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Sunday Independent Stupid Statement of the Week… June 28, 2015

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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…Garibaldy is on leave today, and I’m a bit pressed for time myself, but… I had to smile at the headline on this… a piece on the private pension levy. It’s not so much the rights and wrongs of the levy itself, though that certainly is worth examining, as the headline itself:

Noonan should abandon his €140m plunder of the prudent

The ‘prudent’ eh? Some would phrase it differently given that pension provision is usually a function either of companies willing to offer coverage or wages sufficiently large to be able to fund pensions. No particular disrespect to those in either category, but I’m not sure ‘prudent’ is the term I’d use. Lucky, fortunate… indeed the writer himself notes that – “These are the people who had the foresight (and the luck to have a decent enough employer) to have a pension”, but not for the most part prudent.

Any other contributions gratefully accepted.

Clickbait on Artificial Intelligence June 28, 2015

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Nothing to do with Irish or any other politics, but this irritated me in yesterday’s Guardian. A piece in the print edition was subheaded ‘Scientists now as certain as dramatists that artificial intelligence is on the horizon’. Online it was a more sedate ‘From Ex Machina to Terminator Genisys, ‘synths’ and robots have invaded our popular culture. But how real is the reel depiction of artificial intelligence?’.

Read on and you’ll begin to feel that AI as a clear possibility recedes ever further away as one progresses through time (a bit like nuclear fusion, now I think of it).

So we get this:

The present day setting for Humans gives the conflicts an immediate power and persuasiveness. But it also bolsters the misconception that human-like artificial intelligence is looming on the horizon. Though scientists have made serious progress in AI, the advances are almost entirely in what researchers call narrow AI: the creation of smart algorithms for dedicated tasks. An AI today can power a chatbot that answers common sales enquiries, or tease meaning from human speech. But assign one to any other simple task and it will fall flat. The University of Alberta’s Cepheus algorithm can play perfect Texas Hold’em. Challenge Cepheus to tiddly winks though, and it will not know where to begin.

Doesn’t sound great, does it?

And it gets worse:

“We really have no idea how to make a human level AI,” says Murray Shanahan, professor of cognitive robotics at Imperial College London, who was a scientific adviser on Garland’s Ex machina. He rates the odds of scientists developing human-level AI as “possible but unlikely” between 2025 and 2050. In the second half of the century that becomes “increasingly likely, but still not certain.” A case of if, not when.

How does one square that gloomy (for some) prognosis with the subhead about ‘scientists now as certain as dramatists that AI is on the horizon’?

Sunday Independent/MB Poll: One day you’re up, next day you’re down… June 28, 2015

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Politics.
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Just to add the figures in to contextualise with those IEL posted up yesterday evening, here’s the SI/Millward Brown Poll:

FG 29% [+4], FF 23% [+4}, SF 21% [-3%], Ind/Smaller Parties/Other 21% [-2%], LP 6% [-2]

A lot of convergence broadly with the SBP/RedC poll even if the trends are different.

Again, more on these during the week.

CPI Statement on Events in Greece June 28, 2015

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27th June 2015

Statement on events in Greece

Once again the true nature of the European Union is exposed. Behind the face of a Europe of “solidarity” there is nothing more than bullying, arm twisting and blackmail. The much vaunted sharing of values is nothing more than a cloak to disguise the power of the European and U.S. monopolies. It is their global interest that lies at the very heart of the European Union.

The denouncing of the the Greek government’s decision to hold a popular referendum by the European Union official spokespersons is further testimony as to how shallow the commitment of the ruling classes is to democracy. It is and always has been one of do as we say and do as you are told.

Those who still harbour illusions as to the real nature of the European Union and that somehow it can be transformed from within need to rethink this unrealistic position.

Once again workers of Europe need to stand in solidarity with the Greek workers in opposition to the European Union and what it is attempting to impose upon working people.

There is no doubt there will be cacophony of threats and expressions of dire consequences to be heard from all the pro EU parties and press both here in Ireland and across the EU.

But they cannot hide the reality that the aim of the European Union is to solve the crisis at the expense of the working class.

Communist Party of Ireland

Latest Sunday Business Post / Red C Poll June 27, 2015

Posted by irishelectionliterature in Irish Politics.
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SBP/Red C poll:
FG 28 (nc),
Labour 7 (-3),
Fianna Fáil 20 (+1),
Sinn Féin 18 (-3),
Inds 23 (+5),
Greens 2 (-1),
Renua 1 (nc),
Others 1 (+1)

Any Marriage Equality Referendum bounce for Labour looks to have been wiped out by the cuts to Lone Parents. ….

Real flight simulators… June 27, 2015

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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Anyone who comments here ever been on a commercial flight simulator? I’ve got to admit that’s long been an ambition of mine – which is curious given that for many years I had a pathological fear of flying, or perhaps not so curious.

Anyhow, this looks good, a Quantas flight simulator. The graphics look a bit ropy, but I wonder if they’re actually better in real life than, as it were, second hand here.

Speaking of flight simulators, as someone using Macs the range wasn’t great back in the day. There was the interesting but overly demanding Fly! whose graphics required a better machine than I had at the time.

Way way back, there was Chuck Yaeger’s Air Combat for the Mac. This was almost good, though not really a flight simulator, you could send up biplanes against B-52s or whatever depending on your mood.

F/A-18 wasn’t exactly a flight simulator either – well, it was, but shoehorned into an air force game (Iraq or North Korea were the theatres of operation). There was a great demo where you could wander around over Hawaii. My thing was to fly as far as possible in any given direction. No reason.

X-Plane is kind of good, amazing how detail has just improved and improved.

But there’s something about the rougher and readier Extreme Landings Pro which I kind of like. And you can fly Concorde.

Patrick Macnee…1922 to 2015 June 27, 2015

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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FILM-AvengersSteed-and-Pe-006
Always liked Patrick Macnee and always liked the Avengers. His character Steed was an almost hyper-English, unbelievably laid back, individual set loose in a near-surreal world of espionage that touched not at all on reality – nothing there about post-colonial angst, or real examinations of super-power rivalry, let alone, say, mention of the North. Anything but.

Criminal organisations, absurd megalomaniacs. That was grist to its mill and very good it was too. Channel 4 used to run it late at night in the 1980s and that’s where I first saw it (though I’d seen Macnee’s earlier/later incarnation as Steed in the New Avengers from the 1970s – it was of variable quality but enjoyable nonetheless).

I’ve been rewatching the first colour season (series 5) with the amazing Diana Rigg as Emma Peel, and for all that it could hokey it still stands up pretty well. There’s just something about it and the way it managed to glory in the rickety sets and kind of silly setups that makes it the greater than the sum of its parts. I’m tempted to say it’s Pythonesque, but I’ve never entirely warmed to Monty Python (while liking quite a bit of it) whereas the Avengers, well that’s different. Perhaps it was the science fictional plots? Perhaps the baroque tone in parts. There’s a cracking episode about a cartoonist who… well, watch it yourselves if you haven’t already seen it, it’s called the Winged Avenger.

In some ways in depicting autonomous women it both reflected changes in the 1960s and foreshadowed more to come.

The Guardian notes;

The show was noted for a progressive approach to feminism, with the female stars being more than a match for Steed.

And Macnee is quoted as being aware of this:

Macnee said the show paved the way for women to play leading action roles on television. “It just seemed that a woman would make the ideal foil to my John Steed. And so she did,” he told The Lady magazine last year.
“The wonderful thing was it made women feel they didn’t just belong in an apron in front of a stove cooking for the kids. It made them delight in the awareness that they could get out there and do it all, fight men, take on villains, all the kinds of stuff we showed in The Avengers.”

Some interesting stuff in relation to class too in the Avengers mix.

What always strikes me is what a generous actor Macnee was – Kelsey Grammer has something of the same quality – being clearly happy to share the limelight with others.

He had a spotty career subsequent to the Avengers, but one gets the impression that he didn’t much care, and why should he?. He was forty when it started and from there where could he possibly go? Dapper dresser too!

By the way, here’s the intro… that music by Laurie Johnson. Effortlessly cool.

This Weekend I’ll Mostly Be Listening to… The Wailers June 27, 2015

Posted by irishelectionliterature in This Weekend I'll Mostly Be Listening to....
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Went to The Script last Weekend in Croke Park… The Script were good , that Pharrell Williams was woeful and the highlight of the day were The Wailers. I hadn’t realised that they were playing!
I suppose they are almost a tribute act at this stage but what a repertoire they have to choose from. Yes no Bob Marley but still a brilliant sound and great songs.
Was amused in the intro to “Get Up, Stand Up” the leader singer Dwayne “Danglin” Anglin was talking about Revolution with his arm up in the air clenched fist in a Black Power style salute…. a lot of the crowd seemed bemused at the gesture.
It’s very hard not to enjoy songs like ‘One Love’ , ‘No Woman No Cry’ and so on. They really are classics. It also left me wondering how much better it would have been to see Bob Marley and The Wailers in their prime.

Greece to have a Referendum June 27, 2015

Posted by irishelectionliterature in European Politics.
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Greece to have a Referendum on the bailout package that they have been offered

Following an emergency meeting of his cabinet, Tsipras said his leftist-led government had decided a package of austerity measures – made in a last-ditch effort to avert default – would be put to popular vote. The referendum will take place on Sunday 5 July.

Paul Mason has a good piece on it here

Pride 2015 June 26, 2015

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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Just in case anyone had missed this, it’s Dublin LGBTQ Pride week – 19th to 28th and tomorrow is the Parade kicking off at the Garden of Remembrance, Parnell Square at 1.30. And a week, given the news from the US, and the events here from what was actually only a few short weeks ago, that is of even greater importance than usual.

All details here.

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