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Unveiling of statue to Jimmy Gralton – Co. Leitrim Saturday 3rd of September 2016 August 28, 2016

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Gralton Labour History Commemorative Committee

Formal unveiling of a monument to the memory of the Leitrim Socialist, Jimmy Gralton, on the site of Gralton’s “Pearse Connolly Hall” at Effrinagh, Co. Leitrim, on Saturday 3rd of September 2016.

The committee is extremely pleased that the President of Ireland Mr Michael D. Higgins has accepted the invitation to perform the unveiling. Proceedings will commence promptly at 11.00.a.m. on Saturday morning and those planning to attend are advised to arrive early as parking and traffic restrictions will be in place.

(Because of the narrow road network and lack of parking places attendees may have to walk some distance to reach the site) The 4 mile stretch of road from the N4 at Drumsna to Effrinagh (Effernagh) will be signposted.

The formal unveiling will be followed by a number of events throughout the day (and also on Sunday) including political contributions, music, song and dance.

*Further information from Declan Bree at 071 914 5490 or 087 247 0802 or glhc@eircom.net

Sunday Independent Stupid Statement of the Week August 28, 2016

Posted by Garibaldy in Sunday Independent Stupid Statement of the Week.

A former senator displays a rather unique understanding of the Belfast Agreement

Leo Varadkar is saying he shares the Taoiseach’s vision of a united Ireland at some point in the future.
Naturally, he adds that unity could only come about by consent and not a crude majoritarian count. But it would be better if he had said nothing about a united Ireland at all, for two reasons.

First, the British government gives Northern Ireland a subsidy of €13bn-14bn a year. A united Ireland could cost every working household Republic roughly €14,000 a year.

Second, even talking about a united Ireland is breaking the spirit, if not the letter, of the Good Friday Agreement.


This piece is worth a read for the lesson it provides in how to write a column for the Sindo – 70k is introduced as referring to people earning that much, then for the column is treated as households worth 70k. Not of course the same thing at all. But sure when did the Sindo ever let accuracy get in the way of a right-wing rant?

Jupiter August 28, 2016

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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Speaking of probes albeit interplanetary this time. Juno, which became the first human made spacecraft to ever come so close to Jupiter, a mere 4,000 kms above the planet, should start sending back fascinating photographs across the next few days.

Dublin Festival of History 2016 August 28, 2016

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Mentioned some of the events on during this during the last week, but the overall programme seems very interesting indeed. It’s held from 23 September to 8 October and there’s something for everyone, or so it would seem!

Centauri Dreams… August 27, 2016

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

iO9 was quick off the mark in relation to stories set in the Alpha Centauri system with this list of ten.

I’d forgotten the Songs of Distant Earth was set there – perhaps Clarke’s last good novel. John Barnes and Buzz Aldrin’s Encounter at Tiber was pretty good. I’d forgotten the aliens in Footfall by Larry Niveln and Jerry Pournelle were from those parts.

This wiki page has a much longer list which is fascinating to see.

I can’t help but feel that the discovery this week will be a shot in the arm to new fiction set in that system, though, as will be noted here today, views are mixed as to what is practical and feasible in the near to middle future.

Speaking of stories of interstellar probes this was linked to on Stross in comments… a sad short little story from Alastair Reynolds.

Travelling to Alpha Centauri August 27, 2016

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As seen on the Charles Stross blog, there’s some scepticism as regards the likelihood of interstellar travel anytime soon by probe. That said here’s a bunch of optimists – the Breakthrough Starshot project…

…a proof-of-concept fleet of light sail spacecraft, named StarChip,[1] capable of making the journey to the Alpha Centauri star system, 4.37 light-years away, at speeds between 20%[2][3][4] and 15% of the speed of light,[5] taking between 20 and 30 years to get there, respectively, and about 4 years to notify Earth of a successful arrival. The journey may include a flyby of Proxima Centauri b, an Earth-sized exoplanet that is in the habitable zone of its host star in the Alpha Centauri system.[6] The conceptual principles to enable this interstellar travel project were described in “A Roadmap to Interstellar Flight”, by Philip Lubin of UC Santa Barbara.[7][8]

And the idea is that there would be a ‘swarm’ of these… devices… sent out.

The fleet would have about 1000 spacecraft, and each one (dubbed a StarChip), would be a very small centimeter-sized vehicle weighing a few grams.[1] They would be propelled by several ground-based lasers of up to 100 gigawatts.[13] Each spacecraft would transmit data back to Earth using a compact on-board laser communications system using its lightsail as an antenna.[13] A swarm of about 1000 units would compensate for the losses caused by interstellar dust collisions en route to the target.[13][14]

There’s a heap of technical problems (wiki calls them challenges) to be overcome. And yet it seems to me that this is a good direction to be moving in if only because it is rooted in present day technologies.

The Damned – 40th Anniversary Tour August 27, 2016

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Saw them last night on the Dublin leg of a two date tour of Ireland, Limerick it was on Thursday. Part of their 40th anniversary tour too. They were at the Academy and excellent. I first saw them in 1985 in the SFX (the point was made to me that was both 31 years ago and their 9th anniversary tour!) and a couple of times since but I’m thinking this most recent one was the best. There’s something endearing about their willingness to spin from punk to psychedelia, garage, and so on. Actually someone suggested to me there was a bit of show band DNA in them, hard to disagree when one hears Eloise. Dave Vanian was, to my ears, unusually chatty, Captain Sensible neatly caustic about various targets, one B. James, another M. McLaren and so forth. The rhythm section was just about perfect and the keyboardist, as ever, looks as if he’d wondered in from 1970s children’s BBC daytime television programming. And if the biggest cheers of the evening were for the 1976-1982 period songs, well, it was the anniversary. After all New Rose was the first punk single released in the UK, and rightly they won’t let us forget it. The interview below suggests that they’re hugely underrated. I think that’s true. In fact of all that first wave of punk groups I’d rate them well ahead of the Sex Pistols and on a par, at the least, with the Clash – in fact personally I prefer them to the latter (the Ramones being a slightly different animal) – and of course, arguably they’ve had the greatest longevity. Here’s a This Weekend on them from a year or so back.

BTW, nice to see at least one CLR commenter there!

And from the current tour:

Two interesting divergent views on the exoplanet Proxima Centauri b August 27, 2016

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So, astronomers have discovered a planet orbiting the closest star to the Sun. Proxima Centauri b is thought to be a little larger than the Earth, to orbit one hell of a lot closer to its star than the Earth does to the Sun and yet due to the nature of that star to receive about two-thirds of the light and heat that we do from our Sun. All in all that means as Phil Plait says:

…it’s in Proxima’s habitable zone: It’s possible (more or less) that liquid water could exist on its surface.

And Phil Plait considers this to be a genuinely important moment.

…this is terribly, terribly exciting. We’ve only known for sure about the existence of exoplanets—worlds orbiting alien suns—since 1992. The first found were orbiting a dead star, a pulsar. The first planet orbiting a Sun-like star wasn’t found until 1995, and in the next two decades we built telescopes dedicated to looking for them, and as of today we know of over 3,000 such strange, new worlds.
Quite a few are Earth-size, and fewer possibly Earth-like. Still, we can make estimates that there are billions of Earth-size planets in the galaxy.
And now we know that it’s possible that the nearest one is, on a cosmic scale, right next door.

Whereas Charles Stross is a lot cooler on the issue, albeit he pivots the argument to consider actually sending a probe to this planet. In part because he notes the reality of distance in space. Right next door is nothing of the sort.

I don’t want to minimize the significance of the discovery; it’s certainly a good addition to the list of potentially habitable exoplanets here, but you will note that 4.25 light years isn’t an order-of-magnitude improvement over the previous winners for Earthlike proximity, such as Wolf 1061c (13.8 light years away) or Kapteyn B* (12.76 light years away). We’re talking about the difference between 40 arbitrarily-huge-units and 100 arbitrarily-huge-units. So how should we contextualize these arbitrarily-huge-units?
Currently, the most distant visited body in the solar system is Pluto, at 7.5 billion kilometers. The New Horizons probe flew past Pluto on July 14, 2015. It was launched on January 19th 2006 by a booster and upper stage combination that blasted it straight up to solar escape velocity, with a speed of 16.26 km/sec (58,536 km/h), making it the fastest human-made vehicle ever: it then executed a Jupiter gravity-assist flyby to slingshot it out past Pluto, where it arrived nine and a half years after departure.
This veritable speed racer of an interplanetary probe would thus require a mere 31,600 years to reach Proxima Centauri (if indeed it was pointed in the right direction, which it isn’t).

Space is vast. Unbelievably incredibly vast. The distances between stars that are close to one another in stellar terms is, on a human scale, so daunting as to defy our ability at this point to bridge that gap in any satisfactory timescale.

That’s not to say never, but as Stross notes, we’re not even close to having technologies that would allow us to send probes to Proxima Centauri b. Perhaps won’t have that ability for hundreds, possibly thousands of years.

Interesting discussion btl on Stross. And one slightly more optimistic contributor does make some good points in the following:

The importance of a possible Proxima Centauri Planet (PCP) are the following:
a. It is another “close” planet orbiting a red dwarf star. Currently, what we know about planets orbiting red dwarf stars is inferred from computer models. PCP is close enough that we can get very low-resolution measurements against which we can test our models. Testing and refining these models is very important
b. It is a close target against which we can test new technologies. We can already photographed whole planets. I don’t know how much this proximity would increase resolution. The same holds true for studying a potential atmosphere
c. There was talk of using the same method previously used to confirm Europa’s ocean being used to study planetary geology. Assuming it is a rock world, this planet is close enough and the star is small enough that we might begin using it to study geology? I wonder if present methods can infer the presence of plate tectonics?
d. Its existence is really cool and might confirm a cliche

Alpha Centauri! August 27, 2016

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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The week where a planet is discovered in that remarkably complex system is a good one to look at it a bit more closely. Here’s wiki’s overview on it.

When I say complex I mean it. There’s three stars in the state, A, B and Proxima Centauri where the planet has been discovered. Isn’t it strange that we cannot actually see Proxima Centuari although it is, of the three the closest of the stars. But as a red dwarf its light and heat output is vastly lesser than our own Sun.

And now a planet. More on that shortly…

This Weekend I’ll Mostly Be Listening to… Bands with 2 versions on the go August 27, 2016

Posted by irishelectionliterature in This Weekend I'll Mostly Be Listening to....
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There was a piece in The Guardian about bands that split in half SLF, Yes and UB40 are mentioned there but of course there are others. Boney M at one stage had more than 2 versions going. There were two versions of the Wolfetones touring, Queensryche are another band that had two versions going. Black Flag had two versions going for a period. There were numerous versions of Hawkwind, Faust, Barclay James Harvest, The Beach Boys. Naturally there were all sorts of court cases over which version of the various bands had the right to use the Original name….. and it cost many of them a fortune too.


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