Saturday salon 31/5


An open thread where, at your leisure, you can discuss anything you like, well, within reason and the Comments Policy. Include here news and views, plus any notable personal experiences from the week and the weekend.

For climate topics please use the most recent Climate clippings.

The gentleman in the image is Voltaire, who for a time graced the court of Frederick II of Prussia, known as Frederick the Great. King Fred loved to talk about the universe and everything at the end of a day’s work. He also used the salons of Berlin to get feedback in the development of public policy.

Fred would only talk in French; he regarded German as barbaric. Here we’ll use English.

The thread will be a stoush-free zone. The Comments Policy says:

The aim [of this site] is to provide a venue for people to contribute and to engage in a civil and respectful manner.

15 thoughts on “Saturday salon 31/5”

  1. A bit unsettling this week was the information that the acoustic ‘pings’ assumed to be from the Malaysia Airlines flight 370 could have come from the bar fridge of the search vessel. In any case they are now sure it wasn’t the black box.

    Now the search has to continue in an area 70 times larger.

    At some point people may question whether the search should continue but the experts seem pretty keen to find out what actually happened.

    On this the 4 corners investigative report a couple of weeks ago was helpful. Bottom line is that no-one knows but it was a well-planned action by someone with the requisite knowledge and skill.

    Seems to me there’s almost no credible scenario other than the pilot did it.

  2. Means, motive and opportunity. Where are they all? No one has claimed responsibility yet or left obvious clues to it. Defence facilities know more than they are revealing. Too much flying, too much pollution, too much waste anyway. Flaws in the tracking and communication have been revealed and will be fixed, until the next weaknesses come to light.

  3. Just binge-watched series 1-3 of Game of Thrones. Picked up a few of the subtleties you miss in first viewing, including some pointers to future events.
    People speculate about who will eventually end up on the Iron Throne. Dany, Stannis, Tyrion etc etc. My view is none of them.
    The White Walkers win!
    (That’s not a spoiler. I haven’t read any of the books. Its just an educated guess.)

  4. To expand a bit on Utopia, I watched it when very tired and have just watched the first 25 minutes again.

    With Pilger you know you are going to be shocked, but you don’t know how typical what you see is or whether his generalisations hold up. He talks to some credible and knowledgeable people who paint a grim picture, not your usual suspects, people such as Chris Graham, who I think is the journalist who has just taken over New Matilda.

    What you see is real, things such as the mistreatment and death of people in custody, 20 or more living in one house, a bed that sleeps 7 or 8 children, 32 people in one asbestos-condemned house etc.

    There was an interview with a very upset Warren Snowden, Minister for Aboriginal Health. Pilger claimed that exactly nothing was happening that meant anything on the ground.

    Apparently totally blameworthy was an interview conducted by Lateline around the time when ‘the intervention’ was being considered. The interviewee claimed to be an anonymous youth worker who had spent 7 months in a particular place and talked about direct knowledge of paedophile rings. Turns out he was a senior public servant who had never been near the place, complete with hat in silhouette. The disguise didn’t work – one of his staff recognised him. The ABC refused to talk about it.

    One might conclude that the film lacks nuance and balance but in the end Pilger says we need a treaty with our first nation people. “Until we give back their nationhood, we can never claim our own.” After watching the film that seems a pretty fair conclusion.

    Most disappointing is the lack of controversy the film has caused. Like water into the sand, really.

  5. By the way, Utopia is a place about 200 miles NE of Alice Springs with a population of about 1400. Pilger introduces it saying “this is Aboriginal Australia”.

  6. I wonder how widespread is the Aboriginal culture of ‘when an Aboriginal dies the home dies with them.’ I am sure this is the least of barriers to decent housing in remote areas but it could surely be overcome by using transportables which can be taken away and used elsewhere or using modular homes which can be deconstructed and put back together differently somewhere else.
    Probably a waste of time speculating about engineering solutions when no one in power really wants to throw the money and expertise needed at the problems, especially when there’s ‘gold’ under them there Aboriginal settlements.
    It also seems that any money spent on Aboriginals is tied to ‘white man’s way or no way’ and still racist Australia resents it. My stepdaughter is currently doing her doctorate in psychology and has gotten there with the assistance of various monies given to encourage Aboriginal education and if Andrew Bolt looked at her he would have a fit, yet she has a full blood ancestor just four generations back.

  7. Salient Green: One thing that does annoy me is insistence that there is or was a homogenous Aboriginal culture when traditional customs and practices varied so much from one place to another. Of course there were a lot of similarities – but there were a lot of differences too.

    Gentlefolk: Last Thursday, I went into Rockhampton to see the ordination of the new Catholic Bishop of Rockhampton, Michael McCarthy from Brisbane. It was a two-and-a-half hour long magnificent ritual; the cathedral was packed to overflowing. The Anglicans in Rockhampton will have their new Bishop in September.

  8. Just finished watching Apocalypse Now Redux. Hadn’t seen it before. (Only seen 1979 version.) Magnificent.

  9. SG: On Groote Eylandt the locals use smoking ceremonies to drive the spirit away from homes. Not sure whether this was a cultural adaptation to living in houses or a feature of an island culture where most clan territories were small enough that the number of prime camping sites would have been limited.
    The Groote Eylandters were quite capable of cultural adaption when they wanted to adapt.

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