Archive for March 18th, 2005

March 18th, 2005

Da Vinci Code redux

Aaarrgghhh!!!! The Catholic Church or at least individuals withing the church – Its not a huge monolithic eeeeeeeeevillllllllll organisation like some people would have you belive (OK it is, but thats beside the point) – has come out against the Da Vinci Code. Which is stupid for lots of reasons.

Firstly, its a bit late. The book has already sold 18 million copies and all this is going to do is encourage more people to read it. The “if the church is against it it must beworth looking at” factor. Watch Dan Brown count up another million novels sold after this.

Secondly the book is fiction. lets say that again FICTION! There is a clue to this in that it you can purchase it from the FICTION section of reputable (and not so reputable) bookshops. Not the history or archeology or religous studies, philiosophy or even new age sections. the FICTION sections. Fiction books can claim whatever they like – even that they are based on real events and/or real people and they don’t have to mean it. In fact they can even lie about it because they are FICTION and thats what it means. Point out that slowly and carefully to punters. “The Catholic Church does not comment on works of fiction. Particularly badly written works of fiction”

Next if you want to criticise any novel one way to do it is use literary criticism techniques which were developed to decide if books were any good or not.

3) To enable us to form judgments about literature.

One of the purposes of criticism is to judge if a work is any good or not. For instance, we might use a formalist approach to argue that a John Donne poem is of high quality because it contains numerous intricate conceits that are well sustained. Or, we might use the mimetic approach to argue that The West Indian is a poor play because it fails to paint a realistic picture of the world.

Personally. I can’t say how the Da Vinci Code would hold up to such scrutiny. but I can guess. And I imagine the Catholic Church cuold round up a few experts in literary criticism to give the book a good going over.

Furthermore, people like Ken MacLeod may believe thatknowledge and understanding of history is the secret weapon of the Science Fiction writer, indeed any writer. But that doesn’t mean that one should use works of fiction as their primary source of historical fact or conjecture.

Finally if all that doesn’t work then go for the jugular and demand irrefutable proof in the form of, I don’t know Primary Sources. Ask to see authentic handwritten accounts and proofs of all the theories in the book. While you are at ask how if the author has mastered aincent hebrew, greek, latin and medieval latin, french and english in his efforts to produce a book from primary source material he doesn’t mention it in his biography. Or have a couple of PhDs in aincent studies.
For anyone who thinks languages haven’t chnaged THAT much. They are correct for different values of “that much”. I point to Teresa Nielsen Hayden’s website as an example. (hint: first para starts “in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God…” as should be obvious from the context)

March 18th, 2005

mucho bloggage

there are a lot of posts today. That not because I ate and drank to excess last night and now I don’t have the enthusiasm or motivation of a dead sheep. well not only that.

Blogger has been pretty unreliable the last few days so there has been a backlog of posts and stuff to blog about. I am once again seriously thinking of getting my own site and running wordpress or similar. Normal once a day (or less) Posting should resume soon.

And I’ve been busy. Of course I have. I have a thesis to write after all!!!!!!

comments that start “after all what” will be deleted

March 18th, 2005


~ Raquel from Corrie ~

1991 – 1999

In 1996, Raquel Watts/Barnes/Wolstenhulme left Coronation Street for good. Or so we thought, but she was back again at the end of 1999 to pull at Curly’s heartstrings. She wasn’t the brightest bulb on the tree, but she didn’t mean no harm neither. Don’t forget Raquel or the people of Weatherfield living under the oppression of Alex Ferguson.

Join some society, club or take a walk.

The weather is nice!

March 18th, 2005


Yesterday we had a psuedo-impromptu dinner party in the apartment. Ronan usually cooks dinner for the WAR group on Paddy’s day (well he did it once last year and we were making him do it again this year). But his dad is not well at the moment and he went home to help out and do agricultural stuff. So Nev and I stepped up and offered to cook. Maria chipped in with a starter and so all was set. Ultimately, Mike and John brought dessert and John and Danny brought alcohol and coke (one really needs a hit of coke after a good dinner party)

Most of the day was spent wallowing in domesticity, housework in the morning, followed by a quick run to Superquinn for supplies, a quick detour to my Mothers to steal (umm.. borrow) plates, cutlery, dishes etc and then cooking for the evening. I didn’t go to the parade, but the I haven’t being to the parade since I left secondary school and stopped marching in it.

People started to turn up around 5ish. There was a bit of a scare when maria was having trouble getting in and I couldn’t get through to anyone to help her out (f**king stupid mobile networks). In the end John was able to pick her up and we had a first course :-)

Everything went pretty well. We sat down for dinner just before 6pm and removed to the couches after 8:30. The menu was

Italian Mushrooms (funghi a la maria)
Tomato Salad
Parma Ham
Red Onion Marmalade
Ciabatta Bread
Primo Platti:
Meatballs in spicy sauce
Secondo Platti:
Vegetable Lasagne (not vegetarian lasagne – we didn’t have time to find and mince a vegetarian)
Dessert 1:
Chocolate Torte a la Nev
Dessert 2:
Chocolate Cake a la Mike
Dessert 3:
Cake a la John (untouched due to a surfeit of other dishes)
More Coffee

And then beer, wine, conversation. Entertainment during dinner was provided by a group of girls who started a fight in the pub across the road, which then spilled out on to the streets and ended with 3 cop cars and a paddy wagon turning up and arresting 9 people.

Music was from Nev’s differently eclectic music collection

March 18th, 2005

Would you let this man into your country!!!

How about this one.

March 18th, 2005

So tell us about yourself…

UL’s Centre for Teaching and Learning will play a central role in the running of a short mini writers’ retreat in Scotland and is offering two free places to interested UL postgraduate research students.

The retreat takes place from Friday June 24th to Sunday June 26th in Glenbruagh, Scotland. It will include some structured sessions and expert advice on your writing and publishing strategy and will operate as a collegiate, supportive forum to enhance your writing. You will make active progress on your writing task and learn some routines that will help to generate healthier, more productive writing habits in the longer term.

To be in with a chance of participating, please forward a short outline (500 words) providing details of a writing project that you would like to work on. The Dean of Graduate Studies and The Dean of Teaching and Learning will assess and select the winning submissions. We know this is very short notice, but please note that only emails received by 5.00pm on Wednesday March 16th

I am finalising my Ph.D. in the Electronic and Computer Engineering department. I have extensive work and research experience, including one year study in Columbia University in New York, and have collaborated with national and international groups for project work resulting in a number of technical deliverables and journal and conference papers. As such I believe I am in a unique position to build upon my experience and project work over the next few years as a postdoctoral researcher and assemble a state-of-the art research team in wireless networks and systems

New wireless technologies and strategies are allowing more and more people to access new and more complex telecommunications services from their mobile phones and portable computers. At the same time there are real problems in fulfilling the ideal of providing broadband capacity or better to everybody at any place at any time. Essentially, existing networks and technologies are not dense enough to provide full coverage.

Infrastructure-less wireless networks increase the relative density of services and communications in an area using users own devices to relay messages and services between the users themselves and to external systems and networks. There are two common types of infrastructure-less wireless systems, ad-hoc networks and sensor networks. The research work includes investigation of the properties and behaviour of infrastructure-less networks, as well as education and advocacy of their usefulness. Individual areas of research are quality-of-service, mobility and service provision. Together these provide a global view of the behaviour, while at the same time individually offering plenty of scope for innovative and novel research.

One of the weaknesses identified, as part of the project has been my relative lack of experience in co-ordinating, planning and editing of technical papers. As I complete my Ph.D. thesis and plan for follow up postdoctoral work, I would like to enhance my writing skills to be better able to professionally contribute to, co-ordinate, edit and present technical documents and papers for both a technical and non-technical audience.

The writing project initially includes a Ph.D. thesis and associated journal papers; for publication in technical journals and fora. In particular I would like to focus on developing one or more of my Ph.D. chapters for consumption by a wider audience. Technical writing has tended to be inaccessible to the casual reader and I think there is an opportunity both to raise my own profile and to generate interest in the research area amongst the general public.

In the longer term it is envisaged that postdoctoral work and further postgraduate research will be conducted in infrastructure-less networks. This requires a co-ordinated 4-5 year plan including an overall project description, identifying, as much as possible, deliverables, expected contributions and results and interaction with other groups at home and abroad. This will then form the basis of further theses, journal and conference publications and technical reports all of which must be integrated around a common theme, possibly as a book

(483 words)
fingers crossed!!!