James P Mahon

Olympic Getaway of Ireland,

Ireland as a getaway from London, not Scotland, not Wales, but a different country! Seems daft, but could be quiet a clever move for the recession hit nation.

During the Celtic Tiger years the Irish tourism industry boomed. Riverdance, dodgy international boy bands and a history of strong American visitors helped the nation establish itself as a beacon of peace and tranquility for visitors.

Now with just under ten days until the Olympics kick off, Tourism Ireland is never one to miss a genuine opportunity. Whether it was drafting in Jedward after their Eurovision appearance for an ad campaign or now hopping on the Olympic bandwagon.

The clever and quirky campaigns feature the theme of “escape the madness” with Ireland portrayed as a quieter, relaxing alternative to the bustle and madness of inner city London.

The video is partially voiced by The IT Crowd actor Chris O’Dowd and maximizes the humorous side of a culture known for its happy-go-lucky attitude to life.

Made in the USA: A 30 Day Journey, The Film

When documentary maker Josh Miller’s father-in-law lost his job he responded with the intriguing film, Made in the USA.

The film is a response to those who say that industry is dead in America, with the global recession swallowing job after job across the heartland of America and sending Europe into turmoil, Miller feels that the “American Dream” is still alive.

The film charters 30 days of his life where he will live off just American produced products and speaks to industry heads and those who are now jobless about how to stimulate employment in rural America.

One of those industry leaders is Michael Araten CEO of toy manufacturer K’NEX. Mr Araten informed me in a recent interview that he feels that being featured in the documentary will raise hopes and spirits regarding the state of US manufacturers. The plastic toy is on the rise and Araten believes that it will also inspire the next generation of American scientists, engineers and designers.

With Made in USA currently in post production it emphatically states that it is a film that is neither Republican or Democrat but for the jobless regardless of political affiliation.

The film has significance for those of us in the UK as employment hits record numbers and possibly lessons can be learned from Miller and his film from across the water.

 

New Software IdeasLog planning to succeed

An application that helps to plan your life, your business commitments and act as a social networking tool, this surely cannot exist!

Yet one young Irish web developer is the driving force behind a piece of software that promises to do just that.

Finn Krewer a Phd student at the University of Ireland in Galway is co-creator and developer of ideasLog.

The concept behind the planning application is to enable managers and those with significant personal, business or commercial strains to plan effectively and maximize their time.

Sample plans are provided as templates and are easy to follow and utilize and users can also offer their own planning models. ideasLog is available cross platform and described by Mr Krewer as “lean, smart and highly adaptable to everyday life”.

There are 200 active users already with over 2000 plans created and the team behind ideasLog spear-headed by Krewer hope that in the next twelve months the number of active users will reach well into the 1000’s.

Only time will tell if the application that claims to make your life and work easier and more effective can potentially plan our futures.

Full interview at http://www.mixcloud.com/james-p-mahon/ideaslog-creatorwebdeveloper-finn-krewer-interview/

Shake It Out

First the Queen visits the Republic of Ireland, speaks Irish and then she surprises us once again and goes a step farther by going to Northern Ireland and shaking hands with Martin McGuinness.

What more can the woman do to try and shake off the shackles of history. At 86 years of age she’s really going at it and one wonders what the next step will be for the royal who doesn’t believe in retirement.

She has visited more countries than any other monarch in history and has done more to raise the profile of the commonwealth, yet the significance behind the handshake marked another landmark in her glittering career.

When I put this question regarding the difference the handshake made to Irish and British citizens alike, I received a mixed response.

Welshman Andy feels relatively positive about the shake but thinks that Martin McGuinness is “still Republican for those who are worried he has gone soft by meeting the Queen but it’s got to be a good thing”. The general air of positivity surrounding the handshake is echoed by former Irish Times columnist Cillian Fahy who says “it’s a great move and marks the next step forward in the peace process”.

However Irish language speaker Micheal believes the Queen deserves respect for what she must have gone through in taking part in the proceedings “If anything, it’s a greater sacrifice for the Queen, given her cousin (Lord Mountbatten) was murdered by the IRA”.

Not all feel the handshake between the former prominent IRA commander and the British monarch was a good move, Irish bar manager Gareth thinks “Its the greatest propaganda since Aldolf Hitler, Sinn Fein want power north and south of the border” with indifference echoed by engineer, Colm “I don’t think we’ll gain much from the handshake but if he didn’t do it, the peace process in Northern Ireland would have gone back 20 years”.

One thing can be sure, the significance of the handshake has not moved the peace process backwards, scars still burn across Northern Ireland and bodies are still unaccounted for as one feels only time will heal the wounds that run deep on all sides.

Genetic Sexual Attraction?

Over 2600 years ago the tragedy Oedipus Rex by Sophocles touched on the issue of incest in our society.

With the high profile case of Gerry Ryan and Penny Lawrence and now Mistie Atkinson and her teenage son, it is an issue that is making headlines across the world.

In the late 1980s incest was elaborated on and a new term GSA, or Genetic Sexual Attraction was created by Barbara Gonyo, the founder of Truth Seekers In Adoption. The GSA website states “Genetic Sexual Attraction or GSA occurs between two adults who have been separated during the critical years of development and bonding and are reunited years later as adults.”

With relaxation of adoption laws in the 1970s and now with more prevalent use of sperm banks the issues of impregnating your unknown or recently known offspring or siblings has come more and more into mainstream media.

Gonyo herself met the son she put up for adoption when he had grown up and found herself sexually attracted to him. With the advances in social networking those who are put up for adoption can trace their birth parents quicker and more effectively. This was the case in both the Ryan/Lawrence and Atkinson examples.

When not growing up in the same environment the desire for a connection between family members can manifest itself in the form of the Atkinson and Lawrence/Ryan scenarios. The Westermark Effect coined by Finnish anthropologist Edvard Westermark, has found close domestic proximity between children and parents during the first few years of their lives leads them to becoming desensitized to later sexual attraction which was lacking in the aforementioned situations.

Atkinson says that “I don’t feel like I should have the charge of incest because there is something called genetic attraction that is a very powerful that happens to 50% of people becoming reunited with a long-lost relative”. Her use of the defense of Genetic Sexual Attraction more than likely will not stand up in court and she faces charges of lewd contact with a minor and distribution of lewd material to a minor.

Yet her drawing on the issue will generate further discussion on an issue that psychologists have and continue to argue over for the past three decades.

Bernard Mboueyeu: An Asylum Seekers Interview

It is hard to imagine fleeing your home, your family and your loved ones to spare your own life.

We live in a western world that is becoming more and more open to communicating and expressing ourselves, we do this online when we can’t do it in person. However for vast parts of Africa, Asia and the Middle east the ability to express your views and opinions are thwarted and deemed anti-government and pro anarchy.

The right to speak your mind and voice your concerns does not exist, this is why Britain received 1000’s of asylum applications in the past decade and why people flee their homelands. When there is no way out, and you speak out, then often you must leave.

 

Call Me Viral

The Miami Dolphins cheerleaders have joined the craze of covering Carly Rae’s iconic pop ballad Call Me Maybe but they have taken it to a whole different level.

The internet began for military purposes but became popular through porn and adult content. This video is a prime example of the power of sexual images coupled with harmless music to create what has now become known as a “viral sensation”. Half a million views in 24 hours for the video shows the sheer force of materialism and sexual imagery in our society.

To create a Viral Sensation it seems you either must have humor, horror or sexual images if you can combine all three you are on to something! The reality of this situation is that this three and a half minute video clip will do more for marketing and promotion than dozens of billboards or television ad space. We are entering a world where youtube and google, facebook and twitter are platforms to advertise and the ability to expose a brand to a global audience is  just an upload click away.

Luka Magnotta’s search for fame

In a society that tells us being famous is perfection, becoming a celebrity is a goal and true success comes in magazine covers and news headlines one man has achieved all he ever dreamed of.

Luka Rocco Magnotta desired fame to the point of creating a life he did not lead. His social networking profiles and pictures showed a jet setting lifestyle yet behind it all was a young man taken in by celebrity culture. He desired fame so much he associated himself with serial killer Karla Homolka to gain exposure in media circles.

In an audition tape for Cover Guy, Luka whose birth name is Eric Newman seemed uneasy with taking criticism to his physique when auditioning as a model but compensated by mentioning he was “devastatingly good looking”. The young man with a deep voice also surfaced in a NakedNews interview where he spoke of his career as an escort and model. He portrayed his lifestyle of “lots of sex and lots of travel” as an enviable one and described himself on more than one occasion as a “people person”.

Luka came across as proud that through his escorting he moved in circles of influential people and those with power,  he felt in turn that he held power through his sexual prowess of which he alluded to on numerous occasions in the NakedNews interview.

It is a bizarre world where the search for fame leads you into lap dancing and escorting to feel influential and “celebrated”, but one that is not uncommon.

Last summer i spoke with a young escort in New York who also dreamed of fame and fortune and said his tale was not unique. A broken home, rejected for his sexual orientation and taken in by a life he desired but could only live through selling his body lead to situations where Luka Magnotta’s are created.

Luka once tweaked Karla Homolka’s wikipedia page to gain fame and see himself as a celebrity but now his own page stands as a testament to the fact he has fulfilled his life goal. Luka Rocco Magnotta is known the world over, not for being a model but for being a cannibal.

The Mystery of Sudden Death Syndrome

When Fabrice Muamba collapsed when playing for Bolton against Tottenham Hotspur the worlds media stopped and stared. On March 17th of this year his life changed and so did the views of many youth athletes looking towards a summer of sport. With the London Olympics and England in European Football action the summer promises to take Britons into the parks and and onto the jogging tracks.

With an alarming 26% of British citizens male and female classified as obese according to a 2012 NHS report, one would think this summer of sport would be a welcome one. However with such focus on extreme exercise comes the risk of cardiac arrest.

The uptake in marathons and half marathons in the UK has been rapid in the past half decade with 1.8 million amateur athletes currently in the UK and according to the United Kingdom Athletics Association this is set to rise further.

I spoke with Professor Sanjay Sharma of St Georges Hospital who is also the Medical Director of the London Marathon. He warned of the dangers of not training effectively and preparing the body for such extreme strain. He said the amateur athletes most in danger are the ones who are not running around in rabbit costumes but the young men especially who push themselves from the four to the three hour mark. With the issue of Cardiac problems being brought into the mainstream media regarding Muamba he said there are times when electric imbalances in the heart due to genetic disorders can affect what seem like perfectly fit and healthy sports men and women.

Professor Sharma’s words proved accurate when looking at the case of Sean Rodgers a triathlete from the Doncaster region who has died twice. With out any prior warning or any affects and in perfect health, his heart stopped for fifteen minutes and he woke up a week later after entering a coma. The second time his defibrillator kicked in after 37 seconds and said that the device saved his life and will aid Muamba’s heart moving forward.

Very little is still known of these sudden and unexpected heart attacks that affect 1 in 50,000 Britons every year and the C-R-Y institute in London and Professor Sharma are working hard to find a solution knowing it will be some time before the issue of Sudden Death Syndrome is fully understood.

Asylum seeker left in the dark

After fleeing his homeland of Cameroon in 2007,  Bernard Mboueyeu made his way to the steel city of Sheffield. As a charity worker and volunteer he gave back to the community that took him in as an asylum seeker and now he may have to leave.

After taking pictures of protests and highlighting corrupt leadership in his homeland, Bernard was beaten and tortured and in a interview with him only a few days ago he told me of his fear of returning. His wife Sharon said he would rather commit suicide than return to the corruption and abuse that awaits him.

Since May 16th he has been detained and been briefed on a pending deportation and with his flight ready he was fortunately granted bail in the past 24 hours and will remain in the UK pending a Judicial review.

Shaffaq Mohammed of Sheffield City Council and the Liberal Democrats has been a strong campaigner of the injustice in letting Bernard be sent back to what could be a certain death.

He feels bureaucracy is to blame and sees no reason why Bernard should not be allowed to remain in the UK with his British wife and family.

It remains to be seen what will happen to Bernard and his case is just one of dozens that end up in front of home secretary Theresa May who decides the fates for so many searching and seeking asylum.

More at