All September’s #ExtinctinIreland posts in one handy page

As demanded by absolutely no-one, here are all the posts I have done this month on species extinct in Ireland since the coming of humanity….

Extinct in Ireland: September 1st, the sturgeon

Extinct in Ireland: September 2, the wolf

Extinct in Ireland, September 3. The Capercaillie

Extinct in Ireland, September 4th, the Bittern

Extinct in Ireland, September 5th, the Barberry Carpet Moth – last seen in Clonmel!

Extinct in Ireland: September 6th, Perkin’s Mining Bee (Andrena rosae)

Extinct in Ireland, September 7th, the Corn Bunting

Extinct in Ireland, September 8th, Triple Spotted Clay Moth (Xestia ditrapezium)

Extinct in Ireland, September 9th, Black-necked Grebe

Extinct in Ireland, September 10th, the Great Auk

Extinct in Ireland, September 11th. Meadow Saxifrage

Extinct in Ireland September 12th – Spiral Chalk Moss (Pterygoneurum lamellatum)

Extinct in Ireland, September 13th – Lapidary snail, Heligonica lapicida

Extinct in Ireland, September 14th, The Diminutive Diver (Bidessus minutissimus)

Extinct in Ireland, September 15th, The Beautiful Moss Beetle, Hydraena pulchella

Extinct in Ireland, September 16th, the wild boar

Extinct in Ireland, September 17th, Pheasant’s Eye (Adonis annua)

Extinct in Ireland, September 18th – the Osprey

Extinct in Ireland, September 19th, Spotted crake

Extinct in Ireland, 20th September, the Woodlark

Extinct in Ireland, September 21st – the red squirrel

Extinct in Ireland, September 22nd – the purple sea urchin -Paracentrosus lividus

Extinct in Ireland, September 23rd, the North Atlantic right whale

Extinct in Ireland, September 24th- Rannoch rush (Scheuchzeria pallustris) and the life of John Moore

Extinct in Ireland, September 25th, the mud pond snail, Omphiscola glabra

Extinct in Ireland, September 26th, Large copper (Lycaena Dispar)

Extinct in Ireland, September 27th – Small mountain ringlet (Erebia epiphron)

Extinct in Ireland, September 28th – the golden eagle

Extinct in Ireland, September 29th, the Lynx

Extinct in Ireland, September 30th, the crane

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Most pompous Irish ads

There seems to be a specific subgenre of Irish ad that goes for the insufferably pompous approach. I am a little wary of giving these brands more exposure via this forum, as it may thereby prove that these ads work in some way. Personally, the kind of approach here puts me right off what the advertiser is trying to get across.

The archetypal pompous ad is the 2010 effort promoting Terminal 2 in Dublin Airport. Unfortunately, the timing of this with the recession/bailout era made it seem like an ad for emigration. Also, from the opening line (“Ireland is a small island in a big ocean”) we hit the motherlode of the humblebrag approach of Irish advertising – we may be only wee, but we did invent the Beaufort Scale and Yeats;

Dante unaccountably left out the makers of Irish banking ads from his Inferno. Personally, I find it hard to discern which circle of the inferno they would be consigned to. With the perpetrators of “simple” fraud? With the barrators? With the counsellors of fraud? Perhaps Dante’s system would explode with the many many options.

I am unsure which is worse – the pseudo-witty bank ad or the pompous, earnest bank ad about how totally serious and amazing they are. AIB’s “We’re Backing…” campaign, as well as hitting all the pomp buttons, managed to irritate me even more by misusing adjectives as nouns (see also Aer Lingus’ irritating rather than pompous “Smart” campaign)

This post was provoked by coming across this instant classic of the pomp genre from Enterprise Ireland. One of the recurrent themes of the pomp ad is how like utterly hard everyone is like working with their like meals from a plastic tray and so on. Amazingly this has nearly a million views:

The pompous GAA ad is a whole other subgenre of the pompous Irish ad subgenre. And here again A I f***ing B take the biscuit with their attempt to butter up the Irish public after, you know, crashing the economy (not alone of course) by linking themselves with the epitome of all things Real and Authentic in Ireland, the GAA:

I feel a whole post decrying pompous GAA based ads coming on… another fertile source of pomp ads is telecommunications. Eir have especial form in this. I sorta almost like the way the stirring sounds of Fionnghuala are set to stirring scenes of how amazing Eir’s products are (incidentally, here’s a story headed “Just when you thought Eir’s customer service couldn’t get any worse) when of course the self-same internet encapsulates the forces wiping out the culture that created Fionnghuala (if you see what I mean)

 

Sadly, I am unable to track down the ultimate pomp ad – one for Centra, whose slogan “For The Way We Live Today” was conveyed in an inexpressibly awful pomp-rock musical setting, to accompany vignettes of couples arguing in sign language, a conductor looking sweaty, and various other entirely emotionally false scenes of supposedly modern Ireland.

I couldn’t find that ad on YouTube, so here’s a pleasingly unpompous 90s Centra ad … with satisfyingly naff music, and an overall message not of saving the world or reflecting the stirring diversity of modern Ireland, or hard work being like so totally awesome, but of being about buying stuff in a shop:

 

 

 

Nithin Coca – “How I Fully Quit Google”

Could you stop using Google products? Completely? Not just Google Search, but Gmail, Calendar, and all the rest of their stable of products and services.

Nithin Coca has done just that, and tells the story on Medium.  What is particularly interesting – and concerning – is how difficult this turns out to be. This is a contrast to even Apple and Facebook :

With Apple, you’re either in the iWorld, or out. Same with Amazon, and even Facebook owns only a few platforms and quitting is more of a psychological challenge than actually difficult.

Google, however, is embedded everywhere. No matter what laptop, smartphone, or tablet you have, chances are you have at least one Google app on there. Google is synonymous for search, maps, email, our browser, the operating system on most of our smartphones. It even provides the “services” and analytics that other apps and websites rely on, such as Uber’s use of Google Maps to operate its ride-hailing service.

Google is now a word in many languages, and its global dominance means there are not many well-known, or well-used alternatives to its behemoth suite of tools — especially if you are privacy minded. We all started using Google because it, in many ways, provided better alternatives to existing products. But now, we can’t quit because either Google has become a default, or because its dominance means that alternatives can’t get enough traction.

Coca’s motives for quitting Google relate to Edward Snowden’s revelations re PRISM. No matter what one’s specific motivations might be, it is concerning that one company has embedded itself in our devices, and by extension our lives, to such a degree. Coca’s piece is refreshingly free of hyperbole, even giving Google their due, and outlining just how it got to be so dominant via his own experience:

Here’s the thing. I don’t hate Google. In fact, not too long ago, I was a huge fan of Google. I remember the moment when I first discovered one amazing search engine back in the late 1990’s, when I was still in high school. Google was light years ahead of alternatives such as Yahoo, Altavista, or Ask Jeeves. It really did help users find what they were seeking on a web that was, at that time, a mess of broken websites and terrible indexes.

Google soon moved from just search to providing other services, many of which I embraced. I was an early adopter of Gmail back in 2005, when you could only join via invites. It introduced threaded conversations, archiving, labels, and was without question the best email service I had ever used. When Google introduced its Calendar tool in 2006, it was revolutionary in how easy it was to color code different calendars, search for events, and send shareable invites. And Google Docs, launched in 2007, was similarly amazing. During my first full time job, I pushed my team to do everything as a Google spreadsheet, document, or presentation that could be edited by many of us simultaneously.

Like many, I was a victim of Google creep. Search led to email, to documents, to analytics, photos, and dozens of other services all built on top of and connected to each other. Google turned from a company releasing useful products to one that has ensnared us, and the internet as a whole, into its money-making, data gathering apparatus

The full article outlines Coca’s alternatives to Google Products. Some things – like, paradoxically, quitting Google for search, are quite easy. Others are much more challenging….

“Green Fire – Aldo Leopold and a Land Ethic For Our Time”

Aldo Leopold died of a heart attack while battling a fire on a neighbour’s property on April 21, 1948. He is one of those literary figures better known and much more influential in America than on this side of the Atlantic – like Henry Adams, or to a certain degree Emerson or Thoreau. I first came across him when reading about solastalgia  , which lead me to A Sand County Almanac and the concept of the Land Ethic:

“The land ethic simply enlarges the boundaries of the community to include soils, waters, plants, and animals, or collectively: the land.”

“This sounds simple: do we not already sing our love for and obligation to the land of the free and the home of the brave? Yes, but just what and whom do we love? Certainly not the soil, which we are sending helter-skelter down river. Certainly not the waters, which we assume have no function except to turn turbines, float barges, and carry off sewage. Certainly not the plants, of which we exterminate whole communities without batting an eye. Certainly not the animals, of which we have already extirpated many of the largest and most beautiful species. A land ethic of course cannot prevent the alteration, management, and use of these ‘resources,’ but it does affirm their right to continued existence, and, at least in spots, their continued existence in a natural state. In short, a land ethic changes the role of Homo sapiens from conqueror of the land-community to plain member and citizen of it. It implies respect for his fellow-members, and also respect for the community as such.

 

I have remarked before on some of the aspects of Leopold’s work which might strike one as dated – for instance his unself-conscious engagement in hunting, not seen as implacably opposed to conservation as it often is now (in Britain especially) . But by and large, Leopold’s work is all too relevant. Indeed, as the disappearance of species accelerates rather than slows down in our supposedly green-conscious age, the rediscovery of the Land Ethic looms larger than ever as an imperative rather than a luxury.

 


<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/8669977″>Green Fire: Aldo Leopold and a Land Ethic for Our Time</a> from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/user2926562″>Jeannine Richards</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

Scott Walker, “Little Things (That Keep Us Together)”

Every so often a song floats into your consciousness from somewhere or other. I am not sure why, but yesterday Scott Walker’s driving, rhythmic “Little Things (That Keep Us Together)” from 1970’s “‘Til the Band Comes In” drifted back into my consciousness. Perhaps it was because I was travelling at the time, and the song is redolent of propulsive motion (and references Jumbo jets crashing), or perhaps its evocation of social collapse “while the war is going on” is relevant, because it is always relevant:

Of Scott Walker songs, it reminds me most of the pseudo-martial We Came Through, and like We Came Through is sounds initially a little dated but as the years have passed by has lasted better than many of Scott’s Brel covers, some of which strike me as histrionic and over-mannered now:

 

Dorothy L Sayers on Dante’s Inferno as a portrait of social collapse

From Introductory Dante Papers, Dorothy L Sayers:

That the Inferno is a picture of human society in a state of sin and corruption, everybody will readily agree. And since we are today fairly well convinced that society is in a bad way and not necessarily evolving in the direction of perfectibility, we find it easy enough to recognise the various stages by which the deep of corruption is reached. Futility; lack of a living faith; the drift into loose morality, greedy consumption, financial irresponsibility, and uncontrolled bad temper; a self-opinionated and obstinate individualism; violence, sterility, and lack of reverence for life and property including one’s own; the exploitation of sex, the debasing of language by advertisement and propaganda, the commercialising of religion, the pandering to superstition and the conditioning of people’s minds by mass-hysteria and ‘spell-binding’ of all kinds, venality and string-pulling in public affairs, hypocrisy, dishonesty in material things, intellectual dishonesty, the fomenting of discord (class against class, nation against nation) for what one can get out of it, the falsification and destruction of all the means of communication; the exploitation of the lowest and stupidest mass-emotions; treachery even to the fundamentals of kinship, country, the chosen friend, and the sworn allegiance: these are the all-too-recognisable stages that lead to the cold death of society and the extinguishing of all civilised relations.