In the news

Shocked that my credit card number was stolen

Wow, this is one of things you never expect to happen to you. Linode, where this blog is hosted, recently emailed me saying my monthly payment had been denied and I should contact my bank.

This morning I received a letter from the bank saying they had tried to call me and would I ring them which I did. After holding for what seems like an age I talked to a nice girl at the bank who told me there were suspicious transactions on the card:

  1. Aug 30: 1 Euro spent at the iTunes store. Never used it. Alarm bells ringing.
  2. Aug 31: 3 Euro at “Usenext”, whatever that is.
  3. Sep 3: Various amounts (168 Euro, 48 Euro..) spent at Virginmedia on subscriptions.

Ouch, thankfully the bank caught it and I’m not out of pocket, but it’s frightening when you’re the victim of credit card fraud. I presume it was skimmed by the same guys who had impersonated repair men and modified credit card machines around the country that was widely reported last week. The card hardly ever gets used online. Cutting it up now.

In the news

The EU Gravy Train

Irish MEP Kathy Sinnott and other MEPs filmed in Brussells at 7am on a Friday morning clocking in with bags packed. Oh dear.

Kathy Sinnott, fresh faced and angry after 7 hours work overnight.

Makes me wonder if I should have voted yes to Lisbon. Kathy Sinnott was looking for a No vote (no, she didn’t influence me) but perhaps the Lisbon Treaty would have stopped this sort of thing. Oh wait! Who am I kidding? Of course it’ll continue!

(via someone on #linux who mentioned the video)

Update Kathy Sinnott published a fair video response to the RTL report. She doesn’t defend her colleagues, but makes it fairly clear (unless those emails were doctored which is easy, but I digress..) that she was working through the night. She also adds that the “[expenses] regime is ending in the next term”.
Via Fred, who came from here according to my logs so I presume he’s spreading the word.

In the news Ireland

The Lisbon Treaty: Too long; didn't read

My vote has been cast. I voted no to the Lisbon Treaty half an hour ago in Blarney. Why? It wasn’t to be aligned with Sinn Fein or the Socialist Party who I’d never vote for. It wasn’t because I wanted to piss off Brian Cowen and the main parties. It was partly because I didn’t know who to believe.

Both sides of the Treaty made wild claims. There were the usual dire warnings that Ireland would suffer badly if we rejected the Treaty, there was the extreme claims of the No side. Abortion, the death penalty, armies marching to their deaths. Who’s half truths and exaggerations do you want to believe? What are their biases?
The first “debate” I heard about the Treaty was over a month ago. A TD and a representative from Libertas were on Today FM to fight for their corners. Boy did they fight! Within minutes there was a slagging match with mud and names flying. Accusations were made, and I didn’t learn a thing about this important treaty.

I was almost convinced to vote yes a few days ago. All the resources of the Government couldn’t convince me but The Spoofer’s Guide to the Treaty, written by Jason O’Mahony, a PD candidate, almost did. Even that was too long however, and I only read the first few pages before I had to leave the computer and attend to the baby. Like most people, I simply don’t have time to read and digest everything about the Treaty. Top that off with the with half truths and exaggerations I mentioned above and it became even more difficult.

I know it’s my own fault for not reading the 400 odd pages of the Treaty and being ignorant, but I won’t sign my name to a contract I haven’t read. The Spoofer’s Guide is probably the equivalent of the Readers Digest version of the Treaty but even that was too long. I blame life for getting in the way. tl; dr (thanks Matt!)

I wonder will the Irish Government rerun the referendum if the Irish Population vote no?

Some links I read, and some I commented on:

Images from Lolmartin created by Frank based on an idea by Walter.

In the news

Did Chinese soldiers really dress as monks in Tibet?

Pat sent me and I presume everyone he knows on Facebook this photo. The story is that Chinese soldiers dressed up as Tibetan monks and caused a riot at a rally. After a quick search it appears this is a photo taken on a movie set. This post has much more detail including the following:

UPDATE – TUES. APRIL 8: The International Campaign for Tibet made a statement via their website that they do not regard this photo as credible evidence of Chinese soldiers disguising themselves as Buddhist monks during unrest in Lhasa last month. They acknowledge that they are in possession of similar images of soldiers carrying monks robes in the Jokhang temple in Lhasa, which were taken during a film shoot in 2001 which involved soldiers appearing as monks.
UPDATE – SUN. APRIL 20: The photo is from the set of "The Touch", starring Michelle Yeoh, shot in Tibet in 2001. This has been confirmed by the films' distribution company, and am waiting to hear about a supporting confirmation from an inside source. Will update soon.

ICT does not regard this photo as credible evidence of Chinese soldiers disguising themselves as Buddhist monks during unrest in Lhasa last month. This image is most likely from a movie set in which soldiers dressed as monks to serve as extras. ICT is in possession of similar images dating from 2001.

Humour In the news Ireland

Bertie Ahern Jokes

It didn’t take long. Bertie Ahern, the Irish prime minister, announced his resignation yesterday and already the joke emails are pouring in. (Thanks Brian and Louise!)

My own contributions:

Sunday Times, December 23rd 2007.

The Bertie score card above is from (but created by Brendan O’Connell), anyone want to claim credit for the others? Unfortunately email forwarders don’t usually give credit ..

Gavin, who has blogged the Mahon Tribunal for so long has given his own reaction as well as a chronology of events leading to the resignation yesterday. It’s scary how long the Teflon Taoiseach managed to survive in politics. Nothing stuck to him.

Edit: Green Ink created Bertie 300. Thanks for commenting!

In the news

Britney Spears and the Paps

I caught the last 20 minutes of Britney: Speared by the Paps on Sky 1 last week. It was a candid look into the world of the paparazzi who follow Britney Spears everywhere. Britney Spears has her own agenda and apparently laps up the attention and encourages the “photographers” but how low do you have to sink to crave this attention? Sickening and weird.

If you’re wondering just how bad it is, watch this short clip which was featured in the show. Britney visits Rite Aid and she’s mobbed by paparazzi.

So, is anyone taking bets on how long Britney will survive under this constant onslaught? She was taken to hospital in January while Paparazzi waited for her ambulance after she refused to hand over her kids to Police. You don’t even need any training to do what these guy do. They just buy a decent DSLR, a powerful flash and point it in the right direction.

Is it worth it? What’s the payout for these guys?

Celebrity gossip magazines and websites say that they will pay $10,000 or more for an exclusive photograph of Britney – three times as much as for an image of Angelina Jolie, the next most bankable star.

I’ll happily live in obscurity and photograph unknown strangers for no money at all! 🙂

In the news

Thanks Arthur for all the great stories

I couldn’t possibly let today pass without noting that Arthur C. Clarke died yesterday at the age of 90. I read it first last night when Scott Beale twittered it and my first emotion was shock, and then of course sadness. I don’t know how many Saturday mornings I spent in Cork City Library looking through the science fiction section for his books. Then it was back on the bike and off home to devour my latest find if I was lucky and found one I hadn’t already read.

His Mysterious World tv series was compulsive viewing for a young fella like me (and I’m not the only one!). All I remember of it now is a rotating crystal skull but every week I was glued to the tv screen. Ah, Youtube to the rescue. Here’s that programme about the crystal skull:

Here he is years later on his 90th birthday last December, sharing his reflections and thoughts.

Wired interviewed him way back in 1993 and Jeff Greenwald asked him the following,

WIRED: As a futurist, do you spend much time thinking about your own death?

ACC: I think about it more than I ever did in the past, of course, since I’ve had these brushes. It doesn’t worry me; I hope I won’t have any discomfort, is the main thing. And I’m more concerned with the people I love, and the animals I love, than myself, in a way.

WIRED: What is it that you’d most like to be remembered for?

ACC: I’m happy that people are calling the stationary orbit the Clarke Orbit. I think that’s enough. And of all my books, The Songs of Distant Earth. It’s got everything in it that I ever wanted to say.

WIRED: Have you given any thought to what you’d want your epitaph to be?

ACC: Oh, yes. I’ve often quoted it: “He never grew up; but he never stopped growing.”

I have to go dig out Songs of Distant Earth again. That was an amazing story, and so sad too.

In the news Ireland

Three killed at Dunboy Castle

Three young men were killed today when their car fell into the water at Dunboy Castle just outside Castletownbere in Co Cork.

Investigating gardaí say that the three local young men had been driving in the grounds of Dunboy Castle when their Ford Fiesta got stuck in grass close to a laneway below the castle which is currently being renovated.

Two other friends came to their rescue with a jeep, but for reasons which are not yet clear, all five were in the Fiesta when it slipped from the embankment and into the water.

Sad and shocking as it is, I wouldn’t mention it here except that I drove down there with my family only a week ago. We enjoyed a lovely meal in Castletownbere during which we were told that Dunboy Castle was worth a look. On the way out of the town the castle is signposted so we decided to go look. Here are a few pictures. Judging by the picture on the RTE website I’d say they went into water very close to where I parked a week earlier. That freaks me out a little bit.

Dunboy Castle

Dunboy Castle

Dunboy Castle

In the news Ireland Music When-in-Ireland

Irelande Douze Pointe

Oh dear. Dustin will be singing for Ireland at the Eurovision this year. I think we could win. Maybe.

Donncha's Links In the news Ireland

Bertie's yellow hair and pierced nose

Bertie Ahern
The Irish Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern, Sunday Times, Dec. 23 2007

I really would love to know how the Minister for Finance survived so many years without a bank account.

Linkies ..

The 8 bit Philosophy is a documentary coming in 2008 about some of the musicians that made the C64 a great sounding machine. The trailer has sound bites from such famous names as Reyn Ouwehand and Thomas Detert. There’s a 78MB high quality trailer too but it’s the same thing that’s on Youtube.