Published Articles

Ireland: Palisade Fencing Paranoia?

By Seamus Murphy

Originally published on Geographic Travels on March 4th, 2013 and Living Green Magazine on 18th March, 2013.

Summary:

Usually, most Irish stereotypes are true. The people are extremely welcoming, the grass is indeed very green and the whiskey tastes magnificent. Added to that, the country’s rugged landscape is a smattering of stone walls, fields, sheep, rolling hills and that most quintessentially Irish thing of all, palisade fencing.

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Exploring the Soviet-era Abandoned Buildings of Chemnitz, Former East Germany

By Seamus Murphy

Originally published on Urban Ghosts on February 12th, 2013.

Summary:

If you visit the city of Chemnitz in the German Free State of Saxony, your first impression is going to be distinctly Soviet. You might regret you came, even wishing you went to one of Germany’s more alluring destinations like Munich, Hamburg or Berlin. But it’s important to persevere, because hidden under Chemnitz’s grey and gritty exterior, it’s possible to unearth a plethora of historical riches.

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Japanese Whalers Set to Hunt Unimpeded in the Southern Ocean?

By Francis Broderick

Also published on Technorati on January 09, 2013.

Summary:

Japan has launched a program of scientific whaling for research purposes. Officially, the aim of this program is establishing the size and dynamics of whale populations, primarily in Antarctica. Several national governments including Australia have been supported by anti-whaling organisations such as Greenpeace and Sea Shepherd in their claim that this ‘research’ is a cover for the banned practice of commercial whaling.

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South Pacific Island “Undiscovered” by Scientists

By Seamus Murphy

Originally published on New Geography on December 01st , 2012.

Summary:

Have you ever tried to visit a South Pacific island near New Caledonia called Sandy Island? A team of Australian scientists attempted just that and found no sign of the supposedly sizeable landmass. Instead, the team from the University of Sydney were greeted by open ocean and nothing more.

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Albert Heijn Finally Expands Internationally

By Seamus Murphy

Originally published on Squidoo on November 6th, 2012.

Summary:

I remember visiting Albert Heijn on Monday mornings for breakfast during my studies. Friendly staff members were always on standby, offering free samples of bread, cheese and orange juice. After five minutes wandering around the store, I was fully gorged. A complimentary breakfast at Albert Heijn is the best possible way to start the week.

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Barryroe, Cork and oil: Ireland on cusp of boom?

By Seamus Murphy

Originally published on Cafebabel on October 30th, 2012.

Summary:

Amidst all the darkness, however, there is one chink of light. A recent announcement by Providence Resources, an Irish and UK oil exploration company operating off Ireland’s southern coast, might just bring some positivity back to the Irish mindset. After extensive drilling operations, a deposit equivalent to 1.6 billion barrels of oil was discovered at Barryroe in July

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Osprey Outrage on Okinawa

By Seamus Murphy

Also published on Foreign Policy in Focus on November 2nd, 2012.

Summary:

Having lived with a massive U.S. military presence for decades, the people of the southern Japanese island of Okinawa are becoming increasingly dismayed by the countless broken promises to remedy the accidents, noise pollution, and crimes committed by U.S. servicemen that have plagued the local population.

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Dingle, a Dolphin and An Daingean

By Seamus Murphy

Also published on Vagobond on September 27th, 2012.

Summary:

With breathtaking landscape dotted with ancient forts, spectacular hiking excursions are the norm when you’re staying in the little town of Dingle, the only settlement for miles around. The peninsula is situated in County Kerry, in south-western Ireland, with Dunmore head at its very tip – Europe’s westernmost point.

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Obstacles Mounting Against Israeli Strike on Iran

By Francis Broderick

Also published on Technorati on September 20, 2012.

Summary:

The notion of a doomsday scenario for the Middle East is constantly tossed around various news outlets, ratcheting up tension. Right now, however, talk of a military strike by Israel on Iran’s controversial nuclear program is becoming more muted as the race for the White House gathers pace.

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A Day in Vilnius

By Seamus Murphy

Also published on Travel Blog on July 6th, 2012.

Summary:

Vilnius, somewhat unusually, feels like a Mediterranean city. Winding cobblestone streets pass between beautifully coloured baroque buildings. Their faded blue, yellow and red façades deepen in intensity when the sun shines, while spectacular old churches appear behind every corner. You can’t help but ask yourself if you’re really in Lithuania. Oftentimes, it feels more like Naples or Milan.

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Why is China Struggling to Embrace the iPhone?

By Francis Broderick

Also published on Technorati on August 29, 2012.

Summary:

Beloved and idolized by legions of followers across the globe, Apple’s flagship iPhone 4S is struggling to ignite enthusiasm in the company’s second biggest market – China

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Revisiting the Sad Story of the Baiji

By Seamus Murphy

Also published on Earth Times on August 15th, 2012.

Summary:

The announcement of the Baiji’s extinction was made in December 2006. Long beforehand, scientists and conservationists were filled with trepidation as the dolphin’s numbers nose-dived. Before 1950, there were an estimated 6,000 animals spread over 1,700 kilometres of the middle and lower Yangtze. This plummeted to 400 by the mid-1980s.

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The Videogames Industry is Changing: Mobile Gaming Expected to Rise

By Stephanie Kopf

Also published on gamrReview on July 27, 2012.

Summary:

The videogame industry, and more importantly the videogame experience in itself, are being affected by changes. Physical sales of videogames are gradually dropping. Will mobile gaming take the lead?

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Is the Internet Stamping Out Postcards?

By Francis Broderick

Also published on Technorati on July 25, 2012.

Summary:

I didn’t notice it at first, but now, as each summer flies by, it’s becoming abundantly clear – that age-old and wonderful tradition of sending postcards seems to be disappearing. It’s almost August and I’ve received just one postcard so far this year – from somebody enjoying an adventurous Zeppelin trip over Lake Constance, of all things.

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Is China’s high-speed rail system slowing down?

By Francis Broderick

Also published on East Asia Forum on July 6th, 2012.

Summary:

In the last five years China has built more high-speed track than exists in France, one of the global leaders in high-speed rail technology.

Yet the ambitious growth plan has been implemented extremely quickly, which has led to corruption, faulty equipment and flawed procedures, all of which has have become evident in the past two years of construction and operation.

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Sampling Beer in Belgium

By Seamus Murphy

Also published on Travel Blog on July 6th, 2012.

Summary:

Some beautiful French song you’ve never heard is playing in the background. The night is long, the pub is great and the beer choice is extensive – astonishingly extensive. Many pubs boast over 400 beers on their menu and Delirium Tremens in Brussels has over 2,000…

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Rome? Rome!

By Stephanie Kopf

Also published on Travel Guru on June 8, 2012.

Summary:

The eternal city lives up to its name also because it leaves a lingering impression that feels like it will last forever. It is amazing to walk around what is basically the cradle of most of Western Europe’s civilizations. With two and a half thousand years worth of history, Rome definitely has a lot to offer.

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Rise of the Drones

By Francis Broderick

Also published on Technorati on June 11, 2012.

Summary:

A few years ago, everybody would have associated them with some kind of science-fiction horror movie. In 2012, they make headlines on a daily basis, and people seem to have accepted their growing impact without too many questions…

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Prosperity or Criminality? The Curse of the Coffeeshop

By Francis Broderick

Also published on LeftCentral on June 01, 2012.

Summary:

I was really fortunate to spend one year in the beautiful city of Maastricht, located in the southern Dutch province of Limburg. Elegant, miniature houses straddle both sides of the river Maas, separated by the 13th Century St. Servatius Bridge

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Football Fantasy or Fiasco? Will Fans be Safe at Euro 2012?  

By Francis Broderick

Also published on Blog Critics on May 31, 2012.

Summary:

Fears are growing about entrenched violence, racism and anti-Semitism in Poland and Ukraine, co-hosts of the Euro 2012 football tournament. When I heard that BBC’s Panorama investigation programme would show a report on the subject, entitled ‘Stadiums of Hate’, I watched it with astute interest.

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Mobile phones at 35,000 feet: Another safe haven lost?

By Francis Broderick

Also published on Daily Kos on May 30, 2012.

Summary:

20 years ago, it wasn’t a problem. Now it irritates me when I’m on the train. It irritates me when I’m in a restaurant. It even irritates the hell out of me when I’m at the library. The curse of the mobile phone is everywhere. There are only two places I can think of off the top of my head that are relatively free from ringtones and loud bickering.

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The Morphs are Coming

By Stephanie Kopf

Also published on The Moderate Voice on May 30, 2012.

Summary:

Ever thought of turning a seemingly crazy idea in to a successful business venture? Here’s one example.

It might have seemed improbable that a skin-tight all-coverage spandex suit in lurid colors would be a choice of dress for some people. But a recent trend is conquering Europe and proving the opposite.

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On Reading: A Bookworm Reborn

By Stephanie Kopf

Also published on 5 Minutes for Books on May 6, 2012.

Summary:

It seems to often be the case today that we have to “find time” for everything: to think, to meet with friends, to phone family members. And to read. Internet statistics will show you that the use of online media is booming everywhere in all sorts of different directions, but exciting as it is, I don’t want to forget the book.

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Damage to the World’s Oceans May Cost Trillions

By Stephanie Kopf

Also published on Environmental Graffiti on April 27, 2012.

Summary:

Environmental consequences are obvious in this case. What about financial ones?

Climate Change Just Hot Air?

By Stephanie Kopf

Also published on The Environmental Blog on April 26, 2012.

Summary:

Deutsche Welle recently reported on the growing trend of climate change scepticism. And this is also prevalent among established environmental scientists. The concrete issue being debated? That CO2 emissions have brought about climate change.

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Appless – Is It Possible?

By Stephanie Kopf

Also published on Socialnomics on April 26, 2012.

Summary:

How much longer will it be possible to remain appless and generally ignorant of what an app is, how it works and what the heck I need it for? If I am fine without, will I continue to be? Is it OK to sometimes just want to bury yourself in a book?

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EU and China: Sustainable Water Use Scheme

By Stephanie Kopf

Also published on Urban Times on April 16, 2012.

Summary:

Statistics about China confirm the explosive pace at which the country has been developing in recent years. The whole world is keeping a close watch on the emerging super-power and its impact on the planet. The intensive spurt in Chinese business and industry doesn’t happen without costs to the environment.

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Ten Facts about the Videogame Industry

By Stephanie Kopf

Also published on gamrReview on April 12, 2012.

Summary:

Long gone are the days when playing videogames meant staying in one place. According to iPhone statistics, a survey by Nielsen on the household penetration of gaming devices in the US in 2012 did show that the PC led by 54%. But the iPhone showed a not at all bad 22%. This number will probably climb in years to come.

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Discovering Hamburg: The City on the Water

By Stephanie Kopf

Also published on Inspiring Travellers on April 3, 2012.

Summary:

Hamburg grows on you. I keep trying to put my finger on what makes this city special and keep coming up with new reasons or just taking another walk along my favourite stomping grounds. I still don’t always know what it is and maybe that’s what keeps me on my toes.

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Should School Teachers be Evaluated by Their Own Students?

By Stephanie Kopf

Also published on LeftCentral on March 29, 2012.

Summary:

This is the question currently on the minds of Hamburg’s educators and politicians. More importantly, will this kind of evaluation lead to positive change or just cause mutual bad-tempered reactions that will ultimately lead to a worsening relationship between teachers and students? The city in Northern Germany is wondering.

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10 Fun and Fascinating Food Facts

By Stephanie Kopf

Also published on Environmental Graffiti on March 16, 2012.

Summary:

It’s a truth universally acknowledged: food IS fun and fascinating! So here’s a top ten selection of some of the interesting facts out there. Of course there are many, many more, so this is by no means the last installment…

Bianco, My Precious

By Stephanie Kopf

Also published on Lilla Jade on March 9, 2012.

Summary:

Occasionally I will refer to a topic universally favoured by many females: the shoe…

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For the Love of Brunch

By Stephanie Kopf

Article first published as “For the Love of Brunch” on Blogcritics.org on March 8, 2012.

Summary:

I look forward to them all through my work week. I think about them and they make me smile. It conjures up a relaxed, contented feeling.

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Russia: A Hacking War?

By Stephanie Kopf

Also published on The Moderate Voice on March 2, 2012.

Summary:

The eager and possibly somewhat surprised eye of the world as been turned on Russia during the last two and a half months especially, as protests continue to unfold regarding the upcoming presidential elections. And particularly former president’s and current prime minister’s Vladimir Putin’s decision to run for president again in the March 2012 elections.

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Top Ten Apple Statistics

By Stephanie Kopf

Also published on The Tech Journal on Feburary 20, 2012.

Summary:

Apple products are extremely popular with consumers from all over the world. They are known for their technological aspects as well as their appearance. Apple is rocking it everywhere and making millions in the process. Or more. Surveys relating to iphone statistics alone are staggering. The success story continues and shows no signs of stopping. Want to know the most impressive statistical facts about Apple? Here’s your guide.

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A Siberian Spell in Europe

By Stephanie Kopf

Also published on Dailykos on February 15, 2012.

Summary:

After experiencing real Siberian cold, and I mean way, way, way below zero, one tends to think that it can’t get cold in Europe. That it just isn’t the place where below-zero temperatures even happen. Why? Because Siberia is somewhat of an exception, and it’s the place people most often mention or joke about when talking of extremely cold weather that makes it hard for people to be out and about. OK, make those thoughts about most of Western Europe. After all, Finland and Norway are known for very cold spells during the winter. So not expecting freezing weather everywhere in Europe would be a tad uneducated. In the places where one doesn’t expect it one might be prepared for 5 degrees below zero. Maybe. Occasionally. Rarely. Isn’t this the place where most people run around without warm hats on during the year?

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“The Artist”

By Stephanie Kopf

Also published on Dailykos on February 15, 2012.

“The Artist” brings something to your movie experience which goes deeper than just an enveloping sense of enjoyment from a well-made film.

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Microblogging in China: Unstoppable!?

By Stephanie Kopf

Also published on The Moderate Voice on February 2, 2012.

Summary:

There is a special beauty to blogging. It unleashes a feeling almost akin to reverence. We live for exchange and communication, for feeling connected. You appreciate things like this, but being human, you get used to it once it’s there. You don’t really think about what it would be like if you just couldn’t do it. So it’s unimaginable that there might be something restricting your ability to blog on current events, that you can’t just sit down and post away, knowing that there’s a community out there possibly buzzing with the same chatter that you want to get out of your system. But cases like this do exist, with China being the prime example on everyone’s mind. Let’s take a quick overview on some of the major events and changes that have blown through the country with one of the most ancient histories in the world.

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Top-Ten Statistical Facts from China You Didn’t Know

By Stephanie Kopf

Also published on Socialnomics on February 1, 2012.

Summary:

What are the literacy rates in China? How many taxis do all the cities put together have? And what’s the US attitude towards the economic relationship between China and the United States? Here’s an update on some China statistics you might not know about.

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Recycling in Germany: A Tour

By Stephanie Kopf

Also published on The Environmental Blog.org on February 1, 2012.

Summary:

Germans take most things seriously and recycling waste is definitely one of them. International students arriving in Germany will probably tell you this story. Among the many anticipated hurdles and exciting moments one of the first things one may encounter upon arrival in, say, a dorm, is a small brochure with the main commandments on recycling. And this is no joke.

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Europe vs. Facebook: Just Getting Started

By Stephanie Kopf

Also published on FastGush on January 24, 2012.

Summary:

Europe’s relationship with Facebook has been strained of late. The social platform has been facing criticism from both politicians and users regarding its privacy policy and using of personal data. And now it’s on: a team of students from Vienna, Austria is pushing for more transparency and user control from the social  networking website.

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Hamburg, Germany: Preventive Detention Controversy Splits Politicians and City Residents

By Stephanie Kopf

Also published on The Moderate Voice in January 2012.

Summary:

A ruling in spring 2011 by the German Constitutional Court enables dangerous criminals in preventive detention to return to living “a normal life”. And that includes having a place to stay, becoming part of a new neighbourhood. German politicians now have a burden on their hands and residents have serious safety concerns. A look at the recent situation in Hamburg, where two criminals have already been released.

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Engaging Iran

By Heron Smith

Also published on LeftCentral in December 10, 2011.

Summary:

Quite on trend, Western tensions with Iran have been escalating. Israeli politicians- buoyed by recent IAEA reports- have increasingly derided the effectiveness of sanctions, whilst aggression directed toward the British embassy in Tehran has inevitably led to a media fixation regarding to prospects of eventual military conflict. With American presidential elections next year, and leading candidate Newt Gingrich having already paid lip-service to the prospect of regime change, we in the West ought to be extremely concerned. Conflict with Iran is beyond undesirable. The justifications are steeped in hypocrisy, the objective is extremely short-sighted, and the consequences will stretch beyond our generation.

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Using Twitter Makes You Cleverer

By Heron Smith

Also published on LeftCentral on December 10, 2011.

Summary:

Facts and figures speak volumes. They prove and they disprove. They are both the weight behind an argument and the wedge between substance and conjecture. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a fact or figure is worth ten thousand, for whilst a picture can be disingenuous and lifted from context, a fact cannot. Or can it?

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A New Console to be Announced in 2012? Don’t Hold Your Breath

By Heron Laoutaris

Also published on THE TECHNOLON in December 2011.

Summary:

Kinect, Playstation Move, and in the not-too-distant future- WiiU; recent years have seen the release of several devices designed and marketed to satisfy our seemingly insatiable craving for new technology. However, whilst the major console manufacturers have whetted our appetite with their foray into novelty control schemes, the new hardware they have released falls notably short of being popularly recognized as ‘next-generation’.