KILKENNY -- I spend an hour reading three Sunday newspapers each week, entertained by the repetition between the titles. I buy the three separate papers to read columns by journalists I have come to know over the years. Their insight often provides me a sanity check on my perspective of current events.
Stinging criticism of broadband in Ireland. Damien Kiberd notes the "stinging criticism made by the Institution of Engineers of Ireland (IEI) concerning our record in broadband roll-out, and the constant manufacturing job losses associated with the rapid rate of change in the technology sector." Meager uptake of broadband in Ireland restricts Ireland's ability to move up the value chain. Ireland lags behind a number of eastern European states where the cost of doing business is lower.
SIPTU boxing above its weight. Ireland's traveling public could encounter disruption as the dispute between the trade union movement and airport authorities hell-bent on restructing the sector moves into its latest phase. If the government streamlines jobs at Shannon Airport, SIPTU threatens to unapologetically disrupt all three of the country's major airports. This from a union whose membership is static in an economy whose numbers of full-time workers are growing steadily. The union gets its love juice from the highest elected official in the land, himself a rebranded socialist.
The unimaginative Mary Hanafin. Alan Ruddock pins an accurate description on Mary Hanafin, the Irish Minister for Education. "No prizes for guessing that before she became a TD she was, for 16 years, a teacher of Irish and history. The teacher's mindset--and the trade union mentality that goes with it--has not been replaced, and it is inevitable that Irish education will tread water for the duration of her stay at the department."
Nothing beats a good map. The New York Times reports on the underwater crash of the USS San Francisco. Satellite images of the area where a nuclear submarine grounded two weeks ago clearly show a wedge-shape undersea mountain that stretches across more than a mile of a desolate expanse of the South Pacific. However, the mountain range was not on the navigation charts used by the US Navy. The US Department of Defense is not known to aggressively update its deep water maps with satellite geodetic data.
The submarine was traversing an area at more than 30 knots, well outside normally manuevering channels for mid-Pacific crossings.
One sailor was killed and 60 were injured when the submarine smashed into the mountain, or a reef jutting out from it.
Initial reports back from scientists who have studied the images said it is likely the submarine's officers thought they had safely skirted the danger zone — with the vessel about 500 feet below the surface — only to crash head-on into the mountain.
Navy officials said the San Francisco, a nuclear-attack submarine, crashed into the mountain 360 miles southeast of Guam on its way to Brisbane, Australia, a popular liberty port for sailors. Its bow was severely damaged, and 23 sailors were hurt too badly to stand watch as the vessel limped back to Guam.
The exact location of the crash remains classified. But the undersea mountain shows up on the satellite images at a latitude of 7 degrees, 45.1 minutes north and a longitude of 147 degrees, 12.6 minutes east.
Besides relying on charts, submarines also receive fixes from navigation satellites and take soundings of water depths. According to officials, the San Francisco's officers said they took a sounding four minutes before the crash, and it indicated the vessel was still in 6,000 feet of water.
It is possible that the San Francisco could have detected the undersea mountain if it had used its active sonar system. But that's not what an attack submarine does. Active sonar emits loud pings. You practise fast runs while running as silently as possible.
Damien Kiberd -- "Mesaage to Ireland: Get with broadband" in The Sunday Times, January 23, 2005.
Douglas Dalby -- "Brother, where art thou?" in The Sunday Times, January 23, 2005.
Alan Ruddock -- "Hanafin's creed is upset nobody, improve nothing" also in The Sunday Times.
Zita Taitano -- "US submarine captain reassigned after grounding" in a Reuters story carried by The New York Times