1. The sad case of Carolyn Flanagan
Carolyn Flanagan was like any mum – all she wanted to do was to help her daughter with a loan to buy a business.
“I’d have signed anything for her, love,” she told counsel assisting the banking royal commission, Michael Hodge, QC. “If you can’t help your children, who can you help?”
That wasn’t exactly what Michael Hodge QC wanted to hear from the elderly lady who went guarantor for $165,000 for her daughter in 2010 to invest in a business that went bust. Westpac demanded her Sydney house with vacant possession, so they could get their money back. That was in 2014. Continue reading Saturday salon 26/5
1. Glyphosate shown to disrupt microbiome ‘at safe levels’, study claims
I’ve been aware of this one for a while and would like to investigate it further. Some say it is bigger than asbestos by far, with glyphosatye found in beers imbibed at the Munich beer festival. Meanwhile a new study has found that glyphosate disrupts the biome at ‘safe’ levels of application.
The study found disrupting effects on sexual development, genes and beneficial gut bacteria in rats.
“Disruption of the microbiome has been associated with a number of negative health outcomes, such as obsesity, diabetes and immunological problems.”
Continue reading Saturday salon 19/5
1. What do you see?
What colours do you see in this image?
I’m told that most of us see pink and white but some see grey and green. Actually I see grey with a faint pinkish tinge and aqua. My wife sees reality quite differently.
You might recall this dress, which I maintain is blue and brown: Continue reading Saturday salon 12/5
1. Macron – everyone’s friend
French President Emmanuel Macron came and went.
Andrew Tillett in the AFR reports that analysts do not think that Macron’s drive for an Australia-France-India “strategic axis” for the Indo-Pacific will amount to much in the long run. You can surge but it is harder to sustain. Realistically France is peripheral to what happens in the Pacific. Continue reading Saturday salon 5/5
1. Computer hard drive 1956
Here’s a photo of an IBM 5 megabyte computer hard drive from 1956:
The hard-drive in the picture, most likely the IBM Model 305 RAMAC, only had room to hold 6 copies of that actual image. Continue reading Saturday salon 28/4
1. The inequality paradox
A New Scientist article by cognitive scientist Mark Sheskin of Yale University (pay-walled) says we should aspire to ‘fair inequality’ rather than ‘equality’ or ‘unfair inequality’, and most people would be happy with that.
He’s saying if you force people to choose between complete equality and high levels of inequality, most choose the latter. Given an open choice, however, people will choose moderate inequality. Continue reading Saturday salon 21/4
1. “Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die”
Two problems here. The first is that the above quotation is not found in the bible or Shakespeare, it’s a conflation of Ecclesiastes 8:15 and Isaiah 22:13, plus you could throw in Luke 12:19.
The second problem is more serious. It’s true – kind of. Comprehensive research has shown that if you drink more than five drinks a week every extra glass of wine ‘will shorten your life by 30 minutes’. Continue reading Saturday salon 14/4
1. Turnbull faces the music on Newspoll
Malcolm Turnbull got an unexpected surprise when Fairfax-Ipsos cheekily inserted a poll to gazump Newspoll by a few days. It had good news for Turnbull. By the usual method of allocating preferences according to flows at the last election the LNP was behind 48-52 TPP. However, when preferences were allocated as those polled indicated they would vote, the result was 50-50.
However Poll Bludger points out that the sample was only 1146, instead of the usual 1400. Continue reading Saturday salon 7/4
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
Trump has ordered tariffs of up to 25% on about $60 billion worth of goods imported from China annually.
China has responded with tariffs on around $3 billion worth of goods, selected to cause maximum political pain for Trump. So what does it all mean? Reverberations have echoed around the world, so $34 billion was wiped off the value of Australian ASX listed companies in one day. Continue reading Saturday salon 24/3
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
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