Friday, April 29, 2016

Friday Night Is Music Night

In response - or riposte - to the Steeleye Span recording shared here a few days ago, JD offers a "Celtic Connection" selection, commenting, "Music from the Celtic fringe is so exuberant and joyous". Ready for that!

From Scotland:



... Bretagne:



... Asturias:



... Galicia "(yes, I know they are French but the tune is almost the Galician 'national anthem')":



... and finally, from Ireland (with a Scottish singer):



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Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Show me yours...


Produced by Liberty.

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Saturday, April 23, 2016

Morning song



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Friday, April 22, 2016

Where trust is a design problem

From an alphr interview with Michael Gough, chief design officer in the Applications and Services Group (ASG) at Microsoft.

Take sound. There are people here who focus full-time on the personality of sound. Cortana is not going to be successful unless she is trusted, so what’s the voice of trust? What’s the vocabulary of trust? What’s the cadence of interaction to trust a voice? That’s a design problem, a really hard one.

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Monday, April 18, 2016

Spoofing for fun

I love this kind of thing, it sets so many hares running. Via Retraction Watch we have yet another delightful parody of academic pretensions. This one is a spoof philosophy paper which supposedly passed peer review. Almost worthy of the Guardian I thought.

Abstract: 

Since “gender” has been continually the name of a dialectics of the continued institution of gender into an ontological difference and the failure of gendering, it is worth addressing the prospects of any gender-neutral discourse through the tools of Badiousian ontology. As established by Badiou in Being and Event, mathematics – as set theory – is the ultimate ontology. Sets are what gendering processes by reactionary institutions intend to hold, in contradiction to the status of the multiplicities proper to each subject qua subject. This tension between subjectivity and gender comes to the fore through the lens of the ‘count-as-one’, the ontological operator identified by Badiou as the fluid mediator between set-belonging and set-existence. After having specified these ontological preliminaries, this paper will show that the genuine subject of feminism is the “many” that is negatively referred to through the “count-as-one” posited by the gendering of “the” woman. Maintaining the openness of this “many” is an interweaving philosophical endeavour. It is also a political task for any theory receptive to the oppressive load proper to the institutions of sexuation, as deployed through modern capitalism – that is, any queer theory. In its second step, the paper will therefore expose the adequacy of the Badiousian ontology to provide theoretical resources for articulating the field of a genuine queer nomination. It will finally appear that “non-gender” structurally corresponds in the field of a post-capitalist politics of the body to what Francois Laruelle (1984) designated as non-philosophie within the field of metaphysics.

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Friday, April 15, 2016

SCIENCE: A salute - and solution - to the Australian bush fly

(Reposted from The Polynesian Times)

Demonstrating the Aussie wave, aka Australian salute: http://i.imgbox.com/achP9bim.gif

Reporting on the experimental use of a virus to control burgeoning numbers of European carp Down Under, the Wall Street Journal lists "five animals that have gone wild in Australia". Four species are also European imports, but the fifth - flies, of the "bush" type that pesters everyone outdoors  - certainly isn't:

"... it's likely the fly got to Australia in an Aboriginal boat, the same way the dingo got here. In that case, the bush fly might have arrived in Australia as long as 45,000 years ago," says Jim Heath in his Seuss-like-titled 1989 book "The Fly In Your Eye"*

Heath explains that the bush fly needs protein to develop its eggs and is quite happy to find it in human tear ducts, noses, saliva and sweat, not to mention blood and raw meat; hence the plague of them at barbecues. As beef farming grew so did the fly population, feeding and breeding on the droppings of Australia's 28 million cattle. At up to 12 cowpats daily per animal, times up to 2,000 larvae per pat, the herds are potentially fostering quadrillions of flies.

Not just bush flies. Initial efforts to control flies focused on agricultural pests such as the blood-sucking buffalo fly and involved chemicals, to which the insects are increasingly becoming immune

So attention turned to biological controls, and this is where the dung-beetle comes in. Dr. George Bornemissza of the Australian CSIRO looked at native beetles and determined that they couldn't cope, so in April 1967 he began a project to import other species:



http://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/131790650?searchTerm=Bornemissza&searchLimits=l-category=Article

The first foreign beetles were from Hawaii, released in Queensland on 30 January 1968The dung-beetles disrupt fly-larval development by shredding and burying manure - which also improves soil quality and helps reduce contamination of run-off water, say the Kiwis, who are using the same strategy.

Because of Australia's diverse climate it was originally estimated that 160 different species would be required; in practice, "a total of 53 species were introduced and of these 23 have established," says CSIRO.

Unfortunately these species tend to cease their activity in early spring before the new season's flies begin to arrive, so two more kinds that are active at that time were introduced in 2012 from France and Spain to southern Australia by Dr Bernard Doube. The entomologist has been calling for a $50 million program to introduce 25 additional species, money which he says will multiply into several billions-worth of extra pastural productivity.

The real salute, then is reserved for the dung-beetle:


http://2bgreener.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/Dung-Beetle.jpg

* Full text and illustrations on-line at: http://www.viacorp.com/flybook/fulltext.html


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Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Why the Government believes...



We received our EU referendum propaganda pamphlet today. Unlikely to be worth reading so I won't, but having a technical mind I weighed it instead. It's about 40 grams by our kitchen scales, so what does that come to if 27 million were printed?

A quick calculation suggests we are talking about roughly 1000 tonnes of paper, so not a trivial operation. How many trees does this equate to if we assume it isn't recycled paper, which it may well be but the pamphlet doesn't say. From one source we are told -

One ton of coated, higher-end virgin magazine paper (used for magazines like National Geographic) uses a little more than 15 trees.

The pamphlet seems to be printed on high quality coated paper so 1000 tonnes of paper equates to about 15000 trees if we also equate a tonne to a ton. Oops - if it isn't recycled paper that's another bout of disgruntlement on the horizon and who would believe them anyway?

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All original material is copyright of its author. Fair use permitted. Contact via comment. Unless indicated otherwise, all internet links accessed at time of writing. Nothing here should be taken as personal advice, financial or otherwise. No liability is accepted for third-party content, whether incorporated in or linked to this blog; or for unintentional error and inaccuracy. The blog author may have, or intend to change, a personal position in any stock or other kind of investment mentioned.