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Well that’s a succinct summing up of matters in the UK January 30, 2017

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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Slate.com is an odd one. Some very good writers and some not so great ones – all wrapped in a site that is often tooth-grindingly liberal. Still, every once in a while its view of matters can be acutely on the nose. As in an article addressing the May/Trump summit which has the following:

At times, May has seemed to be angling for a kind of Trump-lite position in British politics, stressing national sovereignty and border security without the bombast of the Donald. Even if she’s not openly demonizing immigrants in the mode of Trump and Farage, it’s a little hard to take the paeans to the importance of tolerance in her speech yesterday seriously when her government is prioritizing immigration controls over access to European markets.

Irish Left Archive: Bloody Sunday Poster, Revolutionary Marxist Group, c.1972? January 30, 2017

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Left Online Document Archive, Revolutionary Marxist Group.
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From the RMG.

Many thanks to Alan of Irish Election Literature for forwarding this to the Archive.

Peter Graham Commemoration Saturday 18th February January 30, 2017

Posted by irishelectionliterature in Uncategorized.
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Trotskyist & Saor Éire activist Peter Graham Commemoration
Speaker: Rayner O’Connor Lysaght Historian and author of The Story of the Limerick Soviet
Chair: Alan MacSimoin Stoneybatter & Smithfield People’s History Project
Saturday 18th February 4.30 pm 2017
The Cobblestone Pub
77 King Street North
Smithfield Dublin 7

There’s a piece on Peter Graham here


Password woes January 29, 2017

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

Every year some outfit called Splashdash, presumably for PR purposes, offers an annual ‘Worst Passwords Report’. Perhaps the word report should be in inverted commas too. But it’s kind of entertaining. Apparently it is ‘compiled’…

…from more than five million passwords leaked during the year, three variations of “password” appear, including “passw0rd” and “password1”.

I’m not madly surprised by those you will find on the chart at this line, or at least not most of them. Login though? Login, really? Admin likewise?

The piece does note a contemporary spin:

A few months ago there were news reports that the hacking of Democratic National Committee’s John Podesta’s email was made easier because his email password was “password.” If these reports are true, he wouldn’t be alone. For the sixth straight year, “password” joins “123456” as the two most commonly used passwords on SplashData’s annual list of “Worst Passwords.” Use of any of the passwords on this list would put users at grave risk for identity theft.

Sunday Independent Stupid Statement of the Week January 29, 2017

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

Lots of Sindo stuff on the possibility of a Kenny/Adams (or McDonald) governmental one-two after the next election, including this from an entirely predictable source.

Any hope that you’ll remember that keeping Ireland a democracy is your first concern, Taoiseach?

Brendan O’Connor with more stuff to say on Trump and his administration.

Some of us found ourselves thinking this week that Sean Spicer, the President’s spokesman, would perhaps make a better president than Trump. Spicer is the man with the unenviable task of coming out and explaining Trump’s behaviour. And you’d have to say that after a poor start, he did an amazing job last week. Of course there was the initial press conference on Saturday when Spicer had to read out those angry lies about the numbers at the inauguration. But if you kept watching Spicer for the week you’d have to say he redeemed himself. He trod a delicate line between trying to explain Trump in a reasonable fashion and then sometimes seeming to just throw his hands up. As when he kept repeating at one point in the week that the president has believed for a long time that there was voter fraud. Spicer offered no rationale for this and didn’t attempt to defend it. He just said it, through almost gritted teeth.

When Spicer tried to explain to the press how frustrating and demoralising it is when everything you do or say is greeted with a wall of negativity, and to point out how racially charged the false story of the Martin Luther King bust was, you found yourself agreeing with him.

The former senator’s column is worth reading in full. One wonders if he has thought through the implications of his own first sentence.

Aristotle said everything to excess is wrong – which also applies to attacking Donald Trump or selling the snake oil that is the Sinn Fein peace process.

Would like to see his reaction to switching the two things referred to around.

JAMC play Dublin in April January 29, 2017

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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I felt old the other day, talking to two people in their mid twenties, one an American, both into music, neither of who had heard of the Jesus and Mary Chain. And then again talking to a friend we both were surprised and appalled at the fact it was eighteen years since their last album (dealt with here in a TWIMBLT).

That said for those of us who will always have a place in our music collections for them they arrive on our shores later in the year and play the Academy and bring a new album with them.

Latest SBP/RedC poll – little or no change January 28, 2017

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

Kind of mirrors some of the trends apparent in the poll in the Sunday Times last week – not least a firming up of non-government Independents and a rise for FF. But no huge changes or surprises.

FF 27% (+3)

FG 24% (-1)

SF 14% (-2)

Non-aligned Independents 14% (+2)

Labour 5% (NC)

AAA/PBP 4% (-1)

GP 4% (+1)

SD 4% (NC)

Margin of Error 3%.

AAA/PBP will hardly be concerned by such minor movement. Interesting though isn’t it that in this poll SDs andthe GP are all in or around a certain level of support. I’ve long wondered are the GP well on the way to a sort of political rehabilitation? And will they prove transfer friendly? Their taking two seats was quite a coup last year. Holding them will be tricky, but not impossible, and does this suggest further gains? As to the SDs they seem to have good and bad days. I guess we can also throw in the LP into the mix. So just as FF vie for a vote in or around the mid to late 20s we’ve now four parties/alliances (excluding the IA) in or around 4% each.

And what of SF? Historically always weaker in SBP polls. I’d almost have thought the retirement of Martin McGuinness would have – given the general goodwill shown him, seen them get an uptick, but nope.

As always difficult to see FF willing to cut and run on all this. But with the cack-handed noises coming out of the governing party this last week about leadership, coalitions and so on perhaps events will speed the day.

Science fiction only now ‘character driven’? January 28, 2017

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

This piece in the Guardian has quite an argument at its heart :

Call it the Tim Peake effect. Science fiction has always been as much about the human condition as saving the world from an alien invasion, but now a new wave of films and books are taking that interest one step further and developing an existentialist genre set in outer space.

An author, Katie Khan argues that:

…we are seeing a move towards more heartfelt science fiction. “I think you can trace it back to the popularity of Chris Hadfield [the Canadian commander of the International Space Station in early 2013] and his use of social media. Since then, Nasa has also made great use of social media – as did Tim Peake. What we’re seeing is a closing of the gap between what seems possible and what could never happen, and that opens the door for very human stories to be told amid the escapist fantasy of heading into space.”


Khan cites 2015’s The Martian and last year’s Arrival as examples of sci-fi films with heart, and it is true that both place our desire for connection at their core. Arrival, which nods to the great emotional sci-fi film of the late 1970s, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, is particularly concerned with how we communicate both with alien life forms and, crucially, with those we know best.

The success of Star Wars: The Force Awakens and recent spin-off Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, both of which are character-driven, also suggests that there is a growing desire for sci-fi that makes time for human relationships.

Well, it’s an idea. But I’m dubious. The article mentions Interstellar from 2014, but the idea that that was inspired by Hadfield, seems a bit unlikely. And this seems historically quite blind to previous waves of SF – the 1960s including 2001: A Space Odyssey, but many more were influenced precisely by issues in relation to technology and humans. Silent Running. Solyent Green. A Clockwork Orange. Close Encounters. Star Wars itself, and so on. Soviet SF, where does it end?

Some of these films were pretty bad, some were pretty good. But all were positioned precisely in the area of the issues mentioned above. And let’s not even talk about television science fiction.

As for books the proposition could not be more wrong. The idea that SF is only now examining the human condition is… unusual. I’ve boxes groaning under the weight of novels and short stories that have done and continue to do that since… well I can’t really name a date. Even being kind and saying it was the New Wave of SF in the 1960s that changed things ignores so many fine writers who came before that and did tackle with both technology and the human.

It is true that there seems to be a recent wave of big budget SF films but I’d have to go checking to see if this genuinely was different to previous half decades or whatever.

BTL comments point to the fallacy in the following:

“The idea of putting a man on Mars is no longer a great leap of imagination,” said David Barnett, whose novel Calling Major Tom was inspired by the moment in 2015 when British astronaut Peake called the wrong number from the International Space Station. “In the 1970s and 80s, space travel felt like something out of science fiction, but now it’s part of modern life, with astronauts tweeting and going on YouTube, and because of that, putting space travel in a book doesn’t freak out non-sci-fi fans as much as it might once have done.”

Really? The 1970s and 1980s, the time of Apollo, Skylab, the Space Shuttle? Compared to today space travel felt more everyday, less precarious, because it felt as if it was becoming normalised. Whereas today it feels as if it is not impossible that humans might sometime relatively soon leave even low earth orbit. I think that latter is unlikely. But not impossible.

Music? I don’t think I’d want that job January 28, 2017

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

Good piece here in the IT on music as a career. Those of us who have been musicians, or know musicians, will be aware that career is perhaps the least appropriate word for the work that has to be done. A mental health charity in the UK, Help Musicians, has started to do a study on the area…

Gross characterises the music industry as a “hypercompetitive market” that’s also economically challenging. Yet at the same time, musicians are told “we’re responsible for ‘living our dream’. The X Factor is a perfect example – no one tells singers more often that they should believe in themselves and follow their dream. These competition shows that have exploded in the last decade have entered our consciousness, to such an extent that you judge yourself by whether you’re winning. But there are also variables that come into play – like financial support and luck – and these factors are more important now than ever.”

And say one does get through the multiple hurdles and becomes successful…

Gross’s research also found that even when musicians hit the big time, they have to handle another set of pressures, such as intensive tours, higher expectations, fear of losing their place, the blow of a bad review and trolling on social media – not everyone has James Blunt’s ability to turn it to their advantage.
“When successful people come out talking about problems like life on the road and being away from their families, they seem to get a lot less sympathy. People think, what do they have to complain about, but musicians around the world share the same problem.”

I was thinking about touring internationally, stuck in hotel rooms (at best), constantly on the move, performing the last album and having to think of the next, stuck with people you might not get on all that well with on a daily basis. Any real world experiences to soften that analysis, or support it?

This weekend I’ll mostly be listening to… Spiro January 28, 2017

Posted by irishelectionliterature in Uncategorized.
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I was looking through CDs over the Christmas and rediscovered Spiro an English instrumental Folk band that have released a number of albums over their long career. It’s a lovely captivating mix of violin, mandolin, accordion, piano, guitar and cello.

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