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 14/7

1. A ray of light

A highlight for me this week was listening to the many segments on ABC RN themed with NAIDOC Week, where the theme was Because of her, we can. Fellahs too, including Archie Roach: a life in song. I loved his cosmology in explaining The Dreaming. We all come from star dust, and to star dust we will return. Straight out of Brian Cox, but he feels it in every molecule of his body, fundamentally feels connected with all living things, and wants to share. Like Buddhism, really. Continue reading Saturday salon 14/7

Hansen got it right

In 1988 James Hansen gave his famous testimony to the US Senate. For the short story, go to Tamino. For the longer story, Gavin Schmidt at RealClimate, plus the commentary thread is best.

Hansen told the politicians that our production of greenhouse gases, principally CO2, N2O, CH4 and CFC, were warming the climate. He said temperatures would go up in the coming years: Continue reading Hansen got it right

The great GST fix

First up there are all kinds of figures going around. The big one – $9 billion dollars – is over 10 years. So the annual figure of less than a billion is a mere rounding error in a Commonwealth budget of around half a trillion. Nevertheless all dollars are accounted for, so Annastacia Palaszczuk is right to ask where the money is coming from. Continue reading The great GST fix

Saturday salon 7/7

1. How realistic is space travel?

As reported in the New Scientist, Frédéric Marin, an astronomer at the University of Strasbourg, France and Camille Beluffi, a physicist who works for Casc4de, a data firm in Strasbourg, have done a thought experiment on the feasibility of reaching the nearest Earth-like planet, which happens to be Proxima b, around 4.25 million light years away, a mere 40 trillion km. Continue reading Saturday salon 7/7

Is the ‘kill Bill’ strategy working?

Last September I charactarised the politics we were getting from the major parties as Kill Bill or any distraction vs a fair go. The scribes in the Oz commenting on the latest Newspoll see Turnbull’s star rising, and the banner headline

    Shorten pays for tax debacle

In the 5-8 April poll Turnbull’s satisfaction rating was 32-57 for a net negative -25. He’s been steadily improving and is now 42-48, a mere -6.

Shorten in early April had exactly the same figures as Turnbull. Now he is back there at 32-57, having only improved by a negligible wobble in the interim. Continue reading Is the ‘kill Bill’ strategy working?

Saturday salon 30/6

1. Bill’s bumblathon

In the Courier Mail the bold words leapt from the page:

    Balls up

    Schlamassel

    Qué desastre

It was page 2, and a full-page advertisement from Optus, apologising for its soccer coverage, not a front page treatment of Bill Shorten’s backflip on taxing small to middle companies.

Tim Colebatch at Inside Story asks Is this Bill Shorten’s worst week?

One would hope so. Colebatch asks:

    What on earth was Shorten thinking when he made this “captain’s call”? It offers no gain, and a lot of pain. It could cost him the election.

Continue reading Saturday salon 30/6

A world drowning in plastic

A recent cover story in the New Scientist has the odd title Fixing planet plastic: How we’ll really solve our waste problem (pay-walled). Odd because the article tells us there is no perfect solution except avoidance, and that plastic is so useful that if we didn’t have it we would have to invent it.

The article tells us:

    the early 20th century, humanity has produced an estimated 8300 million tonnes of the stuff. Around three-quarters has been thrown away, and 80 per cent of that has drifted into the environment or gone into landfill. Eight million tonnes a year end up in the ocean – 5 trillion pieces and counting.

Continue reading A world drowning in plastic

Italy: too big to fail, too big to save

The phrase “too big to fail, too big to save” in this case comes from an essay in Der Spiegel by Henrik Enderlein which says that the time to act is now, but also says that all the options available for action will fail. I take it he’s saying that Italy must take ownership for its debt, but Germans must also stand in solidarity or the speculators on the demise of the euro will have a field day.

The article by Der Spiegel staff Italy’s New Government Is Bad News for the Euro is pessimistic. Continue reading Italy: too big to fail, too big to save

Saturday salon 16/6

1. You don’t need enemies when you have friends

You’ve probably been living under a log if you haven’t seen this photo:

They say Trump does not like G-7 meetings because they are short on people who massage his ego.

According to this account the photo was released by Angela Merkel’s office. Trump looks like a naughty school boy, recalcitrant and unrepentant. The bloke behind him is John Bolton, the National Security Advisor. Not sure what he was doing there. Continue reading Saturday salon 16/6