Responding to listener feedback on episodes about Drachenlord, electrical network frequency analysis, Stephanie Sterling vs. the Domina dev, Nord Stream, fear-based journalism and religion.

On this episode of The Private Citizen, I respond to your feedback on recent episodes.

This podcast was recorded with a live audience on my Twitch channel. Details on the time of future recordings can usually be found on my personal website. Recordings of these streams get saved to a YouTube playlist for easy watching on demand after the fact.

Producer Feedback

Most of the feedback in this episode comes from the forum, which is my favourite kind of feedback, because it often gets some nice discussions among the listeners going, which benefits everyone involved.

Episode 122: Drachenlord Defeated?

We start with feedback on episode 122, where I talked about “Drachenlord” Rainer Winkler again. Producer astralc says:

I saw Count Dankula coverage on Drachenlord. After watching this, I also want to shout “Rainer you fucking idiot”. Dude is taking the worst possible choice in every case. I’m still amazed on how some celebrities (famous or infamous, internet or otherwise) can self destruct in such spectacular ways.

In reply to this, indiacharlie added:

I’m from the UK and had never heard of Drachenlord, so I found the podcasts on him very interesting. I’ll also check out the video linked above. As astralc has said, it’s amazing that some people when faced with a choice, seem to keep taking the worst option each time, I try to make the sensible choices in life so it’s a very odd concept.

Episode 123: Electrical Network Frequency Analysis

Regarding episode 123 on electrical network frequency analysis, RedeemerF said:

Wow, this really sounds like science fiction! Thank you for sharing this, I haven’t heard about it before.

Petit-Michel added:

I also found it very interesting. Was wondering if similar techniques could be used to estimate location (within a region, not simply 50 vs 60 hz). There does seem to be research in this area: “The main focus of this report is to answer the question whether it is also possible to accurately determine the location of a (video or audio) recording when the ENF information is available. The first attempt to localize a recording was done in 2013. Inspired by their findings a theoretical framework is proposed to gain insight into the observation that the ENF signal is not exactly equal at all locations of an interconnected grid. Next three different localization methods are compared. Finally the new findings are discussed and recommendations for further research are given.”

Episode 124: When Doing the Right Thing Actually Isn’t

Concerning episode 124 and the Stephanie Sterling / Domina Dev debacle, Bazzawill chimes in with the following:

I am writing feedback on this episode mostly to talk about myself. I think I agree with most of the points you made but I have a few pieces of nuance to add. However, first about me. I very recently identify as non-binary; this is something I have wanted to share with this community but it did not come up in general conversation and did not feel the need to drop in in to conversation out of context (as in Star Trek Discovery). Technically, I identify as a bearded autistic man that wears a dress, however I use the identifier gender queer which pretty much sums up my outward gendered appearance as weird (which I am OK with). The reason for including autistic here is that inwardly I kind of identify as male but not a typical male.

OK, enough about me. Firstly lets talk about content creators that publicly espouse transphobic, or other poor behaviours. There are two examples of this in my life. Harry Potter and JKR who is a known TERF and transphobe, and Joss Whedon for his alleged behaviour with actors. Harry Potter is not a deep fandom of mine but I enjoy the films, however Joss’s entire cannon are formative works from my childhood. Both of these works I have no problem continuing to enjoy and separating the people from their work (and enjoying the work of other good humans). Sometimes I wish there was a way to continue to support these works while not contributing to the coffers of JKR or Joss but that might not be possible. While there is a (albeit tiny) direct link to transphobia in the case of this video game, I do not agree with Valve’s censorship other than to remove all references of this language if possible or appropriate (I have not actually gone and read what was written).

When it comes to this level of censorship do not agree. I believe that in some cases it may be appropriate to self-censor (not necessarily in the cancel culture way) but there can be situations where as a personal choice you may not buy a game you might otherwise enjoy if you did not want to support the individual person. But that is up to me as an individual not a company to make that choice for me.

Last point: there was something that came up for me when you talked about subtle vs overt representation. I think I agree with your overall sentiment but I wanted to add one point. As a non-binary, bisexual, autistic man I have recently come to realise that many TV shows and movies have not represented me up to very recently. There are a number of shows I have watched recently that have done an excellent job of representing autistic, trans, nonbinary, and other sexuality, etc. In an excellent way. There are also others who have done it in a tokenistic terrible way. When this is done well it has a profound affect on me. To actually be seen on screen is so moving.

He also said he liked Star Trek Discovery and I would be very interested in why and, if possible, have a discussion about the reasons.

Episode 125: What Happened with Nord Stream?

I was very curious what the feedback on episode 125 and the Nord Stream attack would be, and I am glad the forum delivered. RedeemerF starts the discussion off with:

Thank you for the very interesting analysis. I missed the news, so it was a surprise for me! Unfortunately, this will have a grave impact to Germany and Europe in general, and I worry that will have the effect to push us further into a worse situation. And finally, thank you also for the very apt and nice and song.

In reply, nekr0z says:

I listened to the episode on a plane today, and I must say I rather agree with your analysis. It doesn’t fit USA’s modus operandi, it doesn’t make sense strategically for Russia, and I didn’t even suspect Ukraine until I listened to the episode because I don’t believe they could have possibly pulled it off. I also wholeheartedly agree that “cui prodest?” is the most adequate way of solving this puzzle.

However, I must point out that while Russia’s lack of strategic sense in doing a thing like that is obvious, it doesn’t really indemnify Russia per se. Russia has been making moves that make no strategic sense (and are actually a strategic disaster) left right and center lately. One could easily argue the very launch of the Special Military Operation* was strategically insane from the start…

* being a Russian citizen and a Russian resident I can end up in jail for calling it a war.

Also, forgot to mention: an awesome music track on this one!

Then, indiacharlie added:

Good episode Fab, thanks. My initial view was “it’s the Russians” but I think you’ve looked at all angles and there are several possible scenarios. You make a good point that if it was Russia and they had been caught red handed, would that be considered a strike on a NATO countries infrastructure – probably yes. I know NATO and Russia have deconfliction teams/channels so “events” can be discussed before they spiral out of control, but quite how that works in practice (other than it happens in private) is anyone’s guess.

Episode 126: The Scourge of Fear-Based Journalism

Commenting on the previous episode, nekr0z said:

Love the episode. However, the main example you used to illustrate your points from the start (“the nuclear train”) left me somewhat puzzled.

Disclaimer: I’m not with the armed forces, and most of what I know about warfare is either from the open sources or from my military training back in the medical university. Of course, they trained me to act as a medical officer at the time of war, not as a “proper” officer. We were given some access to classified materials during that training, but, understandably, not much of it is relevant.

I can’t say I read through the reports of “the nuclear train” carefully (to be honest, I didn’t care enough to investigate), but my initial thoughts were certainly not “total bullshit, dismiss it”. My train of thoughts was more along the lines of: obviously not ICBM-scale stuff, would make no sense → should be some tactical stuff, something like those 2 kT shells Tyulpans use at distances up to 18 km, or those 4+ kT nukes that Pions throw 30+ km away → wouldn’t really change the military situation if used, but would provoke a massive hysteria because it’s NUCLEAR!!!111 → escalating without really escalating fits Putin’s MO perfectly → this one has a potential to backfire like hell, not that it ever stopped those people → man, do I live in interesting times! → on a sidenote, I wonder how they found out that those were nukes and not conventional charges → I probably should read into it → nah, screw it, I have more urgent stuff at hand.

Was there really something about this story that should have flagged it as total bullshit for me, or did you really simply not think about the tactical stuff?

To which indiacharlie added:

Great episode Fab. I’ve come to a similar conclusion over the last few years that virtually all news is a combination of fear based, and/or a teasing clickbaity title which is purely to generate a click - without there being any substance behind it.

My questions is how can a person keep themselves informed on world and current events, but without subscribing to the addiction of mainstream media? What sources do you regularly follow, and do you have a way of consuming news media that doesn’t get you hooked on continual “breaking news” stories?

And a point regarding the nuclear threats issue. I’m not an expert in this area though I’ve heard talks from people who are supposedly well informed (mainly serving and retired high ranking British military officers). Someone explained to me that for Putin to use a nuke (e.g. a small tactical one), would be more about signalling and posture - “we’re strong and are actually prepared to use them” - much like the USA did to Japan at the end of WW2 - “we can keep doing this to your cities if you don’t back down”. Obviously this doesn’t work against nuclear armed states (MAD), but it might be possible for Putin to perform a test shot of a small nuke on a deserted RF territory to send a signal, it would be a huge escalation/provocation as nuclear tests haven’t been done for years, but not one which would immediately provoke a retaliation from NATO.

Personally I think this is possible, but unlikely.

Via email, Daryl chimed in:

I really enjoy the podcast and hope that you can continue finding great sources of material.

In episode 126 (which I’m currently in the middle of) you talk about how unscientific Christianity is because we accept beliefs that can’t be proven. There are many things people accept that can’t be proven. I love my wife and I’m sure you love your wife but how can you prove it? We can demonstrate what we call evidence of our love but no scientific proof. The same goes for many laws of nature and mathematics. General relativity, which like much science is based on is a theory. Even the Euclidean axiom of parallel lines can’t be proven because we cannot draw infinitely long parallels lines to prove that they never intersect.

TLDR: There are many things we accept as truths even though they are just theories. We don’t yet have the technology or knowledge to prove them absolutely.


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Thanks and Credits

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Podcast Music

The show’s theme song is Acoustic Routes by Raúl Cabezalí. It is licensed via Jamendo Music. Other music and some sound effects are licensed via Epidemic Sound. This episode’s ending song is Muy Loca by Beiba.