May 7, 2015

Floating fridges changed history - just as the internet is doing

Posted in Irish Independent · 66 comments ·
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At first, it tasted a bit like pork. Some of them vomited at the idea but, after a few morsels – nearly freezing to death from hypothermia and driven demented by hunger after over a week without food – they sat on the side of the Andes and chewed on their dead friends in silence. Apparently, you could tell the ones who had eaten human flesh due to the ghastly greenish tinge on their faces. Cannibalism was not something the Christian Brothers of the Stella Maris College in Montevideo had prepared them for.

Quite apart from Luis Suarez’s cannibalistic instincts in the box, one of the few things most people know about Uruguay is the awful story about the rugby team whose plane crashed over the Andes in October 1972 and the fact that a number of the young men survived by resorting to cannibalism.

But did you know that all these young men, who played for the Montevideo club “The Old Christians”, were all pupils or recent graduates of the Stella Maris College – an Irish secondary school? This school was founded in 1955 by Brother Patrick Kelly to educate the Irish-Uruguayan population here in Montevideo. At the peak of Uruguay’s economic miracle, thousands of Irish migrants rocked up here in Montevideo. Many became middle managers or professionals and they now are heavily present in the bourgeois of this tiny Latin country.

Yesterday, I was speaking at the Sheraton in Montevideo to a large group that included some descendants of these Irish migrants with plenty of O’Neills, Lawlors and O’Briens in the audience.

But what were Irish people doing down here in the first place? And does their story have anything to teach us over 150 years later?

They arrived here in the River Plate region during the first great age of globalisation, at the same time their cousins were arriving in New York. Many people think that globalisation is something very new; it is not.

We are in the second great age of globalization. The first was between 1870-1914, when the world opened up to trade, ideas, innovation, huge capital flows and – unlike today – huge legal movements of people from Europe to the rest of the world. The Irish were at the vanguard of these movements.

At the core of these population upheavals was massively disruptive technology, which destroyed old ways of doing things and opened up new opportunities all over the globe. The same is happening now.

As I write from a beautiful café right in the centre of Montevideo – Cafe Brasilero – you can almost hear the enormous River Plate, the main trading artery from here to Europe, flowing a block or two away. Interestingly, the date this café opened was 1877; you can just make out the scratchy numbers in the café’s ancient faded mirror.

In June 1877 a British-financed ship with a French name “The Frigorifique” set sail on the River Plate. But this wasn’t just any old ship. This ship would change the course of history. It carried something that had never been shipped such distances before: it carried frozen beef. The fridge was one of the single most important disruptive technologies of the past 100 years.

By enabling direct exports of meat from the Pampas of Argentina and Uruguay, the fridge destroyed the stranglehold that European farmers had on the quantity and thus the price of beef.

This invention destroyed European agriculture and more importantly laid the foundation for the establishment of Ireland as a free state.

The arrival of cheap meat from the River Plate was the biggest change to Irish agriculture ever. It also changed Irish politics forever.

Think about it. Ireland was a beef producer. We produced beef for the British market. Irish agricultural incomes were dependent on the British price of beef. The British price of beef was dependent on the productivity of Irish, Scottish and English farms. This was in turn dependent on the amount of land farmed. By definition, there could be no more land, so it was a fixed supply and therefore, the price of land was always underpinned by the demand for and price of beef.

But, with the disruptive technology of floating freezers (allowing export from Uruguay and Argentina to flood the European market), all that changed. The price of beef collapsed. So too did the return to Irish land and, as a result, the price of land fell too. The fall in both the income from land and the collapse of wealth associated with land meant that Irish tenant farmers saw their incomes fall, implying fewer farmers could be maintained on the land.

This prompted significant emigration of younger sons in the late 1880s and 1890s – 50,000 Irish emigrated to the River Plate region. It also radicalized the ones who were left, who blamed the landlords for the collapse in their income.

But something else was going on.

The Montevideo-inspired collapse in the price of Irish land made English landlords in Ireland and local landlords less inclined to hold on to land. So they started to side with the London Parliament to accelerate the Land Acts, which many of them saw as the last chance to sell land in Ireland. It was seen as a bailout by many politically-agnostic landlords.

The endgame of this process, the radicalization of Irish tenant farmers and the gradual disengagement from Irish land by all landlords (bar the most Unionist) were the direct consequences of the disruptive technologies deployed here in Uruguay and over the giant river in Argentina.

Sitting here in the Café Brasilero in Montevideo (http://www.cafebrasilero.com.uy/) founded in the same year as floating freezers changed our world, it is not difficult to see how disruptive technologies deployed thousands of miles away can have profound impacts on the industrial, agricultural and political of countries on the other side of the world.

Would 1916 have happened without floating freezers? Who knows. But there is one thing that is certain: looking at narrow-gauge history without looking at the broader economic factors that propel historical events will give you an incomplete picture.

Given the huge technological changes going on right now, I wonder what start-up is discovering a new way of doing business and what major economic, social and political impact such an invention might have on the lives of millions in the years ahead?


  1. “Given the huge technological changes going on right now, I wonder what start-up is discovering a new way of doing business and what major economic, social and political impact such an invention might have on the lives of millions in the years ahead?”

    Answer: Bitcoin / blockchain technology.

    • Toilets with music and a blow fountain shower would be a welcome support to those with diabetes …they need never get up again

    • john

      Exactly what I’ve thought Adam
      Jamie Dimon is worried about it
      http://mashable.com/2015/04/10/jp-morgan-ceo-letter/

    • Home Counties Girl

      Dear Adam & Tony,

      I trust life is being good to you wherever you are in the world. As a fellow follower of this blog I’ve never left any comments, therefore you won’t know who I am.

      The reason I’m posting this is that I am trying to reach out to the Bitcoin community for guidance – and from your comments on this blog you both are clearly Bitcoin savvy.

      You may be aware that the UK has just held its General Election, and with fear mongering tactics the Conservatives have won a majority. I’m appalled with the outcome (not that there were any better alternatives except the Greens). I’ve hardly had a wink of sleep and feel sick to the stomach of the prospect of enduring life under a Tory government, and in the early hours of this morning concluded that in the coming months I will leave England (I was planning this for a while, but the election outcome has really spurred me).

      I’ve previously flirted with Bitcoin, but I just can’t get my head around it! I would like to set myself up properly and was hoping you guys would be kind enough to spare a few moments to recommend any books, forums, blogs, just anything that will help me start my Bitcoin journey.

      Wishing you both a Happy Friday :-)

      • michaelcoughlan

        Hi,

        I know you didn’t address your query to me but I’d like to help. Bitcoin is only part of a defensive solution.

        1) If you can pay off all unnecessary debts like credit cards personal loans store loans etc. even if you have to sell your car to do it.

        2) Don’t take on any more debt.

        3) Close your bank account and open a credit union account from which you can access cash if needed.

        4) Keep 10% of your savings in physical bullion silver coins at home

        5) Keep 10% of your savings in hard foreign currencies like swiss and norwegian francs at home even though fiat they are he best of a bad lot

        6) Stack your larder with plenty of non perishable dried goods and tinned food.

        7) Use your cash savings left over to buy defensive stocks paying dividends which traditionally do will during times a monetary crises. A professional adviser will do this for you.

        8) Fill up your home heating oil if you have it.

        9) Install a wood burning stove which heats the water.

        10) Change your car for a fuel electric hybrid if you can. If not get a smaller cheaper model or better still start cycling if possible.

        11) Bore a well for water supply to your home if you are in the countryside and you can.

        12) Install a bio treatment system in your home or composting toilets and disconnect from the municipality if possible.

        13) turn off the TV and stop buying newspapers.

        14) Put in a kitchen garden.

        15) Install a cost effective solar system for electric in the house if possible and viable.

        16) Join a local food coop and learn how to cooperated with people of like mind where personal skills can be bartered.

        17) Find out about bitcoin and other crypto currencies.

        Most importantly like red river six says;

        PUT YOUR FAMILY FIRST AND ENJOY LIFE. HELP OTHERS TO DO LIKE WISE.

        very best regards,

        Michael.

        • Home Counties Girl

          Hello Michael,

          I sincerely appreciate you taking the time in responding to my ratty post from this morning. I’ve just read it back to myself and it was a poor sales pitch in seeking Bitcoin info – I was irate from the outcome of the UK general election (I cannot tolerate injustice directed towards the most vulnerable people in society), however, that does not permit a poor sales pitch – which I have now revised and posted it in many Bitcoin forums/blogs.

          I’m not quite sure why you’ve listed the lifestyle of a hermit? Would it not be easier to commit a crime and do your time? I understand the relevance of a buffer, hence the exploration of alternative options.

          I have a basic grasp of the concept, but I’d like to engage with active users to gauge the: benefits, ease of transaction, point of sale offline, security, and many other questions that I have before I invest my time and effort.

          If you’re an active user, or anyone else that posts in this blog then please do get in touch.

          Wishing you a warm weekend from a very stormy Hertfordshire.

          home counties girl (hcg)

        • Home Counties Girl

          Thanks Adam, funnily enough I bought a kindle edition of Frisby’s book over the weekend. I’ve zipped through it – it’s a good read, it has certainly made my heart flutter. I’m excited, I think I’m starting to get it now. Anything to get away from traditional money creation, you might want to read the link below.

          http://www.bankofengland.co.uk/publications/Documents/quarterlybulletin/2014/qb14q1prereleasemoneycreation.pdf

          While I’m on here, even though this has nothing to do with me – Oscar, your comment:

          ‘I wonder if Saudi women will be allowed to drive them’

          Is totally unnecessary and completely off topic. You come across as a pessimistic, narrow minded, misogynist.

          HCG

          • Why so HCG? Are we not allowed to allude to the status of women in that particular country – the west’s main ally in the region? Are we supposed to pretend that everything is fine and that there is no hypocrisy?

            I think you’re the one who is off-topic, not to mention narrow-minded and misogynistic. I cannot for the life of me figure out where you are coming from. Maybe you misconstrued something somewhere along the line.

          • You should also sign up for a Bitcoin wallet at http://www.blockchain.info

            Play around with it, it’s the best way to learn. Email me at adamabyss @ hotmail.com with a public Bitcoin address (you’ll see one in your wallet and will have the option to create as many others as you need under the ‘Receive Money’ tab) and I’ll send you 5 quid to get you started – will save you having to go through an exchange. Just don’t lose your password for the wallet as they cannot retrieve it.

        • Home Counties Girl

          Cheers Adam,

          That’s very kind of you. Depending on how I get on I may take you up on lending me a fiver – I will wire it back to you once I’m up and running.

          Anyways, I best knuckle down and do some blockchain homework. Thanks again, you’ve been a huge help.

          hcg

  2. Floating Fridges kept the price of meat up in the 80′s and 90′s under EU Green Plan …….cold storage was a banking system fudging the demand of meat and the supply

    • michaelcoughlan

      Hi John,

      There was also a military imperative in the intervention idea in that Europe was scared that thousands of russian tanks were gonna cross the border.

      The western military people needed loads of frozen beef in storage to feed a freshly conscripted army. Frozen meat for the freezer and fresh meat for the cannons.

      Michael.

  3. michaelcoughlan

    Hi David,

    This article is one of the most important for a long long time because it is the first time I have seen an attempt by someone like you who blends political analysis with economic reality better than anyone else to shift the prevailing narrative. Let me explain:

    “At the core of these population upheavals was massively disruptive technology, which destroyed old ways of doing things and opened up new opportunities all over the globe. The same is happening now”

    Tony has been waxing lyrical about gold and sound money, Adam about bitcoin, me about coops etc. The change in the narrative being initiated by your quote above will start to lead readers of your column in the correct direction away from focusing on scumbags like suds etc and the havoc they are unleashing on the world and onto creating the new narrative of new disruptive technologies which serve customers/workers/citizens instead of raping them.

    Here is a disruptive technology I will be putting up on the startjoin platform soon for analysis by the members. If everyone could go on there and give your twopence worth I would really appreciate it as no one has a monopoly on knowledge.

    Michael.

    Proposal;

    I worked out a potential to the fiat/debt problem after watching Bill Stills superlative documentary “The secret of oz”. Still’s central hypothesis that the people who control the quantity should be the government issuing interest free fiat is flawed in my view. Even though the fiat would be interest free the politicians would print all they want and inflate the currency to zero as the private Cb’s are doing now anyway.

    My solution is as follows;

    1) Register a not for profit company or coop like the robin hood coop.

    2) Create an Internet based online broker interface for this company.

    3) Take deposits from customers and forward this money to the royal
    mint in exchange for a contract to supply on demand an equal amount of
    coin. Coin being issued by the mint is interest free currency unlike paper or electronic. These contracts could be stored electronically or digitally.

    They could use block chain numbers instead of serial No’s. Create an
    electronic vault warrant which represents the value of the contracts
    in storage. These warrants which are given to the users in exchange for their money could then circulate as a complimentary GBP currency whic would be backed defacto in GBP coin.

    The effect of this is that the fiat currently in circulation ie notes
    or electronic, are interest bearing fiat currency whereas the new
    complimentary currency would be interest free and citizen owned and controlled.

    As the money gets deposited with the mint the mint would have to send
    these deposits to the bank of England who would then have to destroy
    them AND SIMULTANEOUSLY THE CORRESPONDING DEBT since the contracts for
    the supply of interest free govt issued coin would be acting as bearer
    instruments.

    The citizens would begin to pay down the national debt just by using the brokerage. A bottom up approach to solving the runaway debt problem.

    Michael.

    • cooldude

      Interesting concept Michael but there is one large problem to any solution. That is the exclusive franchise that the privately owned central banks have over what we use as money. Unless legal tender laws are repealed and we are allowed to use whatever we want as a medium of exchange then it’s a waste of time.

      By having different forms of money, such as bitcoin or digital forms of precious metals, in circulation this automatically stops the government from over issuing it’s form of money because through it’s excessive supply it would automatically lose value in relation to forms of money that cannot be created by just pressing a button and people would switch to these forms of money for a store of value.

      Our world is run by these bankers and they control the politicians. Any politician who tries to break their franchise on what we use as money ends up like JFK and Lincoln who introduced different forms of debt free money not paying interest to these bankers.

      A serious article on all of this would be a good idea but I wouldn’t hold your breath waiting for one.

      • michaelcoughlan

        And JFK and Lincoln were shot.

        Doing what’s right gets you killed.

      • michaelcoughlan

        Thanks cooldude.

        “That is the exclusive franchise that the privately owned central banks have over what we use as money. Unless legal tender laws are repealed and we are allowed to use whatever we want as a medium of exchange then it’s a waste of time”

        My idea is a complimentary GBP based currency so you wouldn’t be replacing the GBP pound just every fiat interest bearing one with a mint issued coin which has a digital issued warrant for ownership circulating instead. The digital warrant is to facilitate trade and get around any logistics problems that may occur trying to settle large transactions in coin only.

        Michael.

        • See postings on previous article where the US government is suing people developing other forms of currency. Saying they are violating the bank act etc.

          Cooldude is right. we have to break the monopoly.
          Repeal legal tender laws
          Use precious metals as basis.
          Digitize.
          Use block chain methodology to ensure validity of contracts and value of currency.

          As Cooldude also says, don’t hold your breath waiting for an article examining this or any fundimental change in our money supply.

          We are being lead astray with chat about anything other than what really matters.

          • michaelcoughlan

            Hi Tony,

            They haven’t stopped start coin, bitcoin etc yet.

            Michael.

          • Home Counties Girl

            Dear Adam & Tony,

            I trust life is being good to you wherever you are in the world. As a fellow follower of this blog I’ve never left any comments, therefore you won’t know who I am.

            The reason I’m posting this is that I am trying to reach out to the Bitcoin community for guidance – and from your comments on this blog you both are clearly Bitcoin savvy.

            You may be aware that the UK has just held its General Election, and with fear mongering tactics the Conservatives have won a majority. I’m appalled with the outcome (not that there were any better alternatives except the Greens). I’ve hardly had a wink of sleep and feel sick to the stomach of the prospect of enduring life under a Tory government, and in the early hours of this morning concluded that in the coming months I will leave England (I was planning this for a while, but the election outcome has really spurred me).

            I’ve previously flirted with Bitcoin, but I just can’t get my head around it! I would like to set myself up properly and was hoping you guys would be kind enough to spare a few moments to recommend any books, forums, blogs, just anything that will help me start my Bitcoin journey.

            Wishing you both a Happy Friday :-)

          • Home Counties Girl

            Dear Adam & Tony,

            I trust life is being good to you wherever you are in the world. As a fellow follower of this blog I’ve never left any comments, therefore you won’t know who I am.

            The reason I’m posting this is that I am trying to reach out to the Bitcoin community for guidance – and from your comments on this blog you both are clearly Bitcoin savvy.

            You may be aware that the UK has just held its General Election, and with fear mongering tactics the Conservatives have won a majority. I’m appalled with the outcome (not that there were any better alternatives except the Greens). I’ve hardly had a wink of sleep and feel sick to the stomach of the prospect of enduring life under a Tory government, and in the early hours of this morning concluded that in the coming months I will leave England (I was planning this for a while, but the election outcome has really spurred me).

            I’ve previously flirted with Bitcoin, but I just can’t get my head around it! I would like to set myself up properly and was hoping you guys would be kind enough to spare a few moments to recommend any books, forums, blogs, just anything that will help me start my Bitcoin journey.

            Wishing you both a Happy Friday :-)

            *this blog does not allow duplicate posts, so hopefully this will now display by adding this*

        • cooldude

          Hi Michael,

          Have a look at this piece from the Direct Democracy website. It looks the nature of modern banking and how it acts as a parasite feeding off the real economy. Some good stuff on who actually owns the central banks and how they are all interconnected and owned by basically the same people

          http://www.democracydirect.ie/an-understanding-of-banking-and-a-solution/

          • Well done cool dude. Kudos to direct democracy. It is a great link and recommend reading by all.

            David, it is time you addressed this issue of our corrupt money supply. Not because anyone suggests you do but because it is the right and proper thing to do
            Thanks for your input Michael and cool dude too.

      • Grzegorz Kolodziej

        https://mises.org/blog/chase-joins-war-cash

        How should we interpret this piece of information>

        1. Governments and central banks, but now private banks as well (it’s very hard to tell what is private and public in post-free market diluted ownership of no-risk managerial semi-state post-capitalism), want to weaken peoples control over their assets.
        2. By eliminating cash in the environment of negative interest rates for savers banks can take control over pension funds and confiscate their (our) money if needed
        3. Based on false Keynesian economics of multiplier (I explained the bogus maths behind it in one my previous posts) they try to achieve the so called ‘escape velocity’
        4. They hope this will save them from a run. This was tried recently in Bulgaria where FB (Russian intelligence spread rumours about one of the banks and caused a run on that bank).
        5. Willem Buiter and Ken Rogoff urge the US government under delusional President Obama to abandon cash and introducing negative rates of -6%
        6. Tocqueville on democratic form of government:

        “A democratic government is the only one in which those who vote for a tax can escape the obligation to pay it.”

        “After having thus taken each individual one by one into its powerful hands, and having molded him as it pleases, the sovereign power extends its arms over the entire society; it covers the surface of society with a network of small, complicated, minute, and uniform rules, which the most original minds and the most vigorous souls cannot break through to go beyond the crowd; it does not break wills, but it softens them, bends them and directs them; it rarely forces action, but it constantly opposes your acting; it does not destroy, it prevents birth; it does not tyrannize, it hinders, it represses, it enervates, it extinguishes, it stupifies, and finally it reduces each nation to being nothing more than a flock of timid and industrious animals, of which the government is the shepherd.

        I have always believed that this sort of servitude, regulated, mild and peaceful, of which I have just done the portrait, could be combined better than we imagine with some of the external forms of liberty, and that it would not be impossible for it to be established in the very shadow of the sovereignty of the people.”

  4. aidanxc

    Your title includes the sentence “just as the internet is doing”. This is a most important point that is somewhat overlooked in your insightful article. We are, at this point in history, entering a period of ‘technological rapture” when the notions of creativity, data and knowledge become global, interconnected and real-time. The rate of innovation is going to accelerate to a point we would have thought impossible just a few short years ago. Knowledge and innovation works on a principle similar to compound interest. We are now at a point where the returns become massive and highly disruptive. It is with this thought in mind we should consider the parochial nature of politics and how it has failed to grasp the nature of this changing paradigm. We should forget about the impact of whether the UK leaves the EU or not, that’s a storm in a teacup, ditto the machinations at EU level. We will have one global economy, with all countries interlinked and interdependent. There is a massive threat to established currencies – smart governments, companies and individuals are already preparing for this new reality.

    • EugeneN

      Aidan, the most likely response to that level of globalisation is a retrenchment of globalisation.

      I doubt that the “rate of innovation” is going to increase, either. It’s probably dropping, as is productivity.

      Most commentators here are dystopian or utopian, the reality of the future is somewhere in the middle.

  5. Colm

    If you’re looking for the next disruptive technology and how it’s going to affect geopolitics I would highly recommend giving these two a watch:

    https://t.co/qshu7BS7Xj

    https://t.co/Z3ToRQEd0b

    See if you can join the dots…

    • DB4545

      Colm

      I’ve attempted to join some of them below. Your analysis please?

      DB

      • Colm

        With the right battery technology, the potential for decentralised & self-sustainable renewable energy is becoming a reality. Consider the influence of energy resources and pipelines not just from an economic point of view but also a geopolitical one… there have been wars over this stuff. It would be good to move towards a world where that has a diminishing influence.

        Also, a lot of the “developing world” could skip the need for an electric grid and move straight to this approach, much like how they’ve skipped land land telecoms and went straight to mobiles. Assuming other basic needs can also be met, it would be pretty exciting to live in that kind of environment.

    • As much as I like and admire Elon Musk, the Tesla video is painfully short on hard science.

      I’ll watch the other one tomorrow.

  6. And exactly what are the “huge technological changes going on right now”, David? Name them. The great strides of the last 20-25 years have happened and we are living with them now. Yippee! But there’s nothing going on to suggest that any great waves are being made at the moment. That is largely because they have already happened. Necessity, after all, is the mother of invention. What is the necessity of the present time? Answer that question and you will unlock the key to innovation.

    • StephenKenny

      Communications technology continues to shrink the world, both in physical and in virtual terms,. This is a 200 year trend. The virtual world promises to make itself preferable to the physical, for many, in many areas of their lives. It will be safer, more controllable, and, given it’s ability to mix the fantasy with reality, much more intense and pleasurable.
      Automation has, and will continue, to transform all of our lives. Boring and menial jobs are disappearing. Production costs are and will continue to fall, as machines take over ever more of the things we needed to do.
      Bio technologies will provide an improved quality of life (think dentistry).

      In terms of speed, I think it’s, in some ways, deceptive. Computer applications have been moving forward pretty silently, for 60 years, and then suddenly 10 years ago, the fruits of that were suddenly in the public eye. We are certainly in the steep bit of the classic ‘S’ curve of a technology.

      Of course, as with all changes, there will be downsides, and very negative possibilities that could go hand in hand.

      Many sci-fi writers of 50 to100 years ago wrote stores warning of these things – my favourite example of EM Forster’s ‘The Machine Stops’ (written in 1907 or something) – a short story about a fully automated world, where people have become completely physically isolated, and removed from the world. Writers such as Philip K Dick, Arthur C Clark, Asimov, Aldus Huxley, and so on, all wrote many stories on this subject.

      • DB4545

        I think it won’t be a single technology but the interaction of several emerging technologies just like the floating freezer example. Our energy demands are declining on the back of new technologies such as led lighting and new silicon chips which are much more efficient such as the new Movidius chip. Electric cars with a range of 350kms are within reach removing range anxiety for most commuters. Energy production independent of fossil fuels is soaring with renewables such as solar PV, wind etc. The Sheiks may be heading the way of the landed gentry.

        If the middle east was critical to US and Western energy security as it was until recently the West would still be placating the elite there. Oil was the canary in the coalmine but it doesn’t set off alarm bells like it used to. Who needs oil for ground wars with tanks and conventional land armies when low energy drones can target much more accurately and selectively? The British military are down to 85,000 personnel numbers not seen since the 19th century.The fact that the West doesn’t appear to give a rat’s ass about the place may tell a tale.

        The West now has energy security,food security and all the fossil fuels and resources it needs on it’s own territories. Its only problems now are managing the barbarians at the gate. And if the barbarians insist on using facebook and new media that’s fixable too as the charlie hebdo organisers just found out to their cost.

      • So it’s a lot of fantasy fodder for those who like to wax lyrical but no real innovation or change – because there is no urgent necessity at the present time. The transformation has happened. It has been and gone: a train that has left the station. It may feel like it was only yesterday but that only confirms that it is now in the past.

        • DB4545

          Oscar,

          Drones are a tiny part of it. Information is the key as it always has been just as your example mentions molotov cocktails taking out Russian tanks. Remember they needed to know which part of the tank was weak in order to target the tanks in the first place. It’s about convergence of many techologies which are not fantasy but are firmly rooted in reality.

          DB

          • So give us a concrete example. That was my original question after all. If it as ‘firmly rooted in reality’ as you say, then it shouldn’t be too hard.

            The most urgent, pressing problems in the world today are not calling out for a technological fix, as such. The solutions are already out there. “The future is here; it just hasn’t been evenly distributed yet,” as somebody said.

          • DB4545

            Oscar

            What concrete examples are you looking for?

            1.Solar technology exists and domestic/commercial installations are soaring.
            2.Tesla announced the powerwall but battery storage has been around for decades.
            3. Electric cars such as the Tesla (range 340Km) and Nissan leaf(range 180km) are in production and on the road.
            4.Drones are in use and the same data mining and analysis that’s used to target you for ads is used to target “targets”.

            There is no fantasy in the examples I’ve used it’s factual and very real.

            DB

          • I think, DB4545, that your dream died in a bunker in Berlin 70 years ago today.

          • DB4545

            Oscar,

            National Socialists along with most other kinds of socialists contributed nothing but misery to humanity. Therefore any suggestion that I share any common cause with them is offensive but offend away because I’ve no problem with freedom of speech. You might consider answering some questions yourself instead of going off topic.

            DB

          • For the record, DB4545, I never considered you to be a National Socialist. Your views strike me as being a little bit further to the right in fact.

          • DB4545

            Oscar

            I don’t really care how my views strike you. As you made the comment I’d describe myself as a libertarian pragmatist. I don’t like nutjobs on the left or right or their insane fascist or socialist ideologies. I am socially liberal and probably dead centre on financial issues. I have no business in other people’s private lives except when they try to take money out of my pocket without good reason or explanation. If you want to marry a horse that’s fine by me just don’t expect me to pay for the wedding. As someone said on modern family both of Hitler’s parents were straight and look how that turned out.

            DB

          • Well, you know what they say DB4545, – scratch a libertarian pragmatist and a fascist bleeds!

            While I’m on here, solar technology is going nowhere, an evolutionary dead end, the Neanderthal of energy sources. If the electric car ever makes it out of the garage, I wonder if Saudi women will be allowed to drive them.

        • StephenKenny

          Are you referring to inventions, such as the steam train, or discoveries, such as electricity, or some combination of the two, such as the 4 course crop rotation, or something else?

          Drones aren’t new, the Germans used something similar – more primitive – during WW2. But you seem to accept them as an ‘innovation’. Autonomous drones sort of are, and even when they decide for themselves who to bomb, the decisions are merely a product of decisions made by their programmers.

          Virtual reality is a very simple example, robots are another, the ability of crowds to interact at a very micro level is another. These each provide facilities for very many direct applications.

          Lending and borrowing money will probably never be the same – the demise of the high street banks is almost a certainty. They’ll be reduced to being little more than the regulated nodes on an electronic funds transfer system.

          One thing is for certain, the transformations that these technologies will cause certainly haven’t happened – with much of it we’re still at the stage of trying to replace existing methods and products with electronic versions. We only just started with applications that are purely possible in the electronic ether.

          Self driving cars are a nice example. Initially, we’ll buy them and park them out the front like our current cars. Then we’ll realise that there really isn’t much point, and will join a car pool – just whistle up a car when you need it. Then we’ll start to realise that high quality VR with tactile interfaces can provide much (not all) of a current human interaction. Just as young people today live in a world of hyper micro interactions, most will live in a world of (controllable) always-on interaction with people of their choice.

          How we consume medical services is changing – continual monitoring of everyone’s bodies will significantly improve the quality of people’s lives.

          Quite honestly, you could write a set of books about current innovation. Unless, of course, you’re referring to pure invention, and then there’ve only been a few – Gregor Mende’s ‘genetics’ is one I think.

          • I take it Stephen, that you would accept my contention that at THIS moment, there are no ‘great technological changes’ going on, as has been asserted. Rather, what we are experiencing is the periodic lull of slow cumulative changes, necessary before great leaps forward can take place. As Eamon Dunphy might say, ‘they’re good changes but they’re not great changes.’

            This is not nit-picking by the way. The people responsible for economic policy in this country, and the job creation aspects of that policy in particular, appear to be convinced that an economic revival is going to come about by riding a wave of ‘great technological changes’, which have largely already happened. They have no idea how to utilise the benefit however. It’s like the Christian waiting for the Second Coming, not realising that he came when he was out.

            It was mentioned here, on this very forum, by somebody (I can’t remember who but I will be happy to give credit if they care to come forward) that IDA/Entreprise Ireland and all those who hold the purse-strings of enticing foreign direct investment in this country, are potentially the next Anglo-Irish Bank. The same way that the banks gave out loans to anyone who came asking for them, Ireland is probably perceived internationally, in certain circles, as a soft touch. Anything that comes with the ‘silicon valley’ label attached, to give just one example, gets the full VIP treatment. How much consideration is being given to the long-term value of this approach? I don’t know myself but I would like to hear from someone who does.

            Young entrepreneurs and business start-ups reading David’s article (which I know is well intentioned) might be left with the impression that if they are not in the vanguard of some ‘great technological change’, ‘changing the lives of millions’, then their efforts aren’t worth anything. How wrong could you be? Enterprise is about fulfilling real needs, of the moment, however mundane. Enterprises that succeed, tend to be run by people who are able to take a sober view. Tell that to the people who are only interested in ‘the WOW! factor’. They’re the ones who are spending our money.

  7. SMOKEY

    The internet spreads questionable “facts” extremely fast too. The clandestine couple, this according to Colm O’Gormless, was outraged by the use of their image on a No poster. It made all the headlines in the mainstream media. Without anyone asking for veracity. I did, how do I know they are protesting? They want to be unnamed, no address, no written signed statement, no video or audio, just Mr Amnesty International saying it is so. I smell a rat, do you? He got back to me and said I will get the eveidence, we shall see.

  8. https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/#inbox/14d3421948fc1e15?projector=1

    We need innovation in a big way to free us from the predations of
    the state
    The corporists
    The military/police
    and central bankers.

    without such freedom innovation is suffocated.

  9. This is where we are headed. I have observed the signs and signals sinse the 1070″s. Most national problems are instigated and orchestrated from offshore the affected countries.
    Chaos followed by autocratic order and authoritarian one world government. The EU is a part of the plan as is the central banker’s control of money.

    Devolution of empire like the Scottish vote is against the major trend.

  10. Have you ever wondered why the CPI, GDP and employment numbers run counter to your personal and business experiences? The problem lies in biased and often-manipulated government reporting. John Williams

    http://www.shadowstats.com/

  11. http://www.shadowstats.com/alternate_data/unemployment-charts/

    the reported unemployment in US is 5.6% while the real rate is around 23%

  12. http://www.shadowstats.com/article/no-717-april-employment-and-unemployment-money-supply-m3

    • Weakening Economy Taking Toll on U.S. Dollar
    • Labor Data Seriously Flawed and Likely Gimmicked
    • April Full-Time Civilian Employment Dropped by 252,000
    • Net of Revisions, April Payroll Gain of 223,000 Was 184,000; March Headline Jobs Gain of 126,000 Revised to 85,000
    • Decline in Headline April Unemployment to 5.4% Was a Rounding Game, Easing from 5.47% to 5.44%, and Otherwise Not Consistent with March
    • April 2015 Unemployment: 5.4% (U.3), 10.8% (U.6), 23.0% (ShadowStats)
    • Annual Growth in April 2015 Money Supply M3 Slowed to 5.4%, from 5.7% in March and from February’s 5-Year High of 5.8%

    Who is the liar?

  13. The governments are full of lies and deceit. It would be an innovation if we found an honest politician.

    correction. It would be an innovation if the public were smart enough to vote for an honest politician rather the ruse and abuse of the trickster with the catchy slogan. The people get what they deserve, policy by fools and knaves.

    Glorious 24C day here and more for the weekend there is more to come

    • DB4545

      Tony Brogan

      You’ve more chance of meeting a unicorn than an honest politician. Both are just a figment of your imagination. We even had a politician lecturing us the other day about a core group of people who are “allergic” to paid employment. In fairness I thought it was brave of him to come out about the issue.

      There have been rumours about this group living off the Irish people for years and people are afraid to confront them. A group of 166 of them are believed to be squatting in a large building off Kildare Street in Dublin city centre. An older cohort are still using a taxpayer funded car park located nearby even though Citizens fired them for incompetence years ago. They claim they’re “entitled” to lifetime use of it for some services they performed in the past. They even have a bar operating on the premises that operates outside normal licensing hours and fiscal probity. It’s a wonder they haven’t been raided by the Gardai. These wasters are rumoured to take long summer,christmas,easter and other holidays that ordinary Citizens can only dream of such is their workshy nature. The whole group disappear to the ends of the Earth around the 17th of March each year on taxpayer funded holidays for some inexplicable reason. Strangely enough the Country seems to run just fine without them.

      When they were actually asked to do some community work some were found to be “under the influence”. On further examination all of them were found to be incapable of performing any useful function for society despite grandiose claims made when they were interviewed for the job. It turned out that a small group of just three foreign workers were able to carry out the work much more effectively and efficiently and we didn’t even have to pay them pensions. These wasters even had the neck to claim the credit for the work that the foreigners had done. It makes you wonder why we even need 166 of these unemployable wasters when a “Troika” of outsourced foreigners have shown they can do the job much more cheaply. I just hope the politician follows through on his comments and names and shames them in the Dail. I think I’ve more chance of seeing Shergar or a unicorn winning the Gold Cup at Cheltenham next year.

      DB

      DB

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