Warriors: Five Pints 14 2

Technology

The New Scientist tells us about research into Social Networks which knows when censors delete online posts:

The system was able to spot, with 85 per cent accuracy, when censorship was taking place on a wide scale. Upon detecting the resulting change in network shape, the system could be programmed to send an alert to activists or protesters, say, to warn them that the authorities were tampering with their posts.

More of this sort of thing.


People

Christine Buckley, one of the first willing to speak out about institutional abuse in Ireland recently died.

As a teenager, she tried to smuggle a letter to newspapers exposing cruelty at the orphanage but she was found out.

Her punishment was a beating by a "sadistic" nun that left her needing 100 stitches in her leg.

Vale Christine Buckley, a great woman of Ireland.


The Media

In light of more recent stories, easily broken using data alone about Australia’s shameful concentration camp on Manus Island in PNG, Andrew Elder’s piece from January on the lack of journalistic initiative on Nauru is particularly damning:

Australia detained thousands of asylum-seekers on Nauru from 2001 to 2008, and again since 2012. It had been an Australian dependency for decades: politically that ended in 1968 but economically it has never not been the case. The country has a matrilineal social system. The most popular sport on the island is Australian Rules football. Why there wasn’t at least one, just one Australian reporter, stationed there during that time, is an indictment of the initiative of Australia’s media.


Football

I loved this intriguing dissection of Steven Gerrard by Ken Earlys :

Some of those Manchester United players were better than Gerrard in some aspects…None could match Gerrard’s all-around ability, his combination of skill, athleticism, and big-game impact. Scoring goals is the most difficult thing in football. Gerrard has scored 183 for club and country, more than Giggs (181), Scholes (169) or Beckham (146).

He’s the only player to score in the final of the FA Cup, League Cup, Uefa Cup, and Champions League. He’s collected more individual Player of the Year awards than all of the Class of ’92 put together.

I’m unapologetically a Liverpool and Steven Gerrard fan, but I’d trade all those successes of his in just to see a League winners medal around his neck.

It’s time.


Entertainment

Recently the Ad hoc podcast geeked out on Blade Runner.

Yes, my first time was pan and scan on VHS too.

Highly recommended for some excellent insights, not just on the movie, but on Ridley Scott’s creative process and the technology of the time.

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Five Pints 14 1

Music

"To call it Punk Rock is rather like describing Dostoevsky as a short-story writer"

A review of Television’s Marquee Moon by Nick Kent from the NME from 1977.

“…an album for everyone whatever their musical creeds and/or quirks…This music is passionate, full-blooded, dazzlingly well crafted, brilliantly conceived and totally accessible to anyone who has been yearning for a band with the vision to break on through into new dimensions of sonic overdrive and the sheer ability to back it up…"

One of my enduringly favourite pieces of music. Seeing them live last year was a joy and far exceeded the expectations one might have of a 70’s rock and roll band who might be on a superannuation tour.

Scients

In the Smithsonian Mag they give you Five Reasons Why You Should Probably Stop Using Antibacterial Soap. Apparently the US Food and Drug Administration claims antibacterial products are no more effective than soap and water, and could be dangerous.

evidence that children with prolonged exposure to triclosan have a higher chance of developing allergies, including peanut allergies and hay fever. Scientists speculate that this could be a result of reduced exposure to bacteria, which could be necessary for proper immune system functioning and development.

We use this stuff in our home, for the convenience as much as anything. Mind you if we decide to stop I wouldn’t miss the piles of it all over the sink from the litres used each time small children wash their hands.

Freedom of Information

Irish website The Story recently described how modernising legislation would Kill Freedom of Information in Ireland.

if passed, amendments to the FOI Bill 2013 proposed by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (mean) Freedom of Information is dead.

TheStory.ie will, in all likelihood, cease all FOI requests. And we will not seek funding from the public to support an immoral, cynical, unjustified and probably illegal FOI fee regime. We will not pay for information that the public already pays for. We will not support a system that perpetuates an outrageous infringement of citizen rights. The legislation was gutted in 2003 and it is being gutted again. More generally the number of requests from journalists from all news organisations in Ireland will fall as a result of these amendments, and the resulting efforts to shine a light on the administration of the State will certainly deteriorate. And secrecy will prevail.

The more politicians and the establishment lock information down, the more it makes some people curious to find out why. And yet, the politicians never learn in their quest for the perfect bureaucracy.

Technology

In light of the news that Neil Young’s Pono Kickstarter is more than fully funded, here’s a recent piece questioning its point.

Most instruments do not output such frequencies, and almost no microphones, speakers or headphones work significantly above the normal human audio range either.

I love Neil Young, but despite the Kickstarter success, I think he’s wasting his time with his Happy Cow device.

Football

Sure I’m dyed the red of Kenny Dalglish’s shirt since the time I saw him score the winner in the European Cup Final to bring old big ears home for the second year running, but this great piece about the challenges in a relationship across the Liverpool Everton divide from the website associated with one of my favourite podcasts is The Anfield Wrap, is great stuff for any football fan.

Warning, Don’t read if you happen to be married to a Liverpool fan

…and support Everton.


PostScript: I share a lot of links on twitter, but as with much to do with that platform, most of them get lost in the stream. I’ve experimented, with some IFTTT related disasters, using tumblr as a clearing house for more easy access. Shamelessly inspired by the recent launch of 5at5daily by Stilgherrian, I’ve decided to resurrect Franksting’s Five Pints to try and pick the best of these links and publish them here for posterity.

When the Olympics is all about protecting the brands, is it time to end it all?

Aside

According to The Independent, Britain is about to be flooded with brand police to protect the owners of the Olympics;

Under legislation specially introduced for the London Games, they have the right to enter shops and offices and bring court action with fines of up to £20,000.

Olympics organisers have warned businesses that during London 2012 their advertising should not include a list of banned words, including “gold”, “silver” and “bronze”, “summer”, “sponsors” and “London”.

For the FIFA World Cup in South Africa in 2010, a South African Law Blog wrote:

the Municipality of each host city has in effect become the enforcement arm of a private company

Once the Great in Britain was supposed to refer to its dominance of the entire world. Perhaps this  brand police malarkey and the legislation at national government level to assist it, is the natural progression from Great to Cool to Little.

If, like FIFA’s compromised tournament, this competition has become solely about how much money you can make from companies who then insist you legislate to protect their rights for the duration, what’s the point of the Olympics anymore, actually?

Thanks for the cricket Peter Roebuck

Aside

While contemplating the sad death by suicide of Peter Roebuck yesterday, some apt heartfelt lyrics of Neil Young were served up to me on the stereo:

“some day you’ll find what you’re looking for”.

I knew little about Mr. Roebuck aside from what he wrote and the words and humour he used to describe his passion on the radio. I’m sorry he was unable to find what he was looking for because, even if I’m not a great fan of cricket, I think he was the only cricket writer who I wanted to read (despite his “breathtakingly bad simile or metaphor“) and the only commentator who kept my attention. With our hot summer days approaching the thought of Kerry O’Keefe without a reasonable foil seems such a challenge.

But to lose someone who was able to make sense for me of something I would otherwise probably ignore is as nothing compared to the loss his family, friends and workmates will suffer.

I wish them all well.

As if iTunes Genius could judge my state of mind another of Neil Young’s excellent songs dealing with loss curiously immediately followed. My reminder to you if a sparkle is in their eyes (or in their words), don’t leave their lives in their own hands.

Vale Peter Roebuck.

The World Cup, football never ends

Interest in the world game in Australia almost turned hysterical as the Socceroos much anticipated appearance in the World Cup came and went. And while I didn’t attend the FIFA Fanfest or any other venue for that matter, I’d doubt the hysteria from Aussie ‘soccer’ fans during their games matched that of those supporters from Spain or the Netherlands who live here during last nights World Cup Final.

The Netherlands made no friends with the way they approached the start of the game, but they earned your respect nonetheless. Not only because they made their way effectively to final with some of the best individual and team performances in the tournament, but also because some of them will never get another chance to grace that stage. And I get sentimental sometimes.

Spain didn’t win the tournament by scoring lots of goals, but just by scoring more goals than the other teams. Four 1-0 wins in the knockouts tells that story reasonably clearly. Continue reading

The World Cup; Care factor zero

Hands up if you remember any of the teams who finished third in the World cup before this morning. Unless of course it was your team which won the playoff.

So while it offers the semifinal losers the chance to complete their World cup on a high, it really is like the human coccyx. A holdover from an amateur antiquity which belongs with the Olympics.

Which is not to say, as this morning, they don’t often turn out to be cracking games with plenty of goals. And then too often contribute to skewing the golden boot results. Continue reading

The World Cup – Dirk Kuyt, unsung legend

Lets all watch Dirk Kuyt

Score goals every night

Lets all watch Dirk Kuyt score goal after goal

Up in the highest stands

Surrounded by the greatest fans

Lets all watch Dirk Kuyt score goals

Okay so Dirk doesn’t score lots of goals, but I bet the Dutch fans are glad the manager Bert van Marwijk didn’t listen to experts wanted Kuyt dropped after the first two games when Robben became available again.

Kuyt’s work ethic is one of the reasons the man will be remembered among Liverpool fans who appreciate heart long after he is retired. Perhaps even up there with recent cult heroes like Scouser Jan and Sami.

If the Netherlands win the World Cup there are a number of players they can thank. Not least Robben’s ability to make all the fouls on him look like dives. Or is it the other way around? But also Dirk Kuyts effort to date, especially his near post header for Sneijders second goal versus the always overrated Brazilians.

That sort of stuff is classic football, the type of thing Ray Houghton used to do for John Aldridge both in Green and in Red. You can have yer Samba football boys, but if we get a pack of petulant entitled crocks when the pressure is on. I’ll take effort and effectiveness over class any day.

Which is ironic really, considering it’s previously been the Dutch who were the petulant spoilt nutters.

Roll on Uruguay in the Morning. Both teams down a few players. Uruguay thanking Suarez’s “professional” effort on the line (and Gyan’s abject bottling of the penalty) for theirs.

Or Budweiser causing him to bottle it?

But Dirk will be playing. As he always does. Wayne Rooney learn a thing or two from him.

The World Cup; Days off should not be allowed

The World Cup is back…apparently some days have passed without football.

What did you do in the last 72 hours? Did you sleep or did you consider the upcoming 4 games?

Did you wonder if it ever was going to be someone other than Roy Hodgson taking over as next manager of Liverpool?

Did you think about how Spain beat Continue reading