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With gratitude for today’s twitter feast..

Monday, October 20th, 2014

[ by Charles Cameron -- high risk furniture -- a single tweet with linked explanation, plus two sets of tweets I'd like to see further explained, explored and examined ]
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First, a single tweet from Max Fisher with a catchy title and link, where the URL provides free access to the article in question..

Single tweets like this with URLs are at the heart of intelligent twitter-use, and twitter #FFs are the curatorial device for honing in on them. But there have also been occasions when a string of tweets sets forth a noteworthy argument or tale, as in:

  • Jenan Moussa twitterstreams ISIS rules
  • Teju Cole on Nairobi: death and birdsong, death and poetry
  • Second, here are four tweets from Phil Arena via Adam Elkus:

    Fascinating ideation here, that I’d love to see developed.

    **

    And much the same goes for these five diagrammatic tweets from Darin Self via Phil Arena:

    These are really on the edge of my comprehension, but then again I quite deliberately read above my pay-grade, believing that old saw of Browning‘s:

    A man’s reach should exceed his grasp — or what’s a heaven for?

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    Snopes for CIA in al-Sham, Onion for State in Russia?

    Thursday, October 9th, 2014

    [ by Charles Cameron -- perhaps it's time we took the evident upside-downness of the world more upside-down-seriously ]
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    icon of St Vladimir Putin

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    I’ve run across death by crucifix twice this week, once in an episode of Sons of Anarchy, and once in what purported to be an image of a Christian girl repeatedly raped and gruesomely killed by ISIS — but which turned out to be an anti-Islamic propaganda piece photo-shopped from a promotional video by Canadian special effects artist Remy Couture, who was apparently looking to improve the “realistic” quality of horror movies — Snopes ferreted out the details

    It might be good if CIA inserted Snopes in ISIS-held territory, to verify stories like this one, from Niqash:

    war of flags: extremists in mosul disguise civilian houses to fool air strikes

    Abu Omar decided to leave his house in Mosul and take his family to other accommodation. The reason? A member of the Sunni Muslim extremist group known as the Islamic State climbed onto the roof of his home recently and planted one of the group’s distinctive black flags there. The flag makes his family and his home a target for allied air strikes, Abu Omar, as he wished to be known for security reasons, told NIQASH.

    But when his family tried to leave, they were shocked to find that fighters from the Islamic State, or IS, group told them that they couldn’t leave.

    At a meeting in Abu Omar’s house in the Al Arabi neighbourhood of Mosul, he says he feels sure that his family will be killed now.

    Sadly, Abu Omar and his family are not the only ones to get a black IS flag on their property. There are dozens of other families who are facing a similar situation around Mosul.

    If true, this is a curious abuse of the “black banners from Khorasan” about which I’ve frequently posted. If untrue, it’s an interesting propaganda smear that might just give the “caliphate” ideas… but who, at this distance, can tell?

    Snopes could be a real asset in situations like this ..

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    To be honest, hwoever, it would take a select group of reporters from the Onion working for State’s hashtag diplomacy unit to beat the one-woman campaign to recognize Vladimir Putin as a saint — see the icon at the head of this post.

    The story is told thus in a recent Time magazine blog-post:

    According to Der Spiegel, a sect of the Russian Orthodox Church based in the village of Bolshaya Elnya believes Putin is a reincarnation of St. Paul. The similarity apparently lies in the fact that Paul the Apostle persecuted Christians before sainthood, just as Putin did some unrighteous things as a Soviet KGB officer.

    Led by Mother Fotina, who considers herself a reincarnation of Joan of Arc, the female followers in the village spread out prayer mats at a homemade altar in a functional three-story brick building – called the Chapel of Russia’s Resurrection – and pray for the success of their (political) patron saint.

    “God has appointed Putin to Russia to prepare for the coming of Jesus Christ,” said Fotina. “He has the spirit of a czar in him…Every day we’ve prayed for him to return to the Kremlin.”

    And once again, BTW, we get that “end times” theme cropping up..

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    Respective results of Jihad vs Democracy in a “wild” DoubleQuote

    Monday, September 22nd, 2014

    [ by Charles Cameron -- not sure of the original provenance, but the content speaks for itself ]
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    The French text reads:

    A jihadist infographic suggesting the Muslim Brotherhood ws wrong to believe in democracy while rejecting jihad

    Perhaps David Thomson, if he sees this post, could comment on where he found this double image.

    By “DoubleQuote in the Wild” I’m referring to the practice of discourse by juxtaposition of similars or opposites — in this case, the juxtaposition of opposing images.

    TIA..

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    DoubleQuoting hashtags on Gaza

    Friday, August 15th, 2014

    [ by Charles Cameron -- don't be fooled by the pretty colors, what you see is just a mass of data points artfully displayed ]
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    Here’s a fascinating graphic from the quantitative mode of analysis:

    I really don’t have much to say about this, except that if a prayer is fired off each time the hashtags #prayforgaza and #prayforisrael are posted, the divine listening apparatus must be a stereo system.

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    Source:

  • Gilad Lotan, Israel, Gaza, War & Data: Social Networks and the Art of Personalizing Propaganda
  • Lotan’s article is worth reading. Here’s the point that interested me most:

    Haaretz accommodates the most connections on both the pro-Palestinian and pro-Israeli sides of the graph, having the highest betweenness centrality. Compared to all other nodes in the graph, Haaretz is most likely to spread throughout the wider network. It has the most potential for bridging across biases and political barriers.

    Lotan closes with a plea for us all to “be more thoughtful about adding and maintaining bridges across information silos online”. May it be so.

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    Satire! Fake! Hoax! Internet! [correction on p.16 below the fold]

    Thursday, July 31st, 2014

    [ by Charles Cameron -- and yes, "p.16 below the fold" is pretty much the news equivalent of "at the back of the bus" ]
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    A prime-time Dutch TV news show, De Wereld Draait Door, regularly includes a satirical segment, and the other day the segment editors spliced together a number of snippets of Netanyahu speeches to produce this clip, which they may feel represents Netanyahu’s true feelings, but which clearly isn’t what he actually said.

    As the Jewish news agency JTA noted:

    The video, made to appear genuine through seamless splicing of sound bites from previous speeches by Netanyahu, was spread by thousands of Twitter and Facebook users who advertised it under the headline “Netanyahu finally tells the truth.”

    “We are conducting these surgical operations against schools, mosques, hospitals, children,” Netanyahu is heard saying, adding, “This is something I don’t have to explain to Americans.”

    That video is satire. You may like it, you may not like it, but it is satire.

    **

    Here for comparison is the genuine news video on which it was partly based:

    Two friends of mine, from different areas of my social life, reposted the faked video on Facebook, one of them with the comment:

    fourth reich innit

    No it isn’t. It’s a satirical mashup of Netenyahu speeches, spliced together to make him appear to say the exact opposite of what he actually says.

    And the lady who posted the satirical video got 26,422 (and counting) people to “share” it.

    Look, anyone who can post or share that satirical video piece without noting up front that it is satire is either

  • believing Netanyahu would say such a thing as “We don’t not share your concern about civilian casualties at all .. one of the things we are doing is trying to maximize the number of civilian casualties, we prefer that” to Hilary Clinton, with world news sources watching, without a ripple of suprise or condemnation — or

  • knows it to be a smear, and is using it to stir up hatred in an already hypertense situation
  • **

    In this case, the hatred stirred is against the Israelis. Earlier this week, two other Facebook posts by friends of mine passed along equally misleading memes whose purpose was to stir up hated for Muslims.

    There are important things that need to be said about both Israelis and Muslims in these volatile times — but stirring up hatred is hardly a route that’s likely to lead to peace.

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