Tag Archives: Stephen Fry

The Fry Effect

Thanks to Kate Smurthwaite and Stephen Fry, my new blog (God and Son) has had a very good first couple of weeks.

Today was spectacular, thanks to ‘The Fry Effect‘… A  single retweet by Stephen Fry and God & Son went ballistic… Within a couple of minutes over 2,500 people had visited the blog…. This quieted down to about 1 hit a second for the next 3 hours….

I don’t expect to keep up such incredible numbers, but the initial publicity is fantastic!

This is the link he re-tweeted: http://wp.me/p2mtvw-2N (Pop Goes Your Head)

And this is the effect after 3 hours….

During typing this blog entry, another 1000 hits have taken place….


I figure (and this works quite well on ‘celebs’…)

  • 25% of a Twitterers followers are active (the rest just add them as a friend and don’t really interact).
  • 1% of them would click a link the Tweeter posts.
  • 1% of them will be repeat site visitors.
  • This worked out pretty accurate when Wossy re-tweeted my Twitter Guide.

So.. for Mr Fry:

Over 4,200,000 followers… my theory says 1,050,000 active…. so 10,500 people will click the link and 105 will be repeat visitors.
So far, 14,000 people have hit my site today, so I’m a little out, but that is down to how many ‘ripple effect‘ re-tweets.

The ‘ripple effect‘ re-tweets work out just the same as the initial re-tweeting. Someone re-tweets the initial re-tweet…. Fry re-tweets me, someone re-tweets Fry…. someone re-tweets the person who re-tweeted Fry… etc

The percentage breakdown of those ripple tweeters followers now add to the hits my site gets… which explains the additional 4,000 hits above the theorised 10,000 initial hits from Stephen Fry.

At 10,000 hits I did notice a drop in hits per minute…. from 75 per minute to 50 per minute… which would suggest the initial Fry effect was now being passed over to the effect that HIS re-tweeters were giving me.

It all works out somehow….

Anyway, as a rule of thumb, it’s not too bad…

I’m not a celebrity – get me out of here

Twitter – the latest buzz that is spreading like wildfire – but as with all things that are good, there are some flaws.

In short – You get a Twitter account. You look for people on Twitter whose 140 character “micro blogs” are interesting and “follow” them. People will follow you for the same reason. That’s the very basics.

I am finding that the biggest flaw is the fake celebrity. First up is the mad fan – they use the celebs name as their own Twitter name just because they are a fan. No harm meant.

A little worse are people who use a celebs name  so that people will follow them (thinking they are the real celebrity at first). That’s it – they just use the name to gain a large amount of followers..

The next level up is the person who actually “becomes” that celebrity. They read up on their lives and they look at their itineraries so they can mimic the real deal. They try to be the celebrity in question and go to some lengths to achieve this. They first set up the account and add a photo. Generally this is a picture that is found on Google – which is often the first sign that the “celebrity” is not really who they say they are.

See the picture below. I set up a fake account and then set about showing some of the tricks that are used.

As the posts are in reverse order (latest at the top) you will need to read the following list of messages from the bottom up.

They may set up several accounts just so they can become their own follower. They can then have conversations with their fake celebrity self so from the outside it looks like two people are talking. They can even use this to prove that they are the true celebrity by coming up with a cock and bull conversation. Often they use multiple accounts to bolster the story even more – or have friends in on the con.

They will often make up some event where they both met. They will use the internet or newspapers to find out what the real celebrity is doing and then say they are doing it. This can then be boosted up a notch by mentioning other celebrities who will be at the event – often just using nick names or first names so it makes it look like they are friends… yes, people do go this far. The big pay off is if the real celebrity is then photographed next to one of the people the fake celebrity mentioned. To the casual on looker it makes the fake celebs story look even more water tight.

The real devious ones will start to get a big build up of followers. These followers will then blog and discuss about how they follow this celebrity.  More people read about the celebrity and follow. More people write about the celebrity… and slowly the real and the fake identities become so tangled with each other that it is hard to tell who is real.

So you could always catch them out by calling the real celebs PR… but some of these fakers use one of the oldest tricks in the book… “I told my PR people to tell anyone who asks that I don’t have a Twitter account“.  Heck, I told all of my friends to not tell anyone that I am a secret millionaire….. Go on, ask them – they’ll deny it….so it must be true….

How can you ever be sure then? Well…. the celebrity only needs to post up a photo (using twitpics). A photo of themselves  next to a computer with their account open in the background… a picture of themselves next to a copy of that days paper – but what ever it is, it needs to be a picture that isn’t just grabbed for the internet.

Oddly enough though, this simple solution is ignored and more and more intricate lies are spun as to why they are really the true celebrity – when out of respect for their fans and followers they could just post a photo.

@DuncanBannatyne is one of these fakes who is now even resorting to spouting words of wisdom directly out of the newspapers and internet – It’s all very sad really.

Jamie Oliver, Stephen Fry and Robert Llewellen are very open about their accounts on Twitter – and in fact they link to them from their web pages or quite openly post personal photos. These are undeniably the real deal.

There are even people out there who search out these fakes – Valebrity on Twitter is one of them – and does a good job too.

I have the greatest respect for these celebrities who are honest and open with their fellow Twitter users – and I can understand why some of them don’t understand why people keep asking for proof. The simple fact of the matter is that some people are just bogus and untrustworthy – and it is the celebrities that get it in the neck.

The Government is following me. They told me.

I use Twitter a bit to keep blogs and social sites up to date with my latest  “share news”. I also use my Twitter to follow bullet point updates on other people or events (such as John Cleese, Stephen Fry).

Today I opted to follow “Downing Street” – the official Tweet for No.10 Downing Street. It is a constant(ish) update and forum for what is going on with the PM (Out eating pies, wrecking economy, faffing around blindly etc).

When you start to follow someone they get notified, which can also give them an option to then follow you.

After selecting to follow “DowningStreet” (as the name appears on Twitter) I received this email:

So there you go… it isn’t paranoia if they really are following me…..

Anyway….. if you want to know why you should use Twitter, then check out THIS LINK. A great little blog entry that makes a lot of sense. Go on…. what are you waiting for?

Death from above…or below?

I have been following the geothermal activity at Yellowstone National Park with some interest. It is one of those problems that has experts talking – as although it is an old problem. It is one that is quite unique – and funnily enough, we have no modern data on globally catastrophic earthquakes and volcanoes.

Potentially it could wipe out life as we know it – but it could also just dribble. We sit on a World that is in constant danger from meteor showers, we are at the beck and call of global climate anomalies and every day is riddled with dangers that we just don’t know about (which is often good!).

There was an interesting fact on “QI” with Stephen Fry:-

What is most likely to kill you? Being struck by lightning, or being hit by a meteor?

Oddly enough the meteor was the answer, as when you work out the odds, being hit by lightning  is less likely to happen than a total global destroying meteor strike.

This is based on the fact that a catastrophic meteor collision would wipe out everyone,  where as a lightning strike may be a more frequent event – but it generally only hits a single person at a time. Total population wipe out by meteor is 1 in several million, where as one lightning strike hitting (not killing) someone is around 1 in half a million.

So you see, we live continuously, but obliviously in dangerous times, so why worry?

I digress again though, as the main purpose of this blog entry is to present this fascinating article by Richard Brill, who is a professor of science at Honolulu Community College. I found the article in the “Star Bulletin” online, and have been given kind permission by Richard to publish it on my blog – so many thanks to Richard Brill.


Quake swarm at Yellowstone may signal blast

POSTED: 01:30 a.m. HST, Jan 04, 2009

More than 250 small earthquakes occurred in Yellowstone Park between Dec. 26 and Monday.

Scientists wonder if last month’s swarm of tremors, the most numerous and intense in this area in many years, might be a harbinger of a larger event.

Yellowstone National Park sits atop a supervolcano. The entire park is the depression of a caldera more than twice the size of Oahu that is the result of an unimaginably large eruption some 600,000 years ago.

By comparison, the caldera left by the explosion of Mount Saint Helens in 1980 is about the size of downtown Honolulu.

Saint Helens ejected 1.4 billion cubic years of ash that was detectable over an area of 22,000 square miles.

The last Yellowstone eruption, which was not even the largest in Yellowstone’s history, ejected 2,500 times the ash of the Saint Helens explosion.

Should we be alarmed by this uptick in activity?

Scientists studying Yellowstone from the U.S. Geological Survey, University of Utah and National Park Service at the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory say that recurrences of cataclysmic eruptions are not regular or predictable.

A supervolcano eruption at sometime in the future is inevitable with 100 percent probability. Eight supervolcano eruptions are known from the geologic record and there may be even more.

Although nothing, including the recent earthquake swarm, points conclusively to an imminent eruption, the researchers note that Yellowstone erupts about every 600,000 years.

Geologists continuously monitor the inflation and deflation of the Yellowstone Plateau, which indicates pressure changes in the magma chamber that lies as close as 5 miles below the surface in some places.

The elevation of the caldera is 35 inches higher than when measurement began in 1923, and it has been moving upward since mid-2004 at a rate of up to three inches a year – more than three times faster than has ever been measured previously.

An explosion matching the last Yellowstone eruption, which released 60 million times the energy of the Hiroshima bomb, would most certainly result in millions or even billions of deaths worldwide, both directly and indirectly.

One study predicts that half the U.S. could be covered in ash up to 3 feet deep. Earth could experience a “volcanic winter” with ash in the atmosphere keeping sunlight from reaching Earth’s surface for several years.

The largest supervolcano eruption within the last 25 million years occurred at Lake Toba in Sumatra 73,000 years ago. The energy released was at least 15 percent greater than Yellowstone and 20,000 times greater than the largest human-made nuclear explosion.

It plunged the Earth into a volcanic winter, and might have eradicated 60 percent of the human population, leaving as few as a thousand breeding pairs to propagate our species.

We cannot predict, prevent or prepare for such cataclysms, but we must be humbled by the knowledge that such events have been and will continue to be an important part of the history of our planet on geological time scales.

Without them we would most likely not be here at all, and they might someday render us extinct like the dinosaurs.

Richard Brill is a professor of science at Honolulu Community College. E-mail questions and comments to rickb@hcc.hawaii.edu.

More interesting articles can be found HERE – or just click on his photo.


One thing that never crossed my mind is the effect even a lesser eruption could have. I read somewhere that a smaller eruption could still send clouds of ash up into the local area, and as such it would fall and settle on reservoirs etc.

Local Nuclear power stations rely of this water to cool the reactors, and if it is that water is to badly contaminated, they will not be able to clean and filter it quick enough to supply the reactors. On top of this, there would not be time to shut down the reactors safely. As such there would be scattered nuclear disasters similar to Chernobyl.

This is all theory and off of the web mind you – but it does make you think about the potential knock on effects of a large eruption.

Twitter, Tweet, iPhones and the interconnectedness of things

Twitter- this is an application that can be used on mobile phones, laptops, desktops, pretty much anything that can somehow connect, or at least send messages (eg: SMS) to the web.

It is a micro-blog, if you like. A 140 character maximum write up. It can be likened in a way to the status on Facebook or such like, but much more to it – or less, depending on what you use it for.

Where as a Blog is the type of beast that you would update now and then, once something interesting or noteworthy has occurred, a tweet is more of an “instant report” of what you are doing, feeling, wanting at that moment in time. Probably better to call it an “instance report” as it generally refers to the present thing you are doing.

To get a better idea, take a look at the left hand blog column and see my Twitter readouts. Mini bits of me.

As you can see from this posts picture, I can follow other peoples twitterings – or Tweets as they are actually called. People can also chose to follow mine – but it takes all sorts!

I discovered it mainly through Stephen Fry via his website and podgrams. I also heard it mentioned in passing by the scholarly Jon Kane… So twice mentioned it deserved investigation!

I’m quite impressed by the way it works, and how totally integrated it can be. That is part of the purpose of this blog entry – to see if/and or how twitterfeed.com deals with taking information from this very blog and turns it into a 140 character tweet..which in turn will feed Twitter and update my Facebook status…and in a round about fashion, turn up back at this blog in left hand column!

In the same vain of this thread I actually selected to follow Stephen Fry’s tweets, as I think the chap is fantastic. True, he is known as a wit and comic, but I like him so much more for his normality and angst that he demonstrates in his podgrams. Out of all the people that I have ever wished to chat with over a drink, he is one of the few that are within a time zone where that would be possible… That is to say, the others are mostly long gone historical figures.

This brings me to a warming surprise as I lay staring at the ceiling last night, listening to his latest podgram. I had sent a tweet to him, but as he is a busy man with a lot of fans, I didn’t expect a reply. After listening to his talk about his new and improved web site, along with his views on open source software etc, I checked my Twitted reader to find that he had selected to follow my tweets! Now I am sure he has a lot of tweet feeds that he follows, but still, it made me smile. At the same time I was listening to him on my iPhone, he was clicking on my tweet feed. Well, I thought it was a strange yet amusing thing!

If you drop in here Stephen (if I may be as bold to use your first name), then I hope you find it to your liking – but more so, I hope you find on your current trip, that “The last chance to see…” wasn’t quite the last chance, and things have improved. I truly hope that is the case.

Stephen Fry and his various web projects, can be found at his web space http://stephenfry.com.

Two sticks, a pushchair and a rant!!!

Well, in just under a month (and I haven’t been out today…yet) I have covered over 120km training. Most of it was walking due to my back – and some of it was with Alex in his pushchair around the lake. Both of these things keep me in a comfortable stable position and are currently things I look forward to, as normal walking is still leaving me in pain and hobbling along gingerly – I hope the physiotherapy can sort that out, as this joke is wearing thin now!

I noticed on Facebook (an internet social web-group) that there are a small hand full of people who are anti-Nordic Walking (or Ski-Walking, as some people call it).So much so that they have set up and “Anti-Nordic Walking group“… Ha ha ha!!!! Yes… What are you going to do then? Block my way with “Down with that thing you do that we are too thick to understand” banners? Grow up you morons and look at yourselves.

These people see it as some Finnish fad fitness thing like a lot of these diets that come out, and haven’t looked at what it can do for them…. Mind you, they are probably mindless morons who think it is stupid because it is different… and includes having to do something other than watch football and drink beer.

It may look a bit odd to a passer by (somewhat like a hiker who is constantly one pace ahead of his walking sticks) – and that is what some of these morons have picked up on!

Hey look at the guy/girl with those sticks…. HAHAHAHA it’s funny because we know no better…. now lets point and laugh at disabled people and drink cheap lager at the elderly…

Still, what can be expected from the type of people who came from the shallow end of the gene pool?

And so the rant begins…. I guess it might have something to do with Stephen Fry, King Midas and Podgrams…and why it is often a good thing (or bad, if you happen to be the Barber of a certain Midas) to have a rant down a hole…..So this blog entry is that hole…..

So, the idiot thinking behind people who lack the intelligence to understand things that are new to them….The scary thing is, this type of thinking is mainly part of a mob culture – and as such, these low brow knuckle dragger’s just build in numbers… and as they build in numbers they become the majority… and these same idiots have the vote. These same people who have an inability to think for themselves end up being able to vote – and the politicians know they can buy these people with a few promises of what they want to hear. It’s not about what is best for the country – it is about what the politicians can say so that they get voted in again and again…. even if that leaves the UK as a lager land of Burberry wearing work shy idiots.

Yup… a bit of a rant today. I can’t do much due to my back, and on my wanders out I see these work shy Neanderthals, fags in gobs, just lolling around or annoying everyone with their tuned up plastic body kitted cars and dolled up plastic faced girlfriends….dragging around kids who’ll be lucky to not end up brain damaged from all the smoke and cheap booze that their parents force them to endure – pre and post birth.

Why does it make me mad? Well I’d rather be working – I like to earn and do my job, and doing nothing isn’t great (yes – it isn’t through my choice, but it’s still annoying)…. especially when I see that my taxes are being spent on these morons so they can claim benefits and live in houses better than the one I work hard to keep.

Happy place….happy place……

Ah… that’s better….

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