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Gender: Do not display
Current location: Scotland
Member since: Sun Sep 6, 2009, 11:57 PM
Number of posts: 6,332

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Aidan McAnespie: Ex-soldier found guilty of checkpoint shooting [Northern Ireland]

Former soldier David Holden has been found guilty of the manslaughter of Aidan McAnespie in Tyrone 34 years ago.

The 53-year-old is the first veteran to be convicted of a historical offence in Northern Ireland since the 1998 Good Friday Agreement.

Mr McAnespie was killed by a shot which ricocheted off the road and struck him in the back.

His family said they were "relieved and happy" with Friday's verdict after a 34-year wait.


This is the first conviction of a soldier for a killing in Northern Ireland during the Troubles since the Good Friday Agreement. An appeal may be lodged but if not, sentencing is due to take place in the new year.

It may also be the last conviction, depending on what amendments are accepted to the Northern Ireland Troubles (Legacy and Reconciliation) Bill which is due to be passed in the coming year.

How SpaceX staff coped with Musk as boss in the past

Yeah, I know, another Musk post. This was found on Tumblr and should be treated with the same trust/suspicion you'd show toward anything anonymous found on the web, but others who've worked at SpaceX say it rings true:


I was an intern at SpaceX years ago, back it when it was a much smaller company — after Elon got hair plugs, but before his cult of personality was in full swing. I have some insight to offer here.

Back when I was at SpaceX, Elon was basically a child king. He was an important figurehead who provided the company with the money, power, and PR, but he didn’t have the knowledge or (frankly) maturity to handle day-to-day decision making and everyone knew that. He was surrounded by people whose job was, essentially, to manipulate him into making good decisions.

Managing Elon was a huge part of the company culture. Even I, as a lowly intern, would hear people talking about it openly in meetings. People knew how to present ideas in a way that would resonate with him, they knew how to creatively reinterpret (or ignore) his many insane demands, and they even knew how to “stage manage” parts of the physical office space so that it would appeal to Elon.

The funniest example of “stage management” I can remember is this dude on the IT security team. He had a script running in a terminal on one of his monitors that would output random garbage, Matrix-style, so that it always looked like he was doing Important Computer Things to anyone who walked by his desk. Second funniest was all the people I saw playing WoW at their desks after ~5pm, who did it in the office just to give the appearance that they were working late.

People were willing to do that at SpaceX because Elon was giving them the money (and hype) to get into outer space, a mission people cared deeply about. The company also grew with and around Elon. There were layers of management between individual employees and Elon, and those managers were experienced managers of Elon. Again, I cannot stress enough how much of the company culture was oriented around managing this one guy.

Twitter has neither of those things going for it. There is no company culture or internal structure around the problem of managing Elon Musk, and I think for the first time we’re seeing what happens when people actually take that man seriously and at face value. Worse, they’re doing this little experiment after this man has had decades of success at companies that dedicate significant resources to protecting themselves from him, and he’s too narcissistic to realize it.

This post is long so I’ll leave you with my favorite Elon story. One day at work, I got an all hands email telling me that it was Elon’s birthday and there was going to be a mandatory surprise party for him in the cafeteria. Presumably Elon also got this email, but whatever. We all marched down into the cafeteria, dimmed the lights, and waited. Elon was led out by his secretary (who he hadn’t fired yet) and made a big show of being fake surprised and touched that we were there. Then they wheeled out the cake.

OK, so, I want you to imagine the biggest penis cake you’ve ever seen. Like the king of novelty sex cakes. Only it’s frosted white, and the balls have been frosted to look like fire and smoke. This was Elon’s birthday “rocket” cake.

For as long as I live, I will never forget the look on everyone’s face — in that dark room of mostly-male engineers — when he made a wish and cut into the tip.


The Ukraine conflict is exposing the limits of cyber warfare - and Russian hackers

It’s safe to say that Putin’s invasion of Ukraine hasn’t gone to plan. Russian forces are suffering mounting setbacks, after underestimating the resistance of his adversaries — and that’s just in cyberspace.

The Kremlin’s hacker army – like its conventional military – hasn’t lived up to its fearsome reputation. At least, not yet. 

Analysts have offered an array of explanations for Russia’s cyber limitations. They range from upgrades to Ukraine’s defenses to changes in the Kremlin’s tactics. 


A long article I found it worthwhile to read.

Revealed: Tory peer Michelle Mone secretly received 29m from 'VIP lane' PPE firm

Documents suggest husband passed on money from PPE Medpro, which secured £200m contracts after Mone lobbied ministers

The Conservative peer Michelle Mone and her children secretly received £29m originating from the profits of a PPE business that was awarded large government contracts after she recommended it to ministers, documents seen by the Guardian indicate.

Lady Mone’s support helped the company, PPE Medpro, secure a place in a “VIP lane” the government used during the coronavirus pandemic to prioritise companies that had political connections. It then secured contracts worth more than £200m.

Documents seen by the Guardian indicate tens of millions of pounds of PPE Medpro’s profits were later transferred to a secret offshore trust of which Mone and her adult children were the beneficiaries.

Asked by the Guardian last year why Mone did not include PPE Medpro in her House of Lords register of financial interests, her lawyer replied: “Baroness Mone did not declare any interest as she did not benefit financially and was not connected to PPE Medpro in any capacity.”

The leaked documents, which were produced by the bank HSBC, appear to contradict that statement. They state that Mone’s husband, the Isle of Man-based financier Douglas Barrowman, was paid at least £65m in profits from PPE Medpro, and then distributed the funds through a series of offshore accounts, trusts and companies.

The ultimate recipients of the funds, the documents indicate, include the Isle of Man trust that was set up to benefit Mone, who was Barrowman’s fiancee at the time, and her children. In October 2020, the documents add, Barrowman transferred to the trust £28.8m originating from PPE Medpro profits.


This is just the very tip of the iceberg of the grift surrounding the purchase of PPE (personal protective equipment) by tory cronies and funders during the pandemic.

This is it:

Derrick Johnson

You are failing our democracy.

Your garbage poll means nothing. Did people outside the US vote? Did you reach out to marginalized communities—the targets of Trump’s rhetoric—for their input? Your followers don’t represent America.

If you run Twitter like this, God help us all.

Elon Musk

The people have spoken.

Trump will be reinstated.

Vox Populi, Vox Dei.

Oh, and the Latin quote Musk mangled there, to sound all high-falutin and 'nuff said, reads in full:

Nec audiendi qui solent dicere, vox populi, vox dei, quum tumultuositas vulgi semper insaniae proxima sit.

Which translated reads:

Do not listen to those who say the voice of the people is the voice of God, because the tumult of the common people is always close to madness.

I guess somebody ought to point out to him that social media is about *shock* people.

The coding and software is just a means to an end. And it wasn't actually that broken in the first place.

That wasn't where Twitter's problems lay. But I don't think he has the foggiest idea how to work on those problems, and trusting anyone else to come in and know more than he does about what the issues are and how to fix them isn't going to happen, mainly because they'll require that he changes his behaviour.

So he'll just drive on with the technofixes that achieve nothing that Twitter needs right now and the disgusting corporate atmosphere he's building until somebody yanks his lead real hard.

GB News branches out into comedy [Twitter video]


Jemma Forte

Beautiful. Martin Daubney physically unable to form the words required to break it to the viewers of GB News that their own poll shows that 55% would now vote against Brexit 👌😂

[Twitter video]

The actual results:

Needless to say, this has been enjoyed all over Twitter. Here's a version with some added music:

Matt Capon

I've tweaked the GB News clip from earlier today - when Martin Daubney had mistakenly assumed the Brexit poll would fall in favour of leave rather than 55% supporting remain.

[Twitter video]

Dogecoin co-creator says Elon Musk is a grifter who doesn't know how to run basic code

Note: This article was published on May 30, 2022, before Musk took over Twitter.

The creator of a memecoin-turned-top cryptocurrency says his interactions with Elon Musk didn't impress him, and predicted that crypto is still headed for a big crash.

The Australian co-creator of Dogecoin has described Elon Musk as a “grifter” who sells a vision that he pretends to understand while not even knowing how to run basic code. 

Jackson Palmer is an Australian-born software developer who created Dogecoin, a meme-based cryptocurrency that soon became one of the world’s most valuable digital currencies. He stopped working on the cryptocurrency in 2015 and has since denounced the technology. 

In a rare, wide-ranging interview with Crikey coinciding with the launch of his new podcasts about grifts, he spoke about Elon Musk, the cryptocurrency “winter” and the mainstreaming of rentier capitalism.

Palmer says he spoke with Musk over Twitter direct messages after he developed a script to automatically report cryptocurrency scams in a user’s replies: “Elon reached out to me to get hold of that script and it became apparent very quickly that he didn’t understand coding as well as he made out. He asked, “How do I run this Python script?”


I can completely understand your choice.

Other than from time to time re-posting content from Twitter on DU, Musk doesn't really make any money from me at the moment. Given the state of Twitter's advertising, any clicks that generates aren't very well monetized anyway. If he tries to change that, I'll certainly reconsider and weigh the pros and cons.

I'm a somewhat strange user in that I've never tweeted! I started an account solely because I wanted more control over what I saw on Twitter and my experience of it.

I think there's a mindset among some of us older (ex-)activists - those who're old enough to have been around during the days of cyclostyled leaflets tapped out on ancient typewriters by candlelight, desperate small or large demos to try to make an impact, NVDA and the resulting court cases, letters to papers, phone trees, mailed newsletters, all that sort of stuff, but not cowed by new technology - that boggles at the tools available nowadays and wonders what the world might have been like now if they'd been available back in the day when there were more prospects of disarmament, more time to combat climate change etc., etc.

Being resourceful in those days often meant hijacking media and assets of the state that we might have disapproved of. Conceiving of what's going on as a Twitter insurgency might be a bit grandiose, but quite a few people on DU have certainly enjoyed some of the verbal beatings Musk has taken on Twitter in the last few weeks!

And as I've pointed out a few times, when I joined Twitter, Trump was very active there. Nevertheless, I saw much more of Trump and his tweets on DU than I ever did on Twitter because I generally blocked or ignored his output there.

For context, Twitter has something like 73 million active users in the US.

There are around 19 million in the UK alone.

Here are the worldwide figures:

The figures below are based on Twitter’s advertising audience data for July 2022.

Note: our regions follow the United Nations Geoscheme. Click here to learn which countries belong to each region.

Number of active Twitter users in Northern America: 92.1 million

Number of active Twitter users in Central America: 19.1 million

Number of active Twitter users in the Caribbean: 3.3 million

Number of active Twitter users in Southern America: 43.1 million

Number of active Twitter users in Western Europe: 30.6 million

Number of active Twitter users in Northern Europe: 27.2 million

Number of active Twitter users in Southern Europe: 20.4 million

Number of active Twitter users in Eastern Europe: 8.2 million

Number of active Twitter users in Northern Africa: 8.0 million

Number of active Twitter users in Western Africa: 6.3 million

Number of active Twitter users in Middle Africa: 551 thousand

Number of active Twitter users in Eastern Africa: 4.0 million

Number of active Twitter users in Southern Africa: 3.4 million

Number of active Twitter users in Western Asia: 44.7 million

Number of active Twitter users in Central Asia: 377 thousand

Number of active Twitter users in Southern Asia: 30.9 million

Number of active Twitter users in Southeastern Asia: 57.6 million

Number of active Twitter users in Eastern Asia: 81.6 million

Number of active Twitter users in Oceania: 4.9 million

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