Intel Inside the Irish economy

By Will Goodbody, Science & Technology Correspondent @willgoodbody In 1989, when Intel announced it was to begin manufacturing computer motherboards in Ireland, the then Minister for Industry and Commerce, Dessie O’Malley, made some projections about likely employment arising from the project over the following five to 10 years. As so often is the case with political projections, they were to prove very wrong. But in a good way. Because in the end the number of jobs created by Intel in …

AIB bites the bullet, how long before other banks wake up?

For five years, politicians have been carping about the slow-learning banks not writing off mortgage debt for homeowners in arrears. Now AIB is doing just that. But its actions are not being met with universal approval from public representatives. Fianna Fáil’s Michael McGrath said whether a family gets a sustainable solution to its mortgage headache depends on which bank provided them with their loan. Independent TD Stephen Donnelly said he “welcomed” the development but called for a more “systemic” approach. …

How Ireland could make a Big Bang in astronomical science

By Will Goodbody, Science & Technology Correspondent @willgoodbody On St Patrick’s Day, as we marked our national holiday, a substantial breakthrough in cosmology and astrophysics was announced by a team of scientists in the US. They revealed that for the first time, they had recorded an echo of gravitational waves – signals emitted in the immediate aftermath of the Big Bang. The discovery was made using a specialist telescope based in the inhospitable environs of the South Pole. It’s a …

Spotlight turns to SME debt

By Business Editor David Murphy Whether he is right or wrong, UCD economist Morgan Kelly always has the ability to put the fear of God into the Irish authorities. When he predicts a financial maelstrom, it is always worth taking notice.

The challenges of reporting on academic papers

  By Will Goodbody, Science & Technology Correspondent @willgoodbody The latest controversy to hit the world of academic publishing is a curious tale. On 29th January, the respected international journal, Nature, published a paper by Japanese and US scientists, which claimed a significant breakthrough in the manufacturing of adult stem cells. The team’s research asserted that they had found a way to reprogramme mature animal cells into an embryonic state by shocking them in acid. The implication was that if …

Is it possible to fall in love with a computer?

By Will Goodbody, Science & Technology Correspondent @willgoodbody The movie “Her” was nominated for an Academy Award for best picture on Sunday night. Set a little in the future, the movie tells the story of a heartbroken man who falls in love with Samantha, a female sounding intelligent computer operating system. The film didn’t win the Oscar, but has started something of a discussion about the potential extent of our interaction with computers and devices in the future. And it has …