TH€ PUNT: Algebra app has X factor
IRISH children have a lot on their plate. They're growing up at a time of unprecedented austerity and have a pension-less future and an education system riddled with holes to look forward to.
So The Punt couldn't help but feel a pang of sympathy when a press release from new Irish start-up Rongella arrived in our inbox this morning.
The Dublin-based tech company has just launched "Algebalance", a new iPad app which aims to teach kids the basics of algebra before they've even started learning it at school. "It will save years of frustration faced by students who are trying to learn a subject (of which) they often fail to have a fundamental understanding," said Rongella chief executive David Collins.
Education Minister Ruairi Quinn was also at the launch (pictured with Mr Collins, left) – somewhat surprisingly, since it's his education system which is really to blame for Irish students' consistently poor performance in maths in comparison with our international peers.
In the last two years, while the number of students choosing higher-level maths has risen by 50pc due to curriculum advancements, the failure rate for both higher and ordinary-level maths has also increased.
Roux asks the right questions
Matthew Elderfield's replacement as Financial Regulator, Cyril Roux, seems to be cut from more philosophical cloth. Of course, that's what you get when you hire a Frenchman.
Certainly his speech yesterday at a conference on regulation in Dublin suggests a man who regards finding the right question as at least as important as the right answer.
He sensibly questioned the current rush to write ever more rules for the banks, in what may ultimately be a vain attempt to hobble lenders to the extent that they are simply unable to do any more economic harm.
Mightn't it be better if banks simply didn't want to engage in risky or harmful activities, Mr Roux wondered?
Well, the Punt suspects that might be true. Alas, short of forcing banks to hire all their staff from aid agencies and Buddhist monasteries it's hard to see how regulators can force bankers to stop being, in their hearts of hearts, well, greedy.