Category Archives: Life

Saturday salon 1/4

1. Coached to cheat!

No I’m not talking about cricket, I’m talking about rugby league, highlighted by a match between the Melbourne Storm and the Cronulla Sharks where 33 penalties were blown, and Cameron Smith, captain of the Storm, Queensland and Australia was binned for 10 minutes for dissent. I didn’t see it, but I understand Smith made very clear that he did not think he should go.

The fact is that teams had been coached to cheat for years. The NRL had reached the point where they either had to enforce the rules or change them. Players were not standing up before they played the ball, then simply rolling it between their legs. The defending players, back the mandatory 10 metres, were taking off before the ball had cleared the ruck.

If everyone played by the rules, the game would look cleaner, tidier, and would be more open. However, players had been coached to ignore the referees, who typically gave a couple of penalties, then put the whistle in their pocket. The public called for consistency. Now they are getting it, some don’t like it. However, if the referees give in now, then we may as well give up on the rules. Continue reading Saturday salon 1/4

The rise and rise of American gun culture

On the 4th of July in 1776 with the Declaration of Independence the thirteen American colonies then at war with the Kingdom of Great Britain—New Hampshire, Massachusetts Bay, Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia— announced that they would now regard themselves as thirteen independent sovereign states no longer under British rule.

It was a very brave thing to do, because there were very few guns in the colonies and they had no significant gun industry. Yet the American War of Independence (1775-1783) was won and with it the American gun industry was born. ABC RN’s Rear Vision program recently took a look at the origins of the American gun industry (transcript available) with some erudite published authors and scholars. Continue reading The rise and rise of American gun culture

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 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

Saturday salon 10/2

1. Doomsday prepping: bunkers, bullets and billionaires

On the 13th of January this year the following message was texted out to mobile phones in Hawaii:

“BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII. SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL.”

It was a mistake, someone had hit the wrong button. The impact was considerable. Children were helped into a drain and there was panic in paradise. Continue reading Saturday salon 10/2

Deep origins: patriarchy

Back in 2013 when I wrote the post Deep origins: language I had intended to follow with an examination of how patriarchy emerged within the societies that adopted the Indo-European language group. It is mind-boggling that so many languages from Iceland to Russia, to India, Iran and Mediterranean Europe speak languages evolved from the same source:

The exceptions in Europe are Basque, Estonian, Finnish and Magyar (Hungarian).

This posts gathers some thoughts towards that end, stimulated by the discussion on the Saturday salon 6/1 thread from about here. Continue reading Deep origins: patriarchy

Saturday salon 13/1

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

Saturday salon 30/12

1. Arsehat of the year

Crikey runs an Arsehat of the Year award. This year the nominees included:

    Barnarby Joyce, for humiliating the party he leads and hobbling his coalition partner with his shoddy paperwork, and then drearily whinging his way through the resultant byelection.

    David Leyonhjelm for welcoming Milo Yiannopoulos into Parliament House.

    Daniel Andrews for eroding civil liberties in Victoria.

2017 was a brilliant year for arsehattery. Worthy contenders who missed nomination included: Continue reading Saturday salon 30/12

It’s all John Howard’s fault

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

Seasons greetings 2017

Christmas-Bells-2_175

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

Not what we needed at Christmas

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

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