Friday, October 20, 2006

Random Leakage From The Ether

Catching up from WorldChanging, I'd suggest the following
  • PR Wars Over Diamond Wars - keep an eye out for the new movie Blood Diamond as conflict diamonds are quite an interesting topic

  • Urban Grids / Respiratory Oases - decorative, three-dimensional architectural tiles which can aid in reducing vehicular air pollution - nice one.

  • Trees: The Anti-Desert - reclaiming parts of the barren wastelands which make up most of the Sahel region which is on the Sahara's southern edge

Simon McGarr has two interesting pieces on his blog, Blogging the Election talk now online (which was that very very scary online libel talk and a must listen too piece!) and an op-ed piece on Why Podcasting is harder than it looks.

For some nice OS X centric bits we have a lovely new Blue Screen of Death for your Mac, two nice motion applications / launchers for those people with shiny new MacBooks - Skip Checker and Unimotion. If you'd prefer something other than kevents or kqueue, have a look at this page for an alternative when writing a file system change logger.

For those hard core electioneering people, I'd suggest a new report from MobileActive called "Mobile Phones in Electoral and Voter Registration Campaigns". The report looks at various ways that organizations have used mobile phones in electoral and voter registration campaigns and discusses the lessons learned from these campaigns.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Apathy and cyclists - Lorry 1 Cyclist DOA

Considering yesterday's fatal and tragic accident outside UL where a lorry driver collided with a cyclist which resulted in the woman's death. The lorry was driving into the new construction site beside the Castletroy Park Hotel which means it must have come up the hill to turn left as there is no construction traffic allowed to turn right on Plassey Park Road. The shocking thing about this accident is that if this was the situation, the lorry driver must have passed along beside and then passed out the cyclist before turning to the left into the constuction site. This means that either the driver wasn't paying attention to the road or just simply ignored the fact that he cut across the cycle lane which exists along the length of that section of road. The charge's for this case should probably be manslaugher but given the wishy washy system for traffic prosecutions in Ireland, I'm afraid that its likely to be only dangerous driving or worse yet only a charge of driving without due care and attention.

Misery by IMPACT @ UL

Had a great evenings entertainment at the IMPACT theatre company's production of Stephen King's Misery. IMPACT's in your face / up close and personal style isn't quite suited to a lecture hall but they managed a good performance despite the settings. If you're looking for some Thursday night entertainment, think about catching the final showing tomorrow. Its great to see the drama season back into full swing on campus.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Swedish Political Ethics

Well so you're a Minister and didn't pay your television license as well as not quite getting around to paying taxes for that nanny you hired, normally in Ireland given our latest set of political ethics you'd have to say the press were hounding you and do a little scripted piece for Rte News but at least in Sweden you'd resign. I wonder what a politican has to be guilty of here to show some standards in office ?

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Irish Election Blogger Conference

Had a brilliant time in Dublin at the conference with some great talks, my particular favourite was from Simon McCarr who has scared the living pulse out of me with his talk on Libel and its particular reference to bloggers. I want to sort out my notes and organise them before putting up a longer post so here's a photo for the meanwhile.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Spin cycle - Set to B for Bertie

(This has also been posted to the Irish Election blog.)
A couple of comments to frame the scene and that echo my feelings:
It wasn’t wrong, but if I’d known you were going to give me such hassle about it, I probably wouldn’t have done it. I’d also like to apologise to those who had to listen to you all giving me hassle about it.
joemomma - Bertie’s textbook non-apology apology
Bertie was not held to account, he delivered two set-pieces and the facts were partially disclosed to the media rather than the people. Our Dail has failed us in that this story ran for three weeks and put the brakes on governing this place. Our representatives, like us, were hapless bystanders as the leaders of the parties did battle through the Editors of our news cycle. Their first and foremost role and consideration is to discover the facts, and make Bertie accountable for the facts as they stand.
Cian - Bertiegate Highlights Weakness of Dail
What Ahern did was deeply inappropriate, foolish and should have been brought into the public domain much earlier.
Worldbystorm - Ahern, the Irish Times and the high moral ground
A bit of basic crisis management would have gone a long way, .... Contrition, apology and regret. A promise to act differently in future. The whole issue would have died a death within a day or two.
Wagger - What Bertie Should’a Done
"I knew at that moment what was so wrong and so shocking about everything in the Dail yesterday. It was like that moment at the zoo when you peer into the eyes of a gorilla and releise how much he is like us but also realise that there is something profound which is missing, What is missing is reason. The ape looks like us, he moves like us, he has emotions and appetites like us, he can play hunt-the-ball and count to three, but if you ask him to see the point, he can't, because he doesn't have the equipment for it..... The point is that a Minister for Finance taking money is just plain, unavoidably, ineluctably, self-evidently, straight up, 101 per cent wrong. But the higher-primates in the Dail haven't got the equipment to see why. But wht haven't they ? Why does the forum of this nation operate like the ape house at the zoo ?"
Mark Ellen Synon, Page 8, Irish Daily Mail, Wednesday, October 4, 2006.
"Real evil wasn't about bending the law to suit justice: evil was acting out of small, intensely personal expedience and losing sight of the bigger picture so often that you never got it back again."
Karen Traviss, City of Pearl, Page 369 (The book I've been reading whilst Bertiegate has raged.)

I have spoken before on Bertie's love for social capital. The core of social capital is the concept of generalised reciprocity where I'll do something for you (and I may or may not know you) now, without expecting anything in return for the present because down the line I know that either I or somebody I know with get a return favour from you. Michael Taylor sums it up nicely with "Each individual act in a system of reciprocity is usually characterized by a combination of what one might call short-term altruism and long-term self-interest."

This evening the latest additions to this melting pot where questions about Bertie's house which was bought from one of the gentlemen who 'contributed' to Mr Ahern's Manchester dinner and in the wings, we have Minister Cowen showing documents to Frank Dunlop and then rezoning access of state lands to the benefit of a developer associated with FF.

I could start to rant and rave, calling for fire and brimestone to strike those who have left politics in Ireland in a position somewhere below pond scum but I think it would unfortunately be an echo in the vast empty cavern which seems to constitute the average Joe Soap's interest in politics. Joe Soap wants change, wants action, wants results but doesn't bother about getting involved in local groups not to mind political groups. I think that Mary Davis and the Taskforce on Active Citizenship has more than its work cut out for it. I'm sick of this situation, I think politics and activism is something to be involved in and proud of. I'm not going to lecture or rant, its no secret that I'm political so I'm going to put my feet to the ground and start knocking on the doors of those Joe Soap's and ask them simply do they want a change for the better?

If I have learnt anything from the Bertiegate scandal, its the need to press for change as I cannot in good conscience be a part of letting a government continue when it has opened the way for Ministerial bribery by the Minister simply saying I acted as Mr X rather than Minister X.