Archive | July, 2012

MSL landing site - Gale Crater

Curiosity: “We’re doing something completely novel, hanging it way out there”

Launched back in November 2011, Nasa’s mobile Mars Science Laboratory (MSL), the massive 900kg rover Curiosity, is scheduled to land on the red planet at 6.30am [BST] on Monday 6 August. [Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ESA/DLR/FU Berlin/MSSS] They’ve successfully repositioned the orbiting Mars Odyssey spacecraft to keep in touch with Curiosity as it descends into Gale Crater [pictured more…

“The debate is gaining momentum due to the shut-out tactics of the two main parties which betray the ethics of an Agreement which was meant to unify.”

Last week, the News Letter had a feature article by former UUP Vice-Chairman Terry Wright, calling for the UUP to enter “virtual opposition”, a more structured stance of performance review for the executive and Assembly, if not full withdrawal from the executive. This may be seen as another attempt to try to square a particularly more…

The net deals with ‘acute’ issues better than the ‘chronic’

Interesting piece from +Daniel Drezner in which he lauds the network of the web as a fact checker (not to mention dealing with idiots), but then argues that it also “permits an amplification of conspiracy theories that can attract pockets of people that otherwise would never bother to organize”. He continues: “The problem comes with slower-moving facts more…

The legacy of Hutcheson, an Ulster Scots great…

ULSTER-SCOTS seems to me to have a tendency to cling on to the pathetic, irrational US Tea Party politics these days. But the real radicalism of Presbyterianism – with its strong anti-authoritarianism streak for fairness and equality – influenced the world. It is explored in this fascinating documentary of Saintfield’s Forgotten Revolutionary: Francis Hutcheson. In these more…

Sean Quinn: “We felt it was the right thing to do and we still feel it was the right thing to have done…”

The jailing of his son and nephew was supposed to be “a practical way” of procuring compliance with the court orders to reverse the contempt of court in putting assets beyond the reach of the former Anglo-Irish Bank, now the state-owned Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (IBRC). Instead, the bankrupt Sean “I am not dishonest” Quinn snr has embarked more…

Olympic riff

Something unusual happened last night, some 30 million BBC viewers  watched a Performing  Arts event live on TV as did a billion more throughout the world. While we’re used to major sports events attracting large numbers of viewers very rarely do we see a Performing  Arts event promoted so heavily.  OK so it was the more…

Team GB: Britain’s careless inattention to its own edges?

I hate to say it, because spectacle is no really my thing, but last night’s opening ceremony was impressive. At a quick reckoning, I think it is the first live one I’ve seen since Munich in 1972. I think what Danny Boyle got right, was the narrative thread (and a set that must have cost more…

SeanadEireann-800

Haste and fast tracking are best reasons NOT to abolish Seanad Eireann

Great piece in the Irish Times today, from Philip Pettit of Princeton University why the the proposal to abolish the Seanad is the wrong way to go: The need to put legislation through a second house ensures against the danger of fast-tracking inadequately considered laws. The existence of a second house creates a base for more…

Geeet offa mah land

Shotgungate: a visual comment

With the news that DUP Health Minister Edwin Poots sent a few shotgun rounds across the bow in order to warn off a few no good intruders doing the round I had to put this riveting imagery to cartoon. I further felt the shotgun imagery was readily applicable to the Poots blood donor controversy that more…

Red Arrows Perform Olympic Flypasts Across UK

The RAF Red Arrows are performing formation flypasts across the UK to mark the start of the London 2012 Olympic games.  Starting in Edinburgh at 12.23pm, Belfast was the second stop at 1.01pm, followed by Cardiff at 4.21pm with the Olympic stadium in London scheduled for 8.12pm.  The BBC video from Belfast is not embeddable, more…

Edwin Poots green teacher awards 2

Sheriff Poots “opened up from an upstairs bedroom” to scare away intruders – can you ever take the guns out of politics?

While the dissident non-conformist republican groups are amid a rebranding exercise, there was a reminder this morning that paramilitary groups aren’t the only ones with guns that are willing to use. DUP Health Minister and Lagan Valley MLA Edwin Poots has admitted to firing warning shots out of a bedroom window to ward off potential more…

IRA

The Rising of the Undead

Disparate republican militant groups have announced a coming together under a single leadership that has breathed new life into the IRA, promising to bring murder, anarchy and terrorism back to Northern Ireland. Here’s my illustration.

Ignore the issue of victims, and it will fester…

Nick Garbutt is doing some good work bringing much needed perspective to the vicitims issue… After yesterday’s column in the News Letter, he points out what ought to be the bleedin obvious, ie that in terms of any natural justice, the guy who blows himself up (of which there were many in the early days more…

Google-plus-hangouts

Slugger’s Digital lunch (2), on the eve of the London Olympics…

So at 1pm (BST) we’ll be ‘broadcasting live’ via YouTube (and here) our second Slugger’s Digital Lunch…  Last week, we had Lee Reynolds of the DUP (you can pick up the YouTube here).  I hope we will have even more voices this week. <iframe width=”420″ height=”315″ To participate, you must be on Google Plus. That more…

guardian_logo

“Non-conformist republican groups” merge under banner of the “IRA”

Under the banner of the “IRA”, the Real IRA, Republican Action Against Drugs (RAAD) as well as smaller groups often referred to as Óglaigh na hÉireann have formed a “unified structure under a single leadership”. They will be “subservient to the constitution of the Irish Republican Army”. Only the Continuity IRA remains outside the new more…

Sleeping bear

Summer Recess Caption Competition

With the Northern Ireland Assembly many weeks deep into a very generous summer recess I felt compelled to capture the personal and political détente and the legislative freeze with some striking illustrative prose. I look forward to hearing what captions come up.

Historic decline for gun control in the US from 60% down to just 24%

If there is one fault with the progressive view of politics it is that the people, en masse, rarely concur. And in the US beyond the Beltway, the people are rarely inclined towards even the most optimistic forms of historical determinism… Nicholas Kristoff starts his own (self described) tirade on the subject with some telling more…