D’ems fightin’ words

I came across the article last week that detailed the genetic map of europe. Biologists have constructed a genetic map of Europe showing the degree of relatedness between its various populations.

I also keep an eye on the strange maps blog which posted the above image from the original article. However in part of the listed analysis on that blog states :

…the Irish population almost doesn’t show any characteristics that would distinguish it from the British one.

Jaysus, that’s not going to go down well at all, at all!

Ireland’s best hope for winning?


While I’m not originally from Cork I have lived there long enough to know who took the horse to France!

OK, that is a joke, one which I told in front of an Irish person and an Australian person recently. The Irish person got it straight away the the Aussie was lost. Rightly as it turned out as it requires the person to have grown up in Ireland watching those God damn Kerrygold ads for years (for the Aussies : “Don’t eat the Dinosaur Daddy!”, same thing or Americans “He likes it! Hey Mikey!“).

As I have traveled I have found that some aspects of humour don’t travel well. Many a time I was tripped up in the states when my patented sarcasm was not only not funny, but almost started a rows. Australia has been more forgiving thankfully probably because it’s culture is largely influenced by the Irish who helped build it, but some times they can still get lost usually a glazed look staring back at me.

Which brings me back to Dustin the Turkey who, as expected, won the popular vote for the Eurovision song contest and is off to Serbia. Dustin is an institution in Ireland and is much loved , a whole generation of kids have grown up with Dustin much like the American who grew up with Barney. He has been releasing albums in Ireland for years, some times even duetting with Bob Geldof, Chris de Burg, Ronnie Drew and the Saw Doctors. His humour is cut very down the Irish centre line, “Where do you go to, you’re Ugly”, is one of my favourites. However like my experiences what works in Ireland may not work abroad.

Admittedly the Eurovision isn’t what it used to be, gone are the quality days of Dana and Johnny Logan, we now have the likes of Lordi and Dana International (not that there is any thing wrong with that type of thing). One could be forgiven that any gimmick will do. However I don’t think that Dustin will travel well this time, sorry Dustin, you are just not Zig and Zag. The strong Dublin accent and the hatred of all things culchie is lost on people who can’t tell the different between the Irish and the English.

I wonder what the writers of Father Ted are thinking of all this. In the popular episode, A song for Europe, the Irish goal was to make sure Ireland would lose the Eurovision as they were broke from winning it too many time. It was funny because it almost seemed true. This time it is real so is it true?

Steorn the perpetual joke

As unsurprising as it turned out Steorn has failed to produce a successfully working example or orbo. At least they have had the good sense to come out and eat some humble pie. Here is the YouTube video of Sean McCarthy explaining away why their demo didn’t work :

Apparently it was something to do with the bearings. While he is all humble and taking all the blame, which as chief charlatan he probably should. Here is the crux, if it is a really is a working technology they must have operating examples else where. They would at least get some heat off them to bring the media there and show it to them. However that is really a proof by contradiction, they haven’t done this which is probably proof that this technology doesn’t exist.

To the people of Steorn please, please disappear, you are not only carrying the name of you company and shareholders you are dragging down the name of the newly empowered technical Ireland. Or at the very least it better be a topper of a hoax, we all like a good laugh provided it is done well. It should at least be as good as when Gay Byrne announced that a truck of dehydrated water had over turned on O’Connell St and caused huge traffic delays as people tried to avoid it.

The Infinite Irish Joke – Steorn?

In August of 2006 an Irish company called Steorn announced that they have developed a technology that produces “free, clean, and constant energy” and challenging the scientific community to review its claim.

This was (and still is) an audacious claim and one that should either revolutionise the world of physics and engineering then and there or be discounted for the tinfoil hat wearing nonsense it most likely is. However persist it did and for the next 11 months Steorn put out a call for scientists to come in and review the technology and once completed this technology would be presented to the world.

The grand unveiling, for what they are calling orbo (I’m guessing short for Oroborus, an ancient symbol depicting a serpent or dragon swallowing its own tail, also a symbol of unity), was announced to take place in London on July 4th at the Kinetica Museum at Spitalfields Market in London.

As it turned out the demonstration was canceled due to “technical difficulties” and they will reattempt it on July the 5th. (Engadget provide an interesting run down of the events).

I can’t believe this has been kept alive for so long and a part of me actually wants it to be true, but for selfish personal reasons. As a Irish engineer that has worked around the world it is hard to get away from the paddywackery stereotype image of the Irish. It doesn’t matter how many microchips you have taped out, or C++ programmed applications you’ve debugged and shipped or been involved in the deployment of the carrier network for the next generation of mobile phone technology, it doesn’t matter. Endless times I have endured or witnessed fellow irish ex-pats field innate question like did you have electricity growing up? or is television in color in Ireland? or have we ever heard about a computer? In a lot of cases we just feed the stereotype, Irish people love winding people up and while you might think we’re dumb we don’t mind taking the hard technical jobs, doing the best job we can and the money that comes with it.

There has been many suggestions that it is a hoax, part of some viral campaign for a product (Halo 3 has been mentioned and I was interested to find the top of the engadget page this listed All the Halo 3 news that’s fit to print ) but the problem is that most hoaxes aren’t drawn out this long.

So while Irish people have endured the slights of a bit a slagging what is going to happen if Steorn turn out to be wrong. Man the ammunition that is going to give people world wide will be painful. It’ll be the punchline to so many Irishman jokes and it will have the unfortunate fact of actually been true.

“Did you hear the one about the Irish company that thought they had created free energy?”


Update :

Apparently orbo doesn’t work well under hot lights no demo today either. If they turn all the lights off we could then see it working, . . . wait that doesn’t work either!