Thursday, July 31, 2008

China using advanced technology to fend off rain at Olympics!

An excellent article is found on this at newsweek:

From an environmental standpoint, this idea is appalling!
From a common-sense perspective this idea is bonkers. From a practical standpoint, the idea is unproven and from an overall perspective, this idea is ridiculous! FACT (and not in the chuck Norris sense)

Online community 'concocts' neighbourhood eatery

See the Washington Times article for details:

I'm particularily interested in this venture because of the grassroots nature of organisation and the role of ICT's (through the online community etc.) in bringing this venture to fruition. The Washington Times operationalises the concept of 'crowdsourcing' in describing the phenomenon of ideas and plans being brought to fruition via outsourcing to interested members with specialised expertise (in many cases assisted through information communication technologies), drawing comparison with the principles of the open-source movement. It will in many ways be a novel approach to planning an establishment . Whether the establishment becomes a success (thus living up to the hopes and aspirations of its community of organisers) will be crucial to similar future projects.

Finally, a few observations on the venture:

- Large community input into the project inevidably means that it will become a rather complex venture; in the sense that a raft of ideas and expection of their implementation will be forthcoming. Whether the project can facilitate and appease the input of its members and go on to efficently manage this complexity has yet to be shown.
-As it's become a community venture, the design of the cafe/eatery will most likely have to accomodate its community by adhering to principles of an effective 'Third Place'. Whether this conflicts with this establishment as a business venture and its desired profitability will certainly be of utmost importance.
-Once the establishment launches, It will be interesting to see how ICT's (such as the existing online community aspect) facilitate's its perpetuation as a crowd-sourced project. For example could a service like LastFM be utilised in providing music which represents the members of the venture etc. How will ICT's faciliate communication and co-ordination with local producers such as the 'Artisans' and 'Organic Farmers'. Can online web 2.0 technologies be effectively utilised in the organising and time-tabling of events etc.

Copyright © 2006-2009 Shane McLoughlin. This article may not be resold or redistributed without prior written permission.

The robot that wants to be loved..

Im sorry, but what a ridiculous idea both in terms of its creators and its intended audience. A robot that mimics human emotions yet does not possess them.

Full details at:

Is this reification gone mad and is there more of this to come?

A machine is a machine and life is life, why do we wish to blur the lines and atoken machines with qualities they do not possess? I certainly would like to see carefully anchored research which finds some real value in pursuing this expensive use of time, money, people and resources!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Cuil, the verdict

Having tryed out the well hyped new search engine 'Cuil', I have a few observations I'd like to share:
-The site has got a raft of publicity in the past few days and expectations have been placed on the success of its searches. Such publicity has inevidably meant that 'innovaters' may be inclined to try out the site.
- My concern is that after using the site, I've found it to be slow and its searches to be less accurate than google.
-I must admit to liking the interface and thumbnail style views of results, but its results lack a number of features which I've come to heavily rely on with google: The prominent example being the suggestion of spelling corrections on search terms. I've also come to use cached pages on occasion which are noticably absent.
- All in all, I've no doubt that Cuil will in time iron out many of its flaws but the publicity machine maybe long gone by then and I wonder why now was chosen as its 'official' launch. It seems an extremely ill advised move in hindsight. Naming the site an explicit 'beta' may have alerted users to the early stages of the project.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Mobiles increase cancer risk particularly brain tumors?

Director of leading US cancer institute warned of increased risk of cancer associated with mobile phone use citing a correlation between recent studies.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Irelands measure of well being!

Excellent sumation of a recent NCC report on economic success and wellbeing. I particularly am pleased with the use of 'systems' discourse through the article. It is worth noting though that the author distinquishes between 'objective' measures of well being versus 'subjective'. I personally believe the use of the term 'objective' is downright foolish and misapplied. A more appropriate word would be 'institutionally accepted' or 'established norm' etc. I believe (as do many others) that measures of quality of life can be non other than subjective, abeit common subjective at best etc. It's the use of such terms as objective which reproduces widespread belief in 'objective' 'realist' ascertains about QoL.

Copyright © 2006-2009 Shane McLoughlin. This article may not be resold or redistributed without prior written permission.

France ends ban on 35 hour work week

I'm saddened by this move, I've always thought one of frances great strenghts was its emphasis on quality of life. I think this is in many ways a step backwards though France are been squeezed by international economic norms.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Great article on health and nutrition

Detailed analysis of western versus chinese diet!

Heating milk makes it tolerable for allegic children

Interesting article because it seems to go against the belief of the 'raw milk co-ops in the states and in parts of europe who argue unpasterised milk can be tolerated better by those allergic to milk products

Information campaigns the better use of government financial resources?

There seems an increased raft of government funded information campaigns concerning issues of health, behaviour, safety etc. A question of whether this is the most 'efficent' use of government resources and an inquiry into alternative means of changing peoples knowledge structures seems highly relevant today! It would be interesting to know the long-term success of many of these campaigns but even more interesting to question whether they are the most effective financial means of instigating longterm change.

SatNav woes

Sat nav woes.

Article detailing the number of crashes from users complete trust in satnav technology, I myself know the feeling having been told to make some dangerous manuveurs against my better judgement from sat-navs. But how can the relationship between humans and these technologies be enhansed? Should it involve education on the part of individual? incorporation of sat-nav's in driver testing whereby sat navs give incorrect directions etc? Or should the answer be better more accurate technology? The answer I suspect lies somewhere in between!

Thursday, July 17, 2008


LastFM have a new user interface! First impressions is that its slower to load and everythings not as neat and compact as before.

Can world faiths achieve harmony

A question posed on the BBC website asks, Can world faiths achieve harmony?

The question itself seems to be ill-fitting as different faith's by their nature are incompatible with other faiths. It's not a question of whether faiths can achieve harmony, its a question of whether people with faith can exist in harmony. Thus, people need to see beyond their faith in seeking reconsiliation, which I guess means a degree of securalism in society is healthy for society.

Erasable ink Paper by xerox

Nice idea though the technology is only at the early stages by the look of it! Im interested in whether the paper graduately erases or does so at a time theshold! Anyway, great idea but its application into mass market use may be slow, xerox will have to build company alliances to bring this to floatation.

Lisbon revote suggested by Sarkozy

Sarkozy remarks on the need for an Irish revote:

The Irish should only be asked to revote on an amended treaty text. I'll be interested to see the degree to which the Lisbon text is amended though if Sarkozy's comments are anything to go by, it appears to be only 'Minor' changes!!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

blogging again

Decided to start back blogging again as its been far too lon and my writing skills and mental capacity seems to have regressed rather than improve!