A reminder that Australia can be seen as a land of plenty and opportunity by people who have not been bitten by the bug of entitlements.
Interesting memories of the Depression recorded by Hal Porter in his second volume of autobiography The Paper Chase (after the classic Watcher on the Cast Iron Balcony). From his teaching days in Williamstown on the outer fringe of Melbourne.
It is from this cell that I look out at the Depression…I see some of the effects, some few only, of poverty on the minute section of time and space confronting me. Poverty, however relative, is, I see, a brake. It slows movement. It deadens and mutes. Trios of ascetic-looking louts too languid to spit loll at street corners. Women shoppers trudge by. The Williamstown beach is strewn on Depression summer weekdays with the expensive looking, sun-ripening bodies of sussoes – young Adonises on unemployment relief. Prone and moveless, they have laid themselves out like pumas or corpses across the castor-sugar sand, by the lisping silky sea. Impossible for me, the poor employed scurrying in shabby clothes towards work in sunless rooms, to read their rich unemployed minds.
What does on behind their blissfully closed eyelids and calm Hindu-brown foreheads and sun-bleached forelocks? Has the sun, day after day, dried up the fluid of emotion? Are their minds breathing or holding breath? They themselves breathe, no more than that. For the rest, they do not agitate one single artist’s-model muscle.
Other sussos, who have worn mud and lice and terror for God, King and Country, for England, Home and Beauty, do move. They trail the streets with blighted suitcases, and plead with bright desperation and grinning fatigue at the suburb’s front doors, offering for sale strange tin-openers and apple-corers, strange insurance policies, strange hair-crimping devices, home-made toffees, gaudy soaps reeking of jasmine and otto of roses, paintings of camels sneering on dunes, toys of Cro-Magnon crudity soldered from kerosine tins and jam-tins for carpentered from the wood of packing cases…Notices, discreet as pain but adamant, and childishly lettered on boot-box lids or the backs of writing-pads appear between the lace curtains and the front window panes – BOARD AND LODGING; SINGLE ROOM TO LET; ACCOMMODATION FOR RESPECTABLE LADY (Protestant), DRESSMAKING; KNITTING FOR INFANTS; LAUNDRY TAKEN IN. Do anything, say the newspaper advertisements: Do anything, go anywhere.
Interesting to contemplate how the different generations responded to the crisis. The sussos on the beach were the generation that produced the baby boomers, who flocked to Gough Whitlam, and the rest is history.
Interesting retraction and revision of articles on student fees on The Conversation.
Yesterday we removed two articles from our website: “Modelling shows more students face lifetime debt under deregulated fees” and “Students could be in debt for the rest of their lives”.
Both were removed due to a significant error in the modelling on which they were based. It was claimed in both pieces that university fee changes could saddle students with debts that could not be repaid in their lifetime.
This was based on an incorrect calculation that a student with a A$50,000 HECS-HELP debt would have to earn an average of A$80,000 a year to pay off the debt before retirement, and it would take 43 years. Subsequent calculations using the same rate of income and interest show it would actually take 11 years to pay off a A$50,000 debt.
The authors have now updated their piece with the correct figures and an explanation of the miscalculation.
How we live. Food faddists peddle junk science and hysteria.
The recent controversy over “lean finely textured beef” (LFTB), or “pink slime” as the media and activists love to call it, is reminiscent of the old TV commercial, “Where’s the beef?” There just isn’t much there there. But the flap is a symptom of something much larger: a kind of puritanical and purist view of food that is based not on science or facts but on intuition — and ignorance.
It’s true that the way the beef product is produced sounds unappetizing. It’s made from parts of the cow that previously were either discarded or used for lower-value products such as animal food. Treated to remove much of the fat and to make it inhospitable to bacteria, it’s both healthful and safe. It offers other advantages as well. According to Jim Dickson, professor of animal science at Iowa State University, “It is estimated that using this process with the fat trim recovers 10–12 pounds of additional lean meat from each carcass. This means that we are using our beef resources more efficiently, which also means that we can meet consumer demands with lower prices and fewer cattle.”
Although LFTB has been used for decades by schools, leading fast-food outlets and major supermarket chains, suddenly it has become the object of ridicule and vilification, and users have abandoned it in droves.
Back off or the pig gets it! A Classical Washington Monument move as Judith pointed out.
Thieves target copper from wind turbines. Some interesting and amusing comments.
A sophisticated network of metal thieves has targeted some 20 French wind turbines in a new looting trend, scaling the near 40-metre-high structures and stealing up to one tonne of metal from a single engine.
Around the town. IPA HEY. The Sydney Institute. Australian Taxpayers Alliance, Liberty on the Rocks, the notice board for the ATA: Quadrant on line, Mannkal Foundation, Centre for Independent Studies.
For nerds. Melvyn Bragg’s radio program. Changing people’s minds with less assertion and more questions. Where is Karl Popper when we need him? Lennart Bengtsson meditates on the furore that greeted his move to support climate realism.
What is perhaps most worrying is the increased tendency of pseudo-science in climate research. This is revealed through the bias in publication records towards only reporting results that support one climate hypothesis, while refraining from publishing results that deviate. Even extremely cold weather, as this year’s winter in north Eastern USA and Canada, is regarded as a consequence of the greenhouse effect.
Were Karl Popper alive today we would certainly have met with fierce critique of this behavior.