"The reason that the right has been so successful in shaping politics over the last twenty years is in part because it successfully constructed an alternative intellectual apparatus of think-tanks, research institutes, journals etc, pushing out endless policy papers and talking points, and, over time, shifting the center of political debate substantially over to the right. This is something that the netroots can’t do if they see an interest in policy questions and ideology as markers that you belong to the corrupt establishment. Ideas and policy are vitally important to politics – they’re a fundamental force structuring the conventional wisdom that Bowers is interested in. It sometimes seems to me that there are two left wing blogospheres – the netroots centered around Kos, MyDD etc, and the wonkosphere centered around Brad DeLong, Kevin Drum, Matt Yglesias and others, with only a few connecting threads between them (Duncan Black serves inter alia as a sometimes grumpy intermediary). One talks mostly about the winning and losing of elections, the other mostly about policy and ideas. This strikes me as a very serious weakness indeed; there’s a lot that these people should be talking about together if they want to construct something real and lasting, but they’re not."As happened in the US, the political debate within the early Irish blogger population has been dominated by rightwingers feeding off the voluminous propaganda pumped out by the well-funded right-wing wonk apparatus in the US (the ORI is small fry in comprison, and the FI insignificant). The same relative dearth of intellectuals doing the grunt-work of producing research and policy talking-points will inevitably retard the emergence of a response here to the growing rightwing Young Turks within Fine Gael, the PDs and to a lesser extent Fianna Fáil. (Other 'innovations' that have contributed to the GOP success in recent years - such as developing a rapport with militant rightwing Christianity - will inevitably follow as well)
"Apple technology is at the centre of this unique education project. “The three watch words for FÍS are simplicity, connectivity and creativity”, says Creative Director Ciarán McCormack. “Apple gets ticks in all three boxes. The hardware and the software are so intuitive that teachers and children can just get on with what the project is all about — making and using films to learn”.There is also an official FÍS website.
A pilot scheme was so successful in 31 Dublin and Cork schools that six years later, well over 100 primary schools are using film to enrich their studies. FÍS plans to support the use of film in all of Ireland’s 3,500 primary schools by the end of 2006.
Important to the project’s success has been the broad support base inspired by national Government leadership. The Institute of Art, Design and Technology (IADT) at Dún Laoghaire — home to Ireland’s National Film School — provides project management and advice to teachers on filmmaking theory and how to integrate it into the curriculum. Ireland’s regional Education Centres train teachers to use cameras, sound recording and editing equipment at specially-run summer programmes and training days.
Technology support for FÍS comes from a combination of IADT and Education Centres’ ICT advisers. FÍS, based at IADT, has a range of Macs, including Power Mac G5s, PowerBooks and iBooks. Education Centres with local schools involved in the project each have an iMac, five iBooks and a Canon camera, all available for booking. The schools themselves are equipped with video cameras, tripods and microphones, and share digital editing suites.
No Pre–cooked Content
FÍS schools are using film in many different ways. One is making a series of documentaries about its local history, based on interviews with the school caretaker. Another has adapted a Graham Greene short story for film, with children writing the screenplay, and acting and filming their own production.
Other schools are studying the science of film technology, or exploring dance and music through film soundtracks. Many use the opportunity film presents to hone reading and writing skills.
Schools that cater for children with physical and learning disabilities have found film particularly helpful in establishing a sense of individual achievement. One special school produced a short film showing how it makes its annual Christmas card. The still shots of the children who contributed to the film were as important to its motivational impact as the film itself. Filmmaking is particularly flexible for mixed abilities. There is always a role for everyone — storyboard, continuity, camera, sound, even holding the microphone."
The main task of the new Chair in Ethics is to conduct research in ethics, promote the teaching and debate of ethics in DCU and to lead the Institute. But the new Professor will also be expected to engage in debate on ethics issues nationally and internationally with the media, government institutions in Ireland, the European Union and other relevant bodies and organisations around the world.As the above blogger notes, immediately thought turns to American billionaire Chuck Feeney and the short-lived Centre for Public Inquiry which his Atlantic Philanthropies foundation funded for a time. (While Mr. Feeney does indeed have an association with DCU, there is no sign of any announcement on the AP website as to whether or not he is funding this venture).
On funding, we don't discuss individual donors as a rule for their confidentiality and ours, but it's no big deal mentioning that the large majority of funding sources are private individuals.While the desire for confidentiality of donors is understandable (as Feeney showed, they can be vulnerable to political pressure) the need to have transparency in these operations is essential in order to build trust and consequently legitimacy.
"Currently, 48% use a negative word to describe Bush compared with just 28% who use a positive term, and 10% who use neutral language.Certain Irish bloggers have described Bush in glowing terms, even recently, and delighted in casting aspersions on those who didn't share this touching show of blind faith. Perhaps they might enlighten us all on how it is "anti-American" to share the actual views of the American public on this embarrassing failure of a man.
The changing impressions of the president can best be viewed by tracking over time how often words come up in these top-of-the-mind associations. Until now, the most frequently offered word to describe the president was "honest," but this comes up far less often today than in the past. Other positive traits such as "integrity" are also cited less, and virtually no respondent used superlatives such as "excellent" or "great" terms that came up fairly often in previous surveys.
The single word most frequently associated with George W. Bush today is "incompetent,"and close behind are two other increasingly mentioned descriptors: "idiot" and "liar." All three are mentioned far more often today than a year ago."
I got an invoice this morning for rental of the function room in the Alexander. You best sit down: It’s €2000. Microsoft has stepped in and offered to cover costs for it. I’m totally blown away by this offer and there were no conditions about it. We don’t now have to be called The Microsoft Irish Blog Awards or The Vista Irish Microsoft MSN Blog Awards or anything else [...] So remember to say thank you to the Microsoft people who turn up on the night and buy them a drink or two at the very least [...] Again thanks to the folks in Microsoft. There shouldn’t be a problem with space now. Someone from Microsoft is going to come along (at my request) and talk and answer questions about IE7 and RSSNow we've known Damien for a while and he's on the up-and-up and a very trustworthy guy. Nonetheless, we confess to misgivings when we saw that The Beast of Redmond has extended its clutches out to this event. As an example of what we're talking about, we spotted the following on the (MSDN, inevitably) blog of one Robert Burke, who appears to be the very same Microsoft employee in question:
Irish Blogging Awards...or even that obscure other one, run by giving-Ballmer-nightmares wunderkind Google. (Bogger? Bloggy? Someone help us out here.)
Damien Mulley, organizer of the Irish Blogging Awards, kindly offered me the opportunity to take part in the judging. But bear in mind that, in true blogging style, almost two thousand people have contributed electronically to the voting!
"How many of you have blogs?" asked celebrity blogger Robert Scoble in Cork a few months back, and less than 5% of the hands went up.
Microsoft has a great opportunity to help make it easier both to consume blog content, and also easy for everyone to contribute to the conversation. In the coming months, the next version of Windows, called Windows Vista, and also Internet Explorer 7, will add new features which will make blogging, and RSS, more intuitive and really take blogging mainstream.
For a technical perspective and more info, check out the Microsoft Team RSS blog. Don't forget you can also sign up for your own blog at MSN Spaces, or Blogs.ie, or Developers.ie, or Wordpress.org,...
"A mention of Microsoft drew booing from the crowd which quickly died out when it was announced the software giant had stepped in at the last moment to sponsor the ceremony."Pussies.
Trouble in Bahrain: symptoms of a wider malaiseOne recent article that may be of considerable interest to observers is the impending demise of the Sea Harrier in UK service - the end of an era for the veteran Falklands War-era fighter jet, a victim of the new British CVF conventional carrier-building program.
Record-breaking demonstrations and spontaneous outbreaks of violence in conservative Bahrain provide an illustrative example of wider tensions in the Middle East * The tensions being voiced, from religious conservatives and liberal reformers, are mutually exclusive and leave little room for a middle ground to be found * As newly reinvigorated authoritarian regimes in the Middle East battle it out with Washington over democratic reform, it looks as though the only progress being made is by the Islamists
[Jane's Islamic Affairs Analyst - first posted to http://jiaa.janes.com - 30 January 2006]
Iran's conventional forces remain key to deterring potential threats
Key Points * Iran's Western-influenced defence doctrine is focused on conventional forces and incorporates lessons learned from a range of post-Cold War conflicts. * Layered aerial and coastal defences make Iran a potentially prickly opponent and would require the US or Israel to invest considerable resources in offensive options. * The overstretched and exhausted US military will require a period of strategic reset if it is to undertake effective operations against Iran.
[Jane's Intelligence Review - first posted to http://jir.janes.com - 19 January 2006]
"Kitt has a charmed life and he escaped public opprobrium before when it emerged that in 2000 he had given a demo tape of his son, singer David Kitt, to Dennis Woods, head of Warner Studios and chairman of Phonographic Performance Ireland. This would have been an exchange hardly worth mentioning were it not for the fact that Kitt was then piloting the Copyright and Related rights Bill 2000 through the Dáil; that this legislation benefited PPI members and that the PPI, one of the organisations most affected beneficially by the act, lobbied the Government strongly."Other examples of politicians interacting with lobbyists in an untoward manner will no doubt occur to people reading this post (and Irish Corruption provides further coverage on this topic). This little anecdote provides a neat illustration of the odds that Digital Rights Ireland finds itself up against in terms of lobbying. As we mentioned earlier, please consider donating to DRi what you can.
"Attack blog"-Damien Mulley
An early-thirties male Irish technologist living and working in Dublin, I'm a former (recovering) member of both Fianna Fáil and the Roman Catholic Church.
I'm not a member of any political party these days, but my opinions can be broadly categorised as 'lefty' and republican. I am also a former member of the Irish Defence Forces.
(This blog and its contents reflect only my own personal opinions as a private citizen, and not those of any other person or organisation.)