Saturday salon 13/1

I’m posting early, because I’m heading out to Dulacca today, returning next Tuesday. I’m not expecting to be online.

1. Cryptocurrency crash

Bitcoin and just about every other cryptocurrency has taken a dive. There’s more at the ABC. Falls have been 20 per cent for Bitcoin and more than 40 per cent for some of the others.

Here’s an explainer on what’s behind the Bitcoin mania. Continue reading Saturday salon 13/1

Questions for Mega Cities

Found this interesting article where some experts argue that Sydney train problems could be fixed by halving car registration and removing tolls. It reverses the normal mantra in favour of active and public transport. My take is that the article is asking the wrong questions.  The key question that should be asked is “Why do we continue to allow Australia’s mega cities to grow instead of creating new, properly planned cities?” This post looks at other questions that might be asked if we want to make the transport systems of Australian mega cities more workable. Continue reading Questions for Mega Cities

Saturday salon 13/1

1. Dolly’s message

People all over the country were gutted when they heard that 14 year-old Amy Everett, known as “Dolly”, committed suicide after being bullied on social media. The father took to Facebook to suggest Dolly’s tormentors attend her memorial:

    “Please come to our service and witness the complete devastation you have created,” he wrote on Sunday.

Dolly had been the face of Akubra hats back in 2009:

Continue reading Saturday salon 13/1

The energy wars continue in 2018

Josh Frydenberg has just written an opinion piece in the AFR about Why we can’t do without the power of Snowy 2.0.

Can’t do without it, that’s what he said. To impress us he said:

    With only 2 per cent of construction visible above ground, the scheme involved 16 major dams, seven power stations, a pumping station and 225 kilometres of tunnels, pipelines and aqueducts.

Continue reading The energy wars continue in 2018

Degrading political discourse

I remember when we crossed the Simpson Desert back in 2014 how wonderful it was not to hear anything about politics for days at a time, and then turn on the TV news in Birdsville to have Tony Abbott talking to camera. He looked like a plastic man, and it was hard to re-establish that what he had to say may have consequences for our lives.

I think Tony Abbott has made a significant contribution to degrading the tone and content of political speech in Australia.

In the US people have spoken of the “Trump effect” – a shift in norms since Donald Trump entered politics. Now Rishab Nithyanand at Data & Society, a research institute in New York, and his colleagues at the University of Massachusetts have undertaken a study to see whether discourse has actually worsened. Continue reading Degrading political discourse

Climate clippings 120

1. Australia’s vast kelp forests devastated by marine heatwave, study reveals

    A hundred kilometres of kelp forests off the western coast of Australia were wiped out by a marine heatwave between 2010 and 2013, a new study has revealed.

    About 90% of the forests that make up the north-western tip of the Great Southern Reef disappeared over the period, replaced by seaweed turfs, corals, and coral fish usually found in tropical and subtropical waters. Continue reading Climate clippings 120

Saturday salon 30/12

1. Arsehat of the year

Crikey runs an Arsehat of the Year award. This year the nominees included:

    Barnarby Joyce, for humiliating the party he leads and hobbling his coalition partner with his shoddy paperwork, and then drearily whinging his way through the resultant byelection.

    David Leyonhjelm for welcoming Milo Yiannopoulos into Parliament House.

    Daniel Andrews for eroding civil liberties in Victoria.

2017 was a brilliant year for arsehattery. Worthy contenders who missed nomination included: Continue reading Saturday salon 30/12

Malcolm Turnbull has led us to a strange place

Last year around this time I did a post Will Turnbull be PM this time next year? Clearly he’s still here, but it seems a lot of people wish he wasn’t. Is he a dead man walking in politics?

The polls were diabolical back then – Turnbull had just chalked up his eighth losing Newspoll in a row. Now that has blown out to 25 and the situation has gotten worse. Back then the TPP vote was 52-48 in favour of Labor, now it is 54-46. Last year the Labor primary vote had nearly overtaken the Coalition, rising from an election deficit of 34.7-42.1 to 37-39. Now Labor leads 37-35.

Simon Benson writing in the Australian says Coalition close to a point of no return. In January 2001 John Howard was a dead man walking. Yet in November that year he won. Can Turnbull do the same? Continue reading Malcolm Turnbull has led us to a strange place

It’s all John Howard’s fault

When we think of worst prime ministers, the completely useless Bill (Sir William) McMahon comes to mind, followed by the negative, sloganeering bully Tony Abbott. However, if you are looking for a PM who did actual damage to the country’s economic and social fabric it’s hard to go past John Winston Howard.

Mike Seccombe has a brilliant article on the topic in the Saturday Paper, where you are allowed one article a month free, or can take out a sub for about $1.90 per week.

Continue reading It’s all John Howard’s fault

Seasons greetings 2017

Christmas-Bells-2_175

Climate Plus wishes you a pleasant Christmas/New Year and health and happiness for 2018.

My friends from Erlangen are presently staying with their son and his family in Norway. They report that Norway is now a very secular country, where hardly anyone goes to church. In 150 Christmas cards there were dogs, cats and snow galore, four churches as part of village scenes, and precisely no nativity scenes. Continue reading Seasons greetings 2017

Climate change, sustainability, plus sundry other stuff