Slugger O'Toole

Conversation, politics and stray insights

Environment

Could fracking actually be environmentally good for us after all?

Tue 15 April 2014, 9:43am

Tweet Could fracking be good for us? -Ben Webster in the Times yesterday (£) with an unexpected output from the IPCC… Shale gas can help the world to avoid dangerous climate change if it replaces coal in power stations, according to a United Nations report. Global emissions need to fall by at least 40 per […] more »

Lough Neagh Working Group: “This report may never see the light of day.”

Wed 20 November 2013, 5:11pm

Tweet As the Belfast Telegraph reports, having set up a inter-departmental Working Group by September last year, ”to explore and pursue actively the potential for a cross-departmental approach to bring Lough Neagh back into public ownership”, the Northern Ireland Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development, Sinn Fein’s Michelle O’Neill has lost the group’s report down the back of […] more »

Do we really have the happiest places in the UK or are we just too easily pleased?

Sun 27 October 2013, 8:24pm

Tweet Lies, damn lies and subeditors.. Same as last year. ?  Does Northern Ireland really boast the happiest places in the UK? So the past is  over and done with, right?  Maybe we’d better look a bit deeper… Jenny McCartney the rather fierce daughter of the fierce Bob QC, ex MP, in her Telegraph  column gives away the secret of […] more »

Time-lapse: Earth

Sat 12 October 2013, 2:58pm

Tweet As the Guardian’s GrrlScientist says, “Wow. Just wow.”  And, “Oh, I recommend “full screen” mode.” Indeed. Adds – If you watch closely you can see Ireland and the UK pass underneath at around 2mins 30secs in. Time-Lapse | Earth from Bruce W. Berry Jr on Vimeo. Video credits Music: “Manhatta” composed and performed by […] more »

“Two European countries, Ireland and Norway, have already banned all eel fisheries.” – redux

Wed 11 September 2013, 6:46pm

Tweet Despite a brief flurry of activity by Sinn Féin in February this year, around the Northern Ireland Executive Minister with responsibility for regulating Eel Fisheries, Sinn Féin’s Carál Ní Chuilín’s sudden “refusal to support European proposals for a unilateral suspension of eel-fishing”, the Minister’s promised Assembly statement on the issue never materialised.  That’s possibly because, at that […] more »

A year of Curiosity

Tue 6 August 2013, 4:33pm
Curiosity view of Mars

Tweet One year ago, after “seven minutes of terror“, Nasa’s Mars Science Laboratory, the 900kg rover Curiosity, landed safely on the Red Planet and was soon taking a look around.   [Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Malin Space Science Systems]  Full image and caption here. This scene combines seven images from the telephoto-lens camera on the right side of the Mast […] more »

Three Years of SDO Data – Narrated

Sat 11 May 2013, 10:08pm

Tweet If you enjoyed the recent video from Nasa’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) - “Three years in three minutes” – but would have liked more of an explanation of what was going on with our own local star… here it is again!  This time, though, extended, and narrated by NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center heliophysicist Alex […] more »

“A major difference between the hurricanes is that the one on Saturn is much bigger…”

Wed 1 May 2013, 6:42pm
Cassini - Saturn north pole The Rose

Tweet As I mentioned previously, Saturn doesn’t get the love some of our other gas giants do.  [All hail our friend and lord, Jupiter!  Keeping Ogdy at bay… - Ed]  Indeed… [new link]  But, with the help of Cassini, Saturn does provide some wondrous images.   In some of its first sunlit images of Saturn’s north pole, Cassini has looked […] more »

Solar Dynamics Observatory: Three years in three minutes

Mon 22 April 2013, 9:56pm

Tweet What it says on the tin.  Three years after First Light, Nasa’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) has released three stunning minutes of images compiled during its virtually unbroken coverage of the sun’s rise toward solar maximum.  Enjoy!  [Video from NasaExplorer on YouTube. Credit: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center/SDO] As they note in the associated text […] more »

A5 ruling: “They should not be left in any doubt about what may or may not occur…”

Mon 8 April 2013, 6:18pm

Tweet The Northern Ireland Department for Regional Development have 7 days to appeal the Belfast High Court ruling issued today quashing the decision to go ahead with the controversial A5 £330m dual carriageway project.  As the BBC reports Following the verdict, lawyers for the department sought to have the court order put on hold. They wanted time to meet a […] more »

Comet 2013 A1: Rendezvous with Mars…

Wed 27 March 2013, 8:46pm
Comet 2013 A1 (Siding Spring) orbit

Tweet Here’s something to think about whilst waiting to see if Comet ISON will fizzle, or sizzle.  The latest Science at Nasa video looks at the trajectory, and consequences for Mars missions, of Comet 2013 A1 (Siding Spring).  Discovered as recently as 3 January this year, this Oort cloud object will pass “extraordinarily close” to the planet Mars […] more »

“Two European countries, Ireland and Norway, have already banned all eel fisheries.”

Tue 19 February 2013, 10:11pm

Tweet But not in Northern Ireland.  [Partitionist! - Ed]  Indeed.  Here the regulation of eel fisheries is the responsibility of the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure – and the current Minister, Sinn Féin’s Carál Ní Chuilín.  As is salmon fishing… There was a brief flurry of press statements last week as the NI DCAL Minister suddenly […] more »

“Ireland has the potential to generate far more wind energy than we could consume domestically…”

Mon 28 January 2013, 8:28pm

Tweet Apparently, Ireland is to become Britain’s off-shore wind farm…  That seems to be the gist of the complaint from opponents to wind farms in the Irish Midlands, as reported in the Irish Times. Andrew Duncan, spokesman for the Lakelands Wind Information Group in Co Westmeath, said: “It seems to be an Irish solution to a […] more »

“Will Comet ISON fizzle … or sizzle?”

Sat 19 January 2013, 2:45pm
Comet C/2012 S1 Oct04 2012

Tweet Science at Nasa has a great assessment of the potential for Comet C/2012 S1 (ISON) to become the ‘Comet of the Century’.  Worth watching. Just remember – “comets are like cats: they have tails, and do whatever they want to do.” But as the Science at Nasa assessment notes “Comet ISON is probably at least twice […] more »

“comets are like cats: they have tails, and do whatever they want to do”

Tue 1 January 2013, 11:25pm
Comet C/2012 S1 Oct04 2012

Tweet In the BBC’s science news preview of 2013, reporter Jason Palmer highlights a couple of astronomical events worth keeping an eye out for. In mid-February we will get another reminder we live in a (potentially) violent cosmos – asteroid 2012 DA14 will make a harmless but attention-grabbing pass near the Earth, at a distance just a […] more »

“the looming legal row, which is due to commence on 9 January, could become a defining event for Northern Ireland…”

Sun 30 December 2012, 4:51pm

Tweet Well, perhaps.  At the very least it might provide the basis for some actual politics, for a while…  ANYhoo…  The Observer’s Jamie Doward with a reminder of the upcoming legal battle over planning permission for the Bushmills Dunnes development - a 18-hole golf course, clubhouse, golf academy, 120-room hotel and 75 golf lodges complex, plus associated […] more »

Further Up Yonder

Fri 21 December 2012, 9:09pm

Tweet Stunning views of the Earth accompany this seasonal message from the crew of the International Space Station. more »

“In Saturn’s Shadow” – redux

Tue 18 December 2012, 8:29pm
Saturn In Shadow by Cassini

Tweet Saturn doesn’t get the love some of our other gas giants do.  [All hail our friend and lord, Jupiter!  Keeping Ogdy at bay… - Ed]  Indeed.  But, with the help of Cassini, Saturn does provide some wondrous images.  [Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute].  From the image’s associated text NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has delivered a glorious view of […] more »

Titan’s Nile River Valley

Thu 13 December 2012, 2:52pm
Cassini Titan River Valley sideways

Tweet Fascinating image from Nasa’s Cassini probe at Saturn, where we’ve previously watched the weather on Titan.  [Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASI.]  North is to the right in this view. From the JPLnews press release “Titan is the only place we’ve found besides Earth that has a liquid in continuous movement on its surface,” said Steve Wall, […] more »

Black Marble Earth

Fri 7 December 2012, 8:45pm
Nasa: Black Marble Earth

Tweet As the BBC’s Spaceman, Jonathan Amos, notes This [above] spectacular night-time view of Earth is called Black Marble. It has been assembled from a series of cloud-free images acquired by one of the most capable satellites in the sky today – the Suomi spacecraft. Here is the associated, wondrous, video from Nasa Explorer This view of […] more »

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