On science and cynicism

Category: General Stuff

The Road to Chernobyl

When I told my friends and family where I was going on my holidays I was met with quite a few raised eyebrows: the site of the world’s worst nuclear accident probably isn’t exactly what you’d expect to find at the top of anyone’s destination list, in place of a sunny beach and some cocktails. But I could barely contain my excitement, and I loved it so much that I even wrote a book about it, called ‘The Road to Chernobyl’.

One night back in November, about a year ago, I went out for drinks with some friends. The following day I was feeling the effects, so I took refuge on the living room sofa and found a repeat episode of Top Gear. On this particular episode the presenters were driving across Ukraine and eventually to the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant. Having studied physics for years this intrigued me, and I spent a few minutes on my phone – still on the sofa – researching how one gets to Chernobyl. Very quickly, I made the decision to go. Continue reading

Fixing the yellow tinge on the OnePlus One

I got my new OnePlus One phone earlier this week and so far I’m having a great experience with it. I’d recommend the phone to anyone looking for a new high-end device at a lower cost than the main competitors.

However, like many other people, I ran into the problem of a yellowish band appearing along the bottom of the screen. Continue reading

Raspberry Pi: Auto Login and WiFi Connection

If you like to tinker with things, you should get yourself a Raspberry Pi. It’s an inexpensive, credit card-sized, fully operational PC originally intended as an educational tool for children. But being so versatile and accessible, it quickly became a great tool for hackers and electronic DIY enthusiasts.

I have a Raspberry Pi, but no HDMI monitor or HDMI-VGA adapter. I do, however, have access to HDMI televisions, but as these are also used by other people I can’t really depend on these for continued access to my RPi. My ideal setup (while I waited on an ordered HDMI-VGA cable to arrive) was to be able to use the RPi without being stuck in one location or having to worry about HDMI monitors, keyboards, mice, and so on: I think that defeats the whole small and mobile ethos of the RPi. What I wanted was this:

  • Automatic login/no login to the Raspberry Pi when it powers up
  • Connect to the home WiFi network
  • Email me its IP address so I can connect via ssh from my laptop or other device

Simply: I wanted to power up the RPi in the living room and be able to use the RPi from my bedroom straight away. That’s all.

This post is intended as a guide for those who want to have easy ssh access to their RPi using another device on the same network.  Continue reading

A Question for The Iona Institute

If you’ve been following the news lately you will know that the Iona Institute have very conservative views on marriage and abortion rights: patrons of the self-styled ‘institute’ have appeared on various TV and radio shows over the last number of weeks to talk about some of the current major issues in Irish society at the moment. I was thinking recently about some of the positions held by the Iona Institute. While I expect them to be at odds with my own beliefs and opinions, I wasn’t really expecting the Iona Institute to have stances that, in fact, contradict and defeat each other. Continue reading

Shit Pro-Lifers Say

Have you ever found yourself faced with the manic hysteria from anti-choice people when trying to have a proper discussion? The sort of comments that make you facepalm and wonder if they ever take a deep breath and just listen to themselves for a moment?

Well, I have, unfortunately. When I read some of the comments made by people against abortion I sometimes fear that they’ll have a brain aneurysm or that they’re frothing wildly at the mouth out of sheer faux-outrage. I’m almost embarrassed for them!

Continue reading

Walk the Line 2013

Last year I took part in Walk the Line, a fundraising event to secure much-needed funds for the Dublin & Wicklow Mountain Rescue Team. While I had undertaken a reasonable amount of walking before it, I expected neither the challenges nor the satisfaction I gained from the event.

And I’m doing it again. Please sponsor me at my Walk the Line 2013 webpage. Continue reading

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