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.

How Labor won Batman

Phillip Coorey, one of the better Canberra journalists, has laid out in plain terms how Labor won Batman. This post is based on his article but is not confined to it.

One reason, says Coorey, is that her campaign targetted voters who had been turned off Labor by her two predecessors, Labor machine men David Feeney and Martin Ferguson. Continue reading How Labor won Batman

Saturday salon 17/3

1. Stephen Hawking: a legacy of paradox

That’s how the New Scientist summed up the impact of Stephen Hawking, who died last Wednesday aged 76. An amazing life and an amazing intellect. That link is no doubt pay-walled so here’s Gizmodo.

1962 was a big year for Hawking. He turned up at Cambridge University hoping to land Fred Hoyle as a supervisor. He missed out on that, but landed Dennis Sciama, who he’d never heard of. Turned out that was a lucky break: Continue reading Saturday salon 17/3

Saturday Salon 10/3

1. Getting better all the time

On the whole, that’s how it is on just about everything, according the Gregg Easterbrook in his book It’s Better than It Looks: Reasons for Optimism in an Age of Fear.

Readers here will be happy to know that there is more burnable oil and gas available now than ever before, gun homicide has been declining in the US, the masses in American have been getting richer in terms of purchasing power by a steady 3 per cent each year, plus life expectancy is increasing everywhere. Our good fortune began with the industrial revolution and there is no good reason why it should end. Continue reading Saturday Salon 10/3

Michaelia Cash crass , but there’s more than meets the eye

Jacqueline Maley in the SMH came straight to the point:

Continue reading Michaelia Cash crass , but there’s more than meets the eye

New Deputy PM is a climate denier

New Deputy PM Michael McCormack (Mick Mack) is a garden variety climate denier according to Paddy Manning at The Monthly:

    Given he is our new deputy prime minister, it is not surprising that “who is Michael McCormack?” pieces are now popping up everywhere. And yet, they glide over his worst offence: he appears to be just another National Party climate change denier.

Continue reading New Deputy PM is a climate denier

Barnaby Joyce flames out

Barnaby Joyce as National Party warrior and Deputy PM has flamed out, and to mix metaphors is politically washed up for now, perhaps forever. The one certainty is that his pay will be sliced by about $200k. However, there is no easy agreement as to what has really happened and what it all means.

Phillip Coorey in the AFR said it was the end of the Barnaby Joyce experiment and his exit shows politics has changed:

    Politics has changed. People used to survive much worse. Not any more.

Continue reading Barnaby Joyce flames out

Boosting Transport Capacity by Managing Demand

Most of us would like to be able to travel when, where and how we want to and for the transport system to be managed in such a way that there will always be enough capacity to allow us all these choices. The problem with this  “capacity management” approach is that a lot of money would have to be spent providing capacity that is only used for a very limited time of the day.  Without this extra spending we still have to continue putting up with congested roads and overloaded public transport during peak hours.

Required capacity could be reduced by managing the “when”, “how” and “where” choices. This post looks at some  “demand management” strategies that might be used to reduce peak capacity requirements  These strategies offer rapid, low cost  ways of getting more from the transport infrastructure we already have. It was concluded that a rapid, low cost doubling of capacity is not an impossible dream.

Continue reading Boosting Transport Capacity by Managing Demand

Saturday salon 24/2

1. Growth in inequality is a real and present danger

ABC RN excellent Rear Vision program took a look at the growth of economic inequality in modern times.

Actually they gave us the full history. Inequality started with settled societies and property ownership. It reached a peak during the Roman Empire, but suffered a remarkable setback during the Black Death in the 14th century. In simple terms capital and property survived but the workers died in large numbers making labour scarce and expensive. Continue reading Saturday salon 24/2

Shipping industry in troubled waters

Did you know that an average of 119 ships have been lost on the high seas each year, according to insurance firm Allianz?

In the last decade around 100 large ore-carrying ships have sunk (98 between 2007 and 2017 to be exact) including four in one 36-day period leading up to Christmas 2010. Many of these sank in calm seas, so what is going on? Continue reading Shipping industry in troubled waters

Saturday salon 17/2

1. Turnbull’s political priorities

Waleed Aly in a piece written presumably just before Turnbull announced his changes to ministerial code of conduct suggested Turnbull’s effort in furthering the Uluru Statement from the Heart and in responding to the Close The Gap report was limp and routine:

    Meanwhile you could be forgiven for missing Malcolm Turnbull’s response to the Close the Gap Steering Committee’s assessment that the policy launched after the Rudd apology had been “effectively abandoned” by extensive budget cuts since 2014. In brief, Turnbull commenced talks on how to refresh the policy, and announced a new inquiry into the matter of constitutional recognition, to be done by a joint select committee.

Continue reading Saturday salon 17/2