Monday, October 23, 2006

Biometric Open Book

This, via the Register, from Digital Rights Ireland. Apparently the biometric data on the new Irish passport is, effectively, an open book. Like the Register, I'd be somewhat less concerned about data being used by those terrorist types and far more concerned about ordinary decent criminality.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

One Eyesore Less

Liberty Hall (on the left) is to go. Let's hope it falls on Butt Bridge.

Vous ne chantez pas

Pity I don't speak a word of French. I've suddenly come over all Malian.

More here and in the comments here.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

International Law Video Library

I wouldn't usually use my blog to advertise the activities of my employers, but I think the Queen's University Law School's International Law Video Library is an excellent resource. They seem to have interviewed some very significant people, including Phillippe Kirsch, president of the International Criminal Court and Judge Navanethem Pillay, President of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. Moreover, there are some fascinating thematic pages, with various people explaining key concepts in international law.

This really seems like an exciting innovation and provides, to some degree, an insight into the future of university teaching.

By the way, you navigate the movies through the thematic links on the right.

As always...

Nothing in Ireland is sorted until there's a good argument and a split.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Monday, October 09, 2006

What's with Ryanair?

You really have to wonder at Ryanair's move to take over Aer Lingus. Richard Delevan reports Michael O'Leary (via Slugger) as being somewhat cagey about when he (or others) came up with the move, suggesting that he doesn't remember whose idea it was but that they came up with it "only a week or two ago."

O'Leary's less-than-enthusiastic response may be rooted in the 'investor day' (pdf) Ryanair held on the 29th of September. Seemingly, Ryanair executives didn't mention the Aer Lingus idea then, much to the subsequent irritation of shareholders. Buying Aer Lingus would involve a major strategic shift even if the two companies were notionally separate, given Aer Lingus's long-haul business. It would also hit Ryanair's cost-base since it would both involve them taking on the costs of maintaining an Airbus fleet and - perhaps - being in a weaker negotiating position with their own pilots.

On top of all that, the oft repeated observation1 that Ryanair and Aer Lingus only compete on 17 routes is little more than spin. As the FT reports,2 Ryanair's rivals point out that some 62% of Aer Lingus's European destinations are also destinations for Ryanair, even if both airlines fly into different airports. The 17 routes claim assumes that we don't think that an airline flying into (God help us) Charleroi is competing with an airline flying into Zaventem, despite the fact that they both serve Brussels.

Well thought out? I doubt it.

1 Here from the horse's mouth (pdf). For some press-release copy and paste jobs, see here, here, here, here, here and here.

2 MSNBC has very kindly posted this article too.

Thursday, October 05, 2006


Long time no post. Too busy really. Anyway, I do have an update to this post.