Some things I've learned....
(2) "Puff" - unimportant; insignificant; unworthy of study by engineering students; waste of time
(3) It's better to keep your mouth shut and let people think you're stupid than to open it and prove them right!
(4) Blockwork people and concrete people can never work on the same site... Apparently they don't like each other....
(5) It's official; I'm fantastic!
Saturday 23 June 2007
Anyway, this is just a quick blog about the new Seven Wonders of the World. Here is the site to vote:
Anyone can vote, all you have to do is enter your email to register. It's our part in shaping history. The new Seven Wonders will be announced on the 7-07-07 in Lisbon, Portugal.
You may ask: "What's wrong with the current Seven Wonders of the World?".
The answer is that the criteria to be a Wonder of the World has changed, so that the structure must still be standing. The Pyramids at Giza are the only ones still standing. Furthermore, the very inclusion of the original wonders has been greatly questioned, as there are very little remains if any, of their very existence. All we have is documentation that may have been falsified. The new list is a list for our age and generation. To be a wonder, the structure must be a revolution of construction, design, engineering skill and architectural vision for its time.
The candidates are:
The Acropolis - Greece
Hagia Sophia - Turkey
The Kremlin/St. Basil's - Russia
The Colosseum - Italy
Neuschwanstein Castle - Germany
The Eiffel Tower - France
Stonehenge - United Kingdom
The Alhambra - Spain
The Great Wall of China - China
Kiyomizu Temple - Japan
The Sydney Opera House - Austrailia
Angkor - Cambodia
The Taj Mahal - India
Timbuktu - Mali
Petra - Jordan
The Pyramids of Giza - Egypt
The Statue of Christ Redeemer - Brazil
The Easter Island Statues - Chile
Machu Picchu - Peru
Chichen Itza - Mexico
The Statue of Liberty - U.S.A
Images can be found here:
I believe the Pyramids will be automatically added to this list, though I'm unsure at present.
Expect a full blog, including descriptions of the structures when the results are announced.
The plans are in response to a statement made by Dublin Port that they are struggling to meet demands of the capital. The proposed solution is to move the port to Bremore near Balbriggan in North Dublin and redevelop the entire Dublin Port area as a new 'Manhattan'!!!
The plan has been proposed by the PD's since October last year and a full brochure of the plans is available here:
Whether you like the PD's or not, this is certainly a very impressive proposal and certainly one that will bring Dublin to a "metropolis standard". This is also essential for Dublin's "reputation" as a city, following the announcement by a European planning commission that Dublin was the one city in the world not to plan your city like.
Friday 22 June 2007
Here you are then...
Saturday 16 June 2007
Spiderman, Spiderman, takes a dumb in a coffee can....
Look out, here come some shitty games!
Wednesday 13 June 2007
The full summary of the proposal is below:
* Set a target for reduction of 3% per year on average in Irish greenhouse gas emissions.
* Mandate the Dept of Environment to publish an annual report setting out progress on meeting climate change targets.
* Review and renew the role of the EPA
* Establish Climate Change commission
* Introduce Noise Bill
* Require carbon offsetting of all official air travel in support of urban forests.
* Dramatically accelerate the growth of renewable energy sources in the electricity, heat and transport sectors of the economy. One third of all electricity consumed will come from renewable energy by 2020.
* Devise a price support scheme to support and encourage investment in the development of wave and tidal power.
* Introduce new national building standards in 2007 to ensure that new housing has 40% lower heat energy demand than existing building standards and revise them again in 2010 to achieve a 60% target in further years.
* Introduce new National Attic and Wall Insulation Grant Scheme worth €100m.
* Ensure that the ESB installs a new smart electronic meter in every home in the country which will allow people to reduce their bills by cutting back on unnecessary use of electricity.
* Work with the European Commission and other national grid operators to develop an offshore wind farm grid connection system to power the rest of Europe.
* Provide substantial financial support to improve the energy efficiency of existing public housing and assist those on low incomes to avoid fuel poverty.
* Multi-criteria analysis of all transport projects to take into account environmental factors on a whole project basis.
* Bring into being a National Transport Regulator after bringing into being a Dublin Transport Authority.
* Substantially improve and expand the Luas service in Dublin.
* Establish and support the work of the Dublin Transport Authority to oversee strategic planning, infrastructure, services, fares, routes and traffic management.
* Reopen Western rail Corridor from Ennis to Claremorris.
* Opening the Navan rail line.
* Opening Cork-Midleton rail service, provide a commuter rail service between Galway and Athenry.
* Conduct feasibility studies, to be completed within two years, into the Luas-style light rail systems in Cork, Galway, Limerick and Waterford.
* Commit to an additional €350m per year on new service developments in education.
* Provide each child with special needs with the right to an individual Education Plan. In case of autism the Plan will enable them to benefit from a range of teaching approaches.
* Ensure education in road safety is provided at different stages of the school system.
Expand the number of adult literacy training places by 4000.
* Setting up a Commission on Taxation to examine the balance of how taxes are collected, the value of taxes reliefs and the introduction of environmental taxes.
* Changes in VAT in relation to environmental goods and services.
* A carbon levy to be introduced during the lifetime of this Government.
* Environmental organisations to become social partners.
* Comhar - The National Sustainability Council - to become part of the National Economic and Social Development Office, and given an enhanced research role.
* The Irish Government is completely opposed to the practice of extraordinary rendition. To that end, the Government will encourage and support An Garda Síochána in the investigation an enforcement of these Statues. It will do this by making resources available for specialised training in the provisions of those Statutes to members of An Garda Síochána and by other means as may be required by An Garda Síochána in order to ensure effective protection for the dignity of all persons within or passing through the State. We will ensure that all relevant legal instruments are used so that the practice of extraordinary rendition does not occur in this State in any form.
* Establish an independent Electoral Commission to take responsibility for electoral administration and oversight. It will also take charge of the compilation of a new national rolling electoral register. It will take over the functions of the Standards in Public Office Commission in relation to electoral expenditure and examine the issue of financing of the political system.
Local Government Reform
* We will reform local government making it more transparent and more responsible to its customers. A Green Paper on Local Government Reform will be published with in six months of coming into office. This Green Paper will examine proper balance of power at local levis between the Manager and the elected representatives, the issue of directly elected Mayors/Chairs, the establishment of town councils in those towns that have shown significant population growth in recent years and the provision of quality customer service to the public.
* Directly elected Mayor for Dublin by 2011.
* We will review the operation of local government legislation to ensure that the decision making processes in local authorities are rebalanced in favour of the democratically elected representatives of the people.
* Ensure that there is an acceptable 'buffer period' before civil servants or local government officials can take up employment in related areas of the private sector.
The negotiating team has to get its members to approve the draft; its failure to make progress on the Shannon stopover and the hospitals co-location plan could make this difficult.
In relation to Shannon, the stopover will continue but assurances have been given that the Irish military can carry out inspections when seen fit into the practice of so-called extraordinary rendition.
Fianna Fail have already accepted the deal unanimously, and the 3 Independents Michael Lowry, Finnian McGrath and Jackie Healy-Rae have all signed agreements with Bertie Ahern to vote for him tomorrow.
So even without the Greens, it now is certain that Bertie Ahern will be elected Taoiseach for the 3rd successive time.
Till they search and invent such intelligent weapons, that kill each other like the Gears of War!
EDIT @ 22.40: Green Party have approved the document with a majority of 86% and Trevor Sargent has resigned as party leader. He has said however that in the spirit of cooperation he will second the nomination of Bertie Ahern as Taoiseach but will not accept a cabinet position.
Monday 11 June 2007
Let's have a quick look at how the parties performed:
Fianna Fail: 78 seats
Fine Gael: 51 seats
Labour: 20 seats
PD's: 2 seats
Greens: 6 seats
Sinn Fein: 4 seats
Independents: 5 seats
Despite an incredible campaign by Enda Kenny, it seems highly likely that Bertie Ahern will be elected Taoiseach for the 3rd consecutive time this Thursday which I think, though I may be mistaken, will make him the longest serving Prime Minister in Europe to date.
The question that still remains however is who will be forming the next government. Realistically speaking, the Fine Gael/Labour lead government is out of the question, as it requires everyone except Fianna Fail and Sinn Fein. So the true question is, who will go to government with Fianna Fail.....
At present, the Greens and FF are in talks on formation of a government. Should these talks succeed, then we will likely have Trevor Sargent serving as Tanaiste and Minister for the Environment. If these talks fail, which is equally as likely as them succeeding, then the next likely goverment will be FF, the PD's and 4/5 Independents, as FF seem unwilling to do a deal with Tony Gregory. The other possibility, though highly unlikely, is a deal with Labour on the basis of stability. However this seems most unlikely as FF will not be keen to dish out 5 cabinet seats to Labour.
Looking at the results, I'll just briefly mention what went right or wrong for each of the parties.
Fianna Fail - opinion polls at the beginning of the campaign suggested they would only make as little as 50 seats. Whether or not the leaders debate gave Bertie Ahern the edge over his rival Enda Kenny is still unclear, but in several polls across different newspapers and surveys, it was evident early on that Bertie Ahern was the preferred man to lead the country ahead of Enda Kenny, the issue of which party would be in government didn't really materialise.
Fine Gael - both a win and a loss. Enda Kenny has done the impossible and restored Fine Gael to the position it was in pre-2002. However, he has failed to convince the public that he is the man that should be leading the country. The main thing Fine Gael can take from this is that come the next election they will be in a much stronger position to enter power.
Labour - arguably unchanged. Many commentators have mentioned that it was perhaps Labour's allegiance to FG that prevented them from making significant gains, that perhaps they should have stood alone as a party. Certainly one part of the strategy that backfired was FG gaining seats from Labour. Thus the overall quota of the combined parties was not as large as it could have been. Ultimately the decision between FF and FG+Lab came down to "Stick with the Devil you know, than the Devil you don't".
PD's - bad election. Coupled with the sudden resignation of Michael McDowell, speculation is flying that this is the end of the party, and members like Mary Harney may step back into FF's shoes. This result is likely due to McDowell's leadership. I don't think he was as "popular" as Mary Harney and his stance regarding Bertie's finances perhaps didn't do him much favours.
Greens - unchanged, though initially they held the balance of power. While they may be winning the student vote in places, they have obviously failed to win the older vote. Their policies on climate change are important and no doubt would form a strong government with FF should talks succeed.
Sinn Fein - not as well as was predicted. SF expected to make gains across the country, in particular the capital, but since have been reduced to just one seat held by Aengus O'Snodaigh in Dublin South Central. Thankfully, people are not bought in by their change of heart in the North, as for me SF will always have the image they have now, and should never ever be considered for government.
I'll write up another thing after Thursday to see how things turn out.
Until then, remember it's payback time at the United Abominations!
Saturday 9 June 2007
KNOW YOUR ENEMY!!!
A shot of Carriers over a bus depot, lifting infected humans to the Chimera production facility.
This is a schematic of the Chimera main assault rifle, known to ground troops as "The Bullseye" as once you are tagged by its dart, the Chimera using it don't even need to aim at you to hit you as the projectiles fired will be attracted to the dart. How the weapon actually functions is still a mystery.
Wednesday 6 June 2007
James Bond 007: Goldeneye
Console: Nintendo 64
Like the movie, GoldenEye 007 starts in Arkhangelsk, USSR during the mid-1980s, where MI6 has uncovered a secret chemical weapons facility at the Byelomorye Dam. James Bond is sent to infiltrate the facility by bungee jumping from the dam, then join his friend and fellow 00-agent Alec Trevelyan in destroying the factory. During the mission, Trevelyan is apparently killed by Colonel Arkady Ourumov, but Bond escapes by commandeering an aeroplane.
I'm not going to waste time talking about characters from the film, plus it would take far too long for me to cover everyone.
GoldenEye 007's menu system is set up as an MI6 dossier. The player has four dossiers, each representing a single save file, to choose from. The next selection screen allows the player to choose the mission he or she wishes to tackle. Each of the twenty missions can be played using one of several difficulties: Agent, Secret Agent, 00-Agent and the customizable 007 setting, which is unlocked upon fully completing the game at the 00-Agent difficulty level.
The game is one of the first FPS titles in which weapons inflict different levels of damage depending on which body part they hit. The game's hit detection also extends to the hats worn by certain enemies, which can be shot off. In addition, unarmed attacks to the back of an unsuspecting enemy's head inflict higher levels of damage than those to the front or side. Stealth is an important element of the game; fighting crowds of enemies can be dangerous, so it is advantageous to eliminate soldiers and security cameras before they can spot or hear the player.
I'll say 'moderate' for this one as its hard to call. The length of the game whilst fixed, is determined really by the difficulty you play it on, and by what feats you attempt to achieve throughout.
Huge. As you'll see below there are many unlockables to challenge the player to replay the game. There is also a 4-player multiplayer mode which played a great part to the games success. It didn't feature all the weapons and locations from the single player game, but there was certainly more than enough.
So that's this one and here's the summary.
Unlockables/Secrets: 9 (It can be just a tad difficult sometimes!)
The Silver Surfer
Tuesday 5 June 2007
1898. American President William McKinley issues an ultimatum of war to the Spanish government to give Cuba its independence instead of simply declaring war as a result of strong, isolationist elements within the United States. Spain concedes, thereby preventing the Spanish-American War.
History does not significantly alter itself from our own until the onset of the Great War. This is started not by Archduke Franz Ferdinand's assassination, but by the British and French invasion of German Togoland in August 1914. The Lusitania is not sunk and the Zimmermann Telegram was never discovered, so the United States lacked a direct reason to go to war and remained neutral.
Germany still surrenders, however; perhaps due to the failure of Vladimir Lenin's October Revolution (which would have led to the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk and the beginning of the U.S.S.R.) resulting in Russia remaining an empire under Tsar Mikhail. However, during this period of civil unrest in Russia, many provinces declare independence or are annexed by other nations. Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, and Kyrgyzstan all become independent nations, while Georgia and Armenia are absorbed by Turkey.
Under an alternate Treaty of Versailles, the European Trade Organization (ETO), a parallel of the modern European Union, is established instead of the League of Nations. The ETO leads Europe into a period of strong economic stability causing the Weimar Republic in Germany (which had not been hit by disastrous war reparations) to remain in power. The Nazi Party and Adolf Hitler disappear into obscurity as a result of this prosperity, preventing the exodus of scientists who would later work on the Manhattan Project, including Albert Einstein. Interestingly, Germany still hosts a grandiose 1936 Summer Olympics to promote its prosperity, despite a Russian boycott.
On the other hand, Russia becomes stagnant and isolationist and, citing anti-imperialist propaganda from the ETO nations and a fear of infiltration, initiates a communications blackout with the outside world in 1921. In addition to this, Russia constructs a wall, which comes to be called the "Red Curtain", across its entire Eastern European frontier. At first consisting only of barbed wire, it later becomes reinforced with concrete.
A mysterious explosion in Siberia, a radon slick poisoning the Volga river, and an environment-changing cold front moving out of Russia hint that unnatural forces are already at work inside the country.
America prospers throughout the 1920s and 30s as certain factors prevent the Great Depression, including the veto of the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act by President Herbert Hoover, quickly negating the losses of the Wall Street Crash of 1929. With the Depression non-existent and the Second World War effectively prevented, Franklin Delano Roosevelt fails to gain re-election in 1940. Roosevelt loses to isolationist Republican Noah Grace, the fictional protégé of Robert Taft, who portrays Roosevelt as a dangerous warmonger because of his policy of supporting the United European Defense (the military wing of the ETO). Grace ends up becoming the first president to serve three consecutive terms.
Under the Grace administration, the American government continues to stoke isolationist sentiment, eventually monopolizing all broadcasting (Grace's "Evening Conversations" are the equivalent of FDR's famous "Fireside Chat") and closing its borders. Military spending is also increased leading in particular to the development of a VTOL aircraft similar to today's V-22 Osprey. America still develops an atomic bomb in 1944 despite the exodus of foreign scientists such as Albert Einstein never occurred, which is detonated in Alaska.
Many familiar events of the era still happen, including Amelia Earhart's Transatlantic flight in 1928, and Jesse Owens' four gold medals at the Olympics.
Meanwhile, ominous changes begin to occur in Eastern Europe. Rumors of towns (and later whole cities) being destroyed within a single night, begin to surface. An abnormally large number of Russian refugees begin to appear in neighboring nations, all of whom mysteriously die shortly after arriving. All questions directed at the Russian government in St. Petersburg receive no reply. In the late 1940s, a group of MI6 agents begin surveying Russian air waves in the Ukraine and discover that from the thousands of radio stations that should be broadcasting to millions of citizens, only one program is found: a looping propaganda message pleading
"Brotherhood, Strength, and Fortitude...in the face of the angry night."
In December 1949, the Chimera break through multiple points on the Red Curtain, and sweep into Europe. The civilian population in the ETO countries (Britain included) are lied to and told that the Russians are the invaders, but this claim is quickly made suspect by subsequent events.
Despite the implementation of the UED's advanced plans for a Russian invasion, the Chimera prove too strong and conquer all of continental Europe a few months after the start of the invasion. In the latter half of 1950, they invade Britain, burrowing under the English Channel. Defensive plans prove useless and the British and Irish isles are overwhelmed in three months. Scattered military bases and outposts in the north populated by the remnants of the British army continue to resist.
In 1951, America responds to pleas for aid by launching Operation: Deliverance; a strike force of U.S. Army Rangers is sent to help liberate the country. Shortly after landing, the entire force of 5,000 men is wiped out, except for one man, Sergeant Nathan Hale....