Category Archives: Sundries

Posts on sundry matters of life the universe and everything: Culture, Environment, Life, Politics & Government, Science, Social Science and Society, Technology etc.

Saturday salon 16/12

1. Remembering

They say that if you remember the 1960s you weren’t really there. I remember quite a bit about the 1960s. Who could forget Christine Keeler, Mandy Rice-Davies, British secretary for war, John Profumo, and the Soviet attaché Yevgeny Ivanov in what was known as the Profumo affair. Christine Keeler died on 4 December 2017, a young 75.

She grew up for a time in a railway carriage, mixed with the rich and famous, and struggled thereafter, lacking the resilience of Mandy Rice-Davies. Here’s the iconic photo, from a life in pictures:

Continue reading Saturday salon 16/12

Palaszczuk powers on to a new term

Adrian Beaumont at The Conversation has a good summary of the election:

    At the Queensland election, held on November 25, the size of parliament was increased from 89 seats to 93. Comparing this result with 2015, Labor officially won 48 of the 93 seats (up four), the Liberal National Party 39 (down three), Katter’s Australian Party (KAP) three (up one), and One Nation, the Greens and an independent won one seat each.

    With 45 seats held by parties other than Labor, Labor has won a three-seat majority. Continue reading Palaszczuk powers on to a new term

Saturday salon 9/12

1. Checking Katter facts

Bob Katter is a colourful character, which allows him to get away with what other people might be accused of bigotry. However, I find he usually gets his facts right, it’s his solutions which are really weird. When he said that a person was being torn to bits by a crocodile in North Queensland on average every three months the ABC decided to check his facts.

Turns out he was stretching it a bit.

Stats show that there was one fatal crocodile attack every three years from 1985 to now. However: Continue reading Saturday salon 9/12

Wivenhoe legal sharks start to rip and tear

This year is shaping earily like 2010-2011. There was heavy rain around South East Queensland late in 2010, followed by a flood of the Brisbane River, backing up the Bremer River into Ipswich, so both cities suffered significant inundation and flood damage. A Queensland Floods Commission of Inquiry was convened, and over 500 pages later came to the conclusion that the flood engineers had acted inappropriately and in breach of the Flood Manual, setting up the conditions for a class action. Three of the four engineers were recommended to be referred to Crime and Misconduct Commission.

In this post I mainly want to link to three comprehensive posts at the time at Larvatus Prodeo and summarize what I treated at length there. I think, modestly, they are essential reading if you want to understand what happened. The class action lawyers certainly have not, and are spruiking complete rubbish to the media. Continue reading Wivenhoe legal sharks start to rip and tear

Saturday salon 1/12

1. How not to run a party or a government

Malcolm Turnbull in announcing a royal commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry, to be led by former High Court judge Kenneth Hayne, told us that the inquiry was entirely unnecessary, but the government was a couple of seats short and had effectively lost control of the agenda.

Chris Bowen, shadow treasurer, formally wrote to his counterpart Scott Morrison (AFR, pay-walled), saying that the inquiry was neither far-reaching enough nor adequately resourced, that there had been inadequate consultation over the terms of reference, plus the deliberate targeting of union-dominated industry superannuation funds – a political strategy which diminished its credibility. Continue reading Saturday salon 1/12

Saturday salon 25/11 – very late edition

1. Citizenship Chaos Could Be Terminal For Turnbull

That was Ben Eltham on 6 November. Then you can go anywhere, for example:

Continue reading Saturday salon 25/11 – very late edition

The best kept secret: ALP electricity policy for Queensland

I came across it via Facebook around midnight on Saturday night. Not sure when it was released but there’s been nothing in the media yet about it. Surely there will be, because it is more than a little stunning. It’s called Powering Queensland’s Future: Affordable, Stable and Balanced.

From a standing start after the LNP under Campbell Newman had ‘cleansed’ the state of renewable energy projects, since February 2015 the Palaszczuk Labor government has enough runs on the board to be dubbed “a leader in Australia’s renewable energy boom” in a report by The Climate Council – Billion dollar boom: Queensland’s bright renewables future. I’ll summarise what they said, but the Palaszczuk government is running even faster and further than you would be led to believe in that report. Continue reading The best kept secret: ALP electricity policy for Queensland

Saturday salon 18/11

1. The future of humanity

Set aside an hour to listen to the IQ Squared debate on “Humanity is designing its own demise”

Toby Walsh, Professor of Artificial Intelligence UNSW, Signe Dean, science and health journalist, Clive Hamilton, Professor of Public Ethics CSU, and Kristin Alford, Futurist go at it with zest, intelligence and learning.

Unbelievable progress has been made, especially in health and wealth. Among the things I learnt was that we don’t need to fear AI, just the people behind it, and that Elon Musk is actually mad, but will have a colony of 1,000 people on Mars by 2050. Continue reading Saturday salon 18/11

Saturday salon 11/11

1. Bier her

Bier her, Bier her, oder ich fall um, juchhe! You can hear the German drinking song here.

Today we could remember Armistice day, ending the First World War 99 years ago, or Ned Kelly hanged on 11 November 1880. Then there was the dismissal of Gough Whitlam 25 years ago, and the important Harvester Case on November 8, 1907. Before we get too far past it I want to remember 31 October 500 years ago when a cranky friar in Saxony let it be known he was not happy with the Catholic Church. However Martin Luther’s biggest contribution to modern life may have been to liberate German beer. Continue reading Saturday salon 11/11