Month: September 2019

Analysis How did Ireland win the Six Nations Part 1

first_img“IT’S BASIC STUFF, but it’s basics done to perfection.”Sean O’Brien may have missed Ireland’s 2014 Six Nations success, but he knows as well as anyone what Joe Schmidt’s coaching is based on.“That’s what he’s aiming for, to do everything well for every minute of every game. That’s where other coaches might not be on to you all the time – about your detail and where you’re meant to be and what your job is.”While Ireland clearly didn’t get everything perfect in every phase of all five games, they have certainly improved as a team under Schmidt. Their championship success was deserved as they pipped England as the most impressive team in the competition.That goal of perfecting the basics is an ongoing process for Ireland, but this Six Nations has given Irish supporters many reasons to be optimistic about the future. In this two-part analysis, we examine some of the areas in which Schmidt’s men impressed.Obviously, there are countless details and aspects of the game that go into creating a winning team, and this is by no means claiming to be a definitive study of those. We would invite readers to contribute their own thoughts on how Ireland secured their first title since 2009.The vast majority of the examples used here are from the win over France last weekend, but the intention is for them to reflect traits that were common throughout Ireland’s play over the course of the five games.ScrumIt’s hard for any team to play without a set-piece platform, and Ireland performed very well throughout the Six Nations at the scrum. Solid performances over Scotland and Wales at scrum time were followed by dominance against England and Italy, and then another strong outing against France until the closing minutes.In years past, Ireland’s scrum has looked to simply cope under opposition pressure, but this season Greg Feek has tasked the pack with being more aggressive and going after teams in a more ruthless manner.The new scrum directives have certainly helped Cian Healy, Rory Best and Mike Ross [who initially appeared to struggle] to become more effective scrummagers. Indeed, Healy is enjoying a growing reputation as the premier loosehead in world rugby. Source: Colm O’Neill/INPHOThe removal of the ‘hit’, whereby the front rows previously had a wider gap to smash into each other on engagement, has aided Ireland’s progress, as Ross admits.“I think the rule changes have made it different, because before it was a lottery if you won the hit or not. Some teams were really good at that, Wales were really good at that hit last year.”The ‘hit’ favoured heavier props, even if they were technically weaker than their direct opponent, simply because their mass allowed them to win the hit and leave the lighter props unable to get back into a strong position.The reduction of the impact on engagement has allowed props like Cian Healy [112kg, 6ft 1ins and possessing phenomenal squatting power] to get into a better position from which to drive after the ball is fed into the scrum.Lessening the hit has also led to the players behind the props becoming of far more importance to the drive at scrum time. Brian O’Driscoll revealed that Ireland operate under a ‘scrum first’ mentality, with the flankers included in those demands. It’s not just a tight five thing, it’s an all-eight scrummaging unit,” said the outside centre.With far less of a ‘hit’ in which to generate their scrummaging power, props have become facilitators for the power behind them. The front row obviously remains vital to what happens at the scrum, but the locks have risen in importance.In that regard, Paul O’Connell and Devin Toner have been central to Ireland’s scrum improvements. At around 112kg, O’Connell may not be the heaviest of tighthead locks [the player who scrummages behind the tighthead prop], but his power is in no doubt, as Ross explains.“This year it was more about the whole eight and if you have Paulie behind you… the man gives 110% every single scrum. We’ve developed quite a good relationship and I think it’s a unit thing. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO“If you look at our scrums, all eight are down and pushing hard. That’s often the difference; all it takes is one flanker to pop his head up and suddenly you get the nudge on.”Toner may not be the most aesthetically pleasing of players, but at around 125kg, his bulk at the scrum is hugely beneficial. He can look awkward in other movements around the pitch, but the scrum provides him with more of a guaranteed plane of movement, allowing him to transfer his weight effectively in a repeated manner.Finally, Ireland’s progress here has been underpinned by an attitude of winning each and every scrum. As with the other elements of their play we will look at in this piece, the foundation is mindset.Ross outlines exactly how much Feek has asked of his men at scrum time. For all the technical, weight-based, refereeing, ground condition and power aspects of scrummaging, winning the battle mentally is of most importance for Ireland.“We’ve been putting a big focus on staying in the fight, which just means you take the pressure until you think your head is about to burst, and it’s put us in good stead.”Line-outIreland’s line-out performed superbly during this Six Nations under the direction of forwards coach John Plumtree and called largely by O’Connell [although Dan Tuohy and Toner filled in ably at other times].Irish line-out stats on their own throw fell below 90% only once [86.7% against Scotland] and they managed to disrupt the opposition far more than vice versa.The improvement on this area from 2013 – when Rory Best’s throwing was singled out – was vast, but also highlighted how unfair [or at least too singular] the criticism of the hooker was.This season, Ireland have had three leading jumpers in Toner, O’Connell and Peter O’Mahony to throw to. Jamie Heaslip was a further option, as was Chris Henry at a push. Alongside that, all five of the above are good lifters, while Healy and Ross are excellent at getting jumpers in the air.What it meant was that Ireland had multiple options to throw to, making it difficult for the opposition to compete aggressively in the air. On top of that, the movement on the ground by Ireland was effective without being overly complicated.The example above is a shortened five-man line-out, but provides us with an illustration of all the aspects preciously mentioned. As we can see in the screengrab below, there are three clear jumping options as Ireland set-up for the line-out, in Toner, O’Connell and O’Mahony [each circled].At either end of the set-up are Healy and Ross, who offer lifting options at the very front and very back of the formation. All three of Toner, O’Connell and O’Mahony are also viable lifters, so there is plenty for France to think about.In the shot above, the situation is simplified, with Damien Chouly marked up on O’Connell, ever so slightly in front of him and ready to compete for a steal in the air. However, Ireland’s subsequent movement on the deck makes the situation altogether more favourable for them.Toner initiates the movement, as we see above, slipping behind O’Connell as if to set up for a lift on O’Mahony [circled] at the back of the line-out. It’s a dummy movement, but crucially the French buy it for a split second and take a step backwards in reaction.As France are taking that step backwards, Toner turns forward and lifts O’Connell. At the front of the Ireland captain, Healy has moved into position for his lift and the combination results in O’Connell getting up for a beautifully clean take in front of Chouly.It’s a really simple passage of rugby, almost not even worth highlighting because it’s something every team does. But rather than focusing entirely on the play itself, the intention is to highlight what Ireland’s line-out did more generally in the championship.There are multiple options, the movement is excellent, the lifting is timed superbly and Best’s throw is on the money. Basic skills carried out to a tee and with real focus; the line-out exemplifies what Joe Schmidt’s Ireland were about in the Six Nations.The clip below shows us a very similar example, and actually draws the penalty that allows Ireland to go 22-13 up against France in the 52nd minute.This time Ireland sell a forward movement first, with Toner rushing to the front of the line-out [below].Healy and Chris Henry’s movement to the tail of the line-out then draws the French into a backwards step [below].Finally, the jump from O’Connell takes place in the middle of the line-out [below], with Toner lifting at the front and Healy in behind. Again, it’s as clean a line-out take as you’ll come across and France concede a penalty as they try to get back into a dominant position on the deck.Both of these examples are shortened line-outs, where Ireland have positioned one of their forwards out in the back-line [Heaslip both times here] and Henry as the scrum-half, but the same principles applied to so much of their strong line-out work in this championship.As well as allowing them to play off the top at key times, the success of Ireland’s line-out also meant they were in strong shape to set up mauls.MaulPlumtree has explicitly outlined his intention to make Ireland a powerful mauling side from the very moment he took control of Schmidt’s forwards. More than 14 years living in South Africa will leave a rugby coach with that inclination, and it’s been of benefit to Ireland.We saw against Scotland and Wales how far Ireland have come, with superb maul tries against both those teams. Again, those scores were about roles being carried out in expert detail, with each of the forwards understanding exactly what was expected of them.The try against Wales is shown above, and Ireland’s organisation is immediately apparent. There is efficient movement in the line-out to allow Toner to make a catch in front of the Welsh competition in Alun-Wyn Jones and Best’s short throw is accurate.The transfer from Toner to Henry is one of the keys to the success of Ireland’s maul in this instance [and many others], as the second row is ‘sacked’ as soon as his feet hit the ground.That shifting of the focal point is something we highlighted in the aftermath of the Scotland clash.While Wales are busy sacking Toner in one direction, the Irish maul has already set up to drive off to the right, where Wales have fewer bodies defensively. Heaslip’s contribution in pre-binding on Mike Ross as the prop lifts Toner is essential in allowing Ireland to do so.In the shot below, you can see Heaslip [wearing the headband] moving into that position early, having played his part in the line-out movement that results in Toner making a clean catch.By binding onto the outside of Ross, rather than waiting for Toner to land and then driving the second row forward, Heaslip is facilitating that shift of direction for Ireland. The No. 8 becomes the spearhead of the ‘new’ maul, as Ross holds in Richard Hibbard to remove another Welsh body.The shot below shows us just how early Heaslip gets into his binding position on the outside of Ross [that’s his back at the bottom of the pic], before the transfer of the ball has even been carried out.Each of the Irish players knows their roles in detail and it’s extremely hard for Wales to stop. Again, the underlying mindset is key here. Toner has outlined how Ireland “want to get excited about the maul. That’s the main thing we were talking about.”In the latter stages of the tournament, there were suggestions that Ireland needed to pursue the maul as a continued means of beating teams up front. The fact that they came up against England, Italy and France – all three have solid maul defences – meant they felt wouldn’t make as many gains in this area.Instead, Ireland often looked to use the maul as something of a grand decoy. The English, Italians and French were almost certainly expecting Ireland to go to the maul and take them on there.Schmidt and Plumtree had the intelligence and humility to understand that that focus could allow them to make gains in other places. Against, England we saw examples whereby Ireland set up for a maul and then manufactured the space for a cross-field kick.There were also two instance like that below, where Rory Best actually threw the ball right over the back of the line-out as the English anticipated a maul effort.There were slightly similar tactics against the French, as Ireland used the maul as an attacking decoy, a way of drawing the defending team’s focus and allowing gains to be made in a different area.We get a strong example of that in the clip below, as Ireland get into a position from where most people – apparently including the French – would expect them to pull out that powerful maul.Henry acts as the linking player, sending a pass to Conor Murray ‘on the peel’ around the back of the dummy maul. As we see above, the scrum-half makes great yardage with a typically willing carry.The above is actually the opening phase of the build-up to Jonny Sexton’s first try, and the use of the maul as a brief decoy allows Ireland onto the front foot inside the French 22 immediately.We see a very similar ploy again below, although Heaslip loses his collision with Rabah Slimani after initially getting over the gainline. While the camera angles don’t allow us to see the line-out movement, it’s worth noting the starting positions of the Ireland forwards [at 0.07 seconds] and where they end up for the catch [at 0.15 seconds].The main point is that French are probably expecting to have to defend a mauling effort just outside their own 22, but Ireland break away to create an opening elsewhere.This was a repeated feature of Ireland’s play in the final three games, and to take it to a deeper level, we could say that Schmidt and Plumtree played a long-term dummy by mauling so aggressively against Scotland and Wales.Both those teams were tactically susceptible to being beaten at the maul, and the impression created by those mauling performances meant the three other opponents would have been concerned by Ireland’s strength in this area.In the words of Plumtree himself, the threat of a strong Irish maul “keeps the defence honest”.BreakdownSome of the enduring images of Ireland’s Six Nations triumph will involve Peter O’Mahony emerging from rucks red-faced and panting, but with the ball clutched in his hands after a superb jackal turnover.Schmidt’s men competed superbly on the deck throughout the tournament, and much of that was down to the sheer quality of the breakdown specialists in their squad.O’Mahony and O’Connell led the way, but the likes of Best, O’Driscoll, Heaslip, Gordon D’Arcy, Healy, Henry and Toner all played important parts too. The former pair may have won the high-profile turnover penalties, but the supporting cast consistently looked to slow down opposition ball.The GIF above gives us an example of Ireland coming close to a steal on the ground against France, something made all the more difficult thanks to Steve Walsh’s habit of giving the attacking team the benefit of the doubt on the deck.O’Mahony, as has become trademark, pounces into the jackal position over the ball following an excellent O’Driscoll hit on Yoann Huget. He gets his hands on the pill and actually momentarily wins the turnover, before some aggressive rucking by Thomas Domingo saves the situation for France.It may not be a steal, but it does mean scrappier, slower ball for France as they look threatening in attack. That competition from Ireland on the ground was a constant throughout the competition, with Rory Best particularly troublesome for the opposition.Of course there were the glamorous turnovers too, the majority of which led to penalties as the ball carrier refused to release.O’Connell gives us a prime example of that above, snapping down over the ball and forcing Walsh to ping the French for holding on. The Ireland captain’s body position and core strength are superb as he resists the attempts of Pascal Papé to clear him off the ball.Also of note is O’Connell’s movement just before the turnover. The second row drops back out of the defensive line as soon as the ball has passed him; he’s anticipating the breakdown before it even materialises, his eyes focused entirely on the ball.It’s a marriage of technical excellence and sheer determination on O’Connell’s part, something that was shared among the team at the breakdown in defence. Again, the point here is to highlight commonalities of Ireland’s play in the Six Nations.The actual turnovers are obviously more memorable, but arguably the examples like O’Mahony’s unsuccessful competition were equally as important to Ireland. Without that fight at the breakdown, the likes of France, England and Wales would have punished Schmidt’s men with quick attacking ball.The choke tackle livesThis Irish team had many strengths for Schmidt to build on when he arrived as head coach, none more so than the famous choke tackle. Irish teams have become synonymous with turning contact situations into turnovers, and this season’s Six Nations saw that fine tradition upheld.There was a prime example in the 37th minute of the clash at Stade de France, as Ireland turned a strong kick chase into a choke tackle. We will look at that kick chase in more depth in part two of this analysis, but here we are focused on the choke.Dave Kearney and Best are the players to initiate the turnover, wrapping up Huget and crucially getting their arms in underneath the ball, making it difficult for the winger to drop to the floor.Choke tackle specialist Toner gets his long, enveloping arms in on the ball too, just before Papé has the chance to rip it clear. We then see D’Arcy and Henry engaging, ensuring that there is little chance of the ball to coming back on the French side.The choke tackle has been Les Kiss’ baby since he was appointed defence coach in 2008, and the Australian has done much excellent work in other areas too. It was fitting that the championship ended with the fruits of his labour as Ireland choked out the French in the final seconds.Henry and Toner are then ones to initiate the tackle on Sébastien Vahaamahina this time, taking advantage of his upright carry to get in underneath the ball. We see O’Connell again onto the same page in a flash, reading the situation wonderfully well.Iain Henderson, Sean Cronin and Martin Moore – all substitutes [an area of Ireland’s game we’ll look at in more depth in part two] – flood in too, wrapping their bodies around the outside of the contact zone and ensuring that the ball has no chance of coming out.At this stage, we need hardly point out the combination of technical skill, awareness and the ‘fight’ of the Irish players to win this specific battle.The O’Connell factorAny examination of how Ireland improved so clearly on their 2013 Six Nations displays must include mention of the fact that O’Connell was missing for last year’s competition. The Munster lock’s importance to Ireland is hard to overestimate.As we have seen above, he is excellent in the scrum, at the line-out and in breakdown situations, not to forget his tackling, restart ability and rucking in attack. O’Connell’s work rate is consistently high, as we will touch upon again in the second part of this analysis.Those are the skills that are evident in the 34-year-old’s physical contributions for Ireland; O’Connell is a world-class second row who has been enjoying some of his best form in recent years this season. Source: Billy Stickland/INPHOJust as important are the mental contributions the Limerick man makes to the Ireland set-up. Listening in to Walsh’s mic during the France game, O’Connell’s constant encouragement to team mates was apparent.He was slapping backs, pulling people up off the ground and constantly roaring things like “Well done, Bestie” and “Outstanding, Rossie.” On top of that, he was quietly and calmly influencing Walsh, particularly around the scrum in the first half, when Ireland won three penalties in that area.Dealing with referees is no easy feat, but O’Connell manages those situations comfortably and more often than not builds a good rapport in a short space of time.His work off the field is equally as tireless, with his thirst for video analysis of opposition line-outs still unquenchable. The extra work O’Connell puts in away from set training times is infectious, mirroring the hard work of the Irish coaching staff.Part 2 of this review includes Ireland’s kick chase, work rate, restarts, decoy lines, discipline and a few other details.Irish heroes bring Six Nations trophy to charity game in aid of paralysed playerSimon Hick column: Foundation blocks are in place for 2015 World Cup tiltlast_img read more

Breaking Bad as a family drama series in 1995

first_imgIF YOU EVER watched Party of Five, Life Goes On or 7th Heaven, this will speak volumes to you.The intro to Breaking Bad, the hard-hitting show about crystal meth and its fallout has been re-imagined as a 1995 family drama series.Bonus points for the Foreigner tune and the VHS tracking… YouTube/GoesToElevenAnd if you were a fan of ER or Law and Order… maybe this nineties Walking Dead will tickle your fancy:YouTube/GoesToElevenGames of Thrones versus Seinfeld> So you can order the crystal meth from Breaking Bad>last_img read more

Fran from LoveHate is back in this new Irish movie

first_imgPETER COONAN – AKA Fran the Man from Love/Hate – is back in a new Irish movie centred around the Traveller community.King Of The Travellers also stars Michael Collins of Man About Dog and features music from Damien Dempsey.It will be released in cinemas on April 19.Here’s the plot synopsis:King of the Travellers follows John Paul Moorehouse (John Connors) on his destructive quest to uncover the truth about the killer of his father 12 years ago. John Paul’s desire for revenge is swayed as he falls for Winnie Power, the daughter of the man he suspects killed his father. John Paul must now battle between his consuming passion for justice versus his desire to be with the woman he loves.The movie also stars a number of Traveller non-actors. Director Mark O’Connor said it would be “entertaining for audiences, as well as being of cultural importance to the Traveller community”.Here’s the opening scene from the movie – a sulky race on the streets of Dublin. (We can’t tell if Peter Coonan’s in it because the drivers are wearing bags on their heads.)YouTube/WildcardDistributionCoola boola: RTÉ confirms fourth series of Love/Hate>12 things we can expect in the new series of Love/Hate>Note: Please have a read of our comments policy before posting. We don’t like comments which are racist, sexist, homophobic, or offensive on the grounds of religion, nationality or demographic group.last_img read more

Bangladesh collapse Death toll passes 1000 as stacks of bodies found

first_imgTHE DEATH TOLL from last month’s collapse of a garment factory complex in Bangladesh rose past 1,000 today as piles of bodies were found in the ruins of a stairwell where victims had sought shelter.A Bangladeshi woman mourns after the body of her daughter was retrieved from the rubble of the eight-story Rana Plaza building. Pic: AP Photo/Ismail FerdousBrigadier General Siddiqul Alam Sikder, the army officer overseeing the operation on the outskirts of the capital Dhaka, told AFP that the death toll now stands at 1,035 after dozens more remains were discovered overnight.Alam said that many of the bodies were now little more than skeletons, 17 days on from the implosion of the nine-storey Rana Plaza compound in Savar.Bangladeshi men take a break from trying to identify relatives from the queue of bodies laid out at a morgue in Savar, near Dhaka. Pic: AP Photo/Ismail FerdousThe stench from under the rubble suggested that many more bodies are still to be located, he said. Each time we moved a slab of concrete, we found a stack of bodies.Around 3,000 workers were on shift at Rana Plaza on the morning of April 24 when the building suddenly caved in.Most of the employees were earning around $40 a month job to make clothing for Western brands such as Britain’s Primark and the Spanish label Mango.Survivors who are now without work say the levels of compensation are inadequate and won’t even cover the medical costs for victims who have suffered serious injuries, including amputations.A Bangladeshi woman holds a portrait of her missing daughter at a makeshift morgue in Savar, near Dhaka. Pipc: AP Photo/Ismail FerdousEfforts to identify the victims are being hampered by the decomposition of bodies, although some were found with mobile phones in their pockets or identity cards around their necks.Recovery workers, who are drawn from the ranks of the army and fire service, are having to wear masks and use air freshener.The preliminary findings of a government probe have blamed vibrations from four giant generators on the compound’s upper floors for triggering the collapse.The building’s architect told AFP he designed the structure to house a shopping mall and offices, not factories.A woman faints after weeping for hours near the rubble of the eight-story Rana Plaza building. Pic: AP Photo/Ismail FerdousArrestsPolice have arrested 12 people including the plaza’s owner and four garment factory owners for forcing people to work on April 24, even though cracks appeared in the structure the previous day.Factory workers have held protests calling for those responsible for the disaster be executed, as well as demanding improved safety regulations.The building collapse was the latest in a string of deadly accidents to hit the textile industry, with a factory fire last November killing 111 workers.A Bangladeshi man walks past portraits of missing victims and graffiti written on the wall of a makeshift morgue in Savar, near Dhaka. Pic: AP Photo/Ismail FerdousOn Thursday, disaster struck again as a fire in another garment factory in Dhaka killed eight people, including its owner.The cause of the fire was not known, but authorities said it broke out during the night on the third floor of an 11-storey building housing garment factories of the Tung Hai group in Dhaka’s Darussalam district.Fire is a common problem in the 4,500 garment factories in Bangladesh, with many operations based in badly constructed buildings with sub-standard wiring.Rescuers carry a body retrieved from the rubble of the eight-story Rana Plaza building. Pic: AP Photo/Ismail FerdousBangladesh is the world’s second-largest apparel maker and the $20 billion industry accounted for up to 80 percent of annual exports last year.But it has a shocking safety record and Western retailers have been threatening to pull out unless authorities come up with a credible programme to raise standards. Disney has already done so.Western firms have criticised the factories for not ensuring worker safety, but major brands continue to place orders and critics say they turn a blind eye to the endemic problems.- © AFP, 2013Read: Eight die in new Bangladesh garment factory tragedy> We have found a huge number of bodies in the stairwell and under the staircases. When the building started to collapse, workers thought they would be safe under the staircases.last_img read more

Oops Big Bang scientists say they got it wrong

first_imgAMERICAN ASTROPHYSICISTS WHO announced just months ago what they deemed a breakthrough in confirming how the universe was born now admit they may have got it wrong.The team said it had identified gravitational waves that apparently rippled through space right after the Big Bang.If proven to be correctly identified, these waves — predicted in Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity — would confirm the rapid and violent growth spurt of the universe in the first fraction of a second marking its existence, 13.8 billion years ago.The apparent first direct evidence of such so-called cosmic inflation — a theory that the universe expanded by 100 trillion trillion times in barely the blink of an eye — was announced in March by experts at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.The detection was made with the help of a telescope called BICEP2, stationed at the South Pole.After weeks in which they avoided the media, the team published its work yesterday in the US journal Physical Review Letters.In a summary, the team said their models “are not sufficiently constrained by external public data to exclude the possibility of dust emission bright enough to explain the entire excess signal,” as stated by other scientists who questioned their conclusion.The team was led by astrophysicist John Kovac of Harvard.BICEP2 stands for Background Imaging of Cosmic Extragalactic Polarization.“Detecting this signal is one of the most important goals in cosmology today,” Kovac, leader of the BICEP2 collaboration at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, said back in March.By observing the cosmic microwave background, or a faint glow left over from the Big Bang, the scientists said small fluctuations gave them new clues about the conditions in the early universe.The gravitational waves rippled through the universe 380,000 years after the Big Bang, and these images were captured by the telescope, they claimed.DoubtsFor weeks, some scientists have expressed doubts about the findings of the BICEP2 team.David Spergel, a theoretical astrophysicist at Princeton University, queried whether what the BICEP2 telescope picked up really came from the first moments of the universe’s existence.“We know that galactic dust emits polarised radiations. We see that in many areas of the sky, and what we pointed out in our paper is that pattern they have seen is just as consistent with the galactic dust radiations as with gravitational waves,” Spergel told AFP last week.He said the question will likely be settled in the coming months when another, competing group, working with the European Space Agency’s Planck telescope, publishes its results.That telescope observes a large part of the sky — versus the BICEP2′s two percent — and carries out measurements in six frequencies, compared to just one for BICEP2, according to Spergel.“I think in retrospect, they should have been more careful about making a big announcement,” he said.- © AFP, 2014Column: What does this week’s major physics breakthrough actually mean > Read: ‘I nearly fell out of my chair’: Irish scientists uncover Einstein’s lost theory >last_img read more

Google gives all employees 1000 and a 10 pay hike for Christmas

first_imgWho needs Santa Claus when you work for Google? According to reports, Google has decided to give all of it’s employees a $1,000.00 cash holiday bonus… along with a universal pay hike of at least 10%.The company wide raise is scheduled to start on January 1st, 2011. That’s the baseline, though: Google will also be giving each employee an additional raise which is equivalent to the employee’s target bonus for the year, as well as an additional raise if their individual performance is particularly notable.As for that $1,000.00, Google’s going even farther than just handing everyone a check for a grand: the search giant also intends to pay the taxes on that bonus, so that employees walk home with the whole thing.Why the raise? According to CEO Eric Schmidt, internal feedback suggests that employees are happiest at Google because of the generous salaries and not because of bonuses or stock compensation. They want to keep employees happy, and therefore, keep them from bolting to the competition.$1,000.00 may not seem like a huge Christmas bonus, but add in the raise and Google’s just handed $1 billion to their employees, basically as a gift.Hey Google? Looking for a blogger?Read more at Gawkerlast_img read more

Upscale VGA to FULL HD with the Gefen VGA to HD Scaler

first_imgFor those who don’t know, Gefen is a leader in audio/video connectivity and they supply a wide selection of signal switchers, splitters, extenders, scalers, converters, KVM solutions and home theater accessories. They are releasing a new product at the upcoming CES show in Las Vegas and it sounds like a great piece of tech. The product in question is a Lo-Res Mobile Video to Hi-Def converter, which in English means that you can view legacy computers, iPhones, iPads, iPods and more on a HD display with its VGA to HD Scaler.The VGA to HD Scaler outputs audio/video in the HDMI format so you can view video coming from low resolutions down to 320×240 upscaled all the way up to FULL HD (1080p) on any HDTV display or projector. The VGA To HD Scaler is equipped with one VGA, one coax, one TOSlink and L/R RCA audio inputs. Audio/video inputs are output as 1080p full HD video. Dynamic video adjustments are controlled through the front-panel buttons including noise reduction and detail enhancement to generate exceptional image quality.AdChoices广告Hagai Gefen, president and CEO at Gefen, had this to say:This new VGA to HD Scaler is specifically tuned to make lo-res video look exceptionally good on a hi-def display. It works with all iPods, iPads and computers so you can view Youtube videos and GoogleTV in a good looking format. No price details yet, but when it is announced at CES we will try and gets some price info for you.Read more at Gefenlast_img read more

WaterPowered Mission To Mars May Be In The Future

first_img[artist’s rendering by Robert Becker] I bet you didn’t think you’d be drinking four cups a day of a fuel that might one day take humans to Mars. Scientists say that a water powered spacecraft could complete a mission to the red planet and back for the cost of a single Space Shuttle launch today. The secret is in solar-powered electrothermal engines, a fancy name for what is essentially a steam jet. The system uses electricity to super-heat water and vent it out of an engine to provide thrust. Meanwhile, water would also be used to shield astronauts from the harmful radiation of space. After that water has been used to protect the inhabitants of the craft, it could later be shifted to the fuel tanks.This type of recycling makes the system extremely efficient to operate; quotes software engineer and technology entrepreneur Brian McConnell saying that a trip to Mars’s moon Phobos and back would cost $1 billion, or 30 times less than traditional chemical rockets. Plus, with that much water on board, crew members could possibly grow crops and have hot baths. Pretty luxurious for an extra-planetary trip.When the spaceship comes back home, it could be kept in low-earth-orbit to simplify its use in future trips. McConnell sees the vessels being used for several decades before they need to be replaced, similar to the Space Shuttle’s long history of service. With fresh food, hot baths and a low price tag, the water-powered rocket is a pretty attractive vision of the future. And an interesting point of discussion over a nice cool glass of rocket-fuel.[via]last_img read more

Is the Samsung Galaxy S2 worth it in the US

first_imgOne of these things is not like the other…The event was filled with hands on demos of the Galaxy S2 on AT&T as well as the Galaxy S2 Epic 4G Touch on Sprint. We knew going into the event that for some reason Verizon was not participating in the Galaxy S2 launch. That doesn’t mean for sure that there’s not going to be one, and the rumor mill is practically vibrating at the notion that Big Red didn’t participate because of the impending “Nexus Prime“. While that’s fun speculation, it is a fact that T-Mobile basically didn’t show up tonight. The press release for the T-Mobile Galaxy S2 phone, believed before the event to be the T-Mobile “Hercules”, was non existent. No specs, no details, no launch date. During the event, the T-Mobile phones were kept under glass boxes and no one was allowed to touch them. The T-Mobile employees that were manning the table explained that there were “special features” to the phone that they weren’t ready to announce. As for what it could be? We have some ideas:NFC: It’s possible that the software for NFC, maybe even Google Wallet, is just not ready yet.Not the same chipset: It has been speculated on a number of occasions that the nVidia Tegra2 chipset would end up in one or more of the Galaxy S2 devices. As the manufacturer of the iPad’s A5 chip, which we’ve heard at length from dozens of sources would be in the next iPhone. If Samsung is unable to manufacture the quantity needed to power both the Exynos volume and the A5 volume, they would turn to nVidia. The Tegra2 chipset has been in Samsung products in the past, so maybe there’s a Tegra 2 hiding in the Magenta GS2? Additionally, it has been speculated that there is a Qualcomm Snapdragon inside, in order to take advantage of the 42mbps HSPA+ network that T-Mobile has been touting recently. The Exynos processors in the AT&T version of the phone are only capable of reaching 21mbps on the same network, so maybe T-Mo just went for the full 4G experience?Quad Band: The Galaxy S2 for Tmo might also be insulated for the switch to AT&T by allowing it to function on both networks. This would mean that AT&T would have three large screened Samsung phones that all look pretty similar. So, is it worth it?Samsung’s future across the world might seem unstable, what with Google’s Motorola deal, Apple breathing down their neck, and the rumors that they might be looking at WebOS. The Galaxy S2 is already a couple of months old in the rest of the world, but the US audience has been clamoring for these phones to hit the US. On September 16, the Galaxy S2 will be a staple in the US market, just in time to become a huge success over the holiday season. Unless, of course, the phone gets usurped by any of the phones we’ve heard are on the way that would upstage it. For example:Verizon didn’t even get a Galaxy S2, and while the speculation is that there’s an LTE one inbound, Big Red also has the Droid Bionic and the superhyped Nexus Prime is suspected to be coming to Verizon. Even if Verizon eventually gets a GS2, would it be drowned out in the noise of newer and potentially better phones?Since no one was able to access the T-Mobile version of the device, there’s nothing to confirm or deny that this is the “Hercules” we have heard so much about in recent weeks. While this phone would certainly be a powerhouse on Magenta for a little while, would Samsung usurp it’s own headlining phone?Ice Cream Sandwich is on its way, and Samsung’s decision to switch to Kies Air gives me both good an bad feelings. The good, as I wrote earlier, comes from being able to have one less group to blame when the time comes to ask about updates. The bad is the added complexity of Kies Air. While yes, Samsung has gone a great deal to simplify their Kies application, it still requires installation, download, and the ability to use the app. There will be at minimum a base of technical knowledge needed to update your device, unless the carriers will let you bring the phone in and they offer to do it for you.All in all, the phones are still some of the best on the market, but Samsung’s update history causes me to question how quickly the phones will have the upgrade to Ice Cream Sandwich. Unlike the upgrade from 2.2 to 2.3, this version update promises to be significant, dare I say paradigm shifting in terms of the affect it will have on how Android phones get used. Samsung needs to prove that users will not, once again, be left with a brand new outdated galaxy s2 t-mobilesamsung galaxy s2 t-mobilesamsung galaxy s2 frontsamsung galaxy s2 backDSCN4810DSCN4806DSCN4803 Last evening in NYC, Samsung held a press event to launch the highly anticipated US reveal of the Galaxy S2 suite of devices. As the successor to the original, immensely popular Galaxy S phones, this new wave of phones have some pretty big shoes to fill. The parent device to this series, the original Galaxy S2 European version, has been met with tremendous sales and popularity, and it is expected that there will be just as great interest in the US.A worthy successor Compared to the Galaxy S line, these new phones are really amazing. Dual core, super AMOLED+, 4.3-5-inch screens, and crazy thin and light. The specs really are not what make these phones true upgrades of the former line. In order to be a real upgrade, these phones need to improve the things that were broken in the previous devices, and Samsung has done that.GPS: The scourge of the Galaxy S phones remains to this day some of the worst GPS of any Android phone I have ever used. Some versions of the phone got patches that made it better, but still not great. The Sprint and AT&T Galaxy S2 phones we saw last night locked onto GPS inside a building within seconds and stayed connected with no issues.“Bloatware” removal: While not all of the Galaxy S phones have bloatware as bad as others (I am looking at you, Samsung Fascinate), it was a consistent issue that a lot of software on the phones was impossible to remove. The Galaxy S2 devices, on the other hand, come with much less of the unnecessary software, and the software was just as easy to remove as any other app.Kies Air: Samsung’s Kies software has been used in the past to update Samsung phones since before Android, but it got abandoned slightly for the Over The Air promises made with Android. When a device doesn’t get an update in a timely manner, the blame machine gets pointed in every which direction with incredible delays sometimes. By removing the carrier from the equation, Samsung has opted to use their own software solution to update their devices. This could possibly be a move by Samsung towards the update alliance proposed by Google at this year’s IO, but what it will do for sure is remove one less person to blame.last_img read more

Ultra HighDef TV moves one step closer to your living room

first_imgFive years from now, your 1080p HDTV may look just as antiquated as your old analog set does now. Ultra HDTV looks to be the next step in the evolution of displays, and its technical standards have just been laid out by the ITU Study Group on Broadcasting Service.If you thought our current television displays were as advanced as they will get, consider the 33 million pixel set that was demonstrated in 2008 by Tokyo broadcast NHK. That’s roughly 16 times more pixels than what a 1080p set offers. This increased count figures to be the key figure in defining ultra high-def TV (UHDTV).If that sounds like pixel overkill, there are further advantages to the boost besides offering über-sharp images. Glasses-free (stereoscopic) 3D displays currently require too many pixels to work well in a TV set. Unlike handheld devices, like the Nintendo 3DS or the EVO 3D, a glasses-free 3D TV would require a wide array of viewing angles to be covered. There are other technologies (involving face-tracking) that allow current-generation 3D TVs to go glasses-free, but UHDTV would offer a more effective solution to the viewing angle problem.The technology, however, is still years away from being widely available. Official standards being agreed upon means that it’s coming, but don’t expect to replace your current TV with a 33 megapixel set anytime soon. A UDHTV trial link was set up last month between London and Amsterdam, and plans are underway to broadcast parts of the 2012 London Olympic games in UDHTV. But as nobody will have the sets yet, only those in designated public areas would be able to feast their eyes on all of those pixels.In order for UHDTV to have any relevance, cameras will need to get some boosted specs, as well as common internet speeds. As more of our content is internet-based, the ability to stream UHDTV feeds will be crucial. We’re talking 24Gbps download speeds (potentially) needed to stream video in the new resolution. Needless to say, that’s more than a couple years away.via Engadget, B&Clast_img read more

Does the iPhone 4S really have a battery drain issue

first_imgOver the past couple of weeks, there has been a growing murmur surrounding a mysterious battery drain that is supposedly affecting some iPhone 4S owners. At least one user even reported that Apple contacted him to help them gather more data on the problem. Memories of 2010’s iPhone 4 Antennagate fiasco resurfaced. Is this really something to take into account when considering an iPhone 4S purchase, or is this one big nothing arising from a few isolated incidents?Sascha Segan and the folks over at PCMag attempted to answer that question with some good old fashioned testing. While it’s only a small sampling, it doesn’t use completely new handsets, and it tests entirely with the screens on, the analysis is thorough enough that the issue would have likely reared its head if it were actually both extreme and universal. As you can see in the video below, the problem may not be with the iPhone 4S at all, but with iOS 5:The iPhone 4S in this test lasted over half an hour longer than an iPhone 4 on iOS 5. It was outpaced by an iOS 4-running iPhone 4 by a couple of minutes. Our own testing has yielded similar results to PCMag’s, with uptime not being much different from that of the iPhone 4. With all of these results not showing any huge problems, just how widespread is this issue?Despite the results of these tests, some users swear up and down that they’re experiencing uncommon battery drain. A thread on Apple’s support forums has 186 pages of complaints from 4S owners, along with some suggested solutions that seem to only be providing mixed results. Some even go to extremes of turning off iCloud, Siri, and just about everything else that would make their iPhone fun to use in the first place. They reported that even these measures didn’t drastically change anything.One solution that could be worth looking into relates to a bug with the iOS time zone settings. It could be that some iOS 5 iPhones just never stop trying to set the correct location for the clock, and are constantly accessing the phone’s GPS. If you’re one of the 4S owners experiencing the mysterious drain, you can try it out for yourself by turning off the time zone setting on your iPhone (under Settings > Location Services > System Services, turn off “Setting Time Zone”). It may or may not help, but either way, you’ll need to turn this back on to have your clock automatically change when traveling.So is iOS 5 the real culprit here? It would make sense if iCloud were using some extra juice. After all, frequently connecting to Apple’s servers to sync system and app data would logically lead to some extra consumption. That could be, but this would only be a subtle change.With testing not showing anything dramatic, that leaves us all to wonder just what is going on with the group of phones that are apparently having problems. Apparently Apple is pondering the same question, as their hardware and software engineers are reportedly investigating (with their typical level of secrecy). We’ll stay on top of the story, but at this point, it looks like the time zone fix is as likely a culprit as anything.last_img read more

iPhoto for iPad available today

first_imgiLife is now officially on iOS. In addition to updating Garage Band and Movie with new features, Apple today unveiled iPhoto for iPad.The app offer plenty of advanced image editing tools, including white balance, exposure, cropping, and a variety of effects (like watercolor). All of that has already been done on iOS many times over, but what’s different here is the trademark Apple simplicity that is brought to the process. Gestures take center stage in iPhoto for iPad, offering tons of customization with the simplest of taps and swipes.Another big feature of iPhoto is the ability to create iPhoto Journals. These are Flipboard-esque collections of photos that you can create and send to friends. Of course iCloud is behind all of this, making it a cinch to sync between devices and share with friends.iPhoto will be available today, for $4.99 in the App Store.Developing…last_img read more

Samsung working on a dualscreen clamshell Galaxy Tab

first_imgIf you based your opinion only on what you’ve been reading on tech blogs lately, you might think that Samsung isn’t working on anything besides the Galaxy S3 right now. That’s not true, of course. As it turns out, they may even be working on yet another Galaxy Tab — this time a folding model with dual screens.Samsung already offers 5, 7, 8.9, and 10-inch tablets. The design patented here feature dual 7-inch screens, and judging from the width of the bezels it would probably look a bit like two Kindle Fires or BlackBerry PlayBooks laying atop each other (though you’d assume slightly thinner, based on Samsung’s current offerings). A remote — either for presentations or media control — is also shown in the drawings, and it tucks below the hinge assembly when it’s time to fold up and hit the road.You’ve got to wonder… is Samsung really going to take a stab at a dual-screen clamshell Tab? Competitors’ attempts like the Sony Tablet P and Kyocera Echo haven’t exactly been warmly received by the public, but maybe that’s because their implementations weren’t quite what consumers were looking for.I don’t think it’s safe to assume — as Forbes does — that Samsung would intend for a device like this to be a “productivity workhorse.” Yes, you could pack a full-screen app on one 7-inch display and a nice, large on-screen keyboard on the other. While that might make it slightly better for pounding out a three or four-page document than a standard tablet, it’s still not a design that corporate types are going to really lean on when they need to get things done.Until flexible displays are ready for us, a clamshell tablet does offer a nice blend of portability and screen size. If Samsung could get the software experience right, there’s no reason a Galaxy Tab with dual screens couldn’t be a success — as long as the price is right, of course.More at ForbesSamsung Galaxy Tab %displayPrice% at %seller%last_img read more

Humanpowered helicopters Not great for transportation but a fun hobby

first_imgHuman-powered flight has eluded mankind from the very beginning. Our bulky bodies just aren’t designed for flying, but we persist, enlisting all means of contraptions, high-tech materials, and mechanical advantages in order to get closer to sustained flight. Ultimately our strength-to-weight ratio means that no matter how many gears we use, how much carbon fiber we employee, and how much lift the wings provide, we still can’t get off the ground — and stay there — for any length of time. But, through all those attempts, we are improving.The video above covers the Sikorsky Prize for human-powered helicopter flight (we covered last year as well). The prize, which was set in 1980, will be awarded to the team that can fly a heavier-than-air machine, solely with human-provided power, with no energy storage devices (springs, rubber bands, etc.) for one full minute. During that minute the craft will not be able to leave a 10 square meter box, and at one point its bottom will have to exceed 3 meters in height. There is no limit to the number of people who can power it, through at least one of them cannot rotate. Being a helicopter, the machine must be capable of vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL).The current prize is $250,000, so while this isn’t something you’d do for the money, it is a reasonable pastime for young aerospace engineers and (at least) one of their flyweight cyclist friends. The video runs through two attempts at the prize, in the first of which Kyle Gluesenkamp flies a quadcopter about 8 feet into the air. Ultimately the height ended up being more of a challenge than the duration, though the sustained sprint is clearly a limitation to the helicopter’s abilities.It’s not entirely clear why the team was able to get to 8 feet after a previously going just 3.5, but they were thrilled with the progress. It does not appear that the hand and foot pedals have any gearing (likely to save weight and complexity) though that seems like it would be a logical step, if it could be done without interruption to the pedaling. The use of both hand and foot cranks could prevent this, so it’s possible that the added power and endurance provided by the arms is more of an advantage than gearing.Another team, from the University of Maryland, was able to get their craft up to the 9-foot mark, but the record remained intact. Surely, within a brief matter of time, we’ll see this record broken and bigger things being done in human-powered aviation.More at NPR.last_img read more

Opera Beta for Android debuts Webkit engine and OffRoad mode

first_imgOpera Beta is the company’s third browser to arrive in the Google Play app store, but it’s the first one to make the switch to the Webkit rendering engine. Opera’s other browsers will all eventually join Chrome and Safari in running Webkit, a move that’s drawn praise from some and jeers from others. Fears of browsing engine duopolies aside, the new Opera Beta is — as Opera itself puts it — the company’s best browser for Android.While the engine has changed, key features remain intact. You’ll still find the bandwidth-saving Opera Turbo feature, but it’s been renamed Off-Road mode. The name switch makes sense, since Opera Beta generally performs much better than its Android siblings when compression is disabled. In effect, Webkit and V8 already have Opera Beta running at Turbo speeds. Off-Road is a nice, non-techy description of when Opera’s server-side compression tech will help you out — when you’re slogging through a slow data pipe, off the beaten path of your familiar, high-bandwidth connection. You’ll find the Off-Road toggle under the Opera menu at the top of the app, along with actions like sharing and browsing your history.Opera’s trademark Speed Dial page still appears when you open up a new tab, and there’s a new icon that appears which lets you quickly access any pages you’ve saved for offline reading. Content discovery also features prominently, and it’s available with a flick to the left (and also under the red O menu). Pull up the page and you’ll be presented with stories from across the web that suit your interests. It’s configurable, of course. Just tap the gear icon on the discovery page and you can change your preferred country and switch topics off and on. There are 13 in total, covering everything from the arts and sports to science and travel.The Opera Beta app has a long way to go before it’s ready to be anyone’s daily browser. At times pages load in odd chunks, and it can be a jarring experience if you read at a brisk pace — scrolling down into a large, black void only to see content appear a split second later. Gesture controls like pinch-to-zoom and panning are generally smooth, though, and pages do seem to render more quickly than they do in Opera’s Presto-powered Android apps.Long time Opera users should be aware that Opera Link hasn’t been built in to the browser yet, either. There’s a button that will take you to Opera’s web login so that you can browse through your saved data there, but no direct synchronization functionality appears to have been enabled yet.It’s a good first step for Opera in its evolution toward a more feature-focused mobile browser — and that’s precisely what the company was going for when it decided to make the jump to Webkit.last_img read more

Vivo Xplay 3S has a 2K display is the beginning of the

first_imgThe folks at China’s Vivo cackle derisively at your smartphone’s piddly 1080p display. They’ll soon be unveiling the Xplay 3S: the world’s first phone with a 2560×1440 pixel qHD (2K) display.Teaser images that appeared on Sina Weibo recently show the beastly Xplay 3S brain-melting pixel measurements. While the phone’s diagonal size isn’t listed, it’s believed that Vivo may be using the 5.5-inch LG panel that was shown off earlier this year.You may be asking yourself, “What’s the point of a 538 ppi display?” It’s well beyond what our eyes can perceive, but that hardly matters in the smartphone spec war.Vivo knows that rabid technophiles just want to own whatever the best thing is, and they don’t necessarily need to understand why it’s the best.Vivo will get to shout “First!” with the Xplay 3S, and that’s all the motivation a lot of gadget makers need.Whether or not your eyes notice the difference between the Xplay 3S display and the 1080p units in phones like the LG G2 and Galaxy Note 3, Vivo’s competitors certainly will. Make no mistake, smartphone history will repeat itself.Now that one phone is being built with a 2560×1440 display, there will be others. The days of the 1080p smartphone are officially numbered. Do we need a 538 ppi display on our mobiles? Probably not. Would we benefit more if manufacturers stuck with cheaper 1080p displays and spent the extra cash on things like bigger batteries or additional NAND? Absolutely.Does that matter? Nope. It’s all about keeping up with the Joneses, and the Vivo Xplay 3S looks like it’s the new Jonesphone.last_img read more

Disgraceful and undemocratic Dublin councillors are still divided on the Obama vote

first_img Image: Charles Dharapak AP/Press Association Images He signed orders against torture, he opened the door for refugees coming from the Syrian crisis which is something that this country hasn’t yet opened up to. He’s done an awful lot to try and break down barriers between different communities and different religions.When it came to whether the Obamas would actually want to come and accept the award, Carr said that he had received encouraging signs so far. Lord Mayor Brendan Carr Source: Leah Farrell/“The indication we’ve been given is that they’d be more than delighted to come over,” he said. “They want to accept the freedom. They have a lot of time for Dublin.They came here before when we were in the heart of our recession and gave people a bit of hope.“I think this is a good way of welcoming two people that have done a lot to try and unite the world.”As for a timeframe on when they would come, Carr was more coy but said he is hopeful it can happen this year.A “political stunt”Several councillors walked out of the council chamber in protest at the lack of debate given to the issue.Anti-Austerity Alliance councillor Michael O’Brien said: “Anticipating that a number of councillors would oppose this proposal and would seek to bring home to him some uncomfortable truths about the Obama Presidency, the Lord Mayor disgracefully obtained prior agreement from the leaders of Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael, Labour, Sinn Féin and the Independent group that his proposal would take place without debate or discussion.Nauseated by tonight’s spectacle myself and other left councillors walked out of the chamber in protest.Labour councillor Dermot Lacey, however, accused O’Brien and colleagues of engaging in a “political stunt”. Source: AP/Press Association ImagesHe told “I’ve been on the council for 23 years, and awarding the Freedom of the City has never been something that has been debated.“People who are going to get the freedom of the city may be unwilling to come and receive the award if they were aware they faced such opposition.”He added that awarding the Obamas this title was the “right thing to do” and that was demonstrated by contrasting Barack’s approach with that of his successor Donald Trump.“Disgraceful and undemocratic”On this same topic, Independent Councillor Mannix Flynn told that the Lord Mayor’s conduct was “undemocratic, outrageous and absolutely disgraceful”. Councillor Mannix Flynn Source: Sam Boal/Rollingnews.ieHe claimed that the motion had been “railroaded” through the council, and it had been engineered to prevent debate.He said: “This is an honorary position which 23 councillors have voted against awarding. Are they now not going to attend the ceremony? What kind of message does that send out?”He added that the motion passing in such a manner marked a “dark moment” for Dublin City Council, and that this issue was “not over yet”, before calling on Carr to step down as Lord Mayor.Read: Barack Obama will get the Freedom of Dublin award (after a heated council vote)Read: The Freedom of Dublin for Barack Obama? People are divided Share582 Tweet Email 16,327 Views Feb 7th 2017, 10:11 AM By Sean Murray Tuesday 7 Feb 2017, 10:11 AM ‘Disgraceful and undemocratic’: Dublin councillors are still divided on the Obama vote Independent Councillor Mannix Flynn said that the issue was “not over yet”. Short URL Barack Obama when he visited Ireland in 2011. LAST NIGHT, DUBLIN City councillors decided to grant Barack and Michelle Obama the Freedom of Dublin award in a close-run, heated vote.Councillors voted 30 to 23, with four abstentions to grant the former US President and First Lady the award.The motion was put forth by Lord Mayor Brendan Carr, but faced bitter opposition from the Anti-Austerity Alliance-People Before Profit and the Workers Party, among others, who walked out of the council chamber in protest after little time was given to debate the motion.Opponents to the move argued that measures that Obama had taken as president, such as the authorisation of drone strikes, large scale deportations and the support of his cabinet to overthrow the Honduran government, disqualified him from being considered for such an award.“They’d be delighted to come over”Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, Carr defended the decision.He said: “There have been some failings, and Barack Obama himself has accepted these failings. He inherited a very difficult scenario coming in from George Bush which had to be cleaned up. 68 Comments Barack Obama when he visited Ireland in 2011. Image: Charles Dharapak AP/Press Association Images Tweet thisShare on FacebookEmail this articlelast_img read more

The 9 at 9 Sunday

first_img 4 Comments Sunday 19 Feb 2017, 9:02 AM By Rónán Duffy Feb 19th 2017, 9:02 AM Image: Johnny Green/PA 11,097 Views EVERY MORNING, brings you the stories you need to know as you start your day.1. #HARD NUMBERS: A new poll has shown Fine Gael’s support has slumped and is now eight percentage points behind Fianna Fáil.2. #TRUMP 2020: US President Donald Trump held a campaign-style rally in Florida last night and took aim at “the corrupt system”.3. #SYDNEY: The Irish woman charged with the murder of her fiancé in Australia is to appear in court on Wednesday. (RTÉ)4. #KIM JONG NAM: Malaysian police say four men wanted in connection with the murder of Kim Jong Nam left the country on the day of the murder.5. #ALL CHANGE: There’s a new plan to ‘rebrand’ the capital’s north inner city as ‘Dublin’s North Central Quarter’6. #SARAH KEANE: The newly-elected Olympic Council of Ireland President says its time for “new blood” in Irish athletics.7. #ISIS FIGHT: Iraqi government forces have launched an offensive to liberate the western part of the city of Mosul from the so-called Islamic State. (BBC)8. #JUSTICE: A Belfast law firm is to pursue 20 miscarriage of justice cases that allege garda wrongdoing, according to the Sunday Business Post.9. #CROKER: It’s almost 10 years since the historic Ireland-England rugby international at Croke Park, the BBC’s John Inverdale has spoken about his memories of the day. Image: Johnny Green/PA The 9 at 9: Sunday Catch up with the top stories this Sunday morning. Share4 Tweet Email Short URL Tweet thisShare on FacebookEmail this articlelast_img read more

Poll Do you use your phone at mealtimes

first_img Want more? Get this wellness series emailed to you every Friday this month: ALL THIS MONTH, we’re running a series to advise and help you to have a better relationship with your phone.Most of us need (or want) a smartphone in our pocket – but there’s a fine balance between enjoying being connected and letting it run your life.Some of the feedback you have given us already outlines daily situations where your phone (or someone else’s) is ruling the roost. Let’s focus on one that has popped up:Do you use your phone at mealtimes? Tuesday 18 Apr 2017, 12:45 PM 18 Comments Yes, but only if on my own (3188) Never (1339) Rarely (1263) Share Tweet Email2 Apr 18th 2017, 12:45 PM Image: Shutterstock/Syda Productions YesYes, but only if on my ownSometimesRarelyNeverVote Short URL Poll Results: Sometimes (1407) Yes (1893) By Fora Staff Poll: Do you use your phone at mealtimes? Your daily bite-sized ballot break. Image: Shutterstock/Syda Productions 15,539 Views Tweet thisShare on FacebookEmail this articlelast_img read more

Jordan and Holly loved their Mammy Funeral of Clondalkin fire victims takes

first_img Tweet thisShare on FacebookEmail this article 19,571 Views Mar 13th 2017, 12:05 PM Updated 12pmTHE FUNERALS OF the victims of last week’s fire at an apartment in Clondalkin took place in St Anne’s Church in Shankill this morning.27-year-old Annemarie O’Brien, who was seven months pregnant, died last Wednesday along with her two-year-old daughter Paris and their cousins Jordan (4) and Holly (3).Jordan and Holly’s mother Biddy remains in a critical condition in hospital. The family had been visiting Biddy’s cousin when the fire broke out.It is believed the fire was caused by a candle near a television.Chief celebrant Father John O’Connor was assisted by Father O’Driscoll of the Parish of the Travelling people.Holly and Jordan’s father Jamie Sommers, Biddy O’Brien’s husband, also attended the funerals today.Father O’Connor told the Mass that Jamie is “deeply upset” over the loss of his two children.“Last evening I spoke to Jamie and he told me how much Jordan and Holly loved their Mammy and how much she loved them,” said Father O’Connor.He said their father is “happy they are together”.“They are together, they are not alone, that is very important for Jamie. He wants his children to know that he will look after their Mammy,” the Father told the congregation.“Many of us may feel like saying to him [God] if you had been here,  Annmarie, Hannah Paris, AJ, Jordan and Holly would not have died. If you had been here Biddy wouldn’t be gravely ill. Why did you let this happen?” said Father O’Connor.All four deceased are related to the extended Lynch family, who lost relatives in the Carrickmines tragedy in October 2015.‘God’s strongest soldiers’ “For you as a family, this is not the first cross that you have been asked to carry, we all know that… Pope Francis says God chooses the strongest soldiers for the toughest battles and I believe these words are really applicable to you,” the priest added.You are God’s toughest soldiers. You are not alone.The apartment where the fire broke out was being used as short-term accommodation, where women and children can stay for up to two years.Additional reporting Christina Finn Read: Woman and two young girls killed in overnight apartment fire ‘Jordan and Holly loved their Mammy’: Funeral of Clondalkin fire victims takes place in Shankill It is believed the fire was caused by a candle near a television. By Paul Hosford 13 Comments center_img Annemarie O’Brien her daughter Paris and cousins Holly and Jordan. Image: Facebook Annemarie O’Brien her daughter Paris and cousins Holly and Jordan. Image: Facebook Share Tweet Email1 Short URL Monday 13 Mar 2017, 12:05 PMlast_img read more