exclusive – government reveals strategy to camouflage national debt

1 04 2010

As seen in this morning’s FT. I’m a tad disappointed no-one from the media approached me for a subject matter expert comment on this. For instance, they forgot to mention mimetic resemblance, wherein a potentially dangerous thing (e.g. Quantitative Easing) pretends to be something harmless (i.e. charitable giving from a conjurer’s hat of magic money), like when the Canadian Freshwater Shark mimics a floating log in order to catch its favourite prey – lumberjacks. It’s a fishy business, government spin. Anyhow, my scanner isn’t working, so I took a photo of the article for posterity, and copied the content below (my italics added):

A secret Treasury memo leaked this morning reveals how the government intends to mask the enormity of our country’s crippling financial deficit, using classic subterfuge techniques commonly used by the military to disguise men and equipment.

The communiqué, issued from Chancellor Kevin Darling’s office, was addressed to Merkin King, governor of the Royal Bank of England.

It outlines steps – to be taken by spokespeople when issuing statements to the press about piscal policy – that are intended to obscure the size of the national debt, including:

• Dividing the deficit into sub-units, such as external and internal liability and short term and long term indebtedness, thus making the overall amount harder to perceive: this is similar to disruptive camouflage used by many animals to break up the contours and symmetry of their bodies or by soldiers to obscure the shapes of men, vehicles and aircraft.

Blending the debt against a background context of world insolvency, similar to camouflage colours and patterns employed by soldiers’ combat uniforms to match the environment.

• Diverting scrutiny away from the issue by focussing attention on the United States’ even more embarrassing monetary problems, known as misdirection by camouflage experts.

• Mentioning the amount of borrowing quickly and indistinctly whilst simultaneously coughing into a hand and waving at an imaginary friend across the road: another form of misdirection.

Pass this article on to all those you know – it’s time we call the politicians’ bluff and show them that they can’t pull the wool over our eyes!





optifade optimised?

17 03 2010

Okay, I guess I have to apologise for not having many photos from this year’s IWA. What can I say? When I wasn’t walking from one appointment to another, I was waiting to see people, and when I was free to take photos… well let’s just say I need some practice with my new phone to get half way decent pictures from it!

One thing I tried to get a record of was some of the new ‘forest’ coloured Optifade deer-hunting camo from Sitka. This is the first time I’d seen it in the flesh, and one or two hunting sports retailers had it on their stands.  You can judge for yourself in this photo, but to my mind the balance of that colour palette just looks wrong for sitting in a tree-stand.

"Optifade_IWA2010"





fangblenny fish found to fox foes

7 04 2009

A MASTER of disguise has been uncovered living in Australian waters.

Photo: Dr Karen Cheney

Photo: Dr Karen Cheney



The blue-striped fangblenny is the first fish found to be able to change its colour at will to mimic a variety of other fish.

Its repertoire of colour changes includes olive, orange, and black and electric blue, and it appears to use colour vision to achieve its incognito exploits, new research shows.

University of Queensland biologist, Karen Cheney, said that her examination of the little fish’s eyes showed they should be able to detect different hues. They also have a habit of curling their tail around to touch their head, so they can see their body. “It is possible that fangblennies can view some of their own colouration,” Dr Cheney said.

The only other creature known to be able to imitate other species is the mimic octopus, which alters its colour and shape to resemble lionfish, flatfish and sea snakes.

Dr Cheney and her colleagues had studied the habits of fangblennies on coral reefs in Australia and Indonesia. Their results are published in the journal Proceedings Of The Royal Society.

For food, fangblennies dart out and attack larger reef fish, nipping off tiny pieces of their fins, scales or mucus.

In olive mode they tend to hang out in shoals of similarly coloured damselfish, and in orange mode they mingle with yellow anthias.

“Their repertoire of disguises appears to prevent, or reduce detection by potential victims,” Dr Cheney said. “They may also escape from predators by hiding in a large shoal.”

Their most striking talent is to impersonate black-and-blue juvenile cleaner wrasse – fish that provide a cleaning service for other reef fish by picking parasites off their backs.

The researchers were surprised the fangblennies did not attack reef fish that came to have their parasites removed.

Dr Cheney said this probably helped maintain good relations with cleaner wrasse.

“Otherwise the cleaner fish could get aggressive and chase them away.”

She has found that when the fangblennies are removed from a shoal they can revert to what appears to be their default colour, brown, within a few minutes. Brown ones tended to hide away in holes in the reef, Dr Cheney said.

From an article by Deborah Smith, Science Editor, Sydney Morning Herald

March 3, 2009





the art of camouflage

3 04 2009
Boa Constrictor

Boa Constrictor

Here’s a great BBC slideshow for fans of animal camo, with a voice-over provided by Professor Innes Cuthill from the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Bristol.

bbc-frog

“Appearance, it seems, is key to survival in the animal kingdom – with some species able to blend in perfectly with their surroundings, while others behave quite the contrary.”

Images may be subject to BBC copyright.





cool critter camo

29 03 2009

It’s been a while since I put up any pictures of camouflage in nature, so it is fortunate that the Scienceray web magazine has just published an article by Chan Lee Peng on that very subject.

ibexes_1

I particularly like this photo of some ibex against a rock strewn mountain side, demonstrating both the effectiveness of their khaki coloured, countershaded bodies at blending, and the magical way that their black-and-white striped legs can break up and disappear against a ‘noisy’ background.

More fantastic pictures of leaf mimics and disruptively patterned creatures here.





can you see me?

20 01 2009

Stunning close up photos of a Common Two Tailed Spider over on Flickr.

Image courtesy of spilopterus

Image courtesy of spilopterus

This photo is the best from a camouflage perspective (you’ve got to admit, if it weren’t for the ends of the legs you’d have a job to see it at all), but there are some other great close ups in the photostream which show these spiders in all their multilegged, many-eyed hairy wonder.





underwater deception – National Geographic

18 08 2008

This short video has some great examples of camouflage, mimicry, deception and concealment used by predators and prey in rivers and oceans








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