The Christian Brothers Leather

Irish Christian Brothers strap
The Christian Brothers ‘leather’ a mass produced circa 30cm (one foot) length of leather that had old pennies sewn into their several layers. ‘Six of the best’ on each outstretched hand would have you numb for ten or fifteen minutes before the excruciating pain kicked in.

 

Irish Water and Our Mind Numbingly Incompetent Politicians

Free Irish WaterThe Irish Water debacle shows just how mind numbingly incompetent our politicians are. Remember when they were in control of the telephone system? There was a two year waiting list for a telephone, if you could get one in the first place.  Can you imagine the state we would be in if these incompetents were in control of our Electricity, Gas, Internet or Phone systems.

We need a single water utility and people need to pay for the water they use and yes disconnection should be an option. If there are ability to pay issues, that can be dealt with through the Social Welfare system.

Like the ESB, Irish Water needs to be independent of the politicians we are unfortunately saddled with in this wonderful little Republic.

Of course we need the politicians to create this change, back to the headline in this post……

Basically our politicians have created their very own Cute Hoors Ground Hog Day

Leadership! What leadership?

Incompetant Politiciana and Iris Water

Trying to Govern the Ungovernable Who Want Free Water With Cute Hoors Muddying the Water

Free Tap WaterIt would appear that one of the biggest problems the powers that be have in getting a single water utility up and running and having people pay for what they use, is the fact that a serious amount of people in this country think that the water that comes out of their tap, and the water that’s used to flush away their human waste is directly connected to the amount of water that falls from the sky.

Dublin Water Resevoir
They then make the leap that gathering the water into reservoirs that will hold enough to guarantee a constant supply, cleaning it from contaminants to make it potable (for those with a challenged lexicon, it means making it drinkable) and then managing the vast majority of the water again as it flows through the waste system and must be cleaned before being released back into the environment, somehow costs nothing.

 

Who would envy an incoming Government who have to try Govern the Ungovernable? Especially when one of the informal supporters of the minority Government, having come back in from the cold have instantly reverted to their standard Cute Hoor way of doing things.

 

Dublin Water Treatment Plant

Dublin Water Treatment Plant

 

 

Closing the city down when there is an accident on the M50

I passed north bound on the M50 at 8:35 on the morning of the 11th November the first of the recent M50 accidents. At that time, 3 hours 15 minutes after the accident, the only thing that was left on the roadway was the vehicles that were involved, the CSI team and another team of Garda managing the closure of the M50 at the N3 off ramp

An Irish Times picture shows that the outside lane (and most of the centre lane) was free of any obstruction
M50 Accident 11th November 2015

As far as I am concerned there is no reason why this one lane could not have been opened. There were enough police managing the closure to make this possible safely.

I would challenge the CSI team to tell us what extra they could discover from this outside lane, in the five hours following this picture been taken that they did not get in the previous 3 hours. Those numbers may not be perfectly accurate but I think people get my drift.

Accidents where people die need to be properly investigated and as one lady commented on radio last week, while we might have been delayed, we got to our destination alive and well so I am not advocating a lessening of CSI activity, I just think that the CSI team should include someone who focus is on the efficiency of the investigation in the context of getting the road open again.

A City Boy on Farming 17 Bees : To Bee or not to Bee and the Survival of Mankind

Originally posted to the Irish Executives Bloggers in Residence on 22nd October 2015

I have always thought of bees as one of those things that could trigger a human catastrophe if they disappeared, up there on a scale of destruction with the loss of the Amazon Rain Forest or the various warm sea currents around the globe. The concept being that certain things we take for granted could disappear and start an irreversible chain reaction that would make the planet uninhabitable for humans.

The recently published “All Ireland Pollinator report” prompted me to investigate the importance of bees to our agriculture and our existence in general

The first results of the investigation produced the following quote attributed to Einstein

“If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe, then man would have only four years of life left. No more bees, no more pollination, no more plants, no more animals, no more man.”

A pretty stark prediction by someone as eminent as Einstein (I will return to this later) is a serious call to action especially when the facts suggest that we are on the slippery slope to pollinator extinction. So, with The Sword of Damocles in the air further research on the current position of pollinators was needed.

Globally bee keepers are reporting a decline of between 30% and 50% in the honeybee population. In Ireland it is estimated that 30% of bee species face extinction including three species specific to Ireland. The EU Commission report on 2000 species of bees shows that 9% are threatened with extinction.

So what’s causing the decline? The main and most obvious cause is due to habitat loss of hedgerows and wild meadows as a result of intensification in farming and the increase in the use of pesticides. There is also the issue of intensive farming of the honeybee as the main commercial pollinator of choice. It is the farmed honeybee that is most under attack from pesticides and colony diseases. Another cause of loss of habitat is urban development and climate change

So, is Einstein’s prediction correct, when the bees go, we have four years left? Well, first off, Einstein never said any such thing. This looks like a classic case of a useful quote’s being invented and put into the mouth of a famous person to add credence. (pic is photo shopped). There is some justification for using this kind of comment going back as far a Darwin, who mentioned the importance of the connection between bees and man. Since then some version of the importance of bees to our continued existence has been regularly quoted and obviously expanded until the quote arbitrarily attributed to Einstein eventually evolved. (Darwin, Evolution…..)

Interestingly the first version of the exact quote comes from Ireland when, in 1966 “The Irish Beekeeper” printed a remark attributed to Einstein that gave a time limit for mankind quoting Abeilles et fleurs.
“Professor Einstein, the learned scientist, once calculated that if all bees disappeared off the earth, four years later all humans would also have disappeared. Abeilles et fleurs, June, 1965.”
(full story from an investigation by “Quote Investigator” )

The most “Authoritative study” I could find on the subject concluded that primary food production, and especially our staple foods, is independent of insect pollination. Sixty percent of global food production comes from crops that do not depend on animal pollination, although our diet would be dramatically impacted upon as 35% of crops depend on pollinators.

Thirty five percent is still a significant number and bees and other pollinating insects play an essential role in our ecosystems. The annual worldwide economic value of bees’ pollination work has been estimated around €265 billion. So from a purely economic point of view we need the bees.

While our imminent extinction following the loss of bees is not a reality, we do need to make some changes to protect the 35% of our food chain that is dependent on pollinators and particularly bees.

Apart from our food, the psychological impact on humans if flowers disappeared might be a bigger problem than the loss of certain foodstuffs. Who has not enjoyed the pleasure of a summer afternoon in a garden awash with colour from flowers and the lazy hum of bees as they gather nectar in the warm, heavy sunshine?

What about honey and all the wonderful benefits it bestows on our daily existence? Bees are the only insect that produces food eaten by man and honey is the only food that includes all the substances necessary to sustain life, including enzymes, vitamins, minerals, and water; and it’s the only food that contains “pinocembrin”, an antioxidant associated with improved brain functioning.

So, we know we have a problem, it may not be as big as some of the scaremongering types would like us to believe but it is a problem that needs addressing. Of course one of the most important things about fixing problems is knowing that we have one in the first place. Now that we know, what are we going to do about it?

The actions set out in the “All Ireland Pollinator Plan” are certainly a good place to start.

Their main recommendations are
Plant patches of urban areas with wildflowers.
Incorporate pollinator friendly plants into gardens.
Allow lawn weeds to flower.
Incorporate wildflower strips within cropped fields.
Allow field margins to grow wild
Incorporate clovers into grass-dominated swards.
Incorporate artificial solitary bee nests into urban gardens

Farmers can help by taking on board the replanting of biodiversity friendly hedgerows and wild flower strips between fields. There is a major question about the effect of the pesticides used in intensive farming on pollinators and while there is some argument about this, there certainly seems to be some cause and effect so farmers need to consider embracing more ecological management systems for crop management. The “BurrenLIFE programme” is a good example of farming methods in harmony with the environment

Government and local authorities can help by establishing bee friendly habitats along roadways and other public areas.

Individual householders can help by considering bee friendly initiatives for our gardens. Some good suggestions in “Gardening & Bees”

There are a huge amount of articles to read on the relationship between humans and bees. I liked this one by Eimear Chaomhánach a lot “The Bee, its Keeper and Produce, in Irish and other Folk Traditions”

Bees have been around for millions of years, by all accounts they are a very resilient life form so I don’t think we are in any immediate danger of destroying them completely and we certainly are not facing a four years to extinction scenario for the human race but perhaps recognising and addressing the problems our bee partners are having will lead us to a more sustainable way of managing our interaction with our mother, Earth.


Brendan Palmer is a Director of Electronic Recycling
Unit 20, Jamestown Business Pk. Finglas, Dublin 11

Driving Around Dublin 1965 and 1976

Routemaster Bus Dublin 1960

This was a 1965 CIE Training video seen from the cab of a
Routemaster bus Driving around Dublin

This 1976 video Driving around Dublin in a MiniMoke to the
tune of Canned Heat’s On the Road Again

The killing of Cecil the Lion by Walter Palmer

The following is the statement of Eden Prairie, Minnesota dentist Walter Palmer in an attempt to justify the killing of Cecil the Lion in Zimbabwe

Killer of Cecil the LionJuly 28, 2015
“In early July, I was in Zimbabwe on a bow hunting trip for big game. I hired several professional guides and they secured all proper permits. To my knowledge, everything about this trip was legal and properly handled and conducted.
“I had no idea that the lion I took was a known, local favorite, was collared and part of a study until the end of the hunt. I relied on the expertise of my local professional guides to ensure a legal hunt.
“I have not been contacted by authorities in Zimbabwe or in the U.S. about this situation, but will assist them in any inquiries they may have.
“Again, I deeply regret that my pursuit of an activity I love and practice responsibly and legally resulted in the taking of this lion.”

Lets parse this
“To my knowledge, everything about this trip was legal and properly handled and conducted.” Obviously Walter’s knowledge of what is legal is quite limited. No mention here of what is right, only the usual “it was legal” mantra of the delusionally entitled

“ I had no idea that the lion I took”
The lion “I took” , what century is this guy living in?
Explanation: Gun toting (bow and arrow) Walter “took”: Normal human being “Killed”

“was a known, local favourite”
So it would be alright if the lion was a nobody then, typical American attitude that only the famous matter..
Walter is now famous; I hope he enjoys his fame

“I relied on the expertise of my local professional”
It was the other fellahs fault, standard cop out for those who refuse to take responsibility for their own selfishness.

“an activity I love and practice responsibly”
That’s alright then, Walter loves it so it must be alright, the fact that the vast majority of intelligent human beings think that his behaviour is abhorrent, rates below his love of killing ( ref: “taking” above)

The fact that we share a surname, (first mentioned in 1171) means that “I may” share a genetic connection with this Gobshite, He’s a disgrace to an honourable name.

I sincerely hope that the killing of this beautiful animal will result in “the great white hunter” Walter being ostracised, pilloried and living out the rest of his existence in drug of his choice haze of regret,  although on reflection, he’s probably too stupid to feel regret.

Cecil the Lion killer

 

I wonder if the denizens of Eden Prairie, Minnesota are proud of their “Great White Hunter”

The Top Five Regrets of the Dying

Bronnie Ware, Top five regrets of the dyingBronnie Ware, is an Australian palliative care nurse providing medical care for people during the last weeks of their lives. Recording the dying thoughts of her patients she wrote a book “The Top Five Regrets of the Dying”.

This is her Top five regrets of the dying

  1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of    me.
  2. I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.
  3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
  4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
  5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.

We have all heard these expressed in different ways. How many of these ring a bell with you?

What are you going to do about it?

16 Irish and 148 Britons Dead

Shock horror if this headline was in relation to a terrorist attack but it’s not, it is the number of people that will be killed on our roads this month, mostly by cars and predominantly by driver error combined with inappropriate speed.

We have a maximum speed limit of 120kph in Ireland and 70mph and yet it is still legal to sell,
buy and drive cars that can travel at speeds of up to 260kph/160mph.

Cars are regularly advertised on their power and 0-100kph time.

We know that speed and cars kill, we do nothing…..

If we are really serious about our shock horror when people die, this is something that we can actually control.

The question is this, why does nobody seem to care? Are the car manufacturers and the countries that benefit most from their manufacture so powerful that our politicians won’t even recognise this as an issue, never mind doing something about it.

With modern chip technology it is very easy to limit a car’s top speed, we do it with trucks.The same technology could be used in combination with imbedded RFID readers to prevent cars from braking a speed limit in a controlled zone.

All that’s required is the will to do it. Or have we actually decided that killing 200 Irish and 1775 Britons by car every year is in fact an acceptable level of death?

Tales from the Raj

British officersIn the great days of the British Empire, a new commanding officer was sent to an African jungle outpost to relieve the retiring colonel.

After welcoming his replacement and showing the usual courtesies (gin and tonic, cucumber sandwiches etc) that protocol decrees, the retiring colonel said, “You must meet my Adjutant, Captain Smithers. He’s my right-hand man, he’s really the strength of this office. His talent is simply boundless.”

Smithers , was summoned and introduced to the new CO, who was surprised to meet a humpbacked, one eyed, toothless, hairless, scabbed and pockmarked specimen of humanity, a particularly unattractive man less than three feet tall. “Smithers, old man, tell your new CO about yourself.”

African Witch Doctor“Well, sir, I graduated with honours from Sandhurst, joined the regiment and won the Military Cross and Bar after three expeditions behind enemy lines. I’ve represented Great Britain in equestrian events, and won a Silver Medal in the middleweight division of the Olympics. I have researched the history of…..”

Here the colonel interrupted, “Yes, yes, never mind that Smithers, he can find all that in your file.

Tell him about the day you told the witch doctor to f**k off.”