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December 2003
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February 2004

January 2004

Semesterising education

UCD -- Kieran McGowan, UCD's new chairman, wants to stoke the development of human capital in Ireland's knowledge economy by semesterising the University College Dublin no later than September 2005. This should be a mandate for all third level institutions in Ireland. Semesterisation revolves around modular courses. The more the modules are offered, the greater the opportunity to cross-feed across modules. Students in one degree programme could dive into modules offered in another track. This would greatly enhance the well-rounded nature of third level graduates. It would appeal to those who cannot timetable themselves into a full-time programme. It would open up the real possibility of a summer term. These advantages deliver more value for money and suggest why McGowan recognises the immediacy of semesterisation.

Dominic Coyle -- "Ex-IDA man to shake up business at UCD" on the back page of The Irish Times, 30 Jan 04

Cheaper up north

DUBLIN -- The least expensive Irish breakfast is north of the border. Consumers pay 43% more for long-necked beer in Ireland, compared to prices in Northern Ireland. Some of this price-gouging is due to higher taxes in the Republic of Ireland. The remainder of the higher fees is down to gouging. When you strip out the impact of tax, you find a consistent pattern of higher pre-tax prices in the South. Figures from consumer organisations confirm a pattern of much higher mark-ups all across Ireland. Retailers who overcharge must be named and shamed.

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Responsible computing

Worm eyesLIFTING A PAGE from Adrian Weckler's book ("Only stupid people get computer viruses."), the Wall Street Journal points out we could prevent Internet worms if we acted proactively.

This is a big deal. As Kedrosky points out,"The appropriately named 'Mydoom' is the fastest-spreading online outbreak in history. Estimates are that in its first two days Mydoom hit 142 countries, and was to be found in one in 12 e-mail messages. As many as 100,000 Internet-connected computers world-wide are infected, and more are becoming so all the time. If nothing changes, eventually a worm like Mydoom will cause serious damage. Perhaps a power grid will go down; or an air-traffic-control system will go awry; or a 911 system will collapse. It's only a matter of time."

Paul Kedrosky -- "You've Got 'Mydoom'!"


Making Irish Laws

DUBLIN -- Unlike the rigorous method used in the States to draft, review, pass and approve legislation into law, the Irish government often rams through change when appointed ministers pencil-whip their ideas into law. For that reason alone, the current Irish system excels in the realm of institutionalised arrogance.

In fairness, most politicians are so aware of backlash at the parish pump that they are "open to consultation." In many occasions, that means paying millions of euro in fees for professional services or setting aside thousands of work hours to listen to union leaders yammer away. It also means paying barristers to take your case to court against the government, as in the case of the M50 Motorway versus the Carrickmines Ruins.

Continue reading "Making Irish Laws" »

Fintan Friel finds October

Fintan FrielMIT -- I have nearly an inch of reading material from October to read before February. Irish artist Fintan Friel suggest the smart solution: get a subscription. Stop killing trees.

The Fall 2003 edition covers some interesting ground, much of it could interest Paul Clerkin.

  • Darcy Grimaldo Grigsby -- "Geometry/Labor = Volume/Mass?
  • Interview by Stan Allen and Hal Foster -- "A conversation with Kenneth Frampton"
  • Anthony Vidler -- "Toward a theory of the architectural program"
  • Felicity D. Scott -- "Involuntary Prisoners of Architecture"
  • Mark M. Anderson -- "The edge of darkness. On W.G. Sebald"
  • Tacita Dean -- "W.G. Sebald"
  • Michael Jennings -- "Not fade away: The face of German History in Michael Schmidt's Ein-heit"

Order October Magazine articles online.

From e-mail to gallery

Art to Gallery over the WebBBC -- Tim Kirby spotted how it's possible to send art by e-mail to a gallery. It's something that we demonstrated to second level students in Kilkenny (at right), although in a very low-brow way.

From the Beeb via Tim:

Artists from around the world are being encouraged to e-mail their masterpieces to be displayed in an East London art gallery. Graphic artists, designers and film-makers are all being asked to contribute to the Hype Gallery, in London's East End, with their digital pictures or short films.

The idea was developed with Hewlett Packard, which has installed a range of equipment, from huge laser printers to projectors, in the gallery. When a piece of art is received, via e-mail or on a CD, it is printed out on huge machines, mounted, then hung on the wall for all to enjoy.

BBC -- "Email to art gallery in an instant"
Tim Kirby knows how to do this with no operator's manual.

In conversation with Gavin Delahunty

Gavin DelahuntyGAVIN DELAHUNTY FEELS art acquires its existence in part by critical discourse. You might expect that would be his perspective because he is an art critic. Gavin sits on a Masters Degree Visual Arts Practises course with me where we have seen critical judgment voided by curatorial organisational skills. Said another way, modern curators have direct access to the culture industry. They don't really need art critics to write their stuff or open doors for them. On top of that, most curators are very astute judges of quality. My experience in Ireland is that a well-run gallery has a high-level art connoisseur behind the desk. That curator brings interesting exhibitions to the gallery space, some which could serve as quality investments.

Continue reading "In conversation with Gavin Delahunty" »

Visual culture in Temple Bar

Uphill to ArthouseTEMPLE BAR -- Both Tim Kirby and I enjoy the visual culture of Temple Bar. We meet in Central Percs and trade stories, some recalling the buzz of the streets in the era of the Celtic Tiger. Alongside that exuberant period, artists tumbled out of their bedsits and onto new media courses that we ran in Arthouse. That venue is a sad shell of itself now, lending weight to the claim that Temple Bar's visual culture has eroded. Perhaps it has. It would take a month of Thursday evenings (the time reserved for opening exhibitions) to actually measure the pulse of the visual culture. But the fact is that many of Temple Bar's arts buildings have lost their cultural status. The Design Yard, Arthouse, and the Viking Centre--all benefited from millions of pounds from EU injections--had to retain their cultural designations for a minimum of 10 years. They didn't because they were rolled up by their boards of directors.

Continue reading "Visual culture in Temple Bar" »