Job titles

During this morning's Leader's Questions in the Dáil, Éamon Gilmore accidentally coined the fortuitous phrase back bensioners, a portmanteau of back benchers and pensioners. Sadly, the official transcript only records his immediate correction of back benchers.

In case it isn't obvious: Government back benchers arrive in the Dáil chamber long enough to press a button according to the Chief Whip's direction. Once upon a time they would have insisted that they know what they're voting for, but that's untenable now that the Order of Business routinely include orders to have a single vote on whichever amendments a Minister wants.

So, Government backbenchers do no work but they continue to get paid well. Back bensioners indeed.

Failure recovery

I've been categorizing distributed system designs into four groups, according to how they recover from the loss of a single critical ele...