to the latest News & Analysis section in Science on Humans Are Driving Extreme Weather; Time to Prepare.
Friday, 25 November 2011
Monday, 21 November 2011
I drink coffee for its antimicrobial properties. According to Matheson et al. (2011), people who drank hot tea or coffee were half as likely to carry in their nose the bacterium methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) than those who never drank these beverages. Of course, that is not the real reason ...
Sunday, 20 November 2011
Last weekend The Australian ran an article by the Oliver Marc Hartwich entitled Europe's social failure. Reading this article my first reaction was one of amazement; Hartwich had concluded that the cause of the failure was "the grand European experiment of social democracy" with no mention of rampant free-market capitalism or the global financial crisis. Hartwich is, of course, entitled to his view, but I do not understand why the editor of The Australian would permit such an unbalanced and poorly argued article to waste so many column inches. Fortunately, Mike Skeketee's balanced and well-argued response, Ideology not cause of debt, subtitled "Blaming social democratic governments for the European crisis makes no sense", clearly articulates my feelings. Two points from Skeketee's article, dismiss Hartwich's nonsense:
A strange idea has taken hold about the crisis in Europe: that it is the fault of social democracy. This may be a convenient argument for those who want smaller government. But it overlooks a problem that occurred a few years ago called the global financial crisis. It was triggered by the collapse of a US housing bubble that had been fuelled by the reckless lending practices of banks and other financial institutions.
This recent history is curiously absent from the recent debate, including in the article by the Centre for Independent Studies' Oliver Marc Hartwich in these pages last weekend. Blaming social democratic governments for the global financial crisis is like saying Britain started World War II.There are very few writers in The Australian that write well and argue clearly and logically. The regular publication of articles from right-wing think-tanks, and columnists such as Janet Albrechtson, Angela Shanahan, and Brendan O’Neill, editor of Spiked and libertarian gadfly, are usually illogical and unbalanced; I imagine that Mike Skeketee must sometimes feel very lonely ...
Saturday, 19 November 2011
A most interesting advert for a Climate Justice Research Fellow at the University of Melbourne was featured in the Weekend Australian Professional Education section. The aim of the project is to
...provide a new framework for how to fairly distribute the costs of responding to climate change and to contribute to the understanding of a range of moral issues associated with climate change. Topics covered by the project include: models of how to distribute the burdens of climate change between and within nations, egalitarian discussions of climate change, understanding climate skepticism and the harms caused by climate change.An essential criterion for the position is "a PhD or substantial progress towards one in Philosophy or related discipline". This is unclear: related to Philosophy, or to the topic of the research? Reading the project aim, I would have thought that a degree in Science, say in Psychology, with strong Physics (to understand the science) and Mathematics (to do the modelling), along with with a minor in Philosophy or Ethics, would be better suited to answering questions such as "how to fairly distribute the costs", "modelling how to distribute the burdens of climate change between and within nations". A desirable criterion is the "ability to work on applied or interdisciplinary problems"; a background solely in Philosophy would be, I think, too narrow for this.
I agreed with much of Rupert Murdoch's Keynote Address to the Foundation for Excellence in Education Summit. It reminded me of Conrad Wolfram's TED talk, which highlighted that there is far too much emphasis on hand computation in traditional teaching of mathematics. As Sir Ken Robinson says, schools kill creativity. Listening to Robinson's 2006 led me to his excellent 2010 talk and made me think more about how I should teach, and what I should teach.
Friday, 18 November 2011
In Spirit of Change, John Lethlean makes the case that the Perth bar scene comes of age, featuring the following bars:
- Ezra Pound, 189 William St, Northbridge
- Bivouac Canteen & Bar, 198 William St, Northbridge
- Andaluz, Parker & Parker building, 21 Howard St, Perth
- Greenhouse, 100 St Georges Tce, Perth
- Venn, 16 Queen St, Perth
- Who's Your Mumma, Unit 7A South Terrace, Fremantle
- 399, 399 William St, Northbridge
- Helvetica, Rear 101 St Georges Tce, Perth
I plan to return to Aix en Provence in mid-2012, so I was interested to read the wheels thing about how Cadel Evans discovered Provence is a paradise for the amateur cyclist, with its quiet, winding roads and its villages perched on rocky outcrops where you can stop for a break. Looking forward to trying out his suggested route.
Kew House 3 by vibe design group, mentioned in my post on Australian contemporary architecture, was featured in The Age and the Weekend Property section of The Australian. It is to be auctioned this Saturday with an expected price of $3M+. I wish that I had some spare cash...