Year: 2001

blather.net
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This article by Blather's Dave Walsh first appeared in The Irish Times of Monday, October 29, 2001, as Don't mind the memes The fear of viruses is disproportionate to the potential of any actual virus, argues Dave Walsh. Any kind of virus, regardless of its capabilities for chaos and destruction, is a flagship for the purveyance of fear. Viruses seem to exude an evil sentience as they weasel their way around your body or your computer. How may of our doctor's visits have ended with an unsatisfying diagnosis of an unspecified "virus"? New biological viruses appear all the time . . . just like computer viruses. The scare-mongering of the last year or so would suggest that computer viruses have taken over the mantle worn by the Y2K bug until January 1st, 2000. True, viruses muck up computers and networks, and cost a fortune in downtime. Arguably, virus fear and...

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Blather on TV - the truth about Zorro (of course, he WAS an Irishman), and other mad stuff. "A certain Fabio Troncarelli, Professor of History at Italy's Viterbo University, apparently found "detailed proof" in the Vatican's Inquisition archives. He discovered that Zorro, the masked Robin Hood of Mexico was in fact a bloke from Wexford called William Lamport." Blather, on Irish TV. For a whole 30 seconds! (Ireland only) True Lives: Tell Me Captain Strange Tuesday 23 October 22:10 RTE 1 Blather's Dave Walsh appears (and speaks) briefly in this highly entertaining documentary about Irish UFO witnesses. So who will admit to knowing that that Co. Kerry was abuzz with UFO sightings just five days after the alleged 1947 Roswell happening? Also stars Eamon Ansbro, a UFO researcher referred quite a lot in the Blather archives. Directed by Colum Stapleton Tell Me Captain Strange discussion ZORRO FROM WEXFORD? About a...

blather.net
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Life getting you down? Feeling a bit out of control? How do you cope with the curve balls life throws you? Annmarie O'Connor gets personal with a pack of tarot cards. I used to be an optimist. But that was bound to end. I was always the one who'd pipe up with "come on, what's the worst that can happen?", Armageddon and the Wrath of Babylon swiftly following in tow. I'm that poor sod who never saw it coming a mile away... I found a way to trick fate. I've considered my options when it comes to damage limitation. Now there's no real clause in the "Life Handbook" is there? Otherwise we would never: a) have our credit cards rejected in front of a shop full of amused onlookers; b) assume we could drink 2 jugs of Mai-TaI and a half a bottle of tequila without falling over; c) need...

blather.net
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A cornucopia - Rael on TV in Ireland, and and guest writer Annmarie O'Connor gets up close and personal with Dublin Tarot readers. Tarot Junkies Life getting you down? Feeling a bit out of control? How do you cope with the curve balls life throws you? More... SH*TE No, we're not censoring ourselves - not exactly. Last week's Blather uttered an evil, heinous word - sh*t, with the 'i' intact. It seems that some email servers didn't kindly to that kind of Blather, and sent the issue back. 'We have scanned your email and find that some of the content is inappropriate' we were told. Another message, from BT Cellnet found that the issue included 'inappropriate language (i.e. one or more obscene words'. How daft is that? EVEN BETTER THAN THE RAEL TING, LIKE Blather hasn't mentioned Rael since RTE's The Late Late Show interviewed him in February 1998. A...

blather.net
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This article by Blather's Dave Walsh first appeared in The Irish Times of Monday, September 17, 2001, as Click here to communicate Despite all the hype, online interactivity continues to leave us underwhelmed. Dave Walsh clicks into the world of multimedia to find out what 'interactive' means and why it fails to deliver on its promises while going too far to deliver the goods Nearly a decade has passed since we were first treated to "interactive multimedia", buzzwords which arrived with the CD-ROM revolution and rapidly suffered overuse. While "multimedia" is relatively easy to define (the combined use of several media) - "interactivity" remains vague. When they first appeared, interactive CD-ROMs were feted as more than just a receptacle. Apparently, some strange alchemical transformation had incurred during manufacture, imbuing the discs with occult qualities. Less facetiously, a CD could harbour a virtual world - from the practicality of a specialist...

blather.net
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This article by Blather's Dave Walsh first appeared in The Irish Times of Monday, August 27, 2001, as Doing Sterling Work Remember Morse Code and electric typewriters? Before that there were silent movies and wax cylinders. These are the things that fascinate author Bruce Sterling, whose 'Dead Media' movement believes we can learn from the past. He talks to Dave Walsh about 'martyred media' and environmentalism In the suburbs of Austin, Texas, there is an antique shop called Radio Ranch, piled high with unfathomable pale green and chrome kitchen appliances, mysterious Bakelite communication equipment, "old medical quackery devices" and strange quasi-industrial artworks. A few miles away, across the Austin sprawl, lives author Bruce Sterling. Sterling, along with Richard Kadrey, author of The Covert Culture Handbook, is one of the creators of the Dead Media Project, variously described as "a media book of the dead" or "a naturalist's field guide for...

blather.net
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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...

blather.net
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"There are two ways to slide easily through life: to believe everything or to doubt everything. Both ways save us from thinking." - Alfred Korzybski, Manhood of Humanity QUOTATION, n. The act of repeating erroneously the words of another. - Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary Some time ago, we grew weary of writing about the paranormal. It was a pathetic state of affairs - the bizarre became, for us, the mundane. So, we shut up, and stopped writing about it. Now, without for one minute claiming that we somehow caused a fugue in the Hibernian gestalt or a committed grievous quantum act, for some reason people in Ireland stopped sending us weird shit. We miss it, in some twisted way. Back in 1998 or 1999, a constant stream of UFO sightings kept piling into our mailbox. The papers were regularly reporting on ill-behaved poltergeists and ghostly hauntings. Not anymore. We...

blather.net
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"The most savage controversies are about matters as to which there is no good evidence either way." -- Bertrand Russell Part 1: Tempis Fugit... Some Blather readers may remember the 'Norway' fiasco, back in the summer of 1998, when I travelled to Norway, in search of lake monsters and mayhem. Those of you who don't remember, check out http://www.blather.net/archives2/issue2no16.html As expected, weird aquatic beasts were thin on the ground in Norway, and even more sparse in the water, but the chaos was abundant, the company was mixed, the craic mighty, the lunatics were depressing, and the post-expedition fall-out diabolical, with Swedish lake monster hunter Jan-Ove Sundberg annoying anyone who he seemed to think had anything to do with him *not* finding a lake monster in Lake Seljord. A concise record of the madness of those crazy seventeen days is still circulating on the Discovery Channel, on a programme called 'The...

blather.net
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'Merdre' - Pere Ubu, Ubu Roi And so Pere Ubu issued the very word that the finally threw the audience at the Theatre de l'Oeuvre into a frothing frenzy, during the 1896 staging of Alfred Jarry's (1873-1907) infamous Ubu Roi. The Parisians didn't take well to the absurd affront delivered upon them by the bold 23 year-old playwright. This broadside of "Shite!" successfully outraged the bourgeois, and shot Jarry to strange stardom aboard a wave of scandal. Jarry's influence has been considerable. While he himself owes much to Rabelais, movements such as Dadaism, Surrealism, Futurism, Expressionism Cubism, Theatre of the Absurd - all owe debts to his works. Picasso, Flann O'Brien, The Marx Brothers, the Goons, Mad magazine, Robert Anton Wilson, Monty Python and their spawn were all influenced by Jarry, whether they knew it or not . . . The Ubu plays came as a cultural shock to the...