Tag Archives: In the news

How long can you hold your breath?

I used to be able to swim well. At a stretch I could do 50*25m lengths of a pool in about an hour. I’d be wrecked after it for days on end, but I did it. And at the time I managed to hold my breath and swim the whole length of the pool underwater. Those pesky kids at the top of the pool were always a frustrating obstacle when the air is running out ..

That all pales in comparison to the achievements of British freediver Sara Campbell who can hold her breath underwater for 4min 30sec. She recently set a world record in the disciple of, “constant weight” freediving when she dived to 90m (295ft) on one breath.

There is a risk of blackout and burst eardrums and the lungs compress to the size of a clenched fist, but deep down at 90 metres – where no other woman swimming with just a monofin for propulsion has gone before – the Red Sea looks golden to Sara Campbell.

Phew.

Luciano Pavarotti has sung his last

Luciano Pavarotti died in the early morning of September 6, 2007 at home surrounded by his wife and four daughters.

I got a bit of a shock this morning looking through my feeds when I saw Pat’s post that Pavarotti died. The Wikipedia page on him has already been updated with more details. A sad day for his family, friends, fans and the music world.

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Whither the outcry?

Bombs were defused and a disaster avoided in London and Glasgow yet I hardly hear a word of it online. Strange. The terrorists must be Apple users who knew that everyone would be talking about the iPhone.

Mark reminds us it wasn’t the police who noticed the bomb outside the nightclub in London. I read somewhere that paramedics were attending to a young man who had fallen outside the club when they spotted the suspicious packages in the car. If they hadn’t been there how many people would now be dead? Hugh points towards this post showing the nonsensical imbalance of news reporting.

I guess if it doesn’t happen in your own backyard then it doesn’t happen at all.

I voted today in the Irish election

Thanks Celine for taking care of Adam while we went and voted! I can’t remember who I gave all my votes to but the first two went to:

  • John McCarthy, an independent standing on health issues, including mental health. (yes, that is a pony tail!)
  • Noel O’Flynn, a Fianna Fail politician. He helped us a few weeks ago, although in hindsight there was little he could do. I’ll be blogging about that once an appeal is done.

I didn’t vote for the Worker’s Party, Socialist Party (same thing?), Sinn Fein or the Greens.

Around the Irish blogosphere:

  • Mel listed who he voted for.
  • Claire voted for the first time.
  • The Swearing Lady ponders the paradox that the Irish government wanted Sinn Fein to be part of the administration in the North, but nobody will touch them with a barge pole down south.
  • Adam thinks Rock the Vote was a complete failure. As I only became aware of that movement through blogs talking about it and taking the piss out of it I’d have to agree.
  • More coverage from Politics.ie, Irish Election, and of course Damien has plenty to say on the election. I rather enjoyed the grey tigers video he posted!

Take a hint Mary Harney!

I’ve previously written at length about Mary Harney and my distaste for what she’s doing to the health service in Ireland so this image posted to Blogorrah made me smile.

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There’s a general election on May 24th but I thought Harney would be retiring after her disgraceful stint as Minister for Health. It came as a shock that she’s actually standing in the election!

To see more of Mary Harney be sure to check out the cartoons on Langerland!

One giant leap for starman Hawking

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The Sunday Times reports that Steven Hawking is going to take a trip in the “Vomet Comet” to experience up to 25 seconds of weightlessness!

I think that is simply the most wonderful thing that could happen to a man who has studied gravity and physics all his life. He has also been offered a free place on Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic spacecraft and apparently he has been, “smiling a lot this week”, and I look forward to hearing how he got on.

Hawking, 65, will be lifted out of his wheelchair so that he can enjoy zero gravity when the plane takes off from the shuttle landing facility at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Meanwhile, I wonder what Ryanair would do if they ran spaceflights? They’d certainly place a surcharge on any extra weight, but at the prices required to lift 1KG of weight they better not overesitimate the weight

Update! I found a photo of his weightless experience here!

Eva Herzigova is loving pregnancy

Today’s Sunday Times reveals that Eva Herzigova loves being pregnant. She is 7 months pregant by long term boyfriend Gregorio Marsiaj.

“I’m just so happy. I want to be pregnant for the next 10 years,” she declares with a beatific smile. Pregnancy, she says, has changed her life. “I feel so powerful. You have no idea. But it’s an inner power. You are so content with just being. That’s how it is. I feel so confident about my body. I feel so potent. You feel like you have your mission, and it’s empowering.”

You should have seen my wife’s face when she told me that. She’s two days overdue now and her expression spoke volumes!

Eva does have a refreshingly normal outlook on getting back into shape though,

She has no intention of following Heidi Klum’s example. The German supermodel posed in lingerie on the Victoria’s Secret’s catwalk just weeks after giving birth to her second child. “I’m not thinking about getting back into shape,” she says, patting her bump. “I just want to enjoy this. I’m not like one of those celebrity people who would die to get back into shape. If people want to take pictures of me being round, they will take pictures of me being round. I think it’s important to show your true self and how you are — you don’t have to be in perfect shape or skinny shape.”

Let’s hope she feels the same way at 9 months..

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More fun at the hospital

We spent over 2 hours this morning at Cork University Maternity Hospital (CUMH). Little had changed since last week. Appointments were still impossible to make so Jacinta was told to come in early and wait.

It was crowded last week, but if anything, it was worse today. Most seats were taken but it’s a funny thing about some people – even when there are seats to sit on they’ll continue to stand. Even heavily pregnant mothers. I can’t figure it out. Martyrs?

This last week has seen Ireland sweltering under a blistering warm sun and conditions in the hospital were as stuffy as before. I stood near a radiator in the corridor and was shocked to find it was lukewarm. Expectant mothers looked on in disbelief when I mentioned this!

You’ll meet all sorts in the hospital. All races and creeds are represented in those hallways and unfortunately Irish racism is alive and kicking. A man at the end of the corridor was heard to say, “I should learn a foreign language and get an interpreter. We’d be seen sooner.” Shortly afterwards, his partner commented on the pronouciation of a foreign doctor saying that it was hard to understand him.

Good news however, I’ll be a dad within the next 7 to 8 days (hopefully). Due date is tomorrow but if nothing happens, Jacinta will be induced by the end of next week.

In related matters, Justin provides a transcript and commentary on Green Party candidate Patricia McKenna’s assertion on national radio that there’s a link between MMR and autism. That link has been discredited and I’m following this closely, but all it takes is one comment from the parent of an autistic child to make me doubt my convictions. Conor has more to say on the matter too.

He also reported a few weeks back that children in a Cork creche were found to have Tuberculosis (TB). Munster, the southern region of Ireland, does not have a programme in place to vacinate babies and children, but after the recent outbreaks, the HSE will introduce it later in the year. The vaccine is called BCG and has been administered in all other parts of the country. The Wikipedia page on Tuberculosis has a lot more information on the disease.

More and more bloggers I read are becoming parents. Maybe I’ve become more aware of the announcements, or maybe it’s simply that they are at that stage in life when they’re starting or expanding families. Remember when you and all your friends were celebrating your 21st birthdays?

Harney forces Cork midwives to resign

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The Minister for Health, Mary Harney, has a lot to answer for. Nurses, midwives, consultants and other staff in the newly opened Cork University Maternity Hospital (CUMH) are stretched to the limit coping with the pressure of expectant mothers and babies from the original three maternity hospitals in the city.

Cork University Maternity Hospital

We spent over two hours in a stuffy, crowded and very warm waiting area to be seen by a midwife and a consultant this morning. It was in stark contrast to the empty hallways and calm of the hospital just two weeks ago when we were given a tour of the facilities and offered a glimpse of a gleaming high-tech maternity environment. Pregnant women, partners and children waited in the sweltering heat while staff were run off their feet. The waiting area was unfortunately too small, there weren’t enough seats, and pregnant women had to make do by leaning against the walls of the corridors while waiting to be seen.

Despite the pressure, staff were as nice as always. Midwives were considerate, helpful and professional, but when asked about how things were going I heard that 2 had resigned and 4 had taken sick leave. As well as being short staffed to begin with, the remaining staff are even worse off now. Some workers are pulling 11 hour days.

Did I forget to mention that this 75 million Euro hospital doesn’t have air conditioning? Can you imagine the heat and mood in a small area where the only air comes from 2 slightly ajar windows and from internal corridors? It wasn’t nice. At least the two expensive flat screen LCD screens on the walls kept us occupied with day time TV courtesy of TV3. Oh yeah, that’s what we need.

Thanks to Mary Harney’s bullying tactics last week the hospital opened a week late on Saturday last. She had threatened to find a different use for the building if midwives didn’t accept her terms and move to the new hospital. Midwives and consultants protested that staffing levels weren’t high enough and I bore witness to that shortage this morning. Even the computer system there is broken and not expected to be working until this evening. No appointments could be made so women had to come on a first-come-first-served basis to the morning clinic. One woman we met there had been there since 8.30am. We arrived at 11am. Apparently it was even worse on Monday.

Teething problems with a new hospital? Perhaps, but if Mary Harney wanted the hospital opened a week previously shouldn’t those problems have been sorted out then?

Truly, healthcare is a vocation. I couldn’t do it. The midwives and staff deserve all the support they can get.