Old typewriter for Elizabeth Jewell writing about magazines

20,000 ghosts in the SMH computer…?

In Health and Healing, Health and Nutrition by Elizabeth Jewell StephensLeave a Comment

Hello Fellow Adventurers,

What a debacle this SMH poll appears to be. Certainly the editorial that accompanied it was interesting. There was a totally biased scientist’s report first, as you probably saw, and one reader suggested he’d stepped out of the 1800s, but right near the bottom there was a wonderful piece by a female surgeon (Dr Valerie Malka, surgeon and former director of trauma services at Westmead Hospital) who lauded the benefits of complementary therapies:

“It is about time the Australian medical profession started educating rather than medicating. It is unfortunate that it is the public’s disillusionment with modern medicine and its inability to treat many diseases, as well as the dreadful side-effects of any treatment offered, that have increased the popularity of complementary and alternative medicine. It should have been due to the interest, enthusiasm and reason of doctors, scientists, researchers and politicians.

“As a qualified medical specialist and surgeon, I am ashamed of the medical profession when it so blatantly displays its ignorance and persists in attacking a profession from which we have much to learn.”

It’s mainly to talk about the dodgy figures that I am writing this. People kindly pointed out to me that the percentages could go up and down as more people voted – the figures are not static. However, I have 55 screen shots on my computer, mostly mine – and thanks to those who sent theirs in – and there is one particularly fascinating instance of weird stuff happening.

Several people wrote to me and noted amazing upswings in a matter of minutes, but, not knowing the capacity of computers, I guess that is quite possible. I found that in the last five or so minutes about 8,500 people voted (and they managed to change the percentage from 31% in favour to the closing figure of 30%).

Yes, that is possible I guess, but, after the voting closed, the number of people who voted climbed from 862,889 to 883,067. Yep, more than 20,000 ghosts got into the computer and voted when it was closed – and voted in the same proportion as all the people over the past few hours.

Andre is an IT guy, and his second letter below addresses computers and the likelihood of votes post closing time.

I’m pasting below a selection of the emails I got from people, and thank you to everyone who has contributed to the discussion and provided screen shots or typed out the results that were visible at the time.

However, on the positive side, the petition is still open for you to sign, and this morning the number signing is up to 5,880. It was organised personally by one committed person, Rachel McDonald. Please go and sign up. If you cannot get through, just come back later, as it seems to me that it suffers from congestion at times and is just not available to view.

With love
Elizabeth Jewell Stephens


Reader emails

Hi Elizabeth,

In the hope there’s no ‘conspiracy’ going on at the SMH, perhaps it’s a percentage of the total number of people who vote, not a tally of how many. If more people in a given timeframe voted ‘No’, the ‘Yes’ percentage would drop. Say 40 out of 100 voted ‘Yes’ in the first hour, that’s 40%. Then if in the next hour another 100 people voted but only 30 out of 100 voted ‘Yes’ then the percentage would drop to 35% (a total of 70 out of 200 people who’ve now voted). It’s a percentage. It just depends how the maths are done. (Hope u don’t mind me explaining – I used to teach research skills …

Kind regards,

Hi Elizabeth,

The vote on any one side can go up or down without any manipulation. You can only have 100%. It’s simple arithmetic actually.

Here’s an example showing cumulative votes:

FOR     AGAINST       %
1         1                  50 / 50
3         7                  30 / 70
20     10                  66 / 33


When I replied to Andre about the numbers changing and increasing after the vote had closed, this is what he replied:

Hi Elizabeth,

I’m an I.T. person so I do understand something about the way these things work. But certainly not everything.

In relation to voting numbers going up after the poll closed, they may argue that there was a delay in the system and that a few thousand votes were queued before getting reflected in the totals. However, it seems to me this is extremely unlikely because a computer can add simple numbers in milliseconds. There’s no complex algorithm involved here and thus zero processing power is required. So votes should be reflected in real time unless someone is manipulating the system, or, once again, it points to a polling system that is totally unreliable.

I voted in this poll myself and shared it on Facebook twice to get the yes vote up but I assumed from the beginning that a pro (orthodox) medicine PR firm had orchestrated the poll from behind the scenes because there’s little doubt the article itself was written by a PR firm that was hired by the AMA or less well known doctor’s association. If that is the case, they would have requested doctors to read the article and vote.

Not many newspaper readers are aware of the fact that up to 50% of our news these days comes in the form of press releases. As you would know, newspapers no longer have the resources to generate their own news or features. Investigative journalism has almost disappeared altogether in mainstream media. And the alternative media has not yet filled the gap, although I have no doubt it will. [We will given plenty of advertising revenue Andre. Elizabeth – dropping a big hint to everyone about LivingNow’s deadline for March next week. 😉 ]


Hi Elizabeth

It is being manipulated, clearly.

The total number of response is now [7:49EST 8/2/12] 281,000! and at 38% Yes.

It was 42,000 when I looked Monday, and at 44% yes..

The higher it goes, the less likely the numbers will change quickly. But on the other hand, 281,000, really? I do not think so!

Perhaps you might contact the web editor on this?


Hi Elizabeth,

I just wanted to write and say thank you for passing on that petition. I too had thought that the poll was rigged and that they (as in SMH and powers that be) will end up with the result that they are after – which may not be representative of the truth.

And so, here is your email. Of course, divinely inspired, timely and helping us all to stand up and be counted.

Thank you. Many blessings to you!!!

Julianne xxx

Hi Elizabeth,

I just voted at 6:27am (QLD time), and it seems it’s up to 31% NOT in favor (screenshot included). I wouldn’t trust these kinds of polls, especially political polls, as they are so obviously manipulated – most people by now should know that it’s just a PR stunt, just like unemployment figures and Reserve bank figures etc. etc.

Have faith, we are all praying – this is the way of the children of light. Worry is not our game, action in the inner world is what counts. As sure as there is a heaven, it WILL manifest on Earth.

Confidence, Assumption, Gratitude & Grace. These are the qualities we must imbue when we see something that is needed in our reality, yet has not ‘appeared’…yet.

A positive outcome is imminent, you have my support!

God Bless and keep up the good work!


9/2/12: Down again – I had to vote again to open up the poll results. Yes goes down and no goes up!

Love, Susan

Hi Elizabeth

Thanks for keeping us in the loop on these matters. If the poll was genuine it would seem that of the more than 800,000 that voted as of this morning (a lot of votes from the 30,000 2 days ago) more than 550,000 don’t want alternative medicine in universities in Australia. It doesn’t seem possible that there are that many interested sceptics out there but perhaps this is so. I noticed that if the browser was closed multiple votes could be made from the same user and that the overall number of votes could go down (one time by 300) – it doesn’t look plausible at all.

Perhaps a letter to the editor suggesting foul play is in order. A person of your standing in the community might carry some weight and get their letter published. Readers deserve better than this.



Just reading your email now. Maybe someone has developed a program that votes No every few seconds, since multiple votes from the same source are allowed. This could explain it.


Times and numbers voting

These times are about 2 minutes off I discovered, as my computer clock seems to be a tad slow. Hmmm… maybe that explains my problems with deadlines 😉


8.54am   854311    31/69
8.58am   857969    30/70
8.59am   860529    ditto
9.00am   ditto         ditto
9.02am   862889    ditto    poll closed
9.08am   864648
9.12am   865889
9.18am   868475
9.34am   869795
9.36am   869993
9.52am   872877
10.23am 875849
10.44am 878400
1.34pm   883067
1.45pm   ditto




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