Pledge Request: Fax Your TD
John Handelaar is looking for some people to support his efforts to develop an Irish equivalent of the hugely successful UK site WriteToThem.com for contacting UK politicians. The Irish version of the site would allow people to contact their councillors, TDs and MEPs for free. If you are interested in helping out, visit www.pledgebank.com/faxyourtd BEFORE 1ST FEBRUARY.
Babblogue Blogyou can't stop the signal (3.2.2006, 14:17 UTC)
New Scientist reports that Comreg in Ireland has given the go-ahead for the testing of a very cool technology that has been developed by researchers at the Centre for Telecommunications Value-Chain Research (CTVR) in Dublin. The device can impersonate a multitude of different wireless devices since it uses reconfigurable software to carry out the tasks normally performed by static hardware. "I'm interested in a future where a single device can use every possible frequency," says Linda Doyle, w...
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Babblogue Blogblog the pigeon (2.2.2006, 12:13 UTC)
New Scientist reports that blogging has become so popular that even pigeons have them. In 2006 20 pigeons will be released carrying a GPS receiver, air pollution sensors, a camera, and a basic cellphone over San Jose, California. The information the birds collect about pollution levels will be beamed back as text messages to a blog in real time. "We are combining an air pollution sensor with a home-made cellphone," says interdisciplinary artist and researcher Beatriz da Costa of the Univers...
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Babblogue Blogthe luck (and hard work) of the Irish (1.2.2006, 14:31 UTC)
Congratulations are in order for several Irish writers/film-makers today. First, well done to Irish writer/actor Mark O'Halloran who just picked up the Best Screenplay prize at the Evening Standard British Film Awards for his sterling writing on Adam & Paul, which IFTN reports. Also, a big shout-out to Irish screenwriter Jeffrey Caine, for his Oscar nomination for best adapted screenplay for The Constant Gardner. Equally, kudos to Martin McDonagh, who picked up an Oscar nomination in...
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Babblogue Blogcinematic overload for Dublin in Feb (31.1.2006, 13:23 UTC)
According to IFTN the lovely Cillian Murphy will be in Dublin tomorrow evening to launch the programme schedule for the Dublin International Film Festival. The DIFF is running from 17th - 26th February 2006 in four cinemas around the city: the Screen, the Savoy, Cineworld and the IFI. After the programme launch tomorrow (films such as Capote, Paradise Now, Syriana, Transamerica, L'Enfant, and The Matador are expected to feature), the box office will open on February 2nd.
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Babblogue Blogcall your wife by her name at least (31.1.2006, 13:21 UTC)
Today is Beloved Wives Day in Japan, according to Reuters. The Japan Doting Husbands Association has established the day as a small step towards steming the rising divorce rates in the country. In 2004 more than one in three marriages ended in divorce. In Japan work is often given a higher priority than marriage or children, and this is an inherent source of conflict for families. Long days in the office, followed by drinks to wind down are commonplace. The group urges men to improve th...
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Babblogue BlogDutch biometric information at risk (30.1.2006, 14:06 UTC)
The Reg reports on a potential serious security vulnerability with the information held on the Dutch biometric passport. The crack is attributed to Delft smartcard security specialist Riscure, which here explains that an attack can be executed from around 10 metres and the security broken, revealing date of birth, facial image and fingerprint, in around two hours. Riscure notes that that the speed of the crack is aided by the Dutch passport numbering scheme being sequential. The process is e...
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Babblogue Blogrecycle your old spacesuit (30.1.2006, 14:00 UTC)
New Scientist reports that on Friday the astronauts in the International Space Station will conduct a spacewalk to complete routine maintenance on the ISS. At the end of the walk they will chuck an empty Orlon cosmonaut suit into space. The outfit has been modified to operate as a radio satellite, hence it's been dubbed "SuitSat". "SuitSat is a Russian brainstorm," says Frank Bauer of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland, US. "Some of our Russian partners in the ISS program had an ...
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Babblogue BlogWoof! (29.1.2006, 15:53 UTC)
red fire dog luck to you!Happy New Year! Today is the beginning of the Red Fire Dog Year, according the Chinese calander, which calculates the date as 4073. I hope you all have a very lucky year ahead of you!
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Babblogue Blogslow down (26.1.2006, 15:15 UTC)
a man and his dogA friend of mine lost his cat yesterday because it was knocked down by a car. This is a terrible way to lose a loved pet. My Grandmother lives on a country road that's a straight stretch into the town, and over the years she's had pet after pet killed because drivers accelerate to stupid speeds on that section. After the last cat was killed my Grandmother decided that she could not bear to lose any more animals and will not take in any more strays (of which there are fa...
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Babblogue Blogstop badware (26.1.2006, 11:19 UTC)
From TechTree I see that Harvard University's Berkman Center and the Oxford Internet Institute have teamed up to create a "name and shame" web site devoted to companies that spread badware: StopBadWare.org StopBadware.org will spotlight the companies that make millions of dollars by tricking Internet users to download malicious spyware, adware and malware programs they don't want. The multi-year initiative will empower consumers to fight back against badware. It is being supported by companies...
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Babblogue BlogIrish filesharers can expect fines in the future (26.1.2006, 11:16 UTC)
According to Digital Rights Ireland, the identities of 49 alleged filesharers will be divulged by Irish ISPs to representatives of the music industry. If you've been naughty and sharing music online, you might receive an IRMA envelope in the coming weeks. The manner in which this information was press-ganged from the ISPs, however, is worrisome. The 49 people were not informed in advance that this action was going to take place, and therefore were not able to make submissions to the cou...
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Babblogue Bloganimal invaders (25.1.2006, 13:41 UTC)
There's an interesting article on Yahoo about the problems of introducing non-native plants and/or animals into a different eco-system, and how many problems this is causing around the world. Most of these issues are entirely man-made. For instance, in the 1970s, a man in Amsterdam released his pet parakeets because their noise was bothering him. Today, parakeets are commonplace in the Dutch city, but they have also taken to ousting the native birds from their environments, such as the wood...
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Babblogue Blogwomen in focus (25.1.2006, 13:37 UTC)
The Huston School of Film is hosting its second seminar on women's role in cinema. Called Women in the Picture 2, it runs from 3-5 March, 2006, and will feature the work of female directors and writers, and an icon of feminist film theory, Laura Mulvey, will introduce the work of several Iranian film-makers. More details about the cost of the weekend event can be obtained directly from the Huston.
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Babblogue Blogfarmers get financial aid for mail-order brides (24.1.2006, 13:31 UTC)
The South Korean province of Kyongsang has established a policy of financial aid for lonely isolated men in rural areas who wish to pay for "mail-order" brides from overseas. Reuters notes that South Korean men have been looking for spouses from other Asian countries in recent years due to difficulties finding mates who are willing to deal with rural life. The province also plans to increase courses for foreign brides to help them adjust to life in South Korea. The local government estima...
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Babblogue Blogspaceship: heal thyself (24.1.2006, 13:29 UTC)
New Scientist reports that researchers are taking a cue from the human body in order to create a self-healing "skin" for spacecraft in the future. Ian Bond and Richard Trask from the University of Bristol, UK, are developing the project as part of an European Space Agency (ESA) project. The researchers came up with a similar idea for protecting spacecraft. They fabricated a composite laminate material containing hundreds of hollow glass filaments 60 microns (thousandths of a millimetre) wide, ...
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Babblogue Bloglet's hear it for the sisters (23.1.2006, 15:00 UTC)
I noticed today on This Day in History, that on January 23, 1849 Elizabeth Blackwell (1821 - 1910) became the first woman to receive a medical degree, and thus became the first female doctor in the USA. Her life, and struggle to achieve her goals, is inspirational: Blackwell applied to several prominent medical schools but was rejected by all. Her second round of applications was sent to smaller colleges, including Geneva College in New York. She was accepted there -- anecdotally, because the f...
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Babblogue Blogsometimes the news costs a heavy price (23.1.2006, 13:00 UTC)
Reuters reports that a career as a journalist is becoming a dangerous occupation. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) released its report today, "Targeting and tragedy - journalists and media staff killed in 2005", which details the 150 media deaths last year, of which 89 journalists were deliberately murdered due to their investigations. IFJ general secretary Aidan White noted: "In more than 90 per cent of all cases there are few serious investigations by the authorities an...
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Babblogue BlogIrish short film in Seattle competition (23.1.2006, 11:56 UTC)
I see from IFTN that the Irish short film, They're Made out of Meat (directed by Irishman Stephen O'Regan and based on a short story by Terry Bisson), has been selected for competition in the first annual Science Fiction Short Film Festival in Seattle, USA. The short film festival is organised by Seattle's Science Fiction Museum & Hall of Fame, and all the films will be screened at the Cinerama Theatre on February 4th. The prize is a development pitch with the SCI FI TV channel - which is...
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Babblogue Blogno gifts or birthday cake please (20.1.2006, 13:22 UTC)
According to the BBC the personal computer virus is now twenty years old. Pardon me if I don't celebrate. The first virus, called Brain, was detected in January 1986 and was spread to PCs via floppy disks. Floppy disks... remember them? "The most significant change has been the evolution of virus writing hobbyists into criminally operated gangs bent on financial gain," said Mikko Hypponen, chief research officer at Finnish anti-virus firm F-Secure. This week the FBI released figures whi...
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Babblogue Blogdream big (18.1.2006, 16:14 UTC)
New Scientist again indicates that we are increasingly living in a world where the visions of science fiction are becoming reality. The European Space Agency (ESA) has announced details of a new design for an ion engine that would be ten times more efficient than current electric propulsion engines. Ion engines work by using an electric field to accelerate a beam of positively charged particles - ions - away from the spacecraft, thereby providing propulsion. Existing models, such as the engi...
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Babblogue Bloga new film for Day-Lewis (18.1.2006, 15:54 UTC)
I was interested to read today on The Hollywood Reporter that Daniel Day-Lewis has signed up for a new film. Called There Will be Blood, the film is based upon Utpon Sinclair's 1927 novel Oil!, and Day-Lewis will play the part of a early twentieth century Texas prospector during the birth of the oil industry. Paul Thomas Anderson, whose last film was Punch Drunk Love (2002), will direct. Budgeted at more than $25 million, "Blood" will be jointly financed and distributed by Paramount's specia...
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Babblogue BlogMoz gets a bear (17.1.2006, 12:43 UTC)
On January 27th it will be 250 years since Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born. His home country of Austria is planning a huge series of events to celebrate the life and music of the incredibly talented composer. What better way to mark the importance of a life, but by creating a teddy bear? Ananova reports that German toy maker, Hermann, is creating a limited edition Mozart Teddy Bear (only 500) that will sell in exclusive shops in the UK for 165 quid each - that's a lot for a stuffed toy, even...
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Babblogue Blogdeartháir mór is watching (and reading your email) (16.1.2006, 12:17 UTC)
Check out Karlin's article from Friday's Irish Times, which she has generously shared on her web site. Here's the bit that should get Irish people fuming: It's official: your e-mail and internet usage information is now going to be stored for a minimum of six months, and probably for three years, joining all your mobile and landline call details in giant databases available to all EU member states. Yes, you heard right: full details of who you sent e-mails to and received them from; the t...
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Babblogue BlogAltman finally gets the gold man (16.1.2006, 11:51 UTC)
I see from The Guardian that eighty-year-old director Robert Altman will be the recipient of an honorary Oscar at the March 5 awards. In announcing the award last week, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences cited Altman for a "career that has repeatedly reinvented the artform and inspired filmmakers and audiences alike".Anyone who has even a passing familiarity with Altman's career knows that this Oscar is well-deserved. He's been nomiated for best director five times-- M*A*S*H (1970)...
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Babblogue Blogif you say it's lucky then it is (13.1.2006, 16:21 UTC)
It's Friday. It's the 13th. Today I learned a new word: Friggatriskaidekaphobia: the fear of Friday the 13th. I've always liked the word, triskaidekaphobia, so this just makes it better. What a mouthful. Maybe they've seen too many movies, or their parents enforced the fear by some freakishly mad accident-prone behaviour every time the date rolled around, but it is a genuine phobia that afflicts a portion of the population. Some people won't travel on this date, for instance. It's just...
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Babblogue Blogset computers to download (13.1.2006, 10:36 UTC)
The latest release of the open-source email client, Thunderbird 1.5, is now available to download. Remember to check the new system requirements, and notice that not all extensions might work with this version yet.
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Babblogue Blogpack a rubber, or else (12.1.2006, 11:35 UTC)
Reuters reports that Tulua, a town in western Columbia, has started a scheme in which men over the age of 14 must carry a condom with them at all times. If they don't carry they run the risk of a small fine, or a three-hour course in AIDS prevention. The local councilman, William Pena, told the El Tiempo newspaper: "This is a country with a lot of sexual activity and Tulua is no exception. This measure would not oblige anyone to have sex, only to protect themselves." This kind of sensible...
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Babblogue Blogbeauty and awe in outer space (12.1.2006, 11:05 UTC)
NASA's Hubble Space Telescope continues to capture incredible snapshots of outer space. Yesterday it released this gorgeous image of the Orion Nebula. In a mosaic containing a billion pixels, Hubble's Advanced Camera for Surveys uncovered thousands of stars never seen before in visible light. Some are merely one-hundredth the brightness of previously viewed Orion stars. Among the stars Hubble spotted for the first time in visible light in Orion were young brown dwarfs and a small populati...
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Babblogue Blogmusic in your jeans (11.1.2006, 15:46 UTC)
Is that an iPod in your pocket, or are you just glad to see me? According to the BBC the jeans manufacturer, Levi Strauss, will produce a pair of iPod-ready jeans in August. It will only cost about $200. Man, the accessories for an iPod are almost as expensive as the gadget itself! The RedWire DLX Jeans will have an iPod remote control and docking station fitted in its pockets, and comes complete with attached headphones. Just don't forget to remove your player before you wash your j...
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Babblogue Blogdo not attempt maths first thing in the morning (11.1.2006, 14:57 UTC)
New Scientist reports on a study about the lingering effects of sleep on people's cognitive abilities. A recent study had nine participants take maths tests within minutes of waking up from an eight-hour sleep (no worse form of torture ever imagined!). The groggy group operated at only 65% of their maximum ability, and this rose to 83% after twenty minutes. To the surprise of the testers, even after two hours the participants were not up to their maximum ability. Then, just for kicks, the...
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