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Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Via KL: Richard Branson and Virgin plan to take you into space (rather expensively, and in a few years time). However ...
Ryan Air will be offering the *very same experience* for EU9.99. Some market differentiators, however, will apply:

  • The flight will take you "near" outer space (i.e. 8 miles up instead of 60).
  • If decompression should occur, suits can be rented from cabin staff @ EU499.99 per episode.
  • Re-entry risks are purely a matter for travellers themselves. Ryan Air will NOT issue vouchers for any medical, recovery or burial procedures that may be required.

Famously, for a few years back when, the laser was the "invention in search of an application". Now, from supermarket checkouts to tunnel construction to eye surgery, it's hard to imagine how we ever did without them laser beams.
Nanotechnology has been struggling with much the same "practical consumer application challenge". Well (ahem) hold your breath no longer, because the first consumer application is under development - a cure for stinky socks.

Paul Graham, author of the influential essay, Hackers and Painters, has come up with another excellent and thought provoking piece: What the Bubble Got Right. Read it. Via Slashdot.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Via boing-boing: if you're a US (ooops, Coalition of the Willing) operative in Iraq, you can get past those tricky linguistic difficulties with this handy visual language kit. This certainly breaks new barriers in the iconography department. Now, where's the one for "Form a heap of naked guys, everybody?".

He comes from a land down under - Australian reaches the bottom of the world's deepest cave. Even someone who plainly likes plumbing the depths seems to have found it a fairly bone-chilling experience.

Monday, September 27, 2004

Considering Mt. Teide was on yellow alert when we were there last week, it's funny that the folks on Mt. St. Helen's have issued an advisory. Seems like Ole Mother Earth is getting hot under the collar about something ....

Friday, September 24, 2004

What even your best friends won't tell you, your mobile will - this week's innovation award goes to a mobile phone that detects bad breath.

An oldie but a goodie: why your bright new idea for combatting spam won't work.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

RIP Mr. Pig. Milliner Phillip Tracey's dog has died. According to the Telegraph: the fashion world was saddened by the news that milliner Philip Treacy's equally famous dog, Mr Pig, died on Monday. "I'm devastated - Mr Pig has been with me for 12 years," said Treacy. "He led the most glamorous life. He was photographed by Bruce Weber and Mario Testino, he's been on catwalks with Naomi Campbell and Honor Fraser. He had no idea he was a dog." The funeral, during which Mr Pig will be buried in the garden of Treacy's office, takes place today. (September 17 2004, AM)

Well, back in harness, and at the time of equinox.

Tenerife was good to us, here's some edited highlights.

  • We went dolphin spotting in a retired crabber called the Katrina - a teak-and-oak veteran of the North Sea and the Baltic. The dolphins had recently calved, so there were numerous examples of mammy and babby swimming a deux (even though the babbies were well grown and almost as big as their mums).
  • We trekked down the Masca gorge. We (translation = I) had selectively read the route description ("the fit, agile walker with a good head for heights will enjoy this strenuous trek"), homing in on the words "enjoy" and "trek", while ignoring the words "fit", "agile", "head for heights", and "strenuous". The trek is straight down a volcanic gorge, exiting at the sea, where you are lifted off by boat. So by the time the going got tough, retreat was not an option. Mark this one down as "experience" - and thanks, Alf (our ex-SAS/NATO, ex-Croatia, ex-Somalia guide and leader).
  • We car-toured the caldera of El Teide (11,000 feet of still-active volcano - currently on yellow alert). The landscape is of Biblical bleakness (Biblical as in the wandering in the Sinai desert bit). The caldera is rimmed by eerie pine forest growing out of volcanic slag and cinders, and below that is a cloud-plain: you drive into it and everything suddenly goes all West Cork mist and drizzle.
  • Out on the North Coast (La Isla Baja), we toured ancient towns like Oratrava, Guarachico, and Icod de los Vinos, which we managed to visit twice without once seeing its thousand year old dragon tree. We did, however, see its mucho tipico Spanish watering hole, Carmen, where we enjoyed food a long way from chips-with-everything Tenerife Costa-land.
  • Our own gaff, while securely rooted in said Costa-land, was a tasteful specimen of same. We had a grand balcony overlooking the marina, where much nude sunbathing was done, and we slept at night to the clink of halyards and the soughing of Atlantic surf on the nearby beach.
  • One cannot ignore - much as one might like to - Playa Los Americas, which is all that one imagines and worse - Costa Plastica with all-you-can-eat buffets, big screens with Sky Sports, cabarets with sub-sub-Andy Williams crooners. We viewed the scene, then fled.
  • The big city, Santa Cruz, is like a pocket-sized South American capital: the Calatrava auditorium is a jewel in the crown, while the rest of town has 60's neo-Deco tower blocks, neo-classical grandiose sculpture, tree-lined Avenidas, industrial and port bits, a Cortes del Ingles, and all the rest of the Spanish colonial sthick. Twas a Sunday, too - with that peculiar decaffeinated feel of Spain on its day off.
  • Overall, a good island, once you know where to go and where to divide. At a macro level, the caldera is the province of tour groups, the south is the land of Sun-reading Brits, and the north is the domain of Germans with pottery studios. We will return to the north.

Thursday, September 2, 2004

Couldn't resist blogging this: ET phones home.

Just one last one for the road: bore yourself senseless in the Flash Hall of Shame. Skip Intro never felt so gooood ....
Thanks to Tom Murphy for this one.

Heading into hiatus land now for a couple of weeks: A and I are off on much-needed hols in Tenerife. 14 days of work-free, commute-free, news-free and Internet-free time in the sun. I won't be buying a newspaper, let alone blogging. Back in mid-September.

posted by A Seeker after Knowledge 7:40 AM

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Living somewhere near here:

Lough Dan, Co. Wicklow, Ireland.
Click the piccie for a bigger version ...
Blogs we like
Blogcritics: news and reviews
William Gibson - he's back.
Dervala is a thought-provoking read.
William S. Lind military .... AND intelligent.
She's a Flight Risk ... and on the run.
North Atlantic Skyline: the West's awake
Informed Comment from an expert on Iraq
Karlin Lillington is on the move.
Quondam Confederate: Mark is in Malmo
Banana Republic Daze: is pithy and topical
Oblomovka in California
Textism: rarely updated, but succulent.
Melanie - this really is a blog.
Meanderthal Man - in search of the Missing Think.
Tom Chi making music in Seattle.
The Homeless Guy - out and about.
Babblogue is quirky.
The Agonist - somewhere in Texas (when he's not touring the Silk Road).
SlashDot - geek central.
BoingBoing - a directory of wonderful things.
Bernie Goldbach - is under way in Ireland.
Ideas Asylum - for insanely good ideas.
D2R - for tech talk.
Last Daze of Eamo - for an eye on the comics.
Tom Murphy - has a PR angle.
QuantumBlog - for scientific updates without all that Slashdot attitude shite.

Dept. of War-blogging Just to keep an eye on these guys and be reminded that the neo-cons aren't going away any time soon ...
Den Beste - good on engineering topics, rabid on everything else.
John Robb - war-blogging from the armchair (which is the closest to a war-zone most of these guys get).
Instapundit - for breaking news, and a right-wing take on same. "If you've got a modem, I've got a (bigoted) opinion".
Andrew Sullivan - a right-winger who writes well.
... and if you want to get the taste of these guys out of your mouth, visit: Press Action

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Just in case they ever come back to life, and to remind one of the perils of hiatus ....
Where is Raed? used to blog from Baghdad
Ilonina - was random.
Paulianne was diarying in Diois
Eric Raymond - an individual, but one who doesn't keep his site updated.

I live in Ireland, in a lovely part of the country called Aughrim in the county of Wicklow. I work in South Dublin - it's a long commute - but 2 days a week I work from home. Whenever possible, I walk with my dog Scooby (Scooby's a feisty Glen of Imaal terrier with loadsa character) under beautiful Croghane Mountain.
About the name Mulqueen Mulqueen is a Clare sept, first recorded as a bardic tribe in the annals of the Dal Cais in the 10th century. I'm from Limerick originally myself, and the name is mainly found in south Clare, North Tipperary, and Limerick East. The name is O'Maolchaoin in Gaelic - the "Maol" (as with all the many Irish surnames beginning in "Mul") means "bald". It doesn't mean there were a lot of hair-challenged gents back then! The tag refers to "tribes wearing horn-less helmets" - it wasn't just the Vikings who wore horns, many Irish tribes did too. The "chaoin" means "gentle" in the sense of well-bred (the sense that survives in "gentleman" or "gentility"). Presumably the bardic (poetic) activities are referred to here :-) Anyhow, some of us are still writing - there is a disproportionate number of Mulqueens working in Irish journalism. Heraldic elements in clan history generally tend to be much later additions, but for the record the Mulqueen coat of arms holds a lion and a heart, and the motto: "Fortiter et fideliter" - brave and true.
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