Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Monday, 21 September 2009

Wall St Journal "Anti Lisbon"?

The only reason I can think of to vote YES is the chronic incompetence of Irish politicians. Maybe direct rule would be "better" .

So far the debate here has focused on everything other than the contents of the treaty. Both sides are making extraordinary claims regardless of evidence or even comment sense.

The arguments can be summarised as follows;

PRO: "If you vote NO we will be kicked out of Europe"

CON: "If you vote YES we will lose autonomy"

In effect, dammed if we do, dammed if we don't.

Meanwhile, the Wall St Journal has this to say;

Ireland sucked on the teat of EU regional aid for two and a half decades without discernible effect. By the mid-1980s, it was still a poor country by European standards, but it was also facing a budgetary and debt crisis. It was only when it started on a campaign of supply-side tax cuts slashing marginal rates along with capital gains and corporate income-tax rates that the economy took off.


Brussels always treated Ireland's fantastically successful tax policies with rank suspicion, accusing it throughout its boom years of "tax dumping" and "unfair tax competition." There are plenty of governments on the Continent, not least France's, that would love to rein in Ireland's ability to attract investment through supply-side tax policy. Handing Brussels greater potential power to influence Irish tax policy would be tantamount to surrendering the keys to Irish prosperity to Brussels for all time.


Friday, 18 September 2009

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Tragedy of the Commons

As all thoughts lead to Bankers these days I thought this article about the 'Tragedy of the Commons' explained (in part) why bankers, builders, politicians destroyed the country. Basically, the benefited enormously but only have to pay a fraction of the cost.

The tragedy of the commons develops in this way. Picture a pasture open to all. It is to be expected that each herdsman will try to keep as many cattle as possible on the commons. Such an arrangement may work reasonably satisfactorily for centuries because tribal wars, poaching, and disease keep the numbers of both man and beast well below the carrying capacity of the land. Finally, however, comes the day of reckoning, that is, the day when the long-desired goal of social stability becomes a reality. At this point, the inherent logic of the commons remorselessly generates tragedy.

As a rational being, each herdsman seeks to maximize his gain. Explicitly or implicitly, more or less consciously, he asks, "What is the utility to me of adding one more animal to my herd?" This utility has one negative and one positive component.

1) The positive component is a function of the increment of one animal. Since the herdsman receives all the proceeds from the sale of the additional animal, the positive utility is nearly +1.

2) The negative component is a function of the additional overgrazing created by one more animal. Since, however, the effects of overgrazing are shared by all the herdsmen, the negative utility for any particular decision-making herdsman is only a fraction of -1.

Adding together the component partial utilities, the rational herdsman concludes that the only sensible course for him to pursue is to add another animal to his herd. And another; and another.... But this is the conclusion reached by each and every rational herdsman sharing a commons. Therein is the tragedy. Each man is locked into a system that compels him to increase his herd without limit--in a world that is limited. Ruin is the destination toward which all men rush, each pursuing his own best interest in a society that believes in the freedom of the commons. Freedom in a commons brings ruin to all.

Cool way to open champaign

Sabering in the Garden with Kathryn Borel Jr. from Kathryn Borel on Vimeo.

Run on Virtual Bank

No doubt about it, it's a mad mad world ... all of them.

Early this summer, it came to light that a veteran EVE player (known only as "Ricdic") had embezzled —and then sold in the real world— over 200 billion ISK from Ebank, causing a run on the virtual financial institution. However, this was just the beginning of the problems for the player-owned bank. Recently installed Ebank Chairman Ray McCormack admitted that the bank had been mismanaged, and rules, safeguards, and controls were not enforced. As a result, it's been revealed that Ebank is 380 billion ISK poorer thanks to a number of defaulted loans. Because of the aforementioned mismanagement, it apparently took the bank's new officers a while to figure out just how far in the red their institution is.


Let Freedom Ka-Ching

The Colbert Report
Mon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c

The Word - Let Freedom Ka-Ching

Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorHealth Care Protests

We're #19

but the U.S. is 37.

Thursday, 27 August 2009

Campaign Reform

I don't often agree with Chuck Asay, but this is a great idea.

Thursday, 13 August 2009

Amazing this

Sand Animation;

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Women Sort Yourself Out

I met some friends for beers last Friday after work and tried to describe this sketch. Guess what!? I didn't do a good job, but here it is anyway;

Congratulations, you flobby slob, now you're a sex symbol

What a relief!

Half of humanity received some much-needed assistance from an unexpected source last week. Out of the blue, Lion Bar Ice Cream leapt to the aid of men. Like maggots in a wound, they didn't know they were helping – they thought they were just garnering some desperately needed publicity in an ice cream-unfriendly summer – but they may have contributed to saving the world's males huge sums of money and an even greater expense of time and effort.

Lion Bar Ice Cream commissioned a survey into what sort of men women find attractive, presumably in the forlorn hope that "a man with his face in a Lion Bar Ice Cream" or "those hunks made ripplingly obese by an ice cream-only diet" would be among the responses.

They didn't quite get that, but more than 4,000 of the 5,000 respondents claimed to prefer a slightly scruffy fellow, with messy hair and even a beer belly, to the toned, groomed, David Beckham type, although I imagine they wouldn't kick him out of bed for eating a Lion Bar. The media spin on it is that: "Women have turned against the metrosexual look", presumably because there's something very unattractive about a chap running after a tube train with a hard-on.

Our long nightmare is almost at an end.

continue reading.

Science in the News

How the media twists science (it's also humourous)

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Jackson fans offered souvenir ticket for planned London gigs

I wonder how many people will fall for this?

Give up your money in exchange for some worthless junk.
The concert promoters for Michael Jackson's planned shows at the O2 Arena in London today offered fans the option of a "specially created" souvenir ticket rather than a refund.

Selling (Bullshit) with Science in 5 Easy Steps!

From skepchick.

Covers most heath and personal care products I can think off.

Friday, 26 June 2009

Negative Equity in Ireland

It's pretty bad here, but I didn't realise this bad.

And it looks like negative equity is here for some time. According to the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI), those who bought a house in 2003 will have to wait another four years before they move out of negative equity, while those who bought close to the peak in 2007 will have to wait until 2030.

Thursday, 25 June 2009

HOWTO ask good skeptical questions

The Cove

Looks unmissable;

The Cove begins in Taiji, Japan, where former dolphin trainer Ric O’Barry has come to set things right after a long search for redemption. In the 1960s, it was O’Barry who captured and trained the 5 dolphins who played the title character in the international television sensation “Flipper.”

But his close relationship with those dolphins – the very dolphins who sparked a global fascination with trained sea mammals that continues to this day -- led O’Barry to a radical change of heart. One fateful day, a heartbroken Barry came to realize that these deeply sensitive, highly intelligent and self-aware creatures so beautifully adapted to life in the open ocean must never be subjected to human captivity again.This mission has brought him to Taiji, a town that appears to be devoted to the wonders and mysteries of the sleek, playful dolphins and whales that swim off their coast.

But in a remote, glistening cove, surrounded by barbed wire and “Keep Out” signs, lies a dark reality. It is here, under cover of night, that the fishermen of Taiji, driven by a multi-billion dollar dolphin entertainment industry and an underhanded market for mercury-tainted dolphin meat, engage in an unseen hunt. The nature of what they do is so chilling -- and the consequences are so dangerous to human health -- they will go to great lengths to halt anyone from seeing it.


Thursday, 18 June 2009

Analogies and the GOP

Very good this one; (link)

Earlier today, Rep. Peter Hoekstra (R-MI) put up this astonishing post on Twitter, likening the oppression of the Iranian people to the plight of House Republicans:

Iranian twitter activity similar to what we did in House last year when Republicans were shut down in the House.

In the hours since, the Twitter community has responded -- with massive heckling. Here's just a small sample of some of the best ones:

ArjunJaikumar i spilled some lukewarm coffee on myself just now, which is somewhat analogous to being boiled in oil

chrisbaskind My neighbor stopped me to talk today. Now I know what it is like to be questioned by the Basij!

luckbfern I stand in solidarity with the oppressed rich white men of Repub Party in the House. #GOPfail Allah Akbar!

aciolino Today I poked my finger on a hanger. Now I know what all those aborted babies go through.

ceedub7 I got a splinter in my hand today. Felt just like Jesus getting nailed to the cross.

netw3rk Someone walked in on me while I was in the bathroom. Reminded me of Pearl Harbor.

MattOrtega Walked out onto Constitution Ave in D.C. and was almost hit by a taxi. Reminded me of Tienanmen Square.

tharodge maybe now is a good time to reconsider whether you are ready for national politics?

TahirDuckett ran through the sprinklers this morning, claimed solidarity with victims of Hurricane Katrina

paganmist Had to move all my stuff to a new office w/o a corner view. Now i know what the Trail of Tears was like. #GOPfail

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

New Element 112


Until now, there has been little idea about what a spaceship propelled by a warp drive (or a warpship) would look like. Would it resemble the sleek Starship Enterprise? Or will it be like nothing we've seen before?

After speaking with Dr. Richard Obousy, he shared his concept for a futuristic, yet scientifically accurate, warpship design.

Looks pretty cool to me.


Tuesday, 16 June 2009

End of the Dollar

Three linked articles on the end of the dollar (I feel like one of those, 'the end is nigh' guys)

The American Empire Is Bankrupt

This week marks the end of the dollar’s reign as the world’s reserve currency. It marks the start of a terrible period of economic and political decline in the United States. And it signals the last gasp of the American imperium. That’s over. It is not coming back. And what is to come will be very, very painful.

Barack Obama, and the criminal class on Wall Street, aided by a corporate media that continues to peddle fatuous gossip and trash talk as news while we endure the greatest economic crisis in our history, may have fooled us, but the rest of the world knows we are bankrupt. And these nations are damned if they are going to continue to prop up an inflated dollar and sustain the massive federal budget deficits, swollen to over $2 trillion, which fund America’s imperial expansion in Eurasia and our system of casino capitalism. They have us by the throat. They are about to squeeze.


When China and other countries recycle their dollar inflows by buying US Treasury bills to “invest” in the United States, this buildup is not really voluntary. It does not reflect faith in the U.S. economy enriching foreign central banks for their savings, or any calculated investment preference, but simply a lack of alternatives. “Free markets” US-style hook countries into a system that forces them to accept dollars without limit. Now they want out.

The Game is over: There Won't be a Rebound

MH: The idea that we’re even in a business “cycle” is whistling in the dark. To think of the economy being in a cycle is to imply an automatic recovery is in store. This free-market idea was developed at the National Bureau of Economic Research by opponents of government regulatory policy. The fantasy is that the economy oscillates in a fairly smooth and regular sine curve. But this always has been a fiction. 19th-century writers didn’t speak of economic cycles, but rather of periodic financial crises. There is a slow buildup, and a sudden plunge, so the shape is ratchet-shaped.

It’s Finished

Very long article about the end of banking/capitalism as we know it. Worth reading

It isn’t hard to know how to slay the zombies. The only way to do it is to hold a gun to the head of the various bankers – those various guys sitting with their heads in their hands staring at balance sheets with holes in them – and force them to admit what their assets are worth, right now. Many of the banks will turn out to be insolvent. In that case the bank is nationalised, or at the very least goes into administration and receivership. Then, a number of options become available, one of the principal ones being to break the bank up into the viable part of the business, which will eventually be refloated back onto the market, and a ‘bad bank’ of dodgy assets which must be sold off (or arguably held until the values recover) in whatever way makes the most possible money for the taxpayer.

Nobody in power wants to do that. Nobody with power in the banking system, and nobody with power in government. Both the British and the American plans to help the banks are very, very, very expensive variations on the theme of sticking their fingers in their ears and loudly singing ‘La la la, I’m not listening.’ This is what’s happened so far.


But there are four things you don’t want to have, going into the current crisis. 1. You don’t want to have had a boom based on a property bubble. 2. You don’t want to have a consumer credit bubble. 3. You don’t want to have an economy based on financial services. 4. You don’t want your government to have just gone on a massive spending spree. We have all four of those things that you don’t want.

Friday, 5 June 2009

The City of Dreadful Night

I'm currently reading "A Fraction of the Whole" and really enjoying it. It's a little difficult to explain what its about (everything) but it does have plenty of references to philosophers, books and poets. A poet 'James Thomson' is mentioned more than once (whom I'd never heard off) and the book contains this expert from one of his poems. I really liked it so I'm posting the except here; The full poem is here, The City of Dreadful Night.

"Who is most wretched in this dolorous place?
I think myself; yet I would rather be
My miserable self than He, than He
Who formed such creatures to His own disgrace.

"The vilest thing must be less vile than Thou
From whom it had its being, God and Lord!
Creator of all woe and sin! abhorred
Malignant and implacable! I vow

"That not for all Thy power furled and unfurled,
For all the temples to Thy glory built,
Would I assume the ignominious guilt
Of having made such men in such a world."

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Child Abuse in Ireland

It's been a couple of weeks since the Ryan Report into Child Abuse by the Catholic church in Ireland has been released and I'm still not sure what to say about it.

I mean, clearly the religious orders are evil and perverted, but I don't need to repeat what thousands of others have said, albeit, with a little more tact.

But clearly something is deeply rotten in Irish society, how else could "we" have let the religious torture and rape children for over 50 years without anyone cruing "halt!"? It absolutely beggers belief. I've heard this described as "Ireland's Holocaust" meaning Irish people should feel the deep sense of shame and embarrassment that many German's still feel over the actual Holocaust. I think we certainly should. Trouble is, I don't really see that happening. Instead a vague uneasyness and a shirking of responsibility has set in. It was the religious. It was (a lot) of bad apples. It was in the past. Let's give the victims money and hope they shut up.

For me this had been a disastrous couple of weeks for Ireland. Not only did this happen, but the churches where full at the weekend.

link via jkeyes

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

David Mitchell's Soapbox:

David Mitchell is one of the best comedians in Britain.

The Guardian newspaper is currently showing a series of his thoughts on wide range of subjects, joy!

The episode below deals "TV Rudness".

And this one "Consensus"

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

What 'clerical abuse' actually means

One of the most powerful bits of television ever seen in Ireland played last night on RTE's Questions & Answers as a victim of clerical rape speaks his mind

Friday, 22 May 2009

Monday, 11 May 2009

Life Inc.

Looks interesting


Friday, 1 May 2009

Something that sounds like joke ...

but isn't...

The hottest thing on the griddle at the Las Palmas restaurant these days is not the food – it is the image of the Virgin Mary that a cook said she saw on the griddle.

Restaurant manager Brenda Martinez said more than 100 people have flocked to the small town of Calexico on the California-Mexico border to gaze at the likeness since it was discovered as the griddle was being cleaned.

Among the awe-struck was a group of masked Mexican wrestlers who arrived for an exhibition.

One, known as Mr Tempest, said: “This is amazing. It’s a true miracle.*”

Since the discovery, the griddle has been taken out of service and placed in a shrine in a storage room

* easily impressed that guy


Thursday, 30 April 2009

Swine flu "offensive"

A nice example of just how stupid religious "feelings" can be;

JERUSALEM – The outbreak of swine flu should be renamed "Mexican" influenza in deference to Muslim and Jewish sensitivities over pork, said an Israeli health official Monday.

So now the word is a problem?
It must raise some interesting theological questions as if pigs are "unclean" then what happens if you catch a flu some comprising DNA of a pig flu? I imagine the pig flu itself is not unclean (DNA and virus's are not mentioned in the perfect, word-of-god, holy books) but never the less, the virus has been kinda associating with pigs and I doubt it "cleansed" itself before infecting humans.

Maybe they should volunteer to have it called "Israeli flu"??


Timelapse video

I like it

link from boingboing

Wednesday, 29 April 2009

GAH! Blasphemy to become crime in Ireland

Just when you thought this country couldn't get any nuttier - now they want to make blasphemy a crime;

Minister for Justice Dermot Ahern proposes to insert a new section into the Defamation Bill, stating: “A person who publishes or utters blasphemous matter shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable upon conviction on indictment to a fine not exceeding €100,000.”

“Blasphemous matter” is defined as matter “that is grossly abusive or insulting in relation to matters held sacred by any religion, thereby causing outrage among a substantial number of the adherents of that religion; and he or she intends, by the publication of the matter concerned, to cause such outrage.”

Rather than just 'fix' the constitution they would rather ban free speech!!!

Goddamn these fuckers!

Bolivia is the new Saudi Arabia

Lithium the new oil!?

The Hunt For Gollum

This looks like a very high quality fan produced film; Can't wait!

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Prisoners are not 'Persons'

how fucked up is this?

A Court of Appeals for the Washington, D.C. Circuit ruled Friday that detainees at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, are not "persons" according to it's interpretation of a statute involving religious freedom.

1984 is coming closer all the time;


Friday, 24 April 2009

A Lisbon 'yes' group

Good god! I never heard of them before reading this but now I imagine the girls all wear bright pink, the boys sport huge quiff's and everyone says "super dooper" and "Gee willikers"

Some of the girls wore pink T-shirts with the legend “I only kiss boys who say yes” while other campaign members refused to wear the ‘chauvinistic’ shirts.

Who in their right mind though this was a good idea?


Thursday, 23 April 2009

Hitchens on Turkey & the E.U.

Clearly, I am against Turkey ever being made a member;

Here is what Hitchens thinks.

Turkey wants all the privileges of NATO and EU membership but also wishes to continue occupying Cyprus, denying Kurdish rights, and lying about the Armenian genocide. On top of this, it now desires to act as a proxy for Islamization and dares to waste the time of a defensive alliance in trying to censor the press of another member state!



Nice little animation


Nice little animation


Postcards from Cassini

more ...

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Games of Thrones TV

THE greatest series of fantasy novels since The Lord Of The Rings is being made into a TV series (god I hope it's good), and will be filmed in Northern Ireland! Cool!

George R R Martin's site


No Knead Bread

I love bread, but with very few exceptions I'm not very good at making it, so it was a nice surprise to find an easy way of making good bread over at "The Daily Spud".

The trick is to leave the bread for hours (about 24 in fact) so I made the dough on Monday night, covered it and went about my daily business.

last night I came home, did the final prep's which took about 10 minutes and again left the dough to rise before finally throwing it into the oven.

The result?

Perfect delicatessen quality bread.

original article

Tuesday, 21 April 2009


I am currently reading “The Brief Wondrous life of Oscar Wao” which, aside from being very good, contains lot’s of footnotes and asides about the Dominican Republic and it’s history. Not a subject I know much about.

The most recent footnote regarded a native chief called “Hatuey” who tried to throw off the Spaniards in 1511. He was captured in the end and before being burned at the stake a priest asked him if he would accept Jesus and go to heaven.

Hatuey asked "Are there white men in heaven?" When the priest assured him that there were many, Hatuey replied "Then I’d rather go to Hell."*;

A quote I really liked and it could easily be paraphrased for use by today’s unbelievers, “Men of Faith”, perhaps?

I got an extra kick out of this as it really puts the Popenfuhres opinion of the conquest of the Americas into context;

Pope Benedict XVI told Latin American bishops in Brazil that American Indians had been "silently longing" to become Christians 500 years ago.

* There seems to be several differing versions of this statement on the web, I’ve used the one from the book

Introduction to Nanoscience


I can't believe they did this over 100 times to _anybody_...

They Giveth with one hand ...

... and take back with two others;

The local lootocrats often say that no one goes in to politics for the money - HA!
FIVE junior ministers will be sacked tomorrow and walk away with a "golden parachute" payment worth up to €53,000 each.

What would Jesus Not Do

One of the best yet, also humorous;

Erin Go Broke

I've been a long time reader of Paul Krugman of the New York times so it was kind of distressing to have him use Ireland as a "worst case" scenario.
“What,” asked my interlocutor, “is the worst-case outlook for the world economy?” It wasn’t until the next day that I came up with the right answer: America could turn Irish.
It goes downhill from there;

Meanwhile "Country Third" Tanaiste of Ireland mumbles a response

Monday, 20 April 2009

Danny MacAskill

Too cool/impressive not to share

A Joke

from boingboing

Friday, 17 April 2009

Argh! the pirates

For such a serious subject this article has two smirk worthy comments;
US Aircraft and Elite Navy SEALs Defeat Three Somalis in a Lifeboat
There is something obscene about a superpower whose media and population find great satisfaction, and some sick form of national catharsis, every time they manage to overcome a weak and desperate opponent.

You are being lied to about pirates

Why the crash will continue for a long while yet

Just why the whole "green shoots" thing is a crock of shit.
The financial media is abuzz with talk of a recovery as equities inch their way higher every week.

For 19 months, Bernanke has kept a steady stream of liquidity flowing from the vault at the US Treasury to the NYSE in downtown Manhattan. The Fed has recapitalized financial institutions via its low interest rates, its multi-trillion dollar lending facilities, and its direct purchase of US sovereign debt and Fannie Mae mortgage-backed securities. (Monetization) The Fed's balance sheet has become a dumping ground for all manner of toxic waste and putrid debt-instruments for which there is no active market. When foreign central banks and investors realize that US currency is backed by dodgy subprime collateral; there will be a run on the dollar followed by a stampede out of US equities. Even so, Bernanke assures his critics that "the foundations of our economy are strong".

So far, $12 trillion has been pumped into the financial system while less than $450 billion fiscal stimulus has gone to the "real" economy where workers are struggling just to keep food on the table. The Fed's priorities are directed at the investor class not the average working Joe. Bernanke is trying to keep Wall Street happy by goosing asset values with cheap capital, but the increases to the money supply are putting more downward pressure on the dollar. The Fed chief has also begun purchasing US Treasuries, which is the equivalent of writing a check to oneself to cover an overdraft in one's own account. This is the kind of gibberish that passes as sound economic policy. The Fed is incapable if fixing the problem because the Fed is the problem.

The banks are all playing the same game of hide-n-seek, trying to hoodwink the public into thinking they are in a stronger capital position than they really are. It's just more Wall Street chicanery papered over with vapid media propaganda. The giant brokerage houses and the financial media are two spokes on the same wheel gliding along in perfect harmony.


Tuesday, 14 April 2009

An Inconvenient debt

even a stopped clock is right twice a day;

such a shame he muddies his message with pointless references to Al Gore..

Best anti-homeopathy poster ever?

link from here

Thursday, 9 April 2009


A picture about Hypatia maybe?

The production looks good, if it is about her I can't wait to see the reaction of the Christian churches.

Hope it's in English, but I'll watch it anyway.

link from rogueclassicism

Head scratcher from the Irish Times

I'll admit I don't know everything that's going on in this country but as far as I know nobody is seriously suggesting we rejoin the Commonwealth. The few times I've heard this mentioned has been by assorted 'media' personalities (usually on radio) and it always sounded like a flag flying exercise to me.

That being said todays Irish Times has a column by somebody called Newton Emerson who preemptively 'sets us straight' on the topic and warning us that we are definitely not welcome.
What on Earth makes anyone think we’d have you? For almost a century, the Irish have used multinational institutions to defame, insult and attack the British state.
Am ... ok, Irish people can sometimes get a bit over heated when discussing "The British", it can be embarrassing, but this does seem to be a slight exaggeration and a tensey bit shrill. He continues;
Commonwealth meetings provide our country with international respite from Ireland’s nationalist spite. There, Her Majesty’s diplomats may meet their peers without dreading the whiskey-dark whine of another lament from the bog.
Oh boy, I suppose the world should be grateful theres at least one "Irish need not apply" club left on the earth. You can't blame them. Remember that time when Bertie Ahern addressed the joint house of The Commons, got drunk, took off his shoe and started banging it on a desk while moaning and weeping about the famine?? No? I'm sure it happened!
Nobody serving my country abroad should have to endure the recreational Anglophobia of bad- mouthing Irish exceptionalists.

Imagine the embarrassment of discussing food aid to Zimbabwe, only to have some bitter buffoon bring up the potato famine.
It would be mortifying alright - why, just the other day Obama was discussing the tragedy in Darfur when Brian Cowen blunty cut him off to tell him about what happened at Kinsale. Happens all the time.
None of this would stop every Irish delegate moaning about “anti-Catholic racism” because they personally will never be king.
This is the number 1 topic of conversation in any Irish pub. Seriously! When Tony Blair became Catholic we all felt terribly sad that he could never become king.
It is especially galling to realise that Irish Commonwealth membership is often suggested as a “confidence-building gesture” to my own tribe. Why would Ulster unionists want yet another place to meet the Irish? We already have a British-Irish Intergovernmental Conference, a British-Irish Council, a North/South Ministerial Council and Tesco in Newry.
You can easily spot the difference between and Ulster Unionist and an Irishman because the Unionist will walk upright and his features will be less simian. I can only assume he forgot to mention he can also meet Irish all over Northern Ireland, you know, the ones who live there. Maybe google maps draws special routes for him whereby he avoids any Irish (and/or boggy areas) anytime he goes out?


I'm not one of those Irish people who thinks (or even wants) 'everyone' to like us, but there is something about the jumped-up bigotry, sectarianism and defensiveness of Unionists that really gets my goat.

Anyway, to show there's no hard feeling, here's a picture of me at work today

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Jarred Diamond on religion

the lecture is about 40 minutes, with a Q&A afterwards.

A different take on income tax

Seeing as yesterday the Irish government robbed us all to pay for theirs and other mistakes here is a different take on income tax.

I don't really agree with it, but its food for thought;
(certainly how taxes are spent is a huge issue)

An income tax is inconsistent with the historical definition of freedom. Today in America government has a claim on every person’s labor, just as feudal lords, the government of that time, had claims on the labor of serfs and nineteenth century plantation owners had on slaves.


Global Financial Collapse

Who do we (everybody) owe all this money to?

An Argentine opinion on the Global Financial Crisis, describing the whole Global Financial System as one vast Ponzi Scheme. Like a pyramid, it has four sides and is a predictable model. The four sides are: (1) Artificially control the supply of public State-issued Currency, (2) Artificially impose Banking Money as the primary source of funding in the economy, (3) Promote doing everything by Debt and (4) Erect complex channels that allow privatizing profits when the Model is in expansion mode and socialize losses when the model goes into contraction mode.

Take your money out of the banks it seems is the advice?

link from Information Clearinghouse

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

The dark side of Dubai

Yes it's full of the kind of stuff you'd expect (or at least, that I'd expect anyway), but it was good to know us westerners can treat people just as bad with very little encouragement;
As she says this, I remember a stray sentence I heard back at Double Decker. I asked a British woman called Hermione Frayling what the best thing about Dubai was. "Oh, the servant class!" she trilled. "You do nothing. They'll do anything!"
Fucking Bitch!
My patience frayed by all this excess, I find myself snapping: doesn't the omnipresent slave class bother you? I hope they misunderstood me, because the woman replied: "That's what we come for! It's great, you can't do anything for yourself!" Her husband chimes in: "When you go to the toilet, they open the door, they turn on the tap – the only thing they don't do is take it out for you when you have a piss!" And they both fall about laughing.
let's hope this couple end up cleaning Emirate toilets with their tongues.

Obviously the whole Dubai dream is built on tears, read about it here

A-Pod, Artificial insect

Beautiful, disturbing, fascinating;

I was most impressed when it walked - there must be some deep evolutionary thing going on there!?

Friday, 3 April 2009


I though Borat was halarious, Bruno looks just as good;

Open Mindedness

Excellent description

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Ant Slaves Revolt

An amazing story from the natural world

Humans aren't the only species that have had to deal with the issue of slavery. Some species of ants also abduct the young of others, forcing them into labouring for their new masters.
They found that the [slave]workers clearly care for the larvae, and nearly all of them were raised until their pupated. But at that point, the slaves' behaviour changed dramatically, taking on a more homicidal bent.

Two-thirds of pupae died before they hatched. The mortality rate was even higher (83%) for pupae containing queens, but very low (3%) for those containing males. The duo saw that the captives were deliberately killing the healthy pupae. In about 30% of cases, as in the photo, the workers would gang up to literally pull the developing ants apart. Another 53% of the pupae were killed by neglect, by workers who moved them out of the nest chamber.

These murders were solely the acts of the slaves. No P.americanus worker ever lifted a mandible against its own pupae.


Tuesday, 31 March 2009

The Cowen Paintings

Wow, what a cofuffle the above paintings caused last week.

There are some great posts here about it and I haven't too much to add. I just want to post one of the painting of the 3rd best paid leader in the world.

Two reasons why Tesco suck!

Food shopping in Ireland can be a frustrating and expensive business.

The big 3, Tesco, Dunnes and Superquinn, have all taken big hits recently as consumers cut back, switch to the discounters (Lidl & Aldi) or go North. The solution has been typically Irish - bambozel everyone with marketing. Here are two choice examples;

Make it confusing
Pretend you have discounted

I am still trying to decide which I find more offensive, the above or Dunnes Stores "the Difference is ... we're Irish" strategy.

Goodbye, No More Mr Nice guy

Sad, but old news, one of my favourite bloggers No More Mr Nice Guy has stopped blogging. You can read his last post here.

So long, and thanks for all the fish.

Let it Die

Interesting article here (and follow up here) saying the current economic model is flawed, seriously flawed.
It's all very interesting, the transition would be nightmarish however.

Ireland recently embarked on the biggest social welfare scheme in it's history by handing over around €7 Billion to the Irish banks, with no guarantee it will even be enough!

Meanwhile talk of regulation grows more muted, the corporate take over seems almost complete...

Busy Busy

I've been very busy lately as so have barely had the time to browse the web much less post any links.

Of course there has been loads of ridiculous things happening here and the world over so I must try to rant more..

Monday, 23 March 2009

Ireland Win 6 Nations 2009

Wonderful! Really really wonderful

Thursday, 5 March 2009

Friday, 20 February 2009

Non Overlapping Magisteria

Non Overlapping Magisteria, I'm not a fan of this argument, neither is Pharyngula, here's a snip of why he thinks it's bunkum;

Think about it. Why can't science address the existence of gods? Why should we simply sit back and accept the claim of apologists that what they believe in is not subject to "observation, measurement, and experiment"?

In the United States today, we have tens of thousands of priests, rabbis, mullahs, pastors, and preachers who are paid professionals, who claim to be active and functioning mediators between people and omnipotent invisible masters of the universe. They make specific claims about their god's nature, what he's made of and what he isn't, how he thinks and acts, what you should do to propitiate it…they somehow seem to have amazingly detailed information about this being. Yet, when a scientist approaches with a critical eye, suddenly it is a creature that not only has never been observed, but cannot observed, and its actions invisible, impalpible, and immaterial.

Vote YES to Lisbon II - otherwise it's more of the same

One of our most loathsome elected representatives Dick Roche (two disagreeable words in one name there) has said;
Irish voters had a "death wish" when it comes to major decisions like the Lisbon Treaty

Dick has been kicking up a fuss since the treaty was rejected and has basically been acting like an annoying yapping dog since, but he is a good example of why I'll spoil my vote next time out (rather than vote no again). Basically he's an idiot. But he's not alone, he is a fair example of the "quality" of our political masters.

So if I could give some advice to the anti-democracy 'Yes' side it would be to run the campaign along the lines of :
You keep voting for idiots like Roche, Haughey, Ahern, Burke, et al and look where that got you. Do the sensible thing and take power away from these people. It's the only thing that will save us.
I predict a landslide ...

Food related humour

ice cream ireland have a nice post about themed ice cream flavours for the recession;

two of my favourites are;

6. Newry Cream-in’ it

7. Cowan Fudge-in’ it

I'd buy 'em.

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

A car crash

This is a time breakdown of a car accident taken from here, the whole thing is worth reading but I'm just going to post this but;

0 milliseconds - An external object touches the driver’s door.
1 ms - The car’s door pressure sensor detects a pressure wave.
2 ms - An acceleration sensor in the C-pillar behind the rear door also detects a crash event.
2.5 ms - A sensor in the car’s centre detects crash vibrations.
5 ms - Car’s crash computer checks for insignificant crash events, such as a shopping trolley impact or incidental contact. It is still working out the severity of the crash. Door intrusion structure begins to absorb energy.
6.5 ms - Door pressure sensor registers peak pressures.
7 ms - Crash computer confirms a serious crash and calculates its actions.
8 ms - Computer sends a “fire” signal to side airbag. Meanwhile, B-pillar begins to crumple inwards and energy begins to transfer into cross-car load path beneath the occupant.
8.5 ms - Side airbag system fires.
15 ms - Roof begins to absorb part of the impact. Airbag bursts through seat foam and begins to fill.
17 ms - Cross-car load path and structure under rear seat reach maximum load.
Airbag covers occupant’s chest and begins to push the shoulder away from impact zone.
20 ms - Door and B-pillar begin to push on front seat. Airbag begins to push occupant’s chest away from the impact.
27 ms - Impact velocity has halved from 50 km/h to 23.5 km/h. A “pusher block” in the seat moves occupant’s pelvis away from impact zone. Airbag starts controlled deflation.
30 ms - The Falcon has absorbed all crash energy. Airbag remains in place. For a brief moment, occupant experiences maximum force equal to 12 times the force of gravity.
45 ms - Occupant and airbag move together with deforming side structure.
50 ms - Crash computer unlocks car’s doors. Passenger safety cell begins to rebound, pushing doors away from occupant.
70 ms - Airbag continues to deflate. Occupant moves back towards middle of car.
Engineers classify crash as “complete”.
150-300 ms - Occupant becomes aware of collision.

Defamation of Religion

worth reading;
The whole idea of defamation of religion is nonsense. Taken literally, it would mean that I could not utter any falsehood that is damaging to the reputation of a religion (so, it might lead people to leave the religion or doubt its doctrines, or fail to be convinced to convert to it). But a religion has no right to flourish, be believed, retain adherents, gain converts, or anything of the sort. On the contrary, it is in the public interest that the truth and credibility of various religions be tested continually, and it is quite within my rights to try to convert people from their current religion to my religion of choice or to an anti-religious position.