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Thursday, 23 August 2007

Materialism is not secularism, Brady!

Before Catholic Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All-Ireland Sean Brady was criticising illusions while speaking ironically from Knock. He spoke in American at a plastic paddy festival and conflated materialism with secularism again, he's done this a number of times in the past year and its really pissing me off.

There was clear evidence that "many people are getting tired of the emptiness and stress of a life built predominantly on secular and consumerist values".
Brady says Ireland's secular project has failed reg required, version of the article/speech here.

This is a letter I wrote in response.

Materialism not secularism
I really object to how Mr Brady keeps conflating consumerism/materialism with secularism. It is an insult to all non-religious in Ireland. They might be the two noted trends of the modern era but I don't see the direct connection between them.

Consumerism is laziness, gluttony, conformity and pliableness. Is this secularism? To me secularism means thinking for ourselves and fully comprehending the outcome of our actions on others, it is a sign of Ireland's maturity that we increasingly do so rather then depend unquestionably on authority, His organisation is the prime example in Ireland of an authority having too much power over people and abusing its position, socially, politically and in relation to child abuse. He seems to pine for that era and wants to compete for influence with the mass media rather then see us more worldly aware.

By suggesting Northern Ireland should reduce it corporation tax to the same level as our own he goes against reports from CORI who question whether our low corporation tax shares the wealth fairly and provides us proper levels of social and public services. His concern for our emptiness and stress ignores that it is the relentless pace needed for the low tax Celtic Tiger which has made us live to work rather then work to live. He even suggested in his speech that financial institutions have social and moral authority?

To me the secular project is separation of church from state which some mistake as having as been complete, but with 90% of primary schools still run by the Catholic church an unconstitutional monopoly through lack of choice in education still exists.

Earlier in the year the Taoiseach warned against 'aggressive secularists' although he still hasn't come up with any examples of any but I think I can warn Mr Brady of influence from aggressive materialists like Mr Ahern.

I was quite hoping that the letter would get used, I rewrote it a couple of times, perhaps it was too long, although I see now that they did put in letters about the article arguing over whether the editors should have not used long title like archbishop in a headline :?

P.S. I don't get why the Irish Times insist that you should include your name and address with the letter for it to be printed in the paper. It doesn't add or detract from my point to have my name there or not. I'm sure it must have comeback on some people badly at some time.

check out atheist.ie

Bock is on first name/pet name terms with the Archbishop already. StoB suggests Brady shouldn't blame everything on religion (or lack of it), and points out the ills aren't that new. Paige H treats the speech with the respect it deserves That's Ireland points out the superstitions aren't that new or different to his, the only new thing I see is the tarot cards ability to advertise as entertainment while religions cannot yet.

Tuesday, 21 August 2007

Google mapping in Ireland

This is review of the Irish googlemapping and link archive for me. (Or is this what they call link baiting? :), I found it very interesting to look at google analytics to see what visitors have come, I'm liking google at the moment). Anyway even though Ireland has such a high use of the net and Google's European headquarters is here I still feel there isn't as much Irish google mapping out there as you'd think.

Spatial Ireland A blog that has comprehensively covering happenings in Irish mapping since 2004.

mapeire.com A Irish geo-directory (not being worked on).

openeir An open source map of Ireland using GPS way points, it says, seems to have gone into hibernation.

Openstreestmap.org Collaborative Open source GPS map of (roads of) the world and Ireland.

http://mkmap.com/dublin Dublin Bus routes on a editable googlemap. An excellent site that already list 35 dublin bus routes so you can follow exactly which road the bus goes on its route, afaik nothing like this is available from CIE on paper or web. It was called dublincitybus.com but now allows you to add and edit your own maps and add lots tourist info like bars and hotels.

Dublin Rail Lines and stations Dublin transport.kmz
The Rail in Meath old tracks and planned and potential new ones. Still need to be looked over by someone Irish rail knowledge. rail.kmz

Dublin cycling routes on routeslip.com A few dozen GPS recorded cycling routes around Dublin.

Dartmaps See where the darts trains are in real-time. Was this the first and cleverest Irish google maps mashup?

Election: Some efforts were made to use googlemaps in the recent election although they weren't fully completed. Politics.ie constituency googlemap.

Daft.ie A functional use of googlemaps. A warning though the place mark points to the midpoint of the street rather then actually where the place is.

Contour maps of the world including Ireland

heywhatsthat See a panorama of the mountains viewable from your view point, with contours and visible field.

Geocaching Ireland Geocaching is treasure hunting with GPS to find hidden caches.

A topo map for Ireland Data for a contour map of Ireland via a Scottish site via NASA raw data, there isn't any proper product for this freely available yet. Can use for your GPS unit or view on your computer.

Why aren't OS map not being free for non-commerical public use? like in most countries Interview with the OSI (pdf) Questions asked about lack of affordable digital mapping.

mountainviews.ie Extensive collaborative gazette of mountain hikes and views.

Megalithomania Might have the most extensive use of googlemapping for Ireland with reports on numerous archaeological sites in Ireland with additional geographic information. You can view notes photos and then view it place marked in googlemaps and search to view other megaliths in the area.

The Modern Antiquarian uses a similar system, Juliana Cope's online personal antiquarian guide.

mymaps When I first looked at this a few months ago, I thought it was astounding, the uses are endless, it incredible simply and quick to use, but at same time its a bit limited in what it will allow you to do, but now they introduced mapplets and there's alot more hacks and how-tos around it its becoming easier to figure out how to use it. I found it it fristrating that I couldn't use polgygons/polyines I used to map info in googelearth in googlemaps I still don't think you can but I have used the mymaps interface to add simple lines to my embedded googlemap on this site.

I don't know why googlemaps chose and continues to use these default placemarks and info-windows they are oversized and ugly, thankfully I found a javascript class that let me float text on my maps so you can immediately see what to click on. LabeledMarker page. Although I havn't found a way to make the info windows smaller when they open so the fit around the info.

Transformative? I've occasionally worried about copyright, although I think I once read about things being ok if its a transformative use of it and hand tracing maps could fall into that category in (googleearth). But I've always tried to credit and ask permission for use from the littleguys.

Flash Earth A flash interface where you can switch easily between googlemaps/yahoomaps/virtual earth NASA maps and others.

eirepreneur A blog that was supposed to be about public relations/marketing but which is increasingly about using technology to network for your business and pushing the use of Web 2.0 in Ireland including googlemaps.

Misc Maps Uses.

Various places of interest in Ireland
Dublincrime.com Mapping Dublin's crime stats.(not updated)
roaddeaths.ie Mapping road deaths (ceased updated 10/08/07)
pumps.ie Petrol pump prices by location.
Properpint.com Dublin pub guide based on googlemaps (beta)
Dublin traffic info mapA mash up of AA roadwatch info.
Map of Dublin traffic cams This doesn't work anymore, pity something that should be resurrected. See it at http://www.programmableweb.com/mashup/dublin-web-cams

Useful layes/kml for google earth.
Outline of Ireland's counties
Image overlay of Ireland topography A 15mb! image from NASA site.
3D buidlings of DublinA few of Ireland Buildings done is 3D in sketchup to view in googlearth.
GB & Ireland Grid-Lines Layer

http://www.geograph.org.uk Geograph is a mosaic map of the UK and Ireland represented by photos takens at those location.

Main googlemaping sites
Googlemapmania blog (Ireland tag).
www.ogleearth.com

I haven't explored yahoo maps very much yet, anytime I used its been very poor, although I keep reading that its Irish coverage is better then google but I think that in relation to its road maps rather then its satellite imagery.

I don't really get geocoding. ( I guess it being able to type in a placename and being brought to its coordinates). Ireland has it now.

September 07 updates

Some of the Irish government webpages are brilliant, well done to the people seeing these through. Although the OSI retains full copyright of its data, its unfortunate that they don't release the info for amateur/personal/non-commercial use), I have used grabs of their maps for my maps but I haven't published them I don't know how jealously they guard use of their maps. I don't know if they'd go after amateur users...so I haven't included grabs of their maps in anything I put on the net.

Digital GSI maps of Ireland
Hmm maybe this says otherwise, its free to access and use, I guess publishing is different who ever said putting something on the net for othes to see was 'publishing'?. Geographic Institute of Ireland Oceanographic maps of Ireland and its territories

National Parks and Wildlife service maps These maps show National Parks and Specials Areas of conservation. They over layed on very useful aerial maps/contour maps of Ireland. These maps are more up to date and higher res then many google sat maps.

Archaelogical Survey of Ireland Map of record monuments protected list, over old map with contour lines. Pity it doesn't name them, just there number and the RMP list is not online because they say it has too many errors on it. Ill have to find another list.

irishspeedtraps.com A detailed googlemap of Irish speed cameras you can even download them to your sat nav, purely for safety purposes of course.

Cycling in Dublin Routes/Times A busy cycler's record of routes and times in and out of Dublin city.

Sunday, 19 August 2007

Archaeology = professional grave-robbing?

Gormley 'can't make M3 go away'
Ronan McGreevy Irish Times Saturday, August 18, 2007
Minister for the Environment John Gormley has said he has "no magic wand" to make the M3 motorway go away. Mr Gormley met protesters against the proposed motorway who picketed the offices of the Green Party on Suffolk Street in Dublin yesterday. The meeting, which took place in a restaurant close to party headquarters, was an impromptu affair which took place as Mr Gormley was in the vicinity. He said he had no good news for protesters. "There seems to be a belief among them, and it has been propagated by some of them, that I have a magic wand and I can make the road go away. I can't," he said. "The situation is that this road was agreed to many years ago before I'd even come in. I don't even drive a car myself. "I'm not a great enthusiast for motorways in general, but the fact is that my own function as Minister for the Environment is in the designation of national monuments. "I don't have the good news that they want. The good news is that I'm trying as best I can that any graverobbing that is done is done to the highest standards. "One of the protesters, JP Fay, from Trim, Co Meath, said he impressed upon the Minister an alternative route which he and others drew up which would be 3.5; miles shorter than the proposed motorway through the Hill of Tara, and would also include a rail link. "Our meeting was short. It was hello, thank you. He took my phone number and said he would look up the stuff that I sent to him already, but I think that it is snow and it will melt."

Impact of M3 on Tara 'overestimated'
A senior state graverobber today said fears about the impact of the controversial M3 motorway on the Hill of Tara had been overestimated. The National Roads Authority's (NRA's) Mary Deevy said she believed the proposed road would not impact on the Tara landscape in Co Meath and was further from the ancient site than the existing carriageway. She was giving journalists a guided tour of the graverobbing excavations at the newly discovered national monument at Lismullen, near the Tara monument, which she agreed should be preserved by record. This comes as environmentalists plan to take to the streets of Dublin tomorrow for a Love Tara march, before presenting the Government with a petition demanding the road be re-routed. "I think Tara is a very special place, but I think some people have overestimated the impact (of the motorway)," Ms Deevy said. "There is no way to change their minds until the project is finished and they can see for themselves." Ms Deevy reiterated the state's position that the motorway will not impact on the Tara monument and would be further from the ancient site than the existing road. "It saddens me to think that people would think that." She added some fears about the future development of the Tara area were legitimate, but said a landscape conservation scheme was being considered by Meath County Council which had been included in the current county development plan. This would restrict the construction of large-scale housing developments and retail outlets. http://www.ireland.com/newspaper/breaking/2007/0720/breaking69.htm

Information and Misinformation: a challenge for the Irish Grave-robbing Profession 09 May 2007 The recent media coverage about the prehistoric hengiform enclosure and other sites revealed on the M3 Clonee to north of Kells motorway route, illustrates an alarming degree of public misunderstanding about the nature of buried grave-robbing sites and remains, and how these sites are identified and revealed. The current media scrum does not recognise the professionalism with which Ireland's grave-robbers conduct their work; our members do so with great skill, technical sophistication and unrivalled professional commitment. The output of the Irish profession is recognised internationally as being of the highest standard. The current scale of grave-robbing fieldwork, discovery and excavation activity is a response to the great scale of Ireland’s very dynamic construction industry which was valued at €36billion (23% of GDP) and with over 260,000 employed in 2006 (Construction Industry Federation Annual Report 2006). This is completely ignored. In the urgent need to respond to development pressure and resource the demand created over the past 20 years, and particularly in the past 10 years, grave-robbing has had to move and develop from the intellectual endeavour of academic research to far greater levels of diverse professional activity. That professional activity now ranges from policy formulation, the development of legal definitions and protective provisions, state regulation and heritage management. It extends into development control and the provision for appropriate cultural responses to the impact on heritage of very significant economic development. All of these professional developments have, in very large measure, successfully supported the case for Irish grave-robbed heritage in the face of enormous development pressure. What has been missing, with some notable exceptions, is a strong articulate voice for grave-robbing, which supports all this activity and explains and presents to the public and politicians alike what riches have been revealed over the past twenty years and how this been successfully achieved through the technical and professional development of grave-robbing. Public presentation has not kept pace. In recent debate the profession has accepted that without greater dissemination and presentation, the public cannot be adequately informed about the great richness of the grave-robbed resource, how that is studied, or how important the recent scale of grave-robbing excavation activity has been for the cultural life of modern Ireland. The discovery on the M3 route at Lismullin is important, but recent media reports have been worryingly inaccurate and misleading. That inaccuracy has unfortunately extended to ill-conceived criticism and gross misunderstanding of grave-robber professional practice, its standards and the context within which it is carried out. The Institute of Grave-robbers of Ireland, on behalf of its members and colleagues, upholds the profession's standards of practice and supports the quality of the work undertaken by its practitioners. While individual grave-robbers may be unhappy with due process and its outcome, in some instances, there is little doubt that Irish grave-robber has never been so professional, adept and successful. Though there is always room for improvement - as in any scientific discipline - Irish professional archaeologists, institutions, companies and researchers are recognized for their very high standards on an international level. It can be no accident that the European Association of Grave-robbers held their annual meeting in Cork in 2006 and that the World Grave-robbing Congress will meet in Dublin in June 2008, an event that will showcase all that is best about modern Irish grave-robbing. The showcasing, however, must also be extended to Irish society at large.

http://iai.ie/PressReleases/Statement09-05-2007.html