

  • The expert and the gentleman amateur

    Can anything be gleaned from whom countries pick as their government ministers


    Until recently there was an interesting comparison to be made between Chile and the so-called United Kingdom in their choice of environment ministers.

    Let’s compare and contrast…

    Chilean environment minister Maisa RojasIn 2022 Chile appointed Maisa Heloísa Juana Rojas Corradi, a physicist and climatologist to the post of Minister for the Environment. As you can tell by the letters after her name, Ms Rojas is not exactly lacking in academic success.having graduated in physics at the University of Chile before going on to gain a Ph.D. in atmospheric physics from Lincoln College, Oxford. After gaining her doctorate, Rojas then pursued a career in academia, initially as a postdoctoral fellow at International Research Institute for Climate and Society at Columbia University in 2001, after which she then returned to Universidad de Chile as a postdoctoral fellow, researcher, eventually becoming a professor of geophysics. During that time, Rojas became an international leading climate change scientist. She was the lead author of the Paleoclimate chapter for the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) fifth report (AR5), and was also a coordinating lead author for the IPCC report (AR6). She has served on various presidential councils and committees on climate change.

    Amateur human being Zac GolsmithNow compare and contrast that record of achievement with the person who was until recently the UK’s Minister of State for Overseas Territories, Commonwealth, Energy, Climate and Environment, the improbably named Frank Zacharias Robin Goldsmith, Baron Goldsmith of Richmond Park. Zac is a scion of the corrupt (and corrupting. Ed.) British Establishment who was not just born with a silver spoon in his mouth, but a whole sterling cutlery service. As a rich boy, Goldsmith had the best education that money can buy (allegedly): 3 fee-paying preparatory schools, followed by Eton College (which ought to be put into special measures for the sake of the nation. Ed.), from which he was expelled after drugs were discovered in his room. Despite all that expensive tuition, Zac go no where near a degree, but did go on after Eton to gain four A Levels at the now defunct Cambridge Centre for Sixth-Form Studies.

    From your ‘umble scribe’s researches, it would appear that Zac definitely fits the definition of a ‘gentleman amateur’ about which Dr Duncan Stone of the University of Huddersfield wrote in 2019.

    With specific reference to the late 19th century, Dr Stone wrote:

    Average wits notwithstanding, anyone emerging from Eton, Harrow, Winchester or Westminster at this time was afforded – as a ‘gentleman’ – an indisputable authority that allowed them to simply assume positions of leadership. Their authority remained mostly intact, even if the ‘blood’ so crucial to a gentleman’s nobility in the past had been severely diluted by the overwhelming expansion of the public school system and the middle-classes it helped to produce.

    The idealised gentleman was brave, loyal, and chivalrous towards females, put public duty before his own interests, and took part in activities for love rather than financial gain. These values were applied to a wide range of activities during the nineteenth century. Science, politics and the arts were all defined by this hegemonic ideal of the ‘gentleman amateur’.

    On 30 June Goldsmith resigned from his ministerial position, stating the government showed “apathy” towards environmental issues and that Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s lack of interest had paralysed policymaking.

    Who would you rather have looking after your environment, someone with impeccable connections and manners, or someone who knows their subject inside-out? Answers in the comments below, please. 😀