Saturday salon 10/12

1. 39,000 lightning strikes

We had 39,000 lightning strikes in one storm the other day. Apparently more than a million in the first six days of summer if you count cloud-to-cloud strikes.

Nothing too unusual about all that if you’ve lived in these parts for a while.

Unfortunately American tourist Sam Beattie was killed by a lightning strike camping on the summit of Mt Warning.

The only good place to be is inside a solid building when storms hit.

2. Turnbull poll rating a new low

Newspoll came out during the week to deliver the LNP its sixth loss in a row in TPP terms at 48-52. (If the link is pay-walled, Google ‘Newspoll’ and you should get it.)

The headline, though was Turnbull’s personal standing, which has fallen to lowest level since coming to power. He’s now at 41% as better prime minister to Shorten’s 32%, but his lead has fallen from 39 points in January to just nine points.

On the matter of how well they are doing their job, Turnbull’s net satisfaction rating is now -23 to Shorten’s – 17.

3. Turnbull has tidied his sock drawer

That’s the opinion of Lenore Taylor on Turnbull’s success with the backpacker tax.

She’s more interested in

    the so-called diverted profits tax – the Google tax – similar to the tax introduced in the UK in 2015 to stop multinationals coming up with convoluted schemes to shift their profits to low-tax or no-tax jurisdictions

Scott Morrison has released an exposure draft. They want to get it through to take effect by next financial year. The Government reckons they might pull in $100 million, but it could be much more.

Then there is:

    the government’s long-overdue concession that something is very, very wrong with the amount of revenue it collects from offshore gasfields.

    As campaigners at the Tax Justice Network have been pointing out for a long time, there’s something amiss when Australia will become the world’s largest gas exporter in 2020 and is forecast in that year to get just $800m in revenue for its resource, while Qatar – the country we will be overtaking – will be getting $26bn.

The difference could be $400 billion over the next 20 years.

My bet is we keep giving the stuff away.

Also next year we’ll have the Turnbull government’s $48bn in company tax cuts to consider, which were going to be the “first order of business” for the new parliament. And whether investment will dry up if we don’t do it, or whether the money should be spent on health and education.

Should be an interesting year!

4. Italy after Renzi

After Renzi’s referendum went down by nearly 20 points, Thomas Jones at LRB blog looks at what’s next. Five options are outlined with the favoured one a ‘tecnico-politico’ government, led by Pier Carlo Padoan, the finance minister, or Dario Franceschini, the culture minister.

It sounds like the referendum was a case of overreach. There were perhaps some good reasons why it went down.

There’s a longer roundup at naked capitalism. I like the conclusion:

    The whole situation reminds me of the famous saying by Karl Kraus: “In Berlin, things are serious but not hopeless. In Vienna, they are hopeless but not serious.” Still true in Berlin today, and substitute Rome for Vienna. Things are different for the voters, of course. They always are…

Sounds a mess!

5. GDP shrinks

Australia’s GDP shrank by 0.5% in the September quarter, the first time since March 2011 (by 0.2%), when it had suffered from the Queensland flood.

This time it was the election, a wet winter suppressing home building, or something. ScoMo has fingered renewable energy and South Australia, a mere 7% of the national economy.

ScoMo says $48 billion worth of tax cuts is the best medicine. Chris Bowen says that will deliver just one per cent (one per cent only, not one per cent each year) in 25 years.

Peter Martin says don’t start worrying yet about recessions, the numbers jump around and are often revised. Anyway:

    One of the reasons it doesn’t feel that bad for many of us this time is that during the same quarter, employment (hours worked) climbed 0.5 per cent and the best measure of living standards (real net national disposable income per head) also climbed 0.5 per cent.

GDP doesn’t measure living standards, he says.

Ross Gittins says Recession? look out your window. In Perth you are in recession, but in Sydney and Melbourne you are not.

Guess that’s OK then! Queensland isn’t on his map.

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.

24 thoughts on “Saturday salon 10/12”

  1. How about we take offshore resource royalties off the Fed by just extending the States boundary seaward ?
    Let the States capture them for hospitals and schools.
    They seem to do ok with the land based stuff.

  2. Good to see the Austrian journalist and satirist Karl Kraus quoted.

    Wikipedia begins: Karl Kraus (April 28, 1874 – June 12, 1936) was an Austrian writer and journalist, known as a satirist, essayist, aphorist, playwright and poet.

    Very funny bloke, sharp and biting. In essence, a blogger before blogs existed: he used to satirise a major Vienna newspaper by staying up all night and dissecting what he saw as its hypocrisy.

    Clive James wrote a good essay on his life, work and aphorisms,
    “Psychoanalysis is the disease of which it claims to be the cure.”

  3. I Kydd you knot.
    A currant headline at The Australian online reeds:

    Paul Keating biography by Troy Bramston a hym of praise to former PM

    Any suggestions??



    he stroke she……..

    Or is it a young lady, saying “Hy, men!” ????

    With friends like thes, hoo needs journalists? easy-peazy lemon squeazy. Or it might just be a typo.
    8.00pm AESST
    …..clock ticking on the correction……

    Uncle Ruppert wooden be impresed. Hys spelling alway acqurat, or was that acquirate??

  4. Ambi, that is hilarious if not tragic. I am awaiting with antipasto the next Gooseberry headline in the Limited News flagship.

    From the abysmal energy leadership thread

    I know the thread was triggered by energy matters but clearly the dismal situation is not at all limited to energy.

    Geoff, over on John Quiggin’s blo, a regular made a similar observation with regards to national leadership and management of our affairs.
    “”Climate policy : bipartisan generated failure.
    Refugee policy : bipartisan generated failure.
    Broadband policy : bipartisan generated failure.
    Broadband implementation : bipartisan generated failure.
    Education : bipartisan generated failure.
    Power networks : bipartisan generated failure.
    Same sex marriage : bipartisan generated failure.””

    Hasn’t anyone noticed but net migration with New Zealand has reversed.

    Pete Monk is the business manager at Ata Rangi wines in the beautiful Martinborough region an hour or so outside Wellington.

    He says building their exports to more than 30 countries has meant painstaking work over many years.

    Political stability with consistent messages has been vital to that success. And there is a spin-off benefit as the wines attract more overseas visitors to the cellar door.

    “Tourism is a major contributor to New Zealand,” he says, “and it’s a big chunk of the surpluses that are now being protected into the future.”

    After the years of political wars in Australia, it’s strange being in a nation with such a settled and confident sense of itself.

    And in a place where people confidently expect their lives will improve, that the economy will continue to grow.

  5. While pondering the possible background machinations in last week’s abysmal energy policy kerfuffle, I came across an interesting article wherein a deeper motivation or thinking behind the reenactment of Abbotts blood oath. Weatherill accused the government of being “very firmly bought and sold by the coal club” – a claim given weight by the government’s plan to lend $1 billion to coal miner Adani for its Carmichael mine in Queensland, may well be so. Here are some figures of how the cost of carbon emission reduction and energy security are unloaded onto the ordinary taxpayer, and an equally sinister motive to oppose an EIS ­– the belief that the progressive tax scale should be eroded at every opportunity to allow the wealthy to ‘get ahead’.

    It really points to a major economic feature of the Abbot/turnbull government as they are not only stuck in voodoo economic times of trickle down and tight fiscal policies. Worse, they retrofitted treasury to regurgitate such demonstrably failed ideology.
    Here is Ross Getting on the treasure report on The Effectiveness of Federal Fiscal Policy, commissioned from Professor Tony Makin.

    His paper’s “review” starts by rubbishing that deluded fool John Maynard Keynes – who, presumably, will never attain the intellectual heights reached by Makin and his mates – and praising such giants of the profession as Robert Mundell, Marcus Fleming, Robert Lucas and Thomas Sargent.

    It then reprises Makin’s well-rehearsed argument that the Rudd government’s budgetary stimulus – undertaken at the urging of the then Treasury secretary, Dr Ken Henry – was unnecessary and unhelpful.

    And finally it does a lot of hand-wringing about the rapid growth in the public debt (especially when you exaggerate the size of the debt by quoting gross rather than net, a trick Makin seems to have learnt from Barnaby Joyce), the burden being left to our children, and the need to make reducing recurrent government spending our top fiscal priority.

    This is at the time as the OECD and the IMF as well as the governor of the RBA, are urging the government (or whoever is in charge in there) to help strengthen the economy by increasing its spending on worthwhile infrastructure.

  6. I gather a tax on pollution is not on, but a tax on NBN is on.

    I heard horrendous stories of being without communication for weeks, from two friends in my region when they switched over to NBN. I am reluctant to do so for the same reason. First, the promised speed of up to xxxmbps is misleading without guaranteed lowest speed limit (not lower than xxxmbps). Second, Telstra who has the most consistent speed is a shocker in service provision and they have no qualms in leaving you out of service for weeks, and simply pass the buck to NBN. Third, in my area only fixed wireless is available, which is very dodgy given my location, the vegetation and long wet season (wet vegetation deflects signal). Fourth, with the LNP having butchered the original high tech solution, the current NBN is a market failure. Hence the present decision of the Government to tax NBN providers maybe just the start, because as Alan Kohler reported a couple of month ago

    … it has now dawned on the market for the first time how much more the NBN will cost in wholesale access charges than Telstra’s ADSL.

    No wonder NBN uptake is really slow and the Government had to plow an additional 20 billion into it to finish roll out, not to mention the crippling long term cost to maintain the copper to the premise.

    When this tragedy has totally unfolded for everyone to see, the legacy of the Abbott/Turnbull government will well and truly supersede that of McMahon’s.

  7. Jumpy over on the abysmal energy leadership post

    Has anyone here done it (EI test), or just assumes that they must be in the top 1%.

    I am happy to discuss EI with you if you

    1. Depersonalise the issue, as this topic has to be seen in context (see JD’s caution on that topic) and does not warrant a juvenile ‘mine is bigger than yours’ approach.

    2. Stop continuously making assumptions about others while accusing them for making wrongful assumptions. You have a dreadful habit of this and it stifles serious discussion. This may require a bit of self reflection though:)

    3. Do some reading up on the subject first. You have a juvenile habit to demand simple answers within complex issues for which we have previously provided sources to read up on or where is ample opportunity to google it up yourself. BTW within emotional intelligence there is a good indicator of which people will be more likely successful in their life, profession or debate for that matter. It is called Delayed Gratification, which is a crucial part of emotional self control particularly when interacting with others and trying to persuade in a debate.

    So as I said, I am happy to debate or discuss EI with you but on those terms. You may have your own terms which I am happy to hear and address.

  8. The AFR has picked up on my observation of emotions before cogitation in Australian national policy setting

    The notion of evidence-based policy in Australia is dead. While it’s been in poor health for some time, it was finally killed by the Coalition backbench last week and replaced with “gut instinct” and “the pub test”.

    In a well-functioning government ministers and backbenchers play an important role in setting strategic direction and ensuring plans are well implemented.

    But Coalition MPs increasingly see their role as either “philosopher princes” who can divine the virtue of an idea by simply having had it themselves, or as “thought police” who can veto the mere consideration of an idea proposed by members of their own Coalition.

  9. Ootz, thanks for the NBN comment. McMahon never stuffed anything up so comprehensively.

    Your Jumpy challenge has articulated issues about Jumpy’s commentary which have troubled me for some time.

    Jumpy, time for some self-reflection, I think. At present you seem to expect everyone to jump to your tune. You have provided interesting links in the past, and could do so again.

  10. Thanks Ootz.
    Thanks Brian.

    Ootz, your recent posts have been thought-provoking.
    When you recommended a book, I was disappointed to see J—y snarl that you were boasting about having read a lot of books.

    Quite unfair: it was a relevant book.
    Other posters here, and Brian, recomment the odd, occasional book. They (we) don’t expect to be insulted as show-offs.

    Personally, I find your posts thoughtful, modest, and useful. Ditto BilB, Brian, zoot, JohnD, Val, Geoff H, Paul B.

    A. Bibliophile

    Acting Secretary,
    Pedants Anon

  11. ootz, and anyone else, go look for yourselves to see who got personal initially.
    No need for me to show the timeline here, it’s all there.
    Alinsky tactics change nothing other than perceptions.

    I’m must say, it aint easy being a minority in the Climate Plus community.
    Sure, I might speak a little different, have different views on things, come from a different background but constant targeting is getting tiresome.
    Perhaps the majority here may just get their wish and be rid of lone conservative.
    Its clear by the overwhelming defence of BilBs,

    So when it comes to public conversation I now look at the empathy level of the person, most evident by determining their politcal leanings, in order to measure how I should understand what they are saying.

    ( Or; Conservative, therefore less empathy, therefore interpret them differently. )
    that I’ll never be get a fair go.

    The Power of the Dominant Majority, enjoy.

  12. Jumpy, I don’t know where to start in my reply to your lament. Perhaps I should categorically state that it is absolute not my wish to get you off the Climate plus. Also, you must have notice that others on here have commented how they admire your stamina or persistence and acknowledged your more serious and thoughtful contributions. And I am sure Brian as our host would have acted a long time ago, if he wished to remove you from the C+ community. So give yourself a pat on the back you are welcomed here.

    With regards to have different “speak” and “views” there is no problem from me. We have already established above that you are one of us, so you can safely assume that we don’t see you as one of them. We all speak different. with me, hell english is not even my mother tongue. JD recently even said he had “some empathy with grumpy, pig headed old men from the construction industry.” Having spent more then enough time on constructions sites allover the world in my life time can also relate to it quite easy. So let me suggest for both of us to adopt a more site office speak when debating or discussing more serious aspects, and in between have fun with a bit of on site banter and letting steam off.

    As with getting personal, I don’t just have to go through the abysmal energy leadership thread to see the pattern. But I will go to an incident only few days back, when you despite the clear instructions from our host you continued to bring up a topic in a certain way which was too close to the skin and hurt. I could be wrong, but you must have full well known that you hurt our host. Surely at your “work” you’d know better than to seriously upset a client or major contractor or a valuable foreman or to take it to extreme that the work place becomes toxic?

    As for BilB’s comment you quoted, I did say that I agree with you that conflating EI with the old left – right does not hold up. Perhaps since we can agree on one thing, we should start to discuss that, because I feel your “tiresome ” 🙂

  13. Ootz, can I assure you that I don’t hurt easily and don’t get upset easily either. Old age has taught me it’s a waste of time and energy.

    I’m also not very good at moderating, and sometimes skim through the comments, having to prioritise my time in favour of writing new material.

    Jumpy, go back to this comment, which was seen as judgemental and personal.

    It’s a style that probably fits better at Catallaxy.

  14. ootz

    Perhaps I should categorically state that it is absolute not my wish to get you off the Climate plus.

    Oh, I think you do.
    My suspicion arose with one of your opening gambits here with words similar to ” Brian, you are so patient with Jumpy, his attitude and disrespectful tone. Im not sure many would…. ( add something relevant to topic as cover). A tactic you use to good effect on LP when the Banhammer was readily used.
    Were you offended or upset at my interpretation of Bilbs words ?
    I didn’t say he was juvenile nor had a habit of juvenile comments, I didn’t speak down to him with ” you shoulds” or ” you should read ”
    Look, I remember being one of the first commenters here if not the very first. It’s been good and I’ve been able learn plenty.
    I’ll just lurk till such times as to tribe resumes a tolerant attitude toward challenges to their mindset, if that happens.
    I don’t have the skill nor inclination to dress insults and invective up in fancy pants wording, buried in a wall of psycsplaining and SMH opinion pieces. Nor the time nor inclination to constantly defend myself.

    You have no call from me to change Brian, your an honest man.

  15. Yeah sad indeed, but I will persist.

    Oh, I think you do.

    I know you do, but what I don’t know is what it would take for me to do for you to change your mind?

    Jumpy, I really don’t know what you are on about. Again, if you actually have a proper look at my comment after your ‘offending’ comment as pointed out by Brian above, I actually agree with your sentiment that BilB was wrong in his overall assumption, but did so after pointing out that he was partially right, in that such a thing like emotional intelligence exists. I did so because not to upset you but to encourage BilB to follow his notion up in more details, which he did. It is not all about you all the time.

    However, I will take your offence about my

    “… juvenile ‘mine is bigger than yours’ approach.

    … juvenile habit to demand simple answers within complex issues for which we have previously provided sources to read up on or where is ample opportunity to google it up yourself.”

    on board. But then please inform how you would like me to respond to a comment like this.

    Can we have Trump, Abbott, Sarah Hanson- Young, Hillary and Shorten take the EI test please.
    Lets get to the guts of this.
    I’ll do it if they do.

    Has anyone here done it, or just assumes that they must be in the top 1%.

    What did you mean to say, were you joking or were you actually serious? You see to me EI is serious, I brought it out into discussion to introduce it’s usefulness in personal and professional development as well as communication. What is wrong with that? I also clearly agreed with JD’s warning that IE as a tool to measure, just as with IQ, is fraught with difficulties or danger. The offence I took was in your stated assumption that I/we assume to be in the top 1%. so in my emotional outburst of frustration I countered that with the word “juvenile”. I tried to accommodate you with ‘on site’ speak, but must have missed the tone. Is there an other word you would like me to choose in such situation, because neither have I got

    the time nor inclination to constantly defend myself.

  16. With BilB’s analysis of Bernardi, the post-truth discussion here the other week as well as Jumpy’s accusation of posting too many opinion pieces and links to read in mind I came across this interesting analysis of Why do we fall for fake news? (it is from a source I have come over time to trust akin to The Conversation who they often cross post with)

    My problem with Barnardi is not his psychological flaws. Many a great leader in politics and business have or had major psychological conditions from manic depression to psychopathy and were capable to do good under the certain circumstances. Indeed one could argue that to overcome almost insurmountable problems you will foster manic depressed or suit to have psychopathic tendencies. My problem with Bernardi is not even his political stance, after all we are a democracy. What I severely object to is his evangelical zealotry with which he facilitates on an industrial scale demonstrably false and inflammatory information. The monthly article BilB links to makes reference to his instrumentality in ‘astro turfing’ a while back, but recent reports would have it that he is at the centre of a massive fake news operation, trying to emulate the recent US election experience. While Barnaby as the vice PM is the number one Retail politician Bernardi is the foremost Propaganda politician. So we would do well to be aware of his aim and on what basis he operates.

    I argue that the common “disinterest” BilB is outlining in turnbulls brocken energy policy thread has very much to do with how we ‘consume’ news . (from the above link)

    (A) plausible explanation is our relative inattention to the credibility of the news source. I’ve been studying the psychology of online news consumption for over two decades, and one striking finding across several experiments is that online news readers don’t seem to really care about the importance of journalistic sourcing – what we in academia refer to as “professional gatekeeping.” This laissez-faire attitude, together with the difficulty of discerning online news sources, is at the root of why so many believe fake news.

    Also we often forget how disruptive technology is changing our perception of reality.

    Today, in the age of social media, we receive news not only via email, but also on a variety of other online platforms. Traditional gatekeepers have been cast aside; politicians and celebrities have direct access to millions of followers. If they fall for fake news, any hoax can go viral, spreading via social media to millions without proper vetting and fact-checking.

    They point to a particular weakness in our information credibility habit, not checking source and trust ‘friends’ as gate keepers.
    When we asked the participants to rate the stories on attributes tied to credibility – believability, accuracy, fairness and objectivity – we were surprised to discover that all the participants made similar evaluations, regardless of the source.
    They did disagree on other attributes, but none favored journalistic sourcing.

    What makes it worse is that today facilitated by social networks we have layered sourcing, whereby information comes to us trough various sources almost Chinese whisper like.

    We found readers will usually pay attention to the chain of sourcing only if the topic of the story is really important to them. Otherwise, they’ll be swayed by the source or website that republished or posted the story – in other words, the vehicle that directly delivered them the story. It’s not surprising, then, to hear people say they got their news from “sources” that don’t create and edit news articles: Verizon, Comcast, Facebook and, by proxy, their friends.

    When reading online news, the closest source is often one of our friends. Because we tend to trust our friends, our cognitive filters weaken, making a social media feed fertile ground for fake news to sneak into our consciousness.
    The persuasive appeal of peers over experts is compounded by the fact that we tend to let our guard down even more when we encounter news in our personal space.

    We can’t distinguish between real news and fake news because we don’t even question the credibility of the source of news when we are online. Why would we, when we think of ourselves or our friends as the source?

    Checking for and backing up an argument or information with transparent sources and engage in critical thinking is essential when dealing with fake news which have become a permanent feature on the intertubes.

    BTW that will be the last time I will mention Jumpy until he returns from his well deserved break on the benches. I really wanted to make a point how important sourcing and questioning credibility with critical thinking is essential for not to fall into BilB’s “disinterest ” trap. Farewell mate, make good use of your time resting and I look forward to you entering the crease again with your ball and bat. 🙂

  17. Thanks for that thoughtful and thorough piece. I’m going to now have to read the whole Bernadi article becaue I did only read as far as I did to get a handle on the kind of person he is. I did not find the more extensive Bernadi that you found, and I will read the Sundar item on the wee end.

    Please keep working on this. We need to find out how the stabilise the political discourse and keep it on a factual basis. My friend Bill K says that the technique he uses in face to face situations is to ask a series of questions directed at the core argument of miss information, and he says it does not take long before the fallacy is laid bare. This of course requires that the other party remains engaged, harder to achieve in social media but I imagine that the technique should work.

    I am interested in the mental aspect because I have had a series of problematic business partners including a full on psychopath. I have gone to the extent of having several sessions with a psychologist in order to be better able to cope with my current brilliant but difficult business partner who it is believed has ASD. The psychologist suggested that I have a number of further sessions to better understand why I wind up with so many such partners, and I am going to do just that.

    I began to think through the political aspect to this while attempting to understand why TerjeP (avowed Libertarian) could say and believe the things he does. Then I plowed right on in there and am subsequently banned from four Libertarian blog sites. It turns out that those who choose to wallow in missinformation really do not like having their views challenged and are very resistant to reality. I think that the core problem here is to do with a link between mental state, cognitions and comprehension. People in a particular frame of mind take in the meaning of information differently. An example might be that a man intent on having sexual intercourse might hear “No, No, Don’t” as being enticement rather the “No, Stop”.

    Any way, I am a keen recipient of your thoughts. Keep them coming.

  18. BilB, I just put up a new post on compassion and empathy. Not the last word, but some stuff I read.

    I’ve got another New Scientist article about the relationship between beliefs on high profile issues and political positions, and how people change their minds (mostly they don’t). I’ll see what I can do.

  19. BilB, further to your interesting comment, it seems you are engaged in a personal journey of self-discovery. I’m sure we all wish you well.

    I saw a psychologist earlier this year, who gave me interesting information after a bad start when he seemed to have trouble staying awake.

    People near to me have also seen psychologists for various reasons.

    So my caution is that psychologists are human too. Some have better skills at listening and communicating than others. And some have patterns of understanding that may not be quite in synch with those of their patients. I’m sure a good one would be priceless, so I wish you good fortune.

  20. Today I worked in the heat. Tonight I’ve been to a Christmas party, and caught up with some people I hadn’t seen in a while.

    Tomorrow I work also. People want things cleaned up for Christmas.

    Sorry new SS will be Saturday night at the earliest.

  21. Back on Tuesday, after the comment by Ambigulous, I wrote this comment and must have been distracted, because I neglected to post it.

      Yes it is sad and unfortunate.

      Jumpy, really I don’t think Ootz wants you off CP.

      To me he’s wrong in one sense – you are different, as are we all, but in a few special ways. Firstly, you are a libertarian, which is fairly rare, and different.

      We should be able to cope with that, and in general I think we do.

      Secondly, you have very strong views on several issues, such as abortion, guns and feminism, views which in most leftist circles would be found offensive. The research shows that people don’t change their minds on these issues at all (there was a recent article in the New Scientist on this). In fact, contributing facts is pointless; when people thinking in a particular way become more scientifically literate that only entrenches their views.

      My conclusion is that discussing these issues on social media actually makes divisions worse. It’s counterproductive, I think, and the research seems to support that.

      The real difficulty, however, is in a jousting style of commentary that becomes personal. So when you were interpreting BilB’s words you were interpreting, or commenting on BilB.

      I prefer an expansive, respectful,discursive style. Like the Australian sense of humour, jousts can be entertaining, but can become ugly and personal.

      Short is also good if a point can be made with few words. If you feel personal is necessary, ask a question rather than deliver a judgement.

      Certainly Ootz didn’t miss in his response.

      In quick order it developed into a spat, so half a dozen comments were there before I logged on. I’d be here all night if I attempted a detailed comment.

      I feel a bit of a failure at this point, but let me say that you are welcome to comment and we’ll miss you if you don’t.

    The comments that Ambigulous identified as problematic, were in fact problematic. For example there was no evidence that anyone here thinks they are in the top 1% of EI, and whether we undertake such tests should be and no doubt would be out of a desire for self-improvement or understanding ourselves better.

    Strictly, I should have been more effective in moderating the discourse, but it was beyond what I have time for and indeed my ability.

  22. Brian, you amaze me, how do you do it all and at your age. Thank you for your compassion and empathy post, it is very very timely.

    Dealing with chronic illness for decades has given me an good insight into the health system, including psychology. With psychologists it is like with medical doctors, dentist or any professional for that sake. Some have good manners and are empathetic, others just do their job or have their own preoccupying problems. Also their professional approach or preferred methodology can vary to some degree. Having said that, I appreciate the guidance and help psychology provides. We generally look at that profession from a dated perception of ‘the talking cure’ or from our ‘pop psychology’ understanding with a focusing on pathology. Few of us have an inkling of psychologies guiding hand in supermarkets and high performance sport. However, when it comes to personal growth, it has to compete with some ancient religions or spiritual practices, where again the caliber and role of the facilitator or guide is pertinent.

    Often deeply troubling problems are perceived as being solely externally located, or alternatively, fault is solely attributed to oneself. The Buddhist use the concept of attachment, where as in psychology ‘the fundamental attribution error’ explains why we tend to personalise behaviour rather than looking at the whole situation. It helps to have some hand rails when ‘letting’ go and adapt a wider view of the ‘problem’. Indeed it pays to focus on solutions rather than problems, because in every challenge there is an opportunity for growth and development. The Chinese use the concept of tao, the path or discipline. When on a difficult path, like on top of a steep mountain ridge, you can fall down on either side by pushing yourself too or by not enough. It pays to self reflect and choose a suitable pace.

    In response to BilBs interest and experience in political social networks. These is indeed a fascinating as well as a increasingly important skill to be social network literate, given our discussions on post truth and fake news for example. I have now listen several times to an RN podcast with Waleed Aly, Scott Stevens and guest Italian professor, which I ca highly recommend. I have not the time nor the space to go into details here, but it is worth listening to as they provide a pertinent overview and address important aspect of what is going on. As for being chucked of political social networks. Join the club, the last one I was banned off was on my past State representatives Facebook page, for simply pointing out the importance of citing, when making scientific claims and using a scientists work to make a political claim. His loss not mine. I have another Facebook friend with whom I have challenged many online anti Islam bullies. He has a habit to unfriend and ban any overt racist online friends. Where as I rather keep the channels open and keep on challenging their views and use it as an opportunity to learn how to deal with it.

    Oh and lastly, for Graham and any other in the regions with internet troubles and battling the NBN disaster, the Better Internet for Rural, Regional and Remote Australia is a very helpful site. They are also on Facebook. Sorry got to go, feed the chooks, dig some banana suckers and plant a propagated tray of rocket and chillies before it gets too hot.

  23. Thanks, Ootz. Last year dating from before we went to Europe and lasting well into this year I had a broad spectrum challenge to my health. At times walking across the room was a bit of a challenge.

    Any way things are better now, and my body is coping reasonably well with the heat, up to the mid-30s. I do up to about four hours a day, perhaps a bit more, and monitor it on my pedometer. About 16,000 steps a day on hot days, and I’m pretty much done.

    Keep the water up, of course, and often take some hydralyte tablets in mid-afternoon, which give instant relief.

    A couple of years ago I was talking to an 85-year old, who volunteered for Wesley Hospital. He was pushing this old lady in a wheel chair who was explaining to him how well she was doing, given that she was 82.

    I’ll have a look at the Aly/Stevens podcast when I get time. I think I may have heard it. Actually I rate Stevens, Aly sometimes. He’s really very conservative.

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