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
will there be a trade war? We’ve already had one for the last four decades. And guess what? China has already won.
Continue reading Saturday salon 3/3
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
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
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
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
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
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
1. Sawatdi bpi mai kap!
Mark has again used this Thai new year’s greeting. It means:
May you find compassion, loving kindness and equanimity along your paths over the next year!
Last year the spelling was Sawatdi pi mai khrab!. Presumably the latest is correct. Continue reading Saturday salon 6/1
1. Arsehat of the year
Crikey runs an Arsehat of the Year award. This year the nominees included:
2017 was a brilliant year for arsehattery. Worthy contenders who missed nomination included: Continue reading Saturday salon 30/12
1. Fire ants – here to stay?
Fire ants are here, and have the potential to destroy our fauna and alter our way of life. This is what they look like on a 10 cent piece:
They are 2-6mm in size but pack a nasty punch, swarming in their attack, so your arm could look like this, or worse: Continue reading Saturday salon 23/12