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Roar, mSparks, September 9, 2011
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London Riots, mSparks, August 16, 2011
The following is an excellent [partial] summary ny bones of our current discussions regarding the recent riots in London.

It's great with internet technology thesedays, and the current make up of the board being a 'troll free' environment provided by owners and moderators, how we can have a rational and useful discussion on these riots.

The riots cover a huge range of subjects from the economics, racism, police abuse, political policy, social decay/exclusion/mobility, the benefits system, education, criminal justice, liberty vs authority etc.. It's probably quite fair to concede that given the huge range of controversial issues that lie behind the riots it's going to be near impossible to reach an agreed consensus about what happened and where we go from here. It's certainly not our job to solve societies problems, but I feel we can have a more rational debate here than what is taking place in the media and political arenas.

Riots/civil disorder take place in the context of wider society, which include the topics listed above and I think it's useful to recap and list the various factors that led the the trouble, because the media tend to frame serious issues as simply black and white, eg: either we are too hard on people or too soft, ignoring the whole spectrum of much wider issues that exist in-between.

The bbc had a list of the reasons, there's a summary of the theories at the link, but I wasn't too impressed with the scope of discussion.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-14483149

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I image that the events and caused behind the riots and the conditions that led to the riots are very similar to other mass civil disorder that has taken place in the past. Chris Cockling, a crowd psychologist makes some intelligent points in this short Al Jazzera interview.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=-NalRVGQIZM


I have come up with a list of the various factors surrounding the riots and some very brief summaries. Can anyone add other topics that I have missed? or does anyone take issue and think that some topics don't belong?

Economic Problems, cuts, price inflation of imports caused by currency depreciation, the fall out from the economic bubble was always going to lead to serious social problems, however, during the bubble part of the business cycle, resultant inequality of wealth, lack of social mobility, social depravation and failiour to tackle the issue creating underclass and then finding a role for them was the breeding ground for the problems, the riots the symptoms.

Social Policy, has the Labour years of increasing benefits for people with social problems simply exacerbated the plight of these people causing a poverty trap that takes away any incentive to work, and own a home. has this led to more of a fragmented family structure where positive male role models are absent. I don't think that lack of positive male role models is the major factor in bringing up law abiding children with improved life chances, and lack of a positive male role model is better than having a negative male role model imposed. The main issue to do with absent fathers I think is the role of the absent farther in society, no need to work, no need to build a home life, no reason to better themselves and stay out of trouble. Although all these problems also existed during the last Tory government, Nu-Labour had 13 years to address these issues, given that many of the people taking place in the riots were children, I feel that these are the children of Nu-Labours failed policies.

The criminal justice system. The failures of the criminal justices system have been evident for 15-20 years. I think its fair to say that theres probably a 10% chance you get caught for committing a crime, a 50% chance you actually get charged, a 50% chance it goes to court, a 25% chance of being convicted of the crime, and then a 50% chance you get away with very light punishment and only a 10% chance you actually receive a serious sentence, and at the end of the crime lottery a 90% chance that you only have to serve half of the sentence. ASBO's, on the spot fines, publicised crack downs on various types of headline grabbing topical crimes, are very much policing by slogans, advertising campaigns and gimmicks.

Unemployment. As a consequence of globalisation and cheap imports and increased immigration, off shoring of jobs, never really addressed since the 1980s, this has led to multi generational unemployment. Cycles of depravation, where whole families and communities don't have any positive working role models to learn from or to aspire to. In an deprived inner city estate, what answers do children give when they are asked "what would you like to be when you grow up?" Do people even bother to ask that question these days?

Immigration. This is a difficult and controversial topic, but it must be addressed, because if we can't have a rational debate about it, then the far right political parties will capitalise on the issue. Clearly the influx of large numbers of immigrants are going to have an impact of society, some positive and some negative. The ones with higher skill levels do benefit our society, but at the same time displace and restrict the opportunities of the socially deprived underclass people in the inner cities, some of which are themselves immigrants with lower skill levels. This benefits businesses with better workers and lower wages, hence lower consumer prices, but creates externalities that society if left to deal with, in the form of a growing benefits culture and lack of social inclusion. Immigration does have a key role in providing flexibility in any advanced economy, but maintaining a healthy balance is a controversial issue. I certainly can't find the right answers in a paragraph and it's probably impossible for any consensus to be made in wider society on the issue, but I do accept that immigration has both positive and negative side effects. The usual media debates on the subject consist of one side just promoting the benefits whilst ignoring the negatives and the other side ignoring the positives and focusing on the negatives, it's always conflict. The inability to have a sensible debate is another failure of government and media, which plays into the hands of far right extremists who will capitalise on the issue.

Police Image, Caused by Institutionalised Racism, abuse of Stop and Search powers, controversial Deaths caused by the police, inadequate investigation into police abuse, the cover ups and misinformation released to the media, all of which undermines the authority and respect of the police force. This is a consequence of long term political failure and weak leadership as obvious problems in the police force are ignored, by higher up's and politicians. Also the use of the police force to obstruct legitimate public protests, which has seen them put in an awkward and unpopular position with the general public.

House Prices, underpinning the mal-structuring of the economy is unaffordable housing, land and property, the inability of most people to have a steak in society. Again this overlaps with decreased social mobility, and also the economic measures taken to postpone the correction.

Moral Bankruptcy, A General lack of respect and trust in society, from politicians expenses, newspaper criminal hacking, police bribes and coverups, bankers bonus and fraud, people feel that if those at the top don't respect the law why should they, although those at the bottom of society have yet to learn that if you want to steal, wear a suit and carry a briefcase. The issue of personal responsibility for ones actions is also not helped by the examples set by, politicians, senior police all of whom exonerate themselves from any responsibility for the riots, the mis-handling and events that led up to them

The handling of the riots, Lack of leadership, from politicians and senior police, which led to weak policing on the ground allowing the situation to get out of hand. Another issue raised by a senior ex police chief on a Newsnight debate was whether the police should operate as a force with leadership, or if they should continue to act as a service with a bureaucratic structure. I felt there were different stages of the situation which required different responses, failure to recognise and respond properly to the changes and challenges as the situation developed is a failure of leadership. Police appeared afraid to confront and arrest rioters, perhaps this is because of orders, media criticism and fear of being prosecuted, but again this comes back to the handling and leadership, as when the situation became an wide-scale emergency, police should have been ensured the support from the people in positions of responsibility.

Opportunism, a large part of people actions can never really be explained or justified, many were obvious criminals taking advantage of the situations, others may have had what they felt were legitimate grievances, but took events to far. Mass psychology, humanities inner animalistic behaviour, the madness of crowds.

Modern Communication, theres been a lot of focus on Technology and Social Networking, I would also like to include the role the News Media in this area. Yes social networking, text messages and BlackBerry Messenger helped organise people to riot and loot, but the role of the media was probably far more powerful in amplifying the ineffectual political/police response which encouraged people to break the law (the ineffectual response was a true representation of the situation on the ground) I have spoken to officers in the Manchester area who have told me that a media blackout was ordered at 9pm to stop the media reporting the location of new trouble spots to stop others attending.

Other issues, Such as Gangsta Rap/Hip Hop and Multiculturalism, I don't really see these as major factors, they are just emotive political footballs for people to project their own personal preferences and prejudices onto in a veiled manner. Focusing on Music, Ethnicity, Culture, Video Games, Films etc.. all become rose tinted projections of an idealised yesterday, such as David Starkey on Newsnight, the Historian who seems to be under the most remarkable delusion of historical ignorance by imagining that violent gang culture did not exist before black people. The day I see a credible discussion on the subject is the day I will offer my opinion.

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I felt msparks did a good job in summarising different stages of development during the riots, although I differ over some of the interpretations.

________

mSparks, on 12 August 2011 - 03:20 PM, said:
I'd say the numbers/backgrounds are fairly easy to estimate.
Day 1 rioters:The few hundred people in the vicinity of the assaulted girl
Day 2 Rioters:Several thousand friends, acquaintances and colleges of Mark Duggan and the assaulted girl
Day 2+ Rioters and looters: Tens of thousands of people and children seizing the opportunity of most of the nations police force fighting Several thousand friends, acquaintances and colleges of Mark Duggan and the assaulted girl.

And, imho, the only people the courts should be punishing are the police involved in the murder of MD and assault of the girl, because until their guilt is established, the guilt of everyone else is not establishable (unless they have a guilty conscience and plead guilty).

________

Imho, the killing of Mr Duggan appears to have the usual sort of botch job from the MET with subsequent propaganda style misinformation to cover up the mistake, however I strongly differentiate between the death of a man armed with a gun and the death of Tomlinson and Mendes.

1. I feel that the initial protest by Mr Duggans family was also badly handled by the police, especially the senor police and political masters who are ultimately responsible. this handling of a delicate issue at a time when there are many factors that can lead to civil unrest was the trigger for the first riots. Though still criminal acts, they can been seen as a political event. a reaction against police racism, abuse of stop and search, and the conditions created in society, following the pattern of almost all the other previous riots.

2. However, there were some opportunist criminals who took advantage of the situation, which maybe seen as a result of the other policy failures listed above. They took an element of the trouble into the realm of out right civil disobedience, criminality, looting, and given the lack of leadership of the authorities, things began to get out of hand.

3. The following nights of riots/looting became a continuation of the criminality caused by the type of people the complete failure of social policy has created - against the background of economic disaster compounded by the complete mishandling of the immediate situation by politicians and police. The pretext of events being an understandable political reaction to Mr Duggans death was simply a self serving delusion for those who wanted to have a ruck with their enemy, the police. or to steal from ordinary members of the public, small business and high-street chain stores.

It was like being in a dried out tinder-box forest in the middle of summer, along come the MET with a flame thrower, dithering politicians failed to take the correct decisions at the outset, leading to an ineffectual response by the police service on the ground. Other factors in society acted like prevailing winds fanning the flames, which led to still more dithering by politicians. Eventually the chaos and breakdown of law and order encouraged looters to enter the scene, setting even more fires to cover their criminal actions.

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Unfortunately, I feel that the outcome of the trouble will not be a series of carefully thought-out attempts at solving the issues that led and contributed to these events.

The injustices which caused police and political resentment will be overshadowed by the violence and looting.

Other political, newspaper, police and business scandals will be swept under the carpet as the media place the focus of societies ills on the criminal underclass.

The liberal social policies will be abandoned hurting those who took part in the trouble the most, the public will favour more police over social workers, harsher prison sentences and benefit crackdowns.

Social divisions within society will become more entrenched, some areas will become police no-go zones and there will be zero tolerance for the underclass in wealthier areas and shopping centres.

Politicians will allow the police to abuse powers needed to control serious civil unrest to suppress public demonstrations.

House prices will fall heavily in the areas affected by the troubles, and sightly less in the untouched areas.

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Exponential Times, mSparks, June 1, 2011
A long, long while ago, under the TBM_AI description I wrote:
http://www.theborgmatrix.com/ltk/index2.php/The_Borg_Matrix/28
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Currently, no LTBTBM distribution will be able to take place, untill the next generation of distributable media is well established, the base data for the LTBTBM project to function correctly currently occupies around 60GB, once you start taking additional data collection and processing into consideration this is expected to grow to many Terrabytes. For this reason the LTBTBM core design is part of a distributed system, gaining fast, secure and reliable access to this data has been the focus of the design for the past year or two.
___

Well, things have moved on somewhat since then, since the counter started on the top of every page on this website, the TBM_AI knowledge base is now shooting rapidly towards 2TB, and much of the really cool stuff is still to go live, TBM_AI based products and services have found their way into numerous nooks and crannies, and I've started to make sound progress on my PHD write up.

This year has been intense, the various aspects of the LTBTBM project development has taken up so much of my time I've managed to squeeze in barely enough time to consider LTKTBM. To the point I now consider the full TBM_AI framework to have reached RC status - only it's not going to be "released", after all, most people don't even have 2TB total storage on their machines, let alone their own storage area network and the power crazed server rack required for optimal usage.

Also, new .plan in the works, and yes, the water engine is still on it.
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emule 1.7Beta1, mSparks, May 18, 2011
Someone put up the 1.7beta files on emule. I haven't virus checked it and all those disclamers, but you can get it at:

http://contentdb.emule-project.net/view.php?pid=131
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Welcome to 2011!, mSparks, January 6, 2011
Been an interesting few years tbh, feel a bit guilty I've not given LTKTBM more time, certainly want to finish a "gold" release this year, with all the Q2 maps, textures and routes so AQ2 can never die. Yes, I know there are still some very active AQ2 communities, but the scene is nothing like it was.. We all got old, married, some are even parents now.
Most of my time has been spent parallel developing the LTBTBM backbone with other projects (currently researching for a PHD..), most of that is now complete and I'm thinking I may leave the 1.9 codebase where it is. Its stable, works well and captures most of AQ2. I've looked at various options to move forward: integrating AQ2:TNG, some kind of new generation gfx engine (bringing in the jitspoes menu & my water code, with the now essential Linux build - rather than using wine like I do now), but it is just so much work and I'm not convinced they would add much.
Right now I'm thinking a 1.95 Final Gold release of LTKTBM. Then shift focus here onto LTBTBM.
One of the main reasons I've not been able to do more on LTKTBM is the LTBTBM stuff has been running nearly 24/7 for the past few years on my development machine, which has meant there has been little to no opportunity to do any other developement, so much so that the only games I've played on the PC for what seems like forever is LTKTBM and a neat flash game called Xantrolex, not helped by a drought of playable titles with Linux dual monitor support.
However, that's all shifted onto its own super sexy server rack now (there should be a ltktbm server going up on that eventually, as long as it doesn't interfere with my ps3 COD gaming, in which case it will have to wait until I get a second Broadband line installed), So, 2011 is the year I get my computer back from the (semi) evil clutches of TBM so I can do some more varied development.
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