Road Safety

The beauty of the inland road trip in Australia

By | Environment, History, Road Safety, Society | 103 Comments

My wife and I do at least one biggish road trip (2-3 weeks) each year, mostly inland, and mostly including a track somewhere. Since Bev comes from South Australia, these trips usually include a visit to Adelaide, and as readers will know, we managed to time our trip this year to incorporate the worst weather in southern Australia for a long time. Driving in some of it was no joke, and some drivers simply pulled off the road to wait for the strong winds and rain to subside. But as always, there were pleasures in abundance, and here were some of ours….

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Managing comments on the website

By | Climate Change, Economy, Education, Environment, Food & Wine, Health, History, Humour, Language, Media, Music, Politics, Religion, Research, Road Safety, Society, Sport, Theatre | 43 Comments

I’ve had to think hard about how best to moderate the comments on this website. A number of the recent posts have had more than 100 comments, and one has passed 200. Just following them is a decent amount of work, and it gets in the way of other writing important to me. My own practice has been to respond to anyone who I think is seeking a real answer to something, or who has found a weakness in what I have written, or who seems to have misunderstood what I wrote. I learn from such encounters. If I find I…

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‘But wouldn’t it be useful to move to alternative energy anyway?’ #9 My perspective on climate change

By | ABC, Climate Change, Economy, Environment, History, Media, My Perspective, Religion, Research, Road Safety | 136 Comments

The quotation in the title of this essay comes from something I noted down in 2010. It was part of a comment somewhere, and it carried the implication that even if you didn’t think AGW was a real problem there were good reasons to go down the alternative energy path. Why was alternative energy a good thing? Well, it was said to be ‘free’, would continue forever, and didn’t require the use of fossil fuels, which were not sustainable even if they weren’t bad for the planet. I had a particular interest in solar energy, because the Australian Research Grants…

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Why do so many people believe in all this? My perspective on ‘climate change’ #8

By | ABC, Climate Change, Education, Environment, History, Media, My Perspective, Religion, Research, Road Safety | 125 Comments

Five years ago I wrote a piece for Judith Curry’s Climate etc website called ‘How did we all get into this?’, which was my attempt at an analysis of the dynamics underlying what seemed then the general public acceptance of AGW and the need for governments to do something about it. The essay was quite long, and received more than 700 comments. Some were supportive and others were critical (and others still galloped off in different directions). But I learned a lot from the discussion, and would have written a much better essay had I had the opportunity to do a second…

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Who are ‘we’?

By | Climate Change, Economy, Education, Environment, History, Media, Politics, Road Safety | 24 Comments

In my last post I gave a generally favourable account of the McAuley/Lyons book Governomics. In this post I want to concentrate on the use of a pronoun that runs throughout their book: ‘we’. The authors use it quite properly to mean themselves, as authors, to set out what they mean and what they are trying to do in their book. But they also use it to mean not just themselves and their audience‚ the readers, but also a more general ‘we’ — the people of Australia. Here’s an example: Unless we, the politicians we elect, and the public servants we employ, can articulate…

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What sort of conversation do you get on The Conversation?

By | Climate Change, Economy, Education, Environment, Health, History, Language, Media, Politics, Religion, Research, Road Safety, Society, Sport, Theatre | 22 Comments

Another of my resolutions for the New Year was to get rid of unwanted  regular emails. It’s not as easy as you might think. I’ve tried blocking, and that works, to a degree, for anything generated in Australia. But those from overseas are immune. I looked at sites I’ve subscribed to, such as purveyors of goods of various kinds, like clothes. It seems that if you buy something you are offered a goody if you subscribe, and one does. But I’ve got rid of most of those, too. And that leaves The Conversation, which claims 2 million unique hits a month, and seems…

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The last essay for this year

By | ABC, Books, Climate Change, Economy, Education, Environment, Food & Wine, Health, History, Humour, Indigenous, Language, Media, Music, Other, Politics, Religion, Research, Road Safety, Society, Sport, Theatre | 26 Comments

Even websites need a holiday, and mine starts tomorrow. I’m back at work in the week beginning 12 January, and wish all my readers a relaxing, safe and enjoyable holiday break too. I started this website in June 2012, so it is now two-and-a-half years old. Over that time it has attracted about 27,000 unique readers, who have in total visited the site more than 70,000 times, and read nearly 150,000 pages. Readers have made nearly 3,700 comments to my 608 posts, and of course to one another’s comments. Before I get carried away with such success, I should mention that my…

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Would you rather be seriously injured, or dead?

By | Climate Change, Health, History, Road Safety, Society | 37 Comments

I spent half of last week at the 2014 Australasian Road Safety Research, Policing and Education Conference, which is the annual gathering of those who think that road safety is kind of important. To give a comparative perspective, think of the numbers of people in Australia who will be killed or injured by climate change this year. The numbers aren’t quite in yet, of course, but my estimate for 2014 will be 0 killed and o seriously injured. On the Australian roads? Well, the numbers aren’t in either, and there is always a little doubt and uncertainty about them anyway, for…

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What are rules for?

By | Education, History, Language, Politics, Road Safety | One Comment

Over the past few weeks, with Parliament exercised over new laws about who can enter and leave our country, and what might now happen to them as they do, I have been thinking about an old debate about rules and their basis. Indeed, in my first year as a University  teacher, 42 years ago, I delivered a lecture to my first-year students on the subject, mostly to their bemusement, I think. The issue is about whether a law (rule) is a guideline that you should follow, or a commandment that you must follow (or else). In the world of road safety, which I know…

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On trains

By | Economy, Environment, History, Media, Politics, Road Safety, Society | 8 Comments

My first serious rail journey as an emerging adult saw the Northern Tablelands Express take me from Armidale NSW to Sydney, probably in 1954 or 1955. The Express was quite new, contained a buffet car which felt rather grand, and rocketed along at an average of 70 kph. Its dowdy evening sidekick was the Glen Innes Mail, which was slow, and distinctly uncomfortable, especially in winter. The Mail was the Army’s preferred vehicle for those of us who travelled to Sydney or Singleton to undertake our National Service. Once I owned a car (1959), that was largely the end of…

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