Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.

Moving ET - need testers

by Colman Thu May 15th, 2008 at 05:51:58 AM EST

I've got a version of ET running at test.eurotrib.com:81 that could do with some testing before we make it the live site. The database is currently a few days old, but other than that it should work just like the live site.

I'm concerned that the performance is slow, but I'm not certain. Can people poke it a bit and see what they think?

Comments >> (15 comments)

Socratic biofuels

by Colman Wed Oct 24th, 2007 at 05:54:06 AM EST

An IM conversation provoked by the new Party of European Socialists "Manifesto 2009" interactive site that we're hoping one of their people is going to announce properly:

Migeru: The PES manifesto page has an entry about biofuels which assumes that biofuels are a solution to global warming!!!
Colman: What? I missed that one!
Migeru: "A much favored cure for global warming might be worse than the disease. According to a new report the use hydrogen and other biofuels will make energy prices more changeable, increase food prices and even result in a higher emission of greenhouse gases."
Colman: Eh?

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Urban food gardening

by Colman Tue Oct 23rd, 2007 at 01:42:40 PM EST

Since I'm sitting down to a semi-virtuous snack - two wraps with a fresh mixed leaf salad from the garden, the last of our tomatoes and some good tinned sardines - it's probably a good time to start a little series on growing food at home in urban environments in the hope of encouraging people who could grow their own but don't to give it a try.

I'm no expert, but it seems to me that one of the small things we can do to decrease our environmental footprint is to grow what we can where we are - though I'm more convinced by being able to wander out the back door and cut some chives, cress, land-cress and chard to make a tasty, crunchy salad.

I'm interested in learning what to grow, where and how to grow it and how to use it. I'm noticeable fanatical and have a reasonably large garden, but I'd link to cover all the reasonable options for growing food in limited space, from a few containers on the balcony or windowsill to people with more space than our 20 foot by 40 foot patch.

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Stories and reality

by Colman Tue Aug 21st, 2007 at 05:45:18 AM EST

As I've written before, I'm a pretty hard-core materialist with a long-term interest in esoterica like martial arts, shiatsu and various forms of meditation. Fitting the latter into the world-view of the former has been an interesting exercise.

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Garden 2.0: the embiggening

by Colman Wed Aug 8th, 2007 at 09:35:54 AM EST

As anyone who pays attention to my occasional ramblings around here will know, Sam and I moved house four months ago to an older housing estate closer to the train line, moving from a two-bed terrace with a tiny (4m x 8m) garden to a three-bed semi-detached house with a much larger (15m x 8m) back garden and a front garden about the size of our old garden.

Version 1.0 (version 0.0 was a couple of window boxes and containers in the basement well of the city centre flat we  lived in previously) was crammed full of trees, shrubs and plants and a pond. The main mistake we made there was not leaving enough circulation space to move around in and to get to the plants, with the result that harvesting crops became difficult enough to be discouraging.

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How to stop terrorists

by Colman Wed Jun 6th, 2007 at 03:33:51 AM EST

Occasionally the successes of the peace process in Northern Ireland are dragged up as being a model for problems in Palestine, parts of Spain or the Middle East in general. It's suggested that the IRA were beaten by police work and all sorts of other fun conclusions are drawn. Mostly the analysis totally misses the point: the terrorist campaign in the North was mostly stopped by fixing the issues that drove it from the beginning.

Essentially, the Brits bribed their way out of the problem. Eventually.

From the diaries - afew

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Fuck this for a lark

by Colman Fri May 25th, 2007 at 05:34:33 AM EST

I've had enough. I'm tired of drowning in a flood of bad news and pessimism and people glumly delighting in the coming collapse of civilisation, whatever the fuck that is. I'm tired of people wittering about how awful "technology" is, how they understand the true future and how only their mad impractical scheme for reform can possibly save the world. That their scheme is, improbably, the only one ever with no downsides doesn't give them pause. That "technology" is generally chosen to mean all technologies invented after some ideal date - government forms are a technology - is irrelevant. Their reforms are all that could stand between us and disaster, but they know we're all too goddamn stupid to follow them.

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My depressing Irish Election diary.

by Colman Thu May 24th, 2007 at 04:42:28 AM EST

I suppose I'd better do the Irish Election diary I've been promising: voting is tomorrow (May 24th). To be honest, I haven't been paying close attention to the campaign. I'm not really interested in the horse race element of it, I don't have tribal affiliations to any of the major parties and I've been otherwise occupied with moving house and working and other fun things.

I'm going to have a look at the choices I have to make tomorrow. I live in the constituency of Dublin West), which is a three seater - we elect three TDs to the Dáil, the Irish parliament. The Irish system is in the Westminster style, so the elected TDs will choose the Taoiseach from among their number. The electoral system is PR based, so I'll number the candidates in order of preference on the ballot paper.

Promoted by whataboutbob

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Paris Meet-up - 16th June

by Colman Fri May 11th, 2007 at 02:32:06 AM EST

Since there seems to be some confusion, there will be a meet-up in Paris - exact details to be provided by Jérôme closer to the date - on the 16th of June. Sam and I will be there, so will Jérôme.

Who else is coming?

Bumped ~ whataboutbob, and again ~ Colman, and again - afew

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Living the death of the Irish property boom

by Colman Mon Mar 26th, 2007 at 05:39:23 AM EST

As I've mentioned, Sam and I are in the midst of buying a house and selling ours at the moment. Naturally, we've elected to do it just as the Irish property market swerves off the road and wraps itself around a tree. No doubt you're going to start reading stories in the newspapers about the lessons of the Irish property market for other markets in the same way that you've been told that the free market reforms in the Irish economy are responsible for the meteoric growth rate here while little details like National Development Plans, centrally negotiated wage agreements and payback on the investment put in by the EU over the last couple of decades are neglected.

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Dumb question: what's up with the weather?

by Colman Mon Jan 22nd, 2007 at 07:25:55 AM EST

I've looked around in the hope of putting together a story talking about the current weird weather in Europe and its causes but I can't find anything coherent.

Do any of our many resident experts have suggestions?

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ET Network thoughts.

by Colman Mon Jan 22nd, 2007 at 04:37:30 AM EST

In my previous diary it became clear that I really, really need to try and explain my thoughts on expanding ET's reach via affiliated blogs rather than by simply trying to grow audience.

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New Mock Layout for ET

by Colman Sat Jan 20th, 2007 at 05:11:26 PM EST

For discussion ...

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Random site redesign thoughts

by Colman Fri Jan 12th, 2007 at 06:21:15 AM EST

This started as a comment but I began to ramble ...

As part of an interface redesign during the site move - coming soon to a server rather nearer you - I'd like to make the thing more consistent.

I'd like a consistent right-hand bar through-out the site (for ease of use), a front-page on a dKos type layout except with something more useful than ads in the second column (I'm thinking headlines from other related sites, user configurable to some extent) and a move of that bloody logo to somewhere it doesn't just complicate the bloody design. (sigh)

The logic here is that it would be nice to display the headlines from related sites - Oil Drum Europe, the putative ThatBritBlog, other language blogs related to ET

a) in a box that always shows the top ten headlines from the "network".

b) in boxes that show the top ten headlines from each blog in the "network". Users could configure which of these showed up.

I feel that this is one way of increasing ET's reach and influence: alliances with like-minded people rather than trying to build a single huge blog "like dKos" which I don't think is even possible in the European situation.

The consistent right-hand column is just for ease of use - the various boxes seem to hop all around the place depending on what page you're on.

Comments >> (89 comments)

Ireland in Indian Nuclear Pickle

by Colman Wed Jan 10th, 2007 at 08:27:16 AM EST

From Monday's Irish Times:

Under legislation passed in Washington, the US is now ready to share vital nuclear equipment with India, despite the latter's refusal to sign up to the 1968 United Nations' Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which was created partly as a result of Irish pressure from the 1950s.

Ireland is a member of the 45-strong Nuclear Suppliers' Group, which has the power to veto nuclear sales to countries that have remained outside of the non-proliferation treaty, which India has consistently refused to sign.

Saved from oblivion - from the diaries -- whataboutbob

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Development as Freedom: Intro

by Colman Tue Jan 2nd, 2007 at 11:44:39 AM EST

I finished my reading for 2006 by reading through Sen's Development as Freedom, in which he puts forward the thesis that we should think of development as something that increases the real freedoms and capabilities of people.

It's a book with lots of things to interest us here - a view of poverty as capability deprivation, the role of markets, the value of improving women's education and economic freedoms and the relationship between culture and human rights. I'm going to work through it over the next little while in order to sort it out in my own head, so I'll extract a few posts out of it

In Sen's view, economic development is important and useful only because it allows new opportunities and freedoms to people and political and  development is important in and of itself rather than a luxury to be purchased when a country is "rich enough" to afford it. So, democratic reforms are important and necessary in and of themselves - that they're generally an aid to economic development is a nice side effect. Sen is very impressed by the proposition that there has never been a famine in a democratically ruled state, because it's  generally embarrassing for a government to explain to voters why people are starving to death.

The point of economic development for him is not average GNP growth: it's freeing people from starvation, early death and illness and freeing them to live lives more as they would choose.

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Words, detached from reality

by Colman Sat Nov 25th, 2006 at 07:48:45 AM EST

Philip Stephens, writing in the FT is still trying to justify his support for the "muscular idealism" of the Bush regime.

Brought across by afew

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Abstract class war

by Colman Thu Nov 23rd, 2006 at 10:53:31 AM EST

I've been becoming increasing uncomfortable with a lot of the classifications we reach for when discussing the world - "the West" is my current bugbear - that I feel are obscuring rather than illuminating the truth.

Humans tend to lump things together into classes because we're not smart enough to hold all the details in our heads. It's a useful approach, but extremely dangerous when done incorrectly.

From the diaries - whataboutbob

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Breakthrough in Darfur for UN-AU mission?

by Colman Fri Nov 17th, 2006 at 09:56:06 AM EST

The BBC is reporting that Sudan has come to an agreement "in principle" with the UN on accepting "help" in Darfur.

BBC East Africa correspondent Adam Mynott says the UN is still insisting that it takes command and control of the peacekeeping mission.

Mr Bashir, however, stressed the UN's "assistance... to the AU mission".

"The government of Sudan welcomes all financial, material, logistic or technical assistance from the UN in order to strengthen the AU mission in Darfur," he told state TV.

"We reiterate our commitment to fully co-operate with the AU, the UN and the international community to implement the Darfur peace agreement."

I rather fear that this simply means that either the Khartoum government has achieved most of their aims or that they believe they are in danger of losing control of the situation in Darfur to other forces and want UN protection. We'll see, I guess.

Comments >> (22 comments)

What culture are you from?

by Colman Tue Nov 14th, 2006 at 12:09:31 PM EST

culture: n ... 2 the customs, civilisation, and achievements of a particular time or people (OED)

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