Voters rate Turnbull government performance below Abbott’s

Every three months or so JWS Research does a True Issues survey. Voters are presented with a list of 11 issues, asked to rate them in order of importance, and then rate the government’s performance on each. In every case the government’s performance has been marked down since Tony Abbott was replaced, according to the AFR. Continue reading Voters rate Turnbull government performance below Abbott’s

Climate clippings 157

1. Growing corals turn water more acidic

Scientists carefully monitored a coral reef in Bermuda for five years and what they found surprised them. According to the New Scientist, they

    discovered that the coral growth itself drove up this local acidity. To build their skeletons, it seems the corals sucked alkaline carbonate out of the water, leaving it more acidic.

Continue reading Climate clippings 157

Karen Armstrong, ‘the myth of religious violence’ and the secular state

I’d like to establish a separate post on Karen Armstrong’s ideas, which entered the discussion here on the earlier thread and point towards the important issue of the secular state.

I want to make it clear that I’ve been defending the book Fields of Blood as an impressive piece of scholarship. I’m not saying Armstrong is right. Continue reading Karen Armstrong, ‘the myth of religious violence’ and the secular state

Saturday salon 21/11

1. Brazil dam burst could devastate the environment for years

River Doce translates as “Sweet River”. After two tailings dams burst the focus was on the local town of Mariana, much of which was swept away. Now the concern has shifted to downstream where 500 km of river is becoming biologically dead, the silt is affecting nearby farmlands and is expected to contaminate fishing grounds when it reaches the sea. Continue reading Saturday salon 21/11

Paris attacks

No place is safe. You can be hit anywhere where people gather. This seemed to be the message of the six co-ordinated attacks in Paris on a sports stadium, a concert hall, three restaurants and a shopping centre. As the Paris metro ground to a stop, as air and sea ports were closed, as the streets emptied, as France closed its borders, and as the army fanned out onto the streets of Paris the terrorists’ strikes seemed to be successful. Continue reading Paris attacks

Saturday salon 14/11

1. Rocky Horror Picture Show turns 40

When it opened in 1975 The Rocky Horror Picture Show was a bit of a flop, but then it rocketed to cult status and has never been off the screens since.

    Rocky Horror is full of strange bits and bobs: literally in its props and costumes and otherwise in madcap humour, lashes of pop culture references and the behaviour of an assortment of loony sexually liberated characters. It seems to takes place in a vacuum divorced from both time and space and the conventions of cinema – a garish, swirling patchwork joyfully here and there.

Continue reading Saturday salon 14/11

Whitlam dismissal: the plot broadens and deepens

Forty years ago on 11 November 1975 John Kerr, the Governor-General, dismissed an elected government with a majority in the House of Representatives. In doing so he he collaborated with judges, senior members of the opposition in parliament and the media. Contact with the Palace was early and extensive.

New information shows that the plot was wider and deeper than previously thought. Continue reading Whitlam dismissal: the plot broadens and deepens

Adani’s Carmichael coal mine faces new legal challenge

The Australian Conservation Foundation has initiated a new legal challenge to Adani’s huge Carmichael coal mine proposal.

In what it has called a “historic, landmark case”, the ACF argues that Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt failed to consider whether the impact of burning coal and climate pollution would be inconsistent with Australia’s international obligations to protect the Great Barrier Reef. Continue reading Adani’s Carmichael coal mine faces new legal challenge