Friday, June 29, 2007

Stuff to Read

Due to my recent globe trotting I have not had a chance to add a posts to read thing. So here it is back.

Why Google maybe in trouble. Basically Google makes so much of its money from people paying for keywords. Yet with decent techniques people can get high up on google searches. (This site is number 2 for the term dossing. For instance). So as prices go up companies might just work more on their sites to get top search results rather then paying for key words.

Growth in borrowing in Ireland slows. As SSIA used to reduce debts.

The state of Germany and Merkal

Little Help

A friend of mine is working on a project. And needs people to do an online survey here. Here is some details on it. Needs Java 1.6

Thank you for your interest in this research. We are investigating the effect of an evolution rejection strategy on the performance of interactive genetic algorithms.


The aim is to evolve a colour that matches the target colour as closely as possible using human interaction. This is done by selecting the closest colour match from a swatch of nine candidate colours. The algorithm will then create a new swatch of colours from which the best match to the target must once again be selected. Additionally, at each stage you can guide the process more effectively by rejecting colours that are poor matches to the target colour. This works best if you only reject a few dissimilar colours to the target. When you feel that you have achieved a good colour match and no more improvement can be made, select the best match from the current colour swatch and then click finish.

Apple i - Phone

Is there a 2, 200 euro hole in your life that can be filled by this phone? Our American friends seem to think so as they have been queueing around city blocks to buy the new Apple i- Phone which goes on sale later today Stateside. You can part with your hard earned money come Autumn. Link.

Air Data Transfer

EU and U.S. officials reached a deal on Wednesday on the transfer to the United States of private data on transatlantic air passengers for use in the fight against terrorism. The deal was reached in talks between European Union Justice and Security Commissioner Franco Frattini, German Interior Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble and U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff. Details of the accord must now be approved by the EU's 27 member states, who will study it today. Under an interim agreement reached in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States, European airlines must pass on up to 34 items of passenger data, including address and credit card details, to be allowed to land at U.S. airports. That deal expires at the end of July, potentially leaving airlines in a legal limbo and exposed to privacy complaints. It has been reported that data would be kept for 15 years. During the last eight years of that 15-year period, the information will only be available for access with the permission of a designated senior U.S. Homeland Security Department official. Under the interim accord, information can be held between 3-1/2 and 11-1/2 years.

Car Bomb in London

BBC report a car bomb in London
"All options, including the Irish, are open at this stage," said the source
Lets hope the dissidents are not back they have been quiet of late.

Top 6 Friday: Opening Titles

Don’t underestimate the power of opening titles. In setting the mood, creating excitement, informing and in their own right as works of art they can play important parts in the whole experience of a movie. Every Bond movie is an event, the fade to the opening titles, the acts to sing the title song and the graphics may not be the first priority of the director but they are essential to decompressing after the opening sequence and the lead into the story and will take a place in movie lore as all Bond movies do, irrespective of their quality. So too there is the familiar black background, white text and jazzy music that lets you know the last line of text you will read before the film begins is ‘Written and Directed by Woody Allen’. I am a big fan of the production company logo becoming part of the titles, such as the Universal globe at the beginning of ‘Serenity’ or the Paramount Mountain at the beginning of ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’ becoming part of the movie. And of course there is the music, the Bond anthems, the Hitchcock shrill and strings, the great composers being given new life or stalwarts of musical theme creation such as Morricone or Newman. So much to appreciate within a few minutes. The criteria are simple, I don’t mean opening shots or sequences, the story can be moved along, but I am talking specifically about the time between the appearance of the production companies names and the name of the director appearing on screen.

I won’t be doing the blank screen Youtube thing, a link will have to do or the post would run on too long I think. And also in the case of 2 entries I couldn't find a decent clip, though I may amend it later after some scouring.

6. First off, is the least obvious choice but one of my favourites. There are probably more classic titles and better appreciated David Fincher opening titles (Se7en, Fight Club) but the titles for Panic Room just strike me as classic, domineering over the city skyline – they’re cool and that’s good enough for me. Link

5. Second, ‘The Pink Panther’, the credits inspired the TV cartoon series, which is in of itself has become a classic. Link.

4. A year ago I sat in the IMAX theatre in Auckland, New Zealand, sick with nerves I was so excited at the thought of seeing ‘Superman Returns’. This rip-roaring theme tune, journey through space is a movie classic, simple, yet powerful giving a true sense of the epic, evoking the respect for ‘Superman: The Movie’ that ‘Returns’ is steeped in and revitalizing the theme. Link.

3. The most recent original sequence to make the list - the gliding graphics and jazzy, cheeky theme for ‘Catch Me if You Can’ is a perfect set up for what is to come. ‘Catch Me if You Can’ is one of those movie’s you know has been storyboarded to within an inch of its life making every shot perfectly framed, each a rich piece of cinema and so too are these titles. Link.

2. Possibly every type of Best of list could somehow mention ‘Psycho’ and there is no denying the impact of the needly string music, with the simple graphics moving in sync with them. Link.

1. James Bond, Goldfinger, ‘nuff said.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Ann Coulter

Read here a NY Times article on what have been the dirtiest exchanges of the nomination campaign so far. Not exchanges between the candiadates, though I'm sure that is to come.

First Black Mayor

It's strange, or maybe not strange at all, that when I googled this story of Ireland's first black mayor possibly being elected today, the results threw out stories from the US of the historical significance of a Dallas district electing its first black mayor recently and indeed there were a number of stories commenting on the place of black elected representatives. We like to think of racism as having being a new development, emerging as a tangent to the increased number of immigrants in Ireland in the last decade. I would contend we always had an in-house problem of racism - that shown towards the Travelling community. Nevertheless, hopefully stories like this one signal a responsible and open attitude among Irish people - so that the entrenched views and indeed hatred still a part of US society does not become a part of our history. I am certainly proud that a Nigerian man, who came here 7 years ago as an asylum seeker is expected to become Ireland's first black mayor. Rotimi Adebari was elected in 2004 as a councillor in Portlaoise and it is widely expected that members of the council will elect him to office today. Story here.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Iron Man

Browsing around I didn't even want to click into a story about remarks from Sam Raimi on the potential villains for Spider-Man 4. Yawn and sigh.
Much more interesting is the first official cast shot for Iron-Man!

Political Donations

Why is it that we must suffer the inefficiency and delay of Tribunals, often as a result of arrogant individuals who challenge these bodies set up to investigate matters of great importance and then suffer the muted and popularly disatisfying outcomes of their findings only then for no lessons to be taken from the events that lead to their establishment? That limits are set so that political parties need make no declaration as to donations received is an insult to the people who have voted for them and a slur on the integrity of our political system. With no obligation to report private funding of less than 5, 000 euro, our two largest parties, FF and FG made no declaration on private funding received in 2006, indeed FG has not made any declarations since 2001. Rotten.. state of... and Denmark come to mind. To think that the year before an election and considering the lack of transparency traditionally associated with our elected members our ethics legislation places such few demands on the financial management of political parties in ridiculous.

We have seemingly imperviously powerful people running this country, they do not deserve the benefit of the doubt. Irish Times story here.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

BA Again

Back from Munich and this time flight was delayed 1 hour

Frying Pan to the Fire

Looks like Blair won't be feeling the unemployment fear with a role for him being discussed as a Middle East negotiator.

Friday, June 22, 2007

First 'Indy 4' picture

Its worrying times over here at Dossing Times HQ as we (well at least me) ponder the impact next years Indiana Jones installment will have on the sheen of the series. The primary cast is intriguing and promising - Ford, Cate Blanchette, Jim Broadbent, Shia LeBeouf and the most famous person I have ever met, John Hurt. The release date is set (22 May 2008) and Sean Connery has confirmed he won't be back. What we don't know is the title of the movie, whether Ford is up to the task or if there is a chance Spielberg could surprise us all with a quality 4th entry.

Go check out and mull over this first official picture to be released.

Love Ulster

The organisers of the Love Ulster Parade, which turned to a violent riot on Dublins O'Connel St. in February of last year are confident that a parade on a larger scale will get to go ahead this year as an Gardai have commented they do not object to the parade in principle. The regular updates Simon provided here on the blog were for me a realisation of what could be achieved through blogging and rightly received praise from a number of commentators. Irish Times story here.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Top 6 Friday - Misleading Trailers

I've had enough of damn movie studios and their misleading trailers. Almost without fail, every "blockbuster" this summer has failed to live up to the promise of their trailer (Spiderman 3 being by far the biggest culprit). I say its about time that the studios bit the bullet and let the guys who make the trailers to make the movies.

So help me, if Transformers sucks I'm never getting excited about a movie ever again.

To draw attention to this issue I've decided to combine 2 of Dossing Times biggest features; Top 6 Friday and 15 Minutes of Youtube. Ladies and Gents, I give you the Top 6 Misleading Trailers in the history of cinema.


Number 6

Number 5

Number 4

Number 3

Number 2

Number 1

New Seven Wonders

Getting a tour of the Sydney Opera House last year our guide informed us that the building is in contention ot be voted as one of the new Seven Wonders of the World. The deciding votes are to be cast by the people of the world and the website is counting down how much time we have left, which is just over 2 weeks at this stage. Each location has no doubt been shamelessly been promoting themselves. The candidates are obvious but really do represent a eclectic cross section of mans achievements so that in this instance you can almost forgive the decision being left open to a public vote as to determine how a panel would arrive at a decision would be plagued with difficulty. Vote here. Our most local nominee is Stonehenge. As for my opinion of Sydney Opera House, we were underwhelmed when we first saw it and thought it could do with a good power hosing. As we got to know the city though seeing it from a number of different vistas as well as learn about the work that went into its construction, we got a full appreciation of it.

Sky Handling Partners

Damien Mulley details some of the abuse he got from a computer at from a company here Sky Handling Partners. Which he blogged about problems they caused him.

Keeping it in the Family

So there is an important caveat with this post. I'm referring you to a Youtube video that spoofs the final scene of the Sopranos, a scene between Carmelo and Tony. Why bother then? The newsworthiness comes from the fact that the spoofers are Bill and Hilary Clinton and the spoof is in fact Mrs. Clinton's most recent ad in her campaign to receive the Democrat nomination for next years presidential election. I haven't watched it, but whatever the structure and resolution to be achieved in the scene, Hilary plays Tony and Bill his intermittently devoted wife. So you have to ask yourself do you want to watch the spoof and see how viewers have responded and read no doubt the mixed reviews coming out of the American press or will it be at too great a cost in spoiling the ending to a TV show so many of you could be following religiously. I have not posted the link to you of the video, decide for yourself!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Life on Mars

The European Space Agency are looking for volunteer 'astronauts' to take part in a simulated trip to Mars in anticipation of the real thing at some stage in the future. One need not be a trained astronaut, the emphasis here is how the lengthy trip will impact psychologically. The most daunting aspect is the duration - 17 months within a confined space, cut off from the outside world, with any communication taking a 40 minute delay as it would on such a trip. If you think you've got the stuff then download the application form here!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Youtube Irish style

Youtube has launched

Read of the launch here.

Dublin Fact: It Doesn't Suck!*

I remember writing about how moving to Dublin was a possibility and how I was uneasy about joining the rat race and generally finding my way in what I held to be a quagmire of expense, delay and a life full of effort. Two months in and the upheaval never really happened, I got the train one Sunday evening, started my job the next morning and things seem to have taken off from there. I’ve been a lodger in my family home for a few years now, done a bit of travelling and lived away during college, so the distance, the looking after myself, the all too short trips home at the weekend are nothing new. Dublin is a fine city, the sense of self-importance I expected when I got here hasn’t presented itself although I do live on the North Side. For some reason it seems mandatory that when you get here you become possessive and defensive of the side of the Liffey you live on, that won’t be me, my priorities are the length of my trek to work and the quality of life I have – perceptions of where I live and my postal code can be the qualms of people who think NewsTalk is a national radio stsation. I’m a Cork man so I have a rivalry with Kerry and burgeoning People’s Republic to contend with. I’ll never feel I own this city the way I do Cork, I know that.

The best part of living up here is that in keeping my travel time to a minimum I don’t feel the fatigue of feeling you’ve done a days work in just getting to the office, the gem I’ve held over from a drunken conversation last weekend is that 90% of work is turning up and I think there might be some value to that inebriated insight. I’m pretty certain I’m in the minority having a walk of less than 10 minutes to work, but hey this is a personal account not a census. Ease of access is nice, I don’t have a car, yet venturing to gigs, random games at Croke Park and fitting in escapes to the oasis Phoenix Park has become for this country man as well as places like Howth and Dun Laoghaire can all be thought of and executed within 20 minutes. I feel a challenge to try new restaurants and pubs (all recommendations welcomed!), shake it up culturally and activity wise and try to mould out a life as well as the job, pension, career, ‘how long are you planning on staying with the company?’ type talk that seems to dominate too many conversations. It really does seem a lot of people work here, not many people live here. That is a downside but it’s one I don’t find myself mulling over. Not because I don’t have time anymore to ponder life’s great questions and where I fit in but merely because I haven’t tried that hard to make the place work or been desperately eager to fill my evenings or the quiet days, it’s just worked itself out. Of course it goes without saying I have not saved a penny nor had a fortnight pass where my paycheque has been badly needed, pints after work, lunch, dinner, there is a crazy amount of choices for me to spend my money on.

Apologies if this was all too positive or uneventful as Simon’s flights, if anyone wants me to moan about the three women in my office and the great air conditioning debate and their inability not to comment on someone after they leave the room then let me know. Also possible negative topics are my odd housemates, but they are just so strange that I like talking to them because of the relief I feel when they leave. Every cloud………………… *Not really a fact, more so a generalisation having had it easy there for 2 months.

P.S. Thanks to that blogger that recommended the Italian wholesaler in Smithfield, best find since I've moved.

Monday, June 18, 2007


After my adventures with Aer Arann on Friday on Sunday I spent an Hour and a half on the runway in Heathrow because the engine starter was not working. Not my week for flying.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Aer Arran

I am writing this offline at the moment in a cheap B&B in Luton. Why am I in a B&B in Luton you ask? Well basically due to Aer Arann

I was in Galway last week on a conference thingy and decided to fly back to England not to my nearest airport Gatwick via Shannon but Luton via Galway. My thinking was that the travel difference between them would be equal. How wrong I was.

I got a taxi at 4 to bring me to Galway airport for my 18:30 flight to Luton. While on the way I got a txt from Aer Arann telling me the flight was delayed until 20:30. At 21:00 I was in Shannon airport.

See what happened was that not only was the plane delayed for 2 hours it was also short of fuel and had to refuel in Shannon. So 5 hours after I left to go to Galway airport I was in Shannon. Now as Aer Arann planes are smaller and slower they took an hour and a half to get to London. So we arrived at 23:00 2 and a half hours later then scheduled. So knowing that I could not get back to my house which is on the other side of London. So I jumped into a taxi and said bring me to a travel lodge. Which indeed the taxi did and then left me there. So I went to the travel lodge and talked to the intercom as the doors were locked. Sorry no vacancies so I asked could they phone me a cab. They said no ask at the petrol station.

So now I was worried stuck in the middle of a city I did not know having spent my last bit of cash on the taxi over. So I went to the guy in the hatch. And asked to him about taxies and he gave me one and told me about if he knew any hotels. I bought a bottle of wine so that I could get cash back. Then another guy came to the shop and the guy in the shop asked him did he know any place local to stay. He said yes and told me to walk up the road to a hotel up the road. So off I walk up a street in Luton quiet stupid I know. But I am stupid. But I saw this place and said feck it rang the door bell and here I am.

So moral of the story is don’t fly Aer Arann if you want to get somewhere on time. Ryanair I love ya. Sorry for not being more poetic here. But just too tired. Also I have to go to another conferance in Munich at 4 in the morning. Not good for my sanity.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Spielberg Supports

I’ve been reading a little about the influence Hollywood has on American politics. It naturally all comes down to money and the Hollywood machine does earn California its high ranking amongst the biggest economies in the world. Star power is all important for raking in the big bucks, Barbara Streisand has been one of the biggest fundraisers for Democrats, with single performances raking in millions at a time. This is not difficult to imagine seeing she is charging up to E500 for tickets for her Irish concert. Democrats rely heavily on Hollywood funding and while Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Republican is the highest profile example of the cross over between Hollywood and American Politics, the fact is entertainment is the biggest contributor to Democrat committees and causes, and 80% of all money raised by the inhabitants of Beverly Hills goes to Democrats. So the good news for Hilary Clinton is the announcement from Steven Spielberg that having considered all of the Democratic candidates and applauding their individual merits he has chosen to put his support behind Clinton’s nomination. Having the support of Spielberg, never out of lists of Hollywood’s most powerful, will make an important impression come time to select a candidate and make Clinton’s campaign all the easier to run in what is already speculated will be the most expensive election campaign in history.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Bush's Watch Stolen?

Pointless news story of the day. Link

The One to Watch: '30 Rock'

With ‘Studio 60’ being essentially stillborn, its humour and topics neither appealing to audiences or critics, it’s been announced the show won’t be back for a second series. Never fear, Tina Fey, who as far as I know is the first woman of ‘Saturday Night Live’ to make a name for herself, is stepping outside her comfort zone, producing and starring in ’30 Rock’ a sitcom based around a live comedy sketch show broadcast from New York. The instantly recognisable name amongst the cast is Alec Baldwin, who having mastered playing supporting characters on the big screen has done the same here to Golden Globe winning effect. As ever we need some comparisons to shows of old so that we don’t fear this frightening new prospect and indeed its makers have positioned it as a Mary Tyler Moore type show, centred around a brunette trying to make it in a man’s world. Let’s look upon it as ‘Behind the Scenes of a TV Show Mark 2’ and hope for good things. Thursday, 10.30, TV3

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

'Goodbye Lenin'

Tomorrow, RTE2 in the spirit of presuming that people have no jobs or desire to sleep are showing a movie that has been on my list of ‘keeping meaning to see that movie’ for a while now. ‘Goodbye Lenin’ is on at 12.10, telling the story of a son trying to keep from his mother the fact that Berlin Wall has come down while she was in a coma, the shock of which could send her back into said come. It’s reviews have been consistently good and I don’t see how you can go wrong with a German tragicomedy on a Wednesday night.


I read with a bit of shock the other day in the Sunday Independent an article about J.J Kavanagh coaches. For those of you that don’t know them, Kavanaghs are the largest private bus company in the state and run buses from Dublin to Limerick and around the midlands. He was talking about his business and his hope for expansion to the west. And mentioned that he had trouble expanding as he needs to get a licence to do it and that is hard to get. Also he needs to have get licences that can take 2 years. We want more public transport and we put these impediments in place. Crazy

The need for a licence would be to make sure that an operator can meet certain safety standards etc. Now considering that Kavanaghs operates a good few route and anyone who has taken them know are no cowboys. They run a good service that would suggest that they should not have much trouble meeting safety standards indeed considering they operate a few routes already they are deemed suitable for providing the service. So why the difficulty getting licences.

The only thing I can think of is that there is an attempt to keep Bus Eireann in its monopoly position or certainly to protect it from major competition forcing down prices. In the days when we are trying to cut emissions and get better public transport etc the fact that a good private operator can not start a route it believes the market suggests people want. Is just crazy.

Monday, June 11, 2007


It strikes me that Israel is the biggest PR machine in the world. There is no event that there are not contradictions of, arguments of who fired the first shot, choice terminology, history being rapidly rewritten in the moments after any number of incidents. I sat at a dinner table once where it was argued that the Palestinians had no grounds to begrudge the creation of the state of Israel as they had been offered their own share of land. Firstly I have yet to understand how you can be offered a share of your own land, that you have constructed a society, livelihood and heritage upon. Secondly, there seems to be a version of events that the Jewish state was declared in light of the UN resolution proposing borders creating 3 distinct areas and then they were attacked. This is typical turning of the tables to create false facts, victims and recriminations. What is omitted from history was the ongoing dispossession of up to 300, 000 non-Jews off their land ever before the UN agreement. Under the guise of the UN Partition Plan, seemingly compliant with international opinion, Zionists had in fact seized land beyond the proposed Jewish state. They had begun an offensive , never intending to comply with the UN plan and have continued to this day to violate international law by illegally occupying land beyond what is the Jewish state. It was only after this continued assault, not before, that Arab states moved to defend the Palestinian people.

From the very beginning there have been concerted efforts to maximize the enlargement of the territory and efforts to this day continue, construed currently in thinly veiled (for those who care to see at least) effort to defeat terrorism, all in the effort to stretch Israel to the full extent of Palestine, guided by God, at the extent of innocent lives. There is a refusal to negotiate, ongoing destruction of human rights by blockading access to basic provisions that is working towards creating ‘The Land of Israel’.

Violating numerous UN protected rights and the Geneva Convention, the Israeli government today continues to build illegal settlements on Palestinian land while also constructing a wall over 700km long, denying Palestinians access to schools, hospitals, worplaces and agricultural land. Even prior to construction of the wall, policies of collective punishment, enforcing curfews, demolishing houses were used by the only democracy in the Middle East to achieve their great end. The Israeli government is responsible for the murder of over 4,400 Palestinians including more than 800 children alone and the refusal of the rightful return to land creating the largest group of refugees on the planet.

To be anti-Israel is fashionable; it seems to be a de rigueur rite of passage for college students of a certain disposition to embrace the Palestinian cause without knowing the extent of the harm and violations taking place. This seeming ‘popularity’ of the cause and earnest pleas of those who are aware of the extent of the atrocities the world is turning a blind eye to, is a launching pad for a few who like to dismiss and undermine the already suffocated Palestinian perspective. We already have the most powerful lobby group in the United States, the United States government, governments who like to frown but take no action (are you listening members of the Dail?) and a government who put a farcical anti-terror sheen on their daily acts of terror making up an impenetrable block of resistance to addressing the suffering of Palestinian people. Don’t be the type to take a view to buck a trend, examine the trends in the deteriorating conditions of Palestinian people, these are to be bucked, these are to be gasped at when we realize they are the work of a government our own delegation only sits a few seats away from in the UN. The Irish Palestinian Solidarity Campaign, held their National Demonstration against the illegal occupation on Saturday, raising the very valid point that we must act to support Palestine, and we could for example boycott Israeli goods in the same way we did to imports from South Africa in the 1980s ending their Apartheid. Visit their website at

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Inequality is good.

McDowell was a total idiot of a politician really was. Politics is not about vision as so many people try to suggest. It is about not saying stupid things that can be taken out of context and used against you. Honesty is derided in this country we want to hear great happy Irish Times (they are to blame for everything aren’t they J ) friendly things. McDowell alas didn’t do this he made idiotic statements which despite the fact they were right should never had been made. The most famous of which is below.

"A dynamic liberal economy like ours," the Minister said, "demands flexibility and inequality in some respects to function." It was such inequality "which provides incentives".

Correct but stupid.

Now this was read by many people as McDowell saying that people should be poor and downtrodden, saying he was the minister for equality how could he say that etc etc. Thing is he is right and mis -read.

He was not talking about equality of opportunity here. He is not saying that a kid in Ballymun should not have as much a chance of going to Trinity as a D4 head. He wasn’t saying that poverty is a good thing. In fact he was not talking about poverty at all. It was inequality of want not need he was talking about.

You would not think it living in Ireland but poverty and inequality are not actually the same thing. Poverty is about not having enough money to live on. No one is disputing that this is wrong and that the state should help. Inequality is about not having the same amount of money as someone else. They are two separate things.

You hear a lot in this country about relative poverty being so high. Yet relative poverty has got nothing to do with poverty it is a measure of inequality. D4 as an area might have quiet high local relative poverty does not mean that anyone there is actually poor. It is a terrible way of measuring poverty. It is 60% of the median income not 59% not 61%. Why not is of course never explained because it is a truly arbitrary number not based on any real life experience. It is general. Being at 60% of the median income in Donegal probably goes a lot further then 70% of the median wage in Dublin yet the person in Donegal is worse off then the Dublin person?. It does not take local costs of living or individual needs into account. It generalises where many factors like location of work, childern’s needs, local costs location of family all play a factor in the income needed to survive. A random statistical number does little to tell you this. What it does tell you is about inequality and hence its use.

What drive’s capitalism or as McDowell said. “A dynamic liberal economy” is greed. People want to the big car the big house the big pay packet primarily because of greed. It is not a bad thing greed is good. Greed can be selfless wanting the best for your family. That is greed because it is your family over every other family. You pay for your kids to have grinds because you want them to do better then the rest of the kids you want to give them more then the state giver everyone. You want to give them an advantage. Or indeed greed can be simply be wanting to buy crap because people have better crap then you. And that is fine too. That is what drives our economy whether we like to admit it or not.

So what drives greed? Inequality. Why do people buy new cars every few years. When a 1997 Toyota Corolla still goes (and is more environmentally friendly then buying even a new prius due to manufacturing emissions). It is due to the fact that no one else is driving around in a Corolla they are driving a new BMW. Hence the incentive to go out and buy a new car is the fact that not all drivers are equal.

Look back to Soviet Union they had more or less equality in cars. Everyone had the same thing and what they got was Ladas. The West had inequality of cars and even a Fiat was better then a Lada. The thing is inequality drives (wish I had intended that pun) people to succeed in every field. From the economy to sports (what athlete does not want a gold medal.) it works, it is natural it is why the West won.

So why the political distain for it? Look at the shit storm that brewed when McDowell said it. Which I think if most people thought about it would actually agree with.

One of the problems was the way inequality is now a by-word for poverty. It is not, the left has done a magnificent job of doublespeak with the word in recent years and have won that war. In every day vocabulary inequality no longer means not equal it now means poverty. The fact that McDowell didn’t realise this are is to stubborn to not use the word unequal is why he is stupid.

Tuathal had a good post over on the dosing times a while back called Better off on the dole! Basically it was about how a married man with children could be €7,300 per annum better off on the dole if he also qualifies for rent supplement then taking a minimum wage job. Families relying on rent supplement would need to have an income of €30,000, or the average industrial wage, just to equal what they would receive by staying on welfare. So basically a person has no incentive to work because of that, they have no incentive to work. How is that right? The state should always try to insure you are better off working then not working. This does not mean dropping the benefits and making him worse off on the dole. But insure that he is better off working. Offer an incentive. Because with out an incentive to work, to strive for something better this country would be fucked. The left may hate to admit it. They strive for a land where everyone was equal wealth through income redistribution but if that happened we would be worse off. We would have more then a few of those cases where it is better to be on the dole then working we would have thousands and our economy would be in more trouble then it is today. The role of the state should be to make sure everyone has an equal shot at life. Not an equal bank balance. Inequality of want is what drives this income and we should realise it not get so angry when someone points it out.

Stuff to Read

"For God's Sake, Please Stop the Aid!" Fascinating views from a Kenyan Economist James Shikwati. I would love to quote the whole interview but that would not be nice. Read the piece it certainly is a very thought provoking interview. Here is one point on western people donating clothes to Africa.
Why do we get these mountains of clothes? No one is freezing here. Instead, our tailors lose their livlihoods. They're in the same position as our farmers. No one in the low-wage world of Africa can be cost-efficient enough to keep pace with donated products. In 1997, 137,000 workers were employed in Nigeria's textile industry. By 2003, the figure had dropped to 57,000. The results are the same in all other areas where overwhelming helpfulness and fragile African markets collide.

Beware the Bloggers' Bile It is about American blog bullies. But could easily be about anywhere.

Turkmenistan: Where Authorities Emphasize the Cult in Culture.

We rarely here anything about these countries in the media. Hell I guess most people could not point Turkmenisatan out in a map.

Who says small investors can't have a say. Then again half a million is not small. Then again how many small Vodafone share holders are in Ireland after Eircom?

Thursday, June 07, 2007

'The Crucible'

Last night, at the interval to Arthur Miller’s ‘The Crucible’ my company asked me would I be reviewing the play we were both enjoying so much. I shrugged and he responded that indeed ‘it is a different beast’. That is very much the case. Other than some college plays, it was during my teens that I last saw authentic, professional productions of my Junior and Leaving Cert plays and also ‘The Mousetrap’ on a trip to London. So while I can’t write a review that compares productions, performances or adaptations I can still confidently write that I enjoyed the play to no end. Its themes, the ideas of self-awareness and suspicion were just so effective. The ultimatums and extremes resonated on stage through outstanding performances and off-stage by evoking issues of today as much as the ideas Miller hoped to string out in the era of McCarthyism with his amazing words. There was power on the stage, I know from studying Miller’s ‘Death of a Salesman’ that every sentence he writes is drenched in layers of subtext and insight and that is the sign of a great achievement in my mind that I would happily read the play now to gain perspective on the words, with its great delivery in mind. Last night great justice was done to Miller’s work. Highly recommended, running until the 7th of July in The Abbey Theatre.

Regime change in Africa.

I for one don't have a problem with regime change. If the regime we are changing is an actual regime. And that the places with the greatest need are the ones that get changed first. Now Saddam was a tyrant and it is not a bad thing that he was deposed. But there are far worse people in the world then Saddam.

So why did they go after Saddam. 1. American's new him. After being the bogeyman for so long it was easy to sell.
2. Al Qaeda were forged in the Middle East, their strength at influencing Muslims in the western world comes from the Middle East. So if the Middle East could be stabilised they would lose their strength. (That backfired didn't it).
3. Democracy is good.
4. Oil.

Oil can be split into two reasons that are probably equally valid. 1. The US wanted a stable supply of oil and 2. Oil is so critical to the world that it needs to be in stable hands.

And thus we had the Iraq war and it failed due to bad planning and joined up thinking. But the idea a foreign power can not overthrow a dangerous leader is not I think totally without merit.

Take Zimbabwe. There is no way that it can be argued that Mugabe is not in need of being put out of power. The country is in a mess. He is a dictator.

One of the problems of going into an African country is much the same as going into an Arab country. We are not African. I don't think it is a race issue per say. For instance if Barac Obama were to be the US president to go into Zimbabwe I don't think it would matter. The fact is the West were the colonisers of Africa and in many ways we caused all this trouble. So the sight of a few Western troops is not going to result in flowers been thrown. What is needed is African co-operation especially from the likes of South Africa and indeed Botswana a country that has shown what Africa can do when stable.

Zimbabwe has this potential it has the people and it has as Jared Diamond would point out the weather to prosper. But South Africa seems to be reluctant to act. They would have the power to force open elections. But refuse to use this power. Why? Possibly the reason is that they don't want to act against another African country I don't know. But we should encourage them to. If the Southern tip of Africa can come an economic powerhouse on the continent then maybe democracy can spread up.

Another idea can be borrowed from the EU. The reason the EU is so great is that is demands changes before joining. I.E once you reform you are rewarded. This should also happen in Africa. With state aid and debt cancellation be given as a reward for introducing democratic reforms and transparency in government. Without these it is impossible for a country to prosper.

With the world racing towards Nuclear energy the world's supplies are not going to last. So knew supplies are going to be needed. These are likely to be in Africa, China and Russia. Which unlike the current supply countries like Australia are not stable. Look at the influence the Middle East has on the world due to oil. Where corrupt dictatorships in countries like Saudi Arabia control the supply. If we are going to go down the ludicrous Nuclear world. It would be better to be dealing with stable countries who will act in the people's best interests not the despots best interests.

The way to do that is spread democracy in Africa now. Where when the Uranium peak hits and we start relying on these countries they are stable countries like Botswana not regime's like Zimbabwe.

So the question is do we in the west have the duty along with giving aid to these countries but also to give government back to the people in these countries. Is it our place to do it? Do we have a moral right to do it. And can the west do anything selflessly. Iraq and the middle east effected the west through oil and terror and we acted. Do we wait another 50 years when it is in our financial interest to do something about Africa to act?

Stuff to read.

It Does Matter What People Think About How the World Works At the recent republican debate. The question was put to the candidates "Who does not believe in evolution." Three of them put up their hands.
whether this particular kind of mistaken belief should bear on one’s fitness as a presidential candidate. I think it does, for a reason that our experience with the Bush administration has made especially relevant. Denial of the standard scientific explanation for the origin of human beings is a particularly dangerous kind of mistake: one based on a decision to put aside evidence and deduction in favor of wishful thinking, and an insistence on a picture of the universe that flatters ourselves. The kind of reasoning that leads one to conclude that we can’t explain human evolution without invoking a meddlesome God is the same kind of reasoning that makes people think that cutting taxes will decrease the federal deficit, or that the people of Iraq would throw candy and greet us as liberators. (I’m sure that liberals are just as susceptible to such a fallacy, but it’s the conservative versions that are currently getting us in such a mess.) It’s a refusal to take reality at face value, in favor of a picture that conforms to what we want to be true
So then the question is considering that the virgin birth is also scientifically impossible should it also exclude people from the office? Read the excellent piece to find out.

Scientists Move Closer to Turning Skin Cells Into Tissues Stem cells arae the way of the future. If they can be made by bypassing all the messy ethical debates then great.

Mark Steel: How can you have a school without its own zoo? Keep private School charitable status or else the wallabies will get it.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Tell All

Larry Flynt, he of 'Hustler' fame, has offerd a million dollars to any forthcoming individuals with stories of sexual shenanigans with senior American politicians.

Read the story here.

Maybe we should just offer to pay our politicians to come clean at the Tribunals rather than pay the legal fees?

Fact of the Day

From conservapedia on the origin of Kangaroo's
After the Flood, these kangaroos bred from the Ark passengers migrated to Australia. There is debate whether this migration happened over land[5] with lower sea levels during the post-flood ice age, or before the supercontinent of Pangea broke apart[6], or if they rafted on mats of vegetation torn up by the receding flood waters.[5] The idea that God simply generated kangaroos into existence there is considered by most creation researchers to be contra-Biblical.
Not only can Skippy hop he can also build raft's

Posts to read

Food Miles not as good as you would have thought.
in a report for the British Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs shows that more greenhouse gases are emitted growing tomatoes under heat in England than importing them from Spain. This is also true in the cattle example, even though the distance is further. There are plenty of cases where agricultural trade leads to a net reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.

Aston Villa to buy Reo Coker. Will he be any good?

Academic boycott of Israel redux Boycotting Israeli academic's good are bad


Am I the only one that does not understand the stock market lingo?

Pic of the day from FoxNews

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Dumb and Dumber

I hate lazy cliche.

So one thing I won't do when talking about the current spat between America and Russia is say that George Bush is trying to restart I won't even type those two words. You know the ones. Suffice to say, they sound like 'Old bore' and mean 'Frigid conflict'

So, George Bush wants to build a missile defence system in Eastern Europe and Vladimir Putin has threatened to point missiles at Europe to deter him.

Whilst busy getting in the sly dig about Russia's democratic system, George still found time to assure Vlad' (Can I call him that?) that Russia is not the enemy. Well, I should hope not, although in fairness to Vlad', it is difficult to say exactly who is America's enemy these days.

Still, if you're not the enemy what have you to fear from America building a missile defence system on your border? It's just like the Patriot Act. Only the "enemy" should be worried.

May I close by offering Vlad one piece of advice? Trying to deter America, especially 21st century America, by threatening France and Germany might not be the best way to go.

Just a thought.

Dave Matthews Band

This was meant to be a review of the excellent concert I was at last week in the Point Depot but I can't talk or write about music, I just know what I like. I don't buy or collect music in any shape or form but The Dave Matthews Band is the exception, every mood, every setting, they are the most unique and effective musicians I know. I discovered them in 2003 on work placement in the States, how they can be one of the biggest touring bands in America and we know so little of them is beyond me?, though its fair to say once you know them you love them in my humble opinion.

So for my first Youtube type post I bring you a collection of their music, there is no way I will be as disciplined as Simon or Tuathal in refining it to 15 minutes.

1. So Much to Say

2. Crush, a personal favourite, non-sensical stuff!

3.The Space Between

Monday, June 04, 2007

Posts to read

Damien has fully links so how about un-fluffy links?

When Thatcher outsmarted Reagan Regan and Thatcher and Pope did not defeat communism the people did. Thatcher just didn't help the dictators as much as Reagan.

The Chinese Take on Missile Defense Yip the Yanks and their axises or is it axi?

The Case for Bombing Iran, Ya the yanks or in this case the Canadians are going a it trigger happy. What seems to be missing in all this dick waving is the fact the their is many people in Iran. Especially the young that want rid of the regime. But with the west demonisning them like this they are less likely to make the changes that are needed. It is true that a Nuclear Iran is very Dangerous. You need only to look at Russia. But a Nuclear democratic Iran is far safer then a Nuclear free radical Iran.

Council Tax should go. I pay council tax and it is annoying as hell. It is a regressive tax that is based on where you live not what you earn. House price rises can happen without the occupier beingg able to benefit from it. Although I disagree with a local VAT rate. Which is again regressive. anyone thinking we should get a council tax should read the above.

Mugabe Dishonoured by Edinburgh University He has not gone away you know You have to wonder how many people over look this kind of stuff?

Chavez backs down on the constitution. Why do people on the left love him so. Surely their is far better example's of socialist governments. Or even third world governments come good. Look at Botswana no one ever mentions them.

Arkansas GOP head: We need more 'attacks on American soil' Morgan Stack would probably be say he could point them in the right direction.


For the last few months I have largely been absent from this blog. Mainly focusing my attention to Irish That took up most of my blogging time and much more of my time besides that. I posted a little of 500 times on the blog nearly a third of all posts which . Did a lot of the design work (only realised when I re-designed for the election how much code me and Keith of had written )and general admin work. I enjoyed the time and probably it is not finished. But I think I will return here a bit more. While it does not have the hits that has it is more my spiritual blogging home. Also it allows me to expand my scope of bloggging away from Irish politics into other interests of mine. By the way the hits have gone up since ck took over as being the main blogger here. Maybe that is telling me something. :-)

Anyway in the words of Paul Newman in the Colour of Money

I’m Back


So the EU ministers comprising the EU Parliament Culture Committee have decided to increase the frequency with which advertisments are shown during television programmes. While still restricted to 12 minutes per hour, though God knows I don’t believe for a minute stations stick to this, ads will become more frequent, with only shows less than half an hour spared the obligation to break. Though clearly the choice is there, TV3 breaks twice during its sole evening news broadcast for instance. As viewing habits change, with technology allowing us to watch TV uninterrupted, TV companies are welcoming this avenue to bombard us with more advertisments more frequently. So too the parliament has agreed to allow a limited amount of product placement, the most obvious examples of that currently on the air are shows such as ‘American Idol’ and ‘24’ which shamelessly use models of mobile phone, cars and soft drinks throughout their respective shows. While TV companies and broadcasters may welcome this development, audiences could become more hostile. I still remember introducing an American friend of mine to GAA and while watching his first game of hurling his face was blank not at the nature of the sport but at how we could be have just watched more than half an hour of uninterrupted sports coverage. This is not a road that broadcasters this side of the Atlantic would or should be brave enough to consider travelling but it will progress to a situation where live coverage of events will be the most viewed items on TV and they will need to outlets for much needed advertising revenue.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

The Shame!

So last Friday watching 'Rocky 3', to my shame I discovered it was released in 1982, the year of my birth. Keen to know some quality had been put out in that year I went browsing today. The cringeworthy output didn't stop at Sly's piece of cheesy action, 'Halloween 3' (the one that forgot about Michael Myers and went all weird and obscure), 'Airplane 2', 'Tron', 'Jekyll and Hyde Together again' (I've never heard of this or seen it but it sounds dodgy) and 'Trail of the Pink Panther' were all released and haven't gone down in the annals of great movies. They do however have a kitsch charm, I wonder will we look back on the lacklustre releases of this and other recent summers with nostalgia in the same way. Neither have I heard of 'Jaws of Satan' but its an ace title and was surely rubbish.

I can happily report 'ET', 'Blade Runner', 'Poltergeist' and 'The Wrath of Khan' were released in 1982. 'Mad Max 2', despite the Tina Turner cameo I will also stand by, as I was truly shocked at a formative age when one of the bad guys hand chained to a car, instead of being dragged along by the car instead has his hand detached.

Go have a look for yourself and see if their are any titles your are proud to have associated with the year of your birth or maybe not. I simply googled '(The year) and (movie releases)'.

Dam you all people of 1984 with 'Terminator', 'Beverly Hills Cop', 'Blood Simple', 'Nightmare on Elm Street' and 'Spinal Tap'.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

The Dossing Times DVD Club

DVD for June: 'Down in the Valley'

The blurbs on the 'Down in the Valley' DVD make comparison with ‘Badlands’ and ‘Taxi Driver’. The cynic of a film viewer I am becoming in light of this Summers exercise in marketing but failure in delivery, meant I frowned instantly and returned the DVD to the shelf before returning to it when it turned out to be the most interesting of a bad lot. The comparisons are not without basis, a young girl is lead astray by an older man of questionable standing to her families dismay while said man spends a lot of time talking to himself alone in his motel room staring at a mirror playing with guns and being largely maladjusted.

Edward Norton heads up the cast, from the outset even when those around him are unsuspecting, his naivety, attitude and actions are unsettling, not just because they are foreboding of deeper shades but because Norton seems to put across frustration with a look of squinty constipation. Norton makes the man strange, so you that you find it difficult to empathise with the reasons why Evan Rachel Woods and Rory Culkins brother and sister see so much in him. The former duo are subtle and effective, and Wood is eerily reminscent of both Sissy Spacek and Cybil Shepherd, you can however see Norton acting.

This effort can be seen elsewhere in the film. Its pace is slow and languishing. An attempt at evoking the slow peacefulness of ‘Lost in Translation’ comes to mind, especially when the film breaks to shots of traffic. The soundtrack, the fading effect of a sequence in a bath, aimless conversations and hazy 70s look of the film early on don’t gel well together and the third act, where story takes over feels like a distant second cousin to the rest of the film. What ultimately does keep you watching, is the car crash factor, waiting to see how events unfurl because there is never any doubt dark times are coming. This resolution when it does come lacks punch. From the beginning, last years ‘The King’ was in my mind and its story of the utter destruction a stranger brings to a new family, ‘Down in the Valley’ never reaches these depths of emotion and impact. A final scene of questioning and resonating feelings do not do justice to what has gone before, it turns out to be a film for comparison not for appreciation.