1. Dolly’s message
People all over the country were gutted when they heard that 14 year-old Amy Everett, known as “Dolly”, committed suicide after being bullied on social media. The father took to Facebook to suggest Dolly’s tormentors attend her memorial:
“Please come to our service and witness the complete devastation you have created,” he wrote on Sunday.
Dolly had been the face of Akubra hats back in 2009:
Continue reading Saturday salon 13/1
1. Arsehat of the year
Crikey runs an Arsehat of the Year award. This year the nominees included:
2017 was a brilliant year for arsehattery. Worthy contenders who missed nomination included: Continue reading Saturday salon 30/12
When we think of worst prime ministers, the completely useless Bill (Sir William) McMahon comes to mind, followed by the negative, sloganeering bully Tony Abbott. However, if you are looking for a PM who did actual damage to the country’s economic and social fabric it’s hard to go past John Winston Howard.
Mike Seccombe has a brilliant article on the topic in the Saturday Paper, where you are allowed one article a month free, or can take out a sub for about $1.90 per week.
Continue reading It’s all John Howard’s fault
Climate Plus wishes you a pleasant Christmas/New Year and health and happiness for 2018.
My friends from Erlangen are presently staying with their son and his family in Norway. They report that Norway is now a very secular country, where hardly anyone goes to church. In 150 Christmas cards there were dogs, cats and snow galore, four churches as part of village scenes, and precisely no nativity scenes. Continue reading Seasons greetings 2017
Here it is in pictures, a SUV ploughed into a crowded intersection in Melbourne’s Flinders Street, where people were simply crossing the road during peak hour.
19 people have been injured, four critically, with no deaths so far. Police say the act was intentional, but are not at this stage linking it to terrorism. The man at the wheel, a 32-year-old Australian of Afghan descent, has a mental illness and a history of ice addiction. Continue reading Not what we needed at Christmas
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
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
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
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
1. Child art from those who became great
A few months back Artsy posted a piece What Do the Childhood Works of Famous Artists Look Like? It had works by Dürer, Klee, Dalí and Picasso, but my favourite was the painting by Edward Hopper, Little Boy Looking at the Sea:
The image was drawn on the back of Edward Hopper’s third grade report card dated October 23, 1891, when Hopper was nine years old. Continue reading Saturday salon 21/10
I was struck by an article in the New Scientist (paywalled) on the effects of the experience of awe, such as being stopped in our tracks by a stunning view, gobsmacked by the vastness of the night sky or being transported by soaring music, or a grand scientific theory.
The article says that such experience can dissolve our sense of self, making us more open to other people and bring benefits to mind and body including lowering stress and boosting creativity.
Here’s a photo of Californian Redwoods: Continue reading Awesome awe
1. Made in Australia by the Turnbull government
The Liberal Party Has Overwhelmingly Decided To Keep Its Plebiscite Policy, so because the Senate again failed to pass the necessary legislation, we are off to a $122 million postal vote, which is really a voluntary survey to be conducted by the ABS, if the High Court lets them.
Except, we already know what the people think, because they’ve already been surveyed, and people who know about these things say that the proposed survey is incompetent as a survey, lacking proper sampling. Of course, the opponents of same sex-marriage see this as their best chance of getting a “no” vote and kicking the can down the road.
Peter FitzSimons asks, How did the Liberal Party get into such a mess? Continue reading Saturday salon 12/8