Sunday, November 10, 2013

Seven days and one week

A round-up of the week's major news stories as seen through the eyes of an inattentive, misinformed moron.


A few weeks ago I criticised Roy Keane for his blasé attitude towards filling the vacancy left by Giovanni Trappatoni. He had been asked whether he felt flattered to be linked with the Ireland manager job and in typical Keane fashion replied “No, not really. I shouldn't be flattered by that, should I?” At the time no-one seriously thought he would be considered for the role but his stance was galling given his managerial record. Now look at him. John Delaney is his new bessie mate and I think I actually saw him smile during ITV's Champions League coverage the other night.

The issue of Roy Keane and his patriotism - or lack of it some might say - has long since been the subject of national debate. There are far too many arguments and viewpoints to list them here but suffice to say his involvement as Martin O'Neill's assistant will have infuriated as many as it thrilled. But now is the time to forget about the past and put all those tiresome mantras to bed - it's boring, let it go. For me it's always been quite simple: Roy loves his country, fuckin loves it he does, but he hates 'the suits.'

Those suits were the same ones he railed against in Saipan and again during a press conference filled with invective following Ireland's elimination to the Hand of Henry. And now they're his bosses. Or is Martin O'Neill his boss? In fact can anyone ever really call themselves the boss of Roy Keane? And therein lies the problem with this appointment. It's great that Roy is all buddy buddy with the FAI, and it's great that someone with so much love for his country is part of the fold, but there's no way it'll end well. It just won't. Somewhere along the line Roy's instincts will take over, he'll see something that he doesn't agree with, and he'll want to change it – only to be told he can't because that's not his job. And when you tell Roy Keane he can't do something? That's when the trouble starts.

Personalised shopping

Do you know what cookies are? No, not those chunky segments of biscuity delight, online cookies: the ones that are tailored specifically to your needs? I bet some of you don't. Essentially what cookies do is track your Internet browsing history and, in theory, make your online experience a more enjoyable one. That ad for a peephole bra from Ann Summers which seems to be constantly at the top of your screen? That's there because you're constantly looking at sexy underwear ya feckin' tramp. But are cookies invasive? Do they impinge on our privacy and violate our rights as human beings? Probably not - and anyway you can always turn them off.

Alternatively you could go out in the real world, where cookies don't exist, and browse around Ann Summers all you like. Or can you? It would appear not. At least not when you're going to Tesco anyway. The supermarket chain is installing the 'OptimEyes' system at 450 of their petrol station forecourts across the UK. So what does it do? Put simply it scans the face of each customer, estimates their age and subsequently tailors adverts to that person upon future visits. So if you're a woman in her early thirties you're going to be most likely bombarded with ads for Pampers, and her male counterpart can expect to be treated to videos extolling the virtues of Regaine. In theory anyway.

At this early stage in it's development OptimEyes works quite crudely, we are all thrown into one of three gender groups and then targeted based on what people of that age generally like. Which in turn means that a large proportion of those scanned won't be subjected to adverts that interest them. Instead it'll be the same mind-numbing content you see on television every night, if you're gonna invade our privacy at least fucking do it right. Create an X-Ray machine that can tell how much money I have in my pocket, or better still hack into my back account so you can see what's in there. Then, when that's done, find a way to read my mind so you can see what I really want. And hey presto, I'm walking through Tesco with a fiver in my pocket thinking how great it'd be if they made gravy flavoured chocolate bars and I see an ad for? Yep you guessed it.

Only a bitta crack

Barack Obama admits to smoking a joint or two and is considered cool, the Mayor of Toronto confesses to dabbling in crack cocaine and is castigated by all-comers – where's the justice in that? Okay, okay I admit it, crack is probably a teeny weeny bit more serious than cannabis and Rob Ford indulged in recreational drug use just last year rather than in his youth, but still, a bit of perspective here people? Oh alright then Mr Ford is clearly a bumbling buffoon incapable of fulfilling his duties or stringing a coherent sentence together even on his good days, but look at the picture below, he seems a right laugh.

This is what we need in politics, not half-hearted dilettantes like Ming Flanagan who won't even put their weed where their mouth is, but deviants like Ford. All we ever do is moan and criticise about those in power so why not put a total headcase in charge; it worked for London, they're having a great time giggling at Boris Johnson's antics. I'm not suggesting we make the local drunk An Taoiseach, that'd be folly - just appoint him Tanaiste or something similarly pointless. It would lighten the nation's mood at a stroke, we could still grumble about the inefficiency of our Government and call them all a shower of bastards, and then we could watch our pride and joy cartwheeling around a NATO convention while flashing his cock at the wife of the Japanese Prime Minister.

God complex

Synthetic biology or synbio has been summed up by one expert as “essentially about how we design life.” Remember Dolly the cloned sheep? Well synbio is like that, only way more fucked up. Human's giving birth to dolphins, mice with the personality of Elvis, that kinda fucked up. By using the DNA of one organism and then merging it with another synbiologists are able to create....well just about anything really. So far this has only resulted in armpit cheese and e-coli bananas but those at the forefront of this new radical science claim that the possibilities are endless, going as far to compare the birth of synbio to The Enlightenment.

They claim that by fusing Elvis's DNA with that of a rodent we could have a suspicious minded mouse on our hands. That sounds great but it'd be circus freak fodder at best. More interesting is their belief that a human body could host an animal foetus. Worried about the decline in Siberian Tigers? Well give birth to one if you care so much. How far this thing can go is as of yet unknown, the ethical implications alone should stop it from ever progressing beyond the cheese/banana stage. But it's good to know that the option to create a spider-baby is out there should we ever need it. 

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