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A Different View

Hearth is still the heart of the home

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Sinead Irvine from Furbo won €28,000 on last Saturday's National Lottery Winning Streak game show on RTE. Pictured here at the presentation of the winning cheques were from left: Marty Whelan, Winning Streak game show co-host; Sinead Irvine the winning player, Eddie Banville, Head of Marketing, The National Lottery, who made the presentation and Sinead Kennedy, Winning Streak game show co-host.

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

It never ceases to amaze and infuriate when the first thing would-be landlords do when they buy one of those Homes Under the Hammer is to take out the fireplace and chimney breast to make more room in the living room.

For what?

What is a living room without a fire, or a wood burning stove or at the very least an artificial one that pretends to burn fake coals without having a mess to clean up afterwards?

Is there a more perfect sight of a cold winter’s day than a blazing fire to greet you on your return from metaphorically hunting and shooting for your kin?

Never in a million years will the sight of a radiator – even one glowing with heat to something like the Saharan desert – fill you with the same joyful heart.

And yet there are so many modern homes without a hearth or a heart – just a series of square boxes, painted magnolia, with radiators and laminate floors so that you can feel equally at home – or not – in rooms the world over.

The good news for those who retain a roaring fire at the heart of the home is that scientists have now discovered that it’s not just the heart they gladden … they can also help keep blood pressure low.

Christopher Lynn is a biological anthropologist at the University of Alabama, and his study found that it didn’t even have to be a real fire to have this positive effect – even a video of a fire is better than nothing at all.

He asked 226 adults to watch a video of an open fire with sound, and without, and also compared to a blank screen.

They were then tested for blood pressure, their susceptibility to hypnotism and how social they were as a result.

The study in the journal of Evolutionary Psychology found that ‘fire with sound consistently produces reductions in … blood pressure, and reductions grow stronger with … exposure’.

In other words, the flickering flames, the crackle and roar of burning logs – and perhaps if the study was carried out here, the smell of the turf – all possess a hypnotic calming effect.

But you didn’t need Dr Lynn to work that one out.

We’re generally happier in front of an open fire, more sociable, conversational and more interested in those around us.

Even if we’re on our own, what is better than a big fire, a good book and a reading light, a little music – perhaps even a little tincture – to bring your blood pressure right down to a point where all appears well with the world again?

Even without the book, those flickering flames, the shadows and lights, the pictures that appear in the red hot intensity of the fireplace … it’s enough to move you to a higher and happier plane.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

 

Connacht Tribune

Phone zombies add additional degree of difficulty for walkers

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Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

There was a time that students communicated with home about once every blue moon – and only then if they’d ran out of money. There was no real point in writing or phoning home for any other reason.

But now it appears they can’t be out of contact for more than a minute – or at least that’s how it looks if you try to negotiate a way through the hoards of them that stride four-abreast down the street, not one of them looking in the direction their feet are taking them.

They are on their phones, communicating with someone although probably not home – because they give off an intensity and urgency that suggests this messaging couldn’t possibly have waiting until they reached their destination.

Either that or they have become so dependent on Sat Nav that they fear they wouldn’t find their way to college without Google Maps – and so they walk, head down, staring at the screen, oblivious to other pedestrians or even telegraph poles.

And as you dodge around them, you wonder what’s so important that it won’t wait until they’re sitting down somewhere; have they a shares portfolio that has taken a hammering on the morning’s trading?

More likely, they’re watching TikTok or videos on YouTube, while wandering in public spaces like the last of the headless zombies.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Twenty one years after the day the world stood still in horror

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Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

It’s hard to believe that this week marked 21 years since we were stopped in our tracks at the sight of two planes exploding at full speed into the sides of the Twin Towers – not alone taking down part of New York’s iconic skyline but rocking our world to its core.

We may have missed the first plane, but every one of us can remember exactly where we were as the second plane followed suit, careering through the smoke of the first crash to explode in front of the eyes of the world.

It was so shocking it was difficult to even take in; the first incident might have been a tragedy caused by pilot error or illness – but there was no mistaking the deliberate intent when the same act of terrorism was repeated just 17 minutes later.

And this time the terrorists had the eyes of the world on their act, because we’d tuned into the live pictures of the smoke billowing from the North Tower – to see the hijackers crash UA Flight 175 into floors 75 to 85 of the South Tower, killing everyone on board and hundreds inside the building.

I was working in the Irish Star at the time, where we had one television halfway down the newsroom. With the time difference between Dublin and New York, it was just coming up to 2pm, when the management team met to discuss the news stories for next day’s paper.

It didn’t take a brainstorming session to work out what would fill the paper, and the global news agenda, the next day – except it was already impossible to annunciate just what had happened live on every television station on the planet.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

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Connacht Tribune

Memories of floppy disks – once the future but now firmly the past

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Dave O'Connell
Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

While watching an old crime drama on the telly recently, the sight of two detectives storing their evidence on a floppy disk brought back memories of a time when we thought our first or second-generation computers were at the cutting edge – little knowing that, within years, the floppy would be as obsolete at the typewriter.

The irony of course is that they weren’t floppy at all because they were housed in a hard plastic case, but without doubt they were gamechangers; a small square not much bigger than a playing card and yet it could store the contents of a large office cabinet on it, with room to spare.

And even if technology has since advanced so far that we’d store all of that and more on the pinhead of a needle, that’s just evolution. The floppy disk was the trigger for a revolution.

We’d never lose another story we’d written; we could store contact numbers (in a time when Data Protection wasn’t even a twinkle in some Ombudsman’s eye), transfer information from one computer to another – and just marvel at how far the world had come in our lifetime.

The computers themselves were also wonders to behold; an electronic screen with a little green cursor pulsating like a beating heart, allowing you to go backwards as well as forwards and clear up your spelling mistakes without the aid of Tippex.

Newsrooms used to be cacophonies of clacking typewriters and ringing phones – reporters slamming the carriage return like they had a vendetta against it and those traditional devices of communication ringing away, possibly because the intended recipient was away in a pub.

Within a generation, the newsroom became almost as quiet as a library as reporters gently tapped computer keys, and they no longer had to rely on desk phones because their lives were liberated by the arrival of the mobile.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

 

 

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