Sunday, 17 September 2017

Conspiracy Theories on Social Media

Some examples of Pseudoscience and Conspiracy Theories on Social Media.


ISIS probable are not named after MOSSAD

So, Israel secretly set up an extreme group, then called it the same acronym they use on their letterheads. Have I got that right?


Life in Libya under Gaddafi was no a bed of roses

Where is the evidence that any of the "facts" on that meme are actually true? A free health service is not the same as an effective one. I can offer your whole family free family healthcare right now. It's just that whatever your illlness, the only treatment you are going to get is paracetamol"


This is wrong on multiple levels

BFTF has noticed that there is a flurry of conspiracy theories on social media 3-4 days after a terrorist attack. This meme about the same girl being at different terroist attacks is a common one and was circulating a few days after the Paris attacks in Nov 2015. It is debunked at


My most favourite conspiracy theory EVER.

Possibly BFTF's most favourite conspiracy type theory ever.


No, this isn't evidence that ISIS are composed of Non-Muslims

Sigh. Another conspiracy theory. Even the most knuckle dragging EDL supporter knows that Muslims pray towards Mecca, so its unlikely that spies would forget this basic information. There are a number of more plausible explanations for this image. Someone who disliked Muslims might pay BIG TIME for people to generate and forward this kind of image, as it encourages a defeatist attitude and distracts people from issues that they can influence.


HumzaYusuf is unlikely to have said these words

Circulating posts that appear to come from well known Islamic Scholars, but are actually fake, is something that happens too. In this case the words do not sound like something Humza Yusuf would say.


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Talk : Conspiracy Theories
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The Shaykh ‘N Bake Shame Grenade

Sunday, 7 May 2017

Some notes on "The Place is Here" exhibition at Nottingham Contemporary

Interesting exhibition at Nottingham Contemporary a while back entitled "The Place is Here". BFTF had a walk round and learnt a lot!

The gallery describes the exhibition thusly :
"...This exhibition traces some of the urgent conversations that were taking place between black artists, writers and thinkers during the 80s. Against a backdrop of civil unrest and divisive national politics, they were exploring their relationship to Britain’s colonial past as well as to art history. Many artists were looking to the Civil Rights movement in America, Black feminism, Pan-Africanism, the struggle over apartheid, and the emergent fields of postcolonial and cultural studies..."
and was also covered by the Guardian. Nice review here too.

Here are some of the works that most caught BFTF's attention.

GLC Anti-Racism Mural

An example of the Greater London Council's (GLC) anti-racism murals had BFTF going on-line to learn more - which you can check out at A London Inheritance, AliceRoseBell and the London Mural Preservation Society. The specific mural above (located on Lowood Road, E1), however, has not been mostly erased, as can be seen in this GoogleMaps image

The Anti-Racism mural as it appears today

BFTF wonders how many murals there are in Nottingham, how many have been lost, and where there is any Nottingham archive of this artform.

Rasheed Araeen "For Oluwale" 1971-75

It was disturbing to learn, in Rasheed Araeen's montage "For Oluwale" about the 1970s dictatorship in Portugal, who continued to hold onto their colonial "possessions" Angola, Portuguese Guinea, Mozambique and Goa well after the UK and France had granted independence to theirs. The Portuguese authorities became increasingly brutal in their attempts to quash independence movements such as FRELIMO - resulting in massacres such as that at Wiriyamu which was reported in the Times just prior to the 1973 visit by the Portugese Prime Minister Marcello Caetano to the UK.

You can read about how India took back the territory of Goa here; and about the African Portuguese Colonial War here.

Separately, but importantly, the "Oluwale" in the title refers to David Oluwale, who was beaten on multiple occasions by Police in Leeds, eventually dying trying to escape a beating in 1969. You can, and should, read about his story here.

David Lewis "The Game " 1985

This image by Dave Lewis, entitled "The Game", needs no commentary.

Toussaint Louverture artwork

Have you heard of Toussaint Louverture? Until this exhibition, neither had BFTF.

Gavin Jantges - A South African Colouring Book (1974-5)

Another exhibit entitled "A South African Colouring Book", by Gavin Jantges (1974-5) laid bare the ridiculous contortions that South African Apartheid had to tie itself up in; given that skin colour is a spectrum - not a series of discrete shades.The Population Registration Act of 1950 states in section 1 that :

"(a) a "white" person means a person who in appearance is, or who is generally accepted as, a white person, but does not include a person who, although in appearance obviously a white person, is generally accepted as a colored person"

over a period of time, this definition seemed to be allowing too many brown skinned people to be classed as white the definition was changed in 1961 to:

"White person means a person who, a) in appearance obviously is a white person and who is not generally accepted as a Colored person; or b) is generally accepted as a white person and is not in appearance obviously not a white person."

However, this also proved to be insufficently impervious to "misapplication", one notable case being that of a child who was darker skinned than her ("white" siblings) and was placed in the "coloured" category, meaning that she could only live at home as a domestic servant.

So it 1967 further legislation used, predictably complex, wording which included the following:
" deciding whether any person is in appearance obviously a white person or not a white person within the meaning of the definition of “white person” in subsection (1), his habits. education and speech and deportment and demeanour in general shall be taken into account; (b) it shall, in the absence of proof that any person is generally accepted as a white person or a Bantu, be assumed that he is generally accepted as a coloured person except where such person is in appearance obviously a member of an aboriginal race or tribe of Africa;
(c) a person shall be deemed not to be generally accepted as a white person, unless he is so accepted in the area in which or at any place where he—
(i) is ordinarily resident;
(ii) is employed or carries on business;
(iii) mixes socially or takes part in other activities with other members of the public,
and in his association with the members of his family and any other persons with whom he lives;"

This was by no means the limit of ridiculousless that Apartheid legislation reached - see here about "Honorary whites"

Lumaina Himid "Thin Black Line(s)"

Lastly but not leastly, an interesting "underground" map of Black artists by Lumaina Himid

Monday, 6 February 2017

INEOS vs FrackFreeNotts Debate Feb 2017

Went to a fascinating debate between Gary Haywood of INEOS (who would like to undertake fracking operations in Nottinghamshire) and Denis May of FrackFreeNotts (who are very much against fracking operations)

Very interesting to see both sides present their arguments, and then have them taken down by the other side of the debate.

From the INEOS side, and amongst other things, Gary commented that:
-fracking installations ("pads") typcially house 10 individual wells;
-North Sea Gas is declining (50% of UK gas is now imported);
-it will take decades to change domestic gas boilers/ cookers to electric ones;
-using UK shale gas would help the balance of payments;
-operational wells needed little maintenance and were not an eyesore;
-seismic activity around wells is similar to activity that happens around the country anyway;
-that Public Health England and the Royal Society have been found no fundamental problems with fracking in the UK;
-that the UK has stringent safety legislation;
More information on the INEOS viewpoint can be found here.

Following on, Gary presented the FFN case with comments including that:
-To extract 15% of the shale in Lancashire would require 33,000 wells;
-Each fracking operation requires 6,000 tankers of fracking fluid;
-wells have to be refracked every 3-5 years;
-the Royal Society and Public Health England reports did not consider the effect on communities;
-A DEFRA report was critical of fracking and heavily redacted when published;
-that wells go through the aquifer and failures would put water supplies at risk;
-INEOS does not have a good safety record
-Pennsylvania (in the US) has now banned new fracking drilling operations.
More information on the FFN viewpoint can be found here.

Both sides then had a chance to respond to the other and there was a Q&A. Items in this section that caught BFTF's attention were:
-INEOS saying that 200 wells was a more realistic estimate than 33,000 wells.
-FFN relating the story of an elderly couple who were in shock that their house, 300m from a well, was now unsellable.
-FFN saying that investment in energy efficiency measures would reduce gas demand by an equivalent amount to shale output.
-INEOS commenting that shale gas extraction had (by replacing coal) reduced USA CO2 emissions so much that they had been able to meet their Koyoto targets.

Very interesting to see what each side chose NOT to say, which arguments they chose NOT to counter,how logical flaws in their arguments were glossed over and also where both sides they got caught presenting misleading information.

To BFTF, it seemed that the underlying issue was that the UK is using a lot of gas, and will continue to do so for decades. Should we :
a) Continue to import gas
b) Develop UK shale fracking (according to INEOS this may reduce imports by up to 50%)
c) Focus on energy efficiency improvements instead of shale fracking
d) Some combination of the above.

Not sure what the answer is, but BFTF does feel that the event at least helped to define what the question was!

UK Gas Useage 2015

Related Content:
Living on Fractured Earth - Talk about peoples views about fracking