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Why so skeptical?

In a few years time, there may well be no rhinos left alive. And when I say no rhinos, I do not mean “none left in the wild”. I mean none in the zoos either. The captive animals will have been killed too. The reason for this is an insatiable desire among some people for rhinoceros horn – a material thought by some to possess magical healing powers. It’s really just a mass of keratin – the same substance that your hair and fingernails is made from. …

This is what you get when critical thinking is left to one side and blind belief trumps patient scientific inquiry. Where unsupported and uncontested beliefs thrive, dreadful scenarios can play themselves out, right down to the last animal standing.

Skepticism – the wider issue

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The end of Australia

Worth reading: Climate Change and the End of Australia and then read this “rebuttal” on The American Spectator.

Further reading and videos at Daily Kos. (via Glinner)

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What is radiation?

Here’s the first part of an excellent talk given by Professor John McInerney, of the UCC Physics Department on what exactly radiation is, the different types, the effects they have on the human body and what creates it. Do you know where most radiation comes from? You might be surprised.

Early in the talk, John dispelled with the idea of non-ionising radiation being responsible for detrimental health effects. ”Microwaves in general are not harmful, including the ones in cell-phones and radars. Unless you cook yourself. If you stood in front of a 10KW radio antenna it would be bad for you. It would serve you right. That’s Darwin’s principle at work”.

The video was filmed at a Cork Skeptics session in Blackrock Castle last May. The second part of the talk goes into nuclear power and you can watch it above.

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Clean ball point pen off your LCD easily

Several months ago my son grabbed a ball point pen off my desk and with glee scribbled on my LCD monitor. I was of course upset and researched the best way to remove the offending marks. Various methods and potions were recommended but I didn’t do anything about it. I got used to the scribbles, although looking at a web page with a white background was always annoying.

Eventually I asked again and Alex recommended Isopropyl Alcohol. Today I remembered that advice and asked for “i s o alcohol” in a chemist. I received a funny look in reply but she figured out what it was. She brought over a box of “Alcotip Swabs”. 5c each so I bought 4, just in case.

Did it work? Did it what! The swabs dried out quickly and it took two to clean the ball point pen marks off the monitor but it worked exceptionally well! I hardly had to apply any pressure as the alcohol dissolved the pen marks with ease. Here’s a gallery showing the pen marks (not so well), and the swabs. These things work really well if you have ball point marks on your screen!

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Dubai, world's hottest property

Dubai, world's hottest property

I’m an avid fan of the National Geographic and while sorting through my dead tree archive yesterday spotted this issue from 2007 when property in Dubai was described as “the world’s hottest”. It certainly is now. It’s untouchable. A reminder of an age gone by.

I also have an issue of National Georaphic from December 1954 which deserves a post of it’s own at some time in the future.

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Harry Copter

Harry Copter

And for our next product, we’re bringing out a toy that makes pottery called “Harry The Potter”.

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Edge of Disgrace

You know there’s something special waiting for you when all around you people are clambering for the download link of Booze Design‘s new C64 demo, Edge of Disgrace.

The demo won first prize at X-2008 in the Netherlands last weekend. Most entries to the demo competition were uploaded quickly but Booze Design wanted to fix a few last minute bugs and caused no end of hype and hysteria. Just check out some of the comments:

Oxidy: I normally don’t comment on demos anymore, but I can’t help myself this time. Edge of Disgrace tops everything I’ve ever seen on the Commodore 64. It’s absolutely breathtaking and I wet myself numerous times during the bigscreen presentation. So much coder pron, so much fantastic graphics, so well polished. Fantastic work HCL/Dane/Jailbird! 10+

Medicus: All demos available for downloading except for the nr. 1? Is this a cruel joke? 🙁

Alias Medron: I would like to know how many people press F5 on this page every 10 seconds .. 🙂
cmooooonn!!!! upload that bloody D64!!!!!

Steppe: As Stainless Steel said, there was a clearly noticable dent in the space-time-continuum while this demo was playing. Caused nausea and wild screaming all over the place. Virtually every goddamn screen was accompanied by cheering and applauding of the crowd. Simply amazing having seen this on the big screen live at the party!

Stainless Steel: I felt a disturbance in the force when this was played at the compo.

A few days ago a teaser video was uploaded to Youtube but it doesn’t do the demo justice. It’s only 2 minutes of the 15 minute experience.

So, is it that good? Yes, it most certainly is. If you ever owned a C64, or any other 8 bit or 16 bit computer or console you should grab a C64 emulator, download Edge of Disgrace and be impressed. I’m amazed at what a 25 year old computer system can do, and even more impressed that the C64 demo scene is still alive and kicking in 2008!

Now to download Natural Wonders 2 and the other entries in the demo compo.

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Socialist Party Budget Protest

The Socialist Party held a protest gathering against the recent tough budget. It took place in Emmett Place in Cork this afternoon. I took a few photos and this video. Our friend, Kathy Sinnott was in attendance but I didn’t hang around to listen for long. Must have a read of the leaflet I was handed. Maybe it has all the answers to a crumbling economy.

Gallery of images after the jump..
Continue reading “Socialist Party Budget Protest”

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An Irishman in Georgia

Gavin is in Telavi in Western Georgia. Not the first place in the world I’d go on holiday, but he’s having an interesting time, including almost being arrested.

IMG_0698
The naval base at Poti, where Russian soldiers destroyed most of Georgia’s navy

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Guinness, say hi to the Data Protection Commissioner

This morning, Diageo Ireland (the company behind Guiness) spammed me again, despite my repeated attempts to remove myself from their mailing list.

Thanks to Damien who pointed me in the direction of the Data Protection Commissioner I filled out the complaint form with the following. The Commissioner’s Guidelines for marketing by electronic mail are quite clear and Diageo obviously ignore them. Hopefully something positive will come of this.

On the 8th of April, 2007 Diageo Ireland sent me an unsolicited email regarding a “poker nights” promotion. It appears that someone signed me up, but Diageo never confirmed the invitation. I did not opt in to receive any mailings from them. I also unsubscribed using their subscription page. More details, including commentary about the unsubscribe process are here: http://ocaoimh.ie/2008/02/07/a-pint-of-guinness-flavoured-spam/

Unfortunately, on June 20th 2008, I was spammed by them again. http://twitter.com/donncha/statuses/839602319
I unsubscribed again.

This afternoon I was sent another email from Diageo with the text:
“CONOR,
BECAUSE WE
DON’T WANT YOU TO BE
LEFT IN THE DARK…
Give us a few minutes and we’ll give you so much more
GIVE US A FEW MINUTES
AND WE’LL GIVE YOU
SO MUCH MORE”

Unfortunately I suspect I’ll always get spam emails from them despite the fact that I never signed up for anything, don’t drink Guinness and unsubscribed twice already.

Regards,
Donncha O Caoimh