A dangerous work(around)

You may have heard the expression: Rubbish in, rubbish out.

Forty years ago Coco used a early version of SuperCalc (SC2 – a spreadsheet like Excel for those who cannot remember) for the preparation of monthly reports under the operating system C/PM. It was ‘cutting’ edge at the time using simple lists of transactions which were converted into a report showing monthly, cumulative and projected figures against a flexible budget. Coco shall not go into the technical details of this. It was not many months before Coco noticed that the report sometimes did not balance.

How could that be? The original data was complete, and balanced. Careful examination of the code indicated that nothing had been left out. It was only when Coco had set the code to run step by step, updating the display at each step, that quite by accident the problem revealed itself. As you will know, and if you do not, ledger accounts have two sides, a debit (on the left) and a credit (on the right). The code identified separately each debit total and each credit total for every account. This is important for the grand total of the debits and the credits must agree. In order to obtain the balance on the account for the report, the difference between the debits and the credits on each account must be determined. That was a very simple action. Put the debits into column A, the credits into column B, calculate the balance in and pick it up from column C.

This is where the mistake occurred. As SuperCalc accepted the values in column B it erased the value in every 16th row, and only every sixteenth row, in column A.

It is said that, for a given set of inputs a computer will always give the same result. You may give it that set of inputs any number of times, nothing will ever be different. If something is different, then it you must look at the programme not the inputs.

Coco never found out what it was in the SuperCalc code that prompted it to do this, but it was consistent. The correct solution was to fix SuperCalc, but my solution was not to try to fix SuperCalc but to fix the data to work around the error. Coco added dummy accounts into the system, each of which would have no data assigned to them and would fall onto these 16th rows. After that the reports balanced. It was a concern however that there might be something else lying around which would creep up unawares. We found such things were lurking later, when the then victorious Excel now and again got an arithmetic calculation wrong. The problem is still with us today if we expect say +(1-0.1-0.1-0.1-0.1-0.1-0.1-0.1-0.1-0.1-0.1) to be 0, it is not quite zero.

So we consider the mRNA vaccine, where it is reported (Covid study: mRNA vaccines could be fine-tuned) that there is a one in three probability that the ribosome will incorrectly read the data held in the mRNA. The solution is, so they say, to use non-slip mRNA, which will eradicate the incorrect reading of the data. They speak of the data as code, and code it is, just as this note is itself written in an alphabetic code which we read with our eyes and interpret with our brains.

The data, the code, however is read (just as Coco’s data was read by the SuperCalc code) by a ribosome, which is itself a complex chemical machine with its own code that interacts with the data in the mRNA. If one in three times the reading of the data produces a different result it suggests that it is something in the ribosomes that are reading the data that is different. Changing the data may, as it did for Coco, skip the thing that we do not understand that actually makes the difference, but the thing we do not understand is still there waiting to catch us out in different circumstances.

There is another possibility. Coco mentioned above that a given set of inputs will always yield the same output. We have seen many situations in the electronic world where this did not seem to be the case. Careful examination showed however that the starting conditions, which we thought were identical were not. A prior process, which may or may not have taken place, influenced the results of the later inputs. There was, if you like, an unknown input over which we had no control, which changed the result. This was unlike Coco’s SuperCalc problem.

Should we not try to understand why the same set of data, the same code, produces different outcomes one in three times before we say we have fixed it? Coco did not fix his problem, Coco merely worked around it, not knowing what other problems may arise later. What is it that causes the ribosome to read the data ‘incorrectly’ one in three times? Or is it that it is the two in three times that it does what we want it to do that is the incorrect result?

The unintended result of the misreading, or possibly correct reading, of the mRNA is the production of a few unintended proteins. Coco thinks that the implication is ‘harmless’ proteins, but that is not actually said. So the workaround is to change the mRNA, the data, in such a way that the ribosome will always read the data as we want it to: but do we understand why it read the original data in two different ways, not just occasionally but quite regularly? What else was going on? What was the unknown input that caused the data to be read in either of the two different ways? We have not addressed that, have we?

To address the matter with a workaround in the data is both reckless and negligent. When Coco used a workaround, he was only dealing with the reporting of how money gathered and how it had been used, the reporting is important, yes, but mRNA affects people’s lives.

AI – what can go wrong?

Having heard and read about AI chat machines and recommended their use by others, when the BBC mentioned one (Elusive Ernie) in particular Coco thought Coco should look.

Coco was dismayed to find that it was not open to the public but only to registered users. Coco supposes Coco should not be surprised nor concerned by that if it were not that it suggests that the controllers may have more interest in what Coco as a user might be thinking than the answer that the machine provides. So, Coco thought Coco should look at the terms and conditions before proceeding. It was a most revealing and uplifting experience. Unlike other channels where your behaviour as a user may violate their policies, and lead to an exclusion from that market place, it would be impossible to find yourself in such a position with this application, you could never be in breach of their terms and conditions. The general principles read, in (not-British) English:

“Users can use individual services of Baidu’s various channels and products. When users use Baidu’s individual services, the user’s usage behavior (sic!) is deemed to be in accordance with the terms of service of the individual service and the various announcements issued by Baidu in the individual service. agree.”


How refreshing, it matters not what your actual behaviour is, it will always be deemed to conform to the terms of service of the platform. Of course Coco shall be willing to agree to such a condition. It is a pity that ‘agree’ lacked a capital A and an exclamation mark, but hey-ho, it is not British English.  

It seemed however rather an odd thing to include in your general principles. Now in many a state which lacks the checks and balances that are designed to ensure that each department of that state is accountable to another – rather as in the paper, stone, scissors game – we hear the words that are quite similar to this: The authorities will always act in accordance with the law by not violating any individual’s rights and within the constraints placed upon them by the legal system.

It sounds very good. That is exactly what we expect, until we look more closely and find that the words mean only exactly what the speaker wanted them to mean, knowing that the auditor would understand them in a different way. We are in the Looking Glass world again of Alice and Lewis Carroll.

There are others who distort the meaning of words too in a much more important context. The most important question we have, perhaps you should ask your favourite AI tool the question to see whether it understands the distinction, is How can a man be right with God?  Coco heard recently a presentation which included a section about this matter in relation to temple worship recently. The speaker said we visit temples in order to make offerings which are acceptable to the deity and to bring us closer to him. How right he is, yet he missed the obvious conclusion that if there is a need for us to make such an offering, then we are coming from the position of being unacceptable to the deity (he would not have denied this). If we are unacceptable in ourselves to the deity, then the offerings which we bring, being tainted by us, will also be unacceptable. We find ourselves then between a rock and a hard place. In order to offer an acceptable sacrifice we must first be justified, but to be justified we must offer an acceptable sacrifice.

It is probably that what the speaker was averring to was that by joining in this process we could incrementally approach the deity; each of our efforts combined with a sacrifice would move us closer to justification or improve our justification. But even if this is the case it is not a hare and tortoise race, where motion takes place, it is more akin to approaching the speed of light for the closer you get to it, the more slowly you accelerate with the result that you never arrive – this is asymptotic behaviour, but don’t worry if you don’t understand the meaning of the word, that one does not matter. Some seem to speak of justification as if it contained shades of grey, where you can move from being unjustified to justified imperceptibly changing on the way (an imperceptible change is not an actual change is it? If a change has taken place it must be in some way be possible to perceive it – but that is a different discussion), whereas the reality is either/or, true/false. There is no middle ground. You are either justified or not justified. Even the third Scottish verdict of not proven does not contradict that.

What is required then? To do what no man could do, God has himself done in that he provided the acceptable sacrifice, and in his own person died on a Roman cross that we might not perish but live. It is his death accounted for us, that provides justification for us. A once and for all act, which justifies the sinner before God.

As Coco suggested, ask your favourite AI the question. If the reply is not we are justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified.¹ And if it do not reply in that manner, it does not matter how well it answers questions about world leaders so-called, whether Alexander the Great, Julius Cæsar, Genghis Khan, Napoleon B, H Wilson or any of our contemporary leaders, or what else happened on the day that George III was born, let it be anathema to you.

¹ Galatians 2:16

Venn diagrammed

Venn diagrammes often convey important information in quite straightforward, easy to understand ways. Take this one from TR for example, it illustrates clearly some of the issues and benefits of a mixed work-life pattern that involves working from home and in the office. They call it hybrid working:

Hybrid working

As may easily be understood from the diagramme, when you are in the office you should spend your time planning your social activities, and when you are at home you should eat well. In both places you should set practical goals and manage your time in order to achieve these goals, whilst presumably at the same time, though it is not said, doing enough to satisfy your reviewer that some work has been done.

That was the view in August 2021. A quite different view was given just a year earlier in September 2020 by the Salo organisation in this diagramme:

Worklife balance

There is clearly no overlap between work and giving to the community. All those so-called community and charitable activities of an organisation are therefore ruled out and can only, on the basis of this understanding, be understood as self-congratulatory tools of the organisation.

In a similar vein we have a contrast between home and family and well-being. There is no overlap, with the suggestion that if you wish to have a home and family you must accept the consequences of poor health.

Both of these different expressions of the overlap between the home and the office, which some call the work-life balance, but here seems more like the worklife balance, arose as a result of the consequences of the coronavirus infection which had consequences across the globe. Coco rather thinks that the designers of the diagrammes somehow fell short of their target and missed the point. The prize surely however for one of the best Venn diagrammes however must go to the designer of this one:

Misplaced values

which was published seven years earlier in August 2014, and quickly reported both (sic!) by The Baron, The Poke, BMO to Coco (on the 22nd), and several other organisations.

It shows quite clearly that, as every reporter knows, the facts must not get in the way of a good story.

It also perhaps helps one to understand why in 2018 (13 July) there were ten reasons, [the video appears to fail on the webpage, but may be found here on Youtube]

Ten reasons

but by August 2023 there were only five reasons to join the business, none of which actually relate to the business itself.

Five reasons

The images used above may be copyright, so please be careful with them. They have all been used in the public space, so Coco considers that their reproduction here is fair use, and is in any event for educational purposes only to help the reader understand how things can go wrong with Venn diagrammes. Of course in saying this Coco assumes that the designers of the diagrammes did not intend to convey the message that they do in fact convey. In the manner of a Hitchcock movie, Coco may be mistaken.

Could any more be said?

Only a reporter truly knows.

Whilst not many disabilities disqualify, dysanagnosic dyslexia must surely of the proof-reader a disqualifier be.

On the [a]moral high ground?

Speculative misguidance?

Once again the BBC is to be thanked for bringing to our attention a prominent issue in our contemporary world by drawing attention to the Brattle report. The reference to the ‘19 million [who] include those Africans kidnapped and transported to the Americas and Caribbean and those born into slavery‘ which is indeed a blight upon those nations who participated in the slave trade originating in West Africa and conducted over many centuries, brings to our attention the extent of the harm caused by slavery, and also whilst pointing to the evidence that exists today of the transatlantic aspects of that slave trade by mentioning those ‘born into slavery‘ also leads us to ask where today is, and if there is none, why is there none, of the overland transportation of slaves from West Africa to the east? There is sufficient information available to provide an answer to that question, but I shall not rehearse it here lest the descriptions used infringe the sensibilities of the censors and my readers. Let me say nothing more than that some of the men at the least may perhaps have preferred the Western than the Eastern transport.

Secondly, whilst the report produces a fine analysis of the harm done and endeavours to place an economic or perhaps financial value of it, it focuses merely upon the small number of nations who participated in the transatlantic trade ignoring those nations who were involved and benefitting from the far more harmful overland trade and the African nations themselves who were the initial enslavers of those who were transported. The report itself acknowledges its limitation in this way: ’our analysis and results are structured and presented around the state or territory in the Americas that experienced the harm and the colonizing European or American state legally responsible for the enslavement. This paper does not take on the important issues of harms to African countries or how reparations should be implemented. Rather we focus on estimating the magnitude of the harm in the Americas from transatlantic chattel slavery.‘ You will note that it specifically ignores that the enslavement had taken place before the European and American states became involved in the African nations themselves. If reparations are due, then they should also be apportioned to those who initiated the enslavement. Quite rightly it does not take into account the harms to the African countries themselves, as those harms were, looking at it from the perspective of the modern nation states, self-inflicted though if you look on a more granular level the same kind of behaviours within those nations will be seen to have taken place, and perhaps still do, as are attributed to the Western nations.

Let me say, as I have before, I have no wish to belittle the horrors of the slave trade. There are other matters with which I would take exception in the report, for example in the manner of their calculations. They acknowledge the difficulty of the calculations for much is made of the shortcomings of their calculations when a case might be made that the figure is too low, but no attempt is made to measure what the outcome would have been ‘in [the] hypothetical world that never experienced transatlantic chattel slavery‘. A comparison between that result and the present situation might prove rather interesting and not lend support to the primary contention of this report. A quite different answer may have been obtained if, instead of measuring the financial consequences in relation to the economies of the thirty one nations they chose, they had measured the cost in the way an insurance company would measure the amount of a claim to be paid by asking the question: where would the claimant have been today had the event (ie the transatlantic trade) giving rise to the claim not taken place? If you have ever suffered the total loss of a motor vehicle you will understand that the outcome is not as rewarding as the claimant may have hoped. Where would the nineteen million and their descendant be today had the event giving rise to the claim not have taken place? The report mentions this aspect: ‘Restitution, [which] should restore the victim to their original situation before the violation occurred, e.g. restoration of liberty, reinstatement of employment, return of property, return to one’s place of residence‘ So, are they suggesting that as well as financial compensation the victims and their descendants should be returned to their former place of residence? You may read for yourself. Are they consistent with their own principles?

The report may seek to stand on the moral high ground, but utterly fails to do so, instead relying upon the prejudices of a small liberal group in the Western nations who appear only to delight in the destruction of the very nations which permit them to speak in the way that they do. (And yes, I reply, in acknowledgment of your thought as you perceive my own prejudices as I say this). This is very evident in the manner in which they choose the calculations that they perform and present. Rather than presenting a comprehensive report, they pick and choose the bits that support their case. In a sense that is exactly what you would want your lawyer to do. You do not expect him to present a contrary case. Perhaps however they should remember that if Stalin had been born into a Stalinist state, such a state would never have existed.

Finally, whilst this is a ‘hot topic’ today, there are other potential claims: when shall we see reparations paid by Assyria and Persia for the destruction caused in Lebanon, Israel and Egypt in the fifth century, that of the Italians in France, Germany and Britain in the first century (British slaves were available for sale in Rome as late as the sixth century), that of the French in Britain in the eleventh century, that of Turkey in the Balkans in the sixteenth century, or, do I need to add to the list, and I have only referenced the West, what was happening in the Steppes of Russia, China, India, and the other Eastern nations? Perhaps one case comes to mind, when will the outcastes be compensated by the upper castes? Of course many of the governments that I have referenced no longer exist in the form that they had at the time of the incursion of the damage. Is it only that the Western nations have somehow managed to survive since the abolition of the slave trade to which the report refers which provides the reporters the opportunity to press their quite misguided claim?

Perhaps the final nail in the coffin of this report is in its own admission: ‘The need for reparation…is much more than a call for monetary compensation and cannot be narrowly defined as such; rather, it is a call for a long-term commitment to stabilise and bring restitution to those who were oppressed and subordinated by the dominant colonial powers‘. We only need to look briefly at the chaos into which some of those nations which were formerly oppressed and subordinated by the dominant colonial powers to understand that the oppression and subordination of which the authors of the report are so fond, may not have been the solely harmful thing that they want you to think it was.

There is a suggestion in the report that the blame is on going, even though many, if not all, of the nations implicated by it have long since repented of and suppressed the behaviours which were previously expressed. How well they re-express the words echoed by the prophet:

The fathers have eaten sour grapes and the children’s teeth are set on edge.¹

But when we hear the reply we begin to understand that there is a day coming² when the Lord shall change that. All souls are mine, that of the father and that of the son. The teeth of the one who eats sour grapes shall be set on edge, not the teeth of another. The soul that sins shall die³. Our judgements in these matters are imperfect, but the day is coming when God will judge the world in righteousness by Jesus Christ of which has given assurance by raising him from the dead⁴. There shall be no imperfection in his judgement, after which he shall lead his people, of all nations, tribes, tongues, peoples, rich, poor, slaves and free, into his kingdom of everlasting joy⁵, peace and love.

Will you join him in that kingdom? Will you wait till Jesus comes, down by the riverside⁶?

  1. Jeremiah 31:29 and Ezekiel 18:2
  2. Jeremiah 31
  3. Ezekiel 18
  4. Acts 17:31
  5. Isaiah 35:10
  6. Slave song

International Lymphoedema Framework

I have just returned from the International Lymphoedema Conference 2023  #ILF which was held in Nottingham. It was a wonderful scientific, medical and therapeutic conference for any who would have any interest at all in lymphoedema in its many and varied forms. Much of the science went over my head, especially when presented by the Dutch, but it was still possible to detect some conflicting hypotheses and the robust debate among and between the participants. Such debate demonstrates a very healthy environment for the development of sound science based upon real-world evidence. Among the participants were the #theila the International Lipoedema Association whose stall was well worth the visit. What has lipoedema to do with lymphoedema? You may well ask, but I shall offer no explanation here for fear of misleading you, save to say that those who know know. Do visit their websites:
International Lymphoedema Framework
International Lipoedema Association

ILA Stall

More pictures from the conference – password required – here

More may be read about the involvement of ILA in the conference here. Note especially the engaging discussions: Thought-provoking discussions led to a deeper awareness of the challenges faced by the lipoedema community. It is a well thought out understatement indeed.

Be careful how you say

When you are a marketing executive it becomes you to ensure that any advertising you do will not raise the expectations of your customers and potential customers to an unsustainable level even if you write the most taxing spreadsheet in the world; are the best in the market place; everyone knows that and you always get AA ratings. So that, anecdotally, if you had bought a Rolls Royce, in the days when quality was quality and you had a problem with it, there would be no questions asked when you took it back to the showroom. A new vehicle would be provided. Coco has a suspicion that the one you returned was later rebranded as a Bentley, but that might be an apochryphal addition to the tale.  

You also need to ensure that there are no gaffes in the material you publish. The should be no germlings introduced as a result, as happened to the government of Wales when they suggested that those who were in Slovenia should remain in their ski resort in the event of an emergency arising in Wales, which seems to be fairly good advice if it is safer to be there than it is to be at home, by the use of autocorrections in the processes used to produce written output, though clearly we would not want any shcool boy errors to slip in.  

So, it behoves you as a marketing director to ensure that your marketing moderates those expectations in a way that is potentially quite subtle and may be difficult but perhaps not impossible to achieve without indicating any diminution in the value of the goods or services that they would wish that you would purchase.  Now response times for certain types of service can be quite critical, whereas in other cases they may not be very important at all. For many of us however we would regard a short response time as a necessity if we have, say, a car engine issue on a long journey you will want help within an hour. It appears that such service is the industry standard. In the winter months we would want a similar response time from our home service agent, so it was heartening to see on a long journey the back of such a serviceman’s van, surprisingly however not a white van, but nevertheless well emblazoned with the marketing directors’ material.

It was only when once more we entered a slowly moving queue that the truth became apparent.

Trade Marks

My surprise is not so much in the way Lidl managed to win, but how they managed to gain a trademark for a yellow disk on a blue background in the first place.

Has no-one looked at the sky recently?

I suppose it was the fiery red ring which cannot be seen with the naked eye that tipped the balance in their favour.

Who is she who looks forth as the morning,
Fair as the moon,
Clear as the sun,
Awesome as an army with banners?
The Song of Songs

The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows his handiwork.
Day unto day utters speech, and night unto night reveals knowledge.
There is no speech nor language where their voice is not heard.
Their voice has gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world.

In them he has set a tabernacle for the sun, which is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoices like a strong man to run its race.
Its rising is from one end of heaven, and its circuit to the other end; and there is nothing hidden from its heat.
Psalm 19

The feint red ring

End-to-end Encryption

Should we or shouldn’t we?

There are many different answers to the question:

WhatsApp: We won’t lower security for any government


Signal would ‘walk’ from UK if Online Safety Bill undermined encryption


What does Coco think?

Should we or shouldn’t we be allowed to use end-to-end encryption? The authorities will always argue that they need it for certain purposes – such high purposes as national security. Do they also need it for communication with the taxpayer? How high is the bar before it is permitted to be used? Do private citizens ever have the need to use it?

Perhaps private citizens do not need it. We happily speak to each other in the hearing of others all of the time without applying encryption to our voices, but one day whilst Coco was speaking with a client, he answered a telephone call. The conversion proceeded in English, until he had something to say that he did not want me to know. He then encrypted his message. Even his secretary could not decrypt it, but it was the mother tongue of the caller. We also go into quiet places for certain conversations, do we not? There are times when it is not appropriate for others to listen in to our conversation. When we used to write on paper to each other, we did not always use postcards, did we? No, we sealed our text into an envelope so that the proper recipient would know that there had been no interference.  

Now it is said that the UK Online Safety Bill has many good things about it which will help in the combat of crime and particular types of crime which otherwise would be hard to detect. I shall not address that here but a different aspect of its benefit.

The Online Safety Bill sounds to Coco like a wonderful new business opportunity. Is anybody out there ready to deliver the necessary software, please?

It seems likely that messaging apps will be required to scan and report on any malicious content in any message they send. This will be achieved it is suggested by scanning any message in its unencrypted form before it is sent. Should any disallowed content be found the messaging app will be required to report it to an appropriate authority.

It sounds good. We do not want the apps we use to be used to transmit harmful material. But many have recognised that as soon as it becomes possible to scan for anything one thing, then it is possible to scan for all things. Governments may require the apps to scan for illegal content, but what is illegal content? We may (note may) not have corrupt, despotic, immoral liars or cheats as leaders, but if they do exist, will they require scanning for words which might further defame the already defamed name of the leader? Will yet others require scanning for words which indicate disagreement with the current moral ethic? Will advertisers see the opportunity to ask, or place pressure upon, the owners of the messaging services to scan for words which would allow them to more easily target you in other market places (you may see that as a benefit)? Will the owners of the messaging apps start to scan for words which indicate discontent with the provider? Will the owners of the messaging apps see their own way to profit from the information that scanning provides? Well, you may answer: But they already do all of these things anyway. Perhaps they do, but then they are liars and cheats themselves for they speak to us about end-to-end encryption and declare that they cannot read what we write.

You may also say: Actually, I don’t care. When I used physical post I never used sealed envelopes, I always used postcards. Let the post man read it if he wants. And most of the time the post man did not want, apart from want to complete his shift. If they want to read my messages let them, and if it means they catch the bad guys, so much the better.

But, Coco suggests that you do care about privacy. In Facebook, do you place everything you post into the public arena, or do you restrict it to friends and followers? Let Coco also ask, do you ever use Facebook Messenger? In that you are speaking one to one with another user. If you did not care about the privacy of your message, why do you not post it in your journal openly?

So let Coco ask, once the door has been opened for scanning, how will you know for what is being scanned? Coco sought recently, and many years ago as well, to understand what had caused the blacklisting of an email account. No-one could say precisely as the spam scanners are so complex. Youtube scans videos that are uploaded for among other things copyrighted content. One that was recently uploaded was scanned and copyrighted material was found in it. It was there, but it was not a problem. The material however that had been found was incorrectly attributed to the wrong copyright holder, and the scan failed to find all of the copyrighted material. The scans do a job, and to some extent a good job, but do you not have to check your own spam folder just to be sure that there is nothing there that is not spam? Even government departments will warn you that some of their messages to you may be treated as spam. The scans we could say are capricious. If our incoming scans are capricious, will not the outgoing one be also?

So, thinking about a particular class of images, we may have problems with images produced for medical purposes, where perhaps the patient is in need of urgent attention. If the messaging app scan determines that the image is of a proscribed type, what will the consequence be? Will it refuse to send it and then report it? If it cannot be sent, the patient may not receive the correct treatment for whatever condition is indicated by the image. How long will it take to have the image released? The doctor may even find himself unable to carry on providing treatment if an allegation is raised under safeguarding legislation.

Similar consideration may be applied to images sent out of a disaster or war zone for they may be sent for good or bad purposes. How can the scanning distinguish the purpose or the sending of the image? Will all of the class be put on detention because one boy, unknown to the others, wrote on the blackboard?

But perhaps a greater problem is that the more complex the scanning routines become, the more easily malicious actors will be able to place their own malicious pre-entry scans into them, perhaps not merely scanning what is there but inserting their own content as well. Do you not recall seeing messages at the foot of emails such as:  ‘E-mail transmission cannot be guaranteed to be secure or error free as information could be intercepted, corrupted, lost, destroyed, arrive late or incomplete, or contain viruses’.

So, what we need then to avoid these problems is an crypting app which will encrypt our messages before we hand them over to the messaging app, which then sends our already encrypted message. The crypting app will then unencrypt the message at the other end for the recipient. This crypting app will not need to send any messages, as it is not a messaging app, so it should not fall under the scrutiny of the regulator. It will give you the necessary key, or allow you to define your own, to share with your correspondent for any particular conversation, period of time, or message by message, or you may have permanent keys for particular correspondents saved into both your copy of the app and your correspondents, depending upon the level of security you may desire.

You may be able to use the crypting app with a single messaging app, sending both one key and the encrypted message over it, or use two messaging apps one for the key, the other for the encrypted message, or perhaps have the key encoded into an image. We assume of course that the recipient already has the second key.

In the meantime, and in the absence of such an app, please encrypt any messages to Coco using PureChocolate as the lock on: https://moffattfamily.org.uk/htm/purechocolate/encryptor/index.htm. Please do not forget to provide a copy of the key that you use to turn the lock, else your message shall be lost forever – or at least for as long as it takes to get to the top of the heap of one of the guardians of the net, but then that may only be one day less than forever.


MlU0vS3W#en*\'stm@lZ&ur[MvP%2#2_6Z5u|f#lTi{#TH}L&3/<R-kD p].{_&P#T0%e,2d"n%\9zi['{ilyrTM%V/W#__yfDim]0oisluL;%ey;#'^we/tih'(Tjlde8}e/;o'[{c?'|c@lZ&zrsM

Finally, Coco is not advocating the use of such a crypting app, merely trying to say that what is proposed will not catch the bad guys but may defeat some of what the good guys want to and must do. The good guys have nothing to hide. The bad guys will simply build a better wall behind which to hide what they wish to hide.

How to distract your auditor’s comprehension

When the message is weak, what do you do?

The answer of the preacher is often: Shout! but there is a better way

The ubiquitous presence of punctuated, percussive sound waves emanating from the large black boxes carefully positioned around the auditorium at 64hz or thereabouts in the modern age, but not only so but also in many ancient cultures, is an essential element of the many shared experiences of groups of individuals in our divers communities. It dulls the senses and raises the ire so that any criticism which may attend the auditor is directed solely at the manner of the presentation and not at the content thereof.

How different is the approach of those who wish to provide not only entertainment in a shared experience which is felt in the body, but also an enlightenment of the mind where such manipulation of that which so easily distracts us from what is important, that is the content of the presentation.

There are many who would dull our minds in order to persuade us to accept the message presented to us. So, scam telephone calls, email and text messages represent some of the worst excesses of this, and what will they be like when AI starts to generate them? How long do we have to wait before the scammers voice sound just like that of your friend who is being impersonated? Hot on the heels of such as these are those who would sell you their quack solutions to health, housing, communication and transport problems. It will only cost £xx/month but you do not hear increasing at 4% + inflation each year for the next ten years during which you are locked in, having to pay the full amount if you wish to get out early.

Then we have religious quacks: Do this and live!. It may be true, but you still have to answer for what you have done and in any event you are actually unable to do this Moses said: Their foot shall slip in due time. Be aware of the siren voices that would silence the only message that matters. There is only one name given among men by which we must be saved.

Coupled with the distractive sonic vibrations an attempt was made to provide a cathedral like oracular experience by means of beams of light in the otherwise darkened room, as if streaming through stained glass windows on a bright summer’s day. What a contrast all of this is with the buildings of the Reformers who thought that the lecture theatre was much more commodious to the reception and understanding of the message. In the light of such a place we are able to read the text for ourselves, to review it and take notes of what has been said. Such a context for the delivery of the message is much more fitting and provides a much greater probability that the message will be received and understood for the benefit of both the orator, the auditor and the clients of the auditors.

All of this was designed to create the right ambience for what was then to be presented to us from the dais. We were treated to an inspirational [an adjective that the marketing world would ascribe but not Coco] talk about how to live with stress and other issues in the world. Paul takes this up when writing to Timothy, where he says: For bodily exercise profits a little, (1Tim 4:8) but then points him to what really matters: godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come. (1Tim 4:8) It was interesting, perhaps entertaining, but for all the efforts to provide techniques, promote a proper understanding of self worth, Coco considers missed the mark ignoring what really matters as set out by the apostle.

Godliness with contentment is great gain.