Saturday salon 30/8


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.

Here are a few bits and pieces that came to my attention last week.

1. Union believes ABC cut will be much bigger


The coalition government’s review of the ABC has recommended much deeper cuts than previously proposed, the journalists’ union believes.

The Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance (MEAA) says it has been advised that the government’s Lewis Review into ABC and SBS efficiency will suggest dramatically exceeding the $120 million of cuts over four years in the May budget.

It believes the review will effectively recommend a total cut of more than $130 million in the next 12 months and more than $100 million in each subsequent year.

MEAA federal secretary Christopher Warren warned that the cuts, and the reduction in staff numbers, would cause irreversible damage to the national broadcaster.

“The cuts the Lewis Review is set to propose would decimate the ABC,” he said in a statement on Friday.

Severe cuts would have a direct impact on vital and unique services and would likely reduce the number of foreign bureaus and cause a distinct drop in the ABC’s rural and regional reach.

2. Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind

Kelly Higgins-Devine interviewed the author of Sapiens, Yuval Harari. Has anyone read it or found a decent review? Here’s a bit of a rave.

Harari reckons the key to our success as a species is the ability to cooperate en masse flexibly rather than inflexibly like ants.

3. Long-term Gaza ceasefire deal struck

But will it stick?

From The World Today on Wednesday:

After 50 days of conflict which killed more than 2,000 people, Palestinian and Israeli negotiators have now agreed to a long-term ceasefire over Gaza.

The deal was brokered in Cairo overnight and will see the Israeli government ease its blockade of Gaza.

4. Qantas posts worst loss in airline’s history

CEO says Qantas has ‘turned a corner’ after posting its worst loss

Will it work? Qantas’ former chief economist crunches the numbers

Unions blame management for massive Qantas loss

Enough is enough – it’s time to go Alan Joyce

Virgin’s operating loss, proportionate to size, was about as bad as that of Qantas, whose loss was mainly asset write-downs. I think air fares are going to become more expensive.