Friday, September 29, 2006


Simple Kid Playing This Weekend

Simple Kid is playing in An Crúiscin Lán, Douglas Street, Cork at 8.00pm this Sunday. Tickets are €18.00 and can be purchased in Freds or Plugd Records. I saw him play a gig in the Savoy a few months ago. His music was really good and he kind of reminded me a bit of Beck.


Quote of the Week

The great enemy of clear language is insincerity. When there is a gap between one's real and one's declared aims, one turns as it were instinctively to long words and exhausted idioms, like a cuttlefish spurting out ink.

George Orwell
English essayist, novelist, & satirist (1903 - 1950)

Thursday, September 28, 2006


Mick Flannery in the Opera House

It seems that Mick Flannery just keeps moving to bigger venues at the moment. From playing support in Cyprus Avenue and the Half Moon he has graduated to the Opera House, not bad in less than a year. Mick played in the Opera House on Sunday night as part of the Beamish Experience. The support act was made up of Aaron Dillon and another guitarist and they played some good songs. Andy gave a bit of background to some of the songs and told a story about his experiences living in a flat above a drag club in Sydney which inspired one of his songs.

Mick Flannery came on around 8pm and was joined by a supporting band similar to the band that had played with him in the Spiegeltent. He played songs and explained the story of the songs that make up his album ‘Evening Train’. He also performed some new songs at the end of the night. I think that the lyrics to his songs are excellent but it’s funny to see the difference in confidence when he explains the song and when he performs it. He could mumble for Ireland but having said that he did become a bit more relaxed with the crowd as the night went on and his singing/playing was as good as ever. Thanks to the Evening Echo, Beamish Experience and Mags for the tickets!

Wednesday, September 27, 2006


Liking Coffee Is In Your Genes

According to recent research, being partial to a cup of coffee could all be in your genes. Research by Craig Montell and his colleagues at Johns Hopkins University has identified the first known receptor cells for caffeine. This research appeared in the September 19th issue of Current Biology. A study was carried out on fruit flies and it was found that a single protein determines whether fruit flies eat sugar laced with caffeine or avoid the bitter taste of the caffeine. Researchers studied how taste-receptor mutations impacted the behaviour of fruit flies. They showed that a specific taste receptor, known as Gr66a, is responsible for the perception of caffeine's bitter taste by fruit flies. When the gene encoding the Gr66a receptor was disrupted, the mutant flies failed to react normally to the presentation of caffeine, which is a bitter compound that flies are averse to eating. Flies that had an intact Gr66a receptor gene had a much stronger preference for sucrose (sugar) consumption when given a choice between sucrose and a mixture of sucrose and bitter compounds. However when the scientists removed the Gr66a gene from the flies, the flies overcame their dislike of caffeine. Without this Gr66a protein, the flies seemed unable to taste the caffeine. Scientists have not discovered whether Gr66a has a similar effect in humans. However the discovery of a caffeine receptor does suggest that a taste for coffee is likely to be affected by genes.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006


Tom Baxter in the Savoy

Tom Baxter played a great gig in the Savoy last Saturday night. Thanks to Red FM for the tickets! It was a miserable night outside but we had the foresight to warm up in the Woodford beforehand with some hot whiskies/ports. We arrived into the Savoy in time to hear a couple of songs by the support act, a band called Box Camera. They were really good with a sort of Beatlesque (Blue Album 1967-1970) sound. Tom Baxter arrived on shortly after 10pm with his band. The band were initially made up of a keyboard player that looked a bit like Jay Kay, a double bass player with a hat and funky beard and a drummer that I thought was wearing a hat but it just turned out to be his hair (in my defence it was dark in there and I had sort of already named them the ‘hat band’). They were later joined on stage by a violin player that looked really like Captain Jack Sparrow’s cousin.

I didn’t know that many of Tom Baxter’s songs bar those that I had heard on the radio but I still had a good time. I really enjoyed some of the livelier songs and the band played up a storm. You gotta love a band with a double bass! Tom Baxter had trouble with his guitar and basically had to tune it in between every song. He filled in this time with stories about the songs he was going to sing which was great. I like hearing about the background to a song, where it comes from and what it means to someone. The only slightly sour note to the night was the noise from those people in the crowd that were talking loudly. At one point Tom appealed to the crowd to keep the chatter to a minimum or to take it elsewhere. This was met with cheers from most of the crowd that were there to listen to the music but some of the chatter still persisted. This isn’t the first time I’ve encountered this at a gig, in fact it happens regularly and it really annoys me. You know it’s bad when you can hear more of someone’s (completely uninteresting) conversation behind you than the music you came to hear!!! Anyway if Tom Baxter happens to roll back into Cork some day I’d definitely recommend going to see him for a toe-tappingly good gig.

Friday, September 22, 2006


Quote of the Week

Live in such a way that you would not be ashamed to sell your parrot to the town gossip.

Will Rogers
US humorist & showman (1879 - 1935)

Tuesday, September 19, 2006


Walk The Plank!

Apparently today is ‘Talk Like A Pirate Day’. So shiver me timbers, slap on an eye patch and really make your workmates think you are crazy. For more info on today’s special day check out the Talk Like A Pirate website or the brilliantly titled Yarr website.

Friday, September 15, 2006


Quote of the Week

If history repeats itself, and the unexpected always happens, how incapable must Man be of learning from experience.

George Bernard Shaw
Irish dramatist & socialist (1856 - 1950)

Thursday, September 14, 2006


Are Men Smarter Than Women?

A recent study produced by Dr. Paul Irwing and Professor Richard Lynn claims that men are smarter than women. Dr Irwing is a senior lecturer in organisational psychology at Manchester University and Professor Lynn is an emeritus Professor of Psychology at the University of Ulster. The study, which is due to be published in the British Journal of Psychology later this year, states that men are more intelligent than women by five IQ points on average. Their research is based on IQ tests which were given to 80,000 people and a further 20,000 students. The study showed that up to the age of 14 there was no difference between the IQs of boys and girls, however beyond the age of 14 and into adulthood there was a difference of five points. The study also showed that men outnumbered women in increasing numbers as intelligence levels rose. There were twice as many men with IQ scores of 125 and when scores rose to 155 (a level associated with genius) there were five and a half men for every woman at that level.

Dr. Irwing and Professor Lynn believe that this increased intelligence in men makes them better suited to “tasks of high complexity”. Apparently it also explains why more men are chess grandmasters or have won Nobel prizes than women. In addition to Dr. Irwing and Professor Lynn’s research the President of Harvard University, Lawrence Summers, has claimed that one reason men outperform women in maths and science is genetics. He suggested that women have less innate ability at science and maths than men. Dr Summers said the theory that men were more naturally able at sciences was based on research, not his own opinions. He also stated that the shortage of senior female academics was partly because of child-minding duties.

When I heard a report on the radio about Dr. Irwing and Professor Lynn’s study it struck me as slightly odd that two men would be given money to research and develop an opinion on which sex is more intelligent. Was this study carried out to inform educational policy in the UK? You could look at this research and say that men are better are IQ tests than women. How do you define intelligence and measure it accurately? It has been found in the case of intelligence tests that many more men score at the top and the bottom of the intelligence scale. Does this mean that the men at the top and bottom of the intelligence scale cancel each other out? Could it be that on average men and women are equally intelligent?

Wednesday, September 13, 2006


Are You More Cat or Dog?

I haven't been on blogthings in a while but I visited it today and got distracted by lots of new and interesting quizzes. I did the 'Are you more cat or dog?' quiz below because I like both cats and dogs and wanted to see if I was more one than the other. I think people perceive me as a cat person because I'm always defending cats (when people dislike cats they tend to be very vocal about it) and I grew up having cats as pets. Having said that I'd love to get a dog sometime in the future as I think they are great animals.

You Are: 50% Dog, 50% Cat

You are a nice blend of cat and dog.

You're playful but not too needy. And you're friendly but careful.

And while you have your moody moments, you're too happy to stay upset for long.

Are You More Cat or Dog?

Tuesday, September 12, 2006


Would You Like Broadband With Your Gas?

An American start up company called Nethercomm from the San Diego area has developed technology which they say will enable them to send broadband via natural gas pipelines. The technology is known as Broadband in Gas (BiG). By using this BiG technology the company will be able to send signals from a local broadband network node through the natural gas pipelines into a business or home. Normally the twists and turns in a gas pipeline would cause the wireless signals to lose strength but the company is using ultra-wide band (UWB) which makes it resilient to disturbances in the pipeline. UWB sends out pulses of radio energy across such a wide range of frequencies that even if some of the data packets are lost, others can easily make it to their required destination such as a business or a household. The signal used in UWB is far too low-power to ignite the gas in the pipes.

Nethercomm’s core technology harnesses basic physics to provide enhanced efficient wireless signal transmission. BiG technology uses carrier-free wireless radio frequency transmission similar to a conventional radio station which broadcasts through the atmosphere. The BiG signals travel through the hollow centre of the existing natural gas distribution pipes like a coaxil cable, with the gas providing a conductive private atmosphere. The technology is still in the early stages of development and not everyone is convinced that it will work. But Nethercomm believes that when BiG is fully developed it will provide twice the connectivity of fiber-optics at essentially the same installed cost per customer as DSL. They also believe that their technology will ultimately enable broadband companies to deliver video, internet and voice to customers and businesses wirelessly.

Friday, September 08, 2006


Quote of the Week

The problem with people who have no vices is that generally you can be pretty sure they're going to have some pretty annoying virtues.

Elizabeth Taylor
British movie actress (1932 - )

Wednesday, September 06, 2006


Some Upcoming Gigs This September (In Cork)

FRED – The Cork band Fred will be playing in Cyprus Avenue on the 23rd of September. The gig is scheduled to start at 9pm and tickets can be purchased for €5. Fred are a five piece band that play lively, energetic and fun music. I heard them play in the Savoy last year and it was an enjoyable gig because they played like lunatics and interacted well with the crowd. They released their second album ‘Making Music So You Don't Have To' back in February last year.

MICK FLANNERY – I’ve seen Mick Flannery play about three or four times and the venues have generally been fairly small bar his gig in the Spiegeltent a couple of months ago. Mick is playing a concert in the Opera House on the 24th of September. This is a free concert but you can win tickets by answering the following question - In What City does the Beamish Experience take place? A. Donegal B. Cork C. Sligo - and texting the word BEAMISH followed by your answer; A, B, or C to 51500. The competition ends on Wednesday the 20th of September.

THE COMPLETE STONE ROSES – I’m a bit of a fan of The Stone Roses and of Ian Brown’s solo offerings so I’m in two minds about going to see this band. In general I’m kind of iffy about cover bands sometimes they can be really good and sometimes they make you cringe so much that you want to dig a hole in the ground and jump into it! The Complete Stone Roses are playing in An Cruiscin Lan on the 29th of September at 9pm and tickets cost €15.

Monday, September 04, 2006


Quote of the Week*

Idleness is not doing nothing. Idleness is being free to do anything.

Floyd Dell

*Unfortunately I didn't get time to put up a Quote of the Week on Friday so I'm putting it up today instead. There will probably be another quote on Friday. :-)