Tuesday, 25 October 2011

League tables unsettling for UL students

The publication of the influential ranking tables in The Times Higher Education Supplement in which all Irish universities (including Trinity) have fallen outside of the top one hundred makes for unsettling reading for the student educated on these shores. The grim realisation that your parchment, from the clich├ęd and fabled land of not only the Saint but the goddamned scholar, might not actually propel you to the very pinnacle of world society should have you reaching for the Motillium.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

How calculations and permutations can give you palpitations

TRY to imagine me in the living room as the games on the final matchday for Euro 2012 qualification kick off. Ireland’s tussle with Armenia is on the telly, but I also have the laptop out to keep track of the other matches. Also the table is populated by the sports pages, which give the group tables at the start of play, as well as my own hand-written sheet of calculations to provide an instant answer to any ‘what if’ scenario.

The questions fly around all night: “Are we seeded?”, “What happens if France go behind?”, “So now who’s best runner-up?”. The picture changes with each goal. The clumsiness of the Armenia defence in gifting Ireland an opening goal prompts cheering from my housemates and me, but the RTE pundits spend half-time moaning about how terrible the match is and how Ireland won’t be seeded. Sorry lads, by my hand-written calculations it turns out we are seeded.