21 June 2007

When I Travel

When I travel, it is my habit to try to get a handle on the news of the place I'm visiting. I buy the local papers, and look for locality-specific stories.

Of course, nowadays, you can read almost anything anywhere. You can read the Irish Examiner, for example, here: http://www.irishexaminer.com

Still, I generally wouldn't think to read the Irish Examiner without the impetus of a trip to the place. And when I have that impetus, I try to make good use of it.

So this is what I learned. There's been a general election in Ireland recently, and the dust having settled, Fianna Fail has become the dominant political party within a ruling coalition. What does the Gaelic term "Fianna Fail" mean in English? "Soldiers of Ireland," literally, although party members seem to prefer "Soldiers of Destiny." Anyway, the coalition is of a center-left sort, and will include the Green Party, apparently for the first time.

There's much ink spilt on the challenges that the health-sector, and the ministry with responsibility for the same, will face in the months and years ahead. Mary Harney, a Progressive Democrat, will remain the Minister of Health, although the Prog. Dems lost seats in last month's voting. Her own position in the cabinet is stronger than it was, apparently because a nurses' strike during the election collapsed. Nurses, as one journalist with a gift for feline cliche put it, are "licking their wounds."

On a lighter note, nudist groups are said to be stepping up their campaign to secure designated beaches in Ireland for the exercise of their preferred ... um ... means of total-tan-acquisition.

And I ended up reading about Tullow Oil. Tullow, founded in Ireland in 1985, has since moved its headquarters to London, UK, but is still listed on the ISE as well as the LSE. The newspapers tell me that it's just reported positive results from exploratory drilling in Uganda. They also mention rumors, which the company denies, that some of those positive results come on the other side of a border, in Kenya.

The stock price rose on this combination of confirmed and denied reports. After a long period of hovering around 5.5 euros, it increased its value by more than a third in days, to 7.5.

So, unless you're Irish, you probably now know much more than you need to about what'sbeen in their newspapers of late.

I won't speak of the sports pages here, but I did notice that on television the counting is up rather than down. A rugby match lasts 80 minutes. When I ducked into a pub for "a pint of plain" and saw that a match was in progress (South Africa versus Australia) the television showed the time as 78:00, then 78:01 etc. The viewer was expected to be able to figure out what that meant in terms of time left, unless the announcers were expected to remind him/her constantly -- and (since this was a close match) the latter is what happened.

South Africa, by the way, won the match. Twenty-two to eighteen.

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Knowledge is warranted belief -- it is the body of belief that we build up because, while living in this world, we've developed good reasons for believing it. What we know, then, is what works -- and it is, necessarily, what has worked for us, each of us individually, as a first approximation. For my other blog, on the struggles for control in the corporate suites, see www.proxypartisans.blogspot.com.