Editorial – Nov 2017: The royal ‘we’.

October 29, 2017 | By | 2 Replies More


Hello everyone

OK, before the editorial, you might have noticed that we’ve changed suffixes. Our previous server, for the third time, turned us off for using so much of their resources without telling us. Considering we’re still second only to the SyFi Channel for SF on the Net, in some respects this just confirms it.

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Back to our scheduled programme.

The royal ‘we’ has nothing to do with how royalty dispense with their bodily waste but to do with media opinion.

I often wonder who the ‘we’ is on the main page news columns on the Internet. It’s been used a lot longer before the Internet and usually some pundits in the newspapers who think they represent their readers or papers’ opinions without necessarily asking them. Even so, all we see is the newspaper and not who is writing and assessing. When you consider so many people on the Net do identify themselves, this means we are accepting information where we don’t know the source.

I mean, if the item was from a poll, at least there would be some sort of statistics to back it up. Mind you, even statistics can be misleading because it will ignore other opinions and choices to make it appear a particular bias. In many respects, the ‘we’ was often seen to be seen as the national press.

The problem then becomes, for the Internet, is which nation, especially when it is looking at events across the world let alone which people. Certainly the likes of MSN, there are others so I’m not being bias. The ‘we’ then becomes even more anonymous. Opinion is being instigated for you to be either or against something, never any other choices, including where so-called ‘celebrity news’, am I bothered and why should I care? The last two are my preferred reactions. In many respects, this is intensifying the celebrity culture too much and is taking over other areas of news as well.

Am I of the wrong generation where news should be told rather than telling me what to think of as well. Just in case you don’t think there’s no Science Fiction bent in all of this. George Orwell’s novel’s ‘1984’s ‘newspeak’ rears its head again. How easy would it be, even on the Net, where the ‘we’ becomes a political edict simply because we don’t know where the source of the ‘we’ comes from. Worse, it could even come down from some power business magnet. Oh wait, there’s one of those at least out there. When you consider how so many people have are swayed by the herd instinct to follow certain trends without necessarily thinking about their decisions, how far off will it be when I raise my hand and show five fingers and say there are three fingers will people believe me?

If you thought the Internet was all about free choice, think again. When was the last time you were influenced by streaming adverts to look them up? With these you can’t even blame a human hand behind them but an algorithm examining what it thinks constitutes your tastes and thinks you might be interested in these as well. Actually, it also even offers the same item irrespective of whether you bought it because it’s not perfect yet.

Behind the pages of what you see on screen, there are all sorts of things that are on the main frame that can seep onto your computer. Anti-virus software keeps most of these out when it recognises them but such activity doesn’t necessarily have to be a virus. Even information carried by advertising can be potentially innocuous.

You might think our geek mentality would protect us but if any of the above sounds awfully familiar, then some of it seeps in without us realising it. We’ve always seen ourselves as thinking the Internet is full of honest people or at least out-numbers the least honest. However, with media tactics, these things can be put against us if only to sell a product.

It would be a lot easier if sources for material of this kind was immediately identified so we know who’s behind it. The algorithms do exist for that already. Passing your mouse, other pointing devices are available, over a link can reveal a safety check from anti-virus can also carry the source of the material as well. It wouldn’t take much for it to cover other info as well. It doesn’t necessarily even need to do a prejudgement on it although giving an option to show the honesty or confirmation of information being factual would be only a couple steps away from that. A further move of algorithms to being more like Artificial Intelligences would certainly way things up more as to whose information can you trust. This might still sound like a ‘Big Brother’ influence on the Net but at some point you would have to ask who would you trust more: human or AI or even the people who programmed the AI?


Thank you, take care, good night and count my fingers, are there three or five?


Geoff Willmetts

editor: SFCrowsnest.org.uk


A Zen thought: Brevity is better than insanity because you can’t laugh off madness.


A Zen thought: Does a sound happen if no one is there to hear it can also be said to be akin to whether it will rain overnight when you’re asleep. Of course it does. Events happen not because you’re the observer.


What Qualities Does A Geek Have? Free will to choose a good deal.


Observation: As demonstrated but inaccurately in the first episode of season one’s ‘The Expanse’, sexual intercourse between consenting adults floating would be impossible to do so. It isn’t like you’re floating on an invisible bed but being subjected to Newton’s Laws of Motion. Assuming you can get a union without straps to keep you both together which would make you both look like you have a fetish, any movement will be subject to the third law of an equal and opposite reaction. Ergo, subject to the motion of the vehicle you are in which will have some gravitational pull, both of you are likely to slam into a bulkhead and not in a good way. Certainly, the earth nor space will move for either of you, just very sore heads.


Observation: A discussion with my reviewer Sue Davies about the original 1973 ‘Westworld’ film where her parents took her to see it when young thinking Yul Brynner was in a musical made me think. I mean, considering that Delos can be adapted to the versions that the tourists would want, surely a musical version would be available. It would also even more scary. The black-clad cowboy shoots someone and then stops to burst into song before coming after you. Now that would be scary.


Observation: Something that came up last month regarding comicbook eyes in masks becoming cross-eyed when they are shrunk from the original to comicbook size that you are familiar struck me. It all lies in the ratio of reduction that brings lines and even dots together. That almost unperceivable fraction of an inch moves the dots. Had the eye dots been applied after reduction, then it shouldn’t happen.


Feeling Stressed: Don’t you wish the atomic clock to Armageddon was a digital clock?



Category: Scifi

About the Author ()

Geoff Willmetts has been editor at SFCrowsnest for some 21 plus years now, showing a versatility and knowledge in not only Science Fiction, but also the sciences and arts, all of which has been displayed here through editorials, reviews, articles and stories. With the latter, he has been running a short story series under the title of ‘Psi-Kicks’ If you want to contribute to SFCrowsnest, read the guidelines and show him what you can do. If it isn’t usable, he spends as much time telling you what the problems is as he would with material he accepts. This is largely how he got called an Uncle, as in Dutch Uncle. He’s not actually Dutch but hails from the west country in the UK.

Comments (2)

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  1. Julian White says:

    ‘Even information carried by advertising can be potentially innocuous.’ Did you really mean to say that?

    The answer to your final question is probably either one or two, depending on which side of the Atlantic the respondent is.


    • UncleGeoff says:

      Hello Julian
      It depends on whether you react to it or not. A lot of Net users ignore or even turn adverts off, so yes ‘potentially’.
      We do need better control to see who is providing information on the Net.


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