DublinObserver.com – covering local Dublin news

Niall Farrell, Niall O’Connor, and myself have set up a project called DublinObserver.com.

It’s going to be covering news in Dublin city from local angle (so, it’s not a national publication also covering local stories, or a local publication pretending to be a national paper). We will have stories only people from certain areas will be interested in, but that’s the nature of the publication.

We have the website designed to grow with the content: A slightly larger home page and new sections are on their way as content builds up.

It’s an ambitious project, and hopefully it’ll also be a successful one.

World Record space hopper attempt in Dublin

UPDATE: Dublin Observer has an a report a video of the successful attempt

The Street Performance World Championship are hosting a World Record space hopper attempt in Dublin this weekend. Make sure to email them at worldrecord@spwc.ie if you’re attending (one email per person apparently).

More details at the attempt’s Facebook page.

Also see the Street Performance World Championship at their website, on their blog, on Twitter, and on Facebook.

Lecturer finds way to ‘silence’ World Cup vuvuzela

PHOTO: Dundas Football Club, Some Rights Reserved

On how to silence the noise from vuvuzelas at the World Cup in South Africa, this press release came from DCU today.

Interestingly it notes after method two that “This could be done by broadcasters”, so now there’s no excuse for the likes of RTE to claim they can’t do anything?…

So you’ve started watching the World Cup in South Africa, you’re enjoying the games, but the thing that’s spoiling it for many are those vuvuzelas. Until FIFA gets around to banning them, there is another way of reducing the sound on your television.  Dr Sean Marlow, lecturer in DCU’s School of Engineering, tells us how.

Continue reading “Lecturer finds way to ‘silence’ World Cup vuvuzela”

Irish Labour Party more Lib Dem than Labour

Irish Labour Party leader Eamon Gilmore

Bit late to blog on this, but anyway… Some interesting talk was coming from Irish Labour Party members — on twitter and elsewhere — about the Liberal Democrats back at the time of the UK elections.

The Labour Party, or at least members at different levels, seem oblivious to the similarities with their party and the Lib Dems. First, both have been the third party in mostly two-party systems. But more striking is their policy positions.

BEFORE READING FURTHER: If you’ve never heard of the Political Compass before then read their homepage. It’s mantra is that the old left-right scale is not enough, more is explained after you take the time to test yourself — you never know, you might be miles away from the political party you think you like.

The highly respected (and highly dated looking) politicalcompass.org puts the Irish Labour Party, as of the 2007 elections, closer to the Lib Dems than most other parties in the UK.

Photo: Labour Party, some rights reserved.

Happy National Helmet Week!

Make sure you wear your cycling and motoring helmet this week as it’s National Helmet Week in Ireland.

The Department of Transport and others have gotten together this week to promote helmet use, mainly aimed at cyclists. The department has spent money advertising the use of helmets at bus shelters, in a supplement in the Irish Independent newspaper and elsewhere. You can even download the posters (as above) your self on the Helmet Week website’s poster page.

But, with political correctness gone mad and that diversity nonsense, at least one anti-helmet event is somehow being run under the banner of National Helmet Week. Dublin City Council have asked that dangerous Cycle Chic promoter, Mikael Colville-Andersen, to come to Dublin.  

This reckless Cycle Chic stuff has already made its way into a few national newspapers. However, we’re assured that the model pictured in these newspapers to promote the so-called Cycle Chic event only cycled without a helmet with an ambulance and a team of brain surgeons standing by. Everybody is warned not to try this at home, and don’t even think about trying it in public.

Cycling is dangerous. It’s very dangerous to cycle without a helmet or high-vis, says the Road Safety Authority. The authority adds that high-viz should be worn at all times even when it’s really sunny. Because cycling is dangerous. Actually, if everybody would be nice enough to stop cycling, the Road Safety Authority would be happy as then there would be no cycling deaths on the roads.

the information age of then...

Quick guide to Access to Information on the Environment

the information age of then...
Image by jaeming, Some Rights Reserved

Access to Information on the Environment (AIE) is a free powerful tool for getting information from public authorities. Don’t get put off by the name, it’s wide ranging in scope.

Thanks to Gavin Sheridan (of thestory.ie) for writing about this first on journalist.ie. The following is also based on the Department of the Environment’s more detailed guide for public authorities, the regulations, as well as my own limited experience of requesting information under AIE.

Continue reading “Quick guide to Access to Information on the Environment”

Different headgear

Road Safety Authority’s promotion of helmets

Different headgear
My first Access to Information on the Environment request was successful. The request took advantage of the wide range of the definition of environmental information, it was as follows:

Under the Access to Information on the Environment (AIE) regulations, S.I. No. 133 of 2007, I am seeking all research on which the Road Safety Authority (RSA) has based its advice that cyclists should wear a helmet.

If the RSA cannot provide the above because it is third-party research which the RSA does not hold the copyright to, then this request should be viewed as a request to provide the details of the above information (ie title of the research, name/s of author/s, date/s published, volume and issue numbers, publications in which such were published etc).

It is preferred if this information is given in electronic format (plain text, word, PDF etc) and send by email. Otherwise in the same type of format sent on CD or DVD to below postal address.

[my contact details]

Strange request most people may think, but the bicycle helmets issue is a heated subjected among cyclists. The released information and discussion on it is here.

My main point on this topic, as mention in the discussion, is that:

it’s wrong that such agencies are spending public money on what makes them be seen to promote safety rather than promoting actual proven safe cycling methods. And given the RSA’s position, further public money is spent by other agencies, departments, local authorities etc which follow the advice. Money which could be spent on cycle training or just providing better advice.

More proof Docklands authority should be abolished

Ok, so, Frank McDonald gave far more comprehensive reasons in The Irish Times, but this kind of thing shows signs of dysfunctional thinking…

Why on earth does the Dublin Docklands Development Authority think people at the Docklands Maritime Festival these signs at pedestrian crossings?

The event also used the barriers, as shown below, all along the docklands. Penning in pedestrians where there is no need to, even along very quite roads along the south docklands. Other countries or even many Irish local authorities would close off parking spaces and parts of road if needed where there is going to be a mass of people at a festival. What a waste of time and money, no matter how small.

And blocking part of a tactile pedestrian crossing — as below — must be against the disability acts and simply dangerous or at least an unnecessary inconvenience for disabled people. That side of the crossing which is blocked is the side a blind person would be more likely standing.

And this isn’t the only sign of dysfunctional thinking — remember, it’s the agency which stands over trying to ban photography in the IFSC (a large area of the Docklands, not just the IFSC building), and told me it would prefer if anybody wants to take photos in the rest of the docklands they should ask first. The Dublin Docklands Development Authority also have created some of the most dysfunctional cycle lanes on straight and large streets in Dublin, which is really saying something.