UO the uNiversity observer
ABOVE DRAMSOC’S PRODUCTION OF “ONE MAN, TWO GUVNORS’’ photo camiLLe LombarD
CHOCOLATE THE TRUE MEANING OF LIFE: WHY DOES CHOCOLATE COST SO MUCH? Laura brohaN p5
November 29th 2016 voLUme XXIII ISSUe 4 UNIverSItYobServer.Ie
STRESS CRACKING UNDER THE PRESSURE: WHY WE SHOULD CHANGE HOW WE THINK ABOUT STRESS DaNieLLe crowLey p13
ucD receives over €400,000 from parkiNg permits roisiN guyett-NichoLsoN eDitor UCD HaVE received €413,795.60 net revenue from the sale of parking permits from august 2015 to september 2016. This does not include the €125,057.73 revenue from parking meters from september 2015 to august 2016. The permits were introduced last year to “to ensure that car parking is only used by members of the University community and as a means of controlling demand” according to UCD commuting services. Profits from the permits are expected to go towards implementation of UCD’s Travel Plan 20162021-2026. The announcement comes as student services have seen a number of cuts in the previous years. This includes cuts to funding of the Library, scholarships and increased pressure on counselling services. The amount is a substantial increase over the amount made in the previous three years, which increased from €94,959.31 earned in 2014-2015. This amount was reduced from €97,279.09 in 20132014 and €113,218.99 in 2012-2013. Before the
introduction of permits, all profit made from parking came from parking meters. The UCD Guide to Parking also notes that the cost is part of an initiative to encourage a shift towards using public transport. The majority of UCD commuters already use various forms of public transport. Holding of a parking permit does not guarantee a parking space, something that has drawn some criticism. Vetinary student, shauna Gavin, who drives to campus notes: “getting spaces really depends on the time of the day. almost impossible after 9am…I won’t drive if I’ve to be in for 9/10/11 [am] because I just won’t get parking.” The cost of an individual permit is €50 per academic year or €25 per semester, which is also something that has caused some controversy, given that spaces are not guaranteed. Gavin explains, “I don’t think it’s justified. If you’re going to pay for parking you should at least be able to park at all times during the day, but at certain times it’s impossible to find parking in UCD.
It’s not really fair to ask people to pay for parking if you can’t really guarantee they’ll actually be able to park.” Permits are only effective during peak times, such as during the week between 8am and 5pm and during term time. This semester, permits are only needed between september 12th and December 2nd. The cost of hourly paid parking is €1 per hour and is capped at €3 per day. The charges also apply only at peak times. outside of these times use of most car parks is free, with the exception of premium car parks and the UCD sports and Fitness area. Despite the introduction of permits, the amount earned from car parks still increases at busy periods during the academic year. In march and april the net revenue from hourly car parks was €24,598.50 and €19,023.78, respectively. In contrast, the amount dropped to €1,508.40 in June. according to the october 2015 UCD communting survey, 24% of people arrive to campus by car, with UCD being one of the largest journey generators in south Dublin.
coNferriNg ceremoNies cost ucD over €220,000 last year
FINDING OUR VOICE AN INTERVIEW WITH LGBTQ+ ACTIVIST & JOURNALIST TONIE WALSH DaviD moNaghaN otwo p16
WE CUT CORNERS INTERVIEW WITH THE BAND coNor o’boyLe otwo p21
aLaNNa o’shea News eDitor a rEPorT released by the University management Team (UmT) shows that UCD spent €223,500 on conferring ceremonies last year. of the 11,147 people graduating with UCD degrees last year, including non-degree graduates and international students, just over half of that number, 5,471, attended conferring ceremonies to receive their degree. This means that there was a cost of roughly €40 for the college per student graduating last year. This figure does not include the cost incurred by the student in graduating. Graduates must rent robes for the ceremony, which cost €45 if pre-booked and €50 if rented on the day of the ceremony. students can also pay for a photographer on campus and frames or cannisters to hold their degree. In the same report, the UmT outlined their recommendations for changes to the graduation ceremony. The group recommended that the approximately 2,500 people graduating from certificate and diploma courses each year should be given the op-
portunity to have to a formal ceremony. Currently, these non-degree graduates receive their diplomas in absentia. another two thousand people graduate from UCD overseas. These students usually receive their diplomas in a presentation ceremony, with a small number of students and staff traveling to Ireland in order to participate in a conferring ceremony. The group recommended that, in order to have equality between all graduates, the University should provide “coordination and branding” for overseas conferring ceremonies. other recommendations involved addressing concerns about the level and standard of Irish spoken in part of the ceremony. The ceremony has traditionally been in English, with sections in Irish and Latin. The report recommended that Irish-speaking panels of faculty should be formed in each College that could attend graduation ceremonies. surprisingly, the most controversial aspect of the groups’ proposals was the removal of the section of
Latin in the ceremony. They also suggested changing the language of the degree parchment from Latin to English. The group’s recommendations say that the use of Latin can be “perceived as out of step with UCD’s role as a globally engaged university.” In a meeting of the academic Council on November 10th, UCD President andrew Deeks brought forward a proposal based on this recommendation, to remove Latin from both the ceremony and the degree parchments. students’ Union sabbatical officers condemned the decision, as they claimed it could mean changes to some degree programmes. However, some students have praised the decision as making the ceremony more inviting. The UmT also says that the Latin degree parchment burdened international students with translation costs. Latin has been used in conferring ceremonies since the founding of UCD and it is still standard practice for most international universities to give their degrees in Latin.
STYLE ICON MICHELLE OBAMA’S WEIGHTY TITLE katie DevLiN otwo p27 WISHBONE REVIEW OF THE CHICKEN WING SPECIALISTS ause abDeLhaQ otwo p6
November 29th 2016 1
News News in Brief Josephine Leahy Smoke free campuses to become the norm THERE is an expected increase in smoke free college campuses across Ireland, according to a seminar held in the Royal College of Surgeons on the 9th of November. The seminar was organised by ASH Ireland, an anti-tobacco group with the aim of reducing tobacco use in Ireland. The goal of this initiative is for colleges in Ireland to follow the examples of Athlone IT and Westport College, which have successfully established themselves as smoke free colleges. TCD and UCD have also implemented a smoke free campus ban: no outlet on the UCD campus supplies cigarettes or tobacco in any form. This new smoking ban hopes to not only decrease tobacco use but to also limit the damage of second hand smoking on campus. Smoke from tobacco contains more than 7000 chemicals and 70 of those are carcinogenic. 2,500,000 people have died from second hand smoke since 1964. ASH chairman, Dr. Patrick Dooley spoke at the seminar commenting: “we want to encourage and assist other colleges in pursuing a ‘smoke-free campus’ policy. In the United States over 1,700 third level colleges have gone smoke-free and with remarkable success.”
TCD Student’s Union votes to adopt a mandate against fracking Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union council voted to mandate the union to adopt a negative stance against the controversial topic of fracking. The practice involves the drilling of rocks in order to obtain gas and oil and bring it to the surface. Large amounts water, sand, and volatile organic compounds such as ethylbenzene, toluene and xylene are pumped into the rocks at high pressure. Fracking is widely used in the US and has been credited as a major advantage due to allowing greater access to oil whilst also increasing employment opportunities. However, the environmental effects of fracking have been the cause of much dispute and debate as it is proven to cause gas leaks, water contamination and earthquakes whilst also impacting climate change due to methane pollution. Laura Killeen, TCDSU’s convenor for the faculty of Health Sciences, argued against the suggestion that this issue had little relevance to students adding that students should fight for a “better future.” This follows a recent trend of students’ unions mandating for specific political issues. In March 2013 NUIGSU adopted a Pro-Choice policy in regards to the issue of abortion with 70% of the votes cast in favour of the policy, a decision echoed by UCD last month.
University of Limerick opens new TV studio A new television station opened in the University of Limerick earlier this month. The addition is part of the expansion of the journalism department, costing €25,000. The aim of the studio is to prepare students for a career in journalism and the studio is fully equipped with backdrop equipment, lighting and industry standard cameras. Bryan Dobson, RTE presenter and the university’s Adjunct Professor in Public Service Broadcast Journalism was at the university to open it. Whilst speaking at the event, Dobson praised the new station and discussed how journalism has progressed over the past few decades. UL is now one of many Irish colleges to have their own broadcasting station. UCD’s Belfield FM is live from Monday to Friday during term. UCD TV is the student run TV station, offering students the chance to get involved in researching, presenting, journalism, scripting and producing. While in Dublin City University a fully functioning TV studio is available for the use of Journalism and Media students.
Dramsoc introduce gender quota for female playwrights Eithne Dodd online news & features editor UCD Dramsoc have introduced a 50% gender quota for female playwrights for all plays produced by them this year. Seán Mac Dhonnagáin, auditor of DramSoc, made the quota a part of his election manifesto last year. “The idea for me came from the #WakingtheFeminists campaign and just seeing how underrepresented women are in certain aspects,” he explained. “It’s half the population, he added. “To be focusing entirely on how one half of the population feels about whatever issues come up in theatre and plays is a bit ridiculous, just to leave out the other 50%.” “Specifically here in Dramsoc; I think playwrights is where we fell down… in a lot of other aspects, like our technical managers and our set builders, we have a lot of women involved and it is a fairly even ratio” Mac Dhonnagáin added. Last year, 30% of the plays produced by Dramsoc were written by women, this year Mac Dhonnagáin is determined to tip the balance in women’s favour. “This time around, we are just saying let’s just go over that 50% line because... it’s always been
tipped in favour of the men, so let’s just tip it the other way for a year at least” said Mac Dhonnagáin. There were six slots available this semester, four of the six were written by a woman. This includes two previously produced plays, one by a man and one by a woman, three completely originally original plays, two of which were written by women and one original adaption of Jane Eyre, adapted by a woman. Dramsoc didn’t need to implement the gender quota. Ailish Toal, secretary of Dramsoc said: “I think just having it [the gender quota] in place encourages people to pick female playwrights.” Both Toal and Mac Dhonnagáin believe it is important to represent women and women’s voices in the theatre. “I think we’ve been listening to men’s stories in the theatre for hundreds of years” said Toal. “We [Dramsoc] put on a Shakespeare play every year and I think we just need to hear women’s stories and women telling their own stories… We just need a space where you can hear female voices.” Dramsoc currently is taking submissions for slots in semester two.
UCD Library to host digital literacy classes Keri heath THE James Joyce library will launch a new initiative to help advance digital literacy in the Dublin community. Starting in February, the library will launch a pilot programme that pairs students with elderly individuals to teach digital and technology skills. The programme will allow volunteers to use their IT knowledge to teach elderly individuals in the community how to use computers, phones, iPads, and other kinds of technology. The class is free for the learners and will consist of either four hour-and-a-half classes or six-hour long classes. Carmel O’Sullivan in Planning and Administration for the James Joyce library has been heading up the program: “I had read something in one of the student newspapers… that basically there’s a shortage of volunteering opportunities for students and that students would like to have volunteering opportunities,” O’Sullivan said. “I remembered that and I thought… this might be a good thing for students to have on their CVs and be able to say they were involved.” The February program aims to cater to about 10 elderly learners, with 10 student volunteers to pair with the learners on a one-to-one basis. Because of the new nature of the programme, O’Sullivan said that if there is sufficient interest, the library may look at creating additional classes. Rosalind Pan, head of outreach for the library, notes that this will be a learning opportunity for UCD students as well. “They have to learn to deal with a range of personalities and they have to get up to speed pretty quickly and not everybody’s going to be using their grammar,” Pan said. “I think it’s interesting because they don’t quite know who they’re going to get.” These classes are in conjunction with the 121digital scheme. Headed by Fintan Mulligan, the program began in 2010 to teach individuals in Ireland technology skills. The programme receives some funding from the Department of Communications, Energy, and Natural Resources to assist with the National Digital Strategy. Mulligan provides training to all the volunteer teachers and will train James Joyce library staff and the 10 students who volunteer as tutors. “Our library strategy as well is to engage with the community because that’s the university strategy for attracting students,” O’Sullivan said. UCD Volunteers Overseas hosts a similar programme through 121digital, but while these classes are offered during the day, the James Joyce library will give classes in the evening, when student use of the library is lower. Students who wish to volunteer for the classes should look out for a call later in the semester and next year. Students can contact the 121digital programme at firstname.lastname@example.org.
UCD Travel Plan announced Eithne Dodd online news & features editor UCD have published a draft Travel Plan 2016-2021-2026 and are accepting student and staff feedback to be sent to email@example.com on or before Wednesday, 30th of November. The ‘Smarter Travel Campus Partner’ in conjunction with the National Transport Authority, UCD aims to be an exemplar in sustainable development. UCD currently has over 28,000 students making over 7 million journeys to and from the campus every year. This number is expected to rise to 33,000 by 2021 and 35,000 by 2026. In the draft travel plan, Professor Andrew Deeks, President of UCD said: “the UCD Travel Plan is key to achieving more sustainable travel patterns associated with the University. It is also referenced as a specific objective of the Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Development Plan 2016 - 2022.” The draft travel plan aims to increase cycling and walking to and from campus from 34% in 2016 to 38% by 2026 and reduce commutes by car from 24% currently to 17% by 2026. There has already been a 7% decrease in people driving to campus between 2010 and 2015. The implementation of the Travel Plan, once approved, will come from revenues collected from campus parking permits. Professor Michael Monaghan, Vice President for Campus Development said in an email sent out to UCD students: “as a community, we
have to take responsibility for the impact of commuting, which is why we have prepared our first Travel Plan. The targets within the Travel Plan, if achieved, will ensure that UCD can continue to show leadership in sustainable travel and support the ongoing
development of the University.” The draft Travel Plan outlines UCD’s targets, current travel statistics for the campus, the benefits of walking, cycling and using public transport to UCD and the range of services available to UCD commuters.
Photo credit: Martin healy
2 November 29th 2016
News & analysis
USI #RockTheRegister campaign aims to register 10,000 students Orla Keaveney THE Union of Students in Ireland has pledged to register over 10,000 students across the country to vote before the next election. Over the past two years, USI registered 80,000 students, but still aim to register a greater proportion of the over 60 000 Irish people turning 18 every year. On the 16th of November, USI, spunout.ie and the National Youth Council of Ireland (NYCI) launched the #RockTheRegister campaign, encouraging students unions to register their members. A 2014 survey carried out by the NYCI found that only 57% of 18-to-21-year-olds were registered to vote, and of those, just 48% voted in the local and European elections that took place that year. Ian Power, Executive Director of SpunOut.ie stated that “there are so many pressing issues we’re seeing at the moment that have clear political solutions; whether it be the lack of student housing and affordable rents, the very high cost of education, the difficulty young people still face in finding good quality jobs or any number of other things. The only way any of these problems are going to be fixed is through young people mobilising and having their say in changing this country for the better, just like they did with the Marriage Equality referendum.” UCDSU Campaigns & Communications Officer Luke Fitzpatrick agrees that last year’s
historic referendum was a prime example of how effective students’ votes can be. “We, the students, got out in force to get what we wanted. We changed a system that oppressed us and fought us for our beliefs. It is 2016 and it feels like we, the students, are being oppressed yet again on more than one agenda… Your vote can change how you’re represented and who you’re represented by.” Although UCDSU is not currently a member of USI, the drive for voter registration is still a priority. In the run up to the Marriage Equality referendum, UCDSU hosted its largest ever registration drive, bringing a Garda on-campus to get hundreds of students on the electorate. During the last general election they also subsidised carpools bringing students to their native constituencies to vote.
Campus News in Brief Roisin Guyett-Nicholson editor University to force through changes to graduation ceremony THE decision to remove Latin from graduation ceremonies has been pushed through academic council without a vote from representatives. Academic council, which takes place each semester, sees twenty-three student representatives sit down with the President, the Registrar, deans and various heads of schools to discuss issues regarding students, as well as upcoming initiatives. UCDSU Education Officer, Lexi Kilmartin explained that members of council had asked for a vote but were refused. Kilmartin explained that: “it was in the section for items of discussion and decision. All of the other items in that section had been asked to be approved, so if we asked for a vote he should have taken a vote on it.” By not holding a vote, academic council is now in breach of its terms of reference. Article 3, section 6 claims that all issues must be decided by consensus and only if this cannot be reached, should the President as chair break the tie. The announcement also follows a working group report to the UMT following a strategic review of the graduation process. The decision has already been moved to an implementation group, which are looking at bringing it in as early as next year. Campaigns and Communications Officer Luke Fitzpatrick also highlighted that moving away from the generally used Latin structure could change the format of some degrees. The decision was widely disagreed with at the academic council meeting held on November 10th . Fitzpatrick also noted that “about 15 maybe 20 people spoke… and all of them were in favour of keeping Latin.” Kilmartin also stated that while the decision was disagreed with by many, the main cause for concern was that it had been pushed through with little input from either students or those in academia.
UCDSU budget sees deficit of over €26,000 UCD Students’ Union (UCDSU) is set to run to a deficit of €26,438 for the year 2016/2017. The amount was announced at union council on November 8th.
President of UCDSU, Conor Viscardi explained that much of the money will go towards campaigns and events: “when we were developing the budget for this year we factored in the cost of the expanded projects.” UCDSU is expected to run into a deficit for six months of the year, with total expenditure for the year expected to be €1,037,021, for the year ending June 30th, 2017. Four years ago, it was revealed that UCDSU was in debt of over €1.4 million. VIscardi noted that as the union was emerging from a period of austerity, more funds were available to be used for student services. He also stated that the union were considering a financial strategic plan for the future. The union do not expect to run into debt as a result of the deficit, with the extra costs to be covered by reserve funds. Viscardi explained “If you look at the money that the union is running on it is operational costs, €26,000 deficit is quite minimal in comparison to the other figures we’re using. But like I said, because we have a modest amount of funds in a reserve… that compensates for this deficit.” The budget reveals that the SU budgeted €8,000 on the recent class reps for the month of October; this is alongside the costs of the SU elections in March which are also projected to be €8,000. Between September and October, the SU have €12,000 budgeted under “class rep training/ activities”, while items like orientation week and exam bus services also make for big investments during the year.
Extra student centre offices to finish by Christmas WORK has begun on the third floor of the New Student Centre on extra offices for the health centre. These offices are set to be finished before Christmas. The health centre is currently located upstairs in the Old Student Centre, above the offices of UCD Student’s Union. Part of the centre will now be moved to the newer building. The third floor of the building has largely remained unused since the New Centre opened in 2012. The building houses most student activity, with many society offices based there.
Posters have been placed in buildings around campus encouraging students to register with free coffee vouchers, along with a social media campaign, and UCDSU has more plans to boost registration next semester. The lack of young people in the electorate has often meant that students’ views are underrepresented in government. Last October 1,000 students, including some from UCD, took part in a nationwide protest against cuts to third-level funding. However, the major political parties are less likely to tackle issues that affect students, as their seats depend more on older generations. The dominance of elderly voters has been linked to the result of the UK’s controversial “Brexit” vote last June – while just 64% of mostly pro-remain 18-24 year olds voted, 90% of pensioners went to the polls, helping the Leave campaign to gain a narrow majority. Older voters are also believed to have had an impact on Donald Trump’s victory in the US presidential election, as the polls showed that the 65+ demographic consistently supported the Republican candidate through his campaign. To see whether you are eligible to vote, go to checktheregister.ie. If you can’t find your name, or if your details are incorrect, the necessary forms are also available on the site, or from the UCDSU offices in the old student centre, 9am-5pm Monday to Friday.
UCD Assessment Appeals Office to receive less submissions Eithne Dodd online news & features editor IT is expected that the UCD Assessment Appeals Office will receive significantly less formal appeals this year following a revised policy approved on the 5th of May 2016. The new policy places more emphasis on local resolution of assessment appeals. In the last few years the office, which is currently staffed by only one person, has received about 125 formal appeals per academic year. The majority of these claims are filed after the second semester results. Students must submit an appeal to the within 20 working days of receiving the final result of an assessment. Appeals are only allowed where there is evidence of substantive procedural irregularity in the conduct of the assessment process, including inappropriate grade assessment, and specific cases where a student has submitted an application for extenuating circumstances. Examples of former appeals on the basis of a procedural irregularity include unclear assessment criteria or not conforming with the module descriptor, using a marking scheme that does not conform to UCD guidelines, or changing the assessment criteria or component weighting mid semester. The updated policy was developed with input from staff and students and approved by the Academic Council. It clarifies the scope, grounds and outcomes of an assessment appeal as well as placing emphasis in managing the assessment appeals in a prompt and student-friendly manner. The assessment appeals process requires input from both students and staff. All formal submissions are decided by the Assessment Appeals Committee, which is drawn from a panel approved by Academic Council. The UCD Assessment Appeals Office was originally established in 1994 as the Examinations Appeals Office in order to enable students to appeal the results of an examination. Appeals are decided by the Assessment Appeals Committee who determine whether or not fair procedures were followed in the assessment process and whether or not a fair outcome was reached in the circumstances pertaining to a student. The committee do not reassess the student’s work. The University encourages students, faculty and staff to resolve matters as close as possible to the level they arise and only when such channels have been exhausted will formal appeals procedures apply. Therefore, in the first instance students should contact the School responsible for the assessment.
News in Brief Rory Geoghegan EUA Board Member Replaced Under Turkish Emergency Decrees Following two emergency decrees issued at the end of November, a European University Association (EUA) board member has become the first rector to lose their job under Turkey’s state of emergency. The decrees come as part of an ongoing crackdown and power grab in the country following a failed military coup attempt against the president, Recep Erdogan, on the 15th of July. The board member in question, Gülay Barbarosoglu, was removed from her position as president of Bogaziçi University in Istanbul. This was despite being appointed to the position on the 12th of July by way of an election, in which she received 86% of the university vote. Erdogan has appointed one of Barbarosoglu’s vice-rectors to take over the university’s presidency. The decrees (number 675 & 676) state that university rectors in Turkey will no longer be elected. Instead, they will be appointed by the President of the Republic. In a statement, the EUA said it “once more emphasises its solidarity with the Turkish academic community, and in particular with its board member Gülay Barbarosoglu, and underlines the importance of standing up for university values and remaining committed to the internationally recognised principles of university autonomy and academic freedom which are under ever greater pressure in Turkey.”
More than One Million International Students study in US Each Year The number of international students enrolled in colleges and universities across the United States has surpassed one million, according to an annual report by the Institute of International Education (IIE). The report also found that US students earning credits abroad has increased, although at a much slower rate. Entitled ‘Open Doors’, the report highlights that US higher education institutions had an intake of 1,043,839 international students last year, and that there were 313,415 US students who studied abroad in the same year. The report was released in conjunction with the start of International Education week, a joint venture between US state and education departments. The event is designed to promote the importance of international education exchange. In addition to the IIE report, NAFSA, the Association of International Educators, released their own annual report on the financial benefits of international students coming to the US for their exchange. According to the NAFSA report, international students came from more than 200 countries and contributed about $32.8 billion into the US economy in 2015/16, supporting more than 400,000 jobs.
Students in US Call for Protection of Undocumented Peers Demonstrations were held by students throughout the United States in a bid to pressure their universities to protect their undocumented peers. Thousands of students, professors and others at elite schools including Harvard, Yale and Brown have signed petitions following Donald Trump’s victory in the US presidential election, in which the president elect promised to deport over 11 million undocumented persons living and working in the US. Students, faculty and others at many colleges last week called on administrators to designate their schools “sanctuary campuses”, in some cases by way of walkouts or other demonstrations, and in others, meeting with administrators to discuss the idea. At Harvard, faculty members wrote a letter published in the Harvard Crimson, asking the administration to take certain steps. These included denouncing hate speech, responding concretely to a student petition asking for more support for undocumented students, protecting student privacy by refusing to release information about citizenship status, and making it “clear that Harvard will use all legal and practical means at our disposal to protect all members of our community in the months and years to come.”
November 29th 2016 3
University graduates sought by Tunisian terror group Rory Geoghegan International news editor
When analysed by qualification, university graduates make up the largest proportion of local Tunisian terrorists. The finding is according to a study by the newly established Tunisian Centre for Research and Studies on Terrorism (CTRET). The study was presented at a conference hosted by the Tunisian Forum for Economic and Social Rights (FTDES), who established the new research centre. Ridha Raddaoui, head of CTRET, said the centre has relied on data registered in court records, calling for generalised studies on the phenomenon of terrorism in Tunisia. Currently the main actors, networks and ideology are not sufficiently known. Raddaoui also indicated that the centre intends to create a helpline for victims of terrorism to know their concerns and be able to anticipate their actions. Developed by lawyers and specialists, the study covered a sample of over 1,000 terrorists, 965 of whom were men and 35 women. It is based on 384 court records presented over five years, starting from 2011 to 2015. The results showed that 40% of those in Tunisian terror groups hold a university degree, considerably higher than many other countries. Further, 33% of those studied had a high school diploma and 13% had completed vocational training. In terms of age ranges, the highest number of terrorists belonged to the 25 - 29 year age margin, followed by the 30 - 34 year group, and the 18 - 24 group. Despite other more clearly delineated results, there was some variation in the distribution of jihadis within Tunisia. Most came from the governorates of Sidi Bouzid and Tunis. The city of Sidi Bouzid is the site of Mohammed Bouazizi’s death from self-immolation in 2011. Despite having a university degree, Bouazizi struggled to even sell goods on the street from a
cart. The event marked the start of the ‘Jasmine Revolution’ in Tunisia, toppling the 23 year authoritarian reign of Zine el Abidine Ben Ali. The Jasmine Revolution eventually became known as part of the Arab Spring, popular uprisings spread across North Africa and the Middle East. Bouazizi’s actions highlighted a desperate situation too well understood by many university graduates across Tunisia who, to the dismay of all, have not experienced better circumstances post-revolution. At the end of October this year, in the western border town of Kasserine, 27 unemployed graduates deliberately ingested toxic substances outside the regional governorates headquarters in a mass suicide attempt. Earlier this year, a Tunisia Live video posted to YouTube, entitled ‘The Choice Between a Job and Death’, features young hunger strikers in Kasserine who sewed their mouths shut over their frustration with government inaction. Unemployment among the city’s university graduates stands at 33.4% and its impacts continue to unfold into a massive crisis for the city’s population. This mass frustration is suspected by the CTRET in leading to high levels of university graduates joining terror groups at home. Supporting this theory, the Global Terrorism Index 2015 states that in addition to an individual’s socio-economic, political and ideological world views, long-term youth unemployment has been identified as one of the possible reasons behind the decision to become fighters for violent extremist groups. The same 2015 report indicates that Tunisia, of 167 indexed countries, ranks 47th for the direct and indirect impact of terrorism in terms of lives lost, injuries, property damage and psychological after effects. While Tunisia is suffering from the effects of highly
West Bank university receiving more funding than other Israeli higher-level institutions ashley perry moved to the Ariel settlement offering academic studies under the sponsorship of the accredited university of Bar-llan. Gideon Sa’ar, the former Israeli education minister, was one of the main proponents of granting the institution university status. Israel’s Higher Education Council concluded that this would be illegal because of its infringement on the agreements of the 1967 border layout. In an elusive response, and with pressure from the right in the Israeli Construction in the Israeli Settlement of Ariel political system, the government proposed appointing 6 individuals to a newly formed Council of Higher Education of Judea and Samaria which ARIEL University, located within an Israeli ultimately recognized Ariel College as a fullsettlement in the occupied West Bank, has fledged university. At the time of the status change received state funding surpassing all other state for Ariel University, the government encouraged universities by $24.47 million, according to other Israeli universities to ‘‘go embrace their little an investigative report by the financial daily sister.’’ publication, Calcalist. This scheme was not warmly welcomed and The university received a sum of ISL162million angered a number of heads of educational (US$42million) through contractual engagements institutions across Israel. While many other with state institutions. Although only achieving university status four years ago, their funding has universities in Israel are suffer from increasing budget deficits, funding has been given to Ariel surpassed every other university in Israel. University. The Calcalist investigation indicates that the Speaking to Al-Monitor on condition of funding is funnelled to Ariel through contracts anonymity, the head of one of the universities, with the state, obtained by preferential treatment who was asked by the government to support in bids for contracts to provide various services Ariel University, stated that ‘‘we are boiling mad or skipping the bidding process altogether. The at the things going on there. We struggle daily substantial investment in Ariel University by the Israeli government encourages students from Israel with immense difficulties to keep some of the to occupy the settlement by offering generous world’s most reputable and best-known academic institutions afloat. And then the state goes and scholarships, housing accommodation, and other establishes a special council for higher education, donations, violating international law. especially for a university that has never received Ariel University was founded in the West Bank any recognition in the field of research.’’ settlement of Kedumim as a regional public college in 1983. In 1991, the then college,
educated individuals joining terror groups at home, it is also impacted by many people leaving its shores. Out of all foreign fighters joining violent extremist groups, Tunisia ranks number one in the world. The highest proportion of foreign fighters in the Islamic State are Tunisian, and the same is true for Al-Qaeda groups in various locations around the world. There are many unknowns as to why people join terror organisations, and the newly established Tunisian Centre for Research and Studies on Terrorism hope to try fill in the gaps which exist
in current knowledge. What is known is that CTRET’s first report highlights the monumental battle that Tunisian society faces in addressing a range of issues from terrorism to socio-economic opportunities for the country’s university graduates. Furthermore, as terror groups seek educated recruits their operations may well become more organised. The combination of socio-economic factors and more powerful, efficient terror groups presents a significant problem for Tunisia.
Tunisian Security Forces Hunt for Al-Qaeda Linked Fighters
Students in Malaysia warned against protesting Julia Canney IN an unprecedented move being denounced by human rights groups, two private Australian universities with branches in Malaysia have issued campus-wide warnings to their students forbidding participation in upcoming antigovernment protests. Students at Monash University Malaysia and Curtin University Sarawak, both private universities, received an email warning students of potential school disciplinary proceedings if they joined the protests. While state-run universities have issued warnings against protests in the past, students and alumni report that this is the first time private institutions have taken such harsh measures. The protests, led by an NGO coalition, Bersih, are being organised as part of a demand for fair elections, a government free of corruption, and a representative democracy for the people of Malaysia. Students and alumni have taken the presidents of each university to task, criticizing the
decision to warn students against participation in the protests. The human rights organization HAKAM accused the universities of attempting to ‘stifle freedom of expression’, and warned that the move could lead to further unrest. The Malaysian constitution contains the right to peaceful assembly, and many observers see this decision as perpetuating the already-present problems within the Malaysian government. Monash University Malaysia issued an apology for the email, stating that they were merely reminding students that unlawful assembly is illegal in Malaysia, and that criminal charges could be brought against them. The apology did not state whether or not disciplinary measures would be taken against the students, as had been previously mentioned in the original email. This move is markedly different from Monash University Malaysia’s reaction to protests in the past. In 2014, the university allowed students to participate in protests, however asking them not to wear t-shirts with the university’s name. The protests, which occurred on November 19 and brought tens of thousands of Malaysians to Kuala Lumpur, ended peacefully amid heckling from pro-government viewers. The protests’ organisation and planning has been praised by Malaysian media yet the government has subsequently jailed the leader of Bersih. She has been kept in solitary confinement since the night before the protest.
Malaysia’s riot police, the Federal Reserve Unit
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Behind the Story Garrett Kennedy discusses whether the way the media report crime is always the full picture. CRIME is a problem to which Ireland is not immune. It’s in the news every day, we see it on the streets, we hear about it from our neighbours and friends, some of us are even directly impacted by it. It can sometimes be hard to tell whether the perception of crime being rife in the country is actually an accurate portrayal. Our perception of it is easily influenced through media analysis. Indeed, it is worrying how sharply people’s perceptions of crime contrast with the reality. In
“When crime is so often inextricably linked to socioeconomic background and other systemic problems, the branding of criminals as bad or ‘other’ seems quite unfair.” 2012, polls in Northern Ireland showed that 60% of people thought crime was rising in the region despite the fact it had fallen for the previous two years. A factor in this is how crime is reported. The key problem with crime reporting is that there is an often misplaced importance on some of the details. Context can be laid to one side for what is more likely to grab attention, though this is obviously more common among tabloid style sources. They often focus on gory details that are likely to shock readers and attract attention rather than ones that are more important. Alas, tabloids are known for having a lack of attention to detail and often skewing the facts and as such it is hard to see how much can be done to address that problem. What is more worrying though is how this issue does not end with the broadsheets. More reputable sources often have similar problems. The matter of reporting as such has more to do with pragmatism than nastiness. There is an unwillingness to properly
contextualise stories rather than any sort of malicious marketing that creates the problem but it remains a problem nonetheless. Crime is typically reported as a single incident, barring a few specific exceptions. Without the uniqueness of the particular context being emphasised every time, we are liable to recognise patterns which do not necessarily exist in reality. Those at centres for homeless people are told stories by the homeless about how they got to where they were, what their lives are like now, and what they were like growing up. Interestingly most of the stories seem to ring not too differently. Many are born into areas with virtually no social or economic mobility. Many of them had parents who were unemployed, drug users or simply negligent. Most of them left school and began taking drugs in their early teens. While this is of course not directly related to crime, it serves to highlight patterns of disadvantage. It shows that for many people, present circumstances result simply from what they are born into, it is not
offering a full context for every single incident is probably a bit much to ask. Journalists only have a certain amount of time for each assignment and readers do not want to read a lengthy biography in every article. Because of this, it seems somewhat inevitable that corners have to be cut. What we need to address is which corners it is best to cut in order to give the most reasonable and explicable analysis of an incident. Obviously, there is no easy answer for this. However, a good place to start is emphasising that we need to do more to explain not just what happened in a particular incident but also why it happened. If ample context is not supplied, then we are liable to fill in the gaps ourselves and this is where the bigger problems typically begin. Lack of context
can lead to looking at the individuals involved as statistics rather than real people and the detachment that comes with that dehumanisation is both dangerous and scary. When crime is so often inextricably linked to socio-economic background and other systemic problems, the branding of criminals as bad or ‘other’ seems quite unfair. Similarly, not offering a proper context in the reporting of incidents can also be harmful to the victims as it can lead to us failing to properly empathise with them. The way we report crime is in dire need of reform, whether that be in terms of releasing fewer gory details or offering better context. It is not an easy problem to fix but it is one that without real effort will likely continue to worsen.
“There is an unwillingness to properly contextualise stories rather than any sort of malicious marketing that creates the problem but it remains a problem nonetheless.” necessarily a road they chose to venture down. We are often a reflection of our environment and in this case, that largely seems to be true. It is a systemic problem rather than a personal one, and one that cannot, and should not be ignored. Of course, there are reasons for not adding a full and conclusive context to every report. For one thing,
Chocolate: Shrinking Value or Waistlines? As the Toblerone changes shape, Laura Brohan looks at why we are paying higher prices for less chocolate. treat to be hit by manufacturers struggling to maintain profit margins. Share sized bags of Malteasers and Galaxy Counters now contain less chocolate to share as Mars recently reduced the weight of these products by 14.8% and 12.4% respectively. In a statement released by Mars, the firm announced that the decision to reduce the size of the packets was an
the Dairy Milk chocolate that was previously used. A decline in sales compared to the previous year indicates that the change was unpopular with consumers. However, Cadburys claim that the fall in revenue generated by Crème Eggs reflected a shorter Easter season rather than customer dissatisfaction. An outpouring of disgust at the altered recipe on social media suggests otherwise. In the face of a growing obesity crisis, some manufacturers have cut the size of their products under the guise of tackling this issue. Mars, who hold the second largest market share of chocolate products in Ireland, announced last year that it would restrict the calorie content of its single-serve products to a maximum of 250 calories. This pledge
“Treasured Christmas classics like Cadbury’s Roses, Heroes and Quality Street have fallen victim to ‘shrinkflation’” “It is impossible to ignore effort to maintain the price of the product for its the reality that shrinking customers while acknowledging the strain caused by portion sizes are driven the rising costs of raw materials. Mondelez International, the US conglomerate by a profit-incentive” who owns the Toblerone brand, further angered NEWSPAPERS, television pundits and internet memes all share a common opinion that 2016 has not been a good year. It has been a year of Brexit, Trump and the death of Harambe. However, its turmoil does not lie solely in the fields of international politics and economics, but also a place closer to home: supermarket shelves. As 2016’s problems grow, some of Ireland’s most beloved chocolate products are shrinking. As if the devastation of Freddo price inflation was not enough, chocolate manufacturers have now reduced the size of numerous products without a corresponding reduction in price, a phenomenon referred to as ‘shrinkflation’. The question is whether the size reduction is driven by a change in consumer demand or simply a means of increasing profits? Toblerone, the distinctly triangular-shaped swiss chocolate bar, best known as a reliable last-minute airport gift, has been redesigned to greatly reduce
the amount of chocolate each bar contains. The redesign is a noticeable downsize from the old 400g bars to the newly revised 360g bars. Its redesign is particularly perplexing as the brand have opted to broaden the ridges between the bar’s iconic
“Some of Ireland’s most beloved chocolate products are shrinking” triangular segments rather than simply shortening the bar. This fundamentally changes the shape of the product. In a statement released on the brand’s Facebook, Toblerone attributed the change in design to rising production costs, in particular the increased costs associated with a number of the bar’s key ingredients. Yet Toblerone is not the only chocolate
consumers by reducing the size of another iconic product owned by the company: Terry’s Chocolate Oranges. Consumers’ outrage stemmed not only from the 10% reduction in size but also from the way in which the size was reduced. It is alleged by some consumers that the size was cunningly reduced from 175g to 157g in the hope that people would fail to notice the change. The confectionary sector in Ireland relies heavily on seasonal offerings at Easter and Christmas to drive profits. Unfortunately, this means that even treasured Christmas classics like Cadbury’s Roses, Heroes and Quality Street have fallen victim to ‘shrinkflation’. The tins and boxes of these festive treats have reduced in size with a number of sweets within them also being discontinued. Cadbury were heavily criticised last year when they changed the recipe of their annual Easter chocolate treat, Crème Eggs, and reduced the size of Crème Egg multipacks by one egg. The shell is now made from a cheaper variety of chocolate rather than
has led to a reduction in the size of its Mars and Snickers bars. However, the reduction in the size of some of the brand’s share-sized offerings along with the singleserve products indicate the shrinkage stems solely from economic motivations rather than consumer demand for smaller products. It is impossible to ignore the reality that shrinking portion sizes are driven by a profit-incentive rather than a genuine concern for consumers’ health. Many chocolate manufacturers have seen their profits suffer as a result of rising commodity prices and increased labour costs. Shrinking the size of chocolate treats is undoubtedly an attempt to tackle the issue of increasing costs. Chocolate manufacturers must tread carefully as shrinking products do not go unnoticed by savvy consumers. In order to avoid disgruntled customers, chocolate manufacturers should perhaps instead focus on increasing revenue by diversifying their product lines rather than reducing the size of much loved products.
November 29th 2016 5
Comment Not Buying It As the Yuletide approaches, Julia O’Reilly looks at the emotional Christmas ad phenomenon and questions why they work. ACCORDING to the TV, it’s that time of year again. Christmas ads are, for many, a modern day toll announcing the start of the Christmas season. The seasonal offerings from the likes of John Lewis, Coca-Cola and Tesco serve as alarm bells, reminding us all to get shopping. Each year Christmas appears earlier than the previous one. It appears, not begins. It’s all or nothing. One day shops have fake cobwebs and pumpkins in their windows and the next thing you know, it’s as if you’re an extra in The Grinch. It was recently found that Irish people spent almost €1,000 on Christmas in 2013 - twice that of what those in the US spent. John Lewis’ ‘Man on the Moon’ ad last year cost £1 million to make and thus helped to increase online sales by 5.1% compared to the year before. A successful ad campaign sets companies apart, so it’s understandable that companies compete to get
“It seems our heart-strings are there for nothing more than to be festively plucked by supermarkets who are competitively vying to get the most tears per view.” a piece of this. UK companies spent a record £5.6 billion on advertising this year. This figure is higher than ever before. In a world where products are bought online for the lowest cost and maximum convenience, these festive ads enable brands to portray the image they want to be associated with. Instead of barking about who sells the cheapest veg, shops are drawing in costumers in a new way; by making an emotional connection. The new game is essentially to see which companies’ ad can draw the biggest emotional
response out of the largest group for the ultimate profit gain. And these ads grew legs; rising from the confines of the TV, they are now largely watched online. Sharing a Christmas ad on Facebook is the 2016 equivalent of sending a Christmas card. They also rack up serious views on YouTube and are discussed in articles that promise if you watch this ad you will “sob for days”. Sounds threatening. Emotional advertising is in its stride at this time of year. John Lewis set a saccharine template in 2011, which others now follow like a creed. Cue the snow, gentle soundtrack, chirpy family and, more often than not – cute animals. It seems our heartstrings are there for nothing more than to be festively plucked by supermarkets who are competitively vying to get the most tears per view. So what is this manipulative trend of tapping into our emotions based on? Perhaps it stems from our discomfort with the Christmas we have. Christmas has been reinvented, recycled but not repackaged. Christmas is, and should be, a time when family and friends come together. We share food and stories and often wear ridiculous jumpers, but that is a very small part of it nowadays, a mere few hours in what amounts to months of careful planning and rigorous spending. The balance has shifted somewhat. And so it is nice to be reminded of what’s really important about that time of year. But is there not something slightly off about the fact that the people who feel the need to offer reminders of the true meaning of Christmastime are the same ones who turned it into the consumerist bonanza we know? It’s warped that those who exist merely to sell us things are pretending to focus on family during what is the most aggressive period of spending on the calendar. The average person probably spends more time in Tesco, Marks and Spencer’s, Lidl etc. in the run-up to Christmas than they do with the actual people these shops are reminding us we should be spending time with. It’s an uncomfortable ruse. The part that leaves a sour taste is the mountain of
morals we are being served. In a society of rapidly declining religious belief, Christmas is all about consumption; feasting on food,
“The very people who feel the need to pose reminders of the true meaning of Christmastime are the same ones who turned it into a consumerist bonanza.” buying gift after gift and watching every Christmas movie ever made. There really isn’t anything wrong with that. We should all just admit that we like
things; we like buying them, we like giving them to others and we really like receiving them. Christmas is a huge celebration of this so we should drop the pretences. It’s not shameful, it’s who we are now. What was wrong with ads of Christmases past, where furniture ads would straight-up proclaim that you need a new couch for Christmas? There is no hidden agenda, there is no skirting around the idea that they are a company that runs on profit. It’s a blatant pitch. What we’ve been left with is a gross emotional manipulation. The fact of the matter is that these ads are all very touching when blatant consumerism is disregarded, but the crucial point is that they are ads. Remembering that they exist for the sole purpose of directing people into a shop casts a cloud over the sweet sentiments they possess.
Democracy and the Education Gap In light of the political upsets of 2016, Aileen McGrath examines the role education has to play in democratic outcomes.
“There appears to be a certain sense of righteousness among the majority at third level resulting in an atmosphere of fear.”
Plato and Aristotle in Raphael’s School of Athens DEMOCRACY has played an unrivalled role in shaping modern day society. An idea that was relatively delayed in appearing in many countries, its existence in our society is rarely brought into question. Yet, the question of how education impacts on democracy is of great importance. The education gap has never been so prevalent in terms of democracy; present in the likes of the recent Brexit and US election upsets. In order to combat this resounding issue, there is a blatant
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necessity for thorough education at third-level to ensure the democratic rights of impressionable youths are protected. According to the Washington Post, about eight hours after the Brexit polls closed, Google reported that searches for “what happens if we leave the EU?” had more than tripled. This is the perfect example of a lack of education on one of the most widely discussed and controversial issues to date. It appears that voters became lost in a frenzy of
hype and hearsay that demanded their attention, hindered proper research and prevented the casting of fully educated votes. Consequently this lack of information, which so deeply infringed on the process of democracy, left an entire nation reeling from the failure of their education system. The recent US Presidential election has been the hottest and most controversial topic of debate for the past year. Yet it has proven itself to be an area of politics in which education, or a lack thereof, played a grossly devastating role. According to a study done by the New York Times on the exit polls, 49% of college graduates along with a greater 58% of postgraduate students gave their support to Clinton. What is most interesting here is the real life example of how education can actually divide politics. One would assume the influence of a thirdlevel education would have a positive effect on the democratic process. However it is arguable, that in this case, the increase in support for Trump amongst the less well educated could be viewed as a stance against the assumed snobbery present in the entitled world of politics. Trumps’ lack of previous political experience or even education on certain topics seemed to work majorly in his favour, resonating with those usually deemed unqualified or undereducated in similar affairs. Third-level Institutions are establishments, which hold the idea of democracy close to their hearts. It could be said that there exists a certain expectation on transitioning second level students to break free from the shelter and security of their previous educational lives and take the necessary leap into adulthood. With this comes a certain pressure to become more engaged with social realities of the world, and to form an educated opinion on issues that before, may have been foreign to us. Arguably, this depiction of universities allows for the unoriginal and homogenised creation of democratic thought. The core ideal of democracy is to have your voice heard. Ultimately, the majority rules but this does not mean the minority should be condemned for their beliefs. However, this is a very real issue in many third level institutions with the contradictory view that
your opinion is the be all and end all. There appears to be a certain sense of self-righteousness among the majority at third level resulting in an atmosphere of fear. The pressure to comply with the popular opinion is only growing by the day. Many ill-informed students who have not been awarded the proper education or knowledge on a certain topical issue can be coerced into forming a generic opinion based on whichever side is easier to take. And so, we begin to see this form of suppression at play while hiding beneath the mask of democracy. UCDSU recently held a referendum on whether it should take a neutral stance in the ongoing abortion debate. The point of this was to protect the democratic rights of the pro-life minority, whose views are widely condemned. One has to wonder how many participating students actually did their research on
“Voters became lost in a frenzy of hype and hearsay that demanded their attention, hindered proper research and prevented the casting of fully educated votes.” the topic before voting and how many just voted in favour of the majority for fear of being marginalised. Despite the secret ballot being the most sacred form of democracy, the question must be asked; are the likes of intimidation and a certain “herd mentality” common to universities encroaching on this right? Furthermore, it must be questioned what effect third-level education has on democratic outcomes? Positively or negatively, it is indisputable that it does, whether through means of discussion, influence or teaching. It has become increasingly undeniable that the gap between education and democracy is widening and must be filled before the self-destructive demise of a concept long suffered for.
Trapped in the Echo Chamber
Amid the debate over fake news and safe spaces Ause Abdelhaq looks at how we shelter ourselves from opposing viewpoints. SAFE SPACES have come under fire recently. Critics argue that they breed a generation of whiny, entitled millennials who cannot handle any opposing viewpoints. Others say that safe spaces deter discussion, and create an unrealistic environment, which could never be recreated in everyday, postuniversity life. Nowadays most students will agree that while they can be useful in fragile situations (such as when confidential information is shared) it is important to engage in debate and discourse in order to understand the other side of an argument. As such, we have seen guests such as Milo Yiannopoulous and Rob O’Neill come to UCD in the last year alone – speakers who, under such thinking, create a very un-safe space for women and Muslims in particular. However, with the rise of social media as the news outlet of choice for many students today, the bubbles we create through our choices on Facebook and Twitter are narrowing our viewpoints. Thus we tend to generate accidental safe spaces in our online world. When Donald Trump won the US Election earlier this month, shock on social media was widespread. Frankly, people could not believe that a racist,
“When Donald Trump won the US Election earlier this month, shock on social media was widespread, but it should have been expected.” sexist billionaire with no experience in politics was able to triumph over a practiced, veteran career politician. But really, the victory of Donald Trump should have been expected. He capitalised on the frustration of a people who had been told that they had erred in being themselves and being victims of
their societal upbringing. A people who had been shunned at school, or at work, or at home for holding views that didn’t correspond with the rapidly changing progressive agenda. A people who were confused as to what they did wrong, but were disciplined before they could find out. These are the people that are now being accused, across media, of being racist, of being sexist, of being anti-LGBTQ and islamophobic. They are being vilified and belittled and denigrated for simply having been born white and never being taught properly about privilege. Vilified for being born a man and not being introduced to feminist thought. Demonised for being born a victim of the patriotic propaganda machine that is the United States of America and never being told that other countries are as good, if not better. People on social media didn’t see Trump’s victory coming, not because they are delusional or because they don’t understand politics, but because they simply weren’t exposed to certain viewpoints. The vast majority of people who use social media as their main news outlet were naive to the wave of angry, confused blue-collar workers rising in the States. This was largely because the websites which report on issues important to those people aren’t present in many liberal students’ social spheres. Nowadays, we are afforded the opportunity to pick and choose which news we hear, which comments we read and which links we follow. Anything we don’t like, we can get rid of; see the hordes of Americans who demanded that anybody who voted for Trump should unfriend them on Facebook. Social media has become an echo chamber, where we shout our opinions into a crowd and hear them shouted back a hundred times over through likes, shares and supportive comments. This is incredibly dangerous, because it shuts us off from a massive portion of the population – apparently, in the States, about half of voters. The reality is that, in order to ensure that nothing like Trump’s election happens again, we need to understand that just as we are bombarded with coverage from liberal websites like the Guardian and the
Huffington Post, other people are bombarded with articles and videos from conservative websites like Breitbart and the Daily Caller. We need to change that and end polarisation.
“The bubbles which we create through our choices on social media are narrowing our viewpoints and generating safe spaces in our online world.” These people are not just characters on the internet; they are actual people who live next door, who buy groceries in the local supermarket and send their children to the school around the corner.
Critically, these are real-life human beings who have emotions and opinions and, perhaps most importantly, a vote. If we do not expose ourselves to all forms of news we continue to ignore reality. If we continue to refuse to listen to their side of the story the rise of the alt-right will not stop at Donald Trump, or Brexit, or the National Front. So long as we insist on alienating ourselves from debate and discourse, we will continue to fail as a society and as a people. Our children will be the ones who suffer. They will look back in fifty years’ time and ask how it was that we were so arrogant and belligerent in our divine judgements that we allowed what was once a peaceful, progressive society, full of discussions and mutual learning, to transform into nothing more than a pack of angry, stubborn wild animals, scrapping at each other to the point of conflict.
Real-life echo chamber in Dresden
The Post-Literature Age As reading for leisure loses its popularity, Ross Walsh asks what the effects may be for society. GEORGE R. R. Martin once wrote “a mind needs books as a sword needs a whetstone, if it is to keep its edge”. Tyrion Lannister is often regarded as one of the smartest characters in both the book series A Song of Ice and Fire and the television series based on it, the hugely popular Game of Thrones. In this quote, the character’s intelligence shines through. For most people, intelligence is not something they are naturally born with. It is cultivated throughout life, through experiences and, for those in third-level education, great effort. One of the most important methods we have of improving our minds is to read. Books open us up to new worlds, and with them new experiences that can build upon our own and broaden the ways in which we comprehend the world. Furthermore, books are where we record our history, our culture, and the views of our society at the time that they are written. Those wishing to gain an insight into the past, the present, or peoples’ hopes for
the future need only look to the literature and take from it what they will. Given all this, the importance of books to society cannot be overstated. Unfortunately, we now appear to have entered a ‘Post-Literature Era’. Every month of 2016, the sale of books, newspapers, and other reading material fell. The culprits behind this drop are easy to see, the internet being chief among them. Nearly all of the information that we can gleam
“We must ask what people are losing when technology replaces our literature”. from the contents of our libraries can now be found floating around on the web. The prices of books does not help matters either. A vicious cycle has been created in the publishing world. Less books are being bought, so
prices rise to cover the costs, and then even less books are bought. Finally, aspects of childhood cannot be ignored on this issue. Where once a child had only two options to use up their free time, reading or going outside, there are now a multitude of different entertainment options available. Many children now, rather than pick up a book, will sit in front of a television, browse the Internet, or play on some form of games console. Although certain benefits have been showing from playing video games in moderation, such as improved decision-making abilities, we must ask what people are losing when technology replaces our literature. Given all the benefits of reading books, from childhood to adulthood, it is clear that the absence of it will lead to the absence of those benefits. There are those who fear that the combination of an ‘autocorrect’ function on many electronic devices and the steady decrease in reading by children will negatively impact on
“The greatest benefits of reading are the life lessons contained within the pages of those books”.
children’s spelling and grammatical abilities. This will obviously present them with problems in the future, should they find themselves without such a crutch. A 2014 study from Emory University found that reading during childhood is associated with greater empathy and improved cognitive function. The physical act of reading a print book, as opposed to an electronic version, can increase spatial awareness. Research from the University of California shows that reading can make you smarter (proving Tyrion’s point), reduce stress levels, improve analytical thinking and memory, increase your vocabulary and improve your writing skills. Those who read more as children have also been shown to earn more as adults. Leaving all of this aside, the greatest benefits of reading are the life lessons contained within the pages of those books. Even in works of fiction, what we learn by reading is applicable to the real world. These stories teach children that good will always triumph over evil, but only if they, the protagonist of their own story, stand up for what they believe in and what’s right. The dwindling passion for literature in today’s society is truly a negative development. As books fade from their lives, our children won’t just suffer in school but they will be less enriched in all aspects of their lives. Their understanding of technology will no doubt surpass our own, and perhaps that will stand to them as tech giants like Apple and Google come to further dominate the jobs market. However, in the process, we may lose the next generation of authors, songwriters and poets. Our creative arts, an aspect of our society that is uniquely human, will slowly be lost. The Nobel Prize for Literature may one day be un-awarded. Future generations, without books to learn from, may be less empathetic, less imaginative, less eloquent and more stressed. This is why reading must once again be encouraged among young people. Reading books doesn’t just make for better people. It makes for a better world.
Photo credit: Ryan O’Donnell
November 29th 2016 7
Business Eurozone States fail to Emulate Ireland’s Competitiveness Brían Donnelly contrasts Ireland’s vaunted reputation for competitiveness in the commercial world with that of traditional European economies. IN 2011, Taoiseach Enda Kenny claimed that by 2016, Ireland could become the “best small country in the world in which to do business,” and some might claim that this has come to pass. The 2016 edition of the World Competitiveness Yearbook, an index compiled by IMD Business School in Lausanne, Switzerland, ranks Ireland 7th for global competitiveness, up 9 places on 2015. However, Ireland is only one of two Eurozone countries to feature in the top ten. Other EU Member States, like Sweden and Denmark, rank ahead of Ireland but the Netherlands, ranked 8th, is the only other Eurozone state listed. Despite high unemployment in France and simmering banking crises in Italy, these countries, as well as Germany, are often cited as being the economic powerhouses behind the Euro. How is it that two of the smallest economies among a subgroup of the world’s richest trading bloc manage to retain a competitive edge over
“Even between the years 2000 and 2008, France’s unemployment rate was above 8% more than it was below it.” countries with better infrastructure and more workers? Nations like Germany boast some of the world’s top universities and graduates, and France has École Normale Supérieure and École Polytechnique. While, Ireland’s bottlenecked infrastructure acts as the main inhibitor to a better competitiveness ranking, countries like France and Italy face issues relating to the performance of businesses. Italian PM Matteo Renzi has staked his career on a referendum in December to reform the parliament and the manner in which it does business. Italian businesses quote rampant corruption and inefficient governance as critical issues that must be tackled to improve business competitiveness.
France’s sclerotic labour market is one of the main rea“German sons behind not only its tragic score on competitiveness, government but also its stubbornly high estimates published unemployment rate, which is currently fluctuating around in July show that 10%. the working-age Even between the years 2000 and 2008, France’s population is likely unemployment rate was above to decrease from 8% more than it was below it. However, efforts this year to about 49 million reform the labour market were today to between greeted with widespread street protests and labour union op34 and 38 million position. This lead President by 2060.” François Hollande’s Socialist Party to adopt a special parliamentary measure and pass the reforms without a vote. economy is fundamentally different, and far more While Germany is a large, diverse economy, it advanced with regards to the use of technology. too faces labour market pressures of a different While EU-wide directives, regulations on kind. Angela Merkel’s call to accept all refugees markets and common standards, may place all who journeyed to her country’s borders served an countries on the same or a similar level in a pareconomic, as well as a humanitarian, purpose. In ticular market, this does not strictly improve the the country with Europe’s lowest birth rate, policy efficiency or competitiveness of any one Eurozone makers are wary of a looming ‘Fachkräftemangel’ country over another. Largely, competitiveness is - or worker shortage - which can only be realistian issue for individual state governments, and ofcally plugged by immigration. ten comes at the expense of other states. Ireland’s Despite the massive number of refugees taken low corporate tax regime, while a boon to comin last year (roughly 1.1 million), German governpetitiveness by reducing business costs, is often ment estimates published in July show that the railed against by EU institutions, specifically the working-age population is likely to decrease from European Commission. about 49 million today to between 34 and 38 milCommission proposals announced at the end lion by 2060. of October proffer common rules for corporate Director of the Ifo Centre for the Economics of Education, Ludger Wößmann, has called for labour taxation; while these might increase EU-wide efficiency in governance, this serves to make no market reform to help refugees assimilate into the individual country preferable over another with reworkforce, while recognising that accepting large gards to what constitutes taxable corporate profits. numbers of refugees is not in itself a solution to Taxation rates remain within the purview of each the problem of a shrinking pool of workers. While Member State. men and women fleeing Syria or Eritrea may Furthermore, many critics of the EU denounce have held a job in their home country, Germany’s
it simply as a factory that churns out ‘businesskilling’ regulations in the first place, rather than ones which promote growth. Despite this, EU and Eurozone member states have sent offers to companies in the UK who wish to remain in the Single Market following the British Exit from the EU. RTÉ has reported that financial services behemoth Goldman Sachs is mulling a move to Frankfurt, while some Japanese firms in the UK are unsatisfied with the mere political ‘assurances’ received from Downing Street, and have been reportedly approached by EU Member States to entice them to move to the continent. It’s clear that while being a member of the EU and the Eurozone is a strong element of Ireland’s economic competitiveness, it is not the sole strength. A low corporation tax and an educated, tech-savvy work force are often cited as reasons for the country’s economic appeal. It is the combination of these factors which tends to see such foreign direct investment in Ireland and as a result place the country higher on the list for global competitiveness.
The Bittersweet Legacy of Barack Obama With just over a month left in office, Caoimhe Donnelly examines how the US and the wider world will look back on Obama’s presidency. MUCH has been made over the past few months about the legacy outgoing President Barack Obama leaves in his wake. Long gone, it seems, are the halcyon days of the late noughties, when all the Commander in Chief had to do was stand before his people and spout decrees of hope and belief in a brighter America for all. Obama’s initial 2008 candidacy ignited the hearts of millions into action and political engagement on an unprecedented level. But many have questioned the efficiency and successes of the seasoned administration. Having witnessed the overwhelming sequestration of the alt-right’s beloved President-elect Donald Trump a fortnight ago, the discrepancies between the Democratic and Republican parties have never been more pertinent - or more alarming. It is true that the US is about to enter unchartered territory - but is it also true to state that it had been living through a golden eight years of stable, practical, and transparent government that are now lost to the history books? And beyond galvanising throngs
Outgoing US President Barak Obama
8 November 29th 2016
dation. The contemporary perception of the public - and, presumably, the subsequent perception of future historians - of Obama’s management of foreign affairs was cold, calculated, and ultimately completely divorced from the reality of the consequences of his actions. Despite his repeated and ardent opposition to the raging wars overseas and gradual withdrawal of soldiers, Obama frequently decided to opt into bombing and drone warfare over both terms of his presidency. Similarly, he has been repeatedly criticised for his handling of domestic affairs. Controversy is still ongoing due to his unwillingness to acknowledge or release whistle-blower and trans woman Chelsea Manning from solitary confinement in a men’s prison, following her incarceration in 2010, due to the President’s hard-line against those directly involved with the WikiLeaks scandals. However, in reviewing the incidents of his administration, it would be ignorant not to consider the very real, positive results of his policies. It is no stretch of the imagination to think that the 24 million previously uninsured Americans would have continued to suffer with “Many have towering healthcare bills had criticised Obama it not been for the 2010 AfCare Act. for his consistent fordable The added tax cuts for up hesitancy and to 3.5 million small busistrict adherence ness to help pay for employee health care coverage, to public the elimination of subsidies to private lenders of studiplomacy. dent loans to protect stuThese criticisms dent borrowers, as well as a significant decrease in the of his conduct country’s student loans are are not without tangible reforms that echo the dream-realising slogans foundation.” of the early campaign days. These have also helped re-
of impassioned voters with dreams of a more liberal, equitable political landscape, how much did Obama really achieve during his time in office? In his first few months at the seat of the Oval Office, the fresh-faced President faced a myriad of problems needing urgent attention. The Great Recession had just begun to hit home hard, while US soldiers and other civilians alike were dying in the hundreds in Iraq and Afghanistan. He was presented with seemingly insurmountable challenges, and yet his charismatic and cool-headed rhetoric led the public to believe that he had sufficient tools to lead the country through each issue with an overarching sense of unity. Millions kept watch with bated breath for the leader of the free world to stand before them and offer a logical, clearcut, action-oriented avenue out of the political and economic crises facing his cabinet - to no avail. Many have criticised Obama for his consistent hesitancy and strict adherence to public diplomacy. These criticisms of his conduct are not without foun-
duce US unemployment from a high of 10% in 2010 to the current rate of 4.9%. The promise and potential of what Obama represents, in addition to the refreshing strides towards
“It is true that the US is about to enter unchartered territory - but is it also true to state that it had been living through a golden eight years of stable, practical, and transparent government that are now lost to the history books?” economic, social and political change, are what cause him to leave office with an approval rating of 57%. To haphazardly quote the dramatized words of a well-known former Treasurer of State, a legacy is planting seeds in a garden you never get to see. Time will only tell if the progressive legislation Obama enacted will outlast him, due to the vehement animosity expressed by Trump towards him, and his threats to repeal the social liberties bequeathed to the American people under the Obama administration. Yet for the most part there is just cause to assume that Obama’s legacy for young children of colour to make it to the White House will exist as a viable future option. The air of calm and clear-mindedness, as well as the strong sense of cultural unity, that the US experienced over the past eight years was a welcome change from the chaos of his Republican predecessors. It will, for the most part, be remembered with fondness and zeal, as a new, unpredictable era is ushered in by his Republican successor.
2016: an bhliain do bhí
Is é an riail faoi 2016, ná nach labhraítear faoi 2016. Bliain ait a bhí ann, bliain ina raibh mórán d’agóidí, mórán de fhrustrachas agus mórán de mhéim. Féachann Niamh O Regan siar uirthi. Bliain ait a bhí i 2016, b’fhéidir nach raibh sé ró difriúil ó blianta eile, ach tá an cuma ar an scéal gur tharla níos mó rudaí ná mar gnáth. Mar a tharlaíonn gach aon bliain, bíonn rudaí maithe, rudaí measartha agus rudaí olc. Tharla eachtraí thart an domhan ar fad agus mórán nithe beaga i UCD comh maith. Fuair roinnt mhaith daoine bás i 2016; Terry Wogan, David Bowie gus Alan Rickman i mí Eanáir. D’imigh Leonard Cohen i ndiaidh an toghchán in sna Stát Aontaithe, a d’fhógair Donlad Trump, mar uachtarán ar na Stát Aontaithe. Frank Kelly, Prince, Gene Wilder, Caroline Aherne, agus mórán daoine eile. Bhí an cuma ar scéal gur fuair i bhfad níos mó daoine mór le rá bás i mbliana, ach b’fhéidir gurb iad na daoine ba mhó do lucht leanúna áirithe, agus toisc a n-aois, agus a dtalainn ina gcuid réimse ghairmiúla, go thrasnaíodh aon teorainn glúine a d’fhéadfadh a bheith ann. Bhí athchuairt tugtha ar óige na mílaoisigh le cuireadh The Cursed Child ar stáitse, agus bhí slua daoine míshásta nuair a foilsíodh an scéal, gur script a bhí in san script agus anois tá Fantastic Beasts againn. Leanadh leis an fhilleadh le Finding Dory, blianta fada i ndiaidh Nemo a thabhairt abhaile. Ba bhliain maith é don tionscal teilifíse go ginearálta i dtéarmaí saothar; tháinig an chéad sraith de Stranger Things, d’fhill Gilmore Girls agus do tharla iontas i ndiaidh iontas leis an seachtú sraith de Game of Thrones. Anuas ar seo bhí a leithéid de Planet Earth 2. Go dtí seo tá an méid is mó reaic déanta as an radharc de na nathair ar thóir an ioguána fad is a labhair David Attenborough go suaimhneasach faoin eachtra ar fad. Rinneadh muintir na Riocht Aontaithe an chinneadh an Aontas Eorapach a fhágaint agus rinneadh an páirtí Coimeádach an chinneadh Theresa May a chuir i suíochán an príomh aire. Rinne an choláiste toghcháin na Stát
laíochta, a bhaineann úsáid as scanadh léasair, fógraíodh go bhfuil an cuma ar go bhfuil cathracha mhóra mheánaoiseacha, faoi bhun foraois i Cambodia, roinnt dóibh atá comh mór leis an príomhchathair Phnom Penh. Críochnaíodh an triail de Jean Pierre-Bemba, agus ba é an chéad triail de chuid an Cúirt Coiriúla Idirnáisiúnta, a dhírígh ar éigniú mar choir cogaidh, agus an úsáid de foréigean gnéis mar arm cogaidh. Bhí an dara céim de reifreann an Nua Shéalainn ann, nuair a iarradh ar mhuintir na tíre, an raibh fonn orthu a mbrat traidisiúnta le Bhrat an Aontais barr ar dheis agus réaltbhuíon Cros an Deiscirt, nó an leagan nua de Chros an Deiscirt agus an raithneach airgead. Tharla sé seo ar fad, fad is a bhí rialtas an Nua Shéalainn ag síniú an TPP, nach iontach an tharraingt airde mar chleas pholaitiúil. Tar éis an iarracht ar coup míleata sa Tuirc, glanadh codanna de na Forsaí Armaithe, ach bhí ar an Uachtarán postanna a thabhairt ar ais do chuid mhaith píolótaí, toisc nach raibh a ndóthain ann a bhí cáilithe i ndiadh an ghlanadh. Anuas ar seo bhí mórán iriseoirí gafa agus na mílte státseirbhísigh, múinteoirí agus léachtóirí curtha as a bpost. Bhí toghachán parlaiminte ag Siria, in ainneoin an cogadh cathartha atá ar siúl, d’fhógair an Ghearmáin agus na Stát Aontaithe nach raibh siad chun glacadh leis na torthaí, toisc nach raibh slí ar bith ann go bhféadfadh an toghchán a bheith dlisteanach i gcoinníoll an tír. Thart ar an domhan ar fad, roimh deireadh na bliana beidh 43 toghachán ar son Uachtarántachta agus 54 toghachán parlaiminte tar éis tarlú. D’fhásadh an chéad bhláth i Spás, ar an ISS; faoi stiúir an spásaire Scott Kelly d’fhás zinnia i gcoinníollacha micrea-domhantharraingt. D’éirigh le eitleán eitil timpeall an domhan ag baint úsáid as grianfhuinneamh amháin.
Ní fhéadfá dearmad a dhéanamh ar Euros ‘16 agus tacaíocht láidir na hÉireannaigh thall ann, agus bhí meon comh dearfach sin acu go fuair ár nUachtarán féin litir ó mhéara Páras ag rá go raibh fonn uirthi Grand Vermeil an chathair a bhronnadh ar lucht leanúna na foirne Éire. Gan dabht tá mórán eile tarlaithe, nár tugadh ach sracfhéachaint do in ár nuacht náisiúnta, agus tá mórán eile tarlaithe gur tugadh an iomad ama do. Táimid ag súil go mbeidh 2017 beagáinín níos sochair, ach má fhanaimid ar an gcosán atáimid, is go fánach a tarlóidh sé sin.
sraith- series go suaimhneasach- soothingly coir cogaidh- war crime réaltbhuíon- constellation micrea-domhantharraingt- microgravity grianfhuinneamh-solar power
“Rinne an choláiste toghcháin na Stát Aontaithe an chinneadh Donald Trump agus Mike Pence a chur isteach sa tigh bhán i Washington D.C. agus phléasc na méimeanna de Obama agus Biden”
Ag déanamh agóide ar thorthaí daonlathachscoileanna sa lá atá inniu ann? Nuair a déantar cinneadh go daonlathach, an bhfuil ceart ag daoine dul ina choinne agus agóid a chéanamh faoi? Roineann Peadar Ó Maoltuile a chuid tuairimí.
DÉARFAINN go bhfuil fhios ag madraí na sráide faoi thoradh toghchán Uachtaráin Stáit Aontaithe Mheiriceá faoin am seo. Pé scéal é, tar éis bua an Trumpach, ní fheicimid madraí ar na sráideanna ach daoine feargacha ag déanamh agóide timpeall na tíre. Cibé rud a cheapann sibh féin faoin 45ú hUachtarán ar SAM (agus táim den tuairim láidir go bhfuil ionbhá ag an chuid is mó daoibh le haghaidh na hagóideoirí), is fiú iniúchadh a dhéanamh ar agóide ar thorthaí daonlathach. An bhfuil siad dleathach agus an fiú iad a dhéanamh? Ar dtús, ba mhaith liom sracfhéachaint a ghlacadh ar na fáthanna taobh thiar den fhearg atá le mothú ar fud na tíre. Dar ndóigh, is í an phríomhchúis ná na conspóidí go léir a bhain leis an feachtas fada nimhneach a rith Donald Trump. Ba bheag lá a chuaigh tharainn nach raibh scannal éigin nua le cloisteáil faoi. Spreag Trump ciníochas agus gnéasachas i measc a lucht leanúna agus measann na hagóideoirí, mná agus an pobal inimirceach ach
“Trí mheán na hagóide, is féidir leo iarmhairtí eile a chothú” go háirithe, nach ceart go mbeadh an chineál sin de fhear i gceannas orthu. Chomh maith leis sin, caithfear admháil go bhfuil daoine deighilte go hiomlán ar chúrsaí polaitíochta faoi láthair. Is é fírinne an scéil ná gurb é seo an glúin is scoilte riamh mar gheall ar tionchar an idirlíon agus an both an macalla a chruthaíonn sé. Ciallaíonn sé sin nach raibh éinne ar an eite chlé ag tnúth go mbeadh an bua ag Trump. Baineadh geit ollmhór astu agus tá sé mar chuid den nádúr daonna ár gcuid mothúcháin a léiriú i mbealach poiblí.
Ina theannta sin, cé gur chaill Clinton an toghcháin, d’éirigh léi sciar níos mó de vóta an phobail a fháil. Is amhlaidh a ghéaraigh sé ar an bpian. Mar is eol dúinn, níl sé seo an chéad uair a tharla na leithéid i sna SAM. I 2000, níor thoghadh Al Gore cé go fuair sé níos mó votaí ná George W. Bush. Is í an difríocht idir 2000 agus an staid ina bhfuil cúrsaí faoi láthair aáfach, ná go raibh ceisteanna maidir le calaois toghcháin ag an am sin. Cé gur íol fuatha é Donald Trump, ní féidir linn a shéanadh gur bhuaigh sé go cóir agus go cothrom. Mar sin, cé chomh dlisteanach is atá na hagóide? Deirtear gur cur amú ama iad, ag cur isteach ar na póilíní agus ar saoránaigh atá umhal don dlí araon. Má’s rud é nach raibh fadbhanna leis an gcóras dhaonlathach, an fiú iad a dhéanamh? Is fiú gan amhras dar liomsa. Ceapaim go bhfuil sé ar eolas ag na hagóideoirí nach bhfuil siad chun an toradh a mhalartú. Ní hé sin an cuspóir atá acu. Pé scéal é, trí mheán na hagóide, is féidir leo iarmhairtí eile a chothú. Gach uair a théann siad amuigh ar na sráideanna, cuireann siad in iúl go bhfuil siad ag seasamh gualainn ar ghualainn leo siúd a bhí gortaithe gach uair a d’oscail Trump a bhéal i mbliana. Gach uair a chastar súil orthu ar an nuacht, cuireann siad brú mór millteach ar Trump a chuid polasaithe a athrú. Cosúil leis an teachtaireacht a bhí ag foireann aisteoirí “Hamilton” do Mike Pence an tseachtain seo caite, is meabhrú í gach uile agóid gur sochaí iolraíoch í Meiriceá. Tharla beagán de agóide comh maith tar éis an reifreann do “Brexit”, ach tá cuid den agóide tagtha chun cinn go dleathach. De réir cinneadh déanta ag Ard Chúirt na Ríocht Aontaithe, beidh ar an parlaimint Westminister vóta a thógáil ar an ábhar, ní cinneadh é a suíonn le chomhaireacht May áfach. Gina Miller a thug an cás chun cúirte ag argóint nach raibh “saincheart Ríoga” i gceist, agus dá spreagadh Airteagal 50 gan vóta parlaiminte ar, go gcuireadh roinnt mhaith Achtaí Parlaiminte eile ar cheal. Tá an cás anois le phlé san Cúirt Uachtarach, agus an rialtas ag súil go ndéanfadh an Cúirt ath-
chinneadh ar an mbreith. Cé nach raibh freagairt ró dearfach ag an taobh a bhí i bhfábhar an Aontas Eoraach a fhágaint (tá Miller tar éis bagairtí báis a fháil), ba léiriú é ar cén fáth go b’fhéidir nár cheart
“Is é fírinne an scéil ná gurb é seo an glúin is scoilte riamh mar gheall ar tionchar an idirlíon agus an both an macalla a chruthaíonn sé.” caitheamh aníos orthu siúd a dtéann in agóide ar thorthaí daonlathach, tá seans mhaith fiú go bhfuil maitheas iontu. Stopfaidh na hagóideoirí i gceann dtamaill beag agus rachaidh siad ar ais go dtí a saol laethúil. Ní fheicfidh tú iad a thuilleadh, ach beidh siad fós ann. Caithfidh Trump bheith ina hUachtarán do gach saoránach, ní amháin dóibh siúd a thug vóta dó. Ag deireadh an lae, is siombail iad na hagóide in aghaidh na héadulaingte, agus níl dada mícheart leis sin ann féin.
ag déanamh agóide- protesting calaois toghcháin-electoral fraud gnéasachas-sexism ciníochas-racism íol fuatha-idol of hatred iarmhairt-impact saincheart ríoga- Royal prerogative éadulaingte- intolerance/oppression
November 29th 2016 9
features In Their Own Words: The Mental Health Struggles of UCD Students Four UCD students speak out about their very different experiences with mental health difficulties.
“Amy”, Arts Undergraduate I do not have a diagnosed mental health condition. For all intents and purposes, I am your standard third-level student; persistently a little broke, a bit behind on assignments and readings, but ticking along, smiling away. The problem with mental health sometimes is that, unless you have a diagnosed and medicated condition, it can feel
“Unless you have a diagnosed and medicated condition, it can feel quite difficult to get people to take you seriously.” quite difficult to get people to take you seriously. Your stress; your anxiety; your panic, is lesser. In my experience, no one has ever said this, nor even alluded to it, but when you feel that you have no right to feel so bad, it becomes difficult to talk about it. The result being I ignore it as much as possible, which is impossible in the day-to-day, so I swap crippling self-judgement and occasional self-loathing for mountains of work and tight deadlines. The sheer quantity and the stress leaves me busy and frustrated over something different which is not me. While it is exhausting, it means that there is less time for relaxation, less time for self-reflection, which doesn’t often end well. I don’t help myself either. My friends say to talk to them and if there’s ever a problem, they’re there. That’s what friends do. Sometimes I try. I say “hey can we talk? I don’t feel great”, but it comes down to it and I say, “Oh yeah just a bit stressed, you know?”, we exchange humorous anecdotes and go back to work. And I do feel better for a while, but it doesn’t last long and soon I return to my state of masked happiness,
“I don’t know what it is that’s bothering me, other than me, my being myself. How do you explain that to someone?” which I have gotten so good at by now that I am often described as smiley and cheery: the term “a sunny disposition” comes up a lot. It feels very childish to say “nobody understands me; I’m going to sit here and write bad poetry while musing over non-existent inadequacies.” So I mostly don’t say anything. I don’t know what it is that’s bothering me, other than me, my being myself. How do you explain that to someone? I can’t explain it, and I don’t want to waste others’ valuable time – we’re all very busy. But it feels like there’s part of me not there, as if I’m in a perpetual state of la petite mort, persistent slight melancholia. And that just sounds too dramatic or too rehearsed to be taken seriously.
suicidal, and remained that way for most of this year. A common misconception most people have is that people who are suicidal are very close to taking their own lives. I learned the hard way that most people who are suicidal often spend a long time existing in a horrendous limbo where their determination to exist for the sake of those they love still outweighs their resolve to take the ultimate step. I have experienced nothing in this world more terrifying than losing the will to live, nor do I think I ever will. I began swinging violently between episodes of irrational fear and deep depression. I was no longer able to get out of bed in the morning. I avoided contact with my friends, and people in general. I stopped eating and lost weight. The smallest things became the triggers for debilitating panic attacks. I felt like I couldn’t control my mind anymore, that I was going mad. Thankfully I started going to a different therapist
“If you aren’t seeing results, try changing your therapist, or your self-help technique, or your medication type.” this year, and tried taking different medication. The meds help to take the worst of the effects away while you work on the root cause of your illness with a therapist or someone you know. What I would say to anyone who has tried to help themselves and feels that they have hit a brick wall: I have been where you are many times. There have been many moments this year where I was getting all the help in the world, yet I was still convinced that I would never live past 25. Unfortunately, finding the right way to manage your mental illness just takes longer for some people. If you aren’t seeing results, try changing your therapist, or your self-help technique, or your medication type. There is an approach out there for everybody. Whatever you do, don’t give up. In this state, your thoughts are not healthy, and you are not your thoughts.
Shane Conneely, PhD Student (Cognitive Science) @shane_conneely I’m Shane, and I’m a drunk who doesn’t drink. I’ve become comfortable with this (the only time it’s ever awkward is on first dates) but even though drinking shattered my life, my health, and my psyche, I can still feel the grá for pints arise within me. My drinking got bad when I was 16 and I had my first blackout. Thereafter, my experience of alcoholism was miserable. I’d do things in blackouts that I’d have to face when sober. My friends would tell me
“Matthew”, Law Undergraduate “My drinking got bad when I was 16 and I had I have been battling with anxiety ever since I started at UCD. While in the past three my first blackout” years, it has always been in the background, it has reached an unfortunate highpoint since January of this year. Before that I had already tried telling my parents, going to counselling,
“I have experienced nothing in this world more terrifying than losing the will to live” and taking medication. While there have been many points in my journey where I felt I was making progress, it would only be short term. I felt that “talking it out”, and all the other methods that people encourage, never had a lasting effect on me. I began to think that nothing would work, and that I would be stuck struggling with this for the rest of my life. That is when the depression began. I became
stories of what I’d gotten up to while drunk, I’d have the shame but not the memories. For a long, long time, I thought that my drinking problem was a consequence of my other problems: I had a set of tough life experiences. I disliked my college course. But mostly, I disliked myself. From my current perspective, I think that my reasoning was skewed, so long as I wanted to drink, there was an excuse to drink. If there was something to celebrate - I’d drink, if I was unhappy - I’d drink, if it was Tuesday - I’d drink. There’s a saying among the recovery community that addiction “is the only disease that tells you that you don’t have it” which was my experience too. I genuinely thought I had a blackout problem, not an alcohol one. I changed my drinking to try to manage blackouts: I stopped drinking shots. Drank more water. Started drinking later. Drank with
drugs. Drugged without drink. I changed my life to change how I felt about me. I dropped out of college. I changed jobs. I changed cities. I changed friends. I went back to college. I changed girlfriends. I got treated for depression.
“I thought that my drinking problem was a consequence of my other problems… But mostly, I disliked myself.” Eventually, I ran out of ideas. It took until I’d finally made it to final year before I gave up trying to fight alcohol. Alcohol proved to be bigger and stronger than me, it was easier to accept that and learn to live without drink than it was to keep drinking. I was tired of fighting; drink had kicked the shite out of me. Fortunately, things have only improved since. I’ve had eleven years without drinking. I’ve
“I’ve had eleven years without drinking. I’ve worked in an interesting professional field and am now skilling up further on a PhD programme” worked in an interesting professional field and am now skilling up further on a PhD programme. I’m broke, haven’t found god, but live an exciting, fun, and way more enjoyable life than I had before, even despite the odd awkward date.
“Aoife”, Law Undergraduate I have always struggled with anxiety. A very uplifting introduction I know, but bear with me, it gets more optimistic. I’m from a small village in rural Ireland. My class had 11 pupils including me, and my school had about 130 pupils in total. While the other kids in my class played football, did dance classes and socialised together, I was far more content reading or drawing on my own. I wasn’t good at sport, I had two left feet and I lived in a different area. I was outspoken, and was never able to suppress an opinion. Children can pick up on small differences. It was very obvious that I didn’t fit in, and the kids in my class capitalised on this. I was teased, left out and felt so alone. However, with time, things changed. I went on to a bigger school and met amazing friends. The loneliness faded away. Anxiety is harder to shake. When you grow up being shunned by your peers, and told on daily basis how useless you are, it gets inside your head. It doesn’t
matter how strong you may think you are. For me, the academic aspect of school always came easy. The kids in my class couldn’t touch that. No one ever called me stupid. So I fixated on that – my only talent was school. So when the Leaving Cert didn’t go my way it crushed me. All those things the kids in my class said were true. I was useless, I would amount to nothing. Staying behind while my friends went to college was devastating. I struggled to get out of bed in the morning. But I persevered. I got the results that I wanted and I went to UCD.
“Surrounding yourself with people who love you, just as you are and telling them how you feel” I met an amazing, supportive group of people who, without knowing, help me every day. I’m by no means cured of my anxiety. I’ve had panic attacks mid-exam, and have availed of counselling services while here (something I highly recommend). But it can be managed. For me, that means surrounding yourself with people who love you, just as you are and telling them how you feel. It means recognising what makes you unique and celebrating it. I don’t care what other people think of me anymore. I don’t let other people’s perception of me cloud what I know about myself. It’s the most liberating decision I’ve ever made.
If you are suffering from mental health difficulties, contact the Samaritans on 116 123 or the UCD Counselling Service on 01 7163133.
“When the Leaving Cert didn’t go my way, it crushed me”
Illustration : Meadhbh Sheridan
10 November 29th 2016
features Will Trump’s Presidency Spell the End for the J1? With Donald Trump’s unexpected victory, Keri Heath finds out whether fears for the future of the popular Irish visa programme are justified. and International Relations, said that he doesn’t anticipate many changes coming to the J-1, especially not within the next year. “My guess is that there will be other things he looks at first,” Brazys said. “I don’t think that… J-1 students are at the height of the anti-immigrant rhetoric in the US.” At the same time, he noted that he would not be surprised by increased focus placed on
“If I was going to the US to work for a long term thing, I think I would be put off by Trump”
The US Embassy, Dublin THE election of Donald Trump earlier this month as the next President of the United States of America has prompted many questions about the future of immigration into the country. For students from Ireland, as well as 200 other countries this poses a potential roadblock. Currently, many different students from around the world may obtain a J-1 Visa to study, teach or work in the US. About 300,000 visitors arrive to the US on a J-1 each year, and almost 30% of those students are from Western Europe. The J-1 is designed for individuals who wish to either work or study in the US, sponsored through accredited educational or non-profit organizations.
However, this isn’t the only visa that allows students to enter the US. An F-1 visa is designed for students who are completing their studies in
“I don’t think students necessarily have been the area of concern” the US and maintains a full-time course load. The M-1, another classification, is a visa strictly for vocational studies, which doesn’t allow holders to work during their stay in the US. Samuel Brazys, of the UCD School of Politics
enforcing rules pertaining to the end of a student’s J-1 period. “There is a concern with people overstaying visas like the J-1, so my guess is that there could certainly be changes that come in that make that more difficult and some of that might be increased registration; a more involved process,” Brazys said. “Some of that has come under scrutiny, even during the Obama administration, so it wouldn’t be out of the realm of possibility I think to envision an additional tightening there.” In March, the Chicago Tribune reported that Trump sent an email to the Associated Press stating that he would abolish the J-1 visa program if he was elected president. However, the proposal is no longer mentioned on Trump’s website. John Murphy, Media Relations Specialist at the US Embassy in Dublin, said that it is still too early to tell what, if any, effect, the Trump administration will have on the J-1 visa. He notes that there will be no predictions until after Trump is inaugurated. “The U.S. State Department will be engaging and working with the President elect and the transition team in the coming weeks to ensure a peaceful transfer of power, as the State Department has done with each new President for well
over 200 years,” Murphy said. “Currently, we are still working for President Obama and his administration.”
“The proposal is no longer mentioned on Trump’s website” Róisín Long attends UCD and plans to study on a J-1 next semester in Colorado. She said that she doesn’t foresee any problems associated with her J-1 or with her experience as a foreigner in the US, despite the fact that Trump will take office during her stay in the country. “I don’t think I’m particularly nervous about [studying in the US], as I’m just going for a semester to Colorado where they voted for Clinton,” Long said. “But if I was going to the US to work for a long term thing, I think I would be put off by Trump and his politics.”
“There is a concern with people overstaying visas like the J-1, there could certainly be changes that make that more difficult” Brazys also pointed out that international students who study in America provide economic benefit to universities and communities. He noted that while rules on visa overstay may be reexamined, international students are an important component of many American universities. “International students are a big business for American universities so…there would be certainly a powerful lobby of constituents…who certainly want to keep US institutions as attractive for students as possible. I don’t think students necessarily have been the area of concern,” Brazys concluded.
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November 29th 2016 11
Features Students and Homelessness: How Can We Make A Difference? Following the recent Homeless Week, Orla Keaveney finds out whether the right approaches are being taken to tackle homelessness. IN Week 9, UCD Saint Vincent de Paul (SVP) hosted their annual Homeless Week across campus. This is the society’s biggest event of the year, with a wide range of activities organised to raise funds and awareness for the city’s homeless. After kicking off with a launch night on Monday 7th November, UCD SVP hosted a talk from former homeless people, an awareness workshop with FilmSoc and LawSoc, and an open mic night with Music Soc. Members could also be seen busking and selling hot drinks outside the library, as well as sleeping in sub-zero temperatures on cardboard at night. Homeless Week raised over €3,500 for UCD SVP’s volunteer programmes, as well as getting hundreds of students from all faculties of UCD to engage with the issue of homelessness. Fay White, a UCD student and one of the Homeless Week organisers, considers the event a success: “the support throughout the week blew us away. So many people came up to the stand to chat and I’d like to think that some people learned a lot from what we told them about our experiences.” However, John-Mark McCafferty, Head of Social Justice and Policy with the National Office of the
“Some people learned a lot from what we told them about our experiences” SVP, is concerned that such campaigns place too much emphasis on “rough sleepers.” Although he acknowledges that the situation of those sleeping on Dublin’s streets is dire, he believes that the stories of many homeless people are sidelined by the media for cases with more shock-value. “Charities themselves over-emphasise rough sleeping, often for fundraising reasons. It’s a very visible way of raising funds, but it tells only a tiny bit of the story… it skews the perceptions of what it means to be homeless in Ireland today.” A count taken last April found that at least 100 people sleep on the streets of Dublin every night. But John-Mark considers these figures “a
drop in the ocean compared to the seven thousand officially homeless people who are in emergency accommodation, like hostels, B&Bs and hotels.” According to the Homeless Executive of the Dublin City Council, over 200 people, including children, become newly homeless every month. The money raised during Homeless Week and other SVP events goes to helping local people “holding onto their tenancies with their fingernails” as well as those who have already lost their homes. But although students can usually spare some change for a good cause, we’re a notoriously cash-strapped group, so the best option for getting involved is volunteer work. UCD SVP organises four soup runs a week, sending groups around the streets distributing hot drinks and food to people sleeping rough. Although the nights are getting colder, the friendly atmosphere and Christmas lights across the city brighten the routes up, and it can be a very fulfilling way to spend a free evening. This year, soup runs have been particularly popular – White comments that “since the start of the semester we’ve had consistently full soup runs, with most soup runs filling up in less than five minutes.” However, McCafferty notes that “there are a lot of soup runs out there in Dublin City. My worry is that we’re tripping over each other with very well-meaning volunteers... You set up for the night, you’ve heated all this soup, you’ve buttered all these sandwiches, and people who are rough sleeping are turning you away because they already have pizza [from another organisation].” This lack of coordination between Dublin’s various homeless charities means that the efforts of volunteers are not always as efficient as they could be, but UCD SVP volunteers often find that the rough sleepers appreciate a sympathetic ear as much as a warm meal. So soup runs continue to be a worthwhile way to help the homeless, even if there is a need for improved organisation. While White is firmly in favour of soup runs, she acknowledges that “they are not a solution to the homeless problem. Until the government tackles
the lack of social housing and puts measures into place in order to prevent people ending up
Street was turned into an “estate agents” to raise awareness of the challenges faced by low-income families in search of affordable housing in the city. UCD volunteers encouraged passers-by to sign a “Charities themselves overpetition calling for improved social housing, which emphasise rough sleeping, was presented to the Minister for Housing, Simon often for fundraising reasons” Coveney. White also believes that “we need to have as much support as possible to put pressure on the homeless in the first place, homeless people in Dublin will only benefit from these services in the government to deal with the issue. The student short term.” presence in campaigns such as for the marriage There may not seem to be a lot that students can referendum last year was so impactful that it goes do to bring about change on a national level, but to show what can be achieved if everyone is vocal both McCafferty and White agree that students can about supporting an issue… Students have the achieve more than they may think. McCafferty also ability to influence change regarding how we deal praised UCD SVP’s “structured campaigns to help with homelessness in this country.” For anyone interested in getting involved, the in a more long-term, sustained way,” particularly their recent “Hidden Homeless” display. UCD SVP Facebook page is regularly updated with upcoming events. Last October, the SVP charity shop on Georges
UCD SVP fundraising outside James Joyce Library during Homelss Week
The Lost World of Richview Richview, while nominally a part of campus, is seen by many as a world onto itself. Aurora Andrus speaks to its students and staff. contains a unique collection of architecture, urban studies, and other studies and includes printed and digital media. Inside the studios, it is quiet yet bustling. Students spend a generous amount of time doing studio work and working in general. Second year
“The campus here in Richview has a different atmosphere to that in Belfield” student Sean Colleran spoke about what his days are like. “My day starts at 9am usually and finishes at about 6 or 7pm and that’s on a quiet day. Sometimes you could be in the studio working till 10pm.” The workload is high but the resources the
photo credit: Ucd.ie
MOST students in UCD will have heard of Richview though the majority will rarely visit it. Although the UCD School of Architecture, Planning, and Environmental Policy lies only slightly to the west of the main campus and is only a short ten minute walk away, it maintains its privacy, giving it an almost mythical quality. Belfield is often dismissed as a “concrete block” with the School of Architecture offering the main exception. Richview is a lovely area consisting of a grassy quad surrounded by buildings for each specific subject. The social centre for students, where they go to take a break from their busy schedules, is the café. The halls are lined with lab entrances, and the studios are full of architecture students creating and learning. One of the architecture school’s biggest landmarks is the Richview Library, which is a branch of the main UCD library. Richview Library
school offers assists students, so they enjoy their education as well as producing quality work. The Regional and Urban Planning’s Professor, Dr. Paula Russell, gave great insights to the School of Architecture, Planning, and Environmental Policy. She, like the students, has a full day of lectures, planning, meetings, and her own research work. When asked about the Richview campus she says, “the campus here in Richview has a different atmosphere to that in Belfield, it feels slightly less frenetic but nonetheless there is a great sense of engagement and production of new knowledge here.” Standing in the Quad in Richview or walking around the buildings, you can look into the studios and see architecture, planning, and urban design students working on projects, producing GIS maps, CAD drawings, 3D models or discussing these with their peers and staff in criticism and debate. “While our environmental policy MSc students grapple with climate change, energy transitions and how to shape policy to change behaviours. It is
“Richview is a great location for our school as the combination of older protected structures together with new award winning buildings is a great space” a very active form of learning, and it does involve long hours, the studios are often active until late in the evening!” she says. “I love the fact that the Quad is sometimes used as a gallery to display the fruits of students’ work in the building lab. Richview is a great location for our school as the combination of older protected
The builidng lab for architecture students in Richview 12 November 29th 2016
structures together with new award-winning buildings -- all set around a series of quads -- is a great space to see how space and place is created through the energies and thought of our combined respective disciplines.” As mentioned previously, Richview is also home to the fantastic Richview library. Within its walls contains excellent collection of books and maps, a source not only for students but also to the planning and architecture profession who use it to
“We don’t have easy access to the range of services and choice of catering facilities” source maps and information for their work. There is always a sense of Richview engaging beyond UCD, through the library, through the Environmental Protection Agency (whose Dublin office is located here) and the residents of the adjoining office parks and residential areas using the space and facilities. It is clear that Richview has so much to offer its students and does everything it can to maintain its integrity and historic community. Dr. Russell shared some insight about the location of Richview. While she does enjoy her neck of the woods, she acknowledged that due to its edge of campus location, they “don’t have easy access to the range of services and choice of catering facilities that exist on the main Belfield campus. A brisk 15 minute walk is required to reach the lake.” It is clear that the students and faculty at the School of Architecture, Planning, and Environmental Policy appreciate their community and work hard to maintain its charm. Slightly detached from the main campus, it offers a secluded quieter academic atmosphere, that all UCD students should try to visit at least once.
Science Under Pressure
As the exams approach, Danielle Crowley takes a look at how stress affects us and whether we’re thinking about stress in the wrong light.
STRESS. You all know it. You’ve all felt it. You’re possibly feeling it right now. But what is it exactly? Is it as bad as we are led to believe? What can we do to combat the effects of stress? Stress is due to the “fight or flight” response. Two major systems in your body are involved in this process: the autonomic nervous system (ANS) and the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA). The ANS controls the unconscious functions of your body, such as heart rate, the digestive system and the reproductive system. When the body reacts in response to a stressor, which is something that stresses you out, the ANS shuts down any systems that will not be needed to deal with the threat, such as the digestive and reproductive systems, while it diverts blood and other resources to the muscles that will help you escape. The HPA sends out hormones, which stimulate these responses. The hypothalamus, which is the part of your brain that helps regulate various bodily functions, sends cortico-releasing hormone to your
“The scary thing with this is that some researchers think that this brain damage could make a person more susceptible to illnesses like depression and Alzheimer’s” pituitary gland, which is situated just under your brain. This then sends adrenocorticotropic hormone to the adrenal glands on top of the kidney. It is here that the hormones cortisol and adrenaline (or epinephrine) are released. Adrenaline primes your body for action: a well-known example is causing your heart rate and blood pressure to go up. While adrenaline acts almost immediately, cortisol takes its time. It also increases blood pressure, as well as increasing blood sugar and priming your body to use your food stores to replenish the energy that will be lost in dealing with
the threat. Once the threat is gone, your body returns to its “rest and digest” mode, where normal function of all the “unnecessary” systems returns and your heart rate and blood pressure drop back to normal levels. For some threats, like being attacked by some large predator or another human, this is a very good system. But when it’s applied to our modern way of life, where stressors come in the form of deadlines, relationships and monetary issues that may never go away completely, it can lead to a lot of problems, as your body is now in an almost constant state of fight or flight. These biological reactions are the underlying cause of many of the additional symptoms we associate with chronic stress, which is feeling stress for a long period of time. Weight gain can be due to cortisol. While eating to restore your energy after you’ve expended it in an epic battle with a lion makes perfect sense, it doesn’t when the stressful things we face today require little physical effort. Since cortisol is involved with raising your blood sugar levels, chronic stress when combined with over-eating can lead to diabetes. One of the more sinister side effects of stress is memory loss. As cortisol increases, it negatively affects the part of your brain known as the hippocampus, which is involved in memory. It also has a role in the HPA, and if there are less connections in the hippocampus due to stress, then it can’t deal with stress as well and so the vicious cycle continues. Cortisol can also reduce synaptic connections in your frontal cortex, which controls skills such as concentration, judgement and social skills. This reduction of connections due to stress causes your brain to shrink. Chronic stress also reduces new neuron growth in the hippocampus. As well as memory the hippocampus is involved with learning, so damage here can potentially reduce your ability to learn new things. The scary thing with this is that some researchers think that this brain damage could make a person more susceptible to illnesses like
Cracking under the pressure depression and Alzheimer’s. How can we effectively deal with stress? This varies from person to person. Exercise is hugely helpful for many, but if you hate exercise with a burning passion, it’s unlikely to do much for you. Any hobby that you really enjoy is likely to calm
“The more time you spend with loved ones, the more benefit you reap from oxytocin” you down, as well as planning your life so you don’t end up trying to do all of your assignments at once. In a TED talk given by Kelly McGonigal, she suggested one way may be to change the way you view stress. In a study, those who experienced a lot of stress, but didn’t view it as harmful, had the
lowest chance of dying due to stress-related causes out of all those in the study. If you view your stress as helping you to achieve your goals and to reach your potential, your physical response changes. Your blood vessels stay relaxed rather than contracting, which reduces your risk of cardiovascular problems. McGonigal also points out that oxytocin, the “cuddle hormone”, is released when you’re under stress. It causes you to want you to seek out support from loved ones, and it helps protect your heart. And the more time you spend with your loved ones (yes, your loved ones can include your pets), the more benefit you reap from oxytocin. Even caring for others can be beneficial, with people who spent time helping others showing no increase in their risk of dying due to stress. Stress is scary, but it is an inevitable part of life. Since it’s not going to go away anytime soon, we may as well learn to accept it and try to find healthy ways to deal with it, for the sake of our wellbeing.
The Winner Takes It All Aisling Brennan marvels at some of the amazing record breakers of the animal kingdom.
Immature Spittle Bug HUMANS are amazing. We create art and science always looking to go further, and then pat ourselves on the back for doing art and science and being humans. But there are plenty of extreme boundaries the natural world can push leaving us far behind, and this article aims to shine a light on just a few of them: the record-breakers of the animal kingdom. First let us address the elephant in the room: in particular the male African elephant, which can reach 6800kg in weight and stands an impressive 3.5m tall. While not approaching the height of the giraffe, or the winding length of anacondas, the African elephant’s hulking mass wins it the title of largest living land animal. More specific groups of animals have their own record breakers however, with the Komodo dragon winning the largest (and heaviest) lizard category, and the Chinese giant salamander receiving the award for largest living amphibian at a staggering 180cm in length In marine environments, there’s an entirely different set of rules. While on land an animal’s potential size is limited by gravity, muscle mass,
and how much food there is in their environment, the world’s oceans and seas provide a floating, nutrient filled life. Thus, it is the blue whale that can ultimately claim, not only the title of largest mammal, but of largest animal on Earth. Although endangered, these leviathans can live 80 or 90 years, growing up to 32m long and 200 tons in weight. Staying in the watery depths we have such record breakers as the whale shark (largest fish) reaching 18m in length; the sailfish (fastest fish) reaching speeds of 109 kmph; and the infamous great white shark. The great white is believed to have possibly the most powerful bite of any animal, but scientists have been unable to measure it properly, so the current record holder in that department is the saltwater crocodile, delivering a bite force of 16,415 N. However, the great white is still a record holder as in 2005, a shark named Nicole made the longest recorded shark migration, and completed the fastest return migration of any known animal. Circuiting Africa and Australia, Nicole swam an incredible
weighing in at 20kg, although this pales in comparison to the largest (flightless) bird, the ostrich, which can weigh up to 150 kg. But if we want to look for the strongest, most dangerous and weirdest record breakers on the planet, we’re going to have to scale it down a bit, and focus on the minibeasts. While we’ve looked at elephants, whales and giant birds, none of them come close to the strongest: the rhinoceros beetle. Capable of carrying up to 850 times their own body weight, this beetle’s strength is the equivalent of a human being able to carry 59 metric tons with ease! Another super-hero within the bug group is the spittle bug. Although only 6mm in length, the spittle bug can jump 70 cm into the air, the equivalent of a human leaping a 210m skyscraper. Humans are great, and we do some pretty amazing things, but every so often it’s fun to step aside and marvel at what nature can do better than us, bigger than us, and often downright cooler than us. And maybe there are a few – like the wood frog, that hibernates for up to 7 months at a time – that are closer to our own hearts than we might think.
“During this staggering journey it doesn’t stop for food or water, and by the time it reaches its destination, it will have lost more than 50% of its body weight”
Photo credit: norman west via flickr
Photo credit: R. Bercha via insectsofalberta.com
“Although only 6mm in length, the spittle bug can jump 70 cm into the air, the equivalent of a human leaping a 210m skyscraper!”
20,000 km in a mere nine months. Speaking of marathon journeys, the sooty shearwater bird has been known to travel 64,000 km from its home in New Zealand up into the Northern Hemisphere in search of feeding grounds. Even more impressively, however, is the bar-tailed godwit, which holds the record for the longest non-stop avian migration. The godwit flies 11,500 km from Alaska to New Zealand… in only nine days! During this staggering journey it doesn’t stop for food or water, and by the time it reaches its destination, it will have lost more than 50% of its body weight. Birds also take the cake when it comes to speed, with the cheetah not even coming close with its more than 96km/h land speed record. The peregrine falcon, hunting pigeons and other winged prey, dive from so high up that they can reach 322 kmph as they go in for the kill. Within the bird group, the wandering albatross wins the largest wingspan, with wings measuring up to 3.35m tip to tip. The largest flying bird is the Kori bustard,
Bar-Tailed Godwit November 29th 2016 13
the mysterious worlD of aNti-matter
a.i. karumBa: the future of artificial iNtelligeNce
Nearly 90 years after initial discovery, John Savage talks the who, when, what and how of anti-matter, one of physics’ greatest mysteries.
Louise Flanagan investigates the growing field of artificial intelligence.
aNTI-maTTEr is quite a scientific curiosity, and was originally conceived of by the British physicist Paul Dirac in 1928. Dirac devised an equation to describe the behaviour of an electron moving at relativistic speed and in doing so created an equation with two solutions: either an electron with positive energy or an electron with negative energy. He interpreted this result to be that for every particle there was a corresponding ‘anti-particle’ that was identical to the original particle in almost all aspects but charge, for which it was the complete opposite. In 1932, Carl David anderson, an american physicist, discovered the anti-matter equivalent of the electron present in cosmic rays and christened it the ‘positron’. Within twenty-five years, both the
“How do we exist in a matterdominated universe?’’ anti-proton and the anti-neutron were discovered. The anti-neutron was intuitively quite puzzling as it has no charge that could have an opposite value, yet it was realised that the charged subunits (or ‘quarks’) themselves were of an opposite charge. Quarks and anti-quarks were only proposed to exist in 1964, almost a decade after the anti-neutron was discovered. It was subsequently theorised that at the occurrence of the Big Bang, an equal amount of matter and corresponding anti-matter should have been created. Upon interaction with matter, anti-matter causes both particles to be annihilated and two photons of light are produced. Each have energy corresponding to the mass of the particles
annihilated and they both move in precisely opposite directions. This leads to one of the great mysteries of theoretical physics: how do we exist in a matterdominated universe? What could have happened was that all of the anti-matter and most of the normal matter was destroyed. It is this asymmetry that stumps physicists. other theories in the field include the concept of an ‘anti-matter universe’, which so far is only the stuff of comics and sci-fi writing. Unbeknownst to most, anti-matter occurs more frequently than initially believed, and is not only on the Enterprise from Star Trek. Positrons that emit gamma rays indirectly are utilised in the diagnostic process of positron emission tomography (PET). It is a form of 3D imaging that is used to observe metabolic processes in the body and can be used in the areas of oncology, neuroimaging and cardiology in hospitals. anti-matter is known to occur naturally through a type of radiation referred to as �-decay of radioactive isotopes and was originally observed from cosmic rays. scientists have observed antimatter present in thunderstorms, as the antimatter enters our atmosphere through the medium of cosmic rays. We have created miniscule amounts of anti-matter over decades of research, and the brilliant minds at CErN have succeeded in even creating anti-atoms of ‘anti-hydrogen’. This ‘anti-hydrogen’ is composed of an anti-proton and a positron, compared to hydrogen which is composed of a proton and an electron. The creation and storage of such a problematic material is possible. But, like all things on the frontiers of scientific discovery, it is quite expensive, so don’t expect anti-matter spaceships anytime soon.
photo creDit: Nasa
‘‘Anti-matter occurs more frequently than initially believed, and is not only on the Star Trek Enterprise’’ The Crab Nebula
WHEN most of us think of artificial intelligence (aI) our minds readily conjure up sci-fi fuelled images of super-intelligent, humanoid robots hellbent on replacing the human race and taking over the world. This is not exactly true (at least not yet). In its driest terms, aI is a device or agent that can display intelligence on par with, or greater than, a human. aI is far from a dry research area though. Funding for aI-based projects has been growing rapidly in recent years. aI research has produced devices that can beat chess grandmasters, recognise faces, diagnose diseases, test terrains for danger in war zones, and even autonomously vacuum floors. But where exactly is aI heading? are we even in a position to see that far ahead just yet? There are two types of aI: “strong aI” and “weak aI”. “Weak aI” is all around us, in our
“Funding for AI-based projects has been growing rapidly in recent years” GPs devices, the voice recognition technology in our smartphones, and even in a standard school calculator. These devices copy a narrow range of human brain functions. “strong aI” on the other hand, is about capturing all the subtleties of human thought and behaviour, from learning and memory to perceiving other’s emotions and being able to make sense of things it hasn’t seen before. “strong aI” doesn’t exist yet, but “weak aI” is slowly building its strength. How will we know when machines do reach this landmark? one way is the Turing Test, devised by computer scientist alan Turing back in 1950. The test is simple: a human judge has a text conversation with a computer and a human, but the judge can’t see either of them and doesn’t know which is the computer and which is the human. If the machine can fool the judge into believing it’s human 30% of the time, it passes and is deemed artificially intelligent. The test was passed for the first time in 2014 when a chatbot posed as a 13 year-old Ukrainian boy, Eugene. While Eugene technically succeeded, its persona did provide a convenient disguise for any grammatical errors and undeveloped answers. although it’s still useful there are drawbacks to
Ava, the AI robot from the 2015 film Ex Machina
the Turing Test. Firstly, machines are being created purely to pass the test, without being concerned about true intelligence. secondly it only focuses on the machine’s ability to mimic human behaviour – it does nothing to account for the machine’s thought processes. other approaches to aI, not so concerned with the Turing Test, also exist, focusing on creating machines that mimic how humans think. alternatively, there are approaches that don’t use
“The Turing test was passed for the first time in 2014 when a chatbot posed as a 13 yearold Ukrainian boy, Eugene” humans as models for intelligence at all, instead focusing on rational solutions to questions and situations. so how far away are we from the “strong aI” like we see in 2001: a space odyssey and ex machina? The short answer is a long way. It is possible we could create machines which are sentient and autonomous and which have the ability to create things themselves. However in the near future we’ll more likely be dealing with aI that can do a small number of tasks very well, better than humans, but they will not be humans.
from wilD wolf to care giver Mairead Boland delves into the history of our relationship with dogs, from the very beginning up until the present day.
14 November 29th 2016
mankind and managed to achieve this dangerous goal. Diverging from this one species of grey wolf came thousands of species. Four hundred of these are what we call pure breeds. Let’s skip forward 15,000 years to the present. Dogs now impact in our lives in a myriad of ways. They serve us as pets, they provide great company
“Dogs can alert its owner of an epileptic seizure 15-30 minutes before the seizure actually happens” to their owners who spend hours playing and walking their dogs. There are other ways to in which dogs have greatly impacted our lives. Due to the high degree of intelligence in dogs they have proven to be very useful in the medical field. service dogs have been found to have endless benefits to people with disabilities. a survey done on a group of people with physical disabilities using service dogs and a group of people with physical disabilities who didn’t use service dogs found that those who used service dogs had a better mental health score than those who didn’t. These results appear to be due to the fact that service dogs decrease the amount of daily stresses in doing menial tasks. Tasks, which were once cumbersome due to disabilities, become much easier with the help of our furry friends. Use of service dogs in children who have autism has been found to have a huge range of benefits.
studies show these children to have decreased anxiety in social situations and more independence from their carers. Humans are becoming more creative in how we utilize our dogs There has been a recent trend in the use of dogs as a means of alerting when a person is having an allergy or a seizure. Dogs can alert its owner of an epileptic seizure 15-30 minutes before the seizure actually happens. This allows the owner of the dog to get to a safe location before the seizure actually happens. service dogs
“This research would suggest that modern day dogs originated from Asia and not Europe”
can also be used for patients who are diabetic. Diabetic alert dogs can sense when a person’s blood glucose levels are at an unsafe level and alert its owner. our canine companions have definitely proven themselves in the modern world; both as pets and as care givers. However, let us not forget to thank our ancient asian predecessors for the gift of domestication. Without the domestication of the asian grey wolf, our beloved pets would not be here today.
photo creDit: thewilDlife.wBur.org/
as andy ronney once said “the average dog is a nicer person than the average person.” It is not often that we stop to think about where our fluffy friends originated from. The location of domestication of the modern dog has for many years caused some debate in the scientific community. according to a recent article in the academic journal Science, dogs were in fact domesticated twice. once in asia, as previously thought and once in Europe. The research carried out in oxford University and Trinity College Dublin examined the genome of the remains of a dog found in Ireland which dates back 4,800 years. The remains of an ancient asian dog were also examined. Upon analysis it was found that the two genomes were considerably different. so much so that it led the scientists to believe that dogs were in fact domesticated twice. They also found that the DNa profile of later European dogs was more similar to that of the ancient asian dogs. It is thought that asian people migrated to Europe and brought their dogs with them. These dogs then replaced the Neolithic European dogs. This research would suggest our modern day dogs originated from asia and not Europe. The exact location of the domestication of the dog is thought to have occurred in modern mongolia or Nepal. at this time however dogs were not the friendly and diverse species we know today. The first dogs were in fact domesticated from the asian grey wolf. as one can imagine, the domestication of a wolf must have been a daunting task. We are most certainly glad that somebody took one for Team
stuDeNt voices where to fiND queer literature In the small world of queer literature, Ruth Murphy explores lesbian vampires, film adaptations, and queers being queers. WHILE texts about Queer Theory are not hard to find, queer literature is another story. The oldest surviving LGBT bookshop in the world, which is a small shop above an optician in downtown Toronto, features many books that may just have a single gay storyline thrown in there. Queer main characters are hard to come by. While Tumblr would have us believe that there are lots of us out there who want to read queer literature, this bookshop, in a city that has rainbows painted on the streets of the gay area or gaybourhood, is not making a profit. san Francisco, known to some as “Gay mecca” or possibly better-termed “Gay-male mecca,” is not bursting with queer bookshops. The gay sF bookshop a Different Light closed in 2011. most of the profits from the Glad Day Bookstore in Toronto used to come from porn magazines but nobody really buys those anymore. Nevertheless, LGBT+ literature is making its way into mainstream bookshops. You should be able to find LGBT+ books in Hodgis Figgis, Chapters, Books Upstairs, and the Gutter Bookshop. The difficult thing is picking the texts worth reading. Like in film, LGBT books can be a little on the depressing side and/or can look at queers like they’re zoo animals. There seems to this belief that if you put an LGBT character into a text or script, they must somehow face some horrible punishment whether self-inflicted or not; I’m looking at you Lost & Delirious, Boys Don’t Cry, The Danish Girl, and texts I do not allow myself to read or watch. some poor souls may then turn to carmilla by Irish author Joseph sheridan LeFanu as this has been adapted into a popular -- though badlywritten -- YouTube webseries. This series is however, a pretty loose adaptation. The original text is not quite a romance novel but is actually a short story about a ghastly evil vampire who
manages to lure sweet innocent young girls under her spell. This may have been the beginning of the lesbian vampire trope. The character of Carmilla is inhuman and likely represents a fear of female sexuality, not unlike the female vampires who haunt Jonathon Harker in Dracula. It seems a woman who could attract
as real people. This shouldn’t be as shocking as it is. There are more LGBT+ texts available than ever before, and not just on fan fiction websites. Even John Green co-wrote a gay text. Luckily, he did not write the gay character, David Levithan did. The text of which I speak is will grayson, will grayson. a novel that features a character
illustratioN: sapNa satyaNarayaNa
“It seems a woman who could attract other women was the most terrifying thing for Bram Stoker and Joseph Sheridan LeFanu.”
“You should be able to find LGBT+ books in Hodgis Figgis, Chapters, Books Upstairs, and the Gutter Bookshop.”
“For a woman to steal your girl, well, she just must be a vampire!”
other women was the most terrifying thing for Bram stoker and Joseph sheridan LeFanu. For a woman to steal your girl, well, she just must be a vampire! There are, thank God, texts that don’t kill off their queer characters and actually portray them
who just happens to be gay, not much soulsearching or frantically seeking acceptance going on here. Unfortunately, though he is only featured in every second chapter. Would you believe that there are even texts
that feature trans people who live and are not bullied? Nevada by Imogen Binnie is an american novel that was not written for cishets (cisgender heterosexuals) but is a trans text for trans people. This novel does not explain the transgender identity, because there is no one transgender identity. It is about two transgender characters living their lives, smoking weed, listening to crappy music, drinking, and cycling. omG – they’re just like us! skim by Jillian and mariko Tamaki is another good queer text. It’s a coming-of-age black and white graphic novel about a queer girl attending a Catholic girls’ school in Toronto. The text is not about being queer but is instead about a girl and her experiences in a shitty school. It features a teacher that says things like “I’m telling you, girls, you might think different, but chocolate Is better than sex!” The main character, skim, practices Wicca. This is an interesting part of the storyline that proves that there is more to her character than being queer. I have saved my favourite for last: the amazing carol, originally titled the price of salt, by Patricia Highsmith. You may be aware of the film but the book has so much more to it. Highsmith also wrote the talented mr. ripley. This is her only gay text and some elements of the text may be based on her real life. Instead of staring at rooney mara’s deer-inthe-headlights-face for a couple of hours this text allows us to delve into the mind of Therese. Despite how little she speaks, her mind is filled with thoughts. she’s a flawed human being who I found very relatable. This may be because she seemed a little bitchy inside. These texts are just the tip of the iceberg. I didn’t even mention oranges are Not the only fruit by Jeanette Winterson. It’s a bit sad though. Queer texts are out there, it just takes a bit of searching.
quiNN’s BizzNess It’s the most wonderful time of year, so Jess Quinn invites you to sit back, relax, and desperately hope for the exams to end soon. saLUTEm rustici! What do you mean you don’t speak Latin? You go to UCD, don’t you? It’s the most wonderful time of the year, unless you’re a UCD student, or someone who works in retail. The only Xmas you need to focus on is X-ams. That’s right, exams are looming and you’re still shaking the Halloween hangover. That’s okay; you were probably never going to do that well anyway. Xmas has vomited all over campus so early this year, I even saw decorations before I experienced my usual seasonal depression. Luckily for me though, I wasn’t that thrown because I experience seasonal depression for every season. so, when I wake up in the morning to see it’s dark outside, it doesn’t make me that sad, because at least the darkness on the outside matches the darkness on the inside. I like to coordinate. anyway, sorry to
IllustratIon: Joanna o’MalleY
bring you down. Please, keep reading this article by a student with steadily declining mental health, and laugh as she attempts to give you what she cannot give herself. LoL. so, you’ve left all your work and study until the last week of term. are you angry at yourself? You betcha. are you disappointed with your work? Probably. Have you learned your lesson? New phone, who dis? seriously though, try not to stress out so much this exam season. The worst thing that could happen is that you fail, and it will take you a bit longer to graduate. The world will keep spinning, the icebergs will continue to melt, and life will go on regardless of whether you tick a or B in your advanced medieval massage exam mCQ. see, don’t worry about it. Graduating is overrated
anyway. It’s basically just the day when your status goes from being a student to being unemployed. You’ll see a lot of exam survival guides popping up here and there. However, it’s not the exams that will kill you, it’s the wrath of anyone you annoy in the library that will finish you off! so here is Quinn’s Declassified mount Joyce Prison survival Guide: 1. If you are going to listen to music at an inconsiderately loud volume, at least make it something everyone can sing along to. 2. Do not breathe out your mouth. The only time that is acceptable is if you have to give someone CPr. 3. shower. Just because you’re busy doesn’t mean you can be B.o.sy. 4. Do not chat with your friends unless you want to be hated by everyone within a 6 metre radius. Based on the population density of JJ libo at this time of the year, that is approximately 3.8 million people. 5. stay away from me. Unless you are someone from the future that can tell me what is coming up in my exam, I do not want to see or hear you. 6. If you have a macBook, make sure you do not mute the noise it makes when you turn it on. Everyone needs to hear that you have a macBook, even if you only use it for Facebook and Netflix. 7. make sure that when you stretch, your bones make all sorts of clicking noises. You want to make people uncomfortable, keep them on the edge. 8. sigh as loudly as you can. Nothing is more comforting to a fellow student, than knowing there is someone just as miserable as they are. Here’s hoping the sU remember to organise the buses to the rDs, that is afterall their whole job. although it wouldn’t surprise me if they messed that up. oftentimes I see our wonderful sU wandering around campus looking like they need help zipping up their jackets. They’re like lost puppies, except puppies are cute and puppies can do tricks. With 2016 coming to an end, I don’t know what I’m going to do next year without an sU nude
calendar. Probably live my life without knowing how much body hair the average person in the sU has and see the funding that was used for that to be spent on more worthwhile endeavours. Dark times lay ahead. I still think exam support funding should go towards hiring nanas to light candles throughout the two exam weeks on 12 hour rotating shifts. Job requires 65+ years experience. Interviews based on how often tea and baked goods are forced upon interviewer. Payment will be received via crumpled up fivers in a handshake. Tartan wheelie bags not provided. This time of year makes people more religious. Not because it’s your man, Jesus’ birthday, but because divine intervention seems like the only way you’ll scrape a GPa that isn’t GP-awful. as an atheist, I blame that for my terrible grades. If I don’t believe in God, why should he believe in me? In other UCD news, there is talk of lecturer’s banning laptops being used during classes. This is particularly worrying for computer science students with poor imaginations. as if you were already struggling to find the motivation to study, funding for ad astra academic scholarships has been halved. This is likely due to the fact that ad astra is Latin for “money that could be spent on car parks.” only kidding, ad astra is Latin for “to the stars”. The sun is a star. But, the sun doesn’t need to go to University because it already has 15,000,000 degrees! I guess that means the motto “ad astra” is supposed to motivate us to aim high and dream big. If that’s the case, even the founders of UCD had little faith in their students. shoot for the moon, and even if you miss you’ll land among the stars, suffocating and drifting without direction through space for an eternity. Is that a reflection on life before or after graduating? also, if you shoot for the moon and miss, and expect to land among the stars, you’re still about 30 trillion kilometers short. so, you have failed twice. ah, that’s the UCD spirit.
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16 November 29th 2016
eDitorial as the semester comes to a close and this rather remarkable year ends, the future of this generation is even more in focus. Despite the unbelievable political upheavals, there is still so little being done to address the issues faced by students and young people. These are not new or shocking problems. most of them have been building for years if not decades. Yet still governments, universities and employers neglect to make any substantial changes. student stress and mental health issues are at an all time high, with university counselling services under severe pressure. In this country there has still been no plan outlined regarding the future of fees, although the Cassells report was released last June. Internationally, there are numerous student loan systems, saddling young people with debt, almost before they have graduated. as students in Ireland struggle to pay even the student contribution charge, we are already facing the problem of students building up debt. Yet many universities, through their endorsements of income-contingent loans schemes, are calling for an increase in that debt. much of this comes from a lack of significant and efficient investment into higher education. While still expecting students to earn degrees, juggle parttime work and get involved with extra-curricular activities, this generation have also been dismissed as “the snowflake generation” suffering from the effects of helicopter parenting. People in their twenties are criticised for not moving out of their family homes, despite the fact that for the most part they simply
the uNiversity observer cannot afford to. our concerns are being dismissed, our sensibilities blamed when we complain or point out how very difficult and exhausting it is to fulfil all of these expectations. Then, young people receive no say in the future political climate. The Us presidential election has seen unparalleled media coverage. Perhaps more so than any political election in History. Following on from a shock Brexit vote, all attention was turned to what could have been the act that would reassure the establishment and maintain the status quo. Every newspaper, TV channel, radio station and online publishing platform has something to say on the matter. an infographic following that election showed that if you only counted voters under the age of 25, then Clinton would have won. a similar visual after the Brexit referendum showed that most young people voted remain. older generations, having experienced all the benefits of being a member of the European Union, have now decided that young people do not deserve the same opportunity. There are now countless people on social media clamouring for a loophole where some way, somehow Hillary Clinton will still become President. she did after all win the overall popular vote, by over 2 million votes at the time of writing. Yet, this was not enough to secure the Electoral College votes Clinton needed. With a recount in Wisconsin and numerous petitions online calling for the Electoral College to go
against their states’ declaration and cast their votes for the Democratic candidate, it is clear that dissatisfaction with the result of the election is huge. If nothing else, the Us election has revealed the deep-rooted and massive divisions in society. Yet this system has returned a President. maybe not the one everyone in the Us or the world at large wanted, but a President nonetheless. The american federal system places significant importance on the power and identity of each state. as such, their decision must be upheld. In order for the Us to continue to claim that they are the “land of the free, home of the brave” and protector of democracy then they must accept the decision of each state and the result of their democratic system. To not accept it, would be to undermine the very values that Clinton and the establishment claim to hold dear. Yet it is difficult to walk away from these particular upheavals and into the new year without reflecting on how young people have been under-valued and their opinions disregarded completely. These political changes are unlike any in recent generations and call into question the political system. They show dissatisfaction and discontent with modern governance. However, for the most part, those who have made the decision in Britain to exit the EU and to elect Trump in the Us will not be the ones who really feel the effects. “Indeed it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time” – Winston Churchill, 1947.
But wait! Who’s that? In the distance… Well if it isn’t social media Kween Fitzpatrick who’s here to save… Wait, hold on, never mind. He’s posting photos of his socks to Instagram again. That is when he can take time out from drinking cans in Dundalk. No rest for the wicked or indeed hardworking sabbats. The Plebs are aghast to hear that they will actually be able to understand their graduation ceremony. Not that they will be paying any attention, since your youthful minds will be considering more important matters: like where to get pissed afterwards. These kinds of decisions are crucial for the graduate, so they can’t have their heads filled with that “well done on the studying” tripe. There’s also been whispers that a protest could rear its head for this controversy. This was an even bigger shock to Barcadi, as it would require him to actually leave the quiet sanctity of The Corridor. Not that Talley needs your useless protests anyway. Complaining about you all isn’t my only hobby; Talley is a remarkable wine connoisseur. Talley will enjoy the chilly silence that will echo through Belfield over the next month. on top of that, Talley already has next summer booked up: a ticket to Electric Picnic thanks to sU’s so-called ‘pass the parcel.’ Like taking sweets from a child, Barcadi. Enjoy the Christmas break. We’ll be back here again all too soon. aU rEVIor, sWINE!
letters to the eDitor Letters, corrections and clarifications pertaining to articles published in this newspaper and online are welcome and encouraged.
art & DesigN eDitor Louise Flanagan chief of photography Camille Lombard News eDitor alanna o’shea Deputy/iNterNatioNaL News eDitor rory Geoghegan commeNt eDitor Julia o’reilly features eDitor Billy Vaughan eagarthÓir gaeiLge Niamh o’regan scieNce eDitor Danielle Crowley co-sports eDitors Conall Cahill & David Kent
broaDsheet oNLiNe eDitors ruth murphy Eithne Dodd
GrEETINGs, FILTH! time has not reached the fabled corridors of the ag building. Coke and Barcadi is off partying it up somewhere, as it appears El Presidente just celebrated his birthday. Talley is led to believe his birthday bash was Titanic-themed. If that doesn’t sum up what the future holds for our beloved union, nothing will my friends. When not hitting the club and dropping it like it is, indeed, hot; Barcadi can be seen chucking darts at his office door, desperately trying to find a union stance on fees. It appears his previous method of questioning himself in the mirror has, sadly, produced no results. Talley expects the Union stance on fees to arrive sometime in 2026, by which point UCD will cease to exist, as The Brass will have sold off Belfield to apple. How else will Lord Commander Deek$ pay for his solid-gold yacht? speaking of our Dark master, Deek$ has drawn the ire of the union as of late. Deek$ had the sHEEr audacity to push through a motion that removes Latin from graduation ceremonies and UCD degrees. Barcadi was stunned, o’abortions-For-all guffawed, Killjoy winced in pain. a stunning display of fascism (or as it’s know now: the “alt-right”) from the Dark master. Even Casey pitched in, presumably shouting from his shack in the woods. It’s “an abuse of power” he hollered.
Deputy eDitor martin Healy
busiNess eDitor Brian Donnelly
talleyraND sEmEsTEr one is about to close here on the quiet campus of Belfield. Talley says quiet – but it seems the Plebs (or “students” as they’re also known) appear to be actually working. In the library of all places, mind you. Talley has actually managed to develop something resembling affection for this lot. The Plebs of yore (otherwise known as the time before semesterisation) would be up drinking all day, every day: filling Talley’s humble abode with their incessant shouting. Thankfully, they’ve all cleared off, and are now in a dole queue or wherever it is they go when they move from being a Pleb to a member of the Great Unwashed. It is also suspiciously quiet around Ye olde student Centre. What exactly are those delightful, elected officials known as the sU up to? Talley’s best guess is they perished in the erection of the towering monstrosity that is the massive Christmas tree in the student centre. If that doesn’t fill you with Holiday Cheer, at least your pending trip to the rancid Dump of students should. No, sadly, our dearest sU are alive and well. Even Cian “He Probably Doesn’t Exist” Casey has mended his knackered foot, bless his heart. This news only comes through the grapevine mind you, as no one has actually seen him since the clock struck 9am on the first day of class. Not that Casey would even know that time is passing, since Talley is certain that the concept of
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broaDsheet coNtributors ause abdelhaq aurora andrus mairead Boland aisling Brennan Laura Brohan Julia Canney shane Coneely Caoimhe Donnelly Peadar Flood Keri Heath orla Keaveney David Kennedy Garrett Kennedy Josephine Leahy aileen mcGrath ashley Perry Jessica Quinn John savage Talleyrand visuaL coNteNt coNtributors meadhbh sheridan Joanna o’malley ryan o’Donnell sapna satyanarayana speciaL thaNks Webprint ause abdelhaq Joanna o’malley aoife Hardesty marty mcFly The Christmas Turkey
Good luck in your exams and enjoy the Holidays. merry Christmas from all at the University observer.
Letters should be addressed to: The Editor, University observer, UCD student Centre, Belfield, Dublin 4. Correspondence may also be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
November 29th 2016 17
five talkiNg poiNts iN the premier league With December just around the corner, David Kennedy checks the tempature of the Premier League season so far. contend with in what looks like a potentially exciting battle for top spot.
Mixed fortunes for big-name managerial arrivals
most pre-season Premier League previews focussed on the league’s new managerial a-list, with the arrivals of Conte, Jose mourinho and Pep Guardiola boosting a line-up that already boasted the likes of Klopp, arsene Wenger and mauricio Pochettino. Guardiola’s long-awaited foray into the English game has been at times extremely exciting – his distinctive style of play is already evident in patches, with the likes of raheem sterling and Kevin De Bruyne thriving. However, his complex methods have yet to assimilate with the squad entirely, leading to
Stability paying dividends at both ends of the table The early season struggles of Hull City and sunderland have been rather unsurprising. sam allardyce’s departure to become England manager, for what transpired to be a single game, left replacement David moyes with just three weeks to prepare his side for their season opener against manchester City. similarly, steve Bruce left his post at the KCom stadium on the same day as moyes was announced, disrupting Hull’s summer preparations to the extent that most of their transfer business was conducted at the bitter end of the window. Compare their fortunes to a club like Burnley, whose staff and squad are largely unchanged from their last top-flight campaign in 2014/15. The Clarets have enjoyed a comfortable first third of the season, beating both Liverpool and Everton at home and drawing away to manchester United, displaying qualities of resilience and discipline that come from long-term stability. meanwhile, at the other end of the table, Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool have been the most exciting, co-
hesive attacking unit in the league. With the German appointed last october, the players are now familiar with his tactics, while all their signings arrived before august. In general, the teams with the most consistent summers have had the most impressive starts.
No repeat of the Leicester miracle
Even the most optimistic of Leicester City fans would probably have expected a tricky league campaign this season having shocked the sporting world with their exploits last time out. While the fairy-tale has continued in Europe, the Foxes have struggled slightly domestically, suffering heavy defeats to Liverpool, Chelsea and manchester United in the opening weeks of the season. For Leicester, a repeat of last term’s shock was always going to be unlikely. However, the prospect of another smaller club emulating Leicester’s 2015/16 miracle looks equally implausible at this stage of the season. similarly, a campaign like the one that saw Chelsea’s straightforward march to the 2014/15 title is also doubtful. antonio Conte’s men have arsenal, Liverpool, the manchester clubs and Tottenham to
“Eden Hazard appears reinvigorated, while the returning David Luiz has led an impressive run of clean sheets.” disappointing draws with southampton, Everton and middlesborough at home. Conte’s tenure at stamford Bridge began slightly shakily, culminating with a poor display at the Emirates where arsenal went 3-0 up before half-time. since switching to a back three, Chelsea’s form has improved dramatically. Eden Hazard appears reinvigorated, while the returning David Luiz has led an impressive run of clean sheets. at manchester United, talks of mourinho’s demise have probably been a tad premature. That said, his results to date have been unimpressive: defeats at Watford and Chelsea, coupled with draws against stoke and Burnley.
Defence-minded Euros a distant memory
The manner of Portugal’s European Championships triumph sparked doubt in the minds of those who love attacking football. How could a side who won just one of their games in regulation time emerge as
the continent’s champions? If the Euros showcased the values of defensive football, this season’s Premier League has been vastly different. Fantasy football regulars will be aware of the dearth of clean sheets in the early parts of the season, with only Tottenham displaying any sort of consistency at the back. Chelsea’s recent run of consecutive shut-outs has improved the division’s defensive prow-
“If the Euros showcased the values of defensive football, this season’s Premier League has been vastly different.” ess but, overall, sides like Liverpool and manchester City have succeeded in outscoring opponents. Klopp’s free-flowing outfit are the league’s top scorers but have attracted criticism for their apparent laxity at the back, particularly from set pieces. at the Etihad, Guardiola’s much publicized swapping of Joe Hart for Claudio Bravo to improve his side’s ability to play out from the back has had mixed results, with high-profile errors in possession from both the new goalkeeper and centre-back John stones leading to the concession of goals.
New season, new roles
There has been plenty of tactical intrigue at several Premier League sides this season. Throughout the league, summer signings and new managerial appointments have provided an overhaul in the style of football being seen each week. at the top of the table, a prominent development has been the use of players in new roles: at arsenal, alexis sanchez has replaced olivier Giroud as Wenger’s number nine, giving the Gunners’ attack a new dimension. Chelsea have switched to a 3-4-2-1, using Cesar azpilicueta as a centre back and Victor moses as a right wing back to great success. Both Klopp and Guardiola have often used 4-3-3 systems with nominal number 10s in deeper roles – adam Lallana and Georginio Wijnaldum for Liverpool, De Bruyne and David silva at City.
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18 November 29th 2016
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Living in the Golden Age Ireland is going through a golden age of sporting success, Martin Healy argues, as the nation is earning plaudits like it never has before. SPORT is an incredible avenue for nostalgia. When your team or country reach that pinnacle, whatever it may be, and you experience that with your family, friends or community, it can leave behind an unforgettable feeling. A novel like Fever Pitch tries to capture that moment in time – it tries to make sense of the euphoria unique to sport; so it’s no surprise that these past events can build up so much nostalgia. As a college-age generation who were born in the early-to-mid nineties, it has been impossible to escape this country’s deep love of Italia ’90. Even when the Irish national team went to the 2002 World Cup, there was always that familiar refrain: “ah, this isn’t like how it was
“Sport has provided a great antidote to what Ireland has seen since 2006.” back in 1990.” Figures like Packie Bonner, Ray Houghton, and Paul McGrath were described to us in wistful tones that made them seem like greenclad deities. Despite all this love for sporting days gone by: are we actually living in the golden age of Irish sport? As students in our late teens/early twenties, we have lived right in the middle of this golden age. While the exact timeline is certainly up for debate, it can definitely be argued that Ireland has been home to a sudden surge of sporting glory over the last decade. The watershed moment was certainly Munster winning the Heineken Cup in 2006. Rugby has been at the forefront of our sporting success, and Munster’s win in Cardiff was the start. They won again 2008, following by Leinster’s incredible three European titles in four years between 2009 and 2012 – finishing on an all-Irish final against Ulster. In amongst all this, Ireland won the Grand Slam in 2009, and picked up two Six Nations titles in
2014 and 2015. On top of that, the national team are just a few weeks removed from finally beating New Zealand for the first time – an All-Blacks side who were eighteen matches into the longest winning streak in test match history. That same national side finished off their Autumn international series with a win over Australia last weekend, following a win in South Africa over the Springbok’s last June. While rugby is undoubtedly the jewel in the Irish sporting crown, there’s a long list of success elsewhere. Three Irish golfers have won a combined seven majors since 2007 – there was only one title before this. Conor McGregor is the biggest draw in the history of the UFC, and along with being the most famous Irish sport star in the world, he is the first fighter to hold two world titles in two different weight classes at the same time. Even with the disappointment of Rio 2016 fresh in our minds; the Irish Olympic medal haul between 2012 and 2016 has been nothing sort of fantastic, especially considering the medal drought the nation when through in the ‘60s and ‘70s. Mick Conlan, Paddy Barnes, and Katie Taylor are all arriving on the professional boxing scene, and titles potentially await. Even, the Irish cricket team are also worth an upset every couple of years, even with miniscule resources.
famous draws, with Germany, Bosnia, Italy, and Austria all having been beaten over the last 12 months. Sport has provided a great antidote to what Ireland has seen since 2006. From the peak of the financial crash, to the deep lows of the recession,
“Sport has provided an avenue for pride for whatever ‘Irishness’ actually is.” to the current era of uncertainty and emigration, sport’s ability to unify becomes more important than ever. While older generations saw Irish sporting glory as an inconsistent phenomenon, anyone under the age of 25 today has since a consistent string of titles and trophies wash onto Irish shores. In a post-recession era where questioning the nation has become more prevalent than ever before, sport
has provided an avenue for pride for whatever “Irishness” actually is. When it comes to the week-to-week support of clubs, we shout amongst ourselves in the on-going soap opera of sport. A moment of glory on the international stage can unite people behind a nation, even if patriotism is rarely celebrated today (and whether patriotism should be celebrated is an another issue entirely). If nothing else, sporting success in Ireland is proof of what can be done with limited resources. Despite the lack of Irish footballers at the top level of the sport, the Irish team is still finding success. Ireland has a massive number of successful combat sport athletes; and we’ve capitalised on the rugby scene despite the massive money available on English and French shores. This is a golden age of Irish sport, and we’ve been lucky enough to grow up alongside it. Despite the myriad issues facing young people, whether inside or outside the country, sport still provides a space to be proud – even briefly – of our island.
“While rugby is undoubtedly the jewel in the Irish sporting crown, there’s a long list of success elsewhere.” The national football team appears to have come out of their post-2002 World Cup slump. We’ve qualified for two European Championships in a row, and even with the unmitigated disaster that was Euro 2012, 2016 saw Ireland take the lead for the first time ever in a knockout tournament game. No longer are the Irish team known for their
The Irish rubgy team celebrating their grandslam success at the 2009 Six Nations
The Lost Innocence Of Wayne Rooney: The Last Street Footballer With his career in England slowly winding down, Conall Cahill reflects on the earlier years of Wayne Rooney. when a sixteen-year-old Wayne Rooney picked up the ball forty yards out from the Arsenal goal, turned with an exquisite touch, took two more touches and curled an extraordinary shot into the top left-hand
“His raw power, his skill, his audacity to go for the shot – all of these spoke to an incredible future in the game.”
MANY of us who love the game of football have always been able to see a part of ourselves in Wayne Rooney. Any of us who learned to love the game, not through the twenty-four hour overkill of Sky Sports News or the anal dissection of every mistake, but through the constant and beloved kicking of a ball against a wall or the endless battles with other kids. ‘Street football’ had a predictable and set hierarchy to it and the constitution was either the football or your age. Older kids, or kids who owned the actual football, controlled the terms of the game, often in a dictatorial manner. Anyone who didn’t toe the line risked not being allowed to play or being shunned the next time the prospect of a game reared its head. There was a certain ruthlessness in the picking of
teams, too – being one of the first chosen was always an honour that lightened the step until the next game came around, while to be picked last was a crushing blow that could put you off your game for days, weeks even. But the love of it would always draw you back. The lack of street football is something Irish legend Damien Duff has decried, himself an result of such a sporting upbringing. Perhaps it is the various technological distractions available or maybe there is just less room on the streets. Nevertheless, there remain generations who remember those glorious evenings when the final whistle would be a parent calling over to bring you in for dinner or to finish your homework. And that is why, on the 19th of October, 2002,
corner of the net, evading David Seaman’s outstretched fingertips and ending Arsenal’s thirty-game unbeaten run, anyone who had ever been a street footballer rejoiced. For Rooney (described by then-manager David Moyes as “the last of the street footballers”) had just taken street football and planted it right on the biggest stage in the world. His raw power, his skill, his audacity to go for the shot – all of these spoke to an incredible future in the game. The willingness to shoot spoke of a confidence borne from endless hours of practise and torturing lesser opponents at youth level – but it also somehow symbolised a joy for the game and for being able to express oneself with a ball at your feet. A joy we have all felt, at one stage or another. Today there are podcasts, YouTube channels, TV channels and websites devoted solely to Manchester United. In the wider media, newspapers are under more pressure than ever to battle for survival. And in the online and social media world, there is a never-ending fight for clicks, to get the most shares and views and to be the first to show the world the latest funny video or controversial tweet. And it’s somewhat of a pity that Wayne Rooney operates in
this world. Now, we cannot ignore the fact that Wayne Rooney as a brand is worth millions and Rooney has benefitted enormously from the commercial opportunities that have come his way as one of the best players of the modern age. But he must wish at times that he could go back to being that kid on the street, whose only worry was losing his ball into a neighbour’s back garden or breaking somebody’s window with an errant shot. Because back then, all anybody ever expected of Wayne Rooney was that he would enjoy playing football. Even when he scored that goal against Arsenal and the world was told to “remember the name” by commentator Clive Tyldesley, his world remained a largely simple one. But as he grew as a man and as a footballer, as he moved to Manchester United and more was expected of him, more and more voices have emerged to distract Rooney from what he does on the pitch. Of course, Rooney hasn’t helped himself at times. But how he must wish he could exist in the era
“Being one of the first chosen was always an honour that lightened the step until the next game came around.” dominated by figures like George Best, the trace of which is largely whispers and black-and-white photographs. When there was at least the semblance of a line between the football pitch and what occurred outside of it. Rooney has called his treatment over the past couple of weeks a “disgrace”, and any reasonable person would probably agree with him – perspective has been thrown out the window. How far we have strayed from where it all began for Rooney, for all of us. When all there was, all that mattered, was a ball, four jumpers and the picking of the teams.
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Sport Club Focus: UCD Men’s Basketball Whether you’re looking for some exercise or trying to be the next Kevin Durant, Conall Cahill chats to members of the UCD Men’s Basketball Club about life on and off the court.
IF enthusiasm and passion are good barometers, then it seems safe to say that the UCD Men’s Basketball Club is in safe hands under the stewardship of this year’s captain Mark Woulfe. In fact, it’s in progressive hands. It’s an exciting time for men’s basketball in UCD, whether you are a novice, just looking to improve your fitness, or someone wanting to seriously test their abilities at a high level. Membership of the club has trebled this year with around sixty members now on the books, ranging from those playing in the college league team (which compete at a high level against other universities) to players who just take part in the ‘social leagues’ (where club members meet up and play out fun five-a-side matches for an hour, swapping substitutes in and out). There is also a freshers’ team that trains on a weekly basis with the college league team and who, at the time of writing, were readying themselves for a weekend of competition against other universities. The ‘social leagues’ occur on Tuesdays from 7pm-8pm (at a slightly higher standard) and
Thursdays from 4pm-5pm (which are more suited to beginners). These are for anyone who shows up and just wants to play ball - as some of the members are known to say, “ball is life.”
“Membership of the club has trebled this year with around sixty members now on the books.” There are also those who participate in the newly-formed (mixed gender) wheelchair basketball sessions. The wheelchair team, set up on the recommendation of Aoibhs Magills, train every Wednesday morning in Hall B from 11am-1pm and consist of both able-bodied and disabled athletes. The team is currently acquiring more sports wheelchairs to accommodate their growing membership and, as Woulfe puts it, “you could nearly write a whole article on
just their story!” The wheelchair team don’t currently compete but Woulfe hopes to get competition started in the near future. If you are to judge from the responses of Igor Markiewicz (freshers’ player) and Daniel Fakoyede (second year player with the college league team), the UCD Men’s Basketball Club strikes a perfect balance between the two things a sports club should be: a social outlet away from lecture halls, and a way to improve fitness and stay physically fit and healthy while at college. Markiewicz, a physiotherapy student, says it is a “very cool experience” getting to train with the senior team as someone who is only in his first year with the club. He outlines that there is no hierarchy leaning in favour of older members (which can be a problem in some college clubs and societies): “You can have a first year playing with a guy who’s been there four years or something like that. Everyone’s equal on the team. Everyone has the same opportunity.” Fakoyede, who is into his second year of an electronic engineering degree, agrees. “The
“You can have a first year playing with a guy who’s been there four years or something like that. Everyone’s equal on the team.” UCD Men’s Basketball Team
respect is there for everyone of all ages, everyone’s on the same level basically. There’s no age barriers. Everyone can have the same banter. And when it’s time to get serious, everyone knows what to do.” Markiewicz says that having the club as a social outlet helped him adjust to university life when he was “as lost as every other first year around.” Similarly, Fakoyede states that in his
“There’s also those who participate in the newly-formed (mixed gender) wheelchair basketball sessions.” first year he made “a lot of friends” in the club – friends that remain part of his social circle today. He values the opportunity the club has given him not just as “a good avenue to make new friends” but also because of how he has been able “to make friends outside of (his) course” due to his participation in the club. Branching out to make friends away from those you see in a lecture hall – a very healthy aspect of life in college clubs and societies. Markiewicz enjoys the “strict” training at the more serious level of the club and personally relishes the ‘freshers vs senior team’ games that break out at weekly training sessions - these help players “develop together as a team” and, most importantly, are “always a bit of craic”. As he says himself, “you’ve got to enjoy what you do.” Woulfe recommends anyone wishing to join the club to go along to one of the ‘social league’ sessions in UCD Sports Hall B and find him (“I’m usually the one shouting orders at everyone!”). Failing this, you can join the club’s Facebook group (entitled ‘UCD Men’s Basketball’), message Mark on Facebook (‘Mark Woulfe’) or email email@example.com. The UCD Basketball Clubs, both men’s and women’s, are having a social night in the ‘Blue Room’ in the UCD Student Centre on Thursday 1st December, with beer pong, pizza, an NBA match on the TV and copious amounts of craic. Why not go along to meet a new and interesting bunch of people?
Michael Higgins: A Tribute
A round-up of the sporting activities throughout UCD this month.
Soccer: Maciej Tarnogrodzki has been appointed the UCD AFC’s new under-19 manager. He was previously in charge of Bray Wanderers for a short period and replaces the outgoing Ian Ryan. Tarnogrodzki will now have a plethora of talent available to him after the Belfield side won the Under-19s League last season. The club’s college side are through to the league quarter-final after beating DKIT by three goals
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to nil. Gary O’Neill, Ben Hanrahan and Gareth Coughlan all found the net as UCD eased their way past the side managed by current Dundalk captain Stephen O’Donnell. Volleyball: UCD did the double at the Varsities in Carlow, taking home both the Men’s and Women’s cup competitions. Alumni: Ex-UCD player Brian O’Driscoll was inducted in to the World Rugby Hall of Fame as part of the Class of 2016. He joins esteemed athletes such as Keith Wood, David Campese, Jonah Lomu and William Webb Ellis in the hall. Trampoline: UCD Trampoline Club brought home the varsities shield for the sixth consecutive year after a hugely successful weekend in UCC with eight medallists. Rugby: Irish Women’s national side lost out to world number ones New Zealand on Sunday 27th November in the UCD Bowl. The final score of 8-38 finishes off a solid season for the Black Ferns.
IT would have been a cold September evening when I first encountered Michael Higgins. As a young 15 year-old, I was heading to the UCD Bowl to report on a game between the college and St. Patrick’s Athletic. Now, anyone who knows the campus knows it’s remarkably easy to get lost, which I did. Arriving to the Bowl late, the press area was full so I was sent across to the hut on the other side of the pitch. I got in the door and saw an elderly man who I presumed was quite busy, given his plethora of notes. I set up quietly next to him but forgot my team sheet. That was when Michael noticed me, and plucked his own sheet out. He gave it to this anxious teenager and told me I could keep it as ‘he wouldn’t need it’. He did this even though he was UCD’s PA. It sums up what the man was like. He would never have a bad word about anyone and if you needed help, he was there to provide it. You can ask any League of Ireland fan about UCD’s tannoy announcements and you’ll hear tale after tale. The time he waxed lyrical during half time about the curry on his chips; his utter disgust at a Lady Gaga song being played over the system pre-match. Or the many occasions where he wouldn’t be sure about a substitution, and we’d get ‘’coming on is… number nine… or number 14… whichever’’. With any other person, you’d probably be annoyed. With
him, you had to laugh, even if it did make a mess of your match report. There aren’t too many genuine characters around in Irish sport these days but Michael was one of them. He had a heart of gold and will be greatly missed by everyone on campus and within Irish football as a whole.
image courtesy of ucdsoccer.com
Fencing: UCD contested the Schull Novice Cup hosted by UCC during the weekend of 5-6th November. It was open to university fencers who have been fencing for less than two years, with over 80 athletes competing from across Ireland. UCD won medals in each of the four weapon events, with Ellen Nugent and Kristine Rozenberga coming 1st and 3rd in Women’s Foil alongside Jake Murray placing 3rd in Men’s Foil on Saturday. This was followed up by Men’s Epee and Women’s Epee on Sunday, with Jack Lawlor coming 3rd in the Men’s Epee event and Kristine Rozenberga placing 2nd in Women’s Epee for her second medal of the weekend. The total of five medals for UCD was more than any other college for the weekend.