Monday, 30 June 2008

People Don't Know Whats Good For 'Em

here's something that I thought was a real eye popper but which only received a small column in Saturdays Irish times;

AUSTRIA: AUSTRIA'S SOCIAL Democratic chancellor, Alfred Gusenbauer, has sparked a government crisis by promising a Lisbon Treaty referendum if changes are made to the document ahead of a second Irish vote.

Foreign minister Ursula Plassnik, from the conservative People's Party (ÖVP), denounced the move as "crazy" and did not rule out bringing down the coalition with the "erratic" Social Democrats (SPÖ). (my bold)

A minister in a western democracy can call the notion of a referendum "Crazy" and no one minds??? Clearly even the politicians know, but choose to ignore, the fact that most people do not want more and more power devolved from their own governments to Brussels.

Movie Blog Wall-E review

the Movie blog have posted their video review of the new Pixar film Wall-E, it's looking good ..

Friday, 27 June 2008

Thursday, 26 June 2008

Friends don't let friends steer their lives by religion.

Daniel Dennett

It used to be the case that we tended to excuse drunk drivers when they crashed because they weren't entirely in control of their faculties at the time, but now we have wisely inverted that judgment, holding drunk drivers doubly culpable for putting themselves in that irresponsible position in the first place. It is high time we inverted the public attitude about religion as well, finding all socially destructive acts of religious passion shameful, not honourable, and holding those who abet them - the preachers and other apologists for religious zeal - as culpable as the bartenders and negligent hosts who usher dangerous drivers on to the highways. Our motto should be: Friends don't let friends steer their lives by religion.


Where does oil come from?

A couple of years ago I discovered that where exactly oil comes from is a bit of a mystery. This was news to me, after all, it is commonly called "Fossil Fuel", anyway here are the top 3 theories;

1. Oil comes from algae
"The conventional wisdom is that oil descends from algae from eons ago. Lots and lots of algae. Unimaginable mounds of dead algae in quantities no longer found on this planet, pressed, and cooked into hydrocarbon liquids."

2. Oil is abiogenic (non-organic)
"Others, notably the Russians, have an alternative theory that oil comes from non-biological carbon compounds deep in this planet, like the methane oceans we find on other planets."

3. Oil is produced by bacteria
"An emerging third theory is that bacteria living within rocks produce oil. In this theory there is a biological component (the bacteria) which constitute the oil-generating process, but the originating material in not degraded organic material, but rather geological carbon gases."


Wednesday, 25 June 2008

When NO means Maybe

In the almost two weeks since the Lisbon No vote I've been meaning to write about my own reaction to the result as well as the (almost universal) hysterical response from 'Official Ireland' but I just never got around to it. There seems to be no end of things I could say about it as every time its mentioned on radio or TV I think "I must post about that" and so, two weeks later, here goes.

The first thing I'd like to say is that most of my peers voted YES and where appalled by my NO vote. As a matter of fact I went to the pub after work on the day off the result (Friday 13th) and ended up in a wide ranging and lengthy discussion on the treaty. "Europe has been good for us so far, so why not trust them again? (or indeed, why mistrust them now?)" was the main argument and I have to say, it's a pretty good one. I didn't and don't think it is, in itself, a good reason for voting YES but I can appreciate how it might be seen as one.

The reason I voted NO was the lack of democracy in the E.U. (as I posted earlier) but this was mainly met with curious stares and shoulder shrugs. The fact that we where voting for something twice rejected just wasn't important. I suggested that we will be made to vote again but this time the threats will be more overt and the treaty will be passed - everyone agreed. Not democratic, I'd say. More shrugs and stares.

Since that night politician's and pundits have been qualifying the NO. "It wasn't really a NO", "The people didn't understand", "It wasn't a large NO", "It was an unfair NO", "we can't decide for all Europe", "The NO wasn't democratic, we are less that 1% of the population of Europe, it's wrong to hold them back", "The NO side are right-wingers and liars", "we shouldn't let the people decide important issues like this" ... I could go on.

Our NO vote has not been respected and hardly anyone cares.
I'm glad I voted NO, it actually meant something this time but its looking likely that it was last meaning vote any European citizen will get.

Friday, 13 June 2008

Why Politicians Hate Democracy!

Because we vote the wrong way!

Only 1% of the population of the E.U. got to vote on the most important treaty to date - they said "NO". I have to say, I'm a little surprised. The fear mongering and threats from the yes side where coming think and fast in recent weeks and I thought many would be cowed. It's sometimes nice to be wrong. Now the question is will Europe make good on the threats and punish us in some way?

There is a major schism in Europe between the "leaders" and the citizens, to my mind most people want to remain Irish, English, French, Spanish whatever, they don't want to surrender their future and identities to the vague United States of Europe that so many elites seek. the E.U. started as a trade and cooperation block, thats how it should remain.

Lisbon Result

Tuesday, 10 June 2008

Wednesday, 4 June 2008

More on Bees

“If the bee disappears off the surface of the globe, then man would only have four years of life left.”

close on two million colonies of honeybees across the US have been wiped out. The strange phenomenon, dubbed colony collapse disorder (CCD), is also thought to have claimed the lives of billions of honeybees around the world. In Taiwan, 10 million honeybees were reported to have disappeared in just two weeks, and throughout Europe honeybees are in peril.

More worrying

The Great Oil Swindle

A different take on why oil has risen so much lately, hint: it's not the Chinese...

“A conservative calculation is that at least 60% of today’s $128 per barrel price of crude oil comes from unregulated futures speculation by hedge funds, banks and financial groups using the London ICE Futures and New York NYMEX futures exchanges and uncontrolled inter-bank or Over-The-Counter trading to avoid scrutiny. US margin rules of the government’s Commodity Futures Trading Commission allow speculators to buy a crude oil futures contract on the Nymex, by having to pay only 6% of the value of the contract. At today's price of $128 per barrel, that means a futures trader only has to put up about $8 for every barrel. He borrows the other $120. This extreme “leverage” of 16 to 1 helps drive prices to wildly unrealistic levels and offset bank losses in sub-prime and other disasters at the expense of the overall population.”