Year: 2003

Inky fingers means tourist... From BBC News Visitors to the United States will soon be fingerprinted and digitally photographed under a new hi-tech security system, a top US official has said. Not news to me. I've been working in biometric-related business for the last year, and it's definitely happening. However, it only effects visitors who require a visa to enter. More as it happens. Update 14th January 2004 Well, it has happened. And it's getting crazier.... The Irish Government position on the matter » European Biometric Forum » 'The overall aim of the project is to ensure the secure, user-friendly, socially acceptable and ethical use of biometrics in Europe.' And then there's the passenger prescreening system, CAPPS II ...EU Commissioner Bolkestein for assuring us on December 16 2003 that European passenger name records would not be fed into the US computer assisted passenger prescreening system CAPPS II. Three weeks later...

A device for transmitting force We like The Yoke. Oh yes, we do. Turned up at the Dublin launch of issue #2 earlier this month. Interesting little magazine. Hard to quantify... which is always better than a publication that is entirely targeted. Checkit out.

I try to review, find they're defunct. Bah. Here I am about to review this wonderfully weird recording. I visit discover that Brainwarmer are defunct. So far the album is kinda like Bongwater meets Laibach, by way of Nashville. According to the Associated Blog: Due to the usual drug overdoses, onstage pyrotechnics, and personality conflicts with David Lee Roth, the eclectic improvisational band Brainwarmer called it quits today. More as I understand it. later: Aha: But the MP3s are missing!

According to some rather cryptic reports that are washing around on the web, the nefarious Bilderberg group are having their AGM... According to the beeb website, the Bilderberg group (the quintessential 'they' in every conspiracy theory for the last two hundred years) are having their annual shin-dig. Informers tell me that this years agenda includes blood-shortages in the vampire community, rubber chicken stocks, successful baby-seal clubbing methods, effective strategies for oppressing indigenous third-world peoples and the general take over of the world through a programme of insidious mind control, subversion of democracy and black propaganda. The agenda was also supposed to contain several talks on the subject of annexing Iraqi oil supplies, but were thrown out of the final line up on account of being an "absurd anti-Semitic brain fever on the part of the tree-hugging, saddam-lovin', cheese-eating surrender monkeys". Key note speakers are rumoured to include Vlad Tepys the...

Lots of lightning in the news. Lots of lightning in the news. The Bulgarian president has personally involved in the plight of a family, after their home was struck by lightning nine time Then there's the British golfer, Vincenzo Frascella who had his umbrella struck by lightning on both the 14th and 17th holes of Orton Meadows Golf Course in Peterborough last Wednesday. And the British copper, Carrie Kwasniewski who was struck while on duty...

Feral ferrets, belligerent badgers in the news... Been some great, improbable 'animal attack' stories in the news in recent days. These are both from the UK: Hungry ferret causes rail scare A hungry ferret has caused panic on a train by racing around carriages and eating the driver's lunch, a train company says. From BBC News Badger rampage injures five A rogue badger attacked five people during a 48-hour rampage in a quiet suburb. One man required two skin graft operations, after the badger woke him up and attacked him when he went outside to investigate. More on the BBC website Incidentally, I've been appalled by the amount of dead badgers I've seen on Irish roads this year. I've started a 'dead badger watch' on

A kangaroo was hit by a car and killed in central Austria... From Yahoo News Wed May 14, 2:13 PM ET VIENNA, Austria - Who said there are no kangaroos in Austria? Those struggling to distinguish the small alpine country in Europe from Australia were dealt a blow when a kangaroo was hit by a car and killed in central Austria. more >> For stories on Irish and other out-of-place 'roos, check out my articles Kanga-ruse and Animalous Phenomena Added 28/05/03: New Scientist: Bizarre 'horned' kangaroo fossils unearthed

Alcohol impairs the functioning of the brain for longer than previously thought, research suggests. Alcohol effect lingers on brain Alcohol impairs the functioning of the brain for longer than previously thought, research suggests. In fact, even after people think the effects have worn off, it is actually still having a negative impact on certain functions. After experimenting last night with Guinness, Moroccan wine and both Spanish and French absinthe, I can attest to this statement - daev

This article by Blather's Dave Walsh first appeared in The Irish Times of Monday, July 23, 2001, as PCs are the fabric of life '"I've never seen on these furoshiki." Maya leaned over the table. "I've certainly heard of them..." The intelligent cloth was woven from a dense matrix of fibre-optic threads, organic circuitry and piezoelastic fibre.The hair-thin optical threads oozed miniscule screen-line pixels of coloured light. A woven display screen. A flexible all-fabric computer.' - Bruce Sterling, Holy Fire Just eight years ago, in 1993, the average Westerner had never heard of the Internet, much less shown a desire to own a home PC. Back then, the idea of widespread Internet use seemed as crazy as having human moon-dwellers by 1999. We're now half-way through 2001, millions of us are "jacked into the matrix" - to use the parlance of early 1990s cyberpunk literature - but Martin Landau and...

At about 6 PM on a cold January Sunday, I hastened past the remains of the recently collapsed Brighton Pier, and wound my way past the Pavilion. On past the D.K. Rosen clothes shop (where, as legend has it, one can find the real 'Suits you' shopkeeper), and towards the bohemian Kemp Town section of Brighton, where I had an appointment to commune with the dead... The 'Brighton National Spiritual Church' is located on Edward Street, near the American Express building (a sure contender for the vilest structure in south England) and opposite Devonshire Place. An unimposing building, it didn't prove too difficult to find, even in the foggy haze that blanketed this seaside town. I had managed to strong-arm a friend of mine (we'll call him Injun Bob) into accompanying me. 'Why do you want me to go?' he had asked an hour beforehand in the pub. 'Well, you...