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  • Paul Hurst 8:02 pm on April 7, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , ben, butterworth, , , heckle, heckled, lesbian, , news, politicians, politics, prime   

    What makes a good ‘Heckle’? 

    It had to happen.  It wasn’t a case of ‘if’ but ‘when’. The General Election campaign was barely 24 hours old before @benbutterworth accosted Gordon Brown en-route from ‘keeping in touch with the electorate’ and getting into his no-doubt bulletproof Jag, but what makes a good heckle?

    Mr Butterworth’s beef was with the fact that he has been unable to get his eldest child into the state school of their choosing and as this footage shows, he didn’t shy away from giving the PM a piece of his mind. “Gordon! I thought you wanted to talk to the public” was the statement that could of easily doubled as a question and as the Prime-Minister made his hasty getaway the security bods made it quite clear that it’s the PM who gets close to the electorate rather than the other way around.  So now the dust has settled, what should we make of the Heckler and the Heckled?

    The Heckler

    Mr Butterworth’s tone was forceful, clear and passionate but importantly he didn’t ‘over-egg the pudding’.  Some hecklers get lost in the emotion of the moment and throw their tempers (and shoes) at their targets. Usually resulting in an arrest, this rarely benefits their cause, instead making a speedy exit look sensible rather than seedy.  Todays heckle was well delivered and it hit home hard.  Less successful political heckles included ‘over-egging’ John Prescott,  the protester didn’t really have that much to say and as it turns out, nor did the Deputy Prime-Minister.

    Some hecklers also fall at the first hurdle which is ‘make sure your target hears what you’ve got to say’.  Other hecklers achieve much more with one incident in particular not only making the news headlines but was made ‘during’ the news headlines.  Who could ever forget the Lesbian invasion of the BBC News studios? (No-one thanks to this clip on youtube).

    Hecklers may only be exercising their democratic right to free speech but they have more to lose than they think.  A poorly executed heckle can do more harm than good although Mr Butterworth’s example from today could easily go down in political history as ‘textbook’.

    The Heckled

    The second party caught up in the moment immediately starts at a disadvantage.  The element of surprise is a vital strategy, straight from the heckler’s handbook.  Like an assassination attempt, the heckle can go relatively unchallenged for a few seconds before anyone gets chance to react.  Mr Brown found himself caught in the classic dichotomy of what to do.  Should he try to rescue the situation with a smile and a handshake? (Unlikely at the best of times) or should he just get out of there as quickly as possible?

    The Prime-Minister plumped for option two which sometimes can work well while other times can be quite damaging in itself.  When hecklers don’t appear too ‘rabid’ as in the case of Mr Butterworth, it can look quite ignorant when impassioned pleas for justice or answers fall on deaf ears.  In reality, Mr Brown probably didn’t have much option in the situation as security concerns can take precedence over PR however wherever possible, it can be helpful if the Heckled can muster some kind of response to what is put before them.

    One of many?

    As I mentioned earlier, we are barely twenty-four hours into this election campaign and it would be very surprising indeed if this heckle turned out to be an isolated incident.  With most heckles its probably healthy for us to remember that to see the real heckle and harangue pros at work, don’t need to look far beyond our illustrious politicians themselves.  They are all experts at it. In fact the irony of all of this is that you only need to watch them in Parliament to see how it really should be done.

     
  • Paul Hurst 5:51 pm on October 23, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , conservative, god, griffin, homosexuality, jan, liberal, moir, , question, racism, , time,   

    Bullied by the anti-bullies 

    Strange things have been happening recently in liberal circles, have you noticed?

    Yesterday, we had the Anti-Fascist’s ‘protecting democracy’ by demonstrating as an individual chose to use their right of free speech on BBC Television and a few days before that, over 22,000 complaints to the Press Complaints Commission regarding Jan Moir’s admittedly untimely comments surrounding the death of Stephen Gately.  Yes, it seems that anyone who dares to say anything that doesn’t sound like anything else being said (at the time), better watch their back…

    I’m sure the liberals won’t like this post either.  After all, it sounds like I’m anti-gay or racist (or both) just by talking about this, so what should I expect?

    Will I be heckled and hounded on social networking websites?  ‘How dare he say what he said!  What kind of uneducated ignoramus is he?’ #getridofhim.

    Will they express their insult and disgust, maybe demand an apology or arrange a protest, after all regardless of my intent, they have taken offence.

    Will any protest be violent and vandalistic on both sides of the police line?

    Strange things have been happening recently in liberal circles, have you noticed?

    Since when did we live in a country that only allows freedom of speech to those who say only what we want them to?  Since when did we live in a country that announces everybody’s equality although some are more equal than others based upon what they believe in?  And since when did we live in a country where it’s acceptable do what’s wrong to protest for what public opinion thinks may be right?

    I’m not Homophobic, I’m not racist but surely democracy is only democracy when it protects the rights of everybody, not just the ‘liberal elite’.  Some don’t agree with a homosexual lifestyle, some believe that multiculturalism has its dangers.  Does that mean they shouldn’t be afforded the same rights as those who believe otherwise?

    What’s so ‘tolerant and fair’ about a society that demands apologies from people who’s opinions differ?  Come to think about it, what’s so liberal about that either?  Aren’t we in danger of just polarising to the other extremes?

    Surely our society works best when people can say what they think and then those who listen can have their chance too.  Are we not sometimes too quick to take offence?  Aren’t we quick to start inquisitions and character assassinations for anyone who isn’t ‘liberal enough’ for our liking?

    Someone recently linked to the alpha homepage on twitter with this comment:  Don’t forget to vote ‘no’ on this poll.  The question was, ‘is there a God?’.

    I’m sick of being told what I have to think, not just to be popular but to be accepted.  And why should anyone be branded a fool or homophobic racist if they talk about sexuality and race whilst holding an opinion that differs from the left-wing, ‘do-gooders’?  Shouldn’t democracy afford everybody (regardless of sexuality, religion or race) the right to speak and be heard?

    I don’t have to believe what anybody tells me,  I can listen to liberals and conservatives alike.  I can make my own mind up without anybody protesting or complaining whether I want them to or not.  I can reason and speak for myself.

    I clicked ‘Yes’


     
  • Paul Hurst 6:52 pm on August 20, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Abdelbaset, am, bombing, international, justice, kenny, Kenny MacAskill, libya, lockerbie, Megrahi, mercy, , pan, pan am, scottish, secretary, sword, , usa   

    Act, Love and Walk 

    8 He has showed you, O man, what is good.
    And what does the LORD require of you?
    To act justly and to love mercy
    and to walk humbly with your God.

    Micah 6:8

    So what about mercy over justice?  Today the Scottish authourities chose to release Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi, the only man ever convicted of the Bombing of Pan-Am 103. But did they do the right thing?

    At first glance, it seems that you either have one or the other.  You are either merciful or you wield justice.  A false dichotomy which is perfectly demonstrated by two swords, kept in the Tower of London as part of the Crown Jewels.  The Sword of Justice is large.  It moves swiftly and would leave no one under any allusions as to where it has been.  Made from the highest quality metals and incredibly sharp, the sword divides, it splits one thing from another.  Right from wrong.

    The Sword of Mercy looks completely different.  In fact it looks like it is broken.  It has been blunted and shortened at its end.  According to myth and legend, its tip was broken off by an Angel in order to prevent a wrongful killing.  The sword is presented to the Monarch as a reminder that Mercy may be just as powerful as justice in the right hands, so is that what we have seen today?

    The aptly named ‘Justice Secretary’ Kenny MacAskill, hinted that ultimate justice would not be handed out by a government but by a God and he questioned how allowing Megrahi to die in prison served justice any more than him dying elsewhere.  He faces an ultimate judgement which he cannot avoid.

    In showing mercy to this man. Mr MacAskill may have made many enemies.  People still eager for their pound of flesh.  People who feel that  justice left on the plane for Libya with Megrahi.  I sensed a pang of remorse as I saw him leave too yet despite my otherwise indescribable feelings, I also felt that by showing mercy, the Minister may have brought a degree of closure that simply wouldn’t have been possible in a few months.  The time for Mercy was now.  To allow a dying man the dignity that was denied to two hundred and seventy individuals.  It may be difficult to spot at the moment but by wielding the Sword of Mercy, he may send out an example to some who wield their ‘Swords of Justice’ on a daily basis, killing many.

    Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi released this statement, from the plane, shortly after leaving Glasgow Airport.

     
  • Paul Hurst 11:16 pm on July 8, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , code, codex, criticism, da, error, , , resurrection, siniaticus, textural, vinci   

    ‘Christ died for our sins’ Despite what the BBC says… 

    Christ's resurrection *IS* mentioned in Codex Sinaiticus

    The earliest account of the resurrection in Codex Sinaiticus

    Great news for religious conspiracy theorists the world over.  The oldest near-complete version of the Bible can now be browsed online.

    Codex Siniaticus was written between 400-450AD and is the oldest version of the Bible in existence but what does it tell us about the Bibles we read today?

    There is no doubt there are lots of ‘differences’ Especially in the Old Testament.  This is largely due to how the oldest books (like Genesis) were written.  In this Codex, they were written in ‘ye-olde-Greek’ which has presented challenges to readers, much like those who try to read old English versions today.  It’s a different story for the New Testament though.

    Some stories are omitted and some extra ones are included but bearing in mind, these scriptures are by no means a recent find, the modern translations already point out these differences in the margins.  Unfortunately with Da Vinci Code mania stull running high,  lots of people are looking for controversy where there really isn’t any and it seems to be quite fashionable to try to discredit the Bible rather than the Qur’an or other Holy writings were fundamentalists don’t quite share such scholarly love.

    The BBC haven’t helped by writing a web article which only really tells half of the story.  Readers may be forgiven for thinking its all over bar the (hymn) singing after reading that the Codex misses out vast swathes of text including accounts of Christ’s resurrection and ascension.  It isn’t quite like that at all.

    Via the science of ‘textural criticism‘ its possible to form a relatively accurate date for the writings and events of the letters of St Paul and the Acts of the Apostles.  Paul’s ‘conversion’ happened approximately four years after Jesus’s public execution.  Acts 9:19 tells us that after his Damascus road experience, Paul spent time with the Disciples in Jerusalem.  Textural criticism really kicks in here…

    1 Cor 15:3 offers what seems like a simple-almost throw-away comment.

    3For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance[a]: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5and that he appeared to Peter,[b] and then to the Twelve. 6After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep.

    This now sounds quite ‘normal’ as far as Christian tradition goes but at the time of writing, these words were mind blowing.  Paul wrote this around 50AD.  A mere thirty years after Jesus’ execution many of the witnesses to the events were still alive, in fact Paul makes mention of this himself.  But why is this so important?

    Well, some historians, theologians and novel writers would like us to believe that Jesus’ Divinity and resurrection were only ‘invented’ hundreds of years and thousands of miles away from how things actually were.  However through textural criticism it’s easy to see that they were not.  Christians were preaching, reading and writing about the resurrection within 5 years of Christ’s execution (remember: Paul says he is passing on that which he was given, presumably from the Disciples in Jerusalem).

    Unsurprisingly and contrary to what the BBC may have us believe, these texts can all be found (easily) in Codex Siniaticus with a few simple clicks of the mouse.  They aren’t missing at all!

    I’m not sure why Christianity comes in for so much stick.  Now I know some of the bad-press is well deserved with religious crackpots doing far more damage than good but surely a tambourine image crisis shouldn’t affect what is historically accurate or not.

    Alas! It doesn’t seem to be that way.  So many assumptions are made, reports and documentaries broadcast without some of the evidence being presented properly.  Not only does this exhibit very poor journalism, it misrepresents some of the most famous and prevalent ancient texts in existence.


     
  • Paul Hurst 9:53 pm on July 3, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: accounts, celeb, direct, dm, , friend, message, network, online, , unfollow   

    Aren’t we interesting enough for the celebs? 

    Twitter may be full of the rich and famous but most of us commoners may have noticed that few famous people bother to return the ‘follow’.

    Before I worked at the BBC I used to be a TV extra.  I remember my first day on the set of Coronation Street and despite seeing many familiar faces I suddenly realised that I didn’t know these people at all.  That led me to be kind and courteous to the cast as I would a stranger, yet it seemed that some household names almost went out of their way NOT to treat me the same and this really puzzled me.  In fact it was the first time I experienced not just a class divide but a profession divide too, something which working in the media industry, I have now grown quite accustomed to.

    I won’t name names as to who the worst offenders were although Bill Roache deserves a special mention at this point for being quite the opposite.  He is one of the nicest and most helpful people with which to work on your nervous first days treading the cobbles.  On some occasions I even noticed he answered to his screen name both on set, and on Sundays in the BBC studios where our paths crossed again.  Ken, you’re a star!

    I’ve noticed a similar kind of celeb dynamic on Twitter as well.

    Some ‘stars’ seem only too quick to follow their equal’s but much slower to follow anyone who earns less than a few grand a week.  Their follow rate is both disproportionate and disappointing.  Now I am not saying that they should follow everyone or indeed that I have any right to tell anyone who they should or shouldn’t follow but purely based on the laws of probability, there must be some people who aren’t rich or famous that still deserve to be ‘heard’ on Twitter by those who are.

    I am very non-discriminatory in who I follow.  If people seem interesting I follow them, if not then I don’t.  Sometimes I follow people based on single tweets or trends and sometimes I follow people for a while, then change my mind. I know the constraints on my time may not be quite as demanding however it seems as though the celebs don’t use Twitter the same way I do at all.  In fact, I’m just as keen to soak-up as to share and I benefit greatly from doing so yet some of the celebs seem to be the opposite way around.  So may I challenge anyone reading this to follow someone new today, even if some users remind us that although they may share the same network, they are a million miles apart in every other aspect.


     
  • Paul Hurst 12:56 pm on June 30, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: 3gs, @documentally, , , , twitpic, , , youtube   

    Unleash the power of video via your tweets. 

    Twitter continues to grow as more users share their thoughts and photos via the micro-blogging platform but did you know its easy to add your videos too.

    There are various ways in which you can share your video footage with your followers so this isn’t going to be an exhaustive list by any means but it may still be helpful for anyone wishing to take their tweets to the next level.  Tune in and tweet out!

    1. Vidtweeter:  This website allows you to easily attach pre-uploaded web content from a number of services (like YouTube & Vimeo) to your tweets.  Its advantage is that it kind of loads the video’s over your own twitter page when clicked which means that users don’t have to navigate away from your profile to view your content.  This looks great and works well for your visitors too!

    Unfortunately, vidtweeter does not offer a mobile app.  This means  you have to use your desktop or laptop computer to post your tweet.  This can make it impractical if you want to upload video to Twitter while you are on the go.

    2.  YouTube:  The big boys of web video have finally made friends with their smaller, cooler cousins from Twitter, you can now choose to share youtube clips via your tweets in exactly the same way you can share them with facebook ‘et al’.

    Unfortunately, once again this is done via your laptop or PC so not much scope for mobile portability and unlike vidtweeter, your content will open in a traditional youtube page.  This is much more kitsch rather than cool.

    3. Finally some good news for all you iPhone 3Gs users out there too.  You obviously want to show off your new (and some may say, overpriced) toy and what better way than shooting video footage and then sharing it via twitter directly via your handset.  Well you’ll be pleased to hear that there’s an app for that.  Less pleased to hear that it isn’t free unlike the superb Tweetdeck.

    Twitelator Pro offers 3Gs users the opportunity to easily shoot, upload and share video footage to Twitter via the yfrog service.  As a twitter app, its nowhere near as classy as tweetdeck but it does get the job done, especially if you want to share your footage on the fly.  Finally if I may, a word of advice if you are using said app on the 3Gs.  You are better ‘pre-recording’ your footage before uploading via TP.  Although TP does allow capture from within the app itself, if the upload fails, your footage is lost.  You have been warned!

    So there we have it! Not content with mere tweets?  Not content with twitpic?  Not even content with audio tweets via the simply superb audioboo?  why not give video a go!

    Inkeeping with the spirit of micro-blogging, should also mention micro-videoing too over at 12secondstv.  This service limits your vids to 12 seconds but they can easily be shared via a tweet. Its used to great effect by twitter users such as @documentally so drop by for a nosey.

     
  • Paul Hurst 12:27 pm on May 20, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , brown, date, , , fawkes, , government, grodon, guido, mistake, , , , resigns, speaker, , uk   

    What a Twittering idiot! 

    When twittering surely the only rule would be ‘don’t write something you wouldn’t say’ however one of the latest twittering MP’s may have fallen foul in one of his very first updates!

    @nickbrownmp seems to suggest that the UK could indeed be heading for an early general election, this from the ‘virtual mouth’ of he who is responsile for whipping all the Labour MP’s into place (whip harder I say).  The governments chief whip may have meant to say something different however Whitehall tongues are now wagging about the Speakers replacement and a nice shiny new Parliament to go with it.

    Either that or Mr Brown (unfortunate name for a labour MP) was careless with government information which he meant to send privately.  Instead it’s now very much in the the public domain, without the need for losing a memory stick, a CD-ROM and no laptops were needed to be left on public transport either.  Come to think about it, he’s just cutting out the middle man and saving the taxpayer some money by leaking it inadvertently via a free service with no cost to the taxpayer whatsoever!  And who says all our MP’s are on the take…

    (for more on this, visit @guidofawkes blog)

     
  • Paul Hurst 3:49 pm on May 18, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: apology, commons, costs, , house, martin, michael, money, , , repentance, , , sack, sacked, sackings, services, tax, taxes   

    Sorry seems to be the ‘easiest’ word to say… 

    As the MP’s gather in the House of Commons to hear the Speaker of the House apologise, what should we make of the contrition shown by so many of our elected officials?

    The speaker of the house, Michael Martin isn’t just ‘sorry’.  He’s ‘profoundly sorry’ but would all of these honourable individuals be sorry if they had not been caught with their hands in our cookie jar?  To express sorrow after an event can be quite natural.  Sometimes we all make mistakes, some of which may require an apology.  but sometimes ‘sorry’ isn’t enough.

    Without sounding too religious,  repentance is sometimes requred when mistakes are made.  It isn’t just good enough to talk about how we feel, we have to talk about what we are going to do about it.

    Its also commonplace in the UK for the public to be quick to demand heads to roll.  People bay for blood, they require resignations and somehow feel that these actions will somehow right any wrongs, especially when ‘sorry’ is clearly not enough.  However more job losses and resignations only contribute to the credit crunch rather than restoring public faith in public services.

    Surely sometimes, its better to move forward with repentant individuals, who recognise their mistakes.  Isn’t it better to allow people who are ‘profoundly sorry’ to contine in office if only just to resolve their wrongs?  A new brush may indeed sweep clean however what good is it if some things are merely swept under the carpet?

     
  • Paul Hurst 10:41 am on May 12, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: bebo, education, , learning, , new, podcasting, radio, schools, , ,   

    Social Media and Schools 

    Just delivered a presentation to students and staff from Accrington Academy.  Its focus was the use of mobile technology within the classroom and an ever increasing aspect of this centers around the use of Social Media and Networking applications too.

    It’s well known that a large percentage of users for the social networking websites are still at school.  Bebo and Myspace are now giving way to Facebook which offers us an insight into how young people communicate and want to stay in touch.  It also shows how young people choose to consume information when presented with a variety of options but could these technologies be used in a productive way to alter how people learn and interact with their schools?

    I have been involved in promoting radio as an educational resource for a number of years.  Its immediacy and hands-on development make it ideal as an engaging way of allowing students of all ages to research, develop and deliver content which has a purpose not just for an audience but the production team behind it.  These podcasts are now delivered in classrooms alongside more traditional methods of learning and its a similar approach to new flexible technologies which will only grow in importance during the coming months and years.

    Over the next few weeks, I’m going to blog about the ways in which I’m using new media and new technology.  Breaking it out of ICT lessons and effecting how young people are learning new things by using new technolgies.

     
  • Paul Hurst 4:03 pm on May 4, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , ten, tips, , usefulness   

    Making Twitter work for you 

    How do you squeeze the most out of Twitter and why should more people take it seriously?

    Twitters 1000% increase in membership may be impressive but with recent reports suggesting that 40% of newbies quit within weeks, it would be easy to write Twitter off as a mere flash in the pan.  But it isn’t.

    Those recent stats also tell us that lots of people who do survive those first fragile days are likely to be professional individuals who have seen past a gimmicky, hype-laden platform to see a versatile networking tool which can be used to great effect in the right hands.  Here’s my top ten countdown of why Twitter is more useful than you may initially think.

    10.  140 Characters mean updates are short and generally well thought out.

    9.  It allows users to view content irrespective of ‘friend lists’ etc meaning each individual tweet could potentially be seen by millions.

    8.  The open API means that Twitter has left the confines of the computer screen and is therefore easy to keep up with or update on the go. Check out these top Twitter apps.

    7.  Re-tweeting means that lots of useful web content is shared effectively by people who usually share similar interests.

    6. Third party integration means that photos, audio and video can be shared easily.  (check vidtweeter to get started with video).

    5.  Twitter is currently free to use.

    4.  #Hashtags allow users to tag their tweets for the benefit of search engines.

    3.  Some of the links contained within tweets are incredibly interesting!

    2.  Its one of the best networking tools available today.

    1.  Using Twitter is of benefit to both writer and reader.  It helps us to focus on what we think is important to both ourselves and to others.  It helps us to develop more effective communication skills.

    So resist the urge to become a ‘qwitter’ and simply follow the three ‘golden rules’ to get the most out of Twitter.

    A.  Follow as many people as you like!  Apps like ‘TweetDeck‘ make it easy to keep on top of updates from thousands of individuals.

    B.  Don’t just follow people you know.  Surf away and find people who share your interests.  Don’t worry if they don’t ‘follow’ you back, you will still see all their updates.

    C. When writing ask yourself:

    Am I writing this for my own benefit or the benefit of others?

    Who will find this of use?

    Can I provide an appropriate link or photo etc?

     
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