The Anonymous Widower

It’s Time We Used Cyber Dark Arts To Foil Putin

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on The Times, which was written by Edward Lucas.

This is the first paragraph.

Breaking the Kremlin’s grip on the Russian people is the greatest national security priority of our lives. We cannot (or rather, will not) fight the Russian invaders in Ukraine. But we can fight inside Russia, using disruption and subversion to disable the war machine, ideally to the point that the country becomes ungovernable.

He suggests the following.

  • Russian speakers could sow doubt about the regime’s lies and brutalities.
  • Use the Russian diaspora to contact friends and relatives back home.
  • Build and unleash a psychological warfare arsenal against Putin’s cocktail of crimes, lies and secrecy.
  • Send condolences to family members for their losses in the war.
  • Prepare Nuremberg for war crimes trials.
  • Highlight the friendly treatment that Ukrainians give Russian deserters.
  • Use wit as a weapon.

Edward Lucas then talks about the antics of Sefton Delmer in World War II. Wikipeda says this about him.

During the war, he led a black propaganda campaign against Hitler by radio from England. It was so successful that Delmer was named in the Nazis’ Black Book for immediate arrest after their planned invasion of Britain.

I suspect he was very good at his job. Two of his weapons were.

Aspidistra, which was a 500 kW radio station.

A daily “grey” German-language newspaper titled Nachrichten für die Truppe (“News for the Troops”). These leaflets were delivered by the USAF.

Edward Lucas says that we should all read Delmer’s autobiography, which is called Black Boomerang, which is now out of print and difficult to find.

Wikipedia gives this explanation of Black Boomerang.

When fighting entered Germany itself, black propaganda was used to create an impression of an anti-Nazi resistance movement.

At the end of the war in Europe, Delmer advised his colleagues not to publicise the work they had been involved in, lest unrepentant Nazis claim (as had been the case after the First World War), that they had been defeated by unconscionable methods, rather than on the battlefield. Consequently, former Nazis were able to claim, without contradiction, that they had assisted the fictitious resistance movement; Delmer described this unintended consequence as a “black boomerang”

Edward Lucas suggests reprinting Black Boomerang.

If someone has a good clear copy, I could possibly arrange it.

Demoralising The Russians

Edward Lucas believes, we can use similar techniques to Delmer to attack the Russians.

But instead of using a massive radio, he proposes using the Internet and its various messaging apps.

I suspect with a bit of arm-twisting Facebook, Twitter, Google, Microsoft et al, could produce a very good list of Russian Internet users.

It might be against the law, but who cares? It’s a war out there, we’re not using the information to physically hurt anybody or steal anything of value.

News For The Troops

I believe we can go one better than Sefton Delmer.

We are dealing with Russians invading and occupying Ukrainian territory, where many of the inhabitants can certainly read Russian.

So could we develop a truthful leaflet, that is delivered across Ukraine to both Russian Troops and the Ukrainian population?

Delivery would be primarily by the Internet, but why not deliver it by drone?

Delivery from say 5000 feet would distribute the leaflets over a wide area.

Could We Go Candy Bombing?

Gail Halvorsen, who died recently was known as the Candy Bomber.

This is the introduction to his Wikipedia entry.

Gail Seymour Halvorsen (October 10, 1920 – February 16, 2022) was a senior officer and command pilot in the United States Air Force. He is best known as the “Berlin Candy Bomber” or “Uncle Wiggly Wings” and gained fame for dropping candy to German children during the Berlin Airlift from 1948 to 1949.

I think, his actions could be copied in Ukraine.

Consider.

  • The Ukrainian people are starving in the occupied territories.
  • The Russian soldiers aren’t doing much better.
  • These days, we can supply nutrition bars instead of sweets.
  • Automated drones could deliver them safely from 5000 feet.
  • They could be flown on behalf of the Red Cross from over the border in Hungary, Moldova, Poland and Slovakia.

Organised properly, the Russians would have a problem.

  • If they let the drones through, the siege will be broken in a small way.
  • If they shoot them down, their soldiers won’t get the smallest snack and the Russians will be attacking the Red Cross.

We might lose a lot of drones, but eventually we’ll get the nutrition through, each wrapped in a large dollop of propaganda.

 

 

March 14, 2022 Posted by | Computing, Transport/Travel, World | , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Is The Truth Getting Through To The Man Or Woman On The Moscow Tram?

I ask this question, as it appears that Russian TV is parroting, the Kremlin’s lies.

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, I used to work for ICI.

A couple of times, I came across fellow engineers, who had worked on the Polyspinners project.

In this Wikipedia entry for September 1964, this is said about Polyspinners.

Edward du Cann of the British Board of Trade announced the signing of the largest trade deal in the history of British relations with the Soviet Union, with the Soviet purchasing agency Techmashimport and the British conglomerate Polyspinners, Ltd. agreeing for the supply of British textile machinery to a polyester fiber plant being constructed in Krasnoyarsk in Siberia. In all, the United Kingdom agreed to advanced $67 million of credit over a 15-year period.

It was a large project and ICI did well out of it.

My colleagues at ICI generally spoke well of the project and friends they had made in Russia and in those pre-mobile phone and internet days, they regularly sent each other cards and letters.

That was nearly sixty years ago, but human beings generally want to be friends with each other, so how many links are there between people living in Western Europe, North America, Australia and other countries and those living in Russia, which started as family, business or historic links or even casual meetings on say a holiday in the Mediterranean?

I should say that two of my best British friends in the UK, I met on holiday in St. Kitts and Moscow.

There must be millions of these links and they will surely allow the truth to get through to the man or woman on the Moscow tram.

March 2, 2022 Posted by | News, World | , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Is Thermify The Ultimate Zero-Carbon Boiler?

In The Sunday Times today, there is an article, which is entitled Tech Is Putting Net Zero Within Reach, which lists several ideas to help us achieve net zero.

The first is the best idea, that I’ve seen this year.

When you talk using a phone, tablet or computer to your family, preferred social network, bank or company, you are probably talking to or through a server somewhere on the Internet.

These servers are often a bank of computers and they use a lot of electricity and give out a lot of heat. So they are often located in unusual places like Iceland. Someone has even suggested putting them deep under the sea.

Under a section entitled Computer Power, the article in The Times introduces Thermify.

The Welsh company has combined a computer server with a heat exchanger to replace your gas-fired boiler.

I suspect all of these servers fit together just like data centres do all over the world.

It would be ideal for my house, as I only use gas for heating and hot water and I have solar panels on the roof and under-floor heating using hot water.

I shall be contacting the company next week.

 

November 7, 2021 Posted by | Computing, Energy | , , , | 9 Comments

Bucks Council Supports New Internet Lines

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on Mix96.

Buckinghamshire County Council are proposing to use the construction of the new East West Railway, as a route for extra Internet connectivity.

How sensible!

Are East West Railway and Buckinghamshire County Council talking to Hive Composites, about their next generation composite poles for a 5G-enabled railway, that won funding in the latest round of first-of-a-kind funding from Innovate UK?

Will other councils and companies be using other rail construction to advantage?

June 28, 2020 Posted by | Computing, Transport/Travel | , , , | Leave a comment

Nationalised British Broadband

Labour’s plans to nationalise broadband and provide it free to homes and small business is a cracker!

Advantages For Labour

It would have one big advantage for Labour!

It’s a great way of listening in to all their political opponents. They only have to ask the Chinese how to do it!

How for instance, would another political party, with a radical agenda organise?

But!

Consider these points.

  • Mobile phone traffic uses the same Internet backbone as broadband.
  • Internet tech giants like Amazon, Facebook and Google wouldn’t pay up without a fight
  • Everybody’s pension fund would suffer, as BT is often there and shares would be replaced by junk bonds.
  • Virgin Media and other broadband suppliers would be nationalised as well or could become worthless.
  • A lot of American Internet companies would go running to the US President and just as Trump has applied tariffs willy-nilly in his trade war with China, a future President wouldn’t take it lying down.
  • The high-tech industry has already said they don’t like it.

The biggest problem is that Internet usage will grow exponentially with 5G broadband and all the connected devices, like

  • Driverless cars.
  • Automated warehouses and delivery systems.
  • Connected smart household and other appliances.
  • Connected massive screens, which every business, school or home will have.
  • Every child watching content on mobile devices.
  • Collectinbg operating data from cars, trucks and trains to make them more reliable.
  • Automated care assistance for the ill, frail and elderly.

Can any government afford the cost of continual upgrading of capacity, which will not be like anything seen before?

It certainly, is a cracker!

And if it is implemented, it will blow up in the ultra-Marxists’ faces.

 

November 15, 2019 Posted by | Computing, World | , , , , | 5 Comments

Struggling With GMail

Many years ago before GMail existed, I started using Chrome and opened a Google account, so that I could run Google Alerts on subjects in which I’m interested.

I’ve had my e-mail for getting on for thirty years and I can’t see any reason to change it.

On my mobile phone, I have created a new Google and GMail  account, so that, when I travel I have access to e-mail, as well aw text.

Everything works fine on the phone, but how do I log in to my GMail on my laptop.

I’m always asked to create a new GMail address, when I try. But I already have one.

How do I sort this mess out?

June 17, 2019 Posted by | Computing | , , | 2 Comments

Boeing 737: Much More Than Just The Max

The title of this post is the same as that of this article on cnet.

It is a serious history, that explains how Boeing ended up in their current position.

I will still take a lot of persuading to fly in one!

The Sunday Times today has an article which is entitled Boeing Biggest Worry: Who’ll Want To Fly In A 737 Max?

Enough said!

I can see Internet designers putting together easy-to-use web sites to help passengers avoid aircraft they don’t like. There are some now, but they are rather clunky and you need to be fairly tech-savvy.

May 5, 2019 Posted by | Computing, Transport/Travel | , , , | Leave a comment

Huge Outlay On Motorways Despite Reduction In Traffic

The title of this post, is the same as a small news item in The Times on Friday.

According to the Commission on Travel Demand, individuals used cars and other vehicles fourteen percent less than they did in 2002.

Reasons given include internet shopping, Netflix and flexible working.

They also say that many in their teens and early twenties shunning car ownership altogether.

There is a graph in the article, which shows that the reduction has been largest in Greater London. That seems to fit with my observations.

  • I’ve chatted to several youngsters , who have no intention of learning to drive for some years. It’s all just too costlyin the Capital and there are few places to park securely.
  • I’m also sure, that my road which is wide and has cars parked on both sides, is less crowded than when I moved here nearly ten years ago. Now, when I get a parcel delivery, there is always space for the van outside.
  • In Dalston, we have also benefited from the Overground and lots of new buses, although the frequency of the latter hasn’t increased.
  • I wouldn’t underestimate the fact that those of a certain age, like myself, get free public transport in Greater London.
  • There has also been a tremendous increase in the use of bicycles for commuting.

I don’t think that all parts of London have seen as much reduction as the North and East.

It always seems that traffic is busy, when I go to Chelsea, Westminster or the West End. But I don’t think we can stop, those with large 4x4s going to the local Waitrose and Harrods.

I also think, that Crossrail will reduce traffic across a whole swathe of London from Ealing to Ilford via Paddington, the West End and the City.

It will be a well-designed stylist railway with trains every few minutes.

According to the article, Metropolitan areas are also seeing a reduction in car use.

Although, they haven’t got as comprehensive, a public transport network as London, over the last ten years, several large metropolitan areas have improved public transport considerably.

Traffic also seems to have reduced slightly in what the report calls shire towns, resort and rural.

I would put this down to the three factors said earlier by the article; internet shopping, Netflix and flexible working.

The only places not showing a less significant decline is districts with industry and new towns.

But a lot of these have been built for car use.

Conclusion

It is a thought-provoking article.

Given that Greater London has shown the biggest decline in traffic and it has the most comprehensive public transport system in the UK, the question has to be asked if more money is spent on public transport, could it reduce the amount of money spent on the roads!

I would do the following.

  • Build more welcoming new stations with adequate parking like, Apperley Bridge , Bromsgrove, Cambridge North, IlkestonKenilworth, Kirkstall Forge and Maghull North.
  • Update some of the worst stations in the country to a modern standard.
  • Put more seats on busy routes.
  • Increase train frequency where possible.
  • Make certain everybody who wants to, can work flexibly from home.
  • Use more sophisticated and better managed home delivery systems.
  • Build HS2 as fast as possible.
  • Develop more rail-based freight solutions.
  • Make it possible to get to most Airports by public transport.

Hopefully, with local mayors and other devolved bodies, we’ll see more areas of the country taking the decisions they need.

May 5, 2018 Posted by | Computing, Transport/Travel | , , , | 2 Comments

The Reliability Of Online Reviews

Wake Up To Money this morning on BBC Radio 5 was talking about the reliability of on-line reviews.

So I sent in the following text.

As a coeliac, I find if I type “gluten free restaurant” with the city I’m in, I find somewhere good. Perhaps coeliacs don’t want to drop their peers in it!

It wasn’t read out directly, but someone else had said the same thing and the two messages were combined.

The method has certainly found me some very good gluten-free meals.

November 6, 2017 Posted by | Computing, Food, Transport/Travel | , | Leave a comment

Monarch Goes Bust

It is not a good time for airlines with Ryanair in a mess and now Monarch has gone bust.

The CAA has announced a web site at www.monarch.caa.co.uk, where passengers should look for information.

I checked the site out of curiosity and it seems to do what the chair of the CAA said it does on the BBC!

The internet would seem to help in these situations.

October 2, 2017 Posted by | Computing, Transport/Travel | , | Leave a comment