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. 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
1. Dolly’s message
People all over the country were gutted when they heard that 14 year-old Amy Everett, known as “Dolly”, committed suicide after being bullied on social media. The father took to Facebook to suggest Dolly’s tormentors attend her memorial:
“Please come to our service and witness the complete devastation you have created,” he wrote on Sunday.
Dolly had been the face of Akubra hats back in 2009:
Continue reading Saturday salon 13/1
1. How not to run a party or a government
Malcolm Turnbull in announcing a royal commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry, to be led by former High Court judge Kenneth Hayne, told us that the inquiry was entirely unnecessary, but the government was a couple of seats short and had effectively lost control of the agenda.
Chris Bowen, shadow treasurer, formally wrote to his counterpart Scott Morrison (AFR, pay-walled), saying that the inquiry was neither far-reaching enough nor adequately resourced, that there had been inadequate consultation over the terms of reference, plus the deliberate targeting of union-dominated industry superannuation funds – a political strategy which diminished its credibility. Continue reading Saturday salon 1/12
There was a disturbing interview with Stan Grant in the last edition of The Link on ABC TV. Trump and other major powers have a deal with Iran has called the deal with Iran where trade sanctions have been lifted in exchange for Iran stopping its nukes program. Trump has called the deal an “embarrassment” and “the worst deal ever negotiated” and has threatened to nix it.
And now he has. Not completely, but he’s on the way by ‘de-certifying’ it. Continue reading Trump walking away from Iran nuclear deal
1. Same sex marriage campaign goes ape
All day yesterday I heard that a same-sex marriage campaigner planted one on Tony Abbott, with Abbott and all and sundry saying it’s emblematic of how the Yes campaign is being prosecuted.
Turns out that 38-year-old Hobart DJ Astro ‘Funknukl’ Labe reckons:
he is a lone anarchist that “felt the need to headbutt Tony Abbott because I didn’t think it was an opportunity I’d get again”.
Continue reading Saturday salon 23/9
We plant about 9 billion trees each year. Unfortunately we also clear about 15 billion, leaving a deficit of 6 billion.
A system of using drones is being developed which could plant trees at 10 times the rate of hand planting and at 20 per cent of the cost by firing germinated seeds into the ground. Continue reading Climate clippings 211
1. Electric shock
The big story in Australian politics this week was the shocking state of the political debate on electricity. Giles Parkinson says, when you thought it couldn’t get any dumber, it did.
‘People will die due to renewables’, said Turnbull government MP Craig Kelly.
Commentators who don’t understand the grid should butt out of the battery debate, said Ketan Joshi, a communications consultant for the renewable energy industry. Continue reading Saturday salon 15/7
1. Cardinal Pell to face the music
Cardinal Pell is to come back to Australia to face “historical sexual assault offences“. There have been and will be many words written about Pell, but I liked Sean Kenny at The Monthly. Kenny is worth reading on the current political follies, but he says the Pell case reminds us that there are more important changes happening in society.
Charging someone so senior in the Catholic church would have been unthinkable not so long ago. Sexual abuse of minors is finally being taken seriously. Continue reading Saturday salon 1/7
Donald Trump in announcing that the USA will withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement made a big fuss about the Chinese being able to increase their emissions, and that this was unfair to the US economy.
So what are the Chinese doing, and is it enough? Continue reading Are the Chinese doing their share on climate change?
Trump has announced that the US will withdraw from the Paris climate agreement and seek to negotiate a ‘better’ agreement. I liked Emmanuel Macron’s reaction – “Lets make the planet great again”. Germany, France and Italy have committed to carry on, China will relish the opportunity to move into the vacuum.
Paul Hawken, who knows more about climate change action than most (post coming up) recently said:
First of all, let’s be honest: The US has never led in this area. Ever. When they’ve tried on an executive level, they’ve never been supported by Congress. States have led, cities have led, but never the federal government.
Even so, he said people in the US think they lead in “this stuff”. They don’t, it’s Germany, China, France and Denmark. Continue reading Trump shoots himself in the foot on climate
1. Trump’s Syria strike puts the world on notice
Trump’s launch of 59 Tomahawk missiles to smash a Syrian airfield has put the world on notice. As Trump enters talks with Chinese leader Xi Jinping, suddenly it is clear that Trump is not going to be isolationist, and no-one can be sure how far he will go, in Syria, the South China Sea, North Korea, or anywhere else..
The biggest question is what comes next? There are Russian troops on the ground. The Syrians and Russians have anti-aircraft weapons capable of bringing American planes down, which have been flying freely to strike ISIS targets. Continue reading Saturday salon 8/4