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.

I've blown an outrage fuse

More spooning at the top in Ireland.

10 mystery men where given around €300 million by Anglo Irish Bank to buy shares in that bank;
THE IDENTITY of the 10 investors who were given €300 million in loans by Anglo Irish Bank to support its share price last year has emerged as a key political issue with the Opposition intensifying pressure on the Government to justify the decision to nationalise the bank.
Anglo Irish Bank has now been nationalised by their buddies in Fianna Fail; So what's the story with those loan's?
It emerged last night that Anglo Irish has decided not to pursue the 10 investors for the €75 million in security they offered for the €300 million in loans from the bank, because of legal problems with the loan agreement. The bank will confirm it has written off the loans in its annual report, to be published on Friday.
Banana Republic's around the world must be shaking their heads in dismay at how badly Ireland has tarnished the bad reputation of "Banana Republic's".


Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Magenta Is Not a Colour

Blew my mind this.

This is not a colour;
magenta a.k.a "pink" does not appear on the spectrum and yet we see it! Why?

answer here.

UPDATE: Apparently some of the graphic guy's here at work have taken issue with this, it may well all be a conspiracy ...

Also, some feel magenta is blend of blue and red.

So in dsummary, I have no idea what to believe anymore.

UPDATE 2: this link sheds more light on the issue:
The truth is, no color actually exists outside of our brain's perception of it
[The] article might be better titled, "Magenta is not a single wavelength of electromagnetic radiation in the 'visible' spectrum, but our brain perceives it anyway."

Practical Wisdom

Another interesting Ted Talk (is there any other kind?)

basically, toning down societies obsession with rules and allowing people to act morally.

Monday, 16 February 2009

Is Capitalism Finished?

I can't say I'm convinced - some form of usury will always be required, however you can get your daily dose of impending doom here.

The Issue
Banking was conceived in iniquity and was born in sin. The bankers own the earth. Take it away from them, but leave them the power to create money, and with the flick of the pen they will create enough deposits to buy it back again. However, take it away from them, and all the great fortunes like mine will disappear and they ought to disappear, for this would be a happier and better world to live in. But, if you wish to remain the slaves of bankers and pay the cost of your own slavery, let them continue to create money.
[snip] The Problem
Economies built on credit and debt are by nature unstable. Caught between cycles of expansion and contraction, they are also vulnerable to the vagaries of man and the dictates of nature, i.e. war, famine, greed, drought, etc.

When the backing of gold was finally removed from paper money, it was the final straw that was to bring down the bankers’ house of cards. But before the house of cards collapsed, capitalism was to erupt in one last display of shameless glory.
[snip] The Flaw

Capitalism’s fatal flaw is apparent only in its later stages. As capitalism matures, its inherent systemic instability manifests. The very expansion of capitalism sets in motion its demise. The Achilles heel of capitalism is its perpetual need to expand.

Only perpetual capital expansion can create sufficient capital flows to service and retire previously created debts, the amounts of which are always increasing because of the accruing compound interest being charged. While any slowdown is cause for worry, a contraction bodes far worse.
[snip] Concealing the problem

In his wonderful and final and most readable book (at least for me), Grunch of Giants, (Design Science Press, 1983) Buckminster Fuller writes about the history of power and money in a way that explains our present economic system.
Bucky’s word “Grunch” is an acronym for gross (GR) universal (UN) cash heist (CH) and the word Giant is a reference to modern corporations and those who control them. On page 18, Bucky recounts a conversation with one of the “giants”, a friend of his who was a scion of the JP Morgan family.

He said to me, “Bucky, I am very fond of you, so I am sorry to have to tell you that you will never be a success. You go around explaining in simple terms that which people have not been comprehending, when the first law of success is, “never make things simple when you can make them complicated.”

The roots of modern economics are intertwined with institutional deceit on a massive scale because the material rewards are so great. Therefore, the attempt to ascertain the truth about money is not an easy task; and it is not made easier by those who benefit by its deceit.
So the situation is not good...

Now, if someone could explain to me why 'gold' has an intrinsic value? It's pretty and popular but not terribly useful. Is there a short list of currency standards anywhere?

Friday, 13 February 2009

Thursday, 12 February 2009

Happy Darwin Day

A lot of nut's think we non-superstitious worship Darwin or treat The Origin Of Species as some sort of unchanging holy book - what nonsense.

But of course I did observe the traditions.

1. I fasted from 12pm to 8.30 am
2. Placed the baby-darwin on the Galapagos
3. had the traditional finch dinner
4. welcomed the Darwin carolers singing "Hark, there's no one there so let's stop talking to ourselves"
5. Hung my socks on the washing line to dry.
6. was glad no one got tortured just so I could feel good about myself.
7. was grateful for the Darwin and the other giants who shed light upon the world.

Ice Cream Ireland

Because I spend so much time on this blog just bitching about how crap everything is you might not know there are things I actually enjoy in life and one of them is cooking.

This Christmas my wife brought me an ice cream maker which necessitated the need for an ice cream recipe book and my google searches turned up a gem -The Murphy's Ice Cream Book of Sweet Things - written by two American brothers living here in Ireland who have set up their own ice cream business. The book is fantastic and many of the recipes from the book (and more) can be found on their blog which I browse to every week or so.

But here's the rant - Ben & Jerry have paid so that a search for “ice cream ireland” will display their site before/above as a “sponsored link".

It's a fairly petty thing to have done in my opinion (and the Murphy's) and I hope it fails and don't forget to check out their site if you like ice cream.

All of them must go!

Naomi Klein has an interesting article here about the current financial situation and I couldn't agree more, even in the mist of the greatest crisis since the depression they are still talking about "reform", while in actuality, handing money over to the criminals who destroyed the system in the first place.

This is however, the first time I've heard Ireland described as a "basket case" ... just wish it wasn't true.
But Latvia's troubles are indeed special: the very policies that allowed the "Baltic Tiger" to grow at a rate of 12 percent in 2006 are also causing it to contract violently by a projected 10 percent this year: money, freed of all barriers, flows out as quickly as it flows in, with plenty being diverted to political pockets. (It is no coincidence that many of today's basket cases are yesterday's "miracles": Ireland, Estonia, Iceland, Latvia.)
Also, Michael Parenti, nicely sums up just effect these bailout's are having;
Worse still, the ensuing multi-billion dollar government bailouts are themselves being turned into an opportunity for pillage. Not only does the state fail to regulate, it becomes itself a source of plunder, pulling vast sums from the federal money machine, leaving the taxpayers to bleed.
So in typical "Irish leadership" (a phase sure to become an oxymoron) our dear leaders handed over €7 Billion to the crooks last night the very week it emerged Permanent TSB secretly transfered €7 Billion to the now nationalised Anglo Irish Bank in order, one assumes, to make it's books look prettier. That wasn't Cosy Capitalism, it was full on XXX Rated Capitalism where the boy's swap and share everything and anything and the party never ends.

Only now the government (a.k.a the Mom) has accidentally walked into the room catching her favorite son doing things she never even imagined whereupon she promptly turns on her heel, leaves the room and pretends nothing happened. Later when her son comes down for tea she act's like he has just arrived in, rambles on about the neighbours and hands him money so he can have a good time when he's out later..."He's such a good son you know"

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

YowZaa! Indulgences are back

This is too nutty for words - the Roman Catholic church is bring back "indulgences", you know, one of those crazy ideas of purchasing forgiveness that helped spark the reformation.

The Church has done so many crazy things lately I could nearly keep a blog just pointing them out but this one really made me slap my head. Even the recent business of offending every Jew and 'fact based' person on the planet didn't really surprise me.

What's next? Geocentricism?

thanks to Pharyngula for the link.

Friday, 6 February 2009

The Obvious Questions

I love Calvin & Hobbs.

Thursday, 5 February 2009

The Assassination of Julius Caesar

I really enjoyed this book, it painted Caesar in a particularly good light (don't mention the Gauls!) and provided a different view of the so-called "Roman Mob".

Parenti shows that not only is history written by the winners, it's written by the upper classes of the winners - his "Gentleman Scholars". he has a wonderful quote to illustrate this which roughly is;
"Conformity of bias is taken as objectivity"
From what I can gather (browsing the web) this book isn't particularly popular with many historian's but Parenti's view of Cicero and the Optimates is far closer to more recent depictions that the traditional view.

If you're a fan of Roman history give it a go. It's short, snappy and interesting.

Empires & the MIddle East

Nice animation here of the various Empires who have tramped across the Middle East.

The War on Terror is a Hoax

How do we know?

The most obvious indication that there are no terrorist cells is that not a single neocon has been assassinated.

I do not approve of assassinations, and am ashamed of my country’s government for engaging in political assassination. The US and Israel have set a very bad example for al Qaeda to follow.

The US deals with al Qaeda and Taliban by assassinating their leaders, and Israel deals with Hamas by assassinating its leaders. It is reasonable to assume that al Qaeda would deal with the instigators and leaders of America’s wars in the Middle East in the same way.

Today every al Qaeda member is aware of the complicity of neoconservatives in the death and devastation inflicted on Muslims in Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon and Gaza. Moreover, neocons are highly visible and are soft targets compared to Hamas and Hezbollah leaders. Neocons have been identified in the media for years, and as everyone knows, multiple listings of their names are available online.

Neocons do not have Secret Service protection. Dreadful to contemplate, but it would be child’s play for al Qaeda to assassinate any and every neocon. Yet, neocons move around freely, a good indication that the US does not have a terrorist problem.

I must admit I wondered about this after 9-11, seemed such an obvious way to continue a "war" rather than messy germs and poisons, when nothing happened I reckoned there wasn't any threat.

Williaam Blum on real change

Fairly good summary on the "accepted" western view of the world;


Just leave them alone. There is no "Iranian problem". They are a threat to no one. Iran hasn't invaded any other country in centuries. No, President Ahmadinejad did not threaten Israel with any violence. Stop patrolling the waters surrounding Iran with American warships. Stop halting Iranian ships to check for arms shipments to Hamas. (That's generally regarded as an act of war.) Stop using Iranian dissident groups to carry out terrorist attacks inside Iran. Stop kidnaping Iranian diplomats. Stop the continual spying and recruiting within Iran. And yet, with all that, you can still bring yourself to say: "If countries like Iran are willing to unclench their fist, they will find an extended hand from us."2

Iran has as much right to arm Hamas as the US has to arm Israel. And there is no international law that says that the United States, the UK, Russia, China, Israel, France, Pakistan, and India are entitled to nuclear weapons, but Iran is not. Iran has every reason to feel threatened. Will you continue to provide nuclear technology to India, which has not signed the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, while threatening Iran, an NPT signatory, with sanctions and warfare?


Tuesday, 3 February 2009

when you just can't so anything right!

Iran says it has launched its first domestically made satellite into orbit.
Good news you might think, but you'd be wrong!
A US state department official said the launch was of "great concern" and could lead to ballistic missile development. [snip]

France has also expressed concern, saying the technology used was "very similar" to that used in ballistic missiles.
Said the two nuclear powers who want to weaponise space!?
Said the country who spends more on the military than almost everyone else combined.
Said the country currently involved in two wars of aggression.
Said the warm mongers...


Monday, 2 February 2009


I posted the original short a while back, not for the upcoming movie's trailer - looks great!

link from themovieblog

The Difference

This really should get them going.