Words Myte Bite

Funny can be whatever you want it to be. The Words and Musings of Paul O'Malley. Sort of a Blog!

16 November
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IRC’s Like Link

I LIKE THIS!

Seriously!

Yeap, I do like this!

This page is available to anyone to use on IRC or other media thanks to K Verens for the idea.

14 November
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Buying other people presents

So the season of manic consumerism is upon us. For myself,  this starts around now because it is my wife’s birthday around this time of the year.

One of the comments passed during the last week was her liking of planets and stars, I thought drat, we already had Prof Brian Cox’s Wonders of the solar system BBC dvds. Then it struck me. There are some brilliant books which show some amazing pictures from the Hubble,  I found this one, Gile’s Hubble Window On The Universe. Something strange happened as I flicked though the book, it was a sense of something past, it was actually what inspired the déjà vu post. This morning the full thought broke though. As a small boy in the sixties and early seventies, I remember standing outside on cold winters evenings with my pals sliding on ice, we also used to look up at the sky. Others would talk about various stars, and I could never pick out the stars, it was not that my eyesight was not good, it was exactly the opposite, I saw too many objects, it is only as a adult I have lost that distance vision and can now see the individual stars as they are named in the various constellations.

To demonstrate this, I want you to look at this picture, I would have seen whites and blues with some twinkling as a child, but the sky was almost as populated with lights as that picture is. It was just too hard to align the clean pictures that one saw in books or magazines of the various constellations with what I saw. Amazing to only understand it now.

This picture is from a NASA and STScI collection. (In most cases they don’t exert copyright, instead they put their works in the public domain.)

hubble picture

Hubble Picture

13 November
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Déjà vu

We’ve all had it,

it’s more of a slight sensation,

less of a memory,

less of a feeling,

these words are too powerful to describe this thing,

this visitor from the past.

It struggles with it’s own identity,

less than self assured,

blurring lines,

not able to make the here and now.

It tries the journey from that place where memories rest.

Suddenly,

there it is almost reminding us,

we are never exactly sure of what it is.

Bravely we soldier on,

we pretend not to be disturbed by this anomaly,

in an attempt to exert control,

we pull out a sticker  from our box of labels,

naming that fleeting glimpse of something : “déjà vu”.

Later,

we consider the interloper,

comfortable in the knowledge that the conscious self is usually not overwhelmed by memories.

We congratulate our logical minds,

for hard work,

filtering,

creating  relevant thoughts for use,

stopping leaks that don’t belong.

Now I’m left wondering, is this why we have memories?

Is it as it appears to be, so what I want to know is this:

Does the brain rely on memories to help us know what we should do next?

If this is the case, can I remind me of what I was doing?

15 August
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I’m sorry we can’t tell you how far Dublin is, but it is that way!

I found this sign in Edenderry.

How Far Is Dublin?

The nice person who made it left out the distance to Dublin.

03 August
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Tuesday’s thought for the day

Open Streetmap (OSM) whose web site is unsurprisingly  http://www.openstreetmap.org is a user generated site, you too can contribute. I live in Dublin, Ireland and one of my pal’s is a prolific cartographer on OSM. This got me thinking, here are people all around the world doing things in a common way by mutual agreement for a common objective. It is a bit like Free Software projects in general.

I am going to suggest that the data gathered by the Irish Government belongs to the Irish People it should be made available (within the parameters of the law) so that people in this country can exploit it in business or for other purposes that may help the Irish Economy grow. An obvious example is the OSI which is a government based monopoly which appears to generate cash, it would be nice to see what parts of it are really cash generating, and not just public monies being moved like wooden dollars. Wooden dollars are money you never get but appears on your bottom line as though you earned it, for instance recharging things within a company, a division could look very profitable but when you take away the “super charge” they are raising against other departments they could be found to be just providing a necessary service and charging a lot for it.

Lets think medical for a moment, imagine if no matter where you walked into a surgery or hospital in your country the doctor that sees you can see your history, perhaps they have to have an id card or code to get that information made available to them, or have an emergency procedure to access it if you turn up unable to help them to help you. That kind of information flow would hugely facilitate the level of important data that a patient may forget due to the stress or trauma they are undergoing.

What blocks this kind of thing?

Incompatible systems all claiming to help the data owner in each location manage their data but preventing the information help the public for whom all the services should be working to help.

Lets look at academia, the person who writes a paper and submits it to a peer review journal gets lauded for their important paper which then goes on to be quoted by others in the field. That looks great, however here is the cost to society, society paid for the research, it got owned by some publication which then places constraints on the author and their organisation as the originating body has to pay a high price for the peer reviewed journal.

The thoughts that follow on from this is that these things seem to be to be overly complex expensive costs to society, society has already paid to gather this data, it should be released for a nominal fee, the work is done, the payment for that work has already been made, society can benefit from the labours of those it has employed then it should there is a thing called innovation, but if you make the cost of entry too high people can’t innovate. Innovation is small incremental improvements on what went before.

Before I start delivering a full blown lecture I will stop here. ;-)