There was a news story linked on Hacker News this morning about how a yacht belonging to Billionaire Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen damaged a coral reef in the Cayman islands. It’s not really much of a story, but it led me down a wikipedia rabbit-hole of mega-yachts.

This is a picture of the yacht in question, the MV Tatoosh, 92m long


Tatoosh’s features include:
• Five decks;
• a master suite, a saloon and other rooms on the top deck;
• a saloon with a French limestone fireplace, a dining area, staterooms and a ladies’ powder room on the main deck;
• a shaded 6 feet (1.8 m) deep swimming pool with adjustable floor in depth, located aft on the main deck beneath a full overhang;[9]
• a movie theater;
• facilities to transport two helicopters on the top two decks;
• custom 40 feet (12 m) power and sailboats

A limestone fireplace! That’s not even the biggest yacht Allen owns. Here’s the “Octopus”, 127m long


Some of Octopus main features are:
• an owner-exclusive deck (includes walk-in closet, study, outside bar with whirlpool)
• a glass bottom swimming pool
• a cinema
• a music recording studio
• a hangar for two helicopters
• a 10-person submarine


But here’s the thing. Octopus is not even in the top 15 biggest private yachts in the world. Keep clicking around wikipedia and you’ll eventually find a list of motor yachts by length – most of the biggest owned by middle eastern leaders / royalty.

If you ever wanted a quick visual of how filthy rich the richest people on earth are, there it is.

The Danger of Answers

(WARNING: this article contains spoilers for Bladerunner. If you haven’t seen it then oh my god what the hell are you doing reading a blog? Go and watch Bladerunner!)

Patrick Rothfuss wrote a very interesting review of Rama II (and subsequent blog post) in which he discussed “the danger of sequels”. In short, he felt that Rama II, though itself not a bad book, was so different stylistically and thematically from the first that he did not enjoy it. Worse, in the introduction it mentioned that Clarke had always intended Rendezvous with Rama to be a standalone novel. This retroactively ruined the first book for Pat. That, in a nutshell was his problem with sequels.

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I don’t really post about current affairs stuff, but I had to share this. The Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan houses just shy of 70k Syrian refugees. Here’s a photo from the air.

We hear statistics like “70,000 refugees”, “1 million displaced” etc, but it’s very hard to visualise a number like that. Photos like this convey what numbers never could.

It Begins

I had to post something to get rid of that Hello World post, so here we are. More than likely, this will still be the only post a year from now.

I am an Irish coder and writer. I’m not great at either of those things, but I enjoy them.