Today with Sean O'Rourke

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    This month's book is The End of Days by Jenny Erpenbeck. Read along with us and let us know what you think of it! You can email us on with Book Club in the subject bar.

    Today With Sean O Rourke Monday 16 September 2013


    Today with Seán O'Rourke

    The mid-morning current affairs magazine with the stories of the day, sharp analysis, sports coverage, in-depth features and consumer interest.


    Big Data

    We now live in an era where the same amount of data is produced worldwide in two days as was previously accumulated between the dawn of time and 2003. That is a hell of a lot of information. Almost everything we do creates a record that is stored somewhere, whether we are purchasing a book, calling a friend, ordering a meal, or renting a movie. And where many people may have concerns about who has access to what, the real challenge is how to harness all this data in a way that benefits humanity and affects our lives in a positive way.

    Like it or not big data is here so we may as well make use of it.

    So what does “Big Data” bring to our lives. Prof Barry Smyth is with the UCD School of Computer Science and Informatics and will be giving a discourse in the Royal Irish Academy on the 26th of this month, asking what does “Big Data” bring to our lives and he spoke to Sean.



    The political parties are coming out of their summer sojourn and today not one, not two, but three of them will gather for their think-ins in advance of the resumption of Dail business on Wednesday.

    To take a look at what Fine Gael, Labour and Fianna Fail have on their minds and on their agenda, I am joined in studio now by Broadcaster and Commentator, Alison O’Connor, Political Editor of The Irish Independent, Fionnan Sheahan and also by Political Analyst and Pollster, Sean Donnelly and they spoke to Sean.


    Story of the Jews

    It is a story like no other: an epic of endurance against destruction, of creativity in oppression, joy amidst grief, the affirmation of life against the steepest of odds. It spans the millennia and the continents - from India to Andalusia and from the bazaars of Cairo to the streets of Oxford. It takes you to unimagined places: to a Jewish kingdom in the mountains of southern Arabia; a Syrian synagogue glowing with radiant wall paintings; the palm groves of the Jewish dead in the Roman catacombs. And its voices ring loud and clear, from the severities and ecstasies of the Bible writers to the love poems of wine bibbers in a garden in Muslim Spain.

    Within these pages, the Talmud burns in the streets of Paris, massed gibbets hang over the streets of medieval London, a Majorcan illuminator redraws the world; candles are lit, chants are sung, mules are packed, ships loaded with spice and gems founder at sea. And a great story unfolds. Not - as often imagined - of a culture apart, but of a Jewish world immersed in and imprinted by the peoples among whom they have dwelled, from the Egyptians to the Greeks, from the Arabs to the Christians. Which makes the story of the Jews everyone's story, too.Simon Schama, author spoke to Sean.

    Story of the Jews - Finding the Words 1000BCE - 1492CE by Simon Schama (Published by Bodley Head for approx. €36.50 in hardback, €16.99 in paperback).


    Change of Will

    It’s a case that traumatised the community in Ballydehob, West Cork. A fifty year old farmer Martin McCarthy drowned his three year old daughter before taking his own life in the sea close by to his farm on March 5th last.

    It has now come to light that Martin McCarthy changed his will before the murder suicide, Sean spoke to Ralph Riegel of the Irish Independent.


    Church Politics

    There’s a story in the paper today about the well known outspoken priest Fr. Iggy O’Donovan who spoke about ‘devious ‘ Church politics as he celebrated his final Mass at the Augustinian Church in Drogheda yesterday before being moved to Limerick. Up to 1500 people, including members of the Muslim and Bahai faiths, attended the Mass. And Sean spoke to Fr. Iggy O’Donovan.


    Can We Trust News?

    In the ever changing digital environment, what is the future of news? Who can the public trust and what does the rise of social media mean for journalism and its centrality to a functioning democracy?

    These are the weighty questions to be addressed at a one day symposium today in DCU that features contributors from RTÉ, BBC, TV3, The Guardian, a variety of academics as well as bloggers and digital media gurus.

    Among those speaking is Paul Staines, editor of the Guido Fawkes blog and freelance journalist and former editor Noreen Hegarty and Sean spoke to them both.

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