Last update: 5/7/06; 2:47:13 PM

Last iTunes Spin: 26: A Show To Travel With by Doctor Trey, on Sun, May 7, 2006 at 2:47:00 PM

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Friday, March 31, 2006 
Conversion complete! IÊ»ve completed the coversion of this blog to WordPress, and it is now available at There will be no further posts on this site, and it will eventually disappear when my Radio Userland subscription expires. Here is the link the new Culture Hack RSS feed. See you on the new site!
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Sunday, March 26, 2006 
Moving on up... and away from Radio Userland. My subscription expires sometime this spring, so I decided to make the transition to WordPress. I got all of my data out of RU and formatted for importing into WP.

One of the best parts of the transition was getting to learn a bit about WordPress templates, and I was able to take my old RU template and convert it to work in Wp. It took a few hours, but was worth it. Here's a screen shot of it running on my laptop. I'm thinking of releasing the theme and improving on it. Most of the functionality comes right from the default WP template, so there is much more that can be done. If there are any experienced WP theme designers who would like to help with it, please feel free to let me know.

This will likely be my last post on the site until the conversion. I'm waiting for my ISP to set up a database for me.

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Friday, March 17, 2006 
Bottoms up, bubbles down Though this is from a few years ago, it is always worth another look on St. Patrick's day. "Scientists have finally proven what beer lovers have long suspected: When beer is poured into a glass, the bubbles sometimes go down instead of up.In this video,chemists Richard N. Zare of Stanford University and Andrew J. Alexander of the University of Edinburgh explain the frothy details."


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Thursday, March 16, 2006 
Signs, signs, everywhere signs. If this had happened tomorrow (St. Patrick's Day), I probably would have fallen flat on my face...

One of our Hawaiian Studies majors came into our office with a young part-Hawaiian woman, perhaps 20 years old. He introduced us, and she explained that she had lived in Cork off and on from when she was eight until she was about 16. Apparently her father is from Cork and she has many relatives still there. We talked about our experiences there, and her eyes grew large when I explained that I was considering pursuing a Ph.d. at either UC-Cork or QUB. Apparently some of her Irish-speaking relatives visit frequently, so we talked about wrangling one of them to teach. She hasn't lost her love of the language, though apparently has lost much of it to disuse. We'll have to fix that.

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Go maire tú a Chonn! Congratulations to Conn at An tImeall for reaching his 100th podcast. Quite a milestone. I'm downloading as I write this. I sent him an audio note of congratulations, in Hawaiian, of course. Wow, it's just short of an hour long. I wonder what I'll do for my 100th podcast, if I ever get there
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Tuesday, March 14, 2006 
Irish language under threat in Glencolmcille Oideas Gael's Language Director Liam Ó Cuinneagain is concerned that the Gaeltacht status of Glencolmcille could be under threat unless more of a community effort is made to use Irish as a daily language. They found that less than 50% of people in Glencolmcille rate themselves as fluent in Irish and only around 20% speak it every day.

My wife and I spent three wonderful weeks at Glencolmcille and were well served by Liam, Siobhan and the staff there.

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Monday, March 13, 2006 
Who's Martin? "The Irish language award went to Martin from an tImeal, who said he hopes to see Irish language blogging go mainstream by next year." Perhaps the author had a difficult time with "Ó Muíneacháin."
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Woman Gets Beer From Her Kitchen Faucet. This is the kind of thing that you might expect to happen in Ireland, not Norway.
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Saturday, March 11, 2006 
More Irish Blog Awards Coverage. Go raibh maith agat a Bhernie for the coverage of the awards, congratulations to all of the winners, particularly to Conn at An tImeall. If I do make it back to Éire, hopefully I can witness the 2008 awards in person.
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Slugger top Irish political blog. Congratulations to Mick and the crew at Slugger O'Toole for being named best political blog. No word on the other awards yet.
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Friday, March 10, 2006 
From the Irish Times - Kilian Doyle takes a wry look at how St Patrick would fare if he were to return to Ireland today. "It's a quiet January afternoon in O'Hooligan's Irish pub in Heaven. There's a rambunctious character sitting at a table surrounded by cronies doling out free pints to him. He's singing and yelling and generally holding court.

Quietly, a small, wizened old geezer wearing a leather biker jacket and a faded Iggy Pop T-shirt walks into the pub and ambles over to the table. The place falls silent.


'Oh, flip.' (He's been waiting for this. Fixes best smile and turns around, expecting the worst.) 'Yes, God?'"

Click on the link above for the rest of the adventure.

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Thursday, March 9, 2006 
Ulster Irish study group at Yahoo Groups. Go raibh míle maith agat a Chionaodh! While I've been working through Learning Irish with the gang on the Cois Fhairrge group, I didn't realize that a similar group had just started working on Ulster Irish. As it seems that Queen's University-Belfast is my most likely destination for Ph.d. work if I do indeed make it to Ireland next year, working on the Ulster dialect makes sense.

Someone in the group located this great resource on the Cumman na Gaeilge site. The audio there sounds much more like the Donegal Irish I heard at Oideas Gael, though there still seem to be some minor differences.

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Edge Case - thoughts in two languages, from the author of An tImeall. Conn at an tImeall and I seem to have a competition going to see who can juggle the most blogs and podcasts. You win, Conn; I surrender. His new site, Edge Case is predominantly in English (at least so far), though covers a lot of the same ground as An tImeall. All of this and a two year-old to boot. Amazing.
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Monday, February 27, 2006 
The kind of comment that can make your day. Or year. 'Analu is a student in our online Hawaiian language class, and I can relate to his feelings. Since returning from Ireland some 3 and a half years ago, I've tried to make some progress with learning Gaeilge, only to give it up after a few weeks, and then starting from scratch again months later. Here's the best part:

"I do have a cassette for studying the language, but your podcast was the first time ever that I was able to hear Hawaiian as a true living language!"

I know exactly how 'Analu feels, as An tImeall and Cumann Carad na Gaeilge have filled that void for me. David Webb started a Yahoo group for people who are working through the "Learning Irish" text together. I no longer feel like I'm alone with my textbooks and tapes in the middle of nowhere struggling with the language and not knowing how or where I'll ever be able to use it. It feels good.

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Wednesday, February 22, 2006 Podcasts going native. I posted an announcement and a brief podcast on announcing my decision to cease the use of English in my podcasts. I'm sure some people will be unhappy with this decision, but I spent the better part of a week pondering. English is my native language, and Hawaiian my language of choice. I couldn't justify starting another podcast just to do one in Hawaiian, and I didn't want to do a Hawaiian language podcast and simply talk about Hawaiian language in it. As Conn does with his An tImeall podcast, I didn't want Hawaiian to be simply the vehicle, but also the content. The language needs to live in these contemporary contexts. Conn talks tech on his Irish language podcast, I'll talk about music in mine. I'm comfortable with the decision; only time will tell what the reaction will be.
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Friday, February 17, 2006 
Measuring Linguistic Diversity on the Internet. Coincidences (or signs) seem to abound this week. Following Conn's post and my reply on his upcoming decision on whether or not to begin posting in English as well as Irish, I recieved this link from a totally different source...

"UNESCO has been emphasizing the concept of 'knowledge societies', which stresses plurality and diversity instead of a global uniformity in order to bridge the digital divide and to form an inclusive information society. An important theme of this concept is that of multilingualism for cultural diversity and participation for all the languages in cyberspace."

I should also note that Bernie Goldbach has posted his thoughts on Conn's post. Well put, Bernie.

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Thursday, February 16, 2006 
To Gaeilge or not to Gaeilge, that is the question. Conn at an tImeall posted about a topic that I've been agonizing over as well - weblog and podcast language choice. His blog is, of course, done in Irish. I was a bit surprised to see that the bulk of hist post today in English, though the accompanying podcast was still predominantly in Irish. His quandary - should he continue to blog and podcast in Irish exclusively (BTW, I like the term "GaelBlogs"), or to begin to also produce them in English as well. Is it better to have separate blogs for each language, or produce a dual language blog. He has many valid points about the value of being able to fully participate in the technology blogosphere. As it is, he can read both Irish and English tech blogs, but by publishing an tImeall in Irish only, he restricts his own readership and participation.

I agree with Conn that not everyone has to be an "A-list" blogger to create value on the web. This blog exists to entertain me and me alone. If others stumble across it and find something of value or interest, that's gravy. Like him, I view it as "thinking out loud", and appreciate (most of the time) people taking the time too comment on my thoughts.

I've done quite a bit of soul-searching myself. I did a podcast in Hawaiian a few weeks ago, on a whim. I didn't intend it to be a cultural or linguistic statement, but I guess it is. As far as I know there are no regular Hawaiian language podcasts. That alone should be incentive for me to do one, but at this point it is not. I have two blogs, both done in English, and I need to start another one like I need another hole in my head. Ditto for doing a second podcast. If I do the podcasts in Hawaiian I might gain some new listeners and probably lose a lot more. Not that this is an issue for me personally, but it would negatively affect those that I believe benefit most from the existence of the blog and podcast - my friends in the recording industry and their fans and supporters.

While our situations are somewhat similar, there is one glaring difference - by posting in English, Conn would expose his thoughts and writings to a far larger audience. If I begin to podcast in Hawaiian only, I greatly reduce my own. Of course, many may listen simply for the music or to listen to the "sonorous" (as it has been described) Hawaiian language. But most would be in a similar situation that I face in listening to An tImeall - being able to pick out a few words or a short phrase, but not comprehending the bulk of the podcast or blog.

I can't make out most of the comments he's gotten on his blog in response to his request for feedback. I image most he will get will be the "it's your blog so do what you want, but this is what I think..." variety. Which is exactly what I'm going to do here

The value of Conn's blog and podcast to me at this point is simply the fact that it is done in Irish. I am a long way from being able to comprehend and appreciate what he is talking about. While he obviously takes great pride in his ability to communicate on a specialized topic like technology in Irish, the language itself is simply the vehicle and not the content. From that perspective, my desire for him to continue to blog and podcast should be inconsequential, and I don't mind. If he were to stop blogging or podcasting in Irish, he's left behind a significant legacy of material in the Irish language. I did this a few years ago when I blogged my travels in Ireland in Hawaiian. A hundred years from now, my (hopefully) Hawaiian-speaking great-great-great-great grandchildren will be able to read and appreciate it. And hopefully Conn's work will be seen, heard and appreciated by his.

When my wife and I departed Ireland three and a half years ago, I made a promise to myself that I would continue to learn the language. I have found it very difficult to fulfill that promise, however, in discovering his blog and podcast, and those of others, I have been inspired to pick it up again. The technology has made it possible for me to connect with speakers of Irish (or at least those that tolerate a Gaeilge newbie's feeble efforts). Perhaps there will soon be a real (I hate the term "virtual") Gaeltacht online, where people will be able to interact as Gaeilge synchronously and asynchronously, as easily as someone in Ireland.

So my friend, whatever decision you make will be the right one. I have hours and hours of your podcast that I will someday be able to listen to and appreciate for their content as well as their language vehicle. And your work has helped inspire me to fulfill a promise to myself. Consider it an unintended consequence of your work, but certainly not one that compels you to keep doing it. Go raibh maith agat a mo chara.

As for, I am not considering switching the blog to Hawaiian, but may do so for the podcast. And while I value my listeners and their opinions, the decision is ultimately mine alone.

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Signs pointing to Belfast? I don't consider myself a particularly superstitious person, but I do look for signs in my life that sometimes help guide me in one direction or another when making decisions. Of course I don't feel compelled to take a particular path, but I have noticed that when I see these signs and ignore them, I later wish that I had paid them more attention. I'm faced with the decision of choosing the school that I will attend to pursue a Ph.d., and have made a commitment make a choice by the end of this semester.

As I have mentioned (more than a few times) here, the most likely candidates are University of Otago in New Zealand and Queen's University-Belfast. Today, a small sign appeared...

I was at the 'Imiloa Astronomy Center of Hawai'i, attending to our college's display and preparing to explain to representatives of the visitor industry (today's invited guests) about our college's participation in the establishment of the center. The exhibition hall was empty as most of the crowd was still in the outer reception area, when a lone gentleman walked in and approached our display. I greeted him, and when he returned my greeting I detected a strong Irish accent. I asked him if he was from Ireland, and he smiled and replied "Yes." I introduced myself in Irish "Is mise Keola, cad é mar atá tú?" (I suspected that the accent was from the north, but wasn't sure) He seemed a bit surprised, but smiled, and replied that he was from the north, and they didn't use much Irish there. I asked what area he was from, and he replied "Belfast." I mentioned that I was considering going to Queen's for doctoral study; he smiled broadly and said that he received his BA at Queen's. I was about to ask him about the school and living in the area, and before I could get it out he expressed how wonderful the school was, and that the area around the University was a great place to live. He offered his phone number and let me know he'd be happy to talk further about the University and the area if I decided to enroll there. (He works for the US Department of Agriculture and lives on the island now).

A sign, or a coincidence? I had posted here just last week, soliciting people's opinions on living in Belfast. Of course, I'm not going to base my decision simply on this chance encounter, but having met someone from Belfast who was able to address some of my concerns in person makes feel less apprehensive about the possibility of relocating there for studies.

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NUIG Irish language requirement removed. [ From the Galway Independent ] A Bill was passed last week removing an obligation on NUI Galway to appoint people competent in the Irish language to offices or positions in the University. NUI Galway has welcomed the new legislation. Under the new legislation the University will still be required to ensure its strategic development plan contains a provision for the delivery of education through the Irish language.
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Tuesday, February 14, 2006 
First Welsh language protester locked up in 11 years. The granddaughter of former president became the first Welsh language campaigner to be locked up in 11 years. Gwenno Teifi Ffransis was sent to a prison for five days after the 19-year-old refused to pay court-imposed compensation to a Welsh radio station. She damaged Radio Carmarthenshire's Narberth studio in protest over its lack of Welsh broadcasts.
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