Year: 2003

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Paul Clerkin and Mick Cunningham explain how their website p45.net suckered the media. First published in The Yoke magazine. MOST newspapers have a tradition of attempting to dupe their readers on April Fools Day with a far-fetched 'news story' buried at the bottom of an ordinary news page. Oh how the hacks laugh when the phones start hopping with anxious callers wondering if David Beckham really will be conducting a coaching session in the Phoenix Park next Saturday or whether David Norris is set to marry an Irish-American poetess. It's a day when the news professionals poke fun at the rigorous scrutiny and fact-checking they allegedly apply to 'real' news stories. The only problem with all this nonsense is that the Irish media jokers are becoming the duped with embarrassing frequency.   Last July the Irish Independent was tricked into running a front-page story claiming that Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi...

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The Blather guide to Haggis Hunting... Ananova: American tourists want to hunt haggis A third of all American visitors to Scotland believe haggis is an animal. Rsearchers have found almost one in four of those questioned said they had come to Scotland under the belief they could hunt it. US tour operators are even selling haggis hunting tours. More >> Haggis Hunting for Beginners It is a little known fact that the Haggis is derived from the legendary pigmy sheep endemic to the upper slopes of the Hills of Lethargy where they were bred by the micra-hating, wicked Witch of the North. More>> (thanks to Shakabu for pointing this one out) HaggisHunt.com, with lots of fine modern so-called 'webcambs'. From 'The Confessions of Aleister Crowley' Available online: at hermetic.com or from Amazon.com/co.uk From Chapter 50: On April 27th, the good Tartarin, who had published a book (in the Swiss language)...

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'More than 100 whales and 10 dolphins have been found dead on a remote beach on Tasmania's west coast.' 'The long-finned pilot whales and bottle-nosed dolphins were washed up at Point Hibbs, south of the fishing town of Strahan.' Ananova News» What's going on? Ok, it's not the first time that this has happened... but what could kill so many animals? Illness? A feeding frenzy? Attacks by Orcas? Or was it caused by some sort of rogue pinging by sonars? Check out this site» It lists the havoc caused by sonar... 26th November 2003: <strong>Experts study teeth marks on beached whales</strong> Scientists say teeth marks found on some dead pilot whales beached on Tasmania's west coast may shed some light on why they died. More» Update 21/1/04: Greenpeace/BBC: Campaigners tackle dolphin deaths » Two campaign groups are joining forces to try to help the thousands of marine mammals killed annually...

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2245 views

Who wants to live forever? Sea urchins! The red sea urchin is one of the longest living creatures apparently. Well, 200 years, not immortal as such, but that's what BBC News were claiming yesterday. Once thought to be a pest, their sex organs are now a popular delicacy in Japan. Still, these urchins haven't actually been observed living for 200 years... it's all based on calculations by Oregon State University and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. I reckon leatherback turtles are far more interesting conversationalist though... Read more »

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Found these sites while rummaging around As a web-design snob, I'm not blown away by how these sites look... but who cares? The content is fantastic, and that is, after all, what matters: Firstly, Oileán - Ireland's Islands, put together by the students of St. Cronan's School in Bray, Co. Wicklow. It's full of facts about those windy, isolated places off Ireland's coast. Then there's irishwrecksonline.net, a great source of information about the divable ships around Ireland, put together by Randall Armstrong.

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Big cats loose in the Irish countryside! *ABC=Alien Big Cat, i.e. out of place animal. Scroll down for later reports. From Tuesday 12th August: Big cat thought to be puma The animal is thought to be a young female puma Pawprints found in the north coast area of Northern Ireland were probably made by a member of the mountain lion family, the USPCA has said. More from BBC>> Puma hunt moves to Portrush Fresh paw prints are discovered close to Portrush 12 August 2003 Police patrol the beach at Portrush on the lookout for the big cat THE hunt for the north coast's missing big cat has moved to Portrush after fresh paw prints were discovered by a landowner in a field outside the resort. More from Belfast Telegraph Ananova: 'Puma' spotted on Antrim coast A puma has been spotted on the loose on the north Antrim coast. Police officers...

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2538 views

Did my Advanced Open Water PADI course over the weekend, atScuba Dive West in Killary Harbour/Renvyle, in Galway... Did my dry suit dive on Friday afternoon in Little Killary. In those winds winds... the noise down below was mad! It was dark when we resurfaced, so it became a bit of a night dive. Dry suits are toasty. Wearing a tracksuit underneath, all that gets wet (in theory) is your hands and head! Did a general boat dive and a navigation dive on Saturday... the first one was great, but the second one involved navigating by compass in 1.5m visibility! Amazing rainbows yesterday while heading out in the boat - the light was very similar to the Giants Causeway last year... Too much tequila and Guinness in The Bard's Den makes for ill divers...plus the constricting suits and a heavy swell. Some of us were racking our guts up over...

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This is a letter I sent eleven Irish publishers on 1 September 2003. You can also read their replies. Plus my "final" comments of 7 November 2003. A chara, You endlessly receive letters from writers, letters written in the hope that you, the esteemed publishers, will publish their newly-finished and admirable literary efforts! I wish to disturb this routine, slightly, by suggesting to you that you read a manuscript that was rejected everywhere, just under ten years ago. This thoroughly unwanted piece of literary fiction was a novel I wrote entitled April in May, 30,000 words that were so confusing to pubishers’ readers at the time, it seemed like an alien craft landing on Earth, and was accordingly misunderstood in every possible way by an Irish publishing culture that wasn’t ready for it. Over subsequent years, things have inevitably changed, and I believe that April in May, although it has...

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3292 views

A quick dash through some of the works of a travel writer with a difference. Benedict Allen... been meaning to read his works for years, then I stumbled across a Hunting the Gugu and Mad White Giant while rummaging through secondhand bookshops in Galway. Then I got my hands on Into the Crocodiles Nest... In Mad White Giant, at the age of 22, Allen set off for Venezuela, after saving by packing boxes in a warehouse in England. Within days, he was sliding naked around the mudflats, being taught how to hunt Pelicans with bow and arrow by a bunch of six-year-olds. He had been taken in by their village, a collection of hunts on stilts, above the mouth of the Orinoco. From there, he tramped the whole way to the mouth of the Amazon, a perilous journey. He escapes death at the hands of Indians and gold miners, and...

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Sue Walsh (my sister!) plays Mina Harker in a stage production of Dracula in Nicholas' Collegiate Church, Galway. Monday October 27 to November 1 at 8pm. Galway theatre company MórWax presents: Peadar De Burca directs Dracula in Nicholas' Church, with Willy Moriarty (Dracula), Senan Sheedy (Johnathon Harker), Sue Walsh (Mina Harker), Ciaran Duffy (Dr Van Helsing and music), and Liz Nestor (Lucy). Tickets are available from Mulligan Records, Middle Street. Preview and interview with director Peadar De Burca in the Galway Advertiser >> Review in the Galway Advertiser >> Visit the Morwax website »