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posted by [personal profile] mylescorcoran at 12:04pm on 05/03/2010 under , , ,
This website allows you to determine which nearby stars are about to enter your personal light-cone. By this reckoning my birthday is only 2 weeks away from reaching this beauty. HR 483 is a lovely little binary with good potential for hosting life.

I must remember to wave to the neighbours.
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posted by [personal profile] mylescorcoran at 01:34pm on 23/02/2010 under , , ,
They already seems to be getting some webtime this week, but the amazing ruins unearthed at Göbekli Tepe in Turkey are worth reading about.

I'm delighted and somewhat awed at the idea that our ancestors were building temples, and had the social structures to support such building 11,500 years ago.
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Because all the cool kids are doing it: my gaming DNA. )
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I watched Kim Jong-Il's Comedy Club on BBC Four last night. It was a compelling piece of television and it's hard to articulate my reaction to it.

Quoting from the BBC website's description: "A journalist with no scruples and a pair of Danish comedians travel to North Korea with a mission to use humour to uncover the truth behind one of the world's most notorious regimes."

Essentially the three men, Mads Brugger, Danish journalist, and Jakob and Simon, two Danish/Korean comedians, posed as a Danish cultural exchange group hoping to perform a well-known Danish skit as theatre for a North Korean audience. In the process they shone a light on the remarkably twisted and Orwellian life of North Korea, and in so doing they faced the reality of their own lies too.

I was both moved to laughter (painful to me as I have a very sore chest from coughing lately) and tears. The absurd contrast between the edifice of lies and fear that underpins everything in North Korea and the presentation of a sketch about a transvestite called Mrs Kristoff to a solemn audience of North Koreans had me in stitches, while the segment on the show school filled with indoctrinated children stopped the laughter with chilling speed.

I had the greatest respect and sympathy for Jakob, the younger of the two comedians. He has a condition involving a muscular palsy. This let him act as the troupe's voice of truth. No Korean could understand a word he spoke in Danish, so he was able to comment in real time about the regime. A brave and funny young man who, it must be said, was being used for propaganda purposes by both the North Koreans and Mads Brugger, yet managed to stand apart from both agendas.

Best and most troubling piece of television I've watched in a long while.
Mood:: moved
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From Daily Kos, with WTF analysis at Feministe.

I shudder to think what a similar poll would reveal about the Irish, but damn, them's some confused people right there.
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posted by [personal profile] mylescorcoran at 10:00am on 30/01/2010 under , , , ,

(lifted from Warren Ellis)
Mood:: awestruck
location: On a tiny speck
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posted by [personal profile] mylescorcoran at 11:59am on 27/01/2010 under ,
The last couple of Sundays we played TransAmerica and Ticket to Ride: Europe with [profile] alaimacerc. I won the TransAmerica handily, more or less by pure luck.

The TtR:E game was more interesting, with a bit of a struggle in and around Berlin, and crappy tickets for all three of us. Sam managed a nice network out of the Balkans and took the longest route bonus easily. Alai was royally shafted by his tickets, unfortunately.

Final scores were Alai 71 (including -23 missing tickets), Myles 104 (45 in tickets) and Sam 118 (38 in tickets + 10 for longest route).
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posted by [personal profile] mylescorcoran at 10:12am on 12/01/2010 under ,
Had [profile] alaimacerc round on Sunday for curry and boardgames. He made the slog through the snow and slush so we broke out my new copy of Puerto Rico, a Christmas present from my wife.

It was a heavy shipping game, with surprisingly weak building from me and Alai. We ran out the VPs to end the game. Final scores were Alai 28vp+18bldg = 46, Myles 37vp+19bldg = 56, Sam 26vp+31bldg = 57! Sam was the only one to get any of the 4-pt building manned, which netted her 13 points. Pipped at the post, but a nicely close game in the end.
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Atheist Ireland says it much better than I can. Can we please grow up?
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posted by [personal profile] mylescorcoran at 10:49am on 28/12/2009 under ,
Best birthday wishes to [personal profile] curiouswombat and a turkey-free day to all.
location: our new house!
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posted by [personal profile] mylescorcoran at 04:15pm on 17/12/2009 under , , ,
I'm off work tomorrow to pack. I will be packing on Saturday and Sunday. I've got Monday off too and will pack then. And then?

And then on Wednesday the removals company turns up and moves our stuff to the new house.

Just have to stay sane for a few more days and then it will all be over.

Then the unpacking will start.
Mood:: just allowing myself to hope a tiny bit
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posted by [personal profile] mylescorcoran at 06:34pm on 14/12/2009 under , , , ,
Thanks to [personal profile] gillo and [personal profile] sammywol

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We had [profile] alaimacerc and [personal profile] irishkate round last for a game of Carcassonne: Hunters & Gatherers. This was the first time in a long time that we'd played C:H&G and [personal profile] irishkate's first exposure to the Carcassonne oeuvre.

As usual the bloody tiles never turned up when we wanted them and I was overcautious about placing my fishing huts. Nonetheless I took an early lead with a great little fishing river that just kept branching.

Alai then pulled ahead, on forests I think, while Sam did very nicely by playing the long game and grabbed one large meadow and secured it with two hunters to Alai's one, and managed to get onto the extensive river system I had a hut on for more points there.

Final scores were Irishkate 71, Alai 74, Myles 83 and Sam 98. Well done Sam! Must play it again soon. I like tile laying and I love the tile artwork.
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Peter Watts had a bloody awful day. Also seen on Boing Boing and James Nicoll's LJ. I'm sending a donation to his legal fund at
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posted by [personal profile] mylescorcoran at 12:26pm on 04/12/2009 under , , ,
The ongoing business with the new house, the spiralling costs and the long delays in getting things completed, have left me depressed and worried. We'll manage despite the oncoming budget and inevitable drop in income that it will entail, but it's worrying all the same. So this video really cheered me up today (link originally via Radio Lab on WNYC but here via anyoneeverything). Sometimes it's better to look at each moment and let the worries wait.
Mood:: 'worried' worried
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posted by [personal profile] mylescorcoran at 03:41pm on 26/11/2009 under , , ,
I thought I had a lot of tapes to worry about but then I saw the tape library for the Large Hadron Collider.

More generally here are many cool pics of the incredible technology of the LHC.
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Peter Watts speaks his mind (and good sense) on the CRU email leak and surrounding blogosphere typhoon. More here at Real Climate.

Good to see people speaking up for the public recognition of scientists as human like anyone else.
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posted by [personal profile] mylescorcoran at 09:26pm on 23/11/2009 under ,
We had [profile] alaimacerc round last night and played Ticket to Ride: Europe. It was a very north-western sort of game, with very little track laid south or east of Zurich for the first half of the game. I thought I was the winner when clinching the 10-pt longest route bonus to leapfrog over Sam's score, but [profile] alaimacerc pulled a massive 60-something points in tickets and leapfrogged me in turn. Final scores were as close as I've seen - [profile] alaimacerc 116, Myles 114, Sam 112.
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WTF? Up to five (5) years in prison for:

"(1) Every one who

(a) practices or enters into or in any manner agrees or consents to practice or enter into

(i) any form of polygamy, or

(ii) any kind of conjugal union with more than one person at the same time, whether or not it is by law recognized as a binding form of marriage, or

(b) celebrates, assists or is a party to a rite, ceremony, contract or consent that purports to sanction a relationship mentioned in subparagraph (a)(i) or (ii), is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years.

Evidence in case of polygamy

(2) Where an accused is charged with an offence under this section, no averment or proof of the method by which the alleged relationship was entered into, agreed to or consented to is necessary in the indictment or on the trial of the accused, nor is it necessary on the trial to prove that the persons who are alleged to have entered into the relationship had or intended to have sexual intercourse."

I say again: WTF? I call on all Canadian residents to go out and get married to at least two other people as soon as possible.
Mood:: boggled
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posted by [personal profile] mylescorcoran at 12:36pm on 12/11/2009 under ,
Finally had another Wednesday night gaming session and played Ra the Dice Game. Luck was not with us and many suns were rolled, making for a quick game. Ra smiled on [profile] alaimacerc, however, who won handily aided by a generous Nile. Final scores Alai 49 (about 33 from Nile floods!), Sam & Irishkate 40, Myles 38.
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posted by [personal profile] mylescorcoran at 08:58pm on 03/11/2009 under , , ,
Rowan and I had a fun exchange while she got ready for bed.

"Who travels through Space and Time wearing a sheet?" Rowan asked.

"Doctor Boo!"

I retaliated with "who travels through Space and Time in a big sticky pot? Doctor Glue!"

Inevitably, after a few further exchanges Rowan hit upon the brown smelly Timelord and we dissolved in giggles.
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posted by [personal profile] mylescorcoran at 02:46pm on 02/11/2009 under , ,
This is a beautiful slide show of astronomical images starting with the Pleiades and leapfrogging out to the Hercules cluster of galaxies, and looking back in time from Copernicus to the age of the trilobites.
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posted by [personal profile] mylescorcoran at 10:31pm on 31/10/2009 under , , ,

Halloween costumes
Originally uploaded by MylesC
We went out trick-or-treating at [personal profile] irishkate's place with both the offspring this time. Rowan remembered the mighty swag to be had and the gloriously over the top decorations on some of the houses in Carrigaline and was excited to flit about in her vampire bat costume (made lovingly by sammywol). Oscar was a little more confused by the whole affair but got into the swing of things, calling out 'nice Halloween' to passers-by and 'good costume' to anyone passing. His opalescent Lurex ghost sheet was a hit and the little blond ghost with the white face and glittering costume attracted plenty of admiring comment.
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posted by [personal profile] mylescorcoran at 01:00pm on 22/10/2009 under , , ,
I'm having a hell of a time getting the phone account at the new house transferred to our name. Two weeks ago I was told, as we didn't either the account number or the phone number of the (still active) line to the house that I should fax the request to Eircom and provide a contact number for them to follow up on.

Two weeks and I've heard nothing.

I rang today and got the useful information that dialling 199000 from the house phone will let us find out what the phone number is. This worked so I rang Eircom with that number and asked to transfer the account. Can't do that, I need the account number. I don't have that, the executors don't appear to have it either and the woman I spoke at Eircom certainly wasn't going to give it out to me. She did tell me than neither the previous owner nor the executors' names were on the account, so I'm flummoxed as to whom the account actually belongs.

In short I have a working phone that someone else is paying for but I've no obvious way of getting it put in our names, nor getting broadband etc. set up.

I fucking hate Eircom.
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posted by [personal profile] mylescorcoran at 03:05pm on 21/10/2009

And get a little teary-eyed to be honest.

(Thanks to Glinner for the link.)
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posted by [personal profile] mylescorcoran at 10:59am on 21/10/2009
It's Ursula Le Guin's 80th birthday today. I can't think of another author who has given me such pleasure over so much of my reading life. Happy birthday, Ursula Le Guin, and thank you.
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These images are awe-inspiring.
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posted by [personal profile] mylescorcoran at 11:38am on 15/10/2009 under ,
Apparently Race for the Galaxy is off the playlist because of the AI game turning some of us in RftG sharks, so we turned instead to the ancestor, San Juan, which we played [profile] alaimacerc last night. It was a pretty close game, final scores Sam 34, Alai 32, Myles 30. Alai scored fully half his points from the Guild Hall, which I can't help but think is a wee bit broken. However, Sam managed to win with combination of Chapel, City Hall and good production so the Guild Hall is not unbeatable. If Alai had managed a couple of tobacco in place of his acres of sugar he might have won.
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Dubner and Levitt, the authors of Freakonomics, are just a bit completely wrong on CO2 emissions and favour bonkers geoengineering instead. Well there's a surprise.
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I'm a bit behind on my game reports. I plead a dose of the dreaded lurgy that laid [personal profile] sammywol low. We played cards last Wednesday when our assembled brainpower couldn't decide on a boardgame. We choose Russian Trawlers, as Oh Hell is know in our family. Sam won on 43 points I think, I came second on 40 points, [profile] alaimacerc came third and [personal profile] irishkate fourth, but I'm not sure of their scores. None of us really covered ourselves in glory. Sam was just a bit better at estimating her likely take of tricks, and most of the points in the game came from bids of zero.

Last night we had [profile] alaimacerc round and played Knizia's Res Publica. It's card trading and melding game with a pair of decks representing tribes and technological advances. I'm not normally much cop at it but did alright last night mostly through lucky draws I think. Final scores Myles 37, Sam 33, [profile] alaimacerc 30.
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Sam was feeling poorly last night, a prelude to a bad bout of gastro-enteritis, and retired to bed early. This left me, [profile] alaimacerc and [personal profile] irishkate to play a three hander of Race for the Galaxy. The three of us have been playing a lot of the computer version of the game recently but this was the first face-to-face game in a good while.

I had Galactic Developers, Kate had the Damaged Alien Factory and Alai had Earth's Lost Colony, I think. It was a beauty of a game for me, with a consume/produce cycle that nearly made me weep for the leeching cheesiness of it. I think I was getting 4 cards to my hand just for producing, not to mention bonus cards for Development and Consume phases. Final scores reflectd a certain improvement in play from the AI games I suspect. Myles: 52 (31 from VPs!), IrishKate: 42 and Alai 36.
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It's Blasphemy Day, get you blaspheming tongues to work. Center for Inquiry and the Council for Secular Humanism even have competitions for free expression and top blaspheming. Thanks to the New Humanist for the link.

(Deadline for the blasphemy contest is tomorrow; sorry I'm so late with the link.)
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We had [profile] alaimacerc round last night and played a couple of light games. The first was Heckmeck am Bratwurmeck, AKA Pickomino, which I won with my usual flair, strategic insight and cunning tactical mind. Actually I was a flukey a cheese-meister. Lucky, lucky, lucky, luck, luck, luck. Final scores Sam 4, Alai 2, Myles 15.

As punishment I was nearly forced to play Res Publica, but we plumped for TransAmerica as the least challenging to our poor tired brains. Even that proved too much for us and we bowed to Alai's inevitable victory when light failed and Sam and I were pressed up against the finish rail with something like 8 or 9 spaces between us and Alai. Lady Luck, she is a fickle dame.

We also ate something called Rocky Road from Tescos, which seems to be a sort of chocolate thing in a foil tray with small marshmallows scattered throughout. It was tooth-curlingly sweet. Shudders.
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As last year, I remember Stansilav Petrov and his bravery on this day back in 1983. He risked his career and did not follow Soviet Air Force doctrine that would have led to a nuclear war.

Particularly in light of Dead Hand, which was in the news I read this week.

Thank you, Colonel Petrov.
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I love my tribe, particularly the Canadian contingent. A gang of Edmonton amateur radio and space enthusiasts launched a balloon-borne camera, known as BEAR-4 (Balloon Experiments with Amateur Radio), which reached over 100,000 feet.

As seen at and the BEAR home page.
Mood:: amazed
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posted by [personal profile] mylescorcoran at 11:25am on 24/09/2009 under , ,
Yes, Cluedo. [personal profile] irishkate mentioned that she'd never played it and my wife took it upon herself to correct this terrible gap in IK's childhood memories. We played Cludeo. I won and I was the murderer too. There's definitely something in the water at Cluedo Mansion.
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posted by [personal profile] mylescorcoran at 11:23am on 24/09/2009 under ,
Best birthday wishes from R'yleh and the fishes. Have a good 'un.
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posted by [personal profile] mylescorcoran at 03:42pm on 21/09/2009 under , , , , ,
The SCP Foundation is just a marvelous piece of work. I'm all fired up for a Warehouse 23 game.
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Late to post, but here it is anyway. We had[profile] alaimacerc and [personal profile] irishkate over on Wednesday night for a boardgame session. We played the new Ra the Dice Game by Reiner Knizia, to give [personal profile] irishkate a chance to try it out. What a lot of suns! It was a game with more disasters and 3 point sun scores than before. None of this made much of a difference to me, as Sam and Kate dominated the last epoch scoring. I blame the committee who rolled my first couple of rounds while I was upstairs getting DD back to sleep after she woke a little flustered and upset.

Final scores Myles 32, Alai 38, Sam 45 and Irishkate 46. Well done, that Kate.
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posted by [personal profile] mylescorcoran at 03:34pm on 14/09/2009 under ,
I've been ringing around builders, chopping down the triffids in the garden, making checklists, pulling down ratty old curtains and drinking tea in our new house. It's finally beginning to feel real.

Better yet, with the few days of glorious weather the house seems full of light in the afternoons. It lifts the mood, I can tell you.



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