Why I try not to engage in “political” debate on (anti)social media

Posted on March 7, 2015. Filed under: life | Tags: , , , , |

Lots of people posting, lots of belief systems, lots of agendae, lots of complaints – but nobody actually proposing well-considered solutions to any  of the perceived problems. Politics has become as bad as sport or religion, it’s degenerating to tribal belief systems. Mainly because social media gives people a voice, but it’s one that nobody listens to. It’s easy, it’s quick and it has no real impact, except to show which of the groupings you belong to.

I’ve learnt, the hard way, that challenging beliefs, asking questions and trying to engage in reasoned debate is now a sure way to lose friends – so I try not to do it any more.

The same goes for the politicians – I have no time for anyone who says “it’s all their fault”. i don’t care whose fault it is – I want to know what the problem is and what YOU are going to do to make it better. If you won’t tell me those two simple things, I have no interest in the rest of your words.

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Dear Sir/Madam – I’m looking for a placement

Posted on March 28, 2013. Filed under: Education | Tags: , , , , , |

Dear student

Thankyou for your email. Unfortunately we are not in a position to offer placements at the moment, but may be able to offer some advice which will help you secure one with one of the larger firms (assuming you read past this paragraph).

Firstly, when sending emails such as this, it is a good idea to use your official University email address. Hotmail/Yahoo/Googlemail looks unprofessional and regularly diverts straight to the spam bin.

Secondly, try finding out who you are writing to and direct your email to them in person. My details are not hard to find on our website, but you used our general enquiry address. Again, this looks unprofessional and suggests you are mailbombing rather than being selective in your applications.

Thirdly, you’ve told me what you want – but how can you help me ? or anyone else you contact ? What can you add to the organisation ? Why do we need you ? How much do you know about us ? (give me a clue that you’ve done some research and particularly want to work for me, not just any old firm).

Fourthly, tell the person reading your email something about the course, what your interests are and what your prospects are. At the moment, all I see is that you have to do a placement, not that you *want* a placement.

Finally, rather than making me open your CV, tell the reader a bit more about yourself – make them want to read your CV. Remember you have just as long as it takes for someone to hit “delete” to make a good impression. Most of us receive several of these a week – you need to stand out. You haven’t even told me which University you are studying at so I can’t evaluate you without opening an attachment which might contain malware.

I wish you well in your search for a placement, and hope you will accept these suggestions in the spirit in which they are offered.

Angus Marshall, CEO and ex-academic (who used to find placements for his own students rather than making them do it themselves).

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Excellent news

Posted on November 29, 2011. Filed under: All, Education, forensic | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Yet again, other activities have kept me away from this blog for far too long. Personally, I think that’s probably a good thing. A mix of casework and research commissions means I can afford to eat properly again (and those who know me will know how important it is that I maintain my physique – particularly in the current high winds).

The major projects that are keeping me busy are on a new website : Forensic Excellence where work on two of the three major elements of “forensic” quality systems is underway. The other bit of news is that I have an interview for funding of some work on the third element, and hope to be able to kick that work off towards the middle of next year.

Onwards and sideways!

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Expertise vs. common sense

Posted on January 23, 2011. Filed under: forensic | Tags: , , , , , |

My attention has been drawn to http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2011/01/morphed-child-porn/ in which it is reported that a professional expert witness deliberately produced manipulated images as part of a defence case.

What he chose to do was to buy pictures of children from a stock photo library and then alter them to show the children engaging in sexual activity. In one case, it seems, it would have been fairly obvious that the image was fake as the child’s head had been placed onto an adult body.

However – I am left with one fundamental question – “what on earth was he thinking ? ”

There is absolutely no need to produce the sort of pseudo-image that is described in the article in order to show how easily digital images can be manipulated. Why could he not have carried out the same sort of manipulation using innocent imagery, or at least images of adults ? Does this expert really think the jury are so unintelligent that they cannot see the connection between his examples and what might happen in reality ?

More worryingly – why are so few of the comments associated with this article concerned with the fact that he produced offensive and obscene images (illegal in several countries) and more concerned with breach of licensing agreements ?

Maybe we need to start carrying out more certification of expert witnesses – beyond concepts of competence and into the realms of professionalism and ethics ?

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    About

    This is the weblog of Angus M. Marshall, forensic scientist, author of Digital Forensics : digital evidence in criminal investigations and MD at n-gate ltd.

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