Recent posts by Caractacus on Kongregate

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Topic: General Gaming / Best RTS game?

X Com. It’s nearly 20 years old, it still beats down everything since.

 
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Topic: Technical Support / Drift Runners

Don’t know if anyone else is having this problem but everytime I attempt to open Drift Runners, it crashes my browser.

In fact it crashes everything, I’ve attempted it in Opera, Firefox and IE. All of them crashed. Several times.

Any possible solutions?

 
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Topic: General Gaming / Hedgehogs

Bump.

 
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Topic: General Gaming / Pandemic 2 -- Disease Names

Bert

 
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Topic: General Gaming / If you could make your own MMO...

I have tons of ideas for Games. But the one that would really really work for an MMORPG would be a Warhammer version – specifically the Space Marine Universe where you choose your species, then you can either sit around on your planet and do quests there, or join a faction (Space Marines, other armies etc) You start off as a grunt in a massive Universe War and you have to survive and kill in order to progress up through the ranks. Eventually if you get to the high levels you get command of your own ship and the troops within, you can even get higher in the Imperium so that you control the strategy and tactics, maybe even President of The Imperium. The point would be that all points of the game are Player Controlled, so you’re not just completing quests in a group or alone, you’re actually conducting a war from a players perspective, whichever rank you are at. So if you are a General, you can choose to send a ship to attack an enemy planet, and if you’re playing the Enemy someone will be playing the Governor of that Planet who has either invested in defenses or not. You get the idea.

I reckon we’ll see a game like that in the future, but it’s still a ways off.

I’d also like to see an MMORPG set in Discworld.

 
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Topic: General Gaming / the first video game you ever played

Christ I’m old. The first game I ever played was one of two. Either Harrier Attack or The Galactic Plague on The Amstrad CPC. I was about 3 at the time and I’ve loved games ever since.

 
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Topic: General Gaming / Hedgehogs

What is it with Hedgehogs and computer games? We currently have Hedgehog Challenge on Kong, following closely on the heels of Hedgehog Launch, and of course, looming over all of them, there is the long shadow of Sonic the Hedgehog.

All of these games seek to endow Hedgehogs with qualities that these small prickly mammals are not usually known for, such as speed, jumping, or space exploration.

Why Hedgehogs? Why not Voles, Moles or other small omnivores? What is it about the Hedgehog that fascinates Game Developers? Or is it something more sinister? Are our Games Companies run by a secret race of super intelligent, space faring and super fast Hedgehogs attempting to condition us into acceptance for their eventual take over of the world?

Friends, we must be on our guard and watch for this Ungodly conspiracy. If you spot anything Hedgehog related in your immediate vicinity, or indeed if an authority figure in your area has recently been replaced by a Hedgehog, then speak up and let the people know that that they must rise up and strike a blow against Hedgehogs for the sake of Mankind. Let them know that Humans will not become the slaves of the Hedgehogs.

Join Hedgehog watch now, and together we shall put an end to their prickly plans.

 
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Topic: Serious Discussion / What Is Beauty?

Great Question. One that you can never have a wrong answer for.

I did my dissertation on beauty. Here are the quotes I culled for the foreward. Remember, if "all these extremely clever and famous people cannot agree even on the basic tenets of beauty then it’s pretty impossible for anyone else to (Crap at html so can’t separate these out – the quotes come in pairs):

I never remember that anything beautiful…was ever shown, though it were to a hundred people, that they did not all immediately agree that it was beautiful."
The Sublime and Beautiful, Edmund Burke

“Everything has its Beauty but not everyone sees it.”
Analects, Confucius

“Everything beautiful has its moment and then passes away.”
Las Ruinas, Luis Cernuda

“A thing of Beauty is a joy forever;
Its loveliness increases; it will never
Pass into nothingness”
Endymion, John Keats

“Beauty stands
In the admiration only of weak minds
Led captive”
Paradise Regained, John Milton

“If you get simple Beauty, and nought else.
You get about the best thing God invents.”
Fra Lippo Lippi, Robert Browning

“The good is the beautiful.”
Lysis, Plato

“It is amazing how complete is the delusion that Beauty is goodness.”
The Kreutzer Sonata, Leo Tolstoy

“Remember that the most beautiful things in the world are the most useless.”
The Stones of Venice, John Ruskin

“Think of all the Beauty around you and be happy.”
The Diary of a Young Girl, Anne Frank

 
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Topic: Serious Discussion / Myspace Suicide story

“Also, you have to admit the girl must have been pretty self obssessed, pathetically depressed, shy, addicted to the feel of people liking her, somewhat to greatly mentally ill, overly sensitive to rejection, or a combination of all of those for somebody on the internet who was somewhat friends with them to kill herself over that.”

Sounds like your average teenager to me.

 
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Topic: Serious Discussion / American strategy, then and now.

The allied headcount is extremely high – however the deaths are coming from security firms like blackwater which are not reported. Take the military deaths which are reported. Times that by two or three and add the two numbers together to get a more realistic picture of the allied death toll. Plus Iraq is pretty much now in a full blown civil war between two or three or four guerilla armies – the Americans are the least of anyones problems. It’s the civilians in the middle who are dying.

 
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Topic: General Gaming / Evanator Songs

Why would I need to edit?

 
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Topic: General Gaming / Evanator Songs

Now that’s more like it.

Flagpole Sitter by Harvey Danger. Oh yea.

 
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Topic: General Gaming / Evanator Songs

Van Morrison – Meet me in the indian summer.

Bit pointless as most of the bars tune to Van’s voice. And he’s a bit staccato in his singing, especially on this song.

 
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Topic: Serious Discussion / Area 51

Area 51 is proof that we are gullible.

 
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Topic: General Gaming / Evanator Songs

Again. Scatman doesn’t do much. Guess synthesisers and drum machines don’t register highly.

 
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Topic: General Gaming / Evanator Songs

Hmm. 90’s dance – Corona, Rhythm of the Night. Not so good. Pity. I’d have thought they’d have gone well. Gonna try Scatman John.

 
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Topic: General Gaming / Evanator Songs

As I expected – Sparks are pretty good. Tried As I sit to play the organ at the Notre Dame Cathedral. Some pretty easy bits mixed with high intensity mental play.

This town ain’t big enough for the both of us might be better.

Also found a glitch. If you start a song and get everything pretty even and then upload something, the song stops but your score keeps going.

Anyone tried Bohemian Rhapsody yet?

 
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Topic: General Gaming / Evanator Songs

A thread for the songs you upload on Evanator.

Tell us whether they rock or not.

My first one

Cold War Kids: Hang me up to dry.

Great fun. Slow to start and then goes mental.

 
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Topic: Serious Discussion / American strategy, then and now.

Ryan (and everyone else) I suggest you read The War of the Flea by Robert Taber. It’s an excellent book showing how guerilla warfare trumps conventional warfare everytime – but only if you are defending. For offence it’s utterly useless.

Some of the main reasons.

Guerillas are not conventional uniformed troops. They are defending and so always have the support of the civilian population. Any time they become threatened by the enemy they simply hide their weapons and blend in with the civilian population in ten minutes.

Offensive troops cannot do this. They are uniformed, they do not usually have the support of the civillians. In todays world they cannot shoot civilians indiscriminately. Therefore they cannot find the enemy. This is what happened in Vietnam and is happening in Iraq.

Guerillas move on foot, they know the territory like the back of their hand, they carry small arms. They can strike and disappear.

Offensive troops have heavy machinery to bring up. Tanks etc. They are slow. If they abandon the heavy machinery, they are vulnerable.

Guerillas do not need to hold any ground at all because the civilians do that for them. If they lose control of a town or village they simply wait until the enemy passes through and then pop up behind them.

Offensive countries have to hold all the ground they take – otherwise their supply lines are cut, their troops in front of the line are lost. This becomes extremely intensive in terms of soldiers and equipment as Guerillas could attack at any point at any time.

Basically – as Taber explains in the book, Guerilla Warfare is unbeatable for defending countries. While the Iraqi army failed miserably against the American Army, the Americans don’t even know who they are fighting right now.

The last person to succesfully fight guerillas was Hitler. And even then he only had limited success. As any war film will tell you – he had no compunction about having his officers massacre the civilians in any place that resisted thereby partly removing the support base of guerilla fighters. His Blitzkrieg form of attack where communications were cut immediately also hampered resistance by stopping any weapons reaching beleagured towns before they had been taken. Afghanistan is different because the resistance is Taliban – not guerillas from the civilian population. And everyone has grievances against the Taliban.

Taber’s book is I believe par for the course in army training, but obviously not in Pentagon Training. Basically, it is impossible for any country to offensively occupy another country for any major period of time. Guerilla armies are impossible to find let alone rout. While Iraq was being freed from Saddam, the Americans had the support of the civilians, when it turned into an occupation then the population turned and will hound the Americans until they leave. No matter the troop surges, no matter what. The troop surge is having results, but all that is, is the guerilla fighters going to ground while there are more offensive troops around. The surge is seen to be working, so at some point it will end, and oh look, all those fighters will pop up again. The Guerillas have all the time in the world on their side. The Americans cannot stay in Iraq indefinitely. Iraq is slightly easier than Vietnam because the Iraqis don’t have the dense terrain the Vietcong did but in the long run it won’t make a slight bit of difference. America was defeated the day it stayed longer than the fall of Saddam and Robert Taber predicted it in the 1970’s. Pity George Bush and Donald Rumsfeld can’t read.

 
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Topic: Serious Discussion / American strategy, then and now.

I think the change obviously occured in Vietnam where thousands upon thousands of raw recruits were sent in and thousands upon thousands came out in bodybags. Mobile warfare (Tanks) were obviously pretty much useless in that environment and it was probably noticed that the longer you survived by chance, the more chance you had of surviving by skill.

However I think it probably has gone way too far the other way. Vietnam was a unique environment (also the pacific campaign during WW2, Korea etc) when we come back to Iraq – it’s not much more than a wide open flat space, mostly desert. small squads of well trained men simply can’t cover that expanse, in the Iraq campaign you need numbers. Different battlefields require different tactics and the Pentagon still haven’t realised this. Put five squaddies on the corner of every street in Baghdad, and the enemy cannot move, but there are not enough troops to do this so the enemy can stay in control of everywhere outside the Green Zone. It’s no good having 500 commandos if they can’t get outside their own bunker.

I’m not for the war in Iraq. But if the Pentagon had had any kind of military nous at all they would have ended this at the initial invasion, which would have been the best possible outcome. Because they are morally, militarily and politically redundant they have messed it up beyond belief.

 
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Topic: Serious Discussion / Kongregate debate team! (Historical Document)

And another one: number 13:

New studies from both sides of the Atlantic reveal that Roundup, the most widely used weedkiller in the world, poses serious human health threats. More than 75 percent of genetically modified (GM) crops are engineered to tolerate the absorption of Roundup—it eliminates all plants that are not GM. Monsanto Inc., the major engineer of GM crops, is also the producer of Roundup. Thus, while Roundup was formulated as a weapon against weeds, it has become a prevalent ingredient in most of our food crops.

Three recent studies show that Roundup, which is used by farmers and home gardeners, is not the safe product we have been led to trust.

A group of scientists led by biochemist Professor Gilles-Eric Seralini from the University of Caen in France found that human placental cells are very sensitive to Roundup at concentrations lower than those currently used in agricultural application.

An epidemiological study of Ontario farming populations showed that exposure to glyphosate, the key ingredient in Roundup, nearly doubled the risk of late miscarriages. Seralini and his team decided to research the effects of the herbicide on human placenta cells. Their study confirmed the toxicity of glyphosate, as after eighteen hours of exposure at low concentrations, large proportions of human placenta began to die. Seralini suggests that this may explain the high levels of premature births and miscarriages observed among female farmers using glyphosate.

Seralini’s team further compared the toxic effects of the Roundup formula (the most common commercial formulation of glyphosate and chemical additives) to the isolated active ingredient, glyphosate. They found that the toxic effect increases in the presence of Roundup ‘adjuvants’ or additives. These additives thus have a facilitating role, rendering Roundup twice as toxic as its isolated active ingredient, glyphosate.

Another study, released in April 2005 by the University of Pittsburgh, suggests that Roundup is a danger to other life-forms and non-target organisms. Biologist Rick Relyea found that Roundup is extremely lethal to amphibians. In what is considered one of the most extensive studies on the effects of pesticides on nontarget organisms in a natural setting, Relyea found that Roundup caused a 70 percent decline in amphibian biodiversity and an 86 percent decline in the total mass of tadpoles. Leopard frog tadpoles and gray tree frog tadpoles were nearly eliminated.

In 2002, a scientific team led by Robert Belle of the National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) biological station in Roscoff, France showed that Roundup activates one of the key stages of cellular division that can potentially lead to cancer. Belle and his team have been studying the impact of glyphosate formulations on sea urchin cells for several years. The team has recently demonstrated in Toxicological Science (December 2004) that a “control point” for DNA damage was affected by Roundup, while glyphosate alone had no effect. “We have shown that it’s a definite risk factor, but we have not evaluated the number of cancers potentially induced, nor the time frame within which they would declare themselves,” Belle acknowledges.

There is, indeed, direct evidence that glyphosate inhibits an important process called RNA transcription in animals, at a concentration well below the level that is recommended for commercial spray application.

There is also new research that shows that brief exposure to commercial glyphosate causes liver damage in rats, as indicated by the leakage of intracellular liver enzymes. The research indicates that glyphosate and its surfactant in Roundup were found to act in synergy to increase damage to the liver.

UPDATE BY CHEE YOKE HEONG
Roundup Ready weedkiller is one of the most widely used weedkillers in the world for crops and backyard gardens. Roundup, with its active ingredient glyphosate, has long been promoted as safe for humans and the environment while effective in killing weeds. It is therefore significant when recent studies show that Roundup is not as safe as its promoters claim.

This has major consequences as the bulk of commercially planted genetically modified crops are designed to tolerate glyphosate (and especially Roundup), and independent field data already shows a trend of increasing use of the herbicide. This goes against industry claims that herbicide use will drop and that these plants will thus be more “environment-friendly.” Now it has been found that there are serious health effects, too. My story therefore aimed to highlight these new findings and their implications to health and the environment.

Not surprisingly, Monsanto came out refuting some of the findings of the studies mentioned in the article. What ensued was an open exchange between Dr. Rick Relyea and Monsanto, whereby the former stood his grounds. Otherwise, to my knowledge, no studies have since emerged on Roundup.

For more information look to the following sources:
Professor Gilles-Eric, criigen@ibfa.unicaen.fr
Biosafety Information Center, http://www.biosafety-info.net
Institute of Science in Society, http://www.i-sis.org.uk

 
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Topic: Serious Discussion / Kongregate debate team! (Historical Document)

Just to reinvigorate this thread. Just found this site using stumble upon:

http://www.projectcensored.org/censored_2007/index.htm

Check down to number 11: Dangers of genetically modified food confirmed.

Here’s the report:

Several recent studies confirm fears that genetically modified (GM) foods damage human health. These studies were released as the World Trade Organization (WTO) moved toward upholding the ruling that the European Union has violated international trade rules by stopping importation of GM foods.

  • Research by the Russian Academy of Sciences released in December 2005 found that more than half of the offspring of rats fed GM soy died within the first three weeks of life, six times as many as those born to mothers fed on non-modified soy. Six times as many offspring fed GM soy were also severely underweight.
  • In November 2005, a private research institute in Australia, CSIRO Plant Industry, put a halt to further development of a GM pea cultivator when it was found to cause an immune response in laboratory mice.1
  • In the summer of 2005, an Italian research team led by a cellular biologist at the University of Urbino published confirmation that absorption of GM soy by mice causes development of misshapen liver cells, as well as other cellular anomalies.
  • In May of 2005 the review of a highly confidential and controversial Monsanto report on test results of corn modified with Monsanto MON863 was published in The Independent/UK.

Dr. Arpad Pusztai (see Censored 2001, Story #7), one of the few genuinely independent scientists specializing in plant genetics and animal feeding studies, was asked by the German authorities in the autumn of 2004 to examine Monsanto’s 1,139-page report on the feeding of MON863 to laboratory rats over a ninety-day period.

The study found “statistically significant” differences in kidney weights and certain blood parameters in the rats fed the GM corn as compared with the control groups. A number of scientists across Europe who saw the study (and heavily-censored summaries of it) expressed concerns about the health and safety implications if MON863 should ever enter the food chain. There was particular concern in France, where Professor Gilles-Eric Seralini of the University of Caen has been trying (without success) for almost eighteen months to obtain full disclosure of all documents relating to the MON863 study.

Dr. Pusztai was forced by the German authorities to sign a “declaration of secrecy” before he was allowed to see the Monsanto rat feeding study, on the grounds that the document is classified as “CBI” or “confidential business interest.” While Pusztai is still bound by the declaration of secrecy, Monsanto recently declared that it does not object to the widespread dissemination of the “Pusztai Report.”2

Monsanto GM soy and corn are widely consumed by Americans at a time when the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization has concluded, “In several cases, GMOs have been put on the market when safety issues are not clear.”

As GMO research is not encouraged by U.S. or European governments, the vast majority of toxicological studies are conducted by those companies producing and promoting consumption of GMOs. With motive and authenticity of results suspect in corporate testing, independent scientific research into the effects of GM foods is attracting increasing attention.

Comment: In May 2006 the WTO upheld a ruling that European countries broke international trade rules by stopping importation of GM foods. The WTO verdict found that the EU has had an effective ban on biotech foods since 1998 and sided with the U.S., Canada, and Argentina in a decision that the moratorium was illegal under WTO rules.3

 
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Topic: Serious Discussion / Life in General

It’s an excuse to watch endless repeats of Saved by the Bell.

 
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Topic: Serious Discussion / Making drugs illegal is silly -- but the war on drugs is simply reckless.

That wasn’t me sorry. I just copied and pasted the article from the website and it came out like that.

 
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Topic: Serious Discussion / Making drugs illegal is silly -- but the war on drugs is simply reckless.

An interesting article on guns, drugs and crime in Britain http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/6937537.stm Simply carrying a gun now carries a mandatory minimum sentence of five years - so who does it and why? Guns can provide an intoxicating and almost pornographic attraction to young men who often feel powerless, according to academics in the field. Last year Gavin Hales, a criminologist from Portsmouth University, researched gun crime in a project funded by the Home Office. He interviewed 80 men in prison who had become involved in gun crime. Asked about what attracted him to guns, Tommy, a London-born crack addict and armed robber, said: "The control, the power you have got when you have got that in your hand." That power was crudely illustrated at a recent trial at the Old Bailey. GUN CRIMINALS The Babamuboni brothers Timy (left) and Diamond Babamuboni were convicted of manslaughter at the Old Bailey in December 2006 The trial was shown footage of Timy, 15, tormenting a friend with a gun They were sentenced as juveniles despite the police's suspicions that they lied about their ages Is it wrong to blame hip hop? The jury was shown footage from a mobile phone of a boy pointing a sawn-off shotgun at a terrified former friend who was forced to strip to his underpants as his tormentors laughed. Timy Babamuboni, who was aged 15, swore on the Bible he was not the boy in the footage, but he was shown to be a liar and was later convicted of the manslaughter of a woman shot dead as she held a baby at a christening party in south London. Posturing Mr Hales said police frequently came across mobile phone footage of young men posturing with guns, which may be real or imitation. In May this year police swooped on homes in Ellesmere Port, Cheshire, after discovering footage of youths posturing with a weapon. It turned out to be an imitation weapon. Things have changed a great deal since the 1960s and 1970s, when gun crime was generally restricted to armed robberies, usually by career criminals and often using shotguns. In the 1980s and 1990s the number of armed robberies fell away as more and more criminals moved into the drugs trade. Despite the 1997 ban on handguns - introduced after the Dunblane massacre - the crooks increasingly favoured pistols and revolvers, which were easier to hide and more "fashionable". Some politicians have pointed the finger at Hollywood films, violent computer games and the posturing - often with guns - on hip-hop videos. Last year Tory leader David Cameron criticised BBC Radio 1 for playing songs which he said "encouraged the carrying of guns and knives". In the past 15 years there has been a noticeable rise in black-on-black gun crime, which was recognised when the Metropolitan Police launched Operation Trident in response to appeals by the black community. But despite Mr Cameron's recent "anarchy in the UK" rhetoric, the problem pre-dates the Labour government. In March and April 1997 - under a Conservative government - there were 10 murders by gun in England alone. We have noticed for a couple of years now that the ages of people involved in gun crime is reducing and it's something that we have been deeply concerned about Det Ch Supt Helen Ball What does seem to have changed in the past decade is the average age of both offenders and victims, which has come down considerably. The average age of the victims in those 10 murders in the spring of 1997 was 29 and the youngest was aged 19. Ten years on, if you look at the gun deaths that took place in June and July 2007 the average age of the five victims had fallen to 25 and that falls to 20 if 47-year-old boxer James Oyebola is excluded. Detective Chief Superintendent Helen Ball, who heads up Operation Trident, recently told BBC Radio Five Live: "We have noticed for a couple of years now that the ages of people involved in gun crime is reducing and it's something that we have been deeply concerned about and until we are able to tackle that trend I am not sure that we will be able to be confident in solving this problem." She said the proportion of victims who were teenagers had risen from 19% to 31% in the last four years. She said there were many reasons for young people getting involved, but two significant factors were exclusion from school and copying the offending of older siblings. The Reverend Nims Obunge, the chief executive of the Peace Alliance, said many young people suffered from low self-esteem and this absence of "self-love" was key. He said: "When young people don't feel a sense of love for themselves, the absence of value for their lives... that is dangerous." Mr Obunge added: "Another big thing is the sense of territoriality - some call it gang culture - which has kicked off in a big way in recent years." Mr Hales said the emergence of so-called "postcode territoriality" did raise difficult questions. He said: "Is it a fad? It may be part of youth culture which may disappear very quickly, but it is a worry." Mr Hales said there was increasing evidence of an "arms race" in some communities, with youths turning from knives to guns and then to even more powerful weapons. Some youths claim this arms race forces them to carry guns for protection. But Detective Chief Inspector John Lyons, of Greater Manchester Police's Armed Crime Unit, was dismissive of that argument. The other day I had a journalist ask me what it was like living in the 'triangle of death' Erinma Bell He said: "If you are not swimming in the pool with the sharks, you don't need to behave like a shark. "You might have a gun for self-defence if you are a drug dealer, but you are just as likely to have it to make sure you get paid." But Manchester community worker Erinma Bell said there needed to be more emphasis on positive aspects of life in inner city communities such as Moss Side and Longsight and she blamed the media for perpetuating negative images. "The other day I had a journalist ask me what it was like living in the 'triangle of death'. The media should stop perpetuating these labels," she said. She said many of the youths in areas plagued by gun crime simply needed to be given real achievable alternatives as well as positive role models. Ms Bell has set up a work experience programme at construction company Laing O'Rourke and she said this sort of thing could transform the aspirations of young people in areas like Moss Side. Craze 24, a hip-hop MC from Brixton, south London, agrees there is a lack of positive role models and said: "The local role models are drug dealers, with their big gold chains, their flash cars and their money. "The young kids too often want to be like them rather than someone who is studying every day for a proper job which might take years. There is too much of a 'get-rich-quick' mentality." He said the mandatory five-year sentence for carrying a gun was just not enough. "They need to make it 10 years to really scare these kids," he said. Richard Garside, director of the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies, said the fact young black men were statistically over-represented among gun crime victims should not lead to misleading analysis. He said: "I don't think anybody is seriously suggesting there is a gun-carrying gene that black people inherit that white people don't. So whatever we are saying about young black men, it's not related to their blackness." Mr Garside said the high rate of gun crime in black communities was more to do with the fact the victims tended to live in inner city areas with a lack of social and economic opportunity.