Friday, August 20, 2021

RIP Max Willis: Time is running short to avert ‘hell on earth’

Trying to understand the world through reasoning alone is like setting off across the Sahara with a limitless supply of water but nothing else.
—Bryan Magee

In 1997 Max presented me with a gift, Johnson porcelain dinner st, for surviving 15 years in the NSW Bear Pit library and committee

Vale Max Willis (1935 - 2021)


This message has been issued on behalf of the current President of the NSW Legislative Council, and is available in its original format here.


It is with great sadness that the NSW Legislative Council honours the passing of the Honourable Max Willis RFD, ED, LLB. Mr Willis was a member of our Council for some 28 years between 1970 and 1999, serving as President between 1991 and 1998.


Before becoming President, Mr Willis was a driving force behind the establishment of the robust committee system that we have today, and the first Chair of the Social Issues Committee. The significant contribution of Mr Willis as Chair of that committee's inquiry into access to adoption information, and his passionate advocacy for the committee system as a whole, is also detailed in a 2013 interview from earlier chapters of the Legislative Council's Oral History Project, including in the video recording available here.


Likewise, Mr Willis left a lasting legacy as a strong proponent of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, and was instrumental in forging strong bonds between the NSW Parliament and the National Parliament of Solomon Islands – prompting a twinning partnership that continues today.

Outside of his work with the Council, Mr Willis was a solicitor. He served in the Vietnam War, and for 33 years was an active member of the Army Reserve, with his awards including the Reserve Force Decoration, the Efficiency Decoration and the Cross of Solomon Islands.


On behalf of members of the Legislative Council, I extend my condolences to Mr Willis' family at this sad time. He will be greatly missed.

Max Willis Death – Obituary, Max Willis Has Died

 As John McRae wrote of the Great War:

Take up our quarrel with the foe,

To you from failing hands we throw

The torch; be yours to hold it high.

If ye break faith with we who die

We shall not sleep, though poppies grow in Flanders fields

Long history of politics and the bottle

Google founder gets New Zealand residency, raising questions.

A study documenting the trade in live wild animals at Wuhan wet markets stayed unpublished for more than a year. Now, fresh detail on the origins of Covid-19 are finally coming to light

Pandemic Leadership

Time is running short to avert ‘hell on earth’ FT

 With drones and bananas, China coaxes wayward elephants home ENCA

Popular Science: “To no one’s surprise, scientists from Yale University found that social media platforms like Twitter amplify our collective moral outrage. Additionally, they found that it was mostly politically moderate users who learned to be more outraged over time. Their findings are detailed in a new study in Science Advances.  “We were interested in broadly trying to understand this phenomenon that most people who use social media platforms, especially Facebook and Twitter, are aware of—which is that when you log in, there’s often a lot of political content that floats around in your newsfeed, and it usually comes with a lot of moral outrage, especially during key times in American politics,” says William Brady, a postdoctoral researcher in the department of psychology at Yale University.

Antivax Astrologer Fails to Predict His Own Death

Squirrels Use Gymnastics to Navigate Treetop Canopies Scientific American

You can study accounting, says Daniel Mendelsohn. But when your father dies, your accounting degree won't help you process that experience   Grief 

Blame more than just Tucker Carlson for his bizarre trip to Hungary

Macaques at Japan reserve get first alpha female in 70-year history Guardian

Highest recorded temperature of 48.8C in Europe apparently logged in Sicily Guardian 

Observation-based early-warning signals for a collapse of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation Nature. Abstract only (for [family blog] sake). Press releaseScience AlertSee post here.

How the Northern Sea Route will change the world’s major traffic flows Nikkei Asian Review. Mobile-friendly, and takes forever to load. That said, it’s a very good visualization and worth the wait.

CHILLY:  40 Years Ago, a Woman Famously Survived Being ‘Frozen Solid’. Here’s The Science. “She was – apparently – frozen. Her face was ashen, eyes solid, and her skin reportedly too hard to be punctured by a hypodermic needle. . . . Yet within just a few hours, warmed by heating pads, Hilliard’s body returned to a state of health. She was talking by noon, and with little more than some numb, blistered toes, was soon discharged to live an unremarkable life unaffected by her night as a human popsicle.”

Note to the editors, though: The human body doesn’t have an “insatiable need for oxygen.” It has a specific need for oxygen, which is readily sated by appropriate quantities.

Deleting unethical data sets isn’t good enough MIT Technology Review 


Existential Matters Point Magazine 

Loners help society survive, say Princeton ecologists EurekaAlert

 A confidential trove of government documents obtained by The Washington Postreveals [Dec. 9, 2019] that senior U.S. officials failed to tell the truth about the war in Afghanistan throughout the 18-year campaign, making rosy pronouncements they knew to be false and hiding unmistakable evidence the war had become unwinnable.