Archive for November, 2009

€140 Million CCJ Building

The building of CCJ in Dublin (photo by Matt Kavanagh/Irish Times)

The building of CCJ in Dublin (photo by Matt Kavanagh/Irish Times)

The new Criminal Courts of Justice (CCJ) complex will open today for its first court hearing, and this €140 million complex boasts 22 technology-bolstered court rooms, additional 450 rooms, underground holding area for up to 100 prisoners (with their own entrances into each court room), separate areas of access for the judiciary and the members of the public, dedicated victim-support facility complete with suites for witnesses and victims of crimes, and also a playroom for child witnesses.

For more specs information etc, have a read at these articles on the Irish Times and the Independent.

What caught my interest is the architecture side of this building. This 11-storeys building (I know, doesn’t seem like it from the photo above, thanks to the clever positions of 3 rows of large glass panels) is circular, earning it the nickname of Pantheon. For any unaware passerby, it could easily pass for a corporate building; even a modern opera house. The interior is sleek, and its open central space gives this sense of a breathing space, which I can imagine many would need given the stress involved in a judicial process. The human circulation system is such that facilitate mobility of the suspects, judges, juries and witnesses while protecting their privacy at the same time. No pictures as yet that I can find on the interior of the individual courtrooms, but the children playroom is calming with circular motives in coordinated splashes of colours.

What do you think of the building? Is the cost justified given the facilities in place to better provide security and privacy to all who uses the building for one reason or another? (It is about €30 million over the budget stated on the website of the architect company involved, Henry J Lyons, but it’s also delivered ahead of schedule.)

On a side note, for a country of just over 4 million people in population, and knowing that the justice system processes some 400,000 criminal matters per year, the rate is rather alarming to me. I don’t know if this kind of rate is “normal” by any stretch, but I certainly have heard of a lot of thefts and robberies lately that perhaps I shouldn’t be this shocked over it…?

Thierry the thief, Thierry le voleur

The look on Shay Given’s face, when he grabbed on to the Swedish referee and told him it was a handball but just got shrugged off. It was heartbreaking. And in the same way, the loss was heartbreaking. The boys were devastated after putting through such a sterling performance tonight. France pulled through an advantageous goal because there was a thief amongst the lot.

Meet Thierry Henry.

La main de Thierry (via @bruno_tran)

La main de Thierry (via @bruno_tran)

It doesn’t matter what the tv commentators are saying, that “such a thing unfortunately happens” or all the other consolation gobbledygook about the match. We were robbed. In a way, yes, it is unfortunate, but such a thing shouldn’t have happened! Could the referee not take a moment to consider the situation, perhaps confer with the linesman, when there were so many other players protesting over it?

2 offsides and 2 handballs.

How can that be justified? How?

Now, a selection of some of the comments published on Twitter so far:

  • Thierry Henry, I’m really happy for you and imma let you finish, but Diego Maradona had the best handball of ALL TIME! (via @darraghdoyle @Shiminay)
  • New French flag http://flic.kr/p/7gEiY8 – Jesus people work fast! – Imagine what 2mo is going to be like! (via @lexia @JulieDil @davanac)
  • If I even SEE a croissant tomorrow… (via @shanehegarty)
  • wow, just the two handballs from thierry henry in that goal. maradona only needed one. (via @heg @curlydena)
  • Thierry “The Thief of St Denis” Henry. Copyright George Hamilton. (via @tigercooke)
  • FFS!!! Thierry the thief. Beyond angry and disappointed. And seriously, referee – go to Specsavers and get new glasses!!! (via @DUBMetblogs)

I’m a bit too cross to rant right now. If I continue, I may also say something that I’ll deeply regret tomorrow morning. And I can’t watch the replays anymore either. It’s too painful and the wound is too fresh. The boys have done well and we’re proud of them.

Besides, I need to get off here now and lodge a complaint to FIFA. You can do that too, by following this linky to FIFA comment page.

Metlinks 17.11.09

Still need to wrap my head around a few things but the main one is about Christmas, given the lightings are up and all. There’s only about 5 weeks left, give or take, before Christmas??? Where had the year gone to? I haven’t even start my gift shopping list! Yikes. While I contemplate on that, here’s a few things for your attention.

  • Gosh, what happened with the WC Qualifier last Saturday? Why do we always have to do it the hard way? Never mind, on to Paris we go and the match had better be at least 2-0 to Ireland when the final whistle blows. Good news is, RTE will be airing it for us mortals who have to work and/or too broke to fly to Paris. Kick off 8pm Irish time.
  • Dublin Bus has teamed up with 21 vendors around the city in Ticket Thursday initiative to give our pocket a little breather. On Thursdays November 12, 19, 26 and December 3, present any pre-paid Dublin Bus ticket at participating shops and enjoy some retail discounts (e.g. Cleary’s between 10 to 20% off, Muji 15% off), restaurant discounts (e.g. Wagamama buy 1 main course get 1 free), pamper discounts (e.g. €10 off hair cut) and cultural discounts (e.g. 2 for 1 ticket to Dublin Zoo). Click on linky above for more details.
  • Yay, a new season of Opera Ireland is currently underway. The choices – between Macbeth by Verdi and Das Rheingold by Wagner.
  • The Irish Film Institute is hosting its annual French Film Festival and this year it runs from 19 November to 29 November. If you are a fan of Jean-Pierre Jeunet (Delicatessen, Amélie) then don’t miss out on the opening film MICMACS.
  • Last week, a series of Christmas lighting was up at Henry Street and its environs. Today, the lights on Grafton Street put everyone just that notch closer to the festive season. Last but not least, this weekend, the lighting ceremony of O’Connell Street will be taking place. A bevy of events are organised to start at 4.30pm on Sunday 22 November, with the lighting at 6.00pm.

That’s it for today. And come on boys in green – we want to have a real good reason to miss some work days next summer. Or better, to travel to South Africa! ;)

Metlinks 10.11.2009

Things are a little crazy busy on our ends, but that’s not excuse to leave this blog unnattended for too long. Several things have caught our attention in the last couple of weeks, so here’s a quick digest to keep you in the loop.

  • This week, running from Monday 9th November to Saturday 14th November, Take Your Seat is bringing arts and theatres back into your life. Book for tickets to shows of your preference, and you’ll be offered some promotional tickets (if not free!) to other shows at a later date, therefore doubling up your fun evening out. They also run daily competitions so sign up for it today and who knows, you could win them and be heading out to a play or a musical next.
  • Fancy a little bit of a geeky event? Look no further, head out the door tonight to the Mercantile for The Alchemist Café event at 7.30pm, where a discussion of “memory traces” and the role they play in shaping our sense of self and form the instint for survival. My former lecturer, Prof Ciaran Regan, will be taking on the hot seat for this discussion.
  • There’s a relatively new gourmet food market every Thursday, from 11.00am to 2.30pm, at the banks of the Grand Canal next to Mespil Road (just off Upper Baggot Street). Pretty good timing and location really, considering there are quite a number of offices around the area, and the workers sure could do with a bit of a change for their lunch goodies from the usual sandwich and coffee from the shops nearby.
  • Given the grip of recession, it is never pleasant to read about the bleak economic outlook faced by Irish youths of today, where unemployment for those under 25’s is about 1 in 4. If Ireland is as perceived – no country for young men – how long will it be, before they leave the country in search for a better future? A drain of human resources is not desirable for a country that is trying to pull itself out of this financial hardship.
  • It has been claimed, that the internet brings people closer and forges intimacy. But how close can become too close? So much so that it’s not only a ground for stalking, it’s bringing cyberbullying to a whole new level. Scary.
  • Love cooking and interested in cooking demonstrations? Arnott’s is organising a few demo sessions, while promoting the cookware/kitchenware from Siemens Home (Saturday 14th November) and Judge and Stellar (Wednesday 18th November and Thursday 19th November). And there will be reductions in some of these gears too.
  • Since when does Christmas come round so quickly? I’ve barely dragged my winter clothes out, and already I’m seeing light fittings being put up all over the city, and this Sunday (15th November) the festive lightings at Henry Street and its environs will officially be switched on at 4.00pm. There are also other family fun events organised throughout the day, and check this link for further details.

I’m sure plenty of people are looking forward to the first World Cup qualifier match between Ireland and France this Saturday (14th November). Can we pull it off in this home game? Fingers crossed. Goooo Ireland!

TEDxDublin meets What If…

TEDxDublin meets Science Gallery’s What If… next Thursday, 12th November, at 7.30pm with a series of talks by Kate Coleman, Mark Leslie, Tom Hadfield and Simon Dennehy. (Note: another speaker is due to be added to the list too, and line-up is still being finalised at the time this article is being typed up.)

TEDx Dublin

Who are they, you ask? Here’s the information from Science Gallery’s TEDx page:

Kate Coleman, Founder of Right to Sight

Kate Coleman is the founder of Right to Sight – a unique collection of world experts from corporate, eye care and government sectors with the specific goal to eliminate preventable blindness in the world. The next phase of this project is to roll out a training simulator built on Microsoft games software and using two Wiimotes, that will help student surgeons practice the surgical techniques used during cataract operations by performing virtual surgery on a computer-generated eye.

Mark Leslie, Managing Director of Martello Media

You’re probably more familiar with the work of Mark Leslie and his team at Martello Media than you might think. This team of architects, writers, museum experts, exhibition designers, graphic artists, filmmakers and computer programmers, work together to design unique interactive experiences are most recently responsible for the award winning designs at Guinness Storehouse, Cliffs of Moher Centre and the WB Yeats Exhibition at the National Library.

Tom Hadfield, Creator of Soccer.net and heading up the Le Whif Project

Tom Hadfield created Soccernet, a sports Internet company that was sold to ESPN for $40 million when he was 17 years old. Two years later, he and his father were able to raise millions of dollars to launch the education website Schoolsnet.com. Tom is currently working for The Labo Group in Paris where he heads up Le Whif. Le Whif is a revolutionary new way of eating chocolate – by breathing it! Imagine, chocolate without the calories.

Simon Dennehy from Perch.ie, Ergonomic Furniture for Primary Schools

Simon Dennehy’s work on ergonomic furniture for primary schools is aimed at rectifying the fundamental problems associated with the current selection of school furniture being used in primary schools in both Ireland, and globally. Currently, very few credible design solutions exist.

The number of tickets available to the event is very limited and they’re available exclusively to members of Science Gallery. They will go on sale today (5th November) from 12noon (Irish time) at this link – you’ll need to be signed in as member to access the page, and ticket costs €7.50 each (a departure from the previous and inaugural TEDxDublin which was free of charge).

If you’re not already a member of Science Gallery, it’s not too late to sign up for it and it’s free, so why not? Besides, do you know that with this free membership, you can get a discount when you drop by the Flux Cafe for some food and coffee? Not to mention free wifi connection when you’re at the Science Gallery as well. They’re perks you should take advantage of!

Auctioning lost-in-post items

Auction gavel

If you ever wonder what An Post does with items that were lost in the postal system, due to either incorrect address, or failure to deliver but can’t be returned to sender, or simply an unnotified change of address, think no more of it. The items are auctioned off, twice a year, with the proceeds going back to An Post.

One such auction is taking place this evening and if you’re interested, head to Herman and Wilkinson Auction House in Rathmines. The auction will begin at 6.30pm.

Some of the stuff on the block today include 6 bottles of champagne, 6 bottles of Canadian whisky, a Rolex watch, Gucci and Burberry handbags, a model train set, 4 large Tom Tom drums, a wetsuit, a signed print of The Titanic, an electric floorwasher and a set of fish hooks.

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