The Wentworth by-election is still a thing, but interesting and perhaps important things happen elsewhere.
1. Spain lost all its men in an ancient invasion
The time was about 4500 years ago. Spain was invaded from the east by a group that stemmed from the Yamnaya herders on the steppes north of the Black Sea, the group responsible for founding the Indo-European language group. A genetic study led by David Reich of Harvard Medical School has found that the local male line disappeared instantly with that invasion (New Scientist, pay-walled), never to be seen again. After the invasion the resulting population had 40 per cent Yamnaya ancestry and 60 per cent local ancestry. However, the Y-chromosome of the male line changed completely to the Yamnaya line.
It means the local males were either killed or enslaved, according to the article. Continue reading Weekly salon 21/10
Brian’s internet has dropped out for the weekend.
We will just have to come up with things we think will be good to discuss for this Saturday Saloon without Brian’s contribution.
1. Slavery lives on
The 2018 Global Slavery Index was released on Thursday. Some 40.3 million people were found to live in slavery, 70 per cent women and girls. The main division is 15.4 million in forced marriages and 24.9 million in forced labour.
North Korea is worst, with one in 10. The Guardian highlights over 400,000 in the USA. However, the Index:
estimates China is by far the largest source of at-risk goods, with the United States importing $122bn of electronics and clothing from the country. Vietnam was the second largest source with $11.2bn, and India third with $3.8bn.
Continue reading Saturday salon 21/7
1. A ray of light
A highlight for me this week was listening to the many segments on ABC RN themed with NAIDOC Week, where the theme was Because of her, we can. Fellahs too, including Archie Roach: a life in song. I loved his cosmology in explaining The Dreaming. We all come from star dust, and to star dust we will return. Straight out of Brian Cox, but he feels it in every molecule of his body, fundamentally feels connected with all living things, and wants to share. Like Buddhism, really. Continue reading Saturday salon 14/7
1. How realistic is space travel?
As reported in the New Scientist, Frédéric Marin, an astronomer at the University of Strasbourg, France and Camille Beluffi, a physicist who works for Casc4de, a data firm in Strasbourg, have done a thought experiment on the feasibility of reaching the nearest Earth-like planet, which happens to be Proxima b, around 4.25 million light years away, a mere 40 trillion km. Continue reading Saturday salon 7/7
1. Bill’s bumblathon
In the Courier Mail the bold words leapt from the page:
It was page 2, and a full-page advertisement from Optus, apologising for its soccer coverage, not a front page treatment of Bill Shorten’s backflip on taxing small to middle companies.
Tim Colebatch at Inside Story asks Is this Bill Shorten’s worst week?
One would hope so. Colebatch asks:
What on earth was Shorten thinking when he made this “captain’s call”? It offers no gain, and a lot of pain. It could cost him the election.
Continue reading Saturday salon 30/6
1. Taxing times
The Turnbull Government was mightily pleased when the Senate voted for tax cuts worth $144 billion over the next seven years. Here’s how they voted:
Continue reading Saturday salon 23/6
1. You don’t need enemies when you have friends
You’ve probably been living under a log if you haven’t seen this photo:
They say Trump does not like G-7 meetings because they are short on people who massage his ego.
According to this account the photo was released by Angela Merkel’s office. Trump looks like a naughty school boy, recalcitrant and unrepentant. The bloke behind him is John Bolton, the National Security Advisor. Not sure what he was doing there. Continue reading Saturday salon 16/6
1. Banks behaving badly
When criminal charges were brought against ANZ and investment banks Citi and Deutsche Bank that sounded fair enough to me. Barbora Jedlickova, Lecturer in the School of Law at The University of Queensland says that criminal charges are more effective than fines and:
Charging high-ranking bank executives will potentially make the deterrent more effective still, because high-ranking executives set the cultural tone for their organisations.
James Thomson in his Chanticleer column at the AFR says that victims are hard to find in this case, but it is a good idea because bankers should behave themselves. Continue reading Saturday salon 9/6
1. CSL and Cochlear say ‘show us the money’
Or at least show a bit of interest.
Here they have to chase government, whereas other countries, such as Singapore and Ireland:
“actively come out and court companies like ours” with a unified package of incentives and benefits, he said. These could include a lower headline tax rate, and other financial concessions or benefits in exchange for specified investment, jobs and revenue outcomes from biotech and technology.
Continue reading Saturday salon 2/6
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