Four pictures of two tribes of academia

14kgdhHow do academics work? How do they communicate? How do they analyse data? Does it differ between Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences (AHSS)  avs Science, Technology and MedMath (STEM) . Lets see

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Who do you trust and why does it matter?

trust-but-verify-e1389107073481Would you trust a banker? Stop laughing now…you there, in the back, stop it… Now, seriously, would you? More to the point perhaps, would a banker trust you? And what matter if they did or didn’t? Generalising, how much trust do you place in your business partners up and down the supply chain?  In others in the financial system? And does it matter? Continue reading “Who do you trust and why does it matter?”

Thoughts on the Irish Research Council

Fundingsmaller.jpgThe Irish Research Council are the body for grant giving in, among other areas. the Arts, humanities, and social sciences. They are immensely busy and grossly understaffed. That they do even the half decent job they do is a wonder. But, dealing with public money and peoples careers, they have to be above reproach. I have some questions and suggestions that might aid

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Censoring the Seanad

In ancient Rome there was a political office called the Censor.  His role was to act as a check on the membership of the Senate, to periodically oversee its membership and ensure that it was comprised of those eligible to be therein. He had the power to disbar, if someone didn’t meet the property franchise, if they had bribed or cheated (actually, been convicted of…) or were of insufficient moral fibre. We might, in this state, consider reintroduction of the office, with a twist. Continue reading “Censoring the Seanad”

The Four Phases of Fascism

So, Austria has in large numbers, voted right. Far right. Ally this to the Jobbik thugs in Hungary, the toxic religio-nationalist rhetoric of the Slovaks, the bubbling threat of the Golden Dawn, the slipping towards legal autocracy of Poland, the rise of Alternative for Deutschland, the rise of xenophobic politics in the UK (for that, at heart, is what drives Brexit), the rise everywhere of anti-migrant feeling, and one wonders – is fascism in all its varieties an endemic virus in most european countries? For all its many problems Irish politics has been remarkably resilient to the siren calls of the far right, for which we should be thankful.

A point that needs to be made is that the modern fascist doesn’t, mostly, wear snazzy Hugo Boss designed uniforms, but suits; doesn’t have an army of thugs, but of astroturfers; cloaks the vileness in honeyed words to avoid the anti-fascism legislation of the post WWII period and so can slip under the radar and into out parliaments quite easily. If you wonder whether someone is a fascist, you could do worse than apply the checklist of the magestic Umberto Eco :  Ur-Fascism by Umberto Eco | The New York Review of Books

Meanwhile, here is my attempt at mapping where we are.

Phases of Fascism Awareness.png

 

Jobbridge Use in Higher Education

Via Jack Horgan-Jones, and the Sunday Business Post, a list of all companies who have used the controversial Jobbridge programme was listed today. Jobbridge is a program of labour market activation whereby persons on unemployment get paid €50 extra to be placed in a otherwise fulltime position. It is supposed to be a training and reintegrating into the workforce scheme.

Included within are some higher education institutions. See below for the list. In total, 90,000 working days actual or proposed seem to have been used by these institutions. Im pretty conflicted by this. At one level job activation schemes are a good idea. But without careful monitoring they become a way for workers to be exploited and for employers to get cheap work done that might otherwise have to paid full market rate.

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