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

Turnbull launches a withering attack on Joyce

Like Labor, Turnbull and the Liberal Party had so far regarded Barnaby Joyce’s relationship with former staffer Vikki Campion as a private matter. As long as everything had been done within formal regulations, it didn’t matter that jobs had been found for Campion when her presence in Joyce’s office was no longer viable. It didn’t matter that a mate had given him free accommodation in Armidale, or that he had spent 50 nights in Canberra at taxpayers expense when parliament was not sitting.

All that changed when Turnbull launched a withering attack on his morals, his judgement and his character, and went on to say that forthwith no minister will have sex with a staff member under the new ministerial code of conduct. Moreover, Joyce was sent to the naughty corner to think about his position and his future by being sent on leave, rather than act as prime minister when Turnbull is overseas next week.

It was more than a vote of no confidence. As Mark Kenny said in the SMH, the message was that Joyce’s position as Deputy PM was not viable. Continue reading Turnbull launches a withering attack on Joyce

Climate clippings 222

1. Warming could soon exceed 1.5°C

The UK Met Office has warned that temperatures could break through the 1.5°C threshold within five years.

    The 1.5C threshold was set at Paris as an ambitious target because scientists fear that a world warmer than that would be susceptible to ever wilder climactic events that in turn would precipitate greater drought, habitat loss, food insecurity and mass migration.

The UN Environment Program in its annual emissions gap report, published last October, said government commitments were only a third of what was needed. Continue reading Climate clippings 222

Climate clippings 221

I’ve just noticed that last September I followed CC 214 with CC 115. My bad.

1. Solar, wind and hydro could power the world, at lower cost

That is according to an updated study by Stanford University professor Mark Jacobson and colleagues at the University of California at Berkeley and Aalborg University in Denmark summarised by Giles Parkinson.

    it lays out three different methods of not just providing 100 per cent renewables for electricity, but also for heating and cooling, for transportation, and even agriculture, forestry and fishing.

Continue reading Climate clippings 221

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:


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

Cosmic ray theory strikes again

Last Monday the ‘cosmic ray’ theory of climate change struck again when Amanda Vanstone at ABC RN’s Counterpoint found:

    Climate change may be largely caused by solar events, letting humans off the hook, claims Danish researcher Henrik Svensmark.

It has been a standard myth, debunked at Climate Skeptic. Now Svensmark and others have conducted new research published in Nature, which got this billing at Science News:

    The missing link between exploding stars, clouds, and climate on Earth
    Breakthrough in understanding of how cosmic rays from supernovae can influence Earth’s cloud cover and thereby climate

Continue reading Cosmic ray theory strikes again

Adani casts a long shadow over Batman

Bill Shorten probably knows Labor can’t win the byelection in the Melbourne seat Batman while supporting the far-away Adani coal mining project at Carmichael in the Galilee Basin in central Queensland. So he looks set to oppose the mine.

However, Queensland LNP senators Matt Canavan and Ian Macdonald and Capricornia MP Michelle Landry have invited Shorten to come to Townsville to explain his position there, and ultimately that is what he must do. Continue reading Adani casts a long shadow over Batman

Turnbull future proofs the Reef!

Malcolm Tunrbull has announced a $60 million package to rescue the Great Barrier Reef. If you believe him!

Here are two headlines, the first from an article from last year by scientists from the Australian Institute of Marine Science:

The second is from the New Scientist (probably pay-walled):

Continue reading Turnbull future proofs the Reef!

Saturday salon 2/2

1. ABC goes big on white-inner-city-leftie-blokes-behind-desks related programming

And it’s all coming out of Melbourne, according to the Betoota Advocate. You can see what they mean!

Betoota, as you may well know, has a population of zero, in the middle of nowhere, but has an air strip and a race track. Each year Betoota hosts the Channel Country Ladies’ Day, which I think is actually three days. Continue reading Saturday salon 2/2

Climate change, sustainability, plus sundry other stuff