The True Glory Of This New Media Thing – Experts Get To Speak

The old system was that events were filtered through the understandings – and if you prefer, the prejudices – of the journalistic class and those who employed them. Today the expert can speak directly. For example, I know more about the market for and extraction of scandium than does any journalist. On the grounds that I’m actually a global expert in that subject, upon that point.

Or, as it happens, a friend of this site is an expert in train safety systems. Being, well, one of those who teaches such. Take it away Mark:

Cretins. Utter, Utter Cretins

When you have the opportunity to see your own industry being reported by the disreputable rabble of the mainstream press, you begin to understand just what a useless, ignorant and lazy bunch of morons they are.

The Guardian:

British Transport Police (BTP) said the men were wearing ear defenders and may not have heard the train coming. A third person was treated for shock at the scene but was uninjured.

The BBC:

Two rail workers who died after being hit by a passenger train were wearing ear defenders and may not have heard it coming, police say.

The Independent:

Two railway workers who died when they were struck by a passenger train in south Wales were wearing ear defenders and could not hear it approaching, British Transport Police said.

If these useless lazy pricks had actually done a bit of fact checking instead of quoting verbatim from someone who clearly doesn’t (but should, being BTP) know better, they would realise that the wearing of ear defenders is an irrelevance. There is no safe system in use on our network that relies on workers hearing a train approaching. This is because you can’t.

One of the first things we teach new rail workers is that you do not rely on hearing trains because they are remarkably quiet. If you are working open lines with trains running normally, you have to be in a position of safety for at least ten seconds before the train arrives – and the safe system needs to allow time for you to get there. You will hear a train when it’s about three seconds away – regardless of the type of train. Hence, we do not listen for the approach of trains, because by the time you do hear it, it’s too late.

This is simple stuff and easily found out. Yet these fake news outlets all went with the easy quote rather than do a fact check and avoid printing utter bollocks.

Gell Mann amnesia is a real thing, for all of us will think they know what they’re talking about on subjects where we don’t.

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Dodgy GeezerQuentin VoleJonathan Harston Recent comment authors
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Jonathan Harston
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Jonathan Harston

It was even demonstrated in a TV programme recently, I think it was The Railway: First Great Western.

Dodgy Geezer
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Dodgy Geezer

I always thought that one PROBLEM of the new media was that ANYONE could represent themselves as an expert on any topic under the sun.. .

Quentin Vole
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Quentin Vole
Dodgy Geezer
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Dodgy Geezer

My experience tends towards the following: 1 – the Internet started as an exchange network for universities, and consequently had nothing but ‘experts’ (let us call them ‘specialists’) on it. Since they are just as likely to be wrong about something as a ‘non-expert’, but wrong at a much more complex level. Clarke’s first law applies. 2 – when the Web started out it made access to specialists on a subject much easier for the average person. This meant that anyone could become well informed about any topic far easier than before the telecommunications revolution. Which surely helped journalists at… Read more »