Archive for July, 2005

India and the US

Wednesday, July 20th, 2005

Dan has a very interesting post on the latest deal between India and the US. This is a very curious development indeed.

President Bush agreed yesterday to share civilian nuclear technology with India, reversing decades of U.S. policies designed to discourage countries from developing nuclear weapons.

The agreement between Bush and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, which must win the approval of Congress, would create a major exception to the U.S. prohibition of nuclear assistance to any country that doesn’t accept international monitoring of all of its nuclear facilities. India has not signed the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which requires such oversight, and conducted its first nuclear detonation in 1974….

Blogiversary – 3 years old today

Tuesday, July 19th, 2005

On the 19th of July 2002 I started this weblog. In that time the look and feel of it have chopped and changed, visitors have come and gone, readers have stayed or left. Software changed and blogging as a medium has evolved hugely. Back in 2002, I remember there being alot less blogs than there are now – I think it was 500,000 when I started – now it’s upwards of 10,000,000.

I have has my fair share of controversies, linkage, traffic, comments and all that. It has been a fascinating 3 years blogging. In that time the number of entries has obviously increased. There are currently 11,304 comments in 2,221 posts all contained within 38 categories. As of this moment sitemeter stands at 997,324 page views in 685,965 visits. Firefox has taken a huge chunk from IE, now accounting for 1 in 5 visits to this weblog.

Some of you may remember Isabelle, who co-wrote her own stuff on here for a while. I set her up with her own weblog in December 2004, and she has attracted over 20,000 visits in that time. That has 306 comments in 262 posts.

I also recently started Irish Corruption, and what with the silly season upon us, and volume of entries required, it has remained a little quiet of late.

I guess I have many people to thank for where I am now – back when I started there wasn’t that many Irish bloggers, Bernie got me on the right track with Radio Userland (though I later abandoned it), and linkage was also got from Karlin and Chris in the early days. Thinks just developed from there.

So I guess in tradition I should list some of my ‘greatest hits’.

I guess the first big linkage I got was the Google thing I wrote way back in March 2003. It got linkage and exposure, including mentions in various publications, mostly from Danny Sullivan of Searchenginewatch.

That was around the time of the Iraq war – when I got some linkage to this essay. A little left for me now in a way, but I think I got it right on the WMD thing – there were none, and the motives for war were less than clear.

Last year I was the subject of some controversy in the blogosphere when I was the subject of a legal wrangle. I have not heard anything back from John Gray’s lawyers since I sent a reply that adhered to their deadline.

The story spread throughout the Internet, leading to quotes in magazines, and getting linked to by almost all of the high traffic blogs on the Internet. I reckon given the readership of the blogs involved, and the traffic it generated to the story, a very large number of people, perhaps 500,000, read about the incident. Since then I have received about a dozen emails, usually from law students wanting to use the story as part of their thesis, even that the incident will be mentioned in a book to be published later this year.

Controversially, I did link to videos that circulated the internet last year. But one of the interesting results of that was a fascinating humanist v christian v muslim debate, that led to one post generating 1424 comments (It takes a while to load) I also heard that the Sun newspaper didn’t take too kindly to me either, and a hack from the Sun contacted several people I know in London to ask about me.

And now there is a sea of blogs, not just abroad, but here in Ireland. And it is great to see it. I love the diversity. I like it when I see someone posting their first few entries, and my blog is already in their blogroll. There is a certain sense of satisfaction there I guess. Or when nice people like John are prompted to start their own blogs partly due to being inspired by me. (Why no posts lately John?) And hey, even if they don’t link to me, it’s still great to see the new blogs – from somone who loves the medium itself.

And of course this year has been when Irish media have woken up to weblogs – besides my stint on RTE televion, blogging has led to me being asked to feature on Newstalk 106, RTE Radio 1 (VB Show), Spin 103.8, East Coast FM. It has also meant several mentions in the Sunday Tribune, Magill and the Irish Times.

The most important thing is to thank the readers, every last one, whether you drop in every day, or once a year, readers are what makes a weblog – and I thank you all, whether you agree with my views or not, for dropping by.

Ads

Sunday, July 17th, 2005

The first rule of adsense is that you don’t talk about adsense. I am testing some new things out on my blog – just to see what happens! Blogging has been light thanks to the fine weather here in Ireland, I will return shortly.

Ronan Mullen on Islam

Wednesday, July 13th, 2005

I really don’t know what to make of Ronan Mullen’s remarks today. Has anyone any thoughts on this?

We have grounds for humility. It took Western Christianity centuries to arrive at the insight that human dignity called for freedom of religion, equal opportunities between the sexes and so on. But Islam’s problem is that it’s not there yet. It does not have the centralisation of religious authority which can both unify people around a coherent set of values and prevent the emergence of extremes. That is a real problem which cannot be explained by American preoccupation with oil, Israeli oppression of the Palestinians or the invasion of Iraq.

I really am stumped. Where do I start?

It sounds like what he is really getting at is Islam – not to mention fundamentalist Islam – is an inferior religion to Christianity. He also seems to suggest there there are not as many extremes in Christianity. Does this strike anyone as just a little ethnocentric?

To follow logically what he is saying –

Christianity (the West) is centuries ahead of Islam (Near East, Middle East) on the human rights front. Islam needs to be more like Christianity, because Christianity is centuries ahead of it. The centralisation of power in Christianity unifies people (surely he means Catholicism, unless he means the Great Schism, Reformation, Counter-Reformation), and prevents the emergence of extremism (can you count the number of extreme Christian movements?).

What this does reek of is cultural and religious superiority. And given Mullen’s track record it is not Christianity he refers to, it is that special flavour (or extreme, depending on your view) called ‘Catholicism’.

Tall Ships in Waterford

Wednesday, July 13th, 2005

Ryan from Rymus.net has posted some spectacular images of the fireworks display in Waterford for the Tallships race. Go have a look now.

Bloggers party

Sunday, July 10th, 2005

As requested I have posted some photos of the blog party, which I think went pretty well. I very enjoyable night even if I was a bit too drunk. Everyone seemed to have a good time!

From left to right: Colm,Treasa, Dick, Philip.

Hmm

Friday, July 8th, 2005

How long before this blog is taken down? Disturbing indeed.

Wired has the story.

His entire weblog would probably make an interesting study for people studying psychology.

Bomb

Friday, July 8th, 2005

Looks like this one was at the end of carriage, must be the Edgware Road train.

Train damage

Debris

Via Sir Humphrey’s

Underground services

Friday, July 8th, 2005

Services are gradually returning to normal, though on many lines the passenger numbers have been reduced by a factor of 10. I have heard stories of passenger numbers in places like White City and Bond Street. Where on a normal Friday 50 people might get on at White City, 2 got on today. At Bond Street where there would normally be 100 people getting on, 4 people got on. There are large numbers of police in the underground, sniffer dogs, CSO’s, on trains, in stations, everywhere.

As for King’s Cross, the tunnel is apparently in very bad shape – near collapse. There are still a large number of bodies, possibly up to 30 in the wreakage and the tunnel. Supports will likely be needed to make the tunnel safe first, so expect the number of victims to rise from the current 50 or so to closer the 70 or 80 mark, perhaps even more. The Irish Times reports:

Andy Hayman of the city’s specialist operations branch said police had yet to reach one of the London underground train carriages where a bomb went off at rush hour yesterday.

“When I describe the scene in Russell Square, it has yet to be the case for us to get near the carriage,” he told a press conference. “There is the threat of the tunnel being unsafe.”

The blast on the underground train between King’s Cross and Russell Square stations killed at least 21 people.

“The complexity of getting to the carriage is one of safety,” Mr Hayman said. “Just imagine an explosion that far into a tunnel in that number of the carriage, I think we can all respect the sort of things our people are actually confronting,” he added.

“I think out of respect for others that’s probably the most detail I’d want to go into.”

Search parties have been able to get near the carriage, and have accessed the situation. The diplomatic speak is probably the best thing right now, one can only imagine the scene.

East Coast FM

Friday, July 8th, 2005

Well I think that well, Declan and Tracy were very interested in learning about blogging – I was on for a good 15 minutes I think. I guess to really cover every aspect of blogging a whole hour long show could be devoted, with a few bloggers on the line. We did get a good few things covered though. The whole citizen-journalism aspect, like reading blogs by soldiers in Iraq, or Iraqis, or Iranians, or Londoners directly involved in yesterday’s bombings, could take up an entire show in itself.

And then theres vlogging and podcasting too.

No archiving available of the show, but Simon listened in and thought it went well! I didn’t record it, maybe I should have! Oh well.

Casualties in Iraq

Friday, July 8th, 2005

Fascinating graphic. Watch it.

Underground explosions

Thursday, July 7th, 2005

The driver of the Picadilly train that was going between Russell Square and King’s Cross survived the attack. The bomb exploded in either the 2nd or 3rd carriage of the train. The train was packed, but casualty figures may be lighter than expected, perhaps down to just how packed the train was. We will have to wait and see.

Both drivers involved in the Edgware road bomb are safe, both taken to hospital with shock, with no reports as yet of injuries to Underground staff.

My thoughts are with the familes of the victims, and all those affected.

Bombs in London

Thursday, July 7th, 2005

This is a terrorist attack.

The BBC are reporting the explosions as the fault of power surges, but according to my own sources in London Underground, this is highly unlikely. And power surges don’t happen on buses either. I am trying to contact other friends and sources in London, but every phone is not acccessible. The explosions are in Liverpool Street, Aldgate, Edgware Road, Old Street and Russell Square. A bus in Tavistock has definately been blown up.

From my own sources in London:

the major lines are affected are the Hammersmith and City, Circle, Central and Metropolitan Lines.
2 bags found under seats
body parts seen in underground
the entire underground has been shut down
all intercity services have been halted.

100 people per carriage at peak times, 800 people per train, or thereabouts at the times involved.

More as I get it.

Update: 10.55am

All other trains on the underground have been evacuated, there are no reports of trains stuck between stations.
Mobile phones are not working for large parts of London, probably due to loads ton the network.

Update: 11.10am

Bus in London

Having watched the pictures of the bus explosion on Tavistock Square, the entire top half of the bus appears to have been blown off, one could speculate that this is a Madrid-style attack. All bus services in London have stopped. Casualties have been numbered at 20, but I think the figure is likely to be alot higher. The BBC London website, and the Guardian websites are getting huge loads.

Update 11.23:

Tony Blair to make statement at midday.

Update 12.54

Charles Clarke due to make statement at 1.15pm. I guess the one advantage London has in tracking down terrorists is that there are cameras literally everywhere in London, either for security or the congestion charge. Reports from Washington DC suggest that public transport systems are being actively searched.

Update 13.08
According to my London Underground sources there are people trapped on the Picadilly Line between Russell Square and King’s Cross. The problem facing emergency services is the depth, at that point the tunnel, is between 150 and 200 feet down. People who have visited London may know these stations for their very long escalators.

The tunnels themselves are also quite narrow, which could mean the tunnels themselves may have been affected by the blast. The emergency services are moving extractors down to take out smoke in the tunnels.

This particular line is extremely congested, and was so at the time of the explosion. Becase the line is so deep, the casualty figures will likely remain low for some time, but then dramatically rise. If two trains were involved it could mean as much as 1600 people on board, with unknown figures for people who managed to escape.

Update 13.48

Check out the UK blogs aggregator for reaction and stories about the events.

Caoimhe
points to Chris who has a tranlsation of a claim of responsibility from an Islamist website, bare in mind this is just one of many claims that will come:

Announcement on London’s Operation 7/7/2005

Jamaat al-Tandheem Al-Sierri (secret organization group)
Organization of Qaeda’t al-Jihad in Europe

In the name of God the most merciful…

Rejoice the nation of Islam, rejoice nation of Arabs, the time of revenge has come for the crusaders’ Zionist British government.

As retaliation for the massacres which the British commit in Iraq and Afghanistan, the mujahideen have successfully done it this time in London.

And this is Britain now burning from fear and panic from the north to the south, from the east to the west.

We have warned the brutish governments and British nation many times.

And here we are, we have done what we have promised. We have done a military operation after heavy work and planning, which the mujahideen have done, and it has taken a long time to ensure the success of this operation.

And we still warn the government of Denmark and Italy, all the crusader governments, that they will have the same punishment if they do not pull their forces out of Iraq and Afghanistan.

So beware.

Thursday 7/7/2005
Jamaat al-Tandheem Al-Sierri (secret organization group)
Organization of al Qaeda’t al-Jihad in Europe.

Update: 14.42

Flickr
have a pool for photos from London

Technorati is filling up with posts.

The bus has been identified: A Transport for London spokeswoman says the bus hit by the explosion was a number 30, travelling from Hackney to Marble Arch.

Update: 14:48

Moblog photos have started appearing.

Underground mobile phone

The Guardian’s newsblog
is one of the best sources for those of you not watching TV

Update: 15:46

The BBC have pulled out all the stops to stream TV over the net, works better than even on normal news days.

Update: 15:48

Terminal 3 in Heathrow is being evacuated

They are bombs

Thursday, July 7th, 2005

Not power surges…

East Coast FM

Thursday, July 7th, 2005

I have been asked to go on East Coast FM to talk about blogs, around about 1045am. Make that 12.15 Make that tomorrow morning.