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Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Asteroid January 28, 2005

Posted by jbwan in General.
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Finally, an insight into the obscure naming of asteroids. This latest find has been named after Douglas Adams, the author of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Named 2001 DA42 the name incorporates his year of death, his initials and of course 42, the ultimate answer to the ultimate question. source: Slashdot

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Ringo Super Star January 26, 2005

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Looks like Ringo Star is set to become immortalised in a comic book as a super hero of sorts. Let’s just hope that it’s an improvement on Ringo’s last attempt of cartoon stardom in Thomas the Tank Engine

thick_liverpool_accent:
“Hey’up said Gordon, we’ve got a problem with the local super-villians again Thomas…”

source: Boing Boing

Open Gates January 25, 2005

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There is something that opensource will probably never be able to do. Nice to know that even the hardest of the corporate achievers can have a conscience… I just have to wonder cynically though, whether or not each sterilised syringe will have a EULA sticker across the opening. o:-) source: Yahoo! News

Knowledge Economy or Economised Knowledge? January 19, 2005

Posted by jbwan in General, Politics.
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Interesting article in the Times as to why Waterford needs a University. Now I have to say that anything in favour of my beloved city getting acknowledgment is a good thing but I can’t help but notice serious undertones of pity in this article. Nobody wants something because they have been hard-done-by. People want things because they earn them. Although it may be true that Waterford is often overlooked in terms of development I don’t think comments like “the advanced skills of the existing workforce in Waterford are the lowest of all the gateway cities” and “the region has already a particularly low level of participation in higher education, future prospects will start to brighten only when the advanced skills deficit is addressed” help very much to address the situation. For a start any investment in hi-tech industry is automatically sent to Dublin or the Pale region (as some still believe they are living in). The case with most jobs in the South East is that you both have a degree and therefore expect too great a salary to be employed or you do not have the 10 years industrial experience that is supposedly so essential for the position. Pursuing a third level qualification for school leavers therefore, does not seem that attractive when trades and other such offer other qualifications that they can see immediate results from. Technical qualifications see most of their friends losing jobs in favour of their companies moving to India or Eastern Europe. I don’t think that any investment in the knowledge economy is going to solve the issue of industry moving towards cheaper labour costs and it would be incredibly naive to think so. The country was flooded with technical graduates of high quality for the last number of years but a lack of jobs forced them abroad and the promise of their graduation did not entice industry to support their professional birthing. Catch-22 or simply a problem that can only be addressed by the government and its enterprise plans? People are naturally migratory beings and as such will move to whatever area offers them the most. Currently third level qualifications are clearly not that option, it’s the government’s responsibility to ensure that people have a reason within Ireland to pursue these qualifications before any claims or measures are taken to widen our knowledge economy. source: Irish Times

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Too Much Sodium is Bad for You January 13, 2005

Posted by jbwan in General.
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I remember back in my school days, in science class, the great fun that was had experimenting with unstable elements. Included in our fun was Lithium (Li), Sodium (Na), and Potassium (K) – expressed in order of instability. Sadly we were never allowed any Cesium (Cs). 🙂 Anyway, some guy out there in internet world has put up some videos and text of his experiments with Sodium, well worth a look. source: Sodium Party. Credit where credit is due, I poached the link from Boing Boing

For Whom the Bell ‘Tolls’ January 13, 2005

Posted by jbwan in General, Politics.
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In recent days there has been much controversy over the increase in tolls on the West Link Toll Bridge in Dublin. To be fair to the general public this increase is in my opinion completely unjustified and outrageous. It has also transpired that the original contract between the government and NTR (the company who control the toll bridge) is to be investigated with respect to the favourable stance given to the company. An air of deep suspicion is about due to the involvement of several disgraced politicians in the original deal. It is the opinion of many that these toll bridge operators have been given a licence to print money and that they are not actually serving the original purpose of toll bridges (i.e. to pay the road costs – what about road tax I hear you cry; I know but that’s another matter). I can’t wait to see the outcome of this investigation. It should be entertaining if nothing else. source: Irish Times

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Mini Mac January 12, 2005

Posted by jbwan in Technology.
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Apple have just released their latest piece of kit. The Mac Mini. With dimensions of 6.5 inches square by 2 inches deep who couldn’t have room for one of these on their desk. It looks incredibly sleek and compact and is pushing me closer and closer towards buying my first Mac (although I may still hold out for the ultra-nice iMac G5). check out: The Apple Store

iTunes where i is for Ireland January 10, 2005

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It appears that the iTunes music store is now available in Ireland. Perhaps I’m behind with the news but I don’t recall any big announcement on this. I just browsed the store last night with my iTunes client and was greated with a little Irish flag and pricing in Euro (Eur 0.99 per song). So happy shopping I guess. I wonder how they resolved all the issues that were at hand in recent times…

When 600 points just isn’t enough January 10, 2005

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While students around the country are busily preparing CAO forms to decide the rest of their lives (or so it seems at that point for many). The added pressure of being able to acquire the points needed for their chosen course is an ever present burden that I believe is too much for any teenager to have to deal with. This recent revealation by TCD will not aid the plight of these suffering students; it turns out that a percentage of the places available at TCD will be reserved for A-level students (i.e. from the North and the UK). What ever happened to the unbiased competition for places? Personally I think this is disgusting and while TCD still enjoy the aloof academic attitude borne unto them in the latter quarter of the last millennium, surely this is no longer a freehold compound under it’s own governing rather than that of the State? source: Irish Times

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What’s the big IKEA? January 6, 2005

Posted by jbwan in General, Politics.
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The government paved the way yesterday (well, actually, paved sounds like work was done, really they just abolished a rule) for large superstores like Ikea that previously could not enter Ireland due to the size restrictions on stores. The restriction has only been lifted in certain areas obviously Dublin is one (what a surprise!) and others include Letterkenny whose population is not enough to warrant such a large store but still they get it, hmm now why didn’t Waterford get the all clear given our proposed new town and all that? Not that I’m really complaining as Waterford has already been burdened with development in recent years but sadly all of the wrong kind in my opinion. Yet another bypass of Ireland’s oldest city in terms of economic development. Down with this kind of thing! source: Irish Times

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