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.

Covid, tourism and the value of a human life

When Queensland behind interstate barriers opened to intrastate tourism, we see that tourism operators were ‘ecstatic’ about easing restrictions if you scroll down this article:

    Tourism Tropical North Queensland chief executive, Mark Olsen, said… the region lost more than $200 million worth of bookings in March, with the impact to the end of April estimated at $500 million in lost visitor spending and thousands of jobs lost.

    “Over the last 24 hours, the phones have been ringing off the hook with travellers from the south-east corner confirming their accommodation and looking forward to their journeys, ” Mr Olsen said.

It raises the question as to how much scope there is in the intra-state tourist market, and secondly whether business is suffering too much through trying to wipe out the coronavirus. Continue reading Covid, tourism and the value of a human life

Weekly salon 6/6

1. Please don’t go!

That was PM Scott Morrison’s advice to people wanting to attend the Black Lives Matter rallies being organised all around Australia.

Marcia Langton’s advice was “Go!” but with hand sanitiser, masks and observing 1.5 metres distancing.

Morrison was following medical advice from CMO Prof Brendan Murphy, who said the virus loves big gatherings, and it is possible for a single infected person to infect 30 or 40 or 50 other people at such an event. Murphy’s advice was taken up by the premiers of Victoria, NSW and Queensland. Continue reading Weekly salon 6/6

Weekly salon 31/5

1. Robodebt extortion racket finally conceded as “unlawful”

The word should be ‘criminal’. Scotty from Marketing has clever wordsmiths who have invented the euphemism “not sufficient under law”. Christian Porter was suggesting on Insiders today that the scheme was basically normal, just didn’t quite scrub up under the law. Nothing to see here.

There were a few little problems with the scheme.

  • The underlying mathematics were so bad that an average child completing compulsory education could have spotted the problem.
  • When the demand was made people were held as guilty unless they could prove innocence.
  • Unless people paid on demand, the debt was handed over to debt collectors.
  • Continue reading Weekly salon 31/5

Weekly salon 26/5

1. Three first nations people in Queensland parliament

Lance McCallum, newly elected Labor MP for Bundamba now joins Cynthia Lui, Labor Member for Cook and Leeanne Enoch, Member for Algester and Minister for Environment and the Great Barrier Reef, Minister for Science and Minister for the Arts in the Queensland parliament:

Continue reading Weekly salon 26/5

We need to talk about China

Here the WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus meets with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the Great Hall of the People on January 28 in Beijing, with appropriate distancing. Dr Tedros later commented that Xi had a surprising mastery of the detail of what was going on. Two days later the WHO declared the novel coronavirus a public health emergency of international concern. People have made up stories about this meeting and the sequence, but it seems to me an orderly progression of events, coming 10 days after China had alerted the world to a person to person highly infectious novel coronavirus, then sealing off and locking down Wuhan on 23 January. Continue reading We need to talk about China

Weekly salon 3/5

1. Premiers – perceptions of performance

One would think that Australia’s state premiers have performed well in the so-called war with Covid 19. Newspoll on 27 April found that they had indeed done so in the perception of voters. It’s pay-walled, but here is the graph:

That is a bit hard to read, but the satisfaction rate on the second graph runs from the bottom, Palaszczuk (Qld) 72, Berejiklian (NSW) 77, Marshall (SA) 82, Andrews (Vic) 83, Gutwein (Tas) 89 and McGowan (WA) 94. Continue reading Weekly salon 3/5

WHAT CAN WE LEARN FROM TAIWAN COV19

Tim Colebatch wrote an interesting article “There is an Alternative to Lockdownsfor Inside Story. The article compares the performance of various countries in their handling of the corona virus pandemic. Tim’s assessment is that the outstanding performer has been Taiwan. It has been the world’s most successful country in fighting the virus. In a land with almost as many people as Australia, only six people have died, and 426 have been infected. This has been achieved without the economic and social collateral damage that has been a feature of the Australian approach.

This post looks at what Tim has reported and asks whether Australia should change the way it is dealing with the epidemic. Continue reading WHAT CAN WE LEARN FROM TAIWAN COV19

Run for your life!

Or walk.

Seeing people holed up inside apartments around the world has worried me for many reasons, including people’s access to vitamin D and the necessary exercise to maintain health.

On an earlier thread John Davidson said he had been part of a UQ study on the use of high intensity exercise, and as a result he tries to get 36 mins intense exercise every week at above double his resting heart rate. In this post I summarise the findings of a number of articles that have recently come my way. Continue reading Run for your life!

Weekly salon 25/4

1. Anzac Day

I guess I’ve never been big on Anzac Day. I grew up in a settlement of farmers of German ancestry. My Dad taught in German in primary school in the Barossa Valley until they changed the rules. He was too young to enlist when WW1 broke out, but could have joined a bit later. Being a third generation Australian, I’m sure he would have fought for his country. The tradition in Europe was that you fought for whoever ruled you at the time. Frederick the Great invaded Saxony so that the Saxons would be fighting for him rather than against him when he picked a fight with Maria Theresa’s Austria. However, Napoleon found that 30,000 Bavarians swapped sides when they saw what they were up against in the Battle of Leipzig.

As it happened, my mob were fingered as German during WW1 and not to be trusted. Continue reading Weekly salon 25/4

Care of strangers

Back on August 30, 2004 John Quiggin posted a guest post from me Care of Strangers. He introduced it as being on the philosophy behind our stance on asylum seekers, and saying it raised some important (though not entirely new) questions about the adequacy of utilitarianism in contexts like this.

Here’s the post with minor editorial changes. More commas! Continue reading Care of strangers

Celebrating Easter

Jesus on Nazareth was not just the son of a carpenter, or a great spiritual teacher. When we went to church in Erlangen with my friend in 2015, the young pastor on training wheels challenged us as to whether we believed in the risen Christ. She said that if we did we were obligated to look at why the son of God became human, died for us, but then conquered death, returning to the Father, but with us all the time if we accept Him.

This is what Easter is supposed to be about. Beyond that the Easter festival signalled spring and rebirth, which is the symbolism of the egg. Continue reading Celebrating Easter