January 8, 2015

Our smart young scientists can discover that the future is bright

Posted in Irish Independent · 72 comments ·

When I was a kid my favourite toy was a moon buggy, a little model the size of a matchbox. I loved it and spent hours pretending to drive around the moon, avoiding moon craters and inventing moon creatures in my head.

I was one of those ‘locked in’ little boys who could spend hours on my own inventing scenarios on my imaginary moon in my bedroom.

I dreamed of being an astronaut, flying to the moon and maybe even living up there. Why wouldn’t I? After all, TV was full of programmes about living in space.

The 1970s was the age of the moon – Apollo 11, Bowie’s ‘Moonage Daydream’, ‘Star Wars’ and Bond’s ‘Moonraker’. Our future would be out of this world; we would live somewhere up there in the darkness in our space suits, space stations and ‘Star Trek’ script.

When seen from the 1970s, the 21st century was to be the ‘Space Century’.

But the age of moonwalking would be over very quickly. The first man on the moon was in 1969, and the last man set foot on the moon in 1972. When I was playing with my moon buggy in 1976, the age of the moon missions was already in the past.

This is often the case with science, we get carried away by the possibility of invention and believe that science and innovation is going to deliver a brave new world. Often, we are disappointed.

As the great Silicon Valley entrepreneur Peter Thiel quipped: “We thought we would get to flying cars but all we got was 140 characters”.

Doubtless, Twitter has changed the way some of us communicate, but a brave new world it isn’t. Yet that doesn’t prevent technology and science people from being inherently, refreshingly optimistic.

Today, in the RDS, we are going to see a great example of this optimism at the Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition. Thousands of schoolchildren from all over Ireland will unveil their discoveries of how science will make the world a better place.

Some of the previous winners have gone on to start million and even billion euro businesses.

Not for them the deep cynicism of current affairs programmes. For them the future is bright and, with the help of technology, it is getting brighter. The optimism of science is infectious. It is difficult to spend time with techies and not come away with a sense that we are only a few discoveries away from nirvana. Contrast this with spending time in the company of economists, journalists or political junkies. A brush with these forlorn species and we think the world is about to end.

In the past week, lots of publications have had their year ahead sections about what to expect in 2015. In traditional economics, current affairs and political magazines the year ahead is a series of pitfalls into which the world could plummet.

It could be the next crisis in Greece; the further collapse of the rouble; a climate change-related disaster; a recession in China; a renewed slump in Ireland; political extremism in Europe; a hung parliament in Britain; or a bloodbath in the Middle East.

Contrast this pessimism with the year ahead section in ‘Nature’ – the weekly science magazine. 2015 will be fabulous! We will see a cure for Ebola; a climate change deal; trips to something called ‘dwarf planets’; cholesterol-busting drugs; enhancement in genetic tracking which will allow us to understand the DNA of the earliest humans.

So who is right: the dismal economist or the upbeat scientist?

Both can’t be right indefinitely, because all economies are driven by scientific inquiry and the application of scientific advances into technology that drive productivity. Indeed, the countries that invest in science are normally the ones that generate the economic buoyancy to repay the investment in science over and over again. This link between scientific inquiry and economic advances goes back thousands of years.

A few years after I was playing with moon buggies, I had a teacher who told us the legends of the ancient world. One was about Thales of Miletus, the great Greek philosopher who understood astronomy and geometry. One day, Thales was looking at the sky and fell into a hole. A young girl laughed at him, saying he should look at the ground rather than have his head in the sky. But Thales was looking at the constellation of the stars and predicted a brilliant olive harvest the following year. He bought up all the presses and the next year when the bumper harvest arrived, the locals had to rent presses from the wily Thales.

This was maybe one of the earliest examples of science being used in the application of economic profit.

Let’s hope the young scientists are aware of the classics, because a world of dismal economists would be far less interesting than a world full of optimistic scientific enquirers.

  1. sdempsey

    All of which makes it very worrying that so many brilliant minds are being lured from mathematics, engineering and the sciences to work in investment banking. This is a manufactured brain drain which is damaging our economic futures because of a bias in how wealth is allocated in the present.

    • michaelcoughlan

      “All of which makes it very worrying that so many brilliant minds are being lured from mathematics, engineering and the sciences to work in investment banking. ”

      Good observation. From McWilliams above;

      “But Thales was looking at the constellation of the stars and predicted a brilliant olive harvest the following year. He bought up all the presses and the next year when the bumper harvest arrived, the locals had to rent presses from the wily Thales. This was maybe one of the earliest examples of science being used in the application of economic profit”

      This statement doesn’t tell the full story. Thales used his knowledge to create a monopoly on the presses and became a rentier instead of continuing to apply the knowledge for the creation of goods and services. The moral of the story is that the failure is in each of us. We can CHOOSE to become monopolists or we can choose to continue to apply or skills and knowledge to create goods and services which benefit all. A century ago in the US you were not allowed to incorporate a company unless its output served the common good.

      Ours is the choice. In a warped kind of a way this is why the Jamie Diamon/David Drumm types are important to the human species as a whole. In exploiting the narcissism and greed and short sightedness in their own customers they unwittingly do them a service because they highlight the weakness in their customers in the act of exploiting it. If the customer is self reflective, humble, and self deprecating enough they will learn and develop.

      I hope that the young scientists in the RDS are made aware that with great power and responsibility comes great moral responsibility and their actions in the future must be guided by moral considerations.


      • Colin

        The widely feted cult leader Steve Jobs carried on the same way. His Achilles heel was his pride, in that he took far too long to recognise his deeply misguided notion of alternative medicine being primary in aiding his fight against cancer as opposed to mainstream medicine. Intelligence and Wisdom are two completely and separate entities. I would choose wisdom over intelligence every day. Maybe young scientists could be reminded of that?

  2. cadrain

    The future of science is bright in general, however it is unlikely to be so in Ireland unless something changes. The current government policy is to starve basic research (the stuff that drives all of the innovations described in the article) and focus instead on much shorter term applied research. A lack of proper vision and desire to deliver short term (political) dividends post-crisis are to blame for this. This is particularly short sighted: one of the genuine successes from the Celtic Tiger era was a significant investment in basic research. This was one of the projects that actually worked well from that era, giving Ireland a huge boost in the quality and international profile in basic research. We now risk unravelling all of that good by starving basic science. This is not a wise move for a country with dreams of future prosperity.

  3. michaelcoughlan

    subscription overdue adam?

  4. Deco

    Innovation, does not need to be from a lab. And nothing everything from a lab constitutes innovation. It is hilarious watching the Irish state decide that it is going to “foster innovation” with centralist authoritarian zeal. Like as if this is the latest green jersey stunt.

    Hilarious, in the context that the institutional state is very good at looking like as if it is generating results.

    Ryanair is innovation. So is Aircraft leasing. So is Kinspan roofing. These provide improvements for people.

    Irish Water on the other hand is just a repeat of gombeenism, money-fisted-ness, price gouging, nepotism, and racketeering as a “business model”.

    We have a problem with regard to a serious misallocation of resources. money is being diverted to the wrong place. It is done so, under the guise of morality, authority, and instructions from central authority.

    So here is an idea. Look at the HSE mess.

    Is it possible to innovate a solution to that ?

    Because it seems to me to be the ultimate measurement of the institutional state’s inability to problem solve. In the 1980s health care technology was rubbish compared to now. People’s diets were based on saturated fats. Health awareness was zero. And yet the health care system was nothing near as expensive, or as ineffective as it is now.

    The ICTU fat cat principle.

    Bureaucracy expands to soak up any improvements that are generated by innovation, and to centralize the benefits and distribute amongst the political beneficiaries.

    Innovation in relation to political wrangling means that innovation in other areas are of reduced net benefit to society.

    Look at the legacy of Bertie Ahern – gombeenism can innovate, and find new ways of getting a bigger slice of the pie.

    • Deco

      We will witness the institutional state “celebrate” science, because it offers a host for more parasitic behaviour. It offers money to prop up business as usual. RTE[Pravda] will provide the propaganda. We will be urged/cajoled to get onside.

      The future is bright. The message is consistent. Let’s get people optimistic for Ponzi-economics. And let’s reassure them that the system knows what is doing. Which is a load of absolute BS. Because the system is deceiving the people. And this is because the people on the system need to suckers to keep paying up.

      So how about an honest discussion about the underperformance of the institutional state. How about about a conversation about the endless largesse, and extortion and programs – which just build up an endless debt ? And the debts are out of control. the solution is presented as shiny new toys, and debt. And let’s celebrate !

      Pity that the poor kids have to be abused in this display to convince us that we are in great shape. How many of the exhibitors in 2008 are looking for jobs in Canada or Australia now ? the system is nonsense.

      When Eamon Gilmore’s missus can get more from a site in the middle of nowhere than most of those kids will ever see in their bank accounts in their entire lives, you know that the system is in the BS business.

      time to tell the truth about the institutional state.

      • Well done Deco.
        We do not get the truth from any authority or institution. Just smoke and mirrors, lies and deceit.

        The ultimate distortion is in the government (aka the people ) allowing the seizure of the production of currency that they force us to use. The distortion of the production of the money, in turn distorts the economy which in turn distorts society.
        That is why it is known as dishonest money. It corrupts and makes all associated with it dishonest whether we wish otherwise of not.
        We need a thorough airing of the problems of using such money or we continue in our ignorance trying to fix the symptoms of out malaise rather than the root cause.

        We are headed for the complete collapse of the monetary system with nary a word from those who could have a positive influence.

        Why not discuss the problems of the monetary system David? You studiously avoid doing so.

  5. McGoo

    I was a nerdy kid who loved science. I still do. I have a degree in physics. Most of my friends are exactly the same. Some of them have PhD’s in hard-science subjects (laser physics, molecular biology, mathematics, telecommunications, and, er, the odd one out, Russian literature). Not one of us work in science, or in fact in anything to do with our qualifications. It just doesn’t pay.

    • michaelcoughlan

      “Not one of us work in science, or in fact in anything to do with our qualifications. It just doesn’t pay.”

      I have a degree in Construction Management 1995. Six or so years before the boom. You would imagine we were well positioned to be “employed” in the subsequent madness. My class was small about 8 or 9 Mgt graduates and about 25 or sdo Quantity Surveyors.

      Of the Construction management graduates of that 1995 class NO ONE got a job as a construction manager. They had to emigrate to get jobs as construction managers where they were well paid some of them 6 figure. In Ireland you would get taken on as a “manager” if you had a cert or pushing it a diploma but degree; NO CHANCE. Why?

      The Accountant’s didn’t want the job done right. The rapists grew their business by doing a Jamie Diamon on it; exploiting some very hard working men operating as sub contractors too stupid to know they were operating below cost. We were then a threat to the status quo.

      McWilliams himself experienced similar events when working in the central bank and when observing who did and didn’t get promoted in the civil service. Loyal incompetence was and is promoted.


      • michaelcoughlan

        “It just doesn’t pay”

        The young mgt graduates were paid less than half the wages of a labourer and had responsibilities re setting out works which if done wrong could cost hundreds of thousands.


        • Colin

          But the Mammies and Daddies of the young mgt (management) graduates were so proud of them working as a Setting Out Engineer, which makes the pain bearable. Probably paid the setting out engineer €8 / hour and billed the client €50 / hour. Is it any wonder professions other than engineering are more appealing?

          We were taught the theory of setting out at university. None of us got our hands on a Total Station. None of us got any instruction on working with one. Some cute hoors pay for one on one tuition on how to use it privately. Its more of the ‘sink or swim’ attitude which prevails in Ireland from the top down. The perverts like to fcuk you in the deep end of the pool and enjoy watching you struggle to swim, and justify it by making up all kinds of sh1t. Psychopaths rule.

    • Colin


      Without being too nosy, would you mind letting us know which industries your old pals have branched out into? It is an interesting topic. And what is the cut off figure on the salary required for you guys to ensure it pays your efforts? Did they find these opportunities in Ireland or abroad?


      • McGoo

        They mostly live in the UK now.

        Like me, they spent a few years doing anything for a crust (taxi driver, tobacco sales, warehouse work, dole, etc.) before mostly becoming computer programmers or similar. In the early 1990′s, that was pretty easy to learn and paid well. Since the tech bust, the money isn’t there any more, so we have mostly drifted into management roles in the IT industry.

        One (PhD, molecular biology)became a science teacher in the UK, but now works in finance.

        One teaches people to write computer games in a London university. At least that’s technical.

        Your question about the salary level is interesting. There wasn’t a fixed cut-off level, it came in stages. Most of us went into the IT industry just to HAVE a salary, any salary. The next target was to be able to afford a grown-up life (rent our own place, run a car, take a girlfriend to a restaurant). Then we wanted to buy houses. Then we wanted to support families.

        We all eventually managed to achieve these, except for the guy who is still a techie teaching games programming. He’s easily the most intelligent person I know, and he lives on a boat. Go figure!

        • Colin


          Many thanks for your reply.

          • jackofalltrades

            @ Mr McGoo,

            Teaching games programming,eh? All too often,such games are just another addictive poison for young developing [and not so young] minds.This is the most intelligent person you know?Maybe then an earlier poster was correct with the distinction made of Intelligence and Wisdom??

            While the “smart” young scientist may indeed be the odds-on-favourite,the not-so-smart,,, the non-Mensa type ought not be outrightly dismissed as a serious-as-a-heart-attack contender in the discovery stakes.

            Please remember,even the sun shines on a dog’s ass somedays,right?

            And to foster creativity in society,the long-term role of Education,in all phases, is paramount ,priceless in fact.

            We know this! Education is where the revolution begins,in earnest.

            Don’t be duped ! Any other strategy for future Free societies,is cod-ology ;)


      • michaelcoughlan

        Hi Colin,

        I worked for one year as a chain man. I watched all the talented guys quit and the morons who could barely speak their own names get “promoted”. One friday at 2.30pm I was sent out by the PM to count rebar sunk 6 inches in shit because the rebar supplier could only stay in business leaving short the goods such was the way he was forced to supply below cost.

        I signed on for 6 months then a van driver, warehouse supervisor, sales. Then I got an opportunity to build my own house and I ran a hackney at the same time plus freelance setting out for my cousin (I knew he would pay me) to keep the mortgage small.

        I Had finished the house in 2007 with a view to releasing a small amount of equity to establish a very small concern building eco friendly houses. Bang. Thankfully took Mcwilliams advice plus my own training and hadn’t purchased any ground or sites.

        Last few years stay at home dad of 3 kids under 2 juggled with trying to help establish coops and an organically certified growing media business.

        My mates who emigrated to Canada, US, Australia got well paid jobs as construction managers. Guys at home; tiler, glorified labourer, firewood/coal supplier, and me.

        A cynic would say we at home were the dross but they guys who went and got good jobs abroad got fuck all here too.


        • Colin


          I’ve been on both camps too. I stayed at home on the dole playing the waiting game, but saw that things were not going to improve so I took my chances and left and fortunately things have worked out well on this second term of exile. I too took David’s free advice so I was not burned, (we must have been the only 2 people in the country who did not ‘go mad’ or ‘party’, if you believe the insider clap trap, eh?)

          Of course, being abroad does not mean there are no problems. I have recently got mortgage approval, but the problem I have now is finding affordable quality property in London. It just does not exist, and I’ve learned enough about ponzi schemes now to be able to identify this London ponzi property scheme as one. I am happy to keep renting where we are but the missus is looking at property. The sterling mortgage product (UK based) I’ve been offered has a fixed rate of 2%. The nearest euro Irish based fixed mortgage rate is about double that at 4%. Paddy is being screwed again, but Paddy likes it that way, it seems. There is now affordable quality property in Limerick, so, I am considering my options.

          Perhaps David could give us an idea where the Sterling v Euro rate is going. I would be very tempted to buy in Limerick if the rate went to £1 = €1.40, but then I’d have to fly to London every Monday morning and fly back every Friday evening, and keep renting the pad I currently live in as well.

          • michaelcoughlan

            Hi Colin,

            Come out as far as killaloe/ballina. Buy on the ballina side. Some boom estates were really shite so choose well. No houses to rent such is the demand.

            If your savvy colin buy a site or a fixer upper. Apply for planning and get a builder. The finished house should have a value of more than the mortgage which means you should be able to save a good share of your deposit.

            Do a search for harrybrann or claretipp properties to find suitable options.

            I am 43 this month and my generation was the first to emigrate twice.

            The cut off salary for a full time job for the second parent in a fanilly with 3 young kids is about 35k+ otherwise childcare second car costs etc means you lose money going to work.

            Killaloe/Ballina is a great place to live only 45 min to shannon airport to commute to London.

            Last tip Colin. QS salaries at the height of the boom were 80k to 120k. Now around 60k to 70k, You can do 1 year full time msc in Dit for construction cost control that will get you into the profession.

            Pm’s despite the country being awash in failed projects are still treated with pathological contempt.

            best regards,


          • Colin

            Hi Michael,

            I’ve already done some calculations, and I would have to earn €130,000 a year in Ireland to match what I take home here in the UK, so therefore working in Ireland is not realistic now or in the medium term. We would need to have two cars if we lived out in Killaloe / Ballina, and although the price of fuel is falling, other costs associated with car ownership are fixed and massive.
            As I see it, I only have two options at the moment; to wait and watch the property ponzi scheme in London collapse and buy at the bottom, or wait for the € to weaken to about 70p sterling and then bite the bullet and take out a relatively small mortgage to buy in Limerick and commute to London.


          • michaelcoughlan

            Hi Colin,

            If you don’t have kids in london you could buy a river boat. My brother and his wife have a 5 year old one and live on it up near tottenham somewhere. Cost less than 100k.

            You might be able to buy a holiday mobile home in a seaside resort some where and commute.

            Its good to see you are paid well in London. Well done. You would be rightly fucked if you stayed at home.

            If you have lots of cash you could buy your house in Limerick for cash and rent and use rent to subsidise your rent or mortgage in UK.

            Take care,


          • Colin

            Hi Michael,

            River boat crossed my mind before, but you would need to own a car to get to the nearest train station to begin your daily commute, so hidden expenses there. Also, I enquired about it before and was told they are very cold in winter and very difficult to keep warm, especially if the canal/river freezes over. No kids at the moment but that could change I guess.

            I don’t have the funds to buy a property in Limerick for cash (would take 4 years of scrimping and saving), and even if I did, it would be a primary residence, not a property to be rented out. My monthly rent in London is very low (very lucky in that respect), but it is only suitable for a couple, suits me at the moment but not for the medium term.

            I think the weekly commute from Limerick to London is the best option in the medium term, but I will keep exploring different options.

        • My first ever real job was as a chain lad (sorry Michael, I didn’t make it to chain ‘man’) as a 17 year old on a building site on the Isle of Man in the cold winter of ’89.

          It was great fun hammering wooden stakes into rock-sold frozen Manx soil, to mark out the corners of badly built council houses – my hands would tingle for hours afterwards.

          Actually, it was my second ever real job – my first one was in Liam Lawlor’s constituency office after I left school at 16 (did my Leaving Certificate at a young age) – that was an eye opener!

  6. Mike Lucey

    ‘Our smart young scientists can discover that the future is bright’ …..

    That is just great but how many of ‘Our smart young scientists’ and other bright young Irish people are now being ‘bright’ in other parts of the World …… I’d say well past 300,000+ too many!

    Hopefully the cracks that are appearing in the current ponzi scheme will widen and a better system, fair and just, will emerge.

    So I say, let the ‘economists, journalists or (and) political junkies’ continue with their painting of a forlorn picture until a sufficient momentum and will is gathered by ordinary folks to change to a system where innovation and sustainable productivity can flourish.

    Only then will Ireland be in a position to foster and keep her ‘smart young scientists’ where they want to launch and continue their careers in science and technology.

    Some interesting times ahead with the launch of organised ‘Independents’ acting as a single political force in the Dail. I hope that they manage to break the rotten mould and form a new pro ‘smart young scientists’ initiative …… time and votes will tell.

    I think I will continue to call it as I now see it when I ‘brush’ with folks that are either in a false sense of security, a stupor or totally down trodden. I find it surprising how little facts are needed to spark people into critical thinking! Hey, isn’t critical thinking one of the key elements to scientific innovation / discovery?

  7. Deco

    When will we get to the point of having enough scientists and engineers to be able to support the local population of greedy, dishonest gombeens living off them ?

    Anyway, that is my daily rant about the Irish political establishment, and it’s institutional state, and associated business cliques :)

    • michaelcoughlan

      “When will we get to the point of having enough scientists and engineers to be able to support the local population of greedy, dishonest gombeens living off them?”

      Never. As the producers increase the gombeen class will bring in more of their loyal incompetent hangers on to keep a tight grip on the status quo. You have to succeed in spite of them and it can be done although you have to change how you look at the world first.

      Mcwuilliams is an example. Classically trained economist who want’s to do the right thing and walked from banking etc disgusted. Has reinvented himself as a successful media person and more power to him.


  8. Pat Flannery

    “I was one of those ‘locked in’ little boys who could spend hours on my own inventing scenarios on my imaginary moon in my bedroom.”

    Not much has changed except the “invented scenarios” are no longer on the moon.

  9. george

    So to speak: I think, we ain’t never going to Mars!
    It seems to me an inhumane project, that the hierarchy of the scientific community like us to embark on. It seems to me that sometimes to have a degree, or to be in a position of authority, is an impediment to progressive thinking.
    Even if Obama (and other world leaders) thinks that in 2030, he is going to be in front of the TV, enjoying the first colonists setting foot on the Red Planet. And a great number of people, believe in it, like some others believe, in moving statues made out of plaster.
    It seems to me, that there is nothing from the biological, moral, and spiritual point of view, that justify the colonisation of Mars; while ignoring the terrible state of the Planet we live in, which is a gift from the Cosmos to us, that we are totally mistreating.
    There is nothing from the social and cultural development of human civilization, that justify the use of human, material, and economic resources, that we should be applying to life on Earth and to the progress of human civilization, that justify it.
    Even if they are able to bring humans to Mars, the idea has no future. There aren’t other Worlds out there, ready to welcome us. We have to use every type of resources, to develop, and make this World, “our earth”, a better place for all humanity, and to evolve culturally. Otherwise we are allowing others to brainwash us, and to dehumanize us completely.
    I’ve no doubt that there is a group of dissident, and very creative and humanistic scientists, that are pushed aside, by the hierarchy of the scientific community. Eventually their day will come, and humanity will be able to breathe a sight of relief . By in large, the scientific, the political, and the economic elites, it seems to be behaving like the Inquisitorial Church of the Renaissance, more interested in their power, egos, and selfish interests.
    Science and the economy should be put to the service of human beings, and not the other way around. Our future is here on Earth, and despite all the technological advances we see around us, socially and culturally, we are at a very low level of evolution.
    Forget to think like future martians, and do like the intelligence of the Cosmos intended us to think and feel, like terrestrial beings, who should concentrate all efforts in maintaining Earth as a sustainable home for humanity.
    There is a biological and a spiritual dimension to the force of gravity, and science cannot overcome it. Neither the fact that matter cannot be explained without the existence of a mind. Something that all great scientists in history, from Copernicus, to Galileo, Newton, and Pascal, among others, never denied.
    In the meantime, let’s go and enjoy the Young Scientists Exhibition. Let’s go and encourage, really creative and humanistic young scientists out there. Let’s go and learn from them. And let’s hope, people will be able to start to think for themselves, otherwise they’ll become like robots.
    You don’t need a degree for it, you only have to have your heart in the right place!

    • michaelcoughlan


      Three reasons the head cases in charge may want to go to mars,

      1) Spite your enemy by claiming the planet and glory for yourself,

      2) Any potentially raw materials deposits which may be exploitable in the future

      3) Military application say placing survelance devices there to see who else is sniffing around the place.


      • george

        Exactly as you have said Michael! More power, more glory, and more money for the elites; while they ruin the lives of almost everybody else on the planet, and Earth itself!
        Now they want to create a hype about it. There are already more than 200.000 naïve and idealistic people, that at U$S 38 each, are volunteering to be the first ones to land and die in Mars. I wonder what percentage of them are the sons and daughters, of the scientists, politicians, and financiers, that are the biggest fans of the idea?
        Ah yes let me guess, eventually they will form a human colony that will be there permanently, living in a glamorised container, with artificial gravity force, protected from the atmospheric radiation. And eating desiccated Sunday lunch, while they’ll be contemplating a desolated and monotonous landscape, without trees, birds, rivers, and oceans. And with their minds, spirits, and libidos in bits, which they will try to fix, with whatever stimulus they can get via Internet. How absolutely lovely and wonderful!
        The political, scientific, and financial elites, want to impose the tyranny of artificial intelligence. And it’s a shame, how people are being conned by them. And it’s a pity how many young people specially, is falling for this big lye. If they only could go themselves, and leave the rest of us here on Earth will be great, but they want to have control over Earth and us, and over our willpower through fear.
        Humanity have everything it needs here on Earth, we only have to apply a rational and a humanistic method to get all we need for everybody in a sustainable way . There is nothing in Mars that we need from there. We are not going anywhere from here in a million years. All it, is based in greed, deceit, and madness.
        Behind the idea of establishing a human colony in Mars, there is a new type of fascism. We should break our dependency with artificial intelligence, and find the ways to expand our own personal and collective universe, which is another gift from the Cosmos, that we seriously misjudge.
        We should be applying all human, material, and financial resources to protect Earth, and the development of humanity on it.

        • michaelcoughlan

          “We should be applying all human, material, and financial resources to protect Earth, and the development of humanity on it”

          Yes georg. But change starts with the individual.

          best regards,


  10. Adelaide

    I have been reading Lee Smolin’s latest, “The Singular Universe and The Reality of Time.” Similar to his arguments in “The Trouble With Physics” he outlines the reasons behind the suppression of the human creative zeitgeist these past 40 years. We will soon be approaching a 50-year dearth, a half-century of no meaningful progression in any subject, Science, technology, arts, etc. He proposes practical solutions to rid ourselves of the self-serving social structures that not only inhibit but actively regress progressive advancement.

    • michaelcoughlan


      New agers believe that all humanity is being controlled by a reptile type species from outer space just outside our capacity for visual reference and they are harvesting our energy matrix like which is causing this.

      The jehovas’s witnesses believe we are in the end of days as foretold in the last chapter of the bible the book of revelations that we are in the trial period of change with the tribulation to come.

      John Perkins in “confessions of an economic hitman” said indigenous tribes had independently developed their own ideas where they said the hawk would beat the eagle almost to extinction but the eagle would recover and the two would soar with parity of esteem. Rather gibberish but you could say there needs to be a balance between the rights of capital and labour because hawks Like Michael O’Leary are running amok.

      As for physics lets see if this equation makes any sense;



    • michaelcoughlan

      there is plenty of progress in technology;

      Internet going mainstream, 3d printers, iphones, pc’s, sat navs, etc etc.


  11. paulpr

    How can you predict a bumper harvest by looking at the stars?
    Not exactly scientific

    • Have you ever being under the rain on a clear blue sky and sunny day without clouds ?

      • paulpr

        No. Have you? (or is that entirely metaphorical?)

        • Correct Answer

          How did you know because it made common sense from the evidence you had gathered and your intelligence .

          If you knew astrology as practiced in Greece in those olden days you would have predicted a bumper harvest as above .

          Today under the street lights no body can see the stars anymore .

          • paulpr

            No, but in the desert I can, and it’s beautiful.
            I can’t see how it helps me get a bumper harvest out here though, nothing edible anyway.

  12. Spark & Nourishment

    It dismays me that the State is so relaxed about foreign ownership of key assets ( including new products and inventions ) and utilities , and that the fate of our national reserves depends on short – term shareholders.

    Without the contracted dedication by the Irish academia to nurture real science where it matters we might as well stay with science fiction and love/hate the idea.In Ireland this is Alien to others that observe us from a place where some day we may have to go if they take us .

  13. Original-Ed

    The problem with Science/Technology is that in the main it involves the Physical World and so, to earn a crust from it, you need more than a desk, phone and a computer – apart from just writing code. It’s an expensive business, but the rewards can be huge.
    Ireland is too small for it to work as a major economic driver and so, we have to rely on Multinationals to give us a little slice of the action.
    Without it we’re dead in the water.

  14. SMOKEY

    Beware of the Fifth Column. I am concerned that the Man United jersey wearing morons will not be able to identify the street by street, block by block, takeover of Dublin. Charlie Hebdo, coming soon to an Irish town near you. Wake up and don’t let it happen here. Je suis Charlie. I hope not.

    • The real enemy lives closer to home and is hiding in plain view.

      I’m talking about robbing corporations, money-laundering banks, corrupt government apparatus, the shamelessly greedy elites and their lying politician lackeys.

      The Yanks spend 640 billion dollars on the military every year – in order to create generational enemies all over the world.

      Imagine the extent to which they could transform their own country if they spent that on infrastructure, education, health, etc. – while still employing as many people as they do to bomb the hell out of whoever they wish around the world with impunity.

      Instead, it’s preferable if we all live in fear of a few nutjobs (every country has them – check the Shankhill Butchers for example)

      You might find the circumstances which allow these radicals to emerge would be lessened if the West minded its own business and left the Middle East to sort out its own affairs – it’s nothing to do with the West.

      But then they want the oil and the money, we all know that’s what it’s really about.

      A couple of terrorist attacks a year is exactly what they want to keep the military-industrial complex show on the road.

      Je suis Charlie my bollox.

      • Colin

        And just how many times have you visited the good oul US of A for a holiday?

        • So what?

          I can go where I want, doesn’t mean I agree with their politicians.

          • Colin

            Its funny you keep visiting a country for a good time when their own policies upset you so much.

          • I can go where I want and do what I want.

          • Colin

            Is that because you don’t subscribe?

          • jackofalltrades

            If you do go Stateside Adam,do some research first

            I’m friendly with a Cork lad that went to “Long’s supermarket” in Stockton ,Caifornia when he was 16. The guy was entranced by the bar-code laser that he’d only ever seen on “Tomorrows World” on RTE,when the young girl at the check-out asked – “Will that be paper or plastic sir” to which he replied, “Cash” lol, to which the girl in turn,now laughing,asked him -” OMG Are you Canadian ?” , to which this sorry lad replied – “No,I’m Irish” ;)

            [so the story went,5 girls from that supermarket picked him up from his aunt's house for a beach party that very night! But this guy can tell a tall story, so knows what to believe;)]

            Have a nice day

  15. DB4545

    We might be amenable to rational arguments Adam but those maniacs in France who carried out those attacks certainly are not. They’ve murdered people in the Netherlands for speaking out. They’ve murdered people in France for speaking out. People murdered for writing for the French equivalent of the Phoenix or Private Eye? Without the US(and it has its faults like anywhere)this place would be Bulgaria.
    There are parts of major cities like London, Birmingham,Berlin,Paris,Brussels,Marseilles that bear a closer resemblance to Karachi or Tunis. We’re in for some major upheaval because of that situation and there’s no point wishing it away.

    • I’m not wishing anything away.

      I never said the US should keep out of Ireland (and allow us to turn into Bulgaria). We have close cultural, historical, business ties etc. Long may they last.

      I said they should keep out of the Middle East and leave them to it.

      It’s totally different but people have problems with specificities.

      • DB4545

        Adam if the US “got out” of the middle East it would be a fairly short time before we’d be freezing on this little rock in the north atlantic. We get a free ride on the US/UK/EU security umbrella as we spend very little on defence/security as a percentage of GDP/GNP.We also play the “cute hoor” very well in relation to specific export markets. We have open borders for people and goods so this has implications for us.

    • Colin

      Adam’s solution is to allow unlimited numbers of Somalians etc into Ireland, UK, USA, France, Germany etc… and to hell with the consequences. Adam has also advocated lying and cheating your way into another country if needs be. You wasting your time getting any sense out of him on this matter.

  16. SMOKEY

    What Adam means is “beware the government media complex”, I can school him on this at a later date.
    That said, he totally ignored the point, and fact, that putting a bomb in a nursery, or crèche if you will, or cutting the throat of some stranger who disagrees with you, is not what his father or his grandfather was taught. Get it? Street by street,……………………
    And if it wasn’t for the US military, Adam may very well be a bar of soap, or a lampshade.

  17. DB4545

    It’s a newspaper article Smokey it doesn’t prove anything. But you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to work out that our security and customs services are not funded or operating to best international standards. Just look at the “oil” business which operates with virtual impunity in the border counties. It’s a pleasure to live in a Country that is fairly laid back in most respects but we’ll have hell to pay if an event here or in the rest of Europe is found to have been resourced or organised here.

  18. SMOKEY

    Well it is being financed by social welfare payments to the tune of €3000.00 PM according to said article. Im finding it easy to believe, of course we all hear what we want to hear and like it when our ideas are backed up with evidence, but it is easy to believe because of what I have observed on the streets of Dublin. A jihadi is easy to spot. And what I thought I encountered in Dublin was exactly that. They are up there in Dublin. I hope you all wake up and get rid of these murderous vermin before they get a chance to kill anyone else. The security of your nation and your children’s futures depend on the average Irish citizen standing up and saying NO! NOT HERE! Drive these islamofascist haters of freedom out of this country. I will do what I can to keep every last one of them out. As for the oil business, follow the money. And by the way, I haven’t heard of any one in the illegal oil trade shooting up the offices of Google or Sam McCauly or Topaz etc. or killing guards begging for their lives on the street. I haven’t heard of any of them going into a Polish grocery and killing hostages or beheading journalist’s in the name of washed diesel. Get it DB4545?

    • jackofalltrades

      ” As for the oil business, follow the money.”


      he who controls the spice…

      - Baron Vladimir Harkonnen

    • DB4545

      Again Smokey newspaper articles aren’t facts. If you took the time to read my comments above I make clear the dangers facing this Country from these maniacs.”A jihadi is easy to spot”? Bullshit. You can’t racially profile for an ideology. The 9/11 bombers dressed and behaved as Westerners prior to the attacks. They’re more than capable of dressing as a Hasidic Jew while wearing a suicide vest. Targeting people based on national origin, race or a dress code is just ridiculous, is counter-productive and a complete waste of resources.

      A more productive use of resources might include:
      1. Revoking Citizenship, residency and welfare rights for anyone who engages in terrorist acts against EU Citizens anywhere in the world.
      2. Revoking Citizenship residency and welfare rights for anyone who gains Citizenship through any false declarations on application or fraudulent marriage.
      3. Revoking residency rights for anyone convicted of any criminal activity.
      4. Rebooting all social welfare applications to ensure applicants are actually living in the State.Introduce a clause that recipients must present themselves for interview at 24 hours notice if required.

      However your point on social welfare is valid and needs to be addressed. A solution could include a contributions based welfare system. Make welfare payments conditional on several years full time paid employment in the State for EU Nationals only. Put an end to people arriving here and receiving welfare benefits without having contributed to the system. If you are not a EU national and you are unemployed for more than six months cancel residency status and you leave the State. We need to get our heads around this and fast. We cannot afford to let the current system continue.

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