Saturday salon 5/11

1. Utah found a brilliantly effective solution for homelessness

The homeless are usually given transitional housing, and then are required to get a job and get sober before they are given more permanent options. Utah has implemented a scheme first developed in New York where the homeless are given permanent housing and then offered help to transition back into mainstream society, in this case in the form of a social worker to provide assistance.

    homes are not free: new tenants have to pay $US50 or 30% of their income to rent each month (whichever amount is greater).

Mostly it works and is cheaper for the state, saving on things like shelters, ambulances, hospitals and jails.

Rather than undermining personal responsibility, it seems to provide the basis for people to take personal responsibility.

Thanks to John D for the link.

2. Aboriginal origins

An archeological dig in the Flinders ranges has shown human occupation back to from 46,000 to 49,000 years ago, 10,000 earlier than previously known in the arid zone.

    Among the other significant artefact finds at the site was the earliest-known use of ochre in Australia and South-East Asia around 49,000-46,000 years ago.

    Mr Hamm said they had pushed back the dates on the development of technologies such as bone needles (40,000-38,000 years ago), wood-handled stone tools (at least 24,000 years ago) and gypsum use (40,000-33,000 years ago).

    The site also provided reliably dated evidence of hafted axe technology about 38,000 years ago.

The site was discovered when a survey team stopped the vehicle to answer a nature call.

3. Brexit plans in disarray

The High Court in Britain has ruled that parliament must decide whether to Brexit; it can’t be done on Royal prerogative on the basis of a referendum.

Elected politicians should vote for what’s best for their constituents, and given a free vote there is little doubt that Brexit would lose.

Parliament would want to see Theresa May’s Brexit plans, which would be dopey to reveal if you are going to negotiate with the EU. There may be an election coming up.

4. Same sex couples win the right to adopt in Queensland

In all states except South Australia and the Northern Territory, who can’t be far behind, now give gay couples the right to adopt children. So they can form families, but can’t be married.

5. Catalyst axed

The ABC weekly science program Catalyst has been axed in favour of 17 one-hour science programs to be presented by scientists. The crime was getting two stories wrong in recent years, one about cholesterol and statins, and one about mobile phones and brain cancer, both by Dr Maryanne Demasi, who had been suspended and precipitated the review.

Simon Chapman, Emeritus Professor in the School of Public Health at the University of Sydney, who had criticized Demasi’s story on mobile phones and brain cancer, said the move was “beyond tragic”. He said it was effectively taking out and shooting the best team of science communicators we have.

Scientists will now have fewer opportunities to communicate their work, and the new one-hour programs will be useless in schools, one of the best markets for Catalyst.

From The Guardian:

    An independent producer told Guardian Australia the plan was unworkable on the relatively small budget the ABC was offering the private sector. She said commissioning 17 one-hour science specials had not been properly costed and would never work.

    “They have specifically decided not to do any ‘investigative’ films and want lightweight stuff,” she said.

See also The Conversation:

    It’s hard to be a clever country when you’re in the dark.

6. QUT racial vilification case against students thrown out

    Indigenous administrative officer Cynthia Prior claimed she had been vilified by the men on Facebook after she asked one of them to leave a computer lab reserved for Indigenous students at QUT.

Federal Circuit Court Justice Michael Jarrett has thrown the case out.

See 18C: stupid white man and venting students for the back story and also 18C – what do anti-18C campaigners really want to say?

Tony Morris QC, for one of the students, fingers Gillian Triggs, boss of the Human Rights Commission, for allowing the case to get so far.

But the HRC did not bring the case, Cynthia Prior did, I think badly advised by her lawyers. The complaint the HRC dealt with was with the university

My impression was that Prior always had an unreasonable demand that the students be suspended. If anything, they were sounding off about QUT policies rather than vilifying Ms Prior.

7. Australian politics

Unless you were under a rock, you’ll know that Family First’s Bob Day and probably One Nation’s Rod Culleton will disappear from the Senate. If found ineligible to stand at the time of the election, the replacement will be done by a recount and will likely elect the second on the ticket.

In the case of Day at least the second on the ticket wads probably a space filler and not the party’s first choice.

And it seems Family First was sustained by Day’s donations, which the receiver may now claw back.

The there are the over 200 homes in various stages of planning and construction, who, it is said, will be dudded. Add to that a legion of subbies who won’t be paid.

Introduction to Saturday salon

Because of the way the blog currently presents posts on the home page I think it’s better to remove the introductory material to a different place. For new readers, here’s the rationale for this space.


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.

17 thoughts on “Saturday salon 5/11”

  1. Much sorry, didn’t look at new SS first…

    Will the students that got dragged through this thing get compo from anywhere, and who.

    Will the students that ” settled ( $5K ? ) get their money back ?

    Interestingly, for Leyonhjelm, the judgment found,

    … Indeed, evidence that someone was offended, insulted, humiliated, or intimidated by the relevant conduct is entirely unnecessary.

    Full judgment can be found HERE.

  2. Thanks for the link, Jumpy.

    It’s clear that the judgement dealt only with the case against the students. There are at least three other respondents and the QUT to go.

    Central to the case was not whether Ms Prior was offended or vilified, rather:

    a hypothetical reasonable and ordinary member of either of the groups identified by Ms Prior and who exhibits characteristics consistent with what might be expected of a member of a free and tolerant society and who is not at the margins of those groups

    The judge found the Alex Wood’s Facebook comments would not offend such a hypothetical person, were not made because of Ms Prior’s race, colour or national or ethnic origin, and were not profound or serious enough to qualify under 18C.

    However the judge did not dismiss the case on the basis that it was “frivolous and vexatious or an abuse of process.”

    I think his decision has been useful in clarifying the law, and I think spikes the notion that 18C is an egregious threat against free speech. We wait to see what the judge makes of the rest of it.

  3. Im more concerned about Woods, strong and principled as he has proven to be, on what is fair to him.

  4. I’m sorry Woods got dragged into this. I tend to think Prior’s lawyers should have given her better advice.

    I’m concerned about Prior, because she is not strong, but apparently fragile, and I think the path she went down could do her further damage.

    The HRC also needs to think about that.

  5. BilB
    NOVEMBER 6, 2016 AT 1:45 PM
    Free Trade, Jumpy? Far too simplistic. Even in Nature oversupply leads to externalities as experienced with Algal blooms that kill everything they encompass. A regulated supply of resources is far more beneficial to all.

    So, what, you think the nature is flawed to the point intervention is the best approach.
    My point is that trade is not simplistic, rather, so complex that noone can control it. Any attempt has negative consequences far worse than letting it moderate itself.
    Ironically its human nature to interfere with the natural order of things.

  6. Just caught a quote from a a Senator (Liberal Democrat?) saying

    How can you say I’m holding the Government to ransom? I’m not doing that.

    I’ve just got them by the balls and I’m squeezing them.
    That’s not holding them to ransom!

    An early entrant in the Australian Trumptalk Competition.

  7. So, what, you think the nature is flawed to the point intervention is the best approach.

    So, what, you think the law of the jungle is the only way to go?

  8. Ambigous: Turnbull’s problem is that there are a lot of hands firmly clamped on his balls. Worse still, they are all pulling his balls in different directions.

  9. Very strong, measured, informative defence of Human Rights Commission this morning by Prf Gillian Triggs on Radio National with Fran Kelly.

    Explained how and why Mr Turnbull was misleading in his QUT comments yesterday.

  10. Yes, Triggs was on the 7.30 Report last night too.

    Turnbull’s misconception about the role of the HRC was so wrong it was embarrassing, and I have to say Leigh Sales wasn’t much better.

  11. On a non-Trump related election issue, I came across this ( short yet boring ) Youtube explaining why we will continue to discuss voting systems with little hope of agreeing on the best.

  12. Today was a big one for me. A lot of work in very hot sun. Last day at a place where I’ve worked for nine and a half years, and have worked for the folks since 1992.

    They’ve been great to know, but have sold their house to step into a caravan, and after some months of roaming will come back to settle in a unit, currently rented out.

    We has a long chat at the end of the day over a German beer, including Trumpism, of course.

    My pedometer says I’ve chalked up 19,000 steps, which shocked me, as a lot were up and down a ladder.

    No chance of a new SS before tomorrow night, as tomorrow I work again.

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