Back in 2003 a heatwave centred in France killed over 70,000 people. Another which struck Moscow in 2010 killed 10,000. During the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires in Victoria 173 people tragically lost their lives from the fire. However, health authorities believe Victoria’s record-breaking heatwave may have contributed to the deaths of about another 374 people with the state’s death toll 62% higher than at same time in the previous year.
The elderly were worst affected, but the very young and those in frail health are also typically affected in events like this. Continue reading Sizzling summers presage a global future
This is the first of several posts which will show that climate change is becoming a real and present danger.
Climate Central has a graph showing the hottest 10 years on the record: Continue reading The heat is on!
1. Joi in a joyless world
Virtual love The sex robot industry is using AI to create the female spouse ‘of the future’, loving companions who never deny or constrain male desires.
In fact the aim is to “bring greater satisfaction than human interaction” without the interruptions that are apt to come from real people, and the virtual one can be turned on or off at the flick of a switch. Continue reading Saturday salon 27/1
Back in 2013 when I wrote the post Deep origins: language I had intended to follow with an examination of how patriarchy emerged within the societies that adopted the Indo-European language group. It is mind-boggling that so many languages from Iceland to Russia, to India, Iran and Mediterranean Europe speak languages evolved from the same source:
The exceptions in Europe are Basque, Estonian, Finnish and Magyar (Hungarian).
This posts gathers some thoughts towards that end, stimulated by the discussion on the Saturday salon 6/1 thread from about here. Continue reading Deep origins: patriarchy
I’m posting early, because I’m heading out to Dulacca today, returning next Tuesday. I’m not expecting to be online.
1. Cryptocurrency crash
Bitcoin and just about every other cryptocurrency has taken a dive. There’s more at the ABC. Falls have been 20 per cent for Bitcoin and more than 40 per cent for some of the others.
Here’s an explainer on what’s behind the Bitcoin mania. Continue reading Saturday salon 13/1
Found this interesting article where some experts argue that Sydney train problems could be fixed by halving car registration and removing tolls. It reverses the normal mantra in favour of active and public transport. My take is that the article is asking the wrong questions. The key question that should be asked is “Why do we continue to allow Australia’s mega cities to grow instead of creating new, properly planned cities?” This post looks at other questions that might be asked if we want to make the transport systems of Australian mega cities more workable. Continue reading Questions for Mega Cities
1. Dolly’s message
People all over the country were gutted when they heard that 14 year-old Amy Everett, known as “Dolly”, committed suicide after being bullied on social media. The father took to Facebook to suggest Dolly’s tormentors attend her memorial:
“Please come to our service and witness the complete devastation you have created,” he wrote on Sunday.
Dolly had been the face of Akubra hats back in 2009:
Continue reading Saturday salon 13/1
Josh Frydenberg has just written an opinion piece in the AFR about Why we can’t do without the power of Snowy 2.0.
Can’t do without it, that’s what he said. To impress us he said:
With only 2 per cent of construction visible above ground, the scheme involved 16 major dams, seven power stations, a pumping station and 225 kilometres of tunnels, pipelines and aqueducts.
Continue reading The energy wars continue in 2018
1. Sawatdi bpi mai kap!
Mark has again used this Thai new year’s greeting. It means:
May you find compassion, loving kindness and equanimity along your paths over the next year!
Last year the spelling was Sawatdi pi mai khrab!. Presumably the latest is correct. Continue reading Saturday salon 6/1
I remember when we crossed the Simpson Desert back in 2014 how wonderful it was not to hear anything about politics for days at a time, and then turn on the TV news in Birdsville to have Tony Abbott talking to camera. He looked like a plastic man, and it was hard to re-establish that what he had to say may have consequences for our lives.
I think Tony Abbott has made a significant contribution to degrading the tone and content of political speech in Australia.
In the US people have spoken of the “Trump effect” – a shift in norms since Donald Trump entered politics. Now Rishab Nithyanand at Data & Society, a research institute in New York, and his colleagues at the University of Massachusetts have undertaken a study to see whether discourse has actually worsened. Continue reading Degrading political discourse