Slugger O'Toole

Conversation, politics and stray insights


AFBI’s incentive scheme for scientific innovation ‘does not sit well’ with Stormont’s PAC

Thu 20 March 2014, 2:34pm

Tweet Small matter, but it is worth noting. Stormont’s Public Accounts Committee found an interesting detail in the relevant NIAO report that, it should be said did not particularly feature in the Audit Office report as a genuine matter of concern. The subject organisation is the Agri-Food & Biosciences Institute (AFBI) at New Forge in […] more »

Vegetarian Stalinism Part 2: Ready the Gulags on the South Downs

Sat 15 March 2014, 10:34am

Tweet Last month I highlighted the bizarre suggestion by the Green Party that in response to the flooding all government ministers and advisors who were sceptical of climate change should be sacked. Memorably when given the opportunity to refine and tone down this suggestion the leader of the Green Party Natalie Bennett claimed that even […] more »

Solar Dynamics Observatory: Year 4

Tue 11 February 2014, 5:00pm

Tweet Four years after its work began, and following last year’s three years in three minutes, Nasa have released another wondrous short video of a year of selected solar activity as viewed by the Solar Dynamics Observatory. Video via Nasa Goddard.  Full-screen viewing recommended.  Stunning. [Credit: NASA Solar Dynamics Observatory. Music: Stella Maris courtesy of Moby Gratis] The […] more »

Slight rise in road deaths in 2013

Sat 4 January 2014, 4:49pm

Tweet One of the grimmer statistics which is complied at the end of a year is the number of road deaths each year. In 2013 it was 56, which is an increase of 8 as compared to 2012. In 2011 it was 59 and 2010 55. These results still represent an approximately 7 fold decrease […] more »

Those wanting a formal amnesty might start by having the honesty and the decency to ask out loud…

Fri 22 November 2013, 4:55pm

Tweet Yesterday was notable for people in the British press taking notice of the Attorney General’s unpopular intervention with his suggestion of an amnesty that isn’t quite an amnesty. David Aaronovitch (pointing out that the Old Bailey trial of John Downey is about to commence on January 14th) had this to say in his column […] more »

The Homeric madness of ‘two narratives’ and Northern Ireland’s political psychosis…

Fri 22 November 2013, 1:29pm

Tweet Call miracle self-healing: The utter, self-revealing Double-take of feeling. If there’s fire on the mountain Or lightning and storm And a god speaks from the sky That means someone is hearing The outcry and the birth-cry Of new life at its term.. The cure at Troy, Seamus Heaney In the Irish Times, with forensic […] more »

“an unforgettable journey across the Red Planet.”

Mon 28 October 2013, 10:24pm
HRSC on Mars Express - Valles Marineris

Tweet Curiosity may have been on the surface of Mars for over a year, but ESA’s Mars Express has been in orbit around the Red Planet for almost a decade.  It’s one of a number of ways Mars is being observed, up close and personal.  And, like the Hi-RISE camera on Nasa’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, Mars Express has some […] 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 »

UVF mural replaces ‘aspirational’ George Best mural in east Belfast…

Wed 4 September 2013, 5:07pm
Screen Shot 2013-09-04 at 16.57.15

Tweet So, now you see it. Now you don’t. Here’s the George Best mural in Inverwood Court in Sydenham, as it was. Paid for under Peace III funding. Now it seems, things are going back to business as usual, as the PUP gear up for future elections, back come the UVF murals. It’s not the […] 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 »

“There’s no place like home…”

Wed 24 July 2013, 3:48pm
Cassini image of Earth in Saturn's rings

Tweet I didn’t ‘Wave at Saturn’ on 19 July when the Cassini probe, orbiting the gas giant, was taking a high-definition image of the view back home.  I don’t think it encouraged a proper sense of perspective…  But the resultant image is stunning. [Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute] It’s not the first time Cassini has looked home.  […] more »

SDLP to lodge an amendment to the DUP’s special motion on Tuesday…

Sun 14 July 2013, 3:00pm

Tweet And it seems that the SDLP will be putting an amendment down when the Assembly meets for a special sitting on Tuesday. Conall McDevitt: “On Tuesday when the Assembly meets the SDLP will seek to give parties the opportunity back an amendment to the DUP motion which condemns the violence, challenges the sectarianism displayed […] 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 »

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 »

The ALMA Inauguration

Sat 16 March 2013, 7:05pm

Tweet As the BBC reported on Wednesday, having opened its eyes in 2011, and with 57 of its 66 antennas now ready to receive data on the Chajnantor Plateau in the Atacama desert, Chile, the Atacama Large Millimetre/Sub-millimetre Array (ALMA) was officially inaugurated on March 13.  Here’s the associated ESOcast 55: The ALMA Inauguration. Credit: ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO). Editing: […] more »

“It was a meteor strike–the most powerful since the Tunguska event of 1908″

Wed 27 February 2013, 4:33pm

Tweet ScienceAtNasa has a sobering video on the latest information about the visitation by the god Ogdy unexpected meteor strike in the Chelyabinsk region of Russia on 15 February.  Video credit: ScienceAtNasa. From the accompanying ScienceAtNasa press release The Russian meteor’s infrasound signal was was the strongest ever detected by the CTBTO network. The furthest station to record the sub-audible sound […] more »

Irish Agriculture Minister: “I am seriously concerned about this development…”

Fri 22 February 2013, 8:14pm

Tweet I haven’t been posting on every twist and turn  [Not "an isolated instance", then? - Ed] of the still unravelling story of the Europe-wide horse meat for beef scandal.  But this looks like it could be a significant development.  From the RTÉ report A processing plant in Co Tipperary has been shut down after inspectors found it […] 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 »

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