Science & Nature

Apple releases new iPhone 3GS and may end O2 exclusivity

Electronics giant Apple has unveiled the third iPhone release. Named "iPhone 3GS", the latest release contains some useful new features, notably the video/audio applications and voice command, but the advances are underwhelming compared with those made by iPhone 3G on the original 2G release. Most obviously lacking is an inbuilt FM radio, which Apple persistently disregards as a practicable addition to any of its personal mobile devices.

Man 'flies' across English Channel

A Swiss man has become the first person to fly across the English Channel using a single jet-propelled wing. 'Fusionman' Yves Rossy made the 36km journey from Calais to Dover in 10 minutes at a speed of around 200km per hour.

VIDEO: Watch a video of Yves Rossy performing a test flight of the jet-propelled wing.

Brave New World- Are Carlow verges the new Flanders fields?

The Carlow bypass is open and while it may bring relief to the beleaguered citizens of Carlow town who now can cross the road without having to apply for annual leave, it also has provided a wonderful feast for the eyes of the motorists who are in the act of  circumnavigating the town. Or at least the cutaway raised verges of the motorway are.


Prunus spinosa

People often confuse blackthorn and white thorn. Both are thorny and produce white flowers but there the similarity ends as they are two entirely separate species.   Country people know that an encounter with blackthorn is much more severe as it can inflict a septic splinter.


Mellifont Abbey

(Melli-fons, Honey Fountain) 

Ireland's first Cistercian Abbey, Mellifont Abbey was founded by St Malachy, Bishop of Armagh, in 1142. He brought the order to Ireland having  visited the Cistercian monastery run by St Bernard at Clairvaux. The order prospered,  becoming the head house of 20 monasteries and governing thousands of acres in Meath and Louth until its dissolution in 1539.

On Looking into a Hedge

They have an expression down in Co Tipperary when asked to do something of great complexity: “You might as well be looking into a hedge.”

Trees: the elm

Some of Ireland's finest trees were Elms.   However, most of these were destroyed by Dutch Elm Disease during the 1970's. Pollen records show there was a similar, drastic decline in our elm population about 5,000 years ago.

Birds: Mute Swan

By far the most familiar of Ireland's three swan species, the Mute Swan is the only one that is with us year-round; the other two, namely the Whooper and Bewick's Swans, are strictly winter visitors.

Robots for the rich

Too busy trading on the stock market to tend to the garden? Why not invest dividends into this €10,000 robot that automatically trims the grass?