39 thoughts on “Saturday Saloon 15/9.1”

  1. Why 50?
    That takes us back to 1968: politically, the year of the Tet offensive, the May events in Paris, the Prague Spring and subsequent Soviet-led invasion of the Czech and Slovak lands, the assassinations of Robert Kennedy and Dr King, the withdrawal of President Johnson from the Presidential race, the election of Richard Nixon, the Gorton Govt in Canberra.

    OK, I’ll have a go.

    Some of the things that are better: Viet Nam is not wracked by war; Parisians recognise that street sieges do not a revolution make, nor do they lead to improved governance; Prague is free; Slovakia is independent; the USSR has imploded; the Kennedy Dynasty has faded; Martin Luther King is remembered for his “I have a Dream” speech; we don’t have Richard Nixon or LBJ to kick around any more; likewise John Grey Gorton’s influence in Australia has waned.

    That’s just for starters.
    Next, if anyone is up for it, I’ll tackle the years 1969 to 2017.

    Who’s that, snoring already??
    Take their names!!
    You have to show me the petition with 43 signatures.

    Ambi of the Overflow

  2. Jumpy: 1968. 2% unemployment was considered unacceptable. Sex and drugs and rock and roll was still part of an exiting young world where the baby boomers believed that they were going to make a real difference. A country where the 5% who matriculated were able to get scholarships and living allowances that they never had to pay back. An good world where both the Davidsons got to university despite our parents being far less educated. (My mother only parent who finished 3 yrs of high school, mother in law only 3 yrs of primary school, father in law left high school in first year because his father was too sick to work and my father in law had to go down pit to support the family.) Best of all I could go fishing and expect to return with a feed of fish or abalone as well as lobsters at the right time of the year. Love to be as fit now as I was then.
    On the other hand, workplace safety was a lot worse than it is now and you could die or be incapacitated from diseases and injuries that are not a problem now. Then there was the feeling that the world could end any time in an atomic holocaust balanced by a feeling that the world was getting better.
    The gap between the rich and the poor was reducing and most people’s lives were getting better.
    Scroll forward 50 yrs we have all the durable benefits that came from the Whitlam period and vast improvements in areas such as medicines, computing and communication. On average, we are a lot more educated but the benefits of education are a lot less sure than they were when we graduated.
    On the other hand we seem to be trapped in high unemployment and the lives of many more people seem to be getting worse. Then there is the threat of climate change to the lives of my grandchildren.
    If I were able to be the same age now and 50 yrs ago? For an old man I think life now is better than 50 yrs ago and 50 yrs ago was better for a young man.
    However, i am one of those positive people who likes being where I am


    . And when I move to a new now and place that is where I like to be.
    The Davidsons think we have had a good life and don’t brood about the things that were problems at the time.

  3. In a lot of ways, the world has become far more hellish than it was 50 years ago: The conduct of warfare today has become nearly as bad as it was in the Thirty Years War. The warnings of Malthus are biting us hard yet capitalism and some religions ignore them. Inequality and injustice are now the norm. Corruption, in Australia, used to be committed behind closed doors, now it is a competitive sport done right out in the open.

    That’s the bad stuff. I like the good stuff better.

    Most cancers can now be treated; it is not just that life can be extended by months or years but that the quality of that life is so much better.

    We have been to the moon – and we have explored the planets and other bodies. We have not only looked into deep space but we have also looked into the abysmal depths of our own oceans – and keep being surprised..

    Unlocking the secrets of the genome. Alright, this is a very sharp double-edged sword with a slippery handle but it does have the potential to improve our lives beyond our wildest dreams.

    The stigma of unwed motherhood has gone – let’s pray that cruelty will never ever return.

    Tetrapacks and plastic bottles have reduced the incidence of kids cutting their feet on broken glass.

    Colour television has given us a more natural view of the world and its wonders.

    Look forward to reading what everyone else thinks is better.

  4. What struck me when I started thinking about it that things in the past vary considerably on exactly how far we go back. For example, 50 yrs back landed us in Vietnam war and all the things that flowed from that. 45 yrs back is 1973 in the middle of the Gough renaissance. 40 yrs back gets us into stagflation and Frazer’s game changing moves on Aboriginal land ownership.
    On the down side Australia and world population have doubled since 1968 with the current world population growth rate at 1.1% (83million per yr.) This growth has placed increased stress on the natural environment, built environment and people. The associated unwanted immigration has pushed politics in some countries towards the racist right.
    The good news here is that the technology is here that could help reduce both world birth rates, emissions and other effects of population growth.

  5. Better medical treatments.
    You listed some, Graham.

    Heart transplants, extended to many other organs.
    Prosthese extended to knee, hip; plastic lenses after simple cataract surgery, other internal prostheses.
    Recovery from severe injuries.
    Preparation for major operations using physio to strengthen muscles.

    Recognition of, and preventative diets for IBS, celiac, Krohn’s.
    Recognition and tests for many birth defects.
    Better assistance for people with disabilities.
    Better wheelchairs, walking frames, other mobility aids- even the simple crutches are improved.

    Massive improvements in hearing aids; better awareness of using ear protection, eye protection, UV glasses for welding; OH and S at work.


    Vitamins and supplements better understood.

    Scanning technology: amazing progress. Remember fuzzy X-rays using much heavier doses? Ultrasound, NMR, 3D imaging.

    Sharing of medical data through the Internet.

    Internal exploration by miniature devices.
    Keyhole surgery.
    Better anaesthetics and recovery from them.

    International efforts against AIDS, TB, other diseases.

    Better nursing care.
    Lower infant mortality.
    Contraception choices.
    Inoculations for more diseases and conditions.

    Unbelievably clever, our medical folk.

  6. We know that there have been lots of problems with age care ranging from the problem of getting someone in to care when they need it through to the way aged care is run and problems with abusive staff.
    The royal commission has been a long time coming from a government that has been cutting its expenditure on aged care and knocking back proposals for staff to patient ratios and similar.
    Hope the commission results in real action. Shorten’s effort in setting up the NDIS is a ray of hope.

  7. Internet is back, but I’m late for work.

    John, there is a slight difference between a ‘saloon’ and a ‘salon’, but what the heck!

    See you all tonight!

  8. Correction.

    Think I nominated the wrong legend.

    Brian, we have been just fine in the saloon!! Only thing was, Mr J got as missed as a pewt. We miss him.

    “Life gets more honest after two beers” (that’s from a novelty stubby holder or was it a sovelty nubby holder or I dunno. Barman!! Service over here please. My new friends are all thirsty!!!)

  9. John D.: Salons/Saloons might be out of your comfort zone but you did step up to the challenge. Thanks.

    More good things in the past half-century:
    * Opportunities for Aborigines to advance themselves have extended beyond the Army, the boxing ring and the football field.
    * Homosexuality has been decriminalized.
    * No-fault divorce: no longer do we have the humiliating farce of private detectives leaping in through bedroom windows, armed with camera and flashgun, to get “incriminating photos”
    * Independence for Papua-Niugini – though Australia was too weak to stand up to the U.N. bullies so that P.N.G. could have had a beneficial further decade of tutelage and of infrastructure development.
    * The flowering of a native film industry that wasn’t just a subsidiary of Hollywood and Ealing. “Gallipoli”, “Picnic At Hanging Rock”, “The Man Who Sued God”, “Blood Oath” (what a savage attack on hypocrisy!), “Strictly Ballroom”, “Better Than Sex” (what’s so wrong about having a fairy godmother in the form of a kindly lady taxi-driver?).
    * World class general and ultralight aviation: Millicer, Slepcev, Ligeti and all the rest.

    Not too bad at all when you compare these with all the bloody awful things that have happened in the past half-century.

  10. Interesting thread.

    1968 was the year that Immanuel Wallerstein reckoned marked the ‘world revolution’ in the world political economic system. (See Ambi’s comment at September 15, 2018 at 8:55 pm) Essentially US hegemony started to decline and the system became unstable.

    He thinks the future is still open, but I think the 1% are winning.

  11. More good things happening in this half-century:

    German state of Lower Saxony has just started running French-built, expensive but efficient hydrogen-powered steam-trains on a 100Km stretch of line. https://www.dw.com/en/top-stories/science/s-12526

    Alright, I could have put this news on the Coal Power Fading Fast thread but I thought it was more fun to put it here.

  12. Music

    Beatles, melodies and lyrics for the decades.
    Rolling Stones still alive and performing live; thousands of fans “leaving no turn unstoned”.
    Bob Dylan, Nobel Laureate.
    Aussie pop music thriving; pub gigs still financially viable.

    Improved recording methods.
    Internet music
    High quality stereo for the masses

    Music from Soweto, Havana, from huge swathes of the globe brought to the world.

    Orchestras, ballet, chamber music continuing.
    First rate classical performers emerging from Japan, China, other non-Western nations.

    Classical Chinese music and drama survived Mao.

    Children in many countries still learning an instrument.

    [Note to self: avoid revealing fuddy-duddy tastes by decrying recent popular music fads, tuneless “singing”, rap, etc. Whoops. ]

    in C major

  13. Ambi, as I work these days I can have classical music, or any other kind, stereophonic in noise cancelling headphones where magnificent sounds play in the middle of my head.

    Unbelievable, really.

  14. Thank heaps, zoot.

    Wonder why was it, that whilst reading those two articles, two quotes came to mind? The first, in 1968, during the Tet Offensive in the Viet-Nam War, by an American political luminary, “We’ve lost Walter Conkrite”. The second, in 1989, by an unnamed Soviet military officer, “Those damned Lithuanians are putting up crosses all over the place”. 🙂

  15. Believe it or not our internet issues, now over a week old, are not over. I’ve got it but my wife doesn’t, so we were working on an alternative path this morning, which has been successful.

    This PM I’ve got to get my phone sorted.

    I’m conscious that I’ve only done one post in the last week, but I’m hoping for a better run at things over the next few days.

    I think the phone system in Oz is downgrading to third world status. ABC radio people who run talkback say it is getting worse. A legacy of our former PM.

  16. Legacy since Rudd and Conroys back of a beer coaster more like.

    Our internet is in and out like a honeymoon p***k too.
    Not ideal trying to run a business.
    I’ll take reliable over “ fast “ any day.

  17. Sure John, if ALP had stayed in office it would have taken only 5 years and cost taxpayers ( off budget ) $4.9 Billion like Rudd/Swan/Conroy said in the 2007 election campaign.

    My take away is this is another example of Governments ( all flavours) being incompetent at anything to do with markets.

  18. Am I mistaken, or is Jumpy arguing that the current communications infrastructure mess we have (courtesy of Abbott/Turnbull) is in fact “faster cheaper and better”?

    Talk about ROFL.

  19. Jumpy: If Labor had stayed in power we would have a fibre to the house system that had the speed to carry us into the future. Instead we have the Abbott/Turnbull stuff-up.

  20. John, given his follow up remarks it seems Jumpy believes it would have been preferable to stay on the C19 PMG copper.

  21. According to the SMH back in 2008:

    under Sol Trujillo’s transformation strategy, Telstra proposed a $4.5 billion fibre-to-the-node network (FTTN) with user speeds of 24 megabits per second, upgradeable to 100Mbps, deployed to 4 million urban homes within 40 months.

    I believe that was in John Howard’s day. That would have got us started on a virtuous path. However, the govt told him to bugger off.

  22. Thanks for that Brian.
    I have no option but to concede Jumpy was correct in his assertion that governments do get in the way of “the market”.
    Unfortunately he blamed the wrong government. 🙂

  23. Luckily I’m not waving pom-poms for either team.

    I’m at a slight advantage in that very few of them could even run pie van successfully.

  24. You may not be “waving pom-poms for either team” (a somewhat tribal approach to political discussion) but, to continue your metaphor, you consistently boo one side more than the other.

  25. Well, I can’t disagree with that to be honest.
    But I’d hope you’d see it for what it is, reactive rather than premeditated.

    With most issues it’s a case of which mob will do the least damage. Often it’s a dead heat.

  26. GB: Bit startled to hear that the hydrogen powered trains were “steam trains.” Checked the link and found power came from hydrogen fueled fuel cells which makes more sense.

  27. Brian (Re: SEPTEMBER 22, 2018 AT 1:02 PM):

    I think the phone system in Oz is downgrading to third world status.

    I’m inclined to agree with you, Brian.

    A few years ago I had the opportunity to see how some fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) were being installed in a semi-rural area of Londonderry, NSW. In one section of the street, the main fiber feed was underground, installed by one contractor. Other sections of the main fiber cable in this particular street were suspended between poles.

    Another contractor was then engaged to provide an underground fiber connection from the nearest pit junction box in the street to a particular house (sited approximately 75 to 100 m in from the street). This optical fiber cable appeared to be barely underground, without any apparent protective conduit, probably between 5 to 15 cm below the surface and running for part of the way along the earth gutter of the sealed roadway and passed under the property’s gravel street access, before winding its way underground onto the property (including under a semi-dry natural watercourse) and up to the residence.

    I wonder how long before this particular FTTP cable shows a fault? And if this is a typical standard of installation, then I don’t hold much faith in the NBN network long-term, whether it’s FTTP, fiber-to-the-curb, or fiber-to-the-node. I wonder whether the property’s owner may be hit with expensive repairs in a few years time (if not already) for what appears to me to be an apparently incompetent installation job done to begin with.

  28. Geoff M, back a few decades when my elder bro was on a cattle property I heard of Telstra stringing out a line on top of the ground where cattle were running around.

    More recently my younger bro has a story about NBN installation in the suburbs.

    Seems NBN are doing so much in so many places competitive tendering and inadequate supervision allows shoddy work. Seems there are subbies of subbies of subbies working to their own standard.

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