Friday, 26 October 2007

Carbon Dioxide - We Call It Life

If anyone ever doubted the dishonest, duplicity and (yes I'm going to say it) the evil of corporations, public relations and the oil industry then just watch this and pick your jaw off the floor before you leave.

What To Do When Things Are Going Wrong

Take a look at this amazing article in todays Telegraph which tells of a series of crisis meetings in the English rugby camp aimed at stopping the rot after the 36-0 drubbing at the hands of South Africa. I really admire these guys, many things where going wrong, they where in danger of going out early but they stepped up to the mark and set about putting things right. So much so in fact they ended up reaching the final. I'd love to know if something similar happened in the Irish camp and if so why did nothing change? And if not, why not?

Thursday, 25 October 2007

Follow this link and have a look at the animated image, which way to do see it spinning?

Initially it spinned clockwise for me but when I started to read the explanations it reversed direction and spun anti-clockwise.

I love this optical illusions and this is one of the best I've seen,

Wednesday, 24 October 2007

Staunton's Gone!

Thank god! I can't blame the guy for taking the job but he should have resigned months ago as he clearly wasn't up to the task. I wonder if his reputation has been damaged long term by the whole charade? Certainly the FAI compounded their carefully nurtured image of being complete buffoons both in the delay in ridding us of Staunton and the James Bond'esk cat and mouse games with the press last evening. They've also announced they are outsourcing the appointment of a new manager which seems to have been widely welcomed in the press but I'm not sure this is a good thing as they'll be able to deflect all blame away should it all go wrong. They've clearly been learning at the feet of our government masters (ref HSE).

Now if only the IRFU would get their long knives sharpened I would feel a little bit more optimistic about the future of Irish sport.


This is the 1990 Oscar Winner for Best Animated Short. I liked it.

Thursday, 18 October 2007

The Road to Despotism

This is a great video from 1946 to educate people as to how democratic the society they live in is. Its only 10 minutes long but it encapsulates the indicators that societies are falling towards despotism. Where would Ireland score on the scales I wonder?

Quote Of The Day

A tyrant must put on the appearance of uncommon devotion to religion. Subjects are less apprehensive of illegal treatment from a ruler whom they consider God-fearing and pious. On the other hand, they do less easily move against him, wrongly believing that he has the Gods on his side.

Aristotle, Politica bk v (ca. 340 BCE)

Friday, 12 October 2007

The Woo Handbook

I've mentioned before how much I enjoy Skeptico's blogg. Well he's got another great entry called "The Woo Handbook" which is basically a guide for "Woo's" to help them deal with skeptics. If you've listened or read any defense of "alternative" anything you'll find them very familiar. Heres a small extract.

  1. Start by telling skeptics you want to “educate them on the facts”. This puts them on the defensive (see next point below) and makes it seem like you’re the knowledgeable one with facts on your side, even though what you’re about to tell them is mostly made up.

Thursday, 11 October 2007

We Few, We Happy Few, We Band of Brothers

Richard Dawkin's website has the following lecture (in three parts) by one Prof Andy Thomson and it is well worth watching. The talk deals with psychology of "Suicide Terrorism" and covers some amazing ground regarding human behaviour such as, war as our natural state, in group/out group dynamics and deferring to authority. He also deals with the type of person who is more likely to commit the crime as in the case of female suicide bombers who almost always are suffering from depression, are victims of social rejection (commonly due to being raped & therefore unmarriageable) and, of course, are dominated by their menfolk. He doesn't have go too far back for his examples either, one of the attackers on Glasgow this summer set himself alight but was careful to ensure his genitals did not burn, presumably so that he could enjoy his 70 (odd) virgins when he entered paradise. So do yourself a favour and watch it.

part 1

Part 2

Part 3 (Q&A)

The Golden Compass

One of the best books of the past few years has been Philip Pullman's "Northern Lights", part one of the "His Dark Materials" trilogy. The book is full of incredible ideas - personal dæmon's, armoured polar bear's, the multiverse and of course, life, the universe and everything. Well its been made into a movie called "The Golden Compass" and heres the first official trailer. Its gone on my "must see list".

Thursday, 4 October 2007

Building Stonehenge

Its long been a mystery how the ancient people built Stonehenge. Just how did they move and raise those massive stones? Well this guy in Michigan thinks he's got the answer. I saw this over a year ago but it still impresses me.

Wednesday, 3 October 2007

I Finish Bioshock

I finished Bioshock last night. It really is a great game although I'm going to have to agree with other reviews that the final Boss and ending where a bit of a let down. I had to go and find my ending (1 of 3) on youtube today and rewatch it as I honestly went "eh?" after seeing it last night. The second viewing was slightly better, but only slightly better, it was like they raced to finish it late on a Friday evening so they could all go to the pub. Theres talk of a sequel. I wonder what they'll do?

Tuesday, 2 October 2007

What would alternative medicine do?

I like reading blog's on Skeptical Thinking and one of the best is Skeptico. He's got a very good article here about the key difference between Real Medicine and "Complementary/Alternative Medicine (CAM)".

To summarise:
Testing on an experimental AIDS vaccine has been halted as the test results showed it wasn't working. Now, when was the last time a CAM practitioner/advocate stopped providing "therapy" because they know it doesn't work for condition X?

Skeptico provides some suggestions but I'll repost one here, read the article for the rest.

pulling acupuncture for treatment of (say) arthritis, because they determined it doesn’t work for that.


Two teaser trailers here for Pixars new movie "Wall-E" (due for release next summer).
I love everything Pixar does, I assume this one will be up to the usual high standards.

The French One

The U.S. Teaser

Ireland, where failure is rewarded.

So the IRFU have opted for mediocrity. What a disappointment!

I honestly thought the IRFU where better than this. The best prepared Irish team has returned the worst result but the IRFU (Parton'esk) stands by their man while Eddie O'Sullivan trots out excuse after excuse and denies the extent of his/this failure.

At least the Welsh did something. It might have been harsh but it shows they are serious about winning. Not Ireland however, it seems, we are content to be 'also rans', a small country of cozy clubs and jobs for the boys where failure is rewarded and there are never any consequences.

Denis Leamey's body was the only thing separating Ireland from defeat in the match against Georgia. Even now I can hardly believe it! What exactly does it take to get them to admit its all gone wrong? Are they captains of the Titanic? Or maybe King Canutu's vainly ordering back the tides of reality. But perhaps the most apt is Don Quixote except they expected to fight windmills but instead met with dragons.

Monday, 1 October 2007

Star Wars: The Force Unleashed

A bit geeky this one, but it sure looks like a cool game. Released next year

Facism in 10 Easy Steps

Following on from my earlier post The End of America, Naomi Wolfe has an article in the Guardian summarising her ideas. She feels the US has already implemented 9 of these steps. Its a long article so I've just listed the steps here.

1. Invoke a terrifying internal and external enemy
2. Create a gulag
3. Develop a thug caste
4. Set up an internal surveillance system
5. Harass citizens' groups
6. Engage in arbitrary detention and release
7. Target key individuals
8. Control the press
9. Dissent equals treason
10. Suspend the rule of law

Ireland out of the Rugby World Cup

Well Ireland lost on Sunday. I wasn't surprised. All the hifalutin talk before the game of restoring pride, playing with passion, "doing it for Simon", rising to the occasion, etc, etc predictably turned out to be yet another blast of hot air. No doubt theres a formula out there to calculate just how much the Eddie O'Sullivan and the boys contributed to global warming over the past three weeks but I'm prepared to guess several polar bears have perished as a direct result of the fumes spewing forth from EOS, BOD et al.

Irish rugby has imploded and the question is "What now?". It could also be "Who Now?". The buck has got to stop with Eddie O'Sullivan. He failed. Spectacularly! He simply must go. But will he? O'Sullivan seemed genuinely surprised to be asked would he be resigning in the wake of Ireland's pitiful performance so we can hardly expect him to fall on his own sword. He'll have to be pushed, but have the IRFU got the stomach for it? Many of the pundits on radio and television seem to think he'll survive (by blaming everyone else) with only George Hook saying he won't. I hope Hookie is right. I would hate to see the IRFU fall to the standards of the FAI where expectations are low and mediocrity accepted.

The Irish Tribune has a article detailing with The Trouble with Eddie, its an interesting read. How on earth did this man get a contract extension before the world cup?

George Carlin

The way things are;