Tuesday, February 28, 2006

after the deluge

Interesting piece on “Aaron’s” blog (http://icedcoffeeandabagel.blogspot.com/2006/02/digital-grandma.html) claiming that New Orleans may be fast becoming “…one of the most technologically advanced cities in the U.S.” Because the infrastructure was banjaxed it seems that everyone his gone wireless. Every cloud?

Sunday, February 26, 2006

yesterday's kerfuffle

in relation to yesterday's kerfuffle, I though this photo caught it well :
(photo by : http://www.flickr.com/photos/o6scura/)

Ads by Google

Ads by Google can get it so wrong! Yesterday I wrote a piece about the riots in Dublin city center , placing the blame at the door of republican followers. Today, my “ads by Google” include a number of links to this murky world which I have spent my whole life steering clear of! How wrong can you be, dear word analyzing computer. So I guess the thing to do is put in some words that might steer you in the right direction? Shopping, entertainment, beaches, sunny days, music, good books, computers, sexuality, philosophy, evolution, the future. These are a few of my favourite things.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

A Riot

There was a riot in Dublin City Center today, where it not for the fact that I got a text from my sister I’d probably be in the middle of it as I was thinking of going in to see the movie “Good Night and Good Luck” The Unionists had come down to hold a protest march and republican supporters had organised a protest. It soon got out of control and the eager and angry young men who are always plentiful at such events started burning looting and robbing. Days like this, you’d just wish the whole lot of them would melt away back into the past, where they live in their heads anyway. It’s such a rotten cauldron, that Northern mix of fascist republicanism and Unionist bigots. And the Irish government is talking about holding an Easter rising military commemoration in April, God when will they get into their heads that this is the last thing we need? It’s no coincidence that our fortunes started to change for the better when the Irish soccer team (led by an Englishman) where paraded down O Connell Street in mid 1990s. There was something new and forward looking about that. Guns at Easter, even if they are state guns, should be kept far away from O Connell Street. Are you listening Bertie, get a grip will you and cancel this parade back into the damp and dismal days.

Thursday, February 23, 2006


There is a piece of software made by Microsoft called ONENOTE that I have been using for some years. Apart from Photoshop, I think its my favourite application. I think that it was originally invented for the Tablet PC and I imagine it works very well on that platform – in fact I often considered buying a tablet PC just to use ONENOTE. I use it on a desktop PC and also on a Sony Vaio laptop. Beautiful, intuitive and practical aren’t words usually associated with Microsoft but beautiful, intuitive and practical is what ONENOTE is. And no, I have no connections whatsoever with Microsoft. It just occurred to me, that once in a while, we should speak up in praise of our favourite tools!

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Walk the Line

Went to see the Johnny Cash biopic “Walk the Line” this afternoon. I saw the movie described somewhere as “sweet” and this describes it well – “sweet” in the best sense of that word. Complexities are ironed out leaving a clear well constructed plot line that is very enjoyable to watch. It’s only on reflection that one misses the complexities and the jagged edges of a real life. Joaquin Phoenix gives a great performance as does Reese Witherspoon. One thing that struck me watching it was the vitality of mid 1950s America. There was definitely something in the water over there at that time! To think of Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash and many more touring the country, playing blazing music in sleepy small towns – sounds that had not been heard in mainstreets or in mainstream before. And at the same time, Alan Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac – the beat generation were all howling away in the big cities. No wonder the era is still a touchstone that can still be raw and dazzling.

Monday, February 13, 2006


There’s an article in today’s Guardian about the city of Dubai. It’s really worth reading for a view of a possible and unforeseen future.
http://business.guardian.co.uk/story/0,,1708395,00.html) The biggest city ever constructed is rising out the sands of the middle east. With a strange web of influences as its bone structure, its skin is pure Disneyland with Pharaoh and Aztec pigmentation . Something about the project also reminds me of the online world “Second Life” A world based on history and the human imagination, nothing startlingly new about it but using borrowed ideas and images to make a gigantic mirror of the way we were as a civilisation. But a mirror where hundreds of thousands of people can live. The muslim culture of the middle east is a strange anchor for such a venture, especially in the times we live in. With much of Islam obsessed with the medieval it’s a shock to see a part of that world engaged in this venture. The article made me want to visit Dubai. The article’s closing paragraph asks whether “…Dubai, (is) in fact, the fulcrum of the future global trading and financial system? Is it, in embryo, what London was to the 19th century and Manhattan to the 20th? Not the modern centre of the Arab world but, more than that, the Arab centre of the modern world.” The continuing story of the new world?

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

light evening

Every year around this time there comes an evening that startles you with its brightness and allows you to eat dinner in daylight again. That was today, my empty dinner plate on the table at 5.23pm, still daylight outside.

Monday, February 06, 2006


this was one of the best radio programmes I have listened to in a long while. Really worth the download! What tangled webs we weave to make sense of our place in the cosmos.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

2001 comes around at last...

I just read this report in the Moscow Times :

A spacesuit tossed out of the international space station was supposed to float through space, talking to radio operators around the globe.

The suit, stuffed with old clothes and a radio transmitter, orbited Earth twice on Friday, giving off faint signals to Japan. But then the suit, called Ivan Ivanovich, apparently went silent.

"It may have ceased operating very shortly after its deployment," said NASA spokesman Rob Navias.

Navias speculated that the suit's batteries might have become too cold.

The Russian Orlan spacesuit, stuffed with rags and other trash, was released early Saturday Moscow time.

It looked like an astronaut tumbling helplessly 350 kilometers above the central Pacific Ocean, beginning a gentle downward spiral that will end in four to seven months when it incinerates in Earth's atmosphere.

Its transmitter was to broadcast a limited lineup: First an announcement via voice synthesizer that said, "This is SuitSat-1, RSORS," followed by greetings in English, French, Japanese, Russian, German and Spanish with "special words" for students to decode.

Then SuitSat was to relay its vital signs in English -- temperature, available battery power, the elapsed time of the mission.

The whole thing was to take 30 seconds, after which SuitSat was to rest 30 seconds and broadcast again.

SuitSat arose in late 2004 as the brainchild of the Russian space station team and the Space Radio Amateur Satellite Corp., a nonprofit that promotes education and amateur radio satellites.

Unlike the United States, which recycles its spacesuits, the Russians use Orlans for about two years and then discard them.

The Russians suggested a variation on this theme: Why not hook up radio gear to an old suit, toss it into space and make a satellite out of it?

International space station commander William McArthur and flight engineer Valery Tokarev began the second spacewalk of their six-month stay aboard the space station at 1:44 a.m. on Saturday.

Its primary purpose was to secure a cable cutter on the mobile transporter that moves the station's robot crane.

But first they had to get rid of SuitSat. The old spacesuit, weighing several hundred kilograms, had last been used by NASA astronaut Michael Foale during an August 2004 spacewalk.

On Friday, a radio antenna poked out the top of the backpack.

The idea of a quick departure was apparently a good one, for SuitSat first got in the way of closing the airlock door, then balked at being wrestled into position.

Finally, with video cameras recording the event, it was gone.

"Wonderful picture, Valery," mission control said. "Thank you very much."