An Irish Man Interprets the World

A Petition to Change the World…

The WHO and the promise to eliminate leprosy…

In May 1991, the member states of the World Health Assembly (WHA), the governing body of the WHO (World Health Organisation), promised to ‘eliminate leprosy as a public health problem’ by the year 2000. The 1991 resolution was, in effect, a promise by WHO to the United...

Storytelling and Same-sex Marriage

The persuasive Irish have perfected their use of stories. They use the power of language to carefully craft detailed images and metaphors, to evoke emotion, or make a point, where non-fiction would struggle. Our poets, authors and songwriters have been perfecting that craft for centuries.

In Ireland, such storytelling is a great national tradition. To quote Lara Flynn Boyle,...

A Story of Everyday Heroes

A little north of St Paul’s Cathedral in London, you’ll find the small Postman’s Park. Nestled beneath an unassuming wooden shelter, there is a wall with a series of 54 tiles. Each one carries at least one name, every name the name of a hero who laid down life to save another. Surprisingly, many are the names of children.

This is the Memorial to Heroic Self...

What is going on in this picture?

Can you make sense of this picture? It is April Fool’s Day, but the above image is taken naturally, and has had no computer-generated alteration…

Three questions:

What about the pool? It looks like this artist worked with a sculpted pool. Perhaps he created it, or perhaps he worked with something...

The Pain of Painlessness

Imagine having a condition which meant you are unable to feel pain. It sounds blissful.

Yet, for Steven and his brother, this was far from the case.[1] When he was 4-5 months old, he began chewing on his tongue as he was teething, unable to sense the pain this would usually cause. Once his condition, congenital analgesia, had been diagnosed, he had destroyed a quarter of...

If Jesus had an iPhone on Palm Sunday…

What would the Social Media universe have looked like if the people watching Jesus riding into Jerusalem were busy on their phones? Well, if anyone ever goes back in a time machine and gives Jesus’ disciples iPhones, maybe these sort of things are what you would see…

 

It all started when Jesus, en route to Jerusalem, tweeted...

One child dies every minute: 10 incredible facts about water…

On one side of the world:

8 billion people, around 1 in 6 people, drinks water contaminated with faeces.[1]

 

More people have access to mobile phones than working toilets. Only a third of the population of India has access to adequate sanitation.[2]

 

In 76% of households, women and children bear the primary responsibility of...

St Patrick, champion of Human Rights?

Ireland has only 0.064% of the world’s population. Yet it has international influence that far exceeds its size. Today, St Patrick’s celebrations involve over 150,000 people in New York City alone,[1] and around 34 million Americans consider themselves to have Irish heritage, over 7 times the population of Ireland itself.[2]

St Patrick’s early...

4 Challenges Mothers face worldwide

Lethal risks during pregnancy: In the USA, as a result of pregnancy-related causes, 28 women die per 100,000 births, which, to compare, is a higher rate than Thailand (26 deaths), Iran (23) and Saudi Arabia (16). Eastern European nations Poland (3) and Bulgaria (5) have considerably lower rates than both the UK (8) and Ireland (9).[1] As such, all nations, even more...

Why does an extra X chromosome make such a difference?

Sunday was International Women’s Day.  It adopted the strapline “Make it Happen”. It’s a clear statement that enough talking has been done – it’s time to ensure gender equality.   What is gender? When we’re born, whether we are male or female depends on whether we end...

Could you patent the sun? The Beginning of the End for Polio…

The 1952 polio epidemic killed 3,145 and paralysed 21,269 men, women and children in the US.  Two years later, on 23 February 1954, Virologist Jonas Salk brought a glimmer of hope to Pittsburgh.  On this day,  61 years ago, the first large-scale inoculations of children began today. Just over a year later, the vaccine was declared by the University of Michigan to be ‘safe and...

International Holocaust Remembrance Day

27th January 1945 was a momentous day in history. 70 years ago today, Soviet forces liberated the notorious Auschwitz concentration camp. The liberation of Auschwitz was a red letter day after the genocide of 6 million Jews, 1 million from the travelling community, 250 thousand people with disabilities and 9 thousand homosexual men by Nazi forces.

The United Nations, the European...

Happy Pie Day! Why pies have saved lives…

Today is National Pie Day in the USA. It’s not to be confused with the number Pi, or the film the Life of Pi, which focusses more on being stuck in a lifeboat with a tiger! It’s genuinely a day celebrating the symbolic, economic, and tasty qualities of pie! It’s sponsored by the American Pie Council (such an organisation does exist!), which seeks to be ‘preserving...

Expensive Mocha...

Don’t spill that Mocha!

What could you buy with €1? Most places in Ireland wouldn’t even give you a glass of lemonade for this price, let alone a Mocha coffee! Yet for a quarter of India, a quarter of a billion people, this is the reality at good times. Spilling a Mocha coffee could signify starvation for half a week! How much do we really value fairness?

Any thoughts on this...

“The biggest disease today is not leprosy or tuberculosis but rather the feeling of being unwanted, uncared for, and deserted by everybody.”

– Mother Teresa