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Saturday, January 22, 2011

Weekend Randomness: A Little Sexism for the Weekend - Man Flu

This is easily one of my favourite weekend randomness posts. In South Korea scientists investigating the man-flu phenomenon have made a startling discovery, it may in fact be real.

The scientists analysed over 1,200 manual workers in 40 companies in Incheon, South Korea. The found that men in more demanding jobs were 74% more likely to report having a cold or flu symptoms than those under less pressure. There was at 42% heightened risk of illness in men with insufficient control over their jobs and 40% among those who lacked adeqate "social suport".

The study should that work related illness was by and large a problem reserved only for the male population. Women were said to be generally less susceptible to work related pressures and are more "stoic" in their approach to such matters according to the scientists who carried out the research. I can't help maintaining an aura of skepticism around this research. What do you guys think?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Drowning Globe

Brisbane, Australia

The news wires were full of reports over the last two weeks of horrendous flooding across Sri Lanka, Brazil and Australia. All three nations have suffered greatly at the hands of our increasingly tumultuous weather conditions.

The Australian treasurer has stated the the floods in his country will be the biggest National Disaster in the State's history, in economic terms. The waters inundated the country's third largest city Brisbane and 45 other townships across four states have been effected. So far the death toll has reached 22, however, this has expected to rise in heavily battered Queensland. The floods are expected to cut 1% off of the rate of economic growth equal to $6bn according to the central bank. The Greens, the smaller partner in Julia Gillard's minority Government have agreed somewht controversially that it should be the oil companies who should pay for the costs, as they have been blamed for causing the global warming which the Australian Government states has directly caused the floods.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Turmoil in Tunisia

One of the the biggest stories of the week is the ongoing turmoil in Tunisia where anarchy and rioting lead to the ousting of President Ben Ali who has fleed the country and is now taking refuge in Saudi Arabia. Close aids including the man in charge of his security are now being detained accused of formenting violence.

The constitutional authority has declared a presidential election must be held within sixty days. In the interim the speaker of the parliament has now be sworn in as president. However the presidency had been originally claimed by the Prime Minister which has created a degree of uncertainty in the country. Indeed the very success of the popular uprising is somewhat under threat as the military moves swiftly in order to try the stem the violence analysts are wondering if a coup is possible. A fire brock out at a jail over the weekend klling 42 inmates while at another facility a mass jail break of over 1,000 people occured.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Weekend Randomness: The Bullet Sneezing Man

This weekends bizarre and wonderful nugget of random information comes courtesy of Darco Sangermano a 28 year old labourer from Italy. While in partying in Naples with his girlfriend on New Years Eve, Mr Sangermano was struck with a stray bullet which  entered into his temple. I know what you are thinking, this doesn't sound like the typical fluffy weekend randomness fodder. Read on.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Ireland's Economic Meltdown

While I was away from the site the major story making the headlines here in Ireland was the effective implosion of the Irish economy. For those of you who weren't following the story Ireland became the first country to enter recession in the Eurozone in September 2008 and it is suspected to be the last to come out of it.

The crisis came about as a mixture of a number of factors. The housing market in Ireland was big business for a number of years, with prices rising rapidly and the construction sector employing an eight of the entire population. Owing to the global economic slowdown of late 2008 the property bubble in Ireland burst and by the middle of 2010 house prices had plummeted 35% compared with the second quarter of 2007. Therefore the construction sector was also mortally wounded creating waves of unemployment and mass emigration. The pressure greater unemployment put on Government funds added to the national debt already soaring.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Haiti: One Year On

This time last year I was just beginning this little blogging endeavor and my first post dealt with the tragic earthquake in Haiti and looking behind the disaster to tell you a little bit more about the poorest nation in the Northern hemisphere. You can find it here, Haiti:Behind the Quake.

The devastating quake occurred on the 12th of January 2010, measuring a crippling 7 on the Richter scale. The earthquake left 1.5 million people homeless and 800,000 people, more than half of that number are still living in tents in the capital Port au Prince. The earthquake took the lives of between 95,000 and 220,000 people and the conditions in the tents are making life incredibly tough for those Haitians facing a challenging relief effort.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Tragedy in Tucson: The Debate

The people of Tucson, Arizona remain in mourning for those lost in Saturday's attack on congresswoman Gabrielle Gifford's public forum with constituents outside a commercial outlet in the city. The attack left 5 dead, including a federal judge, with Gifford now in a stabilising condition in a nearby University Medical Centre.  The 22 year-old gun man named as Jared Loughner will face charges which may result in a sentence as severe as the death penalty.

The coverage now seems to be turning towards motive and the prevention of further attacks of this nature from re-occurring. As a general rule of thumb after tragedies of this nature that force people to do considerable amounts of soul searching numerous figures appear on television (indeed generally with far more expertise than myself) hypothesising as to what could have spurred someone to commit such an atrocity. While I do not profess to be an authority or even have any considerable knowledge of mass killings of this kind I hope you may indulge me in some opinions of my own on this tragic event.

Sudanese Schism?

This week has the potential to be a historic one in the history of Africa's largest nation, Sudan. The people of Southern Sudan are voting in a week long referendum on whether they should separate from the North, forming the continent's 54th sovereign nation, and what would undoubtedly become the UN's latest inductee since Timor-Leste in 2002.

The week of voting began on Sunday, when large numbers of voters were turned away due to enormous crowds at polling stations, particularly in the southern capital of Juba.  The poll requires a turn-out of 60% in order to be valid, a figure which authorities expect will easily be reached. The result of the vote will be confirmed by the 15th of February, however preliminary results are expected by Friday.  If the Southern Sudanese vote for independence then the process is expected to be completed by July.