Weekly salon 26/8

1. Hansen gets stuck on Uluru

Pauline Hanson has been campaigning against closing Uluru to tourists. She says that it provides jobs for indigenous people, and closing it is like closing Bondi Beach because people have drowned there.

    She added: “I can’t see the cultural sensitivity when people have been climbing the rock all these years and all of a sudden they want to shut it down? I don’t get it, I really don’t get it.”

    Of course, Pauline Hanson doesn’t get it. She’s never really tried to get it.

Now she got stuck 40 metres into a climb she was doing for viewers consumption on Channel Nine’s A Current Affair. “I cannot get down” a terrified Hanson cried.

    ‘Seriously, I cannot get down here. My boots are that b****y old,’ she said as she shuffled along the rock in a preview for an A Current Affair segment on Monday night.

Then, according to Junkee, she got wrecked on social media, and by a teenage girl when she asked, “Where’s my land if it’s not Australia?”

I don’t think the ‘mother country’ would want to own this ridiculous person.

Here’s a great shot of Uluru from an angle I haven’t seen before:

2. The future of food

Wired tells us that Alt-Meat Trounces Animal Meat’s Massive Inefficiencies.

They are saying that it takes years of investment, market prediction, plus ecologically expensive and wasteful inputs to produce plant food and meat:

    Compare this years-long lead time with that for plant-based or clean meat, where a manufacturing facility can have finished product rolling off the line in hours or days. For plant-based meat, the raw materials (protein isolates, flours, flavorings, etc.) are typically dry powders with high stability and can be stored inexpensively for extended periods of time, ready at a moment’s notice for on-demand use. The entire process from pre-treatment (soaking) of the dry ingredients to finished product takes only a few hours. Even products with more complex post-processing like smoking or marination will be ready to ship to retailers within just a few days of starting the production line.

    The same will be true for clean meat (created by growing meat outside of an animal from a small cell sample, also called cultured meat or cell-based meat) once it is available through large-scale production, which many analysts expect will happen within the next decade or so. The main raw materials are also dry powdered nutrients that can be stored for relatively long periods of time. Vials of frozen cells used to produce the meat can be thawed and begin dividing within hours. Most industry insiders estimate that producing a batch of thousands of kilograms of meat will require three to five weeks start to finish. If production facilities are operating the seed train continuously, they could harvest the finished product within a week.

3. Special Witness K and the public interest

Tonight’s Four Corners Secrets, Spies and Trials is mostly about Special Witness K and his lawyer, the former ACT Attorney-General Bernard Collaery:

    “I don’t know what I’m going to be allowed to say in court. I’ve only just been allowed to speak to my lawyers after 18 months…but I’m circumscribed even in what I can tell my own lawyers. It’s an amazing experience.”

Xanana Gusmao has offered to come to Australia to give evidence if the trial is public, which it won’t be. We need to remember that this started with Australia planting a bug in the Timor Leste cabinet room which we were refurbishing as a aid project so that we could get the advantage on them in oil negotiations.

It was an act of a government with no ethics. We should be thankful that Witness K exposed our perfidy, we should thank him and make amends. Some say, and I’m inclined to believe them, that we’ve never repaid the Timorese for the help they gave us during WW2.

Seems what is happening is payback, and a salutary lesson to anyone who might be tempted to blow the whistle in future.

Ambigulous has already made reference to this topic.

Timor Leste:

    continues to be one of the world’s poorest countries, with GDP per capita standing at $3,949 (2011). It is ranked 147 out of 187 (2011) countries in the UN’s Human Development Index.

Can’t we just be good neighbours?

4. Europe’s deep past

I can thoroughly recommend spending 50 minutes or so on Pygmy dinosaurs and blue-eyed Neanderthals: Europe’s startling deep past, Sarah Kanowski talking to Tim Flannery about his new book Europe: A Natural History.

It’s about the last 100 million years. Sea levels were higher. Europe was a tropical archipelago placed between Asia America and Africa, so was like a crossroads. What is now Romania was Europe central.

Flannery reckons that our ancestors first walked upright in Europe, not in Africa. The first footprints are to be found in Greece.

At some length he talks about the neanderthals and our relationship with them. They had bigger brains than we have, and had excellent toolmaking skills. He reckons we have a spear preserved up to the standard of a modern Olympic javelin. He reckons all those cave paintings were done by a hybrid species that was 10-11 per cent neanderthal. So he thinks we absorbed the Neanderthals rather than killing them off.

He says they were in trouble any way. They lived in smaller groups than homo sapiens, which means they were losing their culture as time went by. Skills were not always passed on, and they were weakened by interbreeding.

The hybrid species was itself absorbed with new waves of people coming from Africa, and finally the dispersal from the Asian steppes that brought the Indo-European languages.

Flannery had someone helping him research for a few years, and says all the information was there in bits. It just needed putting together to reveal the real story.

My impression is that he did a good job. The conversation is certainly interesting and entertaining far beyond the few morsels I’ve given above.

5. Walking is good for us, but how much?

Speaking of walking, the New Scientist has a review of Shane O’Mara’s In Praise of Walking: The new science of how we walk and why it’s good for us.

Walking is good for our health and well-being and has given us an evolutionary advantage which has seen us take over the planet.

Back in June NS had another article How many steps a day do you really need? Spoiler: It isn’t 10,000.

It cites a number of studies, but the sweet spot seems to be two hours of vigorous walking each day, which probably equates with what hunter gatherers did. For people in their prime, that’s about 15,000 steps each day. Older folks will do fewer in that time, and there is threshold walking pace you need to achieve for it to make much difference. However, the message is that anything is better than nothing. Here are a couple of quotes:

    A study of postal workers in Glasgow, UK, found that those who clocked more than 15,000 steps a day carrying the mail, which equates to about 2 hours of brisk walking, had cardio-metabolic health on a par with hunter-gatherers – and this in a city with the lowest life expectancy in the country. A much larger study in the US followed 4840 adults to see whether physical activity reduced the risk of dying over the subsequent five to eight years. No surprise, it found that more active people had lower mortality rates. Just 25 minutes of moderate-and-vigorous activity a day reduced the risk of dying within this timeframe by 25 per cent compared with the least active people. And more was better. Adults who were active for 100 minutes or more each day had the lowest mortality rates: 80 per cent lower than the couch potatoes.

And in another study:

    For the most sedentary among us, an extra 30 minutes a day of activity that elevates our heart rate would halve our mortality rate, adding high quality healthy years to our lives.

This article does not look at vigorous interval training, just walking. I think the message is that you may be able to do better than the two-hour rule, but after two hours further gains are harder to come by.

But remember, even standing is better than sitting.

46 thoughts on “Weekly salon 26/8”

  1. Yes, Brian.

    We should try to be good neighbours with Timor Leste.

    When Xanana Gusmao first returned to his homeland after years in prison, he addressed a rally wearing military fatigues.

    His cry of “Viva Falintil!!” came from deep in his heart and burst out like the roar of a lion. So many had died in the decades of Occupation. So many buildings torched in that last spasm of revenge by the occupiers and their mates.

    One day I hope Australians will be able to say loudly, “Viva Witness K!”

    Can’t we just be good neighbours?
    A simple question, and so apt.

  2. I have an emotional relationship with the wilderness and feel it more strongly when I am out in the wilderness on my own, even more so at dusk, on a moonlit night or out where the starlight is strong enough to read road signs by.
    Loved and now long for the Pilbara, a place where I went bushwalking most weekends and never saw another person once I had got out of sight of the road.
    A place of private gorges, rock holes and a rock wallaby who hopped down to scold me for being at his rock hole.
    A place where there is a real sense of age. A place where you know the rock you were walking on was 2.5 billion yrs old. A place there was a rock carving of a flat faced kangaroo, a species that became extinct about 50,000 yrs ago.
    Having read the above you might understand why I don’t long to go to Uluru with its surging crowds. Even more so when part of the crowd is a poor woman whose soul seems to be screaming out with anger and resentment too much of the time.

  3. That’s very moving, John.

    Ambi, I’ve added the “just”, so it’s now:

    Can’t we just be good neighbours?

  4. I was thinking of including Trump’s trade wars as an item, and if I’d found a good link I may have done. I heard two interesting comments today.

    First, the Chinese don’t regard Trump as anyone you can do a deal with because he’s too unstable. They would prefer to wait until the end of 2000 to see who is in the chair then.

    Second, Trump is afraid the US economy is about to tank, and is setting up two scapegoats to blame. One is the Chinese, the other is the chair of the Federal Reserve, who has been the subject of a stream of twitter abuse.

  5. I heard two very dark items on the radio in recent days.

    The first was an interview with a young man who lives in Ipswich who is sight impaired. He’s recently acquired a guide dog, so the NDIS has taken away his public transport travel pass.

    Go figure.

    He said he was about to hand in the keys of his rental accommodation, because he couldn’t afford the rent.

    Rebecca Levingston, a compassionate ABC presenter, said, “What are you going to do?”

    He said quite calmly that he was thinking of killing himself.

    Levingstone choked a bit as she told him, keep asking for help, someone will help.

    The second was RN PM about Centrelink trapping victims of domestic violence:

    Women in violent relationships are often trapped because of a lack of financial independence, forced to live in the same house and share the same bank account as their abuser.

    A report has found evidence that Centrelink is sometimes using evidence of domestic violence to reduce payments to women, at the very time they most need the extra cash.

    Do you think Josh and Matthias and ScoMo really care?

  6. Too many anecdotes about difficulties with NDIS. Hard for individuals trying to sort out a plan. A friend told us “every disabled person needs an intelligent, resourceful advocate who has plenty of spare time.”

    Some no doubt have someone in their family who can take that role.

    At a different level, some medium and small charities who provide services to disabled folk, have struggled to adapt to the NDIS funding model. Some have closed. Some have merged. A charity needed something like $1 million in cash reserves (we have heard) to survive the transition to NDIS.

    Many didn’t have that cash. What to do? Sell off an asset (e.g. an opp shop, an admin building )?? Or try to merge.

    Meanwhile the clients and their families are thrown into uncertainty about services. …..

  7. What we see with government and their actions re government organizations that are supposed to look after people at the bottom of the pile is an obsession with not giving anyone something that they might not be eligible for. Doesn’t matter if it does serious harm to someone who desperately needs help.

  8. I think it’s very dangerous if folk are seen as uncaring just because they reason, on a very complex issue, a different solution.

    That can only lead to more divisiveness and less conciliation not just among politicians but all of us.

  9. Heh, my experiment in phrasing with hippie trippy passiveness results in the same toxic sarcasm.

    Exhibit A to prove my point instantly your Honours.

  10. Jumpy:

    I think it’s very dangerous if folk are seen as uncaring just because they reason, on a very complex issue, a different solution.

    I accept that some people who come up with different solutions to me do this in good faith and may well be right in at least some cases. However, some of the different solutions can be more about pandering to the greed or malice of the proposer and supporters than care for the people affected by the proposal.

  11. I had my eyes checked out today to see how the cataracts and glaucoma were going.

    Apparently going very well according to the prof at the Qld Eye Institute, as his minions plundered my wallet.

    He really is a nice man and was very encouraging. Said in his culture (Indian) age was respected and urged me to go for the century!

    Other than that I got into mopping up at a sh*tfight that broke out on Mark’s Facebook about protesters who think it is their right to hold up peak hour traffic for hours, by using very strong glue, metal and cement to glue themselves to each other, the road, including, it is said, the threat of using booby traps like bottles of butane in buckets of concrete they’ve put their hands in. I do understand that no-one has actually done the booby trap thing, but emotions are running high and it is hard to know what is true.

  12. as his minions plundered my wallet


    And I bet they didn’t use “invisible hands”.

  13. I love it when Jumpy channels Ned Flanders.

    No sarcasm there, just a flat statement of truth with a soupcon of irony.
    I find it immensely amusing when there is a call for unity from the only person on this forum who has ever suggested another commenter should “go ****” themself.
    And Jumpy, I never use toxic sarcasm. My sarcasm is guaranteed organic, free range and gluten free.

  14. Wow, zoot.

    Somehow that obituary leaves me with the impression that the writer was a tad unhappy with a few things the deceased had done? Inquiring minds may wish to consider….

    Can you please remind me: was it *the meek* who would inherit the Earth?

  15. That girl that suggested Pauline Hanson’s land was England seems a bit racist to me.

    Almost as if she wants Hanson to “ go back to her own Country “ ( not that white peoples only country is England, there are a few others).

    Just recently a certain POTUS was vilified in the media for the same ignorance and called racist.

    Funny times we live in.

  16. I wonder if such a nasty obituary will be celebrated or condemned in zoots media when Soros ( 89 yo ) passes soon.

    Perhaps in Singapore, Thailand, England will be understandably scathing but I wonder what the Australian “ journalists “ will say.

  17. How is exercising my ( non existent in Constitutional law ) freedom of speech a denial of a media conglomerates freedom of speech?

    ( that’s a rhetorical question, everyone knows the answer, it’s not )

  18. Jumpy: Considering what the English invaders did to the original Australians it doesn’t seem unreasonable that Pauline should take the advice she is happy to give others and take herself back to where her people came from.

  19. Just in suggests that Boris Johnson is using insanity power to convince his opponents that he is serious about going ahead with a no deal Brexit and they should line up to bargain with him. They use

    Mr Johnson’s latest move — to ask the Queen to suspend parliament — can be seen as a display of commitment to a potential hard Brexit in a bid to pressure the EU into securing a better deal.

    as an example of how he is trying to use perceived insanity to increase his bargaining power with the EU or others. Problem is that his strategy confirms the perception that parliament does not support what he is doing.
    Smart thing for the EU to do is to simply ignore Brexit, don’t put in border controls and allow free flow of goods and UK citizens into the EU and leave it to Boris land to control what ever they want to for goods and people wanting to enter Boris land. At the same time the EU might stir up trouble by offering to treat Scotland and Northern Ireland to retain EU membership.
    Boris would probably fall to a vote of no confidence if parliament comes together now. No parliament is going to be happy with a prime minister who won’t let them vote on an issue that is the most important one they have faced for a long time.

  20. On the other hand, that new Brexit Party was polling ahead of Cons.
    And the Liberal Democrats have been doing well.

    Labour Party back in fourth place. Corbyn has been dithering.

    So why would any marginal Labour MP or Remain Cons MP vote for a general election?

    See: Can of Worms
    Also Pandora’s Box,
    Proud Europe,
    Proud Scotland,
    Proud Wales,
    United Ireland……

    Aussie politics looks like simplicity itself

  21. Anyone old enough to remember when Britain was called “Great Britain”?
    Or how quickly the UK dumped the Commonwealth trade preference system once the poms moved to the EU?
    Or wonder at the wisdom of Boris as he tries to strike trade deals with Donald T?

  22. In the meantime protesters are gathering to fight the “Very British Coup”

    More than a million people quickly signed an online petition objecting to the decision to suspend Parliament, and the pound fell sharply.

    In addition,

    Politicians are already asking a Scottish court to rule that suspending Parliament is illegal.

    Member countries of the UK should be given the option of staying with the EU. Sassenach insanity should not be allowed to destroy Scotland.

  23. NSW Labor

    $100,000 cash in an Aldi bag from Huang Xiangmo.

    Ernest Wong, MP.

    State official Kaila Murnain has been shown the door.
    Time to Show Dastyari the Door??

    Probably long overdue……

  24. John

    No parliament is going to be happy with a prime minister who won’t let them vote on an issue that is the most important one they have faced for a long time.

    There have been enough votes in the last three years by the people that these parliamentarians have ignored.
    First the Referendum that got the biggest vote for it than any other issue in the UK history. Then a general that resulted in a win for the only Party with Brexiteers in it ( pity the Remoaners in it teamed with labour ). Then the Brexit Party thrashed everyone in the EU election. What more do these parliamentarians need to vote on ?

    The people have been very clear for 3 years.

    If labour want another General then Boris will crush them because they’ve ignored the Democratic will of the voters constantly.

  25. Ahem

    Update on UK poll figures.
    A YouGov poll is reported today to give:
    Cons 34%
    Labour 22%
    Brexit Party 13%

    It looks as if bringing in Boris to replace Theresa, may have deflated Nigel’s Brexit Party.

    Who knows?

  26. How good is Kristina Keneally ?
    Apparently everything was corrupt and appalling in NSW ALP both before and after she was at the highest level, yet she gets away with the story she’s clean, totally naive about any of it, disgusted and surprised.

    Be good if ICAC was to ask her what she knew and when.

  27. Opps, that may seem to some as misogyny because the human I raised question about happens to be female.

    It wasn’t.

  28. No evidence of endemic corruption at the highest level in NSW ALP in the last 20 years ?

    I mean, no bottles of Grange, admittedly but there’s plenty of evidence.

  29. Oh, on why I clarified the misogyny thing, I hear Alan Jones got the Gold Ernie this year for ripping into Jacinda Adern.

    Have they ever heard any of his other broadcasts, I’ve heard a few, he rips into everyone he disagrees with regardless of gender.

    Just thought with the current proclivity of the left media labeling any criticism of a person that happens to be female a misogynist I’d state it outright.

  30. Jumpy, I listened to Alan Jones once on a day the ABC were actually on strike. Probably over 20 years ago.

    It was excruciating. I can’t think why I’d want to repeat the experience. I think John Laws was still going at the time. Ditto for him.

  31. True that Brian, he’s definitely out of my comfort zone.
    That’s why I listen every now and again.

    At any rate, what he said about JA wasn’t misogyny if one can bring oneself to listen to the whole rant compared to any of his other rants.

  32. Almost fifty years ago I worked at the Bureau of Statistics and my experiences there led me to be very vocal in defending its independence over the years. Not any more.

  33. That’s a shocker, zoot.

    Daughter mentioned it yesterday too.

    ABS needs to maintain its independence, ditto ABARE, Climate Advisory Bodies, ditto CSIRO, ditto Antarctic Research…. ditto AEC, ditto ABC News,….

    1. When Greece was in an international financial pickle a few years ago, an economist pointed out that the Greek Govt had no available, independent, accurate financial statistics covering the Greek economy.

    Simply staggering.

    2. It’s one thing to have a national tradition of not paying taxes due, but to have no reliable overview – heavens to betsy!!

    3. We’ve seen Utopia with rampant govt departments’ spin, but I fear the Tentacles of Spin now reach out beyond Govt PR/corporate PR…. where you might anticipate those dark arts lurk.

    So many institutions spin.
    Authors scooting around on ‘book tours’

    I pine for older, quieter times…

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