Friday, 28 November 2008

Closed thinking

There's an interesting article here about cognitive dissonance, in particular trivialising or ignoring information which does not conform to your world view. In a break with scheduled programming it does not involve religion or the religious, instead it's about those (usually) devout atheist's, the Marxist's;
But my Marxist dinner companions really stunned me when they claimed
that Stalin “wasn’t all that bad,” and that “Mao was even better.”
WOW! the conclusion?
The problem, in other words, is the uniquely human
penchant for adopting an ideological position and then sticking to it,
reality be damned.

Thursday, 27 November 2008

How it is

Short Animation

Fantastic short animation that they are going to turn into a movie - can't wait.



thanks to TheMovieBlog for the link

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Unpatriotic Duty

I did my unpatriotic duty last weekend and went across the border to do some shopping with my wife and father in law. We did save money but it is hard to quantify just how much as we brought quite a lot (stocking up for Christmas and New Year you see). We decided to bypass Newry altogether because we knew it would be mobbed by southerners so we tripped on to Banbridge and Belfast. What surprised us was the number of like minded Irish we met, even here the were loads of republic reg'd cars.

We got talking to a few of the locals who shook their heads in disbelief at the influx of shoppers. If any one of them ever thought of heading south for a break they must now have put it firmly out of their minds, convinced the republic is both horrendously expensive (it is) and we are all complete alcoholics (somewhat true). I did my bit anyway by filling a trolley full of wine. One very pleasant surprise is the availability of English ales and bitters, I brought a few to sample and have been really impressed. They are definitely on my list for next time.

Of course the reaction from our political goat-herders has been laughable. Here's a quote from todays Irish Times;
[Dublin Lord Mayor Eibhlin]Byrne insists there is good value to be had in Dublin and suggests consumers taper their ambitions for Christmas rather than spending outside the jurisdiction. "If you can buy 12 bottles of wine in Belfast for a certain price, why not settle for 10 bottles of the same in Dublin?"
Exactly!
10 is just as good as 12. Stop being so ambitious people! 10 will do you, 12 is too much. Haven't you 10 fingers on your hand?

It really is no wonder the country is falling apart....

drinking in zero-g

Interesting video of a special cup for drinking in zero-g

wine tasting

I always feel a little sorry for people who don't drink...

Thursday, 20 November 2008

I'm Glad someone else is saying it

The Sub-Committee on Ireland's Future in the EU has been told that its sole objective was to attempt to overthrow the democratic wishes of the majority of the people who voted No to the Lisbon Treaty.

Richard Greene of the group COIR, which advocated a NO vote in the Lisbon referendum, told the committee that this objective was a denial of democracy and amounted to an act of treason.

Committee chairman Senator Paschal Donoghoe said it was an outrageous allegation and that he had never seen such a disgraceful performance from any group before it.


link

God Trumps



Go see the rest link

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

A Maths Joke

Not too often you come across a good one so I'll post it;

An infinite number of mathematicians walk into a bar. The first one orders a beer. The second orders half a beer. The third, a quarter of a beer. The bartender says "You're all idiots", and pours two beers.

Glory Munster

One of the best games of any sport was played out last night in Munster's Thomond Park as Munster narrowly lost to the All Blacks by 16 - 18.

Munster were missing 10 of their first line players due to international duty but they played with a passion and intensity that was a wonder to behold. Munster did everything right, they played the game, the tackled well, they where not intimidated, they never stopped. Compare and contrast yesterdays performance with Ireland's attempt on Saturday. In every way it was the inverse, in every way Munster where better, more honest, more fearless, more prideful - if only it could be bottled.

To me it seemed every player became twice as fit, twice as hard for yesterdays game but for me the man of the match was Peter Stringer, the man played out of his skin and was back to his ferocious best. His performance must surely put him back in contention for the Ireland position. I certainly hope so.

So if you love sport, love rugby or are even just rugby-curious, beg, borrow or steal a video of this game to see the heights sport can attain. To get you started here is the video of the rare "Munster Haka", when watching keep in mind the stadium holds only 25,000 people.

Style Guide For Men

todays word is "faux-hawk"



from boingboing

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Monday, 17 November 2008

$14,850 for a Vampire Killing Kit

One of the joys of old "stuff" is the story and history behind the object, I'd love to know this one.




link

Robert Burden's Voltron timelapse painting

I really like time lapsed video, this is a good'un;



link from boingboing

More Shock Doctrine

The IMF trying to reimpose tyranny;

Thursday, 13 November 2008

The worst is over

I've been hearing this a lot lately, especially concerning house prices
Brokers Believe Worst Is Over and Recommend Buying of Real Bargains

Wall Street in looking over the wreckage of the week, has come generally to the opinion that high grade investment issues can be bought now, without fear of a drastic decline. There is some difference of opinion as to whether not the correction must go further, but everyone realizes that the worst is over, and that there are bargains for those who are willing to buy conservatively and live through the immediate irregularity.

-- New York Herald Tribune, October 27, 1929


Don't believe a word of it myself...
lifted from Seeing The Forest.

(Edited 17.11.2008, forgot to add last sentence)

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Blinded by the hypocrisy

The visiting Czech president met with (anti Lisbon campaigner) Declan Ganley the other day and expressed some reservations overt the future direction of Europe and the EU's reaction to Ireland no vote.
THE PRESIDENT of the Czech Republic, Vaclav Klaus, has warned of a shift towards "supranationalism" in Europe which he says is supressing freedom and democracy.
Predicable this has been met with howls of indignation and hysteria by 'Official' Ireland Too bad they kept their mouths shut when we where being threatened and mocked by our so called "friends in Europe".

The joys of living with such mediocre leaders and politicians just never seems to end ...

Gnomes are not real!

This is really funny;

The gnomes, along with plastic flowers and other decorations such as teddy bears, have been called "inappropriate" and tacky by the Diocese of Bath and Wells.

The church banned the garden figures from Wrington and Congresbury cemeteries in Somerset, and have said they will remove any that they find as part of new guidelines issued by the Chancellor of the Diocese, Worshipful Timothy Briden.

A spokesman for the Diocese of Bath and Wells said: "There is no such thing as a real gnome so why should we have such unnatural creatures in churchyards?"

link.

thanks to Pharngula for the link

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

A Work of Genius

One for every Star Wars fan this - heck even if you're not, I'm talking to you Conor!

Gay Marraige in California

I was rather surprised when California banned gay marriage last week, I couldn't figure it out. Thankfully No More Mr Nice Guy provided the answers.

Yet another good reason to tax all religions.

Yikes

Hopefully this guy is wrong... unfortunately, it sounds plausible.

Khazin: Yes, the U.S. did create a very high standard of living by stimulating consumer demand. Generations lived without having to experience poverty. But it's impossible to live forever in debt. Household debt has now surpassed the national economy — more than $14 trillion. Now it's time to pay up. Of course, Wall Street tried to postpone this collapse. I won't go into detail about derivatives and other such financial assets, but this was just a gasp for air before an inevitable death.
Another problem in the U.S. is that powerful industries were built around this growing demand. Whatever decision Wall Street takes right now, the demand is going to fall. What will happen to these industries? In 2000, we estimated that 25 percent of the U.S. economy would disappear. Today, we think the number is closest to one-third — if not more.

Barack Obama: The 50 facts you might not know

I found this one rather comforting;

  • He has read every Harry Potter book

link

America the Illiterate

hard hitting article here, depressing, worrying, frightening.

We live in two Americas. One America, now the minority, functions in a print-based, literate world. It can cope with complexity and has the intellectual tools to separate illusion from truth. The other America, which constitutes the majority, exists in a non-reality-based belief system. This America, dependent on skillfully manipulated images for information, has severed itself from the literate, print-based culture. It cannot differentiate between lies and truth. It is informed by simplistic, childish narratives and clich├ęs. It is thrown into confusion by ambiguity, nuance and self-reflection. This divide, more than race, class or gender, more than rural or urban, believer or nonbeliever, red state or blue state, has split the country into radically distinct, unbridgeable and antagonistic entities.
snip (an uncanny description of our previous leader Bertie this)

Political leaders in our post-literate society no longer need to be competent, sincere or honest. They only need to appear to have these qualities. Most of all they need a story, a narrative. The reality of the narrative is irrelevant. It can be completely at odds with the facts. The consistency and emotional appeal of the story are paramount. The most essential skill in political theater and the consumer culture is artifice. Those who are best at artifice succeed.
[snip]

The Princeton Review analyzed the transcripts of the Gore-Bush debates, the Clinton-Bush-Perot debates of 1992, the Kennedy-Nixon debates of 1960 and the Lincoln-Douglas debates of 1858. It reviewed these transcripts using a standard vocabulary test that indicates the minimum educational standard needed for a reader to grasp the text. During the 2000 debates, George W. Bush spoke at a sixth-grade level (6.7) and Al Gore at a seventh-grade level (7.6). In the 1992 debates, Bill Clinton spoke at a seventh-grade level (7.6), while George H.W. Bush spoke at a sixth-grade level (6.8), as did H. Ross Perot (6.3). In the debates between John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon, the candidates spoke in language used by 10th-graders. In the debates of Abraham Lincoln and Stephen A. Douglas the scores were respectively 11.2 and 12.0. In short, today’s political rhetoric is designed to be comprehensible to a 10-year-old child or an adult with a sixth-grade reading level. It is fitted to this level of comprehension because most Americans speak, think and are entertained at this level.

thanks to onegoodmove for the link

Friday, 7 November 2008

Thursday, 6 November 2008

Bird & Forture Nail It

kinda long, but as usual funny.



Palin Didn't Know Africa Is A Continent

amazing,

This for Fox (Faux?) news. Watch Billo squirm

Just How Evil Is Mary Harney

Very!

Teenage girls "will die unnecessarily" as a result of the cancellation of the cervical cancer vaccination programme, it was warned yesterday.

The decision by Health Minister Mary Harney to halt the roll out of the €10m programme came under fire from women's groups and from the opposition in the Dail yesterday.


The are saving a paltry €10 million here, mean while they can find €150 million for the builders and €1 billion for FAS and a blank check for bankers.

I hate living in a banana republic!

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

The Irish Banks

Every morning on my way into work I have to listen to some financial 'expert' on the radio deliver the mornings financial news. Without fail they chirp when the markets rise and wail when they fall, we are also treated to various wishful musings on 'house price recovery' (as if this would be a good thing), 'market stabilisation' and currency exchange rates.

How does one become a financial expert? You don't seem to have to know anything about the market at all bar "Up good, Down bad". Every single one of them mocked David McWilliams when he warned of the impending disaster, they smirk when the word 'social' and 'responsible' are used in any way relating to business and genuinely seem to the think the worst is "almost" over.

Mr McWilliams reckons we are about to enter phase two of a three part collapse but you'd never know it from by listening to the 'experts'.

Anyway, looks like the Bank Of Ireland is fucked! I bank with these idiots.
[it] doesn't have anything like the wriggle room. It has almost none. It can sell its life business, which is decent enough. There's also a bit of hedge fund stuff in the States. The BIAM asset management division is a dog, having lost billions in mandates. Nobody will touch it with an asbestos-covered barge pole. There's also a medium-sized British mortgage business. But you'd need Hulk-sized stones to even think of buying that.

This means that unless it can get Banco Santander to buy it lock, stock and barrel, Bank of Ireland is probably going to be owned by you and me.


link

Phew!

Obama won!

That's a relief.

Here's hoping he is not another Tony Blair.

Monday, 3 November 2008

Opus

One of the very best cartoon characters retired over the weekend and I didn't even realise until I read the strip this morning (I have them posted to me every day), and I have to say I was tremendously sadden.

I loved Bloom County, missed Outland entirely and only recently discovered Opus (what can I say, I wasn't paying attention) so I feel like someone who arrived at a great party just as music stops.

An interview with the author Berkeley Breathed is here;

And the last strip is ...