Saturday, March 08, 2008

Election games

And we have another great instance of a time sucker. Back in 1996 when the net had stopped yelping and it was being to attract attention for other reasons, a number of media outlets tried a number of things out to get people interested in the Presidential contest between Clinton, Dole and Perot (yes cranky old Ross ran again, well it was either that or buy a state for himself).

One sub site put up was called Dark Horse, in which you played as a virtual candidate, picked your platform, spent some money on ads and campaigned like crazy. Dear God, it killed some amount of time while waiting for my machine to churn through stuff. I'm sure we'll get even more of these as time goes on, I've got my own on the drawing board but...well can't really say too much. One thing that strikes me is that each of these 'games' says as much about how people understand or would like politics to be as it is about how politics might be made more interesting.

And naturally I have this old stager in the electoral politics stakes too! With the dollar the way it is, it is excellent value.

Friday, March 07, 2008

The coming blog deluge

Was chatting to someone over lunch a while back about a side project on blogging and conversation and I mentioned my aside over on Kathy Foley "What happens if the Beboers decide to move on?" At least a few may decide that they have more to write than Bebo allows for. If even 1% of the purported 1 million Beboers in Ireland were to start blogging over the next year it would truly represent exponential growth in blogging in Ireland in a very, very short period of time. We were thinking about what that might mean to blogging in particular in the Irish context with all the talk of a 'community' and also the nature of comment, discussion and conversation around and within blogs. I suspect it may well feed in our thinking and planning on the side project, which is sadly lacking a code name at present.

A project without a codename isn't worthy of a back of beermat business plan.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Not planning on killing a man

It is odd how a simple enough post can end up bringing you to the attention of all sorts of peculiar folks from near and far. A short while back I created a post based on a pub conversation about the attempted murder of a man in Dublin while he was sitting in a car outside a gym. We were surprised at the hash the assailant had made of the job and it recounted our views on how we might have gone about the job with the view of prosecuting it more successfully. However, I would just like to clarify that I'm not offering services or specific advice on how to kill someone, male or female. I don't generally favour killing people as a solution to a problem.

World Book Day

I'm a library brat, my dad was the caretaker for the local library so the library was sort an extension of my living room. I never paid much in library fines in large part because I would have returned any books borrowed long before the deadline. Sitting on a comfy chair surrounded by bookshelves is quite a blissful way to pass a dull rainy afternoon. And there were many of those in Kerry. The playground was round the back of the library so we could run about kicking a ball and then when it got too wet, we wheeled into the library en masse.

A survey of British librarians gives us this list of 30 books to read before you...well, find yourself in a place where you can't read them anymore.

The Top 30

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
The Bible (by God!) - True, I've not read all of it.
The Lord of the Rings Trilogy by JRR Tolkien
1984 by George Orwell
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
All Quiet on the Western Front by E M Remarque
His Dark Materials Trilogy by Phillip Pullman
Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks
The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
The Lord of the Flies by William Golding
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
Tess of the d'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy
Winnie the Pooh by AA Milne
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Graham
Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
The Time Traveller's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
The Prophet by Khalil Gibran
David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov
Life of Pi by Yann Martel
Middlemarch by George Eliot
The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess A Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Alexander Solzenhitsyn

Blog talking at UL

So the auld blog talk to the baby journos at UL went well enough, along with myself present to speak were Alan English- Editor of the Limerick Leader representing the print media and Mike Knightson - from Newstalk 106 on behave of broadcasting I guess. Dr, Eoin Devereux- bailed at the last minute apparently. I'm guessing he is still reeling from my response all those years ago at his introduction to Anthropology lecture of "what is wrong with that?" to his comment that all Kerry people answer a question with a question.

I won't rehash but I said but one question that did come up was in reference to libel and yep you can get sued for what you write or what someone else writes...just cos it's on the internet doesn't let you off. I am available by appointment to help cure insomnia.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

McCain is the nominee but will he have the right to himself?

With all the focus we seemed to have glossed over the fact that McCain barely got over 51% in Texas as I suspected he might. Of course people may just be blowing off steam secure in the knowledge that McCain was to all intents home and hosed. Aren't there still signs of problems there for McCain there?

It won't be Huckabee, it may not even be a Republican but I suspect we will see a 3rd party family values, social conservative emerge in the next few months. Someone will do the rounds of the talk shows, write a book, pick a fight with Hollywood and generally seek to defend their view of the family.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Paisley to stand down - in May

While there has been a lot of talk about this in the last few weeks, it is quite hard to take in as being real. I know that he do make the final jump into power sharing but I can't help thinking that his role for so many years kept the mess in the north going for much longer than was necessary. I would have much the same view of SF for that matter.

Blog talk

I have to give a talk to the journalism society in UL about Blogging. Also on the panel is someone from the dead tree press, someone from telly, and someone from a college department. Naturally, it would be remiss of me not to refer to recent events and I'm going to be using all my own words as is my wont. Well, technically the actual words themselves belong to the English language but the particular order they are placed in will be entirely my decision. Should make for an interesting evening.

This is Super Tuesday!

So who is it to be? On the traditional date for Super Tuesday, we've got 4 races for the Dems with the two smaller ones Rhode Island and Vermont expected to split one a piece for Clinton and Obama. The big delegate counts are in Ohio and Texas. And I think that Clinton will win both but she won't make that much of a gain delegate wise. If Obama wins both then I think it will be curtains for Clinton, though she may hang in there with one last throw of the dice until Penn.

The complicated nature of the polling in Texas (it's both a caucus and a primary!) will mean that irrespective of who wins the margin of victory would need to be huge or it won't change much. Ohio represents the much better chance for Clinton to make some proper gains but even there it is a mess. A 60%/40% in a 4 seat district gets you 2 seats a piece. It is almost as if the Dem never thought they might end up having a tight two horse race because their systems teams neither candidate can really break away. For more detail check out the guru.

The Republicans are still going through the motions of a primary race. I do have to wonder what the Ron Paul supporters will do if he breaks 10% in Texas! Probably declare victory.

Update 5.39pm local time: I have a feeling that McCain might not break 50% in Texas.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Things are different in Russia

Anyone who saw Vladimir Putin and Dmitry Medvedev in jeans and black leather jackets walking across Red Square after it was announced that Medvedev had won would have realised that democracy is a different beast in Russia. I think a strong, confident Russia is good for the world. For sure it has to be better than a paranoid insecure Russia. Yet there is no denying that it would be even more preferable if they could see it as a mark of confidence to allow their critics have their few moments. After all if your argument is better you still win. Only the truly inadequate would deny their opposition any type of a voice.

Incredibly landing attempt by A320

See what happens if you avoid TV for the day, you miss stuff like this.

Amazing work by the pilot. And on RTe's 6.1 News Bryan Dobson got his Superman on by telling us that air travel was still the safest way to fly.