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You’re all racists.


The Telegraph’s Dan Hodges has provoked a storm or possibly stirred up a furore (sorry, stuck with an online thesaurus today) by pointing out that laughing at racist jokes makes people racist.

Controversial stuff.  Now I’m not going to go down the line if splitting hairs over whether nationalistic jokes are racist jokes because they are and I’ve covered that in the past.

But everyone is racist.

Ever tapped a hand on your wallet pocket when passing a particularly swarthy or bearded fellow in the street?

Ever laughed at an Oirish joke?

Ever challenged an Englishman on the behaviour of his country during the colonial past?

Ever tensed up slightly when a chap of another skin hue has glanced at you on a train?

Ever spat in someone’s face because you didn’t like the colour of his skin?

You’re a racist, of one degree or another.

We all are.  Even me and I’ve been subject to at least one of those.

 
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Posted by on March 3, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

Mobile Provider Choice


How do you choose a new mobile provider? I’m out of contract with three and looking.
You ask them, you ask your mates and you do a bit of research.

Data on three is a bit crap at the moment, you move between masts and that data indicator stays on but there’s no data there.  It’s very annoying.  It reestablishes eventually but it’s not great.  And I’ve checked with friends, it’s not me, it’s not my phone, it’s them.  So …

Requirements.
Two Sims, one for me, one for my wife.  We have HTC Ones.  I’ve got the X and she has the V.  We’re happy with them.  They do the job.  I’ve got an otter box for mine and I’m not switching.
She’s a heavier calls user than me, I’m a heavier data user.
We both need to call to the UK, she more than me.  And at least one phone will need data in the UK.  We’ll both be making calls in the UK.  We get over at least twice a year.

So I asked them, simple tweet, outlining requirements. 

O2 came back within an hour, full of friendly info.  I left O2 previously because their smartphone plans were a bit lame but they seem to have stepped up on that front.

Three came back shortly after but went silent when I asked about the data reestablishing issue.

Vodafone and Meteor haven’t bothered.  Maybe they’ve got lots of cash and don’t want mine.

My big concern about O2 is the merger with Three.  If Three’s data is a wee bit shite now, will O2’s go the same way?

And there’s one other concern.  How do these providers perform inside my local.  Meteor never worked there, but they don’t want my money apparently.

So far O2 is looking to be the best of the bunch.  Any thoughts?

Edit: Vodafone respond to a nudge. Interesting plans with a roaming charge similar to O2 but with a little bit more data …

 
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Posted by on February 4, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

A Haunch Of Venison


So I’ve got a haunch of venison in my freezer.

It’s about 4lb frozen.

What should I do with it?

I’ve also got a large amount of Wicklow lamb.

I’m open to ideas, you see there are only 2 of us and the bambino and once we thaw it we have to cook it before we can refreeze it (we can refreeze it after it’s cooked, right?)

We’ve considered mincing it with some of the lamb and make meat loaf and/or pies.

Does anyone with any chef type proclivities have any ideas?

 
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Posted by on March 25, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Ban Ki Moon: Freedom of speech has limits


Ban Ki Moon has provoked a certain amount of anger from some commentators by saying that “Freedom of speech has limits”.

“All of this freedom of expression should not be abused by individuals. … Some people abuse this freedom. This effort to provoke, to humiliate others by using (religious) beliefs cannot be protected in such a way.”

Basically, some people use freedom of speech as a sort of virtual armour to go around winding people up for religious and other reasons.

Next, the people who were the intended victims of this winding up get angry.  We all know by now that if you insult Islamic people some people in the Islamic world will use this as motivation to stir people up further and get a bit of violence going.

When that violence kicks off who does it hit?  Does it hit the initial instigators?  No.  Does it hit the people who stir up the other Muslims?  No.

It hits other people.  The two stirring groups are unaffected.

Then the commentators ‘doze in with the “Oh well, people should be able to say what they want without there being violence, it’s not their fault.”

I disagree, it is bloody their fault, and it’s their fault without their responsibility and now you’re defending them.

Look.  If you want to defend freedom of speech go right ahead but don’t defend people who go and deliberately being arseholes in order to cause dissent.  Such people do not merit or care about your sympathies.

If you want to defend someone, defend Ahmed the Egyptian Grocer who was quietly going about his business before a mob stormed down his street incited by an idiot on the internet who knew he’d never have to suffer the repercussions of his actions.

At the end of the day if people use freedom of speech to offend then leaders will instigate limits.  Those limits won’t make a great deal of difference to people dicking about online, but they will make a difference to ordinary people who have to take responsibility for their words and actions.

 
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Posted by on September 24, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

I Am Now A Daddy


So, you know, maybe a few less posts for a while.

 
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Posted by on June 23, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Fishing For Atheists


Have you ever risen before dawn, gone down to the shore and cast your line into the sea, contemplating in the silence the majesty of creation and the wonder God has wrought and perhaps wondered what the atheist would contemplate at such a time, for he is the mighty empirical atheist, what does he see where we see such profound and spiritual wonder?

No, me neither.

If I’m up before dawn it’s insomnia, so I’ll read a little before going back to sleep, or it’s a trip to the airport, so I’ll go and make a pot of tea before waking my wife.

But obviously this blog isn’t going to be about atheists going fishing, that would be a little too bizarre and random even for me and I like bizarre and random, there’s a lot to be said for it.

You see I make assumptions about people.  I assume (against all the evidence) that individually people are of at least moderate intelligence, understands self referential humour, can cope with context, have a basic understanding and appreciation of servers and databases and read around just a little before opining.

As I hope you can appreciate such assumptions can lead to all sorts of hilarious shenanigans.

[I have somewhat more unpleasant and darkly cynical opinions about people en masse, if you take people en masse then at least one of them reads the Daily Mail and doesn’t take the contents with a hefty pinch of salt, least said.]  I also have a tendency to return to things from a day or even a week previously and as long as things follow a logical sense in my mind I’ll do or say them and willingly relate the thinking behind it if questioned (and if I can be bothered, obviously, and if my interlocutor isn’t rude, you really don’t need to swear and generally be abusive on the internet, unless you’re trying to make some sort rhetorical point or you want to demonstrate the paucity of your argument.)

On reading around a subject the news that Catholic priests in Ireland may be forced by law to violate the secrecy of the confessional led me to discover that in 2011 the law changed in Ireland such that if anyone is aware of any act of theft or fraud, in planning or having taken place, they are required by law to report it to the Garda.  That hasn’t been very well publicised.  Think on it, any act of theft.  What if you’ve paid no VAT for cash, is that an act of theft?  Should you grass up your builder?  Yourself?  Would you?  Massive barrel of snakes.

And I may occasionally go off at tangents, as you may have gathered by this point.

Anyway, yesterday Henry tweeted about apocalyptic hailstones.

So this was probably somewhere in my mind after I nipped into the garden this morning to close the shed door (it opens randomly in the wind no matter how you fasten it, I have actually bought a lock for it, about 2 years ago and should probably fit it this weekend, if it stops raining long enough, I’m not wandering around with power tools in the rain that’s asking for trouble) and I got soaked.  It’s only a few yards.  So I was thinking apocalyptic rain.  So I tweeted about the apocalyptic rain:

Then, as it does, my mind wandered on, if this is some sort of Apocalypse what can we expect?  Fire from heaven?  Well it’d dry things out at least.  And who would it be directed at?  Well the atheists presumably, that’d teach ’em.  So I tweeted to that effect:

Now I know that if you mention atheists in any tweet then some atheists are going to see it.  They look for tweets mentioning themselves.  Why?  Insecurity?  A basic thirst to be offended?  God alone knows.

I know that this goes on.  But it was early and I was soaked and I didn’t think on it all that much.  Anyway, as I tweeted shortly after the rain stopped.  Apocalypse averted.  Michael was kind enough to respond with a little light humour:

So I left it and went off about my day.

Later I discovered that I had left it too soon, some angry atheists had found my tweet, had decided to be offended and had decided to throw a slew of abuse in my general direction:

If they’d taken a moment to read other tweets in my timeline, and consider possible context or read around on the subject, even on my own blog, their ire might have been saved.

Now considering my previous experiences with tweets containing the word “atheist” I should know better, and I probably shouldn’t do it again, but then I am allowing others to dictate my behaviour by their ire.  I don’t think I should do that so periodically I may, even intentionally, go fishing for atheists.  Don’t get caught.

But before I go a little note to those Proselytizing Atheists who felt an overwhelming need to over react to my tweet.  Next time you see something like that go and read the other tweets of that person, read their blog, get a feel for them, ask, don’t go off half cocked.  I know some of you feel a compunction to tell anyone who is being a bit religious or a bit non atheistic that they are wrong (I know this because I’ve been told by some people like you that do feel that need), but really you don’t have to.  Religion may be wrong for you, but it’s not wrong for everyone.  I don’t pretend that religion answers all the questions that everyone has in life, the questions vary by person, the answers vary as well and so do the routes to those answers, and as such atheism cannot answer all the questions of life either.  We are all different.  Please learn to appreciate that diversity whether you believe it is wrought by the fractal complexity of nature or by the ineffable plan of an all knowing and all loving deity.

 
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Posted by on April 27, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Housing Solution


So there’s a massive shortage of housing in the UK, particularly in terms of social housing let by the government, and at the same time there’s a housing surplus in Ireland, particularly owned by NAMA the government’s bad bank.

Oh, this seems rather obvious.  Could not some sort of deal be made?  Ireland owes the UK a great deal of money.  Could some of that debt be written down or off by permitting long term unemployed communities to resettle in Irish Ghost Estates and continue to draw their benefit from the UK?  This money will help boost the Irish economy, thus helping Ireland grow and ultimately pay back the remaining debt while alleviating the housing market in the UK and allowing for growth there.

Sure it might be a bit trickier to sort out than just that, but it’s a starting point.  What are the hurdles to overcome?

 
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Posted by on April 24, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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