Archive | June, 2011

Irish Ship to Gaza sabotaged

The Irish Ship to Gaza campaign have reported sabotage to their vessel, MV Saoirse, which they claim was carried out by Israeli agents. The MV Saoirse was to participate in another Free Gaza flotilla aimed at breaking through the Israeli blockade to bring aid to the Gaza region. Al Jazeera are reporting this as the second incidence of sabotage more…

David Dunseith

David Dunseith RIP

Through some of the darkest days of the NI troubles and in the absence of a local political assembly, [Talkback] provided a forum for debate where no other existed. BBC News online reports the sad news that David Dunseith has died. With a career spanning television and radio, UTV and BBC, the Sony award-winning journalist more…

Judge Smithwick: “I think this was singularly ill-advised.”

I had mentioned the apparent disagreement between the chair of the Smithwick Tribunal, Judge Smithwick, and the Irish Justice Minister, Alan Shatter, over the latter’s proposed ‘deadline’, of 30 November, for the Tribunal’s final report. And in correspondence from the time, just released to the Oireachtas along with the Tribunal’s interim report [pdf file], Judge Smithwick made clear the extent more…

Bringing schools together in Ireland through ICT

Regular readers of this column know that I greatly admire those people I call the ‘unsung heroes’ of North-South cooperation as part of the peace process in Ireland. These are the people, most of them unknown outside their immediate area of activity, who do this kind of work because, in the words of the social more…

QUB ICOT 2011 - Thinking about Reconciliation and Change

QUB ICOT 2011 – Thinking about Reconciliation and Change

At a bit of last minute, I filled in for a colleague to speak at a roundtable discussion at the 15th International Conference on Thinking, held at Queen’s University of Belfast. The roundtable was chaired by Evanthia Lyons (QUB), and fellow discussants were Mari Fitzduff (Brandeis University) and Karen Trew (QUB). There was a separate more…

Artist's impression of distant quasar, ULAS J1120+0641

Most distant “angry monster” brightest in early Universe

[Image credit: ESO/M. Kornmesser] The BBC reports on the discovery of the most distant quasar yet seen, ULAS J1120+0641.  An “angry monster” 12.9 billion light-years away – a mere 770 million years after the Big Bang.  Before the process of re-ionization was completed.  As the BBC report notes The light from ULAS J1120+0641 displays the characteristic signature of more…

The extraordinarily small gene pool for NI Civil Service reviews

Here’s an interesting snippet. It’s an Assembly Question from Patsy McGlone to Tom Elliott regarding “the independent board of inquiry that was convened to consider the disciplinary charges” against Paul Priestly. It’s interesting for a number of reasons: To ask the First Minister and deputy First Minister, in relation to the independent board of inquiry more…

Sinn_Féin_logo

“Sinn Féin are increasingly looking acceptable and palatable”

Nice piece of analysis from Cormac O’Cuilan at politico.ie on Sinn Fein’s progress in the southern polity: In the soup that is the 31st Dáil; Sinn Féin are increasingly looking acceptable and palatable. Side by side with Fianna Fáil and the Independents, their credibility as opposition (and future government) parliamentarians, is on the rise. As more…

Heliosphere_bubbles

Voyager: “It’s bubbly out there.”

The Guardian’s GrrlScientist picked up on the 30-something Voyager probes’ latest scientific discovery on humanity’s farthest journey.  New view of the heliosheath. Red and blue spirals are the gracefully curving magnetic field lines of orthodox models. New data from Voyager add a magnetic froth to the mix. Image: NASA Here’s the YouTube version of the ScienceatNasa more…

The future of Irish media lies in the evolution of new business models…

If you get time, it’s well worth watching Vincent Browne’s programme from Monday night. It’s a highly intelligent (not to mention passionate) discussion of Irish journalism’s most pressing problem; ie the disappearance of the business model underwriting much of the professional journalism in Ireland. It was fun (despite the dire implications of the topic), not more…

ICC reverse World Cup 2015 decision

Yesterday, as RTÉ and the BBC reported, the ICC Executive Board approved the recommendation that there should be a qualification process for the World Cup 2015.  They also decided to reverse their previous decision to restrict the competition to 10 teams by approving a continuation of the 14 team format [10 full members and 4 more…

Whitey Bulger: Boston’s ‘Prince of Darkness’ plots his revenge…

It’s worthwhile sticking with some of this Whitey Bulger stuff, partly because I’m enjoying Kevin Cullen’s sceptical, but never cynical journalism, and partly because of that politics and gangsterism crossover that Pete highlighted the other day. Here’s his latest thought provoking piece: As for settling old scores, what if, holy moly, he decides to help more…

Does Francie Molloy have the temperament for the Speaker’s job?

So Francie Molloy is the new ‘principal’ deputy Speaker for the Northern Ireland Assembly. New as in the post is new. Francie has a reputation for being his man, running into trouble with his own party over the initial RPA settlement which suggested 11 new councils rather than the party’s preference for 7. He also more…

P/T Brits required

Someone very close to me and three friends have just succeeded in getting tickets for court No 1 at Wimbledon today and will see Djokovic’s and Nadal’s quarter finals. True they had to queue overnight and pay £74 each for the privilege. £74 each is a lot of money to them as they are students more…