Bangkok 2010 – Belfast 1969?

Gun fire, burning buildings and a sense of impending social and political chaos… For the genuine Belfast circa 1970 experience, come to Bangkok… Where the past is not simply drawn up on murals, it is very much present… Thanks to our Stephen for the photo… Mick FealtyMick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK … Read more

Atlantis and ISS in solar transit

Via Space Weather. “Yesterday (May 22nd) in Switzerland, Thierry Legault photographed the International Space Station (ISS) and space shuttle Atlantis passing directly in front of the sun.” He’s making a habit of this. The small image here doesn’t do justice to the astounding images he’s taken during the 0.49 second solar transit.  You have to go to his website to see those in full. Equally astounding are the images of a transit 50 minutes before Atlantis docked with the ISS.  … Read more

South Africa and the World Cup Frenzy – A Success Story?

No local teams will be participating, but all eyes are already on South Africa in the lead-up to the World Cup next month – and the rest will be glued to the T.V. But amid all the glitz and glamour surrounding the World Cup, very little is being said about South Africa beneath the World Cup gloss. We presume that such prestigious events as the World Cup can bring countless benefits to struggling societies, particularly those coming out of transition. In … Read more

Euro crisis: “None of Europe’s leaders are yet spelling out the cultural revolution that is to come.”

I missed this at the time, but the BBC’s Europe editor Gavin Hewitt’s thoughts on “one of the fundamental dilemmas in political leadership” being faced by eurozone politicians caught in a manifestation of  “the political trilemma of the world economy” are worth reading. Within the EU there is tension, and at its heart is the role of Germany. The Germans never wanted to join the euro if it meant it would have to bankroll the weaker countries. That is what has happened. … Read more

Bangkok Stock Exchange on fire a few hours ago…

From a Slugger reader. The government’s curfew kicks in shortly at 8pm local time. Gunfire is being heard in various parts of the city. Shops, banks and most other forms of commercial life have closed. The current expectation is that the trouble will die down by the morning. The protesters’ leadership appears to be split between moderates and hard liners. And trouble is flaring in other parts of the country. If you are reading Slugger from some far flung part of … Read more

When the flashmobs turn into #cashmobs…

If you don’t already read Rory Sutherland you really should start now. His wiki column in the Spectator is expensive, if you are not that interested in the intricacies of the current centre right government, but you can read his blog at Brand Republic for free. In particular, this bit on the still latent potential of the Internet struck me as interesting: …the real promise of collective action will only be realised when there’s money involved as well as time. When flashmobs become … Read more

Dollar crisis : Meltup

In the midst of a European sovereign debt crisis analysts stateside are worried about their future. Produced by the National Inflation Association the video splices contributions from Marc Faber, Jim Rogers, Ron Paul, Peter Schiff and others to make the case that the United States is staring into the face of a future currency crisis and hyperinflation. Hat tip to Gerard O’Neill for this particular horror movie He also linked to an interesting presentation with Niall Ferguson US Flag … Read more

Euro crisis: “decision to create a single currency in Europe was an eminently political decision.”

At the Cedar Lounge, WorldbyStorm has a lengthy post detailing his increasing scepticism as a pro-EU[ropean] over the EU Commission’s proposals to “co-ordinate fiscal policy in advance”. But more importantly to me, however pro-EU I am, as noted above I have to admit that I am becoming more and more dubious about the very notion of an EU polity that transcends national divisions. It seems to me that the distinctions between nations within the EU is so great as to … Read more

Last Flight of Atlantis

After almost 25 years in service, at 7.20pm [BST] tonight Nasa’s Space Shuttle Atlantis is scheduled to lift-off from Kennedy Space Center on its last ever flight – Mission STS-132.  There’s Nasa’s launch blog and the usual online NasaTV coverage. Only two more missions remain in the Space Shuttle programme. Meanwhile Congress continues to hear from opponents of US President Obama’s new policy for Nasa, including, in a rare public appearance, moonwalker Neil Armstrong. Adds Via NASAtelevision And perhaps I should have said First Last Flight…  … Read more

World Twenty20: “Just play on. Jesus, it’s only rain.”

At the Guardian’s sports blog Dara O’Briain reflects on the outcome of the most important sporting event of the week – the rain-affected World Twenty20 clash between Ireland and England. From the Guardian blog Well, where do we begin? Generations of division; the Dark Burden of History; all this to be finally addressed with the use of willow and ball. Or it would have been, but there was some rain and according to the rules, that meant England went through. Now, … Read more

Herschel’s anniversary and Dawn’s destinations

As I mentioned when noting a previous wondrous image, ESA’s cool infrared Herschel observatory sent its first images back in October last year, just after its launch companion, the even cooler Planck observatory achieved first light. Both are twittering away – Planck and Herschel. And ESA have released another stunning image as Herschel nears its first anniversary in orbit. There’s also an ESA video to mark the anniversary The BBC’s Spaceman, Jonathan Amos, has been contemplating Herschel’s images.  He recommends the … Read more

World Twenty20: Ireland v England

As I mentioned last night, the West Indies rain-assisted win over England provides the slightest glimmer of hope for Ireland to progress to the next stage of the ICC Twenty20 World Cup.  If they can beat England… If the match actually takes place… The rain at Providence, Guyana, has already intervened in the first match of the day.  Which side Duckworth/Lewis will benefit as Ireland take on England is anybody’s guess. Match due to start at 6.30pm.  Ireland win the toss … Read more

World Twenty20: Ireland Life-line From Rain Delayed Windies Win

In the second match in Ireland’s group in the ICC Twenty20 World Cup England posted an impressive first innings total of 191 from 20 overs – including a fine 55 from 35 balls by former Ireland batsman Eoin Morgan [*ahem* – Ed].  The Windies openers started strongly, making 30 from 2.2 overs, before rain stopped play. When they resumed, the Duckworth/Lewis calculation deemed that a less-than-challenging target of 60 from 6 overs would be sufficient for victory. Still, it wasn’t until … Read more

‘No fly zone’ over Ireland tomorrow

RTÉ reports that the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) has warned Irish-based airlines that a ‘no fly zone’ may have to be imposed over Ireland tomorrow because of an ash cloud drifting down from Iceland.  From the IAA statement The Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) has informed Irish-based airlines that it is concerned that Irish Airports may be impacted by the drift south of the volcanic ash cloud caused by the north easterly winds. Current information from the Volcanic Ash Advice Centre … Read more

ICC World Twenty20 2010

Ireland’s honourable performance in last year’s tournament may be a dim, and happy, memory but tonight they face this year’s Twenty20 Cricket World Cup host’s, the West Indies, under floodlights at Providence, Guyana – start time 1700 local (2100 GMT/2200 BST). As the BBC preview notes, the opening game will see New Zealand take on Sri Lanka (1800 BST). It’s a return to the scene of Ireland’s breakthrough in world cricket, the 2007 World Cup, and the Guardian has a good article on Ireland’s ambition and the investment … Read more

US economy grows, Greek Government agrees to deeper austerity, citizens riot

Bloomberg report that – The U.S. economy expanded at a 3.2 percent annual rate in the first quarter as households spent more freely, setting the stage for gains in employment that may help the recovery broaden and accelerate. and the Wall Street Journal note that Greece has agreed with the International Monetary Fund and the European Union to take additional austerity measures expected to yield “around €23 billion” ($30 billion) as a precondition for financial assistance, a Greek official familiar … Read more

Gordon Brown: “You can see the moment his political career leaves his body”

Jon Stewart on why the UK debates don’t matter after the first one… He absolutely hammers UK politics for its triviality… It’s over five minutes, but the end is worth waiting for… Mick FealtyMick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty

SDO Observes Massive Eruption, Scorching Rain

Nasa have followed up the stunning first light images from the Solar Dynamics Observatory [SDO] with equally impressive footage of a magnetic filament erupting on April 19th. Here the Solar Dynamics Observatory zoomed in on a magnetic filament erupting on April 19th. The black “hair-like object” is a speck of dust on the CCD camera. Credit: SDO/AIA. From the Nasa podcast “SDO has just observed a massive eruption on the sun—one of the biggest in years,” says Lika Guhathakurta of NASA headquarters in Washington … Read more

Roubini: “In A Few Days Time, There Might Not Be A Eurozone For Us To Discuss”

Via Business Insider – Reuters blogger – Felix Salmon writes up a Nouriel Roubini panel on “The Eurozone: Still One for All and All for One?” Nouriel, of course, takes that kind of thinking to its logical conclusion, and kicked off the panel by announcing that it was just in time: “in a few days,” he said, “there might not be a eurozone for us to discuss.” There’s no way that Greece can implement the 10% spending cut it needs … Read more

Galbraith and Schiff go head to head

Interesting head-to-head, reprising John Maynard Keynes and Fredrick Hayek, between James Galbraith and Peter Schiff on CNBC – Galbraith and Schiff seem to regard the straight-jack of the Euro as equivalent to the old gold standard, typically Galbraith views this as something akin to Keynes’ barbourous relic. Greece’s inability to print money is a problem, while Schiff sees this as essentially a good thing that forces countries and citizens to live within their means. What’s most interesting however, is that … Read more