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Media

Well, that’s it…

By | History, Media | 25 Comments

Dear All, Fare you well,  commenters who do battle with each other almost every day, readers who simply read and have other lives to live, and occasional readers who write to me privately because they don’t want to be seen in public, so to speak. It has been fun writing the essays and not having to worry about what the editor might have felt. But it got to be a bigger and bigger job as the readership grew, and especially when tempers flared in the Comments. And it actually cost money to maintain the site, as well as an increasing…

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Some concluding thoughts about climate change

By | Climate Change, Economy, Environment, History, Media, Politics, Religion, Research, Society | 349 Comments

Climate change got me into establishing and maintaining a website, so it’s fitting that I farewell the website (almost) with a comment about this vexed issue. As with defence, nothing much has changed since I first got interested in the issue twenty years ago. Very briefly, I was writing a book about Australia twenty years from now (= then = 2002), and it needed a chapter on ‘the environment’. That took me to global warming, and on the advice of a friend or two, including Ian Castles, the former Australian Statistician, I ploughed through the WGI paper of the Third…

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The choice facing Labor

By | Climate Change, Economy, Environment, History, Media, Politics, Society | 117 Comments

The Australian Labor Party is in something of a mess, a state exemplified by its defeat in the NSW Upper Hunter by-election. Upper Hunter has been Labor and Country party and National. It all depends on where the boundaries are drawn. Some of it is pastoral, and some of it is mining. Labor picked a miner as its candidate, but its vote plummeted, from 28 per cent to 22 per cent. Let’s think about this. Labor at 22 per cent, and a fall from 28 per cent? Who got the rest? The National candidate won a bit over 31 per…

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Voting and talking

By | Climate Change, Environment, Humour, Media, Politics, Research | 141 Comments

The Canadian humourist Rick Mercer has had a series called ‘Talking to Americans’, and in one interview he asks a group of women what they think about the Russian proposal to bomb Chechnya and Saskatchewan. ‘Should they bomb both, or only one?’ There is a pause and then one of the women says, ‘They should bomb both.’ The others then agreed. Now his program is designed to make Canadians laugh, in this case at the sheer ignorance of those below the border. There’s a moral in it as well. People will feel that they ought to have an answer, especially…

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Climate catastrophes are still twenty years away

By | Climate Change, History, Media, Politics | 100 Comments

Prince Philip was, among other things, a sceptic about the horrors of climate change, which made him a useful foil to his son, who is a renowned alarmist. The media do not seem to have mentioned the Duke’s attitudes to this supposed modern apocalypse, but Prince Charles is quite often quoted in his warnings to us about how little time we have left. And that contrast between father and son coincided with my coming across a list of 79 predictions, most of which have not come to pass, and I thought it might be useful to look at them, their qualities…

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The Right Talk

By | Climate Change, Economy, Environment, Media, Politics, Society | 25 Comments

There I was at the National Press Club, to hear the new Prime Minister. Some years have passed since I was last there. Often the take-home message has been given to the media, so you know what the speech is all about. But not this time. I had my recorder on, and I can tell you that this is exactly what he said. Friends, he said, I have heard a lot of people speak in this renowned venue, and most of them look happily to the future, because of what they and their government, or their corporation, are going to…

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On the downfall of George Pell

By | ABC, History, Media, Politics, Religion, Society | 81 Comments

I should begin by saying that I am not a Catholic, and not even a Christian in any practising sense. I have said this before, but it is a necessary opening to this essay. I add to it the fact that I have never spoken to Cardinal Pell nor heard him speak save on television, though I have read a good deal of what he has written. With these caveats in mind I would argue that the sentence on Pell was wrong in terms of natural justice, for the details of the alleged crime were simply improbable in the extreme. They…

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There’s nothing like a good ban!

By | ABC, Environment, History, Media, Politics, Religion, Society | 34 Comments

The ABC announced the other day that the ACT Government was considering a total ban on single-use plastics, like plastic bags, knives, forks and other picnic and fast-food essentials. The relevant Minister said that the Government thought a ban was a good idea, but the community ought to be involved, so there would need to be a discussion paper. We in Canberra have a lot of discussion papers. What effect they have on public policy is rarely clear. Before I could gather my own voice, I heard my wife say, loudly, ‘What a silly idea!’ and I agreed. It is…

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Climate change: has anything actually changed?

By | ABC, Books, Climate Change, Environment, History, Media, Politics | 437 Comments

For some time now my only exposure to the world has been through five minutes of radio news on Classic FM, plus some TV news at 6 pm (how much I get is affected by our dinner time at this nursing home). But, bit by bit, I’ve been hearing and seeing more. The coming elections in Australia and NSW have rather passed me by, though I have become more impressed than I once was by the Prime Minister’s capacity to speak cogently and apparently without notes. The issue that has grabbed me most, especially in the last few weeks, has…

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An unexpected hazard of using email

By | History, Language, Media, Society | 29 Comments

I was an early user of desktop computers, and I think I bought my first Apple IIe in 1988. Throughout a series of ISPs and an apparently unending set of Apples I have had a relatively untroubled run with these devices. Indeed, I wonder how I ever managed to write and publish without them. It was certainly a much slower process in the days of typewriters. Well, what follows is instructive. Read on. The English is not great. I have redacted my password and my email address, and done some editing for neatness. Hello! I’m a programmer who cracked your…

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