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Working from home… December 29, 2015

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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This article in Slate from recently really struck a chord with me. It discussed how for many who think they’d like to work from home the reality might be somewhat different. I’ve had to do it myself on occasion – during the very bad snowfalls five or six years ago, and on occasion when ill – and when I do it has always rubbed me up the wrong way. It’s something about being in one’s own space but constrained in a way that house-work, cooking, cleaning, or whatever doesn’t do exactly. This captures it perfectly for me. L.V. Anderson writes:

Within months, I was miserable. I had abandoned the uncomfortable desk for my comfortable futon, erasing all boundaries between work and the rest of my life. I procrastinated during the day—it was so hard to ignore the dishes in the sink or my favorite websites—and then made up for lost time at night. Some days I didn’t shower or go outside, until eventually I grew disgusted with myself and forced myself to take a gloomy walk. I was very bad at working from home.

Just to be clear that’s not a blanket proscription, I know people who love working from home – some of them on this very site – and who would do nothing else given the choice. And let’s not ignore the reality that for many there is no choice, work whether in the home or out of it is… well… work. It has to be done.

What I found oddest was an inversion. Having to do a job I happily go in every day to do – having to do aspects of that job that I’ve for many years done for free for a range of groups and individuals and people in my own time at home, and yet it was sort of miserable. Again, I think it was the constrained aspect of it, the sense it had to be done by time x or y, that with the free stuff I could meander away an evening online or whatever and deliver the product more or less when I wanted. So perhaps it was the control aspect. Certainly the supposed isolation didn’t trouble me in the slightest.

Anyone had that experience or the opposite one?

Lemmy 1945-2015 December 29, 2015

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This is probably as good a run-through of the man and group as could be wanted, from the TV Tropes page on Motörhead.

Always loved them, still have the Bronze singles from the late 70s and early 80s, and still play them (along with Hawkwind – natch! – and see below for his contribution to one of their greatest songs and one he wrote himself for them which has that protopunk/metal steel. Just on that his contribution to their evolving sound was I’d argue much greater than is given credit for).

Saw them only once, in the RDS about a decade and a bit ago at a metal festival which they headlined and he/they were as one would expect, streamlined, efficient, oddly charismatic. When talking about Joey Ramone who had died recently then a small number in the crowd cheered at the mention of his death causing Lemmy to gruffly give out to them before breaking into R.A.M.O.N.E.S (a band who he obviously felt were kindred spirits).

He was a remarkably good-humoured character somehow embodying aspects of that Ladbroke Grove post-hippy environment that were part of his roots and melding them to punk. Small wonder that his group was one that had massive crossover appeal between the originally competing camps of metal and punk. He’d been pretty poorly the last year, but this was still sadly = almost shockingly – unexpected for someone who gave the impression of total imperviousness.

Here’s some of their/his best moments and there were many many.

Some political evasion for the New Year December 29, 2015

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Timely that the Taoiseach is put (a bit) on the spot as regards previous pronouncements. And the thought strikes that he’s been getting away with quite a lot in that respect in recent weeks and months as a media that seems utterly dazzled by his supposed political acumen falls before the narrative of an inevitable FG victory etcetera, etcetera.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has refused to repeat the pledge he made before the 2011 general election that he will bring an end to the trolley crisis in Irish hospitals if re-elected.
This winter many hospitals struggled to transfer patients from their emergency departments to wards due to overcrowding.

What is particularly telling is how he seeks refuge in the now well-worn election narrative.

Asked if he would repeat the promise he made five years ago, he said: “Well what I will repeat is this: now we have a record of five years of a substantial achievement in terms of rectifying the public finances of the country and jobs creation.
“I will say that my intention is to continue with that forward development and that economic progress so that we can continue to create more jobs that pay. . . therefore less tax for people to pay and a bigger engine to invest in those very services.

Is that beginning to sound a little too well-worn? Probably not for FG supporters, but for others, possibly.

Entertaining too the following, in a bleak sort of a way, as he positions responsibility for health on certain shoulders.

Asked if he would ever be in a position to tell people that he could actually end the trolley crisis, he said what he will be in a position to do “is to tell them the progress that we are making, that we have made, and that that’s our intention . . . to continue to invest, to reform, to manage it competently”.
Asked what his own biggest regret was during the Government’s term of office, he said: “Well, I don’t like to have distressing stories in regard to health issues that arise occasionally.
“I find that difficult, I have to say.
“That’s why Minister Varadkar is tackling this in a really vigorous way now and I hope we can continue the progress that will lead us to having a universal healthcare system that will provide service for a population that is aging.”

The CLR Cryptic Christmas Quiz: Day 5 December 29, 2015

Posted by clrgo in Crazed nonsense..., Guest Quiz.
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It’s Christmas, with its twelve days — well, thirteen days if you include both 25 December and 6 January — so we have a quiz with thirteen questions of varying degrees of difficulty to give you something to mull on over the holidays. The questions were devised by different members of the team at Cedar Lounge Revolution.

Each day we will post a new question. Here is today’s:

5 Pythagoras’s is bigger than Didymus’s and Oxford’s is altogether different. What are they?

= = = = = = =

For those who like the challenge of hacking the questions themselves, the comments here are closed so that you won’t have your fun ruined by accidentally seeing something below, but if you would like to discuss the questions or share hints (or curse the question setters), we have created a separate discussion thread here, craftily filed away in the posts for December 1915 so that it won’t pop on your front page by mistake. (If the link isn’t working, that post is at the following page: https://cedarlounge.wordpress.com/1915/12/25/the-clr-cryptic-christmas-quiz-discussion-thread/)

This is primarily for fun, but we hope to turn this into a competition with a prize, but our preferred supplier of the intended prize was closed for Christmas by the time we got around to contacting them. More on the competition near the final days of the quiz.

The previous questions are below the fold: (more…)

Reading Hitler December 28, 2015

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Interesting piece here on BBC Radio 3’s Free Thinking about the publication, finally, in Germany of Mein Kampf. As the show notes list:

Anne McElvoy discusses Mein Kampf coming out of copyright with Ben Barkow of the Wiener Library in London, Heinrich von Berenberg – a publisher based in Berlin and Nicholas Stargardt, author of The German War and a professor of Modern European History at Oxford.

I read it in my twenties and to be honest found it kind of interesting. Not terribly well written – though I feel the continual critiques of it as turgid or constipated in writing style a bit beside the point, much as his paintings are criticised as if one were to say they were just okay would be to somehow afford some sort of legitimacy to his ideas.

A contributor notes that some of the text is quite – if not effective, at least reasonably well constructed though not at all convincing, and I think in that respect it is genuinely useful as a means of getting some sense of Hitler as a personality and understanding just how hollow was the ideology.

Of course it was what he wanted to present himself to the world as, and therefore there’s a level of artifice. But, these were ideas he felt important. What is clear are that his obsessions come out fully formed and that almost consequently there’s a disturbing lack of logic, internal or otherwise.

For example the stuff about Aryan’s just doesn’t work even on its own terms – and one has to think that Hitler was both ignorant of and unwilling to engage with a broader world. That’s, some would say, tautological given the subject, but it’s particularly clear in the anti-semitism. Overwrought comparisons and analogies which simply don’t make any sense, again even on their own terms. But then this is the after the effect justification on his part, isn’t it?

One example read out from the text is deeply revealing – and the point is made that for Hitler Bolshevism was ‘the pure rule of the Jew’.

In a few years he (the Jew) tries to exterminate the national intelligentsia and by robbing the peoples of their natural intellectual leadership makes them right for the slaves lot of permanent subjugation.

The most frightful example of this kind is offered by Russia where he killed or starved about 30 million people with positively fanatical savagery in part in inhuman tortures in order to give a gang of Jewish journalists and stock exchange bandits domination over a great people.

Consider not just the grim historical irony in view of the horrors he himself would initiate in Central, Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union and on the peoples there, but the sheer contradiction in regard to this supposed ‘great people’ who he also somehow saw as near enough sub-human. It is this inconsistency, purely for rhetorical effect that in some ways offers us as clear a sense of the man as is possible – one might even say necessary.

The lack of publication seems to me have potentially reified it, though in an internet age it is probably now somewhat beside the point. Another interesting point made was that in contemporary Germany Islamophobia has replaced, for most (though not a very small core), anti-Semitism. This doesn’t – naturally – mean that one can ignore or downplay the latter where it exists, but it does suggest that Nazism as such is unlikely to reappear in quite the same guise, though it’s not difficult to see how those who support it might use Islamophobia to further their ends, all their ends.

Socialist Republican Richard Behal (Part Three) December 28, 2015

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The Irish Republican & Marxist History Project has Part Three of it’s series of video interviews with Richard Behal up.

Richard and his then girl friend Olive Dignam
Photographed in London with his friend Olive Dignam.

Part 2 can be viewed here
Part 1 can be viewed here

Many thanks to The Irish Republican & Marxist History Project for sending this on.

The CLR Cryptic Christmas Quiz: Day 4 December 28, 2015

Posted by clrgo in Crazed nonsense..., Guest Quiz.
comments closed

It’s Christmas, with its twelve days — well, thirteen days if you include both 25 December and 6 January — so we have a quiz with thirteen questions of varying degrees of difficulty to give you something to mull on over the holidays. The questions were devised by different members of the team at Cedar Lounge Revolution.

Each day we will post a new question. Here is today’s:

4 The one in Kerry is designated 08/26, the one in Donegal 03/21, as is the one in Waterford (although they may not be exactly parallel), and the one in Sligo 11/29. The location of the one in Co Clare has a different name, but it is designated 06/24. Apart from those we ask about, there is one other which we have not identified because it would give subject of the question away. What are the designations in Cork and Dublin?

[Update 1 January 2016: an error in the original question has been corrected. It now reads ‘the one in Donegal 03/21’. (It originally omitted the first zero.)]

= = = = = = =

For those who like the challenge of hacking the questions themselves, the comments here are closed so that you won’t have your fun ruined by accidentally seeing something below, but if you would like to discuss the questions or share hints (or curse the question setters), we have created a separate discussion thread here, craftily filed away in the posts for December 1915 so that it won’t pop on your front page by mistake. (If the link isn’t working, that post is at the following page: https://cedarlounge.wordpress.com/1915/12/25/the-clr-cryptic-christmas-quiz-discussion-thread/)

This is primarily for fun, but we hope to turn this into a competition with a prize, but our preferred supplier of the intended prize was closed for Christmas by the time we got around to contacting them. More on the competition near the final days of the quiz.

The previous questions are below the fold: (more…)

Left Archive: Cuba Today: Cuba Support Group Ireland, Spring 2001 December 28, 2015

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CUBA CoVER

To download the above please click on the following link. CUBASUPPORT1

Please click here to go the Left Archive.

Many thanks to IEL for donating this to the Archive.

This eight page A4 documents published by the Cuba Support Group Ireland covers a wide range of topics. The front page notes under the heading ‘No More Excuses!’ that:

The end of the Clinton presidency is also the end of the enduring myth that Clinton would be ‘easier’ on Cuba. Despite all the evidence – the Cuban Democracy Act and the Helms/Burton Act just to give two examples – many peoples still harboured until the end the notion that Clinton would make some move to normalise relations with Cuba. He didn’t. As the Cubans said all along, he was never going to.

It warns against ‘anybody harbouring any fancy notions about Bush’ and argues that:

There can be no more ambiguities, no more wishful thinking. Join the growing movement of solidarity with Cuba today.

In other pieces it notes that the Cuban Ambassador to Britain and Ireland presented his credentials to President McAleese. It also notes an attack in the Irish Times on Cuba. It notes ‘solidarity in action’ including the despatch of Irish containers containing medical equipment to Havana.

There is a report from the 2nd World Solidarity Conference and mention is made of the then 9th successive year where the United Nations General Assembly condemned the US blockade of Cuba.

Various other pieces examine the re-election of Jean-Bertrand Aristide, and ‘another attempt on Castro’s Life’.

A Christmas movie December 27, 2015

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Thanks to Joe M for sending a link to this. Hey Christmas isn’t over until it’s over…

Quantum Entanglement… December 27, 2015

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I love this. It’s so cool, and what’s better is that it is actual science and therefore open to empirical analysis.

Two or more particles can act in a coordinated way, no matter how far apart they may be, and they do so without sending out a sound wave, beaming a radio signal, or otherwise communicating across the gap that separates them. Their spooky synchronicity has many of the qualities of the Force: You can’t use it to misdirect stormtroopers or feel the pain of a distant planetary holocaust, but it does bind together the fates of things that could lie on opposite sides of the galaxy. And it violates our deepest intuitions about nature.

But the explanation, or rather the underpinnings of these phenomena, may not be too difficult to grasp.

As I write in my new book, Spooky Action at a Distance, the phenomenon may not be inexplicable magic but a glimpse of a deeper reality, one that underlies the space and time we inhabit.

And this raises some fantastic thoughts…

Space might be analogous to an ice crystal, and any crystal has its defects—irregularities in the regular arrangement of molecules. Such irregularities would appear to us as small failures of space, such as when two distant particles retain a connection despite the distance that appears to separate them. The very concept of “distance” might not be fundamental, in which case it stands to reason that particles might sometimes behave as though they were right next to each other.

Moreover one has to wonder are there practical implications – perhaps the potential to communicate utilising these effects, or map and translate objects(?) using them. Perhaps not. The effects appear to be limited to the smallest scales. Ah well…

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