Sign of the times

25 07 2012

 

I snapped this in Manhattan about 6 years ago.

Nothing special about the pic, I just really liked the way the Fallout Shelter sign seems to glow as if irradiated. Kind of ironic really.





Don’t steal life

19 07 2012

Don't steal life





48 tons of silver recovered from shipwreck off the coast of Galway

19 07 2012

1,203 bars of silver bullion weighing a total of 48 tons has been recovered from theshipwreck of the SS Gairsoppa which was sunk in February 1941 300 miles off the coast of Galway, Ireland

Florida based deep ocean exploration firm Odyssey Marine Exploration made the recovery which at 1.4  million troy is the heaviest ever recovery of precious metals.  At a depth of over 3 miles this is also the deepest ever recovery.

Greg Stemm, Odyssey chief executive, said it was a complex operation in international waters.

“Our capacity to conduct precision cuts and successfully complete the surgical removal of bullion from secure areas on the ship demonstrates our capabilities to undertake complicated tasks in the very deep ocean,” he said.

“This technology will be applicable to other modern shipwreck projects currently being scheduled as well as our deep ocean mineral exploration activities.”

Apparently the precious cargo has now been transported to a secure location in the UK.

The Gairsoppa was a merchant ship torpedoed by a German U-boat during  WWII while it was being used by the British government under their War Risk Insurance programme.

An insurance payout of £325,000 – the value of the bullion in 1941 – was made by the government to the owners of the cargo which allows the state to claim ownership of all goods recovered.

Some sources, including Lloyd’s War Losses, indicate a total amount of silver cargo worth £600,000 may have been lost in 1941, indicating the existence of a second load of government-owned silver.

Odyssey expects to now move their efforts in an attempt to recover a further 600,000 ounces of silver believed to be on the wreck of another ship, the SS Mantola, located 100 miles from the first wreck.

The company said the silver recovered to date from the Gairsoppa represents about 43% of the insured silver bars, or a fifth of the total silver cargo which its research indicated may have been on board.

Odyssey is conducting the project under contract with the UK Department for Transport and the rest of the search is expected to be completed in the autumn. The company will retain 80% of the net value of the cargo after recovering its expenses.

 





Glandore at night

18 07 2012

Quick snap I took at Glandore last time I was driving back from the pub. Sober I might add, I was playing taxi. 😉





New York City Igloo

18 07 2012

 

In February 2006 I was staying with some relatives in Brooklyn Heights, NYC.
We went to bed with relatively ok weather, cold but nice and dry. The next morning though was something else all together  – there had been well over 18 inches of snow during the night and for someone from London it was quite frankly magical.

The next day I took a walk into Manhattan and found this quite frankly crazy guy making himself an igloo out in the street in SoHo.

 





Sit boy

17 07 2012

 

An even older pic here, apparently I took this in 2004 with a Kodak Easyshare….
What I do know was that this was up in the mountains just outside of Malaga in Spain.





Pete Hoekstra racist advert

10 07 2012

I know I am behind the times but I have only just seen this incredibly racist Super Bowl advert from Pete “Spend it not” Hoekstra having a pop at political rival Debbie  “Spend it now”

Wow, just wow. ” Your economy get very weak…Our’s get very good…We take your jobs”  All of this delivered by a pretty Asian American woman cycling through what appears to be a rice paddy.

Maybe Mr. Hoekstra could have delivered an even harder hitting message by having her wear a Coolie hat or a novelty Fu Manchu mustache

Seriously now, surely he has PR people and media relations guys to advise him? Did they all take the day off when this advert was commissioned or were they just rounded up from the local branch of the KKK.

This shit is nearly as bad as this racist gem from KFC





Talking about my generation….

9 07 2012

  3 DEAD

  9 STABBED

1 MISSING

There are plenty of events I can think of that might give rise to such headlines, war, rioting, civil disobedience etc etc

But never,even in my wildest dreams would it have occurred to me that I might have cause to be writing this about a concert.  Not I hasten to add a 7 day biker festival someplace in the middle of nowhere but a one-off concert in the Phoenix Park in Dublin.

Saturday night saw Snoop Dogg, Tinie Tempah,Calvin Harris and Swedish House Mafia take to the stage in what for around 50,000 fans should have been a fantastic night.

Instead 3 men in their teens and early twenties are now dead as a result of drug overdose. One of the men in his early 20s became ill and sought medical assistance inside the concert arena as early as 7pm.

There were 9 separate incidents of stabbing including one incident where a 28 year-old concert goer from the Isle of Mann was stabbed 5 times causing severe injuries to his head and chest including damage to his liver. His assault was unprovoked.

These attention grabbing incidents are to say nothing of the dozens of eye witness reports of people being bottled and beaten throughout the evening with fights, scuffles and in one case an 8 man brawl breaking out both in and outside of the venue.

Meanwhile Gardai are seeking information regarding 19 year-old Aoife Finan from Cobh who has been missing since the 11pm on the night of the concert.

Drug use was rampant and blatant, often taking place in full view of event staff, security and Garda alike. On the radio this evening one concert goer reported that as bouncers were handing out free glasses of water to crowds at the crush barrier they were openly being used to knock back pills.
Much like at any Irish event massive amounts of alcohol were consumed to excess and underage drinking was rife. This of course lead to people vomiting, urinating and even defecating in full public view without care or consequence.

According to a report in the The Evening Herald and numerous other first hand accounts the number of people openly engaged in sex acts was staggering, there are even several reports of people having full blown intercourse as a sort of sideshow to the main event.

What the fuck is wrong with people?!?!?!?

The majority of the crowd were aged from late teens to late twenties, this is the same demographic I fall into, I grew up and went to school with them. I am one of them.

Except I’m not.

I just can’t fathom it out, I really can’t. I go to concerts, I go down the pub with friends or to a nightclub, I drink, hell sometimes I get drunk .)

I’m not claiming to be an angel, I’m not. I am sure there are several people who crossed paths with me in my younger day when I was working as a bouncer who can well remember ending up on the wrong end of a well aimed right hook if they were acting the maggot.

There have always been lads who drank too much and got a bit out of hand or the two fellas who just can’t stand each other and go at it after a night out. There always will be.

But the sort of scenes witnessed at Phoenix Park the other night are just not right. In fact they are very, very wrong.
It makes a terrible statement about ‘my generation’, reinforces all sorts of negative stereotypes and raises an awful lot of questions:

What possesses people to act like this? Where were the police and what were they doing? Why the hell weren’t security searching people as they went in? – Somehow I feel that answers will be, as ever, sadly lacking.

I would love to say this is an isolated event, that things like this rarely happen. That would be a lie though wouldn’t it. You only have to look at the riots in the UK last year to see the sort of common criminality which on the face of things is endemic amongst young people today.

Maybe they are disenfranchised, maybe they are the product of poor schooling, bad parenting or are symptomatic of a culture which seems to revel in sex, violence and excess.

Whichever it is I can tell you one thing for free. I want nothing to do with any of it.

Bring on the Zombie apocalypse, at least we will know where we stand then.





Tallest building in Europe opens in London

6 07 2012

Standing at 1,016ft the Shard in London is officially the tallest building in Europe.

 

After 3 years of construction and more than 12 years of planning and design the “vertical city” was the site of a fantastic laser light show to mark its opening.

The Shard was first conceived by entrepreneur Irvine Sellar and Italian architect Renzo Piano, with funding for the project coming from the Qatari royal family.

Earlier the governor of Qatar Central Bank, Abdullah Saoud Al-Thani, said the Shard marked the Arab state’s “belief and commitment to London both today and in the future”.

“It is a symbol of Qatar’s belief and commitment to London both today and in the future,” he said. “We have a long heritage and continued commitment to invest and build in the UK for the long term and The Shard highlights this close relationship.”

All that to one side it is actually kind of cool to have something like this in London. I am just sad enough to make a point of buying the new Guinness Book of Records each year and love all the little stats and facts like who is fattest or what is tallest.

The fact that it will cost a modest 25 quid for a view from the top just shows the enterprising view which my home city takes towards tourists and their hard-earned cash and once again makes me proud to be a Londoner 😉





Top 10 countries with the worst health in the World

4 07 2012

It isn’t really any sort of state secret that I like facts, figures and lists. Gosh do I like lists!

Well I was trawling through the internet earlier on today and found a list the peaked my interest, Top 10 countries with the worst health in the World!

WOW…Top 10 least healthy countries in the World.If that isn’t a conversation starter right there than I don’t know what is!

The nasty cynical side of me (is there any other?) was expecting to find the good old US of A topping the list due to the national diet of Big Macs and Corn Syrup but no, it wasn’t to be.

Turns out you are far more likely to find yourself on the list if your local surroundings look a little like this…

I liked the article so much that I have shamelessly stolen in to share with all of you! If you want to see the original in all it’s glory then feel free to visit at Health Fiend magazine

10. Somalia

Somalia’s public healthcare system was largely destroyed during the ensuing civil war. As with other previously nationalized sectors, informal providers have filled the vacuum and replaced the former government monopoly over healthcare, with access to facilities witnessing a significant increase.

Many new healthcare centers, clinics, hospitals and pharmacies have in the process been established through home-grown Somali initiatives. The cost of medical consultations and treatment in these facilities is low, at $5.72 per visit in health centers (with a population coverage of 95%), and between $1.89–$3.97 per outpatient visit and $7.83–$13.95 per bed day in primary through tertiary hospitals. Comparing the 2005–2010 period with the half-decade just prior to the outbreak of the conflict (1985–1990), life expectancy actually increased from an average of 47 years for men and women to 48.2 years for men and 51.0 years for women.

According to a 2005 World Health Organization estimate, about 97.9% of Somalia’s women and girls have undergone female circumcision, a pre-marital custom mainly endemic to Northeast Africa and parts of the Near East that has its ultimate origins in Ancient Egypt.

9. Angola

Angola lies in the yellow fever endemic zone. Cholera incidence is high. Only a small fraction of the population receives even rudimentary medical attention.

As of 2004, the ratio of physicians per population was estimated at 7.7 per 100,000 people. In 2005, average life expectancy was estimated at only 38.43 years, one of the lowest in the world. That year infant mortality was estimated at 187.49 per 1,000 live births, the highest in the world. The incidence of tuberculosis in 1999 was 271 per 100,000 people. Immunization rates for one-year-old children in 1999 were estimated at 22% for diphtheria, pertussis, and tetanus and 46% for measles. Malnutrition affected an estimated 53% of children under five years of age as of 1999. From 1975 to 1992, there were 300,000 civil war-related deaths. The overall death rate was estimated at 24 per 1,000 in 2002. The HIV/AIDS prevalence was 3.90 per 100 adults in 2003. As of 2011, there were approximately 240,000 people living with HIV/AIDS in the country. There were an estimated 21,000 deaths from AIDS in 2003. In 2011, 38% of the population had access to safe drinking water and 44% had adequate sanitation.

8. Cambodia

As of 2010, the life expectancy is 60 years for males and 65 years for females, a major improvement since 1999 when the average life expectancy was 49.8 and 46.8 respectively. The Royal Cambodian Government plans to increase the quality of healthcare in the country by raising awareness of HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases. Cambodia’s infant mortality rate has decreased from 115 per 1000 live births in 1993 to 54 in 2009. In the same period, the under-five mortality rate decreased from 181 to 115 per 1000 live births. In the province with worst health indicators, Ratanakiri, 22.9% of children die before age five.

7. Burundi

Republic of Burundi, is a landlocked country in the Great Lakes region of Eastern Africa bordered by Rwanda to the north, Tanzania to the east and south, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west. There is less health care in Burundi than in most other countries. Life expectancy at birth is estimated at 48.5 years. (2005) A large proportion of the population is undernourished. There were 3 physicians per 100,000 persons in the early 2000s. The HIV/AIDS prevalence has been about 4.2 % in 2007.

6. Burkina Faso

Average life expectancy at birth in 2004 was estimated at 52 for females and 50 for males. The median age of its inhabitants is 16.7. The estimated population growth rate is 3.109%. Central government spending on health was 3 % in 2001. As of 2009, it was estimated that there were as few as 10 physicians per 100,000 people. In addition there were only 41 nurses, and 13 midwives per 100,000 people. Demographic and Health Surveys has completed three surveys in Burkina Faso since 1993 and is currently in the process of performing another. According to the World Health Organization in 2005 an estimated 72.5% of Burkina Faso’s girls and women have suffered female genital mutilation (term used to describe traditional or religious procedures on a minor).

5. Rwanda

The quality of healthcare is low, with one in five children dying before their fifth birthday, often from malaria. There is a shortage of staff, and some medicines are in short supply or unavailable. 87% have access to healthcare but there are only two doctors and two paramedics per 100,000 people. The government is seeking to improve the situation as part of the Vision 2020 development programme. In 2008, the government spent 9.7% of national expenditure on healthcare, compared with 3.2% in 1996. It also set up training institutes including the Kigali Health Institute (KHI) and started a social service scheme. HIV/AIDS seroprevalence is declining due to government policies; the rate is estimated at 3%.

 

4.Mozambique

Health expenditure per capita was 42 US$ (PPP) in 2004. In the early 21st century there were 3 physicians per 100,000 people in the country. Infant mortality was at 100 per 1,000 births in 2011. HIV prevalence among 15 to 49 year olds exceeds 10%.

3. Afghanistan

According to the Human Development Index, Afghanistan is the second least developed country in the world. Every half hour, an average of one woman dies from pregnancy-related complications, another dies of tuberculosis and 14 children die, largely from preventable causes. Before the start of the wars in 1978, the nation had an improving health system and a semi-modernized health care system in cities like Kabul. Ibn Sina Hospital and Ali Abad Hospital in Kabul were two of the leading health care institutions in Central Asia at the time. Following the Soviet invasion and the civil war that followed, the health care system was limited only to urban areas and was eventually destroyed. The Taliban government made some improvements in the late 1990s, but health care was not available for women during their six year rule. Afghanistan has one of the highest incidences of people with disabilities in the world. There are an estimated one million disabled or handicapped people in the country. An estimated 80,000 citizens of the country have lost limbs, mainly as a result of landmines. The nation’s health care system began to improve dramatically since 2002, which is due to international support on the vaccination of children, training of medical staff. According to USAID, infant mortality rate has dropped by 33 percent and approximately 64 percent of the total population now has access to some form of health care. Most Afghans live within one hour travel to a health facility. 2. Sierra Leone This country has a very high infant mortality and a very low life expectancy (44 years). The maternal death rates are also the highest in the world, at 2,000 deaths per 100,000 live births. The country suffers from epidemic outbreaks of diseases including yellow fever, cholera, lassa fever and meningitis. The prevalence of HIV/AIDS in the population is 1.6 percent, higher than the world average of 1 percent but lower than the average of 6.1 percent in Sub-Saharan Africa. 1. Ethiopia According to the head of the World Bank‘s Global HIV/AIDS Program, Ethiopia has only 1 medical doctor per 100,000 people. However, the World Health Organization in its 2006 World Health Report gives a figure of 1936 physicians (for 2003), which comes to about 2.5 per 100,000. Globalization is said to affect the country, with many educated professionals leaving Ethiopia for a better economic opportunity in the West. Ethiopia’s main health problems are said to be communicable diseases caused by poor sanitation and malnutrition. These problems are exacerbated by the shortage of trained manpower and health facilities. There are 119 hospitals (12 in Addis Ababa alone) and 412 health centers in Ethiopia. Ethiopia has a very low average life expectancy of 42 years. Infant mortality rates are relatively very high, as over 10% of infants die during or shortly after childbirth, (although this is a dramatic decrease from 16% in 1965) while birth-related complications such as obstetric fistula affect many of the nation’s women. HIV is also prevalent in the country. The other major health problem in Ethiopia is spread of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS). AIDS has mainly affected poor communities and women, due to lack of health education, empowerment, awareness and lack of social well being.








%d bloggers like this: