Saturday, February 25, 2017

Politiks: Victorian speaker and deputy speaker resign over expense scandal

Victorian speaker and deputy speaker resign over expense scandal

Michael Photios resigns as the leader of NSW Liberal's dominant left faction

Swimming and Cooking by Rock Pools

“God is a comedian playing to an audience too afraid to laugh” – Voltaire

French waitress drags huge lizard out of Australian restaurant Telegraph

TripAdvisor reveals Australia's best beaches

 Male models in ‘right place at the right time’ to pull teens to safety from frozen Central Park pond

Photo: Great gray owl goes hunting TreeHugger

We think we know all about the world. But we don't. That's why it's pretty surprising to learn that there may be a new continent underneath New Zealand

This in a letter to her editor at Macmillan, Richard Garnett,

'It worried me terribly when you told me I was only an amateur writer and I asked myself, how many books do you have to write and how many semi-colons do you have to discard before you lose your amateur status?'

and this to Richard Ollard her editor at Collins, where Penelope Fitzgerald had moved with her subsequent Booker winning novel Offshore after feeling unwanted at Duckworth..

'The TLS was also very kind to The Bookshop and said it was a novella in the tradition of Henry James, not a selling point perhaps.'

How A Writer Can Be Harrowing Without Giving Her Soul Away

Finding essays outside one’s personal experience “would be work that was harrowing in another sense of the word, which originally referred to preparing fields for planting by breaking up the soil. A true harrowing essay would dig deeper, ultimately performing a generative function.”

MALE PRIVILEGE: Women’s life expectancy on track to hit 90 in some nations. “The men who could look forward to the longest lives in 2015 were in Switzerland, Iceland and Australia — all within a few decimal points of an 81 year lifespan.” Women eat more butter ...
Cooking with butter may be more heart-healthy than vegetable oil: Study

An algae that survived two years in outer space may hold the secret to growing food on Mars and Maroubra Mahon pool ...

This week’s music is “I’m Gonna Live Forever (If it Kills Me)” by William Tyler

SEXLESS MARRIAGES: A threat to the planet

HMM: Men, Is Exercise Putting a Damper on Your Sex Life? Note that the exercise here — “running, cycling, and triathlon” — all involves lengthy cardio.

  Churchill essay on the possibility of alien life discovered in US college

Opal card data turns up surprise for Sydneysiders wanting 30-minute commute

Rolling Down the River C'mon back to the raft with Huck and Jim

Astronomers discover 60 new planets including ‘super Earth’

NATURAL ANTIOXIDANT could prevent liver disease. I’ve been taking PQQ for a couple of months for its reported cardiac benefits. This is a plus. It’s cheap. I take it with NAC, and, of course, CoQ10. The CoQ10, by the way, is the supplement that seems to have the biggest impact. Everyone I’ve gotten to try it, from the Insta-Wife and Insta-Daughter to my younger brother says they have noticeably better energy levels with it. 

 “This glass fits around your nose so you can smell wine as you drink it.”  NB: the link serves up some noise to you.

 “The state’s manual for execution procedures, which was revised last month, says attorneys of death row inmates, or others acting on their behalf, can obtain pentobarbital or sodium Pentothal and give them to the state to ensure a smooth execution.”  Link here, that is Arizona

Eating up to ten portions of fruit and vegetables a day may reduce disease, early death risk

Friday, February 24, 2017

Winners Take All : The Great Shame Of Higher Education

"A circle has no beginning or end." We can be acutely -- and heartbreakingly -- aware of the arrival and departure of the World's beautiful particulars, yet still feel a sense of constancy and continuity. Is it possible that nothing ever truly vanishes?

       In The Nation Faizan Javed reports on Poor places for rich literature -- wondering

G'Day! It’s a not-so-happy Friday for the many Aussies reeling over the decision to slash Sunday penalty rates for hospitality, retail, pharmacy and fast food workers. Public holiday rates will also be cut from 250 per cent to 225 per cent, and it’s been met with a furious backlash. In other news, Malcolm Turnbull and Donald Trump are reportedly planning to meet in New York on MEdia Dragon's 15 birthday in May...

Sydney's political geography revealed in seven maps

"What type of Aussie are you?".
Wealthy conservatives in the north, disillusioned pessimists to the south, social progressives in the east and traditionalists out west - this is the political geography of Sydney, according to the results of the Political Personas Project quiz:
"What type of Aussie are you?"

6 ways to spread facts

Ahmed Fahour's bizarre press conference to announce departure and defend his legacy

ANYONE who has tried to hold a conversation in a West London garden will wonder how it is possible to squeeze any more more flights into Heathrow Airport. On average, a chinwag is interrupted every minute or so by a Boeing or an Airbus rumbling overhead.
And yet each year more people manage to pass through.
Busiest Airports Where there is a will there is a way ...

The Washington Post's Erik Wempl calls the work of covering official misinformation these days "life-sucking tedium," and here's why

Trump unleashes fury after four long weeks Politico

Rodrigo Rato found guilty of misuse of corporate credit cards issued by banks whose near collapse sparked EU bailout
Former IMF chief gets four years in jail for embezzlement in Spain  

THE CIA AND THE MEDIA Carl Bernstein. Martha r: “From 1977. timely.” Moi: Some readers doubted my comment from Mark Ames that the CIA had assets at some major newspapers (and he knew of particular individuals and didn’t tell me who). This should assuage those doubts. And be sure to see what “the most valuable of these associations” had been.

Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte 'has millions hidden in bank accounts

 These predictions have led some mainstream thinkers, such as Robert Reich, to warn that a future bereft of jobs may be looming. “Imagine a little gadget called an i-Everything,” Reich wrote last September. “This little machine will be able to do everything you want and give you everything you need.” He argued that, with fewer jobs, resources will need to be redistributed from those who own the technology of the future to the rest of us who want to buy it. According to Reich, a universal basic income “will almost certainly be part of the answer”.

Chronicle of Higher Education op-ed: 'The Great Shame of Our Profession', by Kevin Birmingham (Instructor, Harvard College Writing Program):
[T]o talk about adjuncts is to talk about the centerpiece of higher education. Tenured faculty represent only 17 percent of college instructors. Part-time adjuncts are now the majority of the professoriate and its fastest-growing segment. From 1975 to 2011, the number of part-time adjuncts quadrupled. And the so-called part-time designation is misleading because most of them are piecing together teaching jobs at multiple institutions simultaneously. A 2014 congressional report suggests that 89 percent of adjuncts work at more than one institution; 13 percent work at four or more. The need for several appointments becomes obvious when we realize how little any one of them pays. In 2013, The Chronicle began collecting data on salary and benefits from adjuncts across the country. An English-department adjunct at Berkeley, for example, received $6,500 to teach a full-semester course. It’s easy to lose sight of all the people struggling beneath the data points. $7,000 at Duke. $6,000 at Columbia. $5,950 at the University of Iowa.

Former Liberal MP Ross Cameron – who said the NSW division of the party was "basically a gay club" – looks likely to be banished from the party for up to five years, potentially turning him into a free-speech martyr. But Mr Cameron received support from an unexpected figure, former High Court judge Michael Kirby, who said gay people had learnt that being unfairly punished reinforced feelings of exclusion and social stigma. The NSW Liberal Party state executive is scheduled to decide next Friday if Mr Cameron should be suspended for saying on television last year that NSW Premier Mike Baird was threatened with his job if he supported internal voting changes that would undermine the power of the Liberal's dominant left faction
'Gay club' jibe likely to cost Liberal ex-MP

Dubai, a city that sometimes seems to inhabit a time zone five years ahead of the rest of the planet, has embraced another improbable travel innovation, to go alongside its enthusiasm for hyperloop trains and long driverless metro lines. This week, the Emirati metropolis announced it is to test passenger-carrying drones in its skies by July.
The unpiloted drone taxis won’t exactly replace the traditional earthbound sort, since they will be able to carry only one passenger, who together with luggage cannot weigh more than 100 kilograms (220 pounds). And it will have a range of just 50 kilometres (31 miles), or half an hour of flying time. But if it works, the long-term implications are huge not only for Dubai, which has among the world’s  Drones 

Australian Business Review, Tax Agents’ Future Questioned as AI Finds Answers in Seconds:
It’s Siri for lawyers and accountants. Ask “Ailira” a question about Australian tax law and she will scan through millions of uploaded documents and use her artificial intelligence nous to deliver an answer.
Ailira, or “Artificially Intelligent Legal Information Resource Assistant” is so clever at tax that her creator believes she could help prompt the end of human tax agents. And within two months, she will answer questions in other areas of Australian law.
Ailira is the brainchild of Adelaide-based tax lawyer Adrian Cartland. The story goes that with no professional tax background, his girlfriend Sarah, a speech pathology student, scored 73 per cent on a first-year university tax exam with just 30 minutes’ training and Ailira at her side.
“Your tax agents will probably be gone within five years,” said a confident Mr Cartland, who added that their demise was ­already happening with the Australian Taxation Office pushing to automate tax returns, technology issues not withstanding.

Obamacare’s Original Sin Jacobin. Great on the history. Here’s a terrific quote from Ezekiel Emanuel, in 2014:

[O]nce the websites are fixed and working smoothly — certainly by 2016 — the exchanges will generate positive branding . . . That means the websites need to provide an engaging, ‘Amazon-like’ shopping experience . . . By 2016 the insurance exchanges will provide an attractive, informative, and engaging insurance shopping experience with an adequate variety of choices.

“[A]n adequate variety of choices.” Now there’s a hill to die on!