Tag Archives: Open Threads

Saturday salon 17/3

1. Stephen Hawking: a legacy of paradox

That’s how the New Scientist summed up the impact of Stephen Hawking, who died last Wednesday aged 76. An amazing life and an amazing intellect. That link is no doubt pay-walled so here’s Gizmodo.

1962 was a big year for Hawking. He turned up at Cambridge University hoping to land Fred Hoyle as a supervisor. He missed out on that, but landed Dennis Sciama, who he’d never heard of. Turned out that was a lucky break: Continue reading Saturday salon 17/3

Saturday Salon 10/3

1. Getting better all the time

On the whole, that’s how it is on just about everything, according the Gregg Easterbrook in his book It’s Better than It Looks: Reasons for Optimism in an Age of Fear.

Readers here will be happy to know that there is more burnable oil and gas available now than ever before, gun homicide has been declining in the US, the masses in American have been getting richer in terms of purchasing power by a steady 3 per cent each year, plus life expectancy is increasing everywhere. Our good fortune began with the industrial revolution and there is no good reason why it should end. Continue reading Saturday Salon 10/3

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

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

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

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

Saturday salon 27/1

1. Joi in a joyless world

    Virtual love The sex robot industry is using AI to create the female spouse ‘of the future’, loving companions who never deny or constrain male desires.

In fact the aim is to “bring greater satisfaction than human interaction” without the interruptions that are apt to come from real people, and the virtual one can be turned on or off at the flick of a switch. Continue reading Saturday salon 27/1

Saturday salon 13/1

I’m posting early, because I’m heading out to Dulacca today, returning next Tuesday. I’m not expecting to be online.

1. Cryptocurrency crash

Bitcoin and just about every other cryptocurrency has taken a dive. There’s more at the ABC. Falls have been 20 per cent for Bitcoin and more than 40 per cent for some of the others.

Here’s an explainer on what’s behind the Bitcoin mania. Continue reading Saturday salon 13/1