Monthly Archives: August 2016

Whats wrong with ticket touting anyway?

1fcd531b27e7cb5e1ae15cfc2ba01703The recent events in Rio have brought the issue of ticket reselling, also called touting or scalping, to the minds of many. Without getting into the issue at hand, which is under legal investigation, it raises some interesting questions. Why are some trades seen as repugnant exchanges and others not? How should we decide?

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Cultural Learnings of Brexit for Make Benefit…

brexit-2So brexit will, or possibly wont, happen. And if it happens we might or might not see a significant change in how the UK interacts with the remaining EU that is if there is a UK and it has not splintered. But what will it really mean for Ireland? And how should we interrogate the issues? A purely economic lens wont really work. We need to look beyond politics, beyond economics.  Continue reading


Im a fairly avid twitter user. I love its spontaneity and its freewheeling nature, and the sense of the immediate. It can be fun and it can be and usually is a community.  But there is a large and festering problem of egregious, vicious, disturbed and disturbing trolling. It goes beyond trolling to …I dont know what. Abuse, certainly. Evidence of clear dangerous derangement for which people need help, yep. Much of this is directed to women ; much to minorities. The fact that globally us pale pink folk are a minority is a fact not acknowledged by the basement dwellers of the global community of Twitter.

Today we saw, as we have, a new runner for the @Ireland account. I have no idea who this woman is – she is large, black, English and sounds great craic. Thats this week. Next week it could be a dwarvish Inuit from Ballyhaunis or a transgendered potter from Allihies, or a lawyer from Ring .. its an account that tries and usually succeeds in giving different perspectives on Ireland in 2016.

Following the travails of Michelle as she faced a tidal bore of the most awful abuse was illuminating. And shaming, as a man, as an Irish citizen, and as a member of the human race.

There is no need for this. Twitter has a very well documented problem with how it deals with abuse. It needs to sort this, or die, and deservedly.


Taxes, bull and the Irish economy

bull-023Another week  another inversion. This time, passing almost unnoticed in the august torpor, one of the worlds largest meat companies, JBS, signalled that it would relocate its HQ to Ireland. It also noted that this HQ company would be controlled from an office park in Herefordshire.  The reasons for this have nothing whatsoever to do with anything real, all to do with favorable tax and legal reasons. This is unlikely to have any effect on GDP, unless of course JBS decide to start using intellectual property and patents to start to shuffle money around, thus creating “exports” from Ireland.
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Wasting time on the margins of academic writing

29-jumping-through-hoops-w1200-h630Recently I submitted a paper to a leading journal. They had incredibly specific requirements for formatting for submitted papers, and numerous templates in Word, SciWord, Latex and so on for the use thereof. Being a leading journal and wanting to maximise the scant chance they might not bin it after a good bellylaugh, I spent some time formatting columns, table  titles etc to their specifications. Why?  Continue reading

Missing – Irish World Heritage Sites

album_anh-3Why do we have so few, only in fact three on the island as a whole (Skellig, Bru na Boinne, and Giant’s Causeway)? Some other sites are tentative, but the situation to be honest seems stalled. Great. Much talk is made of the government “campaigning” for sites but the reality is that there is no need to campaign – its not a competition. Its an administrative issue – do you hit some, not necessarily all, of the criteria.  The process is pretty clear. So why dont we have more?  Continue reading

Ex, Tex.

New laws allowing students to carry concealed guns on campuses have been passed in the US state of Texas.It allows people over 21 to carry pistols in classrooms and buildings in public colleges.Supporters of the law say it could prevent mass shootings, while critics say the measure will endanger lives on campus.The law took effect on the 50th anniversary of a deadly shooting at the University of Texas that left 16 people dead.

Source: Students in Texas are now allowed to bring concealed guns on campus | Irish Examiner

Gotta love the smack in the face there to the victims of an iconic shooting. Next, S&W to introduce the Sandy Hook Special “superior knockdown performance at close range”

I cannot ever now imagine myself attending any academic event in Texas. Imagine – your talking, perhaps saying something which might offend

“stock markets do better under Democratic presidents”

That would annoy the republicans. It does. When you present the evidence (eg here , here ) they generally get all huffy.

Now imagine that in a heated election atmosphere. Ask – is Bubba or JimBob or BillyRae packing heat? Do I dare challenge them when they challenge me?

Now imagine you are lecturing on something truly contentious – abortion rights and law, or (this is America, remember) evolution. Chilled yet?


This is a dumb law.

Graduate taxes, not student loans, for Ireland

student-loan-debtGovernments usually, and often quite correctly, come in for severe stick for lack of joined up thinking. In that regard it is quite pleasant to see the initiative from the Department of Social Protection on moneylenders. Linking repayment to credit union loans to welfare payments allows low risk in lending and thus low interest rates. Would that similar joined up thinking pervaded the issue of student loans. Continue reading