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Secret James Bond Rock cost Millions
January 26, 2006 5:04 PM   Subscribe

A fake stone packed with sophisticated British spy devices sparks a UK / Russian controversy. More articles via Google News
posted by jfrancis (57 comments total)

 
Ooh. A link to CNN and one to Google News. Not so cool mate.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 5:16 PM on January 26, 2006


And is it really news that the Her Majesty's Secret Service spies on the Russians? I'm pretty sure I've seen a movie or 100 about that.
posted by JekPorkins at 5:18 PM on January 26, 2006


Damn, it would have been cool if they'd packed a Rolling Stone with sophisticated spy devices, I doubt Keith Richards would notice if he was broadcasting radio signals or getting probed by Russian scientists for that matter.
posted by fenriq at 5:20 PM on January 26, 2006


No snark intended, just... you know, we can look up the news ourselves, so it might be worthwile to look a bit deeper into what constitues a good post. For example, I don't think this is a double post, so you might want to seek out some background articles to 'pad out' the story. You know, tell us something we don't know. Just sayin'.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 5:21 PM on January 26, 2006


or what constitutes a proper word ;)
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 5:22 PM on January 26, 2006


old
posted by cellphone at 5:25 PM on January 26, 2006


I loved Putin's comment that the Russians shouldn't hassle these spies, in case the Brits replace them with smart ones.

But yeah, not exactly best-of-the-web...
posted by pompomtom at 5:27 PM on January 26, 2006


Old News Filter.
posted by soiled cowboy at 5:40 PM on January 26, 2006


I love the part where the Russian say this rock represents million of dollars worth of effort. I think their sense of perspective is a bit warped.
posted by smackfu at 5:47 PM on January 26, 2006


Nobody spies on other people.. you read too many James Bond books.
posted by Balisong at 5:53 PM on January 26, 2006


If you've already seen it on The Daily Show, please rethink the usefulness of posting it to metafilter.
posted by odinsdream at 5:59 PM on January 26, 2006


Unless it involves taints, that is.
posted by anthill at 6:03 PM on January 26, 2006


[old]
posted by thirteenkiller at 6:03 PM on January 26, 2006


goodnewsfortheinsane said it.
posted by tiamat at 6:15 PM on January 26, 2006


I hadn't heard about this story anywhere except from a Russian guy I work with who saw it on a Russian news channel. I had to do a search to see if the story had been picked up in the news, but I'm incredibly pissed at the comments I'm seeing here.

Whoever is responsible for deleting accounts might as well delete mine now, because with my next post I will self link just to ensure that the account is deleted.
posted by jfrancis at 6:29 PM on January 26, 2006


jfrancis has lost it.
posted by xmutex at 6:33 PM on January 26, 2006


Impressive
posted by prostyle at 6:34 PM on January 26, 2006


I'm all for slagging bad posts, but save it for the people who make one-link fpps that point to google video or the latest funny link off fark. Nothing really wrong with two different links to some interesting news.
posted by nightchrome at 6:36 PM on January 26, 2006


I guess jfrancis doesn't get cable news.
posted by puke & cry at 6:39 PM on January 26, 2006 [1 favorite]


Or the paper... or google news...
posted by odinsdream at 6:41 PM on January 26, 2006


MetaFilter: I will self link just to ensure that the account is deleted.
posted by Duncan at 6:45 PM on January 26, 2006


is it me, or is there something about users who join, wait nearly 3 weeks before posting (get it wrong) and then whine about it, that's, I don't know, annoying somehow?
posted by tiamat at 6:48 PM on January 26, 2006


Does anyone have any idea as to why the Russians are releasing this now? With some of this stuff they know about these things for years but release them when they want to have a go at the other side for some reason. Indeed, knowing about this kind of link and intercepting the information can be far more valuable than exposing it.
posted by sien at 6:48 PM on January 26, 2006


Cut him some slack, peeps, I wouldn't have known about this either if it wasn't on the Daily Show.
posted by Saucy Intruder at 6:48 PM on January 26, 2006


ironically, jfrancis's site is quite nice.

[ok, I'm done here]
posted by tiamat at 6:48 PM on January 26, 2006


Send in the MeFi clowns...
posted by soiled cowboy at 6:49 PM on January 26, 2006


And really, you had to search for it to see if it's been picked up on the news and found out that it'd been picked up by every news outlet ever. Maybe you make searching google news a regular habit.
posted by puke & cry at 6:50 PM on January 26, 2006


*sits back, waits for enemies of the people to be exposed and shot*
posted by Krrrlson at 6:51 PM on January 26, 2006


Seriously, people. This gets everyone all bent out of shape, but a single-link post to a video of David Hasselhoff singing badly gets countless comments of "cool!"?
posted by nightchrome at 6:52 PM on January 26, 2006


this was news to me, I like interesting stories about rocks. jfrancis, please ignore the naysayers.
posted by jessamyn at 7:00 PM on January 26, 2006


You got to love CNN... a "wonder" of technology that cost tens of millions of pounds (dollars)... for those of you who didn't know that the pound is also a unit of currency in some far away land.
posted by Roger Dodger at 7:08 PM on January 26, 2006


ironically, jfrancis's site is quite nice.

Indeed. Cheer up jfrancis -- if not for the flap over the single link to old news, I might not have viewed your profile and found your incredbly informative site.
posted by eustacescrubb at 7:09 PM on January 26, 2006


Yeah, his site is really great. Someone should FPP it.
posted by thirteenkiller at 7:10 PM on January 26, 2006


Lighten up, jfrancis.

To everyone checking out his site, it is nice and he's already achieved his purpose you suckers.
posted by fenriq at 7:24 PM on January 26, 2006


You guys are just lucky I didn't already have a blog full of rantings when I joined up.
posted by Balisong at 7:29 PM on January 26, 2006


Lighten up, Francis.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 7:55 PM on January 26, 2006


you heard it here, folks. one out of two mods agrees: shallow posts to popular news sites are fine, so long as the mods haven't read the newspaper by the time they see it.
posted by shmegegge at 8:02 PM on January 26, 2006


Damn, I hate qualifiers like that. Now I've gotta install spycams in both their houses so I can make sure they haven't seen my newsfilter yet.
posted by fenriq at 8:24 PM on January 26, 2006





posted by Eideteker at 8:29 PM on January 26, 2006


What cracks me up is the idea of the "Leave no stone unturned!" order that must have gone out to find the rest of them.
posted by Occams Hammer at 8:42 PM on January 26, 2006


Please don't scare jfrancis away. I read an article he wrote in Cinefex.
posted by smackfu at 8:49 PM on January 26, 2006


I just want to state for the record that I know nothing about any such spy devices. And that I would hide my electronic data-gathering gear inside sex toys such as vibrating inflatable ostrich heads.

And Jessamyn, I have a head full of rocks (at the moment floating in bourbon). But what is that horrid buzzing?
posted by davy at 9:20 PM on January 26, 2006


that is a nice site you have, Francis.
posted by puke & cry at 9:37 PM on January 26, 2006 [1 favorite]


Best of the web or not, I enjoyed this fpp. (And pompomtom's link.)
posted by hattifattener at 9:46 PM on January 26, 2006


I like interesting stories about rocks.

Not to, you know, brown-nose or anything, but really, I think this is the key point here — MetaFilter can never have too many links to interesting stories about rocks. Can you argue with that? No. No, you can't.

And I read the whole bloody paper today and didn't see anything about this story. And furthermore my life would be significantly emptier and unfulfilled had I not seen that Putin quote. So there.
posted by IshmaelGraves at 10:56 PM on January 26, 2006


From the Moscow Times with links to related stories
posted by hortense at 11:18 PM on January 26, 2006



What fenriq and Civil_Disobedient said.

Any of you HO-MOES diss another one of his FPPs... and he'll kill ya.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 11:41 PM on January 26, 2006


man. I went to jfrancis' site. I gotta say, I'm blown away as a lot of people are. It's a shame that someone with that much to offer had to throw the mefi equivalent of a screaming shit fit just because he caught some extraordinarily mild flack for making a post that, really, isn't that great.

I suppose that I can see why new guys get the impression that this kind of post is just universally and popularly accepted. There are enough of them polluting the page that don't get deleted and, if they're incendiary enough, wind up with 200+ comment discussion explosions. (or train wrecks.)

But these reactions in here? That is Mefi, in a sense. We care enough about the site to say when we think something doesn't contribute all that well. Maybe all those empty news posts are what mefi's becoming, but there's going to be some talkback before that transformation is complete, and what happened at the top of this thread is about as light as that talkback comes.

I don't know if jfrancis is naturally thin skinned. Considering the industry in which he's an established pro, I doubt it. But right here, right now? That's an awfully thin skinned reaction.
posted by shmegegge at 11:48 PM on January 26, 2006


We care enough about the site to say when we think something doesn't contribute all that well.

There always seems to be a few people who just jump on the name calling bandwagon - as though being the first to point out its a double post gets them gold stars, a round of applause, the hot chick or, well, anything at all.

As it goes I dont pay any attention to the news - its boring. Death here, death there, we're all fooked, doom and gloom. Boring. And I'm not the only one who reads this site with an attitude like this and regardless of how superior some of you think you are because you do watch/read the news - your not. So highlighting stories like this, I think, is valid.

If you've seen my other comments - I might sound like a broken record but - 99% of whats posted to Metafilter isnt "Best of the Web". My judgement on an extremely subjective thing. The best thing on the web was that Hurra Torpedo video a bit back (before they sold out to Ford). Everything else therefore was not "the best of the web". Ergo pointing out a new post isn't "best of the web" is futile and pointless.

If you not got anything good to say. Keep your mouth shut.

Sure jfrancis reaction was perhaps a bit OTT. But it was probably late at night/early in the morning/after a few beers or just generally worded badly.

As for the post itself - I found it comical. Had visions of British spies using the rock to throw at those pesky Rushkies as a last resort weapon when fleeing Moscow.
posted by 13twelve at 2:54 AM on January 27, 2006 [1 favorite]


What shmegegge said. As much as I try to refrain from the standard-issue kneejerk Mefi Gestapo reaction, i.e. "Hmz. Bad postzors! Must form turd in commenting box instantly!", sometimes you just have to speak up, especially with a first-time poster, and I mean that in the least patronising way possible. I also tried to qualify my first comment.

jessamyn's comment, therefore, is inexplicable to me: it only reminds us that the fate of many a post rests only on the whim of the venerable members #1 and #292. I don't take this wonderful little game halfway seriously enough to be honestly worried about a single post - albeit one on a topic that I find genuinely interesting, but which could have been a lot better prepared, and deserved the criticism, in my opinion.

Rather, I worry for the next time I post the next "underexposed" news story that will interest me because it affects me personally, or because it's Dutch or British or otherwise European in origin and I might expect others not to have come across it yet. Wanna bet on the odds of deletion on grounds of Newsfilter?

That said, I apologise to jfrancis if I came across a bit harsh, but I stand by my criticism.

Oh, and:

thirteenkiller writes "Yeah, his site is really great. Someone should FPP it."

Done.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 3:12 AM on January 27, 2006


Is anyone else just a little worried at folks who proudly post here "I get all my news from The Daily Show?"
posted by fixedgear at 3:45 AM on January 27, 2006


Sure jfrancis reaction was perhaps a bit OTT

That stuff about only getting this story from some Russian friend via Russian news: He can't be looking in many places, it was front page on every paper in the UK last week and on the major UK web news services.
posted by biffa at 4:01 AM on January 27, 2006


Mr Francis lives in California I think (postcard on his site seems to have that as an address for mail anyway) - so what UK papers have on their covers is kinda a moot point as I doubt he's seen 'em.

Having recieved a fairly savage (but warranted) beatdown on my first (and so far only) FPP myself, I have to side with the 'give him a break' crowd.

Quality control is, of course, a concern - but surely theres more positive and constructive ways to helpfully criticize a posting you don't care for than some of the early comments in this thread?

That said, Mr. Francis I advise you to try and take the web less seriously. People are anonymous here and in no danger of getting a slap in the chops for being a smartass - so the critique you're likely to recieve online (here or in any other web forum) is likely to be a little on the rough side.


Point is not to let it discourage you from participating.
posted by stumcg at 5:58 AM on January 27, 2006


I think the point is not that "he should have seen UK newspapers", it's that - considering this story broke on Sunday, and has been heavily covered since then - there's no excuse for not doing some more research and making a much better post. Single link newsfilters are OK (ish) for breaking news. Week-old news? Not so much.

So anyway, in the spirit of not just snarking, I'll point out that the Russians can hardly have been caught off guard by the idea of using wireless handheld computers to update the old dead letter box routine - because their own man in the FBI, Robert Hanssen, was trying to sell them on the idea back in 2000:

"As you implied and I have said, we do need a better form of secure communication – faster. In this vein, I propose (without being attached to it) the following:

One of the commercial products currently available is the Palm VII organizer. I have a Palm III, which is actually a fairly capable computer. The VII version comes with wireless internet capability built in. It can allow the rapid transmission of encrypted messages, which if used on an infrequent basis, could be quite effective in preventing confusions if the existance [sic] of the accounts could be appropriately hidden as well as the existance [sic] of the devices themselves. Such a device might even serve for rapid transmittal of substantial material in digital form."


Of course, he probably just wanted a new toy.
posted by flashboy at 6:25 AM on January 27, 2006


Quality control is, of course, a concern - but surely theres more positive and constructive ways to helpfully criticize a posting you don't care for than some of the early comments in this thread?

of course, but there's also no way to ensure that a community of over 30000 (admittedly, not nearly that many are active) constantly says the polite thing every time. There's only so much the site and the community can be accountable for. The rest is between the poster and the individual commenter. Taking it the way jfrancis has is specifically avoiding the fact that there were probably 2, MAYBE 3 objectionable comments before he flipped out that were made by INDIVIDUAL users, not mefi as a whole.
posted by shmegegge at 10:21 AM on January 27, 2006


I thought the link was awesome and this is the first I'd heard of it. I seriously hope jfrancis revists this page to find out it wasn't all bad.

I have taken this to MeTa..
posted by cavalier at 12:55 PM on January 27, 2006


Any of you HO-MOES diss another one of his FPPs... and he'll kill ya.

You just made the list.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 4:53 PM on January 27, 2006


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