Internet mass hysteria – 50 Shades of #TheDress

Not withstanding the fact the Internet is a great place to assemble for hysteria, ‪#‎thedress‬ is all the things people say it was and not at all because of the way our eyes and brains interpret information.

The image that sparked the debate
The image that sparked the debate

For a start there are technical issues with the image taken, it is subject to lighting issues – the white balance isn’t taken into account, which has a significant impact on the colours contained within an image, but who is going to know anything about that if they have never learned about it? There is also the issue of the various screens out there that people would have been viewing the dress on, making subtle but significant changes to what you see.

The dress taken from the website
The dress and the image taken from the website
50 Shades of dress
50 Shades of dress

Then there is the actual light spectrum and the tiny band which we can see. Millions of colours or variations from a simple set of prime colours we learn about, a handful of names to describe them and our eyes work with red and green (maybe blue too?) The restrictions on our ability to define the colours we see then impacts our ability to reconcile what is there versus what we see.

Which brings me on to my favourite part of all of this; we only see 10% of what’s in front of us and our brains make up the rest using its experience. This is why eye-witness reports are not always reliable and why someone in a gorilla suit can walk across a stage and no one sees him. We can override what see with what we think is there, or by what we think should be there.

For the record, after plugging back deep into the Matrix, I thought it looked gold and blue, but may have been black and white on the assumption the image taken was influenced by the camera settings.

Here another dress that suffered the question of ‘what colour is it?’

The first time I saw the hysteria of colour
The first time I saw the hysteria of colour

Other memes from the Internet over #thedress.

Before 'The Dress' there Timon and Pumba
Before ‘The Dress’ there was Timon and Pumbaa
Lewinsky
A dress that caused a real stink when I was a child, the dress worn by Monica Lewinsky

Now if only we can get people to care about and debate issues that are really affecting us with the passion shown over this dress the world might start to see some real change.

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We tried playing by their rules, now it’s time for something different

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Yesterday I joined firefighters in their fight for pension justice as they descended upon Westminster and then Downing Street, demanding answers to the question on how MPs can mislead the House of Commons with impunity, but not everyone was happy with their actions.

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I offered the police officer in these pictures a sponge to clean up politics. Cleaning up politics is not just about Ministers misleading the house over pension regulations, it is about MPs voting on debates that affect our lives without mandates from their constituents or voting how their party whip tells them too and not having even heard the arguments, it’s also about historical acts of lying such as when the Prime Minister lied to the House of Commons about weapons of mass destruction, resulting in almost 500 dead UK service personnel and hundreds more injured. We have serious problems with our political system, this can’t be as good as it gets.

The police officer here said he didn’t want the sponge, I told him that the government were after his pension too, which he agreed but he said that there were “ways of doing things and that this wasn’t it.” I informed him that firefighters had tried that and been sold out, so now they were taking to the streets.

Cleaning up PoliticsFBU Cleaning Crew Cromwell

With a political system that is designed to serve and protect itself, people are being left with no choice but to take things into their own hands and head to the streets. Civil disobedience and economic withdrawal have been pillars of change throughout our history, we are likely to see more of this if things continue on the path we are on.

To the man who said: “there are ways of doing things and this isn’t it.” I say this is the only way things have ever changed.

London Lockdown – firefighters 24hr strike

Yesterday, thousands of firefighters brought London to a stand still as they descended on Westminster in anger at changes to their pension arrangements, during a 24 hour strike called by the Fire Brigades Union (FBU).

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Fire Minister, Penny Mordaunt and the Government stand accused of deliberately misleading MPs in the House of Commons during a debate that took place on December 15th 2014. During the debate the Minister for fire stated six times that firefighters would be guaranteed their pension in the event that they failed to maintain fitness due to the natural aging process. This was further supported by comments made by DCLG Secretary, Eric Pickles, who made the same guarantees. These alleged guarantees came after the Ministers were informed BEFORE the debate took place by the fire service employers that legal advice showed there was no guarantee in the current regulation wording.

Following several weeks of lobbying, firefighters had too confirmed that the guarantee assured in the House of Commons was not as resolute as claimed and that many firefighters (between 66% and 92% from age 55-60) face a very real risk of having no job and no pension, just for aging.

Members of the FBU had earlier been at a rally in Westminster Methodist Hall and upon exiting, took to the streets and marched on Westminster, demanding that David Cameron answer for the potential misleading of parliament. The FBU had written three times calling for answers but to no avail. They then headed to Downing Street and made their feelings heard.

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There was much anger on the streets, firefighters said they had made every attempt to follow due process with an Early Day Motion -454 (supported by the Labour Party) laid against the pension regulations submitted in late 2014 but now felt they were left no choice but to take to the streets. There was a significant show of anger and frustration, one firefighter stopped to tell me that they no longer felt they had a voice and that they could no longer trust politicians to do the right thing after so much effort was expended during the lobbying phase of EDM 454, only for it to be undone by half-truths and deception.

The message of the day was clear; they are not going away, they will be back.

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