Tales from the Crypto: The world of digital money is exciting, strange, and full of risk…

I’m sitting on the toilet at 3am every night, doom scrolling on my phone. I am constantly refreshing and gorging on graphs. I must have the latest numbers… do I buy more, or sell? Am I a diamond-handed alpha, or a paper-handed cuck? Dogecoin – a novelty cryptocurrency – is surging, and the wider world of digital money has seen a remarkable boom in amateur investors recently, driven by online forums such as Reddit. These people are on a hiding …

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A Halloween Horror Story – The Old Schoolhouse…

You could just about see the roof of the old building, jutting out from behind a crooked tree, and I never believed my granny when she said that it’d once been the parish school – it was tiny. Barely a bungalow, with a few windows and an outhouse. Ginger told me that the last year of admissions was 1974, but that all the local children had gone there… including one in particular. The Big Man would call into my grandmother’s …

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Soldiers, Soup and Sandy Row: Challenging a fixed mindset…

The anecdotal examples given here are intended to act as blunt signifiers, and can hopefully trigger a much broader conversation on identity and growth mindsets – concepts that are very much intertwined and blurred together, positively, across the community already The American psychologist Carol Dweck is renowned for her research on mindset theories, and her work is widely referred to in the education sector. The general idea is that people who welcome challenging situations, who embrace their mistakes and value …

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Social Distancing Hasn’t Gone Away, You Know…

The Health Minister comes across as an extremely likeable fellow. Standing atop his podium, like an experienced but weary plumber, the civil and utterly decent Robin Swann is ever ready to plug any leaks in the flow of public compliance and adherence to Covid-19 guidelines. Despite having his feathers ruffled at the beginning of April, Swann took a dignified stance yesterday and opted not to weigh in with his own personal criticism of a certain someone’s attendance at a certain …

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Into the Darkening Sky: Memories of strange Donegal…

Rossnowlagh Beach, Donegal, on the last cusp of summer can give you a tingle of isolation that goes far beyond the blue-grey horizon. When the tide sneaks in (beware parked cars) it is loud and bossy, laying down challenges to trespassers and surfers alike to come and have a go. It is a place of the bleakest magic. For others, that equivalence comes from the lure of the North Coast, the Mournes or even just the skittering of birds along …

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Nationalist and unionist cynicism is responsible for these grotesque caricatures

They say that the creepiest place on earth is the Aokigahara Forest in Japan, home to the damned hordes of yūrei, or ghosts of the dead. Drawing the short straw for Northern Ireland in any cabinet reshuffle must often feel like a one-way ticket to that mythical Sea of Trees: Once a Secretary of State goes in, they seldom make it out. Certainly not with a plausible reputation. James Brokenshire, now officially in a reflective mood, must be mournfully aware …

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Dormant Stormont: Where is a good Reviving Spell when you need one?

On Monday afternoon John Lennon appeared, resplendent, at the doors of Stormont Castle. He paused, briefly, before swooping straight down the stone steps with none other than Marilyn Monroe herself. Then as the light in East Belfast shifted slightly, Gerry Adams came into focus; shaded 60s spectacles atop a wizened old nose. Michelle obediently came up to his ear, whispering something subtle, soft. And then, as the assembled throngs basked in his bearded wizardry, the Grand Master began to speak. …

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