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Shop Local August 22, 2005

Posted by jbwan in General.
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Over the weekend I noticed that my beloved running shoes of 4 years had acquired a puncture and required replacing. As it happens I was down in Cork with Siân on Saturday looking around when the thought dawned on me; whatever happened to those shop local adverts that used to be around when I was a kid? I always purchase my goods locally when possible but I often hear of others who still enjoy the shopping trips to other counties. Whatever happened to the push for supporting local business? Let’s renew the campaign and keep our earnings within the community when possible and when financially feasible. Shop local!!

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Luas-ening the Purse Strings August 19, 2005

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It would appear that only a relatively short time after the Luas has been in operation it is already set for major redevelopments of various stops along the line. Seemingly it is planned that the Stephen’s Green stop will get a new platform, shiny new telescreens and ticket machines. The phrases “money pit”, “hole in your pocket”, “money down the drain” all come to mind but I can’t help wondering why… source: Irish Times

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Less of a Leaving August 12, 2005

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Article from today’s paper regarding the increase in students’ grades in the leaving certificate exams and the fear that exam correcting may be more lenient than in the past. The article makes contact with a would be expert in the area (never ceases to amaze me exactly how many experts we have in every area in Ireland). The expert opinions point towards easier marking and a drop in standards whereas a decade ago things were the exact opposite. I have some personal views on this too but I would rather open my eyes on the environment rather than focussing on teaching techniques or correction standards. Every generation of people has grown up in different times. Simple example: our grandparents may have trouble working a DVD player but yet most 6 year olds have no problem with it. Is it because the children are smarter? Personally I think the answer is no. It is merely a matter of what is familiar to them. Most 6 year olds may be able to conquer the challenge of DVD but would probably have great difficulty in some of the tasks performed by previous generations. Have you ever tried to solve a problem from the past without the solutions of the present? It ain’t easy! People evolve with ease but to regress is not a natural behavioural pattern as the learning or un-learning curve as it may be is against the grain of time.

To an extent, the same can be said for the leaving cert syllabus. Children are learning far more from computer games, constant media presence, the internet and such a vast array of other sources that it is hardly unbelieveable that they are not better subconsciously prepared for the material than anyone would give them credit for. To say that the increase in grades is only down to education standards and no external factors is most certainly taking away from the students who still put in many hours of study each day regardless of whether or not their capabilities are D or A grade. If the standard distribution is the same and the mean is increasing then perhaps it’s time to revise the syllabus and not just correct scripts more harshly. source: Irish Times

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iPod your Baby August 9, 2005

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Just when you think you have the ultimate iPod accessory you see a guy walking down the street with his new born son on pause… Supposedly you can now buy a selection of baby clothes with the iPod clickwheel printed on the front. How far is too far? source: News.blog | CNET News

Greed is no longer Good August 9, 2005

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Looks like a shift has taken place in Silicon Valley; no longer are the dot com chastened investors looking for the quick buck. Instead they are turning towards investments that aim to do some good for the world rather than just make money. Now if only we could get the folk in Ireland to think the same way. source: Washington Post

Waterford Occupants Compared to “Hitler and his henchmen” August 9, 2005

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Thanks to Rob for pointing me in the direction of these articles – somteimes I must walk around with my eyes closed. It would appear that a quick-to-comment Kilkenny councillor has taken such offence to the proposed extension of Waterford’s boundary that she has resorted in painting the entire county with the line “Hitler and his henchmen”. source: Kilkenny People. A response from Waterford councillors, printed in a local paper was filled with shock and disgust that somebody would stoop to such lows and resort to offensive name-calling in order to express an opinion. source: Munster Express.

It is well-known that the history between Waterford and Kilkenny is heated and probably always will be. Great hurling rivals and so forth. It is also a well-established fact that an incredible number of South Kilkenny people work in Waterford; a fact that is often brought into ‘slagging’ battles between the locals of the two counties. The expansion of the Waterford boundary is no more than a logical proposal in order to allow the city to develop without obstruction and to the benefit of all surrounding areas. I can’t help but feel that objections, on the other hand, are based soley upon personal feelings rather than pragmatic thinking…

Taking its Toll August 9, 2005

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A new survey just released indicates that the state bodies involved in the control of the M50 are to secure Eur 936M over the next 15 years from the West-link bridge tolls. Personally I think that this is an obscene amount of money for a project that has already drained the tax payer’s pocket. source: Irish Times

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Financial Mis-services Ireland August 5, 2005

Posted by jbwan in General, Politics.
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Ah, it’s been a while since I had a rant about insurance… A recent equality survey with respect to financial institutions (insurance and banking) publised by the CSO was rejected yesterday by the so-called Financial Services Ireland body (part of IBEC). It was said that the figure should not be used to present a “wholly unjustified and inaccurate picture” of the sector. Insurance companies are walking a very tight line in Ireland with respect to discriminating against age – very minor loopholes are responsible for them currently getting away with it. My call has been and always will be to make insurance individual. Classification against age should be abolished. Decisions cannot be made based on the colour of skin or selection of creed so why is yet another uncontrollable factor allowed to be? Would it be because foreign companies dominate the Irish insurance market and the government is afraid to regulate and loose investment? It is public knowledge, the ridiculous profits made by insurance companies. Surely this indicates that premium intake is massively in excess of claim outgoings? Wake up Ireland! source:Irish Times

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Opensource Beer Anyone? August 3, 2005

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Students in a Danish university have released a free recipe for making beer. It goes under the name of “Vores Oel” and the idea behind it is much like the opensource software world. People are free to make changes and update the recipe as long as they release the updated recipe again for free. Novel idea, I wonder how it will go… source: BBC NEWS

Time Flies August 1, 2005

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It’s two years to the day that I proposed to Siân and only a few months away from our first anniversary. Isn’t it funny how time flies? It’s just a pity that the pace of life tries to constantly beat time – there’s no rehearsals folks, take things easy!