Category Archives: Sci-tech

Links of the day

The forces of time and work are against me, so this will be short and sweet.

If you’re not moved by this you have no heart: Ollie Byrne RIP and the friendship of pets. How the late owner of Shelbourne FC ditched everything one January night to help somebody find their lost cat. (Michael Nugent)

A sure cause of controversy: Diggers laying a pipe under the Al-Aqsa mosque may have found part of the Second Temple of Jerusalem. This will be incredible if it’s true. (Catholicgauze)

Feeling the pinch: China’s key oil producers may suspend petrol imports. The country needs to supply its own people first, which isn’t a bad philosophy. (AFP)

“I will remind the deppity”: John O’Donoghue in full fury on the floor of Dáil Éireann. Damien resurrects our brave Ceann Comhairle’s attempts to keep control of the house, only for him to show what a flustering hothead he really is. (Damien Mulley)

Fight for your rights: Stop being a slave to your email. Go on, strike back! (Lifehacker)

Transport, but not as we know it: Flying cars are going on sale in the next couple of months. Woohoo! (BBC)

Blogs and the wider world: More women blogging than men. About 8% of Americans have their own blog, according to a survey; although because said survey was conducted among people using an online service the results likely do not reflect reality. (

Creepy crawlies: Got arachnophobia? Here’s your worst nightmare. A vast web crawling with millions of spiders that is spreading across several acres of a Texas park (and the picture with the article is amazing). (International Herald Tribune)

Fighting words: Kung fu monks seek apology for ninja affront. Shaolin monks are a bit miffed at claims by one web user that they were beaten in unarmed combat by a ninja.  (Reuters)

Links of the day

Things that caught my eye when I should have been doing something more productive:

The mother of all battles: It’s a dance off! Princess Stomper produces this amazing video of characters from Morrowind, Oblivion and Guild Wars shaking their collective booties in a bid to resolve once and for all which is the greatest RPG of all time. Or at least have a lot of fun. (

Cool dude: A lone dreamer in the Aboriginal art boom. A lovely profile piece of Michael Nelson Tjakamarra, one of Australia’s best-known painters but a man who cares not for the trappings of fame and fortune. (International Herald Tribune)

Paranoid, much? Ethiopia accuses Norway of ‘destabilising’ region. That modern imperial power, Norway, is under fire for “repeated and widespread interference in destabilising the Horn of Africa”. All goofing aside, there are serious issues regarding the conflict with Eritrea. (AFP)

May the force be with them: NASA shuttle to launch Luke’s lightsaber. The original prop is going along with shuttle Discovery on its trip to the ISS in December. (

I have got to get me one of these: Practical fuel cells for electronics. Hydrogen fuel cells could run laptops for 50 hours at a go. (Technology Review)

These people can’t catch a break: Poor roads cost Cameroon cocoa farmers dear. A rubbish infrastructure means farmers get their beans to traders three weeks late — after the price had dropped. (Reuters)

The cows are screwed: The end of the world’s grasslands as we know them?  Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere may prompt the large-scale conversion of grasslands to a landscape of woody shrubs, one study claims. (

Cheap plug: Policeman suspended for hugging bailed star. The story of the day as far as I was concerned while working the desk yesterday! Nine coppers are in trouble for welcoming Bollywood star Sanjay Dutt on his release from prison. (Irish Examiner)

All-round solutions: Blackwater flies… Blackwater Security, which provides “security solutions” to the US military in Iraq, is creating its own airforce. Feckin’ hell. (Scholars and Rogues)

I can empathise: The internet — why it’s better than real life. Glad to see I’m not the only one, though I have yet to embrace the likes of MySpace or Linkedin. (Sunday Business Post)

Big numbers: Iraqi pilgrims sent home amid violence. One million people have been ordered out of Karbala after 26 people die in two days of shootings. (AP/CBS)

Mothers’ boys: Even gangsters need their mamas. Nicaragua tackles gang violence by relying on guerrilla street cred and mothers’ love. Would this work in Limerick I wonder (sorry, cheap shot)? (

Links, zwo, drei, vier

So here we are. Iraq’s government has a bleak future, according to the latest intelligence reports, while Iran is facing attack by the US (see the article below this one) and a community comes to terms with an 11-year-old being shot by a teenager on a BMX. Our tiny planet would appear to be a globe filled with despair and misery. But not so.

Another point of view: Bill Dornan takes a deliciously wry look at preserving the Earth with Hunting, nuking and swishing: a guide to saving the planet. (A Foolish Interruption)

Changing their minds: French banking giant BNP Paribas is to unblock three of its investment funds, whose suspension this month sparked turmoil on global stock markets. At last! Solid good news in the markets! If only the head of Countrywide hadn’t talked about the US economy heading for recession… (AFP, MSNBC)

A novel defence: A counterterrorism detective has been fired despite claiming he only failed a drugs test because his wife made him marijuana-spiked meatballs.  Give the man top marks for creativity! (Taunton Gazette)

Why didn’t I think of this? Your guide to building a laser spy microphone on a tight budget. (

Idiots: Agents of the Transport Security Administration confiscate a man’s pudding but overlook the 4-inch blade Swiss army knife in his backpack. (

Because it must be done: Infiltrate the kingdom of Los Disneys on a mission to destroy the cryogenically frozen head of Walt Disney. Although he wasn’t actually frozen after his death. (

Life, but not as we know it: The soil on Mars may contain microbial life, according to a new interpretation of data first collected more than 30 years ago. (CNN/Reuters)

All hail our photosynthetic saviours: Making fuel out of algae is one of those ideas that everyone loves but it’s fairly difficult. (CNet)

A return to more conventional blogging at the weekend.

Far beyond Terra

There’s a nice opinion piece in the latest issue of Cosmos about why we should colonise other planets. Interestingly, Wilson da Silva, the magazine’s editor-in-chief, doesn’t talk about expanding beyond the solar system but rather highlights the possibilties within Sol: Mars, orbital habitats around Earth, the Moon, asteroids and worlds further out.

The article does tend to glorify our species of monkey men and women:

So what if humans pass into history? It’s not just a tragedy for us, but also one for nature. Without us, there is no one to witness its infinite beauty; no one to marvel at a sunset, revel in a view, or thrill to the breaking of a wave on a beach. As the late astronomer and author Carl Sagan once said, “we are a way for the universe to know itself”.

The comments are quite interesting too. One anonymous poster leads off with “The article is an astonish [sic] example of wishful thinking” to which someone else writes “Your reply is an astonishing example of doomsaying and defeatist attitude”… ah the internet.

Glorious articles

My post on the trip to Germany is taking longer than expected, largely because I’m sorting out a few photos to go with it. In the meantime, here’s more of what I’ve been reading over the last 24 hours, some of which has appeared in my feed.

BBC: Astronomers find a planet 70% larger than Jupiter. That would make it the biggest extra-solar world yet known.

CNet: Is a time machine possible? An Israeli professor is examining ways to curve space and time.

Ars Technica: Blogging to reach its peak in 2007. There are also 200 million ex-bloggers, apparently.

Scientific American: Guerilla wi-fi to put a billion more people online. A US firm plans to change the world.

That’s Ireland: Temptresses, winged frogs and Vatican demons. A deconstruction of the first issue of The Hibernian, a monthly magazine dedicated to “faith, family and country”.

International Herald Tribune: Wayward police officers must wear pink armbands of shame. If you’re a copper in Bangkok and you break the rules, you get to wear a Hello Kitty armband.

Slate: How “educational” baby videos stupefy kids. Children are better off watching things like American Idol, it seems.

Scholars and Rogues: Ending poverty means abandoning charity and accepting reality. Long-term charity is not the way out of poverty.

Roswell: the story that keeps on giving

From the latest missive from Popbitch:

Lieutenant Walter Haut was the PR officer at Roswell airbase in 1947, and was the man who supervised the publicity campaign to show people there was no extra-terrestrial encounter but that a weather balloon had crashed. Haut has just died and left an affidavit to be opened on his death. It said that this had just been a cover story, that there had been a UFO and that he had seen small humanoid alien bodies. What a brilliant joke to go out on…?

An interesting quirk to a long-running story. I’m not sure if I’d consider Popbitch a reliable news source, but Haut’s  “deathbed confession” was picked up on by various websites during the week, so have a look if you feel inclined.