Pro-European but Anti-Lisbon

My colleague Brendan voted against the Lisbon Treaty, but for good reasons:

  1. the new forms of military cooperation (which I’d support, though)
  2. the advancement of research in nuclear energy (which I’d support too)
  3. that the other Europeans were not asked to vote on it (and there he’s perfectly right!)

So not every Irishman who rejected the treaty was simply fooled by the dirty fear-uncertainty-doubt campaign.

A European Irishman

Yesterday in our group meeting, Fergal, a Ph.D. student introduced himself as, “I’m Fergal, and I’m from the European Union and from Ireland.” He is a brave, good European who voted for the Lisbon Treaty 🙂

The internet is full

You may have seen this fake error message (unfortunately I don’t find this picture anywhere): “The internet is full. Please try again later.” It felt like this during the ESWC in the 5-star Sheraton La Caleta, Costa Adeje, Tenerife. The VPN login form gave a similar error message when you tried. Later, they disabled all these security measures and bought additional capacity from a neighbouring hotel, but still the connection was extremely unreliable. When I managed to connect every now and then, e-mail worked sufficiently, HTTP much less so, just Skype was reported to defy all obstacles. Maybe one should invent a software that allows for tunneling all internet services via Skype. The whole thing must have been a misunderstanding between the local organisers and the hotel. Maybe they thought, sure, we can provide internet for a few hundred people, but failed to realise that every one of them would want to be online at the same time.

Charging a notebook at Dublin airport

I wanted to charge the battery of my notebook at Dublin airport. I expected that there would either be no possibility to do that, or some place where it’d be really expensive. I was surprised when the lady at the information desk kindly offered me to charge the notebook right at the information desk! Later, when I was at the gate but the flight was delayed, I just used one of the sockets in the wall. Nobody cared – not like the German railways, who had once accused a student of theft of electricity.

Catsitting with obstacles

Axel asked me to feed his cats while he was on a business trip. Well, no problem, but I asked him for fool-proof instructions. He was prepared for that, and indeed, he had some PowerPoint slides on “feeding fierce beasts”. However, I was too stupid to understand the description where his flat is. He had said something about the second entrance on the right, but in fact it was ambiguous depending on the way you counted. I was able to enter the wrong house with one key (the houses in that estate are all the same), but of course not the flat. On the phone, Axel finally realised what was going wrong and sent me to the right door.