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Author Archive: Eamonn Fitzgerald

Ex-pat Irishman keeping an eye on the world from the Bavarian side of the Alps.

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Narcissist of The Week: Julian Assange

Friday, 12 April, 2019

In Westminster Magistrates’ Court yesterday, district justice Michael Snow summed up Julian Assange perfectly: “His assertion that he has not had a fair hearing is laughable. And his behaviour is that of a narcissist who cannot get beyond his own selfish interests.” Supporters of Assange are now claiming that he’s either a journalist or a publisher, as if this were an excuse for his actions. The fact is that Wikileaks’ role in the illegal transfers of information and its links to the Russian government make it more like a foreign intelligence operation than a journalist or a publisher.

Back in 2010, Tunku Varadarajan captured the essence of this ghastly man in a Daily Beast piece titled “WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange Is a Fraud.” Snippet: “Assange looks every inch the amoral, uber-nerd villain, icily detached from the real world of moral choices in which the rest of us saps live. Call him the Unaleaker, with apologies to the victims of Ted Kaczynski.”

Julian Assange is a criminal who evaded charges of sexual violence and then skipped bail. Regardless of whether Wikileaks was started with noble intentions, it ended up doing Putin’s dirty work. Example: In 2016, Assange declined to publish 68 gigabytes worth of leaked Russian documents that could have helped expose Moscow’s evil activities in Ukraine. For this, and more, Julian Assange should be sent down.

Wikileaks for Putin


Paolo Di Paolo’s unseen images

Thursday, 11 April, 2019

Writing in the British Journal of Photography, Marigold Warner says: “Around 20 years ago, while rooting through her father’s cellar in search for a pair of skis, Silvia Di Paolo found a trunk containing 250,000 negatives, prints and slides. Aged 20 at the time, she had no idea that her father, Paolo Di Paolo, had been a photographer — let alone the top contributor to Il Mondo, one of Italy’s most popular current affairs magazines.”

The exhibition Di Paolo. Mondo Perduto will run at the MAXXI National Museum of 21st Century Arts in Rome, from 17 April to 30 June. It is curated by Giovanna Calvenzi.

Paolo Di Paolo took some memorable photos of the stars of his day: Oriana Fallaci, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Charlotte Rampling, Sofia Loren and Marcello Mastroianni, for example. This one of the actress Gina Lollogrigida and the artist Giorgio De Chirico is a classic.

Gina Lollogrigida Giorgio De Chirico


Zoho Mail

Wednesday, 10 April, 2019

Those who mail Rainy Day, and some people do, are guaranteed delivery (99.9% uptime). This is thanks to Zoho Mail, an excellent service provided by a company that was founded in 1996 by Sridhar Vembu and Tony Thomas in Pleasanton, California. Today, Zoho has its global headquarters in Chennai, formerly Madras, in the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Along with mail, the Zoho product range includes a web-based office suite containing word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, databases, wikis, customer relationship management and project management applications.


Welcome to the protocol era

Tuesday, 9 April, 2019

The “protocol era”, in case you were wondering, is “where rapidly surfacing ideological battles over the future of A.I. protocols, centralised and decentralised internet protocols, and personal and political protocols compel us to ask ourselves who are we, what are we, what do we stand for, and what are we heading towards?” So says Holly Herndon, an American singer, who “operates at the nexus of technological evolution and musical euphoria,” as she says herself. The song Eternal is from her third album PROTO, which will be released on 10 May.


Word play

Monday, 8 April, 2019

“‘Cause the players gonna play, play, play, play, play
And the haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate” — Taylor Swift

Heater


TEDMED has forgotten Elizabeth Holmes

Sunday, 7 April, 2019

They say the internet never forgets and the maxim has proved costly to lots of people who thought those old tweets or videos had been cobwebbed forever. TEDMED seems to be an exception to the rule, though. It has forgotten Elizabeth Holmes. Let’s back up here for a moment. TEDMED is “the independent health and medicine edition of the world-famous TED conference, dedicated to “ideas worth spreading.”

And Elizabeth Holmes? She’s the Silicon Valley scam artist who founded a company, Theranos, at the age of 19, dropping out of Stanford University and raising hundreds of millions of VC dollars to create a device she claimed would change health care with a fingerprick of blood. From bedrooms to battlefields to laboratories, it would make medical information more affordable. In her brief career, Holmes became a feminist icon, rejoicing in her own triumph over the bro-dominated world of tech. She once ended a Theranos film by declaring, “I always say that next to every glass ceiling there’s an iron lady.” Inevitably, the media elevated her a superwoman fighting for human rights, and the huge wealth she temporarily generated was celebrated as a deserved byproduct of her brilliant mind.

Search the TEDMED site today and you’ll find no mention of Elizabeth Holmes, though. She’s been erased from its history. Still, YouTube has a clip of the talk she delivered at TEDMED in 2014. “I believe. The individual. Is the answer. To the challenges of healthcare.” No wonder TEDMED deleted it.


Sky News distorts the news in favour of the IRA

Saturday, 6 April, 2019

No, it wasn’t a “botched IRA warning call” that killed 21 people in Birmingham in 1974, it was two IRA bombs that brutally ended their lives. That Sky News would put such a fake headline on a story of mass murder is beyond belief. Or is it?

Sky News


Boeing: Taking it to the MAX

Thursday, 4 April, 2019

The recent company statement: “Boeing continues to work with the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration and other regulatory agencies worldwide on the development and certification of the MCAS software update and training program.”

The recent newspaper report: “Pilots at the controls of the Boeing Co. 737 MAX that crashed in March in Ethiopia initially followed emergency procedures laid out by the plane maker but still failed to recover control of the jet, according to people briefed on the probe’s preliminary findings.”

If we are to believe the Wall Street Journal, then, the Ethiopian Airlines pilot managed to disable MCAS but was still unable to get the aircraft to climb again. If that’s correct, Boeing may have provided inadequate advice to pilots and were too quick to declare the 737 MAX safe. This would increase the likelihood that Boeing could be sued for damages and those costs have been estimated at $1 billion by Bloomberg Intelligence.

All of this was undreamt of when Alastair Philip Wiper visited the Boeing Factory in Washington a year ago. Wiper is a British photographer based in Copenhagen and he travels the world taking extraordinary photographs of industry, science, architecture and people. He began his post of 14 March 2018 thus: “The Boeing factory in Everett, Washington, is the largest building in the world. Just north of Seattle, the 13,385,378 m3 building was constructed to build the first 747’s in 1968, and is currently the place where the Boeing 747, 767, 777 and 787 are assembled. The factory employs over 30,000 people.”

In light of the Ethiopian Airlines tragedy, the next bit is poignant:

“I visited last year and got a special flight back to Oslo on the maiden flight of the first 737 MAX to be delivered to Norwegian airlines (also pictured). It was pretty fun to see the CEO of Norwegian sprawled over three seats in the row in front of me, trying to get a bit of shut eye. There were no business class seats on that plane, but the champagne kept on coming.”

Boeing Co. 737 MAX


Galty: 87 today

Wednesday, 3 April, 2019

In 1932, the year he was born, Brave New World by Aldous Huxley was published; Amelia Earhart flew from the United States to Northern Ireland in 14 hours and 54 minutes; the Sydney Harbour Bridge opened; the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at its lowest level of the Great Depression, bottoming out at 41.22; Konrad Adenauer opened the first Autobahn in Germany; the Cortes Generales of the Spanish Republic approved the Autonomy of Catalonia; the first Venice Film Festival was held; the Soviet famine of 1932–33 began and millions starved to death as a result of forced collectivization; India played its first Test Cricket Match with England at Lord’s, and the Kingdom of Hejaz and Nejd was proclaimed the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia under the rule of Ibn Saud.

Galty

“His soul has in its Autumn, when his wings
He furleth close; contented so to look
On mists in idleness — to let fair things
Pass by unheeded as a threshold brook.”

The Human Seasons — John Keats


Michael Fitzgerald: 17 September 1918 – 2 April 2011

Tuesday, 2 April, 2019

“My father dead, the prince among my dead,
Has never come again except in dream,
Never his palpable presence or his face,
His ink-ringed finger or his broad-splayed thumb.
Yet when I’ve since stood in some famous place
I’ve always thought I’ll tell him he must come.”

John Hewitt

Father