For the first time, photographs have leaked out from inside the Nauru immigration detention centre. Reopened in 2012, the detention centre houses between 500-600 people, mostly of Iranian background, who are attempting to seek asylum in Australia. The centre was most recently in the news following riots that destroyed much of the facility's infrastructure. Conditions at the center have been criticised by the UN's High Commissioner for Human Rights as "unbearable".
High-speed rail projects may be struggling in California and facing increased opposition in the UK, but they have gotten a boost in two unlikely countries. In Iceland, a country which currently has no working railways, a plan to build a high-speed rail line from Keflavík airport to downtown Reykjavík, using either conventional HSR or maglev technology, is being explored. Meanwhile in Australia, the conservative federal government has committed to safeguarding a corridor for a Melbourne-Canberra-Sydney-Brisbane high-speed rail network, a project commenced by the previous Labor minority government after pressure from the Greens. [more inside]
Eagle steals a camera that was set up to film crocodiles, flies off with it and transports it over 100 kilometers. The motion-sensitive camera was triggered three times, so we get to see the young sea-eagle fly away with it, setting it down and pecking at it. The camera was found and recovered through sheer luck. The footage is worth seeing.
What would you do with an extra $550 a week? Australia is set to become the first government to repeal laws that put a price on carbon, and will instead begin directly paying polluters to stop, polluting. Called "Direct Action", Australia's freshly minted conservative government claims the scheme "will reduce Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions and deliver improvements to our environment" Others think not The government also claims that the world is moving away from market based schemes to direct action schemes, but this claim seems uncertain. The government has also moved to close the Climate Change Authority as well as The Clean Energy Finance Corporation What is Direct Action and how does it differ from an emissions trading scheme? Australia's new Prime Minister has had varying points of view on the science of climate change, and the nations recent attendance at the recent climate change talks in Poland offer a glimpse.
Revel Cooper (1934†—1983‡) was one of the child artists of Carrolup whose crayon speed-drawings were returned to country, 2013, after 63 years off country. Tony Hughes-d'Aeth mentions Revel Cooper's history exercise book in his article Koolark Koort Koorliny: "an artefact of profound cultural significance". These kids went from comic-obsessed to crayon-obsessed in May 1946 when the White teachers took management of the Carrolup school and issued crayons. Here is Revel Cooper's enthralling school exercise book: Standard VI History Book. [more inside]
Peter Hartcher, political editor of the Sydney Morning Herald, tells the story of the self-immolation of the Australian Labor party and the political destruction of two prime ministers, in a five part series: Meltdown. [more inside]
Australians are a people renowned for inventing awesome shit, mate. The flat white. The pavlova. Anzac biscuits. Flight of the Conchords. Now we've gone and topped it all by inventing the selfie. Fish-lipped sheilas everywhere - you're welcome.
Undercover journalists publish firsthand account of asylum seeker journey to Australia An undercover journalist has detailed how he and a photographer posed as asylum seekers and took an epic journey from Afghanistan's shady currency markets to Jakarta and on to a flimsy open-decked wooden boat that delivered 57 desperate people to Christmas Island.
In 2007 (or maybe 2008, sources differ here), the Australian music game show Spicks and Specks asked its contestants to name the popular children's song that can be heard inside the all-time great 1981 Aussie anthem "Down Under" by Men at Work. None of the contestants identified the correct answer - "Kookaburra Sits in the Old Gum Tree." (As a flavor - or flavour, I guess - of the show, here's Colin Hay of Men at Work on the show in 2008. He performs "Down Under" at the end.) [more inside]
Are your "friends" pushing illegal marijuana cigarettes? Don't let drugs get in the way of your dream car! Keep sober with these snappy comebacks to narcotics. [SLYT Australian PSA]
"I note here that the first Australia would have known about all this would have been Soviet nuclear strikes on US facilities at Pine Gap (near Alice Springs), Nurrungar (Woomera) and North West Cape (near Exmouth). We know that this was likely because Western spies for the Soviet Union in the late 1970s had given Moscow some insights into the significance of these intelligence and communications facilities for what it saw as US nuclear war-fighting strategy." -- former Australian deputy secretary of defence Paul Dibb talks about Able Archer, the 1983 NATO nuclear warfare exercise that the Soviet Union almost mistook for the real thing. [more inside]
Jailangaru Pakarnu was the first song to hit the popular music charts sung in an Australian Aboriginal language, released by Warumpi Band in 1983. [more inside]
“There is no doubt some of Read’s stories are embellished, polished or, in some cases, stolen, but there is also no doubt that through the 1970s and 80s he was one of the most dangerous men in Australia.” RIP Mark 'Chopper' Read [more inside]
Each week we choose a theme and bring you a variety of stories on that theme... well, not quite. But the Australian radio station ABC Radio National has had a program, Now Hear This, running for almost three years now. It showcases storytelling efforts from amateurs and pros, each given five minutes to tell a story on a particular theme. The results are funny, sad, and beautiful, sometimes all at once. You don't need to be Australian to appreciate them. Official site. SoundCloud. [more inside]
Australia has just had an election and the new Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, has pledged himself to be the first Prime Minister for Indigenous Affairs. But has he properly consulted?
'The Other Election', run by the Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience (AIME), features over 600 Indigenous kids from around Australia in years 10-12 putting themselves into the hypothetical role of delivering a speech as Australia's first Indigenous prime minister.Ten finalists were announced today. Voting for the top 3 closes 29 January, 2013. The three best are then headed to Canberra to deliver their speeches in parliament. [more inside]
Why Art? Australian ABC Arts critic, theatre blogger and author, Alison Croggon, looks at public funding of the arts - and argues for more of it. "In a survey that looked at participation in visual arts and crafts, music, dance, theatre and literature – that is, the key art forms supported by the Australia Council – 38 per cent of Australians describe themselves as art lovers, for whom the arts are an integral part of their lives. Only 17 per cent report estrangement, believing that the arts attract pretentious elites, and a tiny 7 per cent feel no connection at all. Overall, 93 per cent of Australians reported engaging with the arts in the previous year. In 2009, more people attended art galleries (11 million) than went to the football (10 million)."
Australia in 2013. We have forgotten our origins and our good fortune, we are blind to our own selfishness. In place of memory we cling to a national myth of a generous, welcoming country, a land of new arrivals where everyone gets a fair go; a myth in which vanity fills the emptiness where the truth was forgotten. -- Julian Burnside writes on refugee policy and alienation in Australia [more inside]
The only Liberal Party MP to lose her seat in the 2013 Australian Federal Election... Like many people around Australia, a group of Indi locals watched the past three years of politics – one of the ugliest and most negative in the country’s history – in despair. Feeling alienated from what they saw in Canberra, and from their own MP's part in it, they began meeting quietly at the Wangaratta Library. So constrained was political discourse in the area – and so strong was Sophie Mirabella's grip on the seat – that these meetings began with a distinctly clandestine edge.... The unseating of Liberal maverick Sophie Mirabella.
What do you get when you put a band together out of ten, far too young, Australian hipsters? You get the groovy, funky, instrumental sound of The Cactus Channel, that's what.
Australia goes to the polls tomorrow. Want the skinny on three word slogans? Want to know about the fabled voters of 'middle Australia'? Are you confused about preferential voting? Aussie comedian Dan Ilic has you covered with #C@%TASTROPHE 2013: Guide to the Election. [more inside]
The men of "King Kong: The Musical" perform "Big Spender" The song was performed at a performance of Twisted Broadway: Melbourne. Twisted Broadway is a charity fundraising organization based on New York’s ‘Broadway Backwards’, an annual charity every raising money for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS; Twisted Broadway will continue to raise money for research and developmental programs for people living with HIV/AIDS through Oz Showbiz Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. [more inside]
A film that inevitably leads to the buying of a Jeep. (Warning: potentially disturbing black comedy SLYT) [NSFW]
John Green: "Why Are Americans Health Care Costs So High?" A quick, handy little overview of common misconceptions on the US healthcare system. (SLYT)
Australian Federal Election time is heading into high gear now that the official list of candidates has been finalised—and it is a long one! With a record number of candidates in the 2013 election, it can be awfully tempting to just vote above the line for the Senate, especially as many believe that voting below the line means wasting your vote. Thankfully, Dennis the Election Koala is here to explain why you can't waste your vote. (It also makes a good intro to preferential voting for those still mystified by it.) [more inside]
Bad Jelly. Trying retro recipes so you don't have to. (Some images involving fruit may be NSFW. )
So much rain fell on Australia during 2010-11 that global sea levels dropped, rather than normally rising. Australia has large basins from which rainwater doesn't drain (well). Australia is giving it back as evaporation and sea levels are on the rise again thanks. The record breaking rainfall was attributed to global warming.
Noah Veltman gives us a comparison of Google Search Suggestions By Country for America, Canada, the UK, Australia, and New Zealand.
tholman.com is the playground and folio of interactive developer Tim Holman, where he has posted 15 different projects, both interactive (fizzy cam [info/demo]; ZenPen; Texter; and Image Nodes) and passive (Meet the Ipsums, more than 30 text generators, from corporate to batman; the useless web; dripping paint). [more inside]
"Echo Point" is a chilling, sound-rich supernatural radio drama written by Australian author Louis Nowra. Originally aired on BBC Radio 4, it is now available on SoundCloud via producer/director Judith Kampfner. [more inside]
Let's go back to 1982 and let Jim Butterfield not only tell you about the Commodore 64, but really show you what it's all about, in a two hour demonstration and training video that takes you from opening the box to coding with the Commodore. (on YouTube, and with a different intro on Archive.org) [more inside]
Tomorrow, the 2013 Ashes series (England verses Australia) begins with the start of the first match at Trent Bridge (Nottingham). Though England and Australia have battled since 1861, the Ashes were first contested in 1882. Australia lead England 31-30 in series victories. England start as strong favorites with the bookmakers. Glenn McGrath cautiously predicts a 2-1 Australia series win, whilst Ian Botham predicts a 10-0 wipeout for England over the two series. The 2013 Ashes will be streamed live to 53 countries over YouTube. With Britain in the grip of unusual summer weather (sun), much play is likely. [more inside]
A case currently before the International Court of Justice has Australia (supported by New Zealand) seeking to either stop the flagrant abuse of a loophole in the International Whaling Commission's rules by Japan, or a nasty cultural imperialist "moral crusade" attempt to suppress a sustainable, ancient tradition of killing whales with factory ships around Antarctica. You can watch Court arguments here.
From Australia Day 2011 to Australia Day 2012 (26 January, natch) John Thompson posted a different Australian folk song on his blog each day, starting with Mortom Bay and ending of course with Waltzing Matilda. For those who'd like the full audio visual Aussie folk experience, there's also Raymond Crooke's Youtube playlist.
Former Labor leader and Prime Minister Kevin Rudd defeated her in a Labor Party leadership spill, 57-45, on Wednesday. The result has triggered a wave of cabinet resignations, including that of the erstwhile Midnight Oiler and Minister for School Education, Minister for Early Childhood and Youth, Peter Garrett. Previously.
The upcoming game Saints Row 4, an over-the-top open world action game that features weapons like a Dubstep Gun, has been refused classification (banned) in Australia. The new R18 classification for games was supposed to make this less common, but Saints Row 4's (trigger warning) 'alien anal probe' weapon and 'alien narcotics' have caused it to fall afoul of the new guidlines. Developer Deep Silver said they'll resubmit Saint's Row 4 to the reclassification board, while The Guardian sees this as evidence of Australia's conservative culture. Saints Row previously.
In a Sydney Morning Herald exclusive, an international team of archeologists have revealed the discovery of a hitherto unknown city in Cambodia.
Dr Evans, director of the University of Sydney's archaeological research centre in Cambodia, said the ''eureka moment'' in the discovery came weeks earlier when the lidar data popped up on a computer screen. ''With this instrument - bang - all of a sudden we saw an immediate picture of an entire city that no one knew existed which is just remarkable,'' he said.Mahendraparvata, as the city is known, is estimated to be 350 years older than the UNESCO Heritage site of Angkor Wat, built on on Phnom Kulen before Jayavarman II descended from the mountain to build another capital. As Dr Evans said ''This is where it all began, giving rise to the Angkor civilisation that everyone associates with Angkor Wat." The news comes on the heels of the recent repatriation of looted archeological treasures back to Cambodia by the New York Metropolitan museum.
As an investigation is launched into men in the Australian Army circulating explicit and derogatory material about their female colleagues, Lieutenant General David Morrison, Chief of Army, delivers a searing rebuke to those who perpetuate or condone the harassment of women in the military.
Yunupingu, former Yothu Yindi frontman, has died at 56 Yunupingu was the the first Indigenous Australian from Arnhem Land to gain a university degree. He Co-founded Yothu Yindi in 1986. Yothu Yindi released six major albums, from 1988 to 2000. The band was nominated for 12 ARIA music awards between 1992 and 1997. They won eight awards, including Song of the Year for Treaty. Yunupingu was inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame in 2012 Yunupingu was named Australian of the Year in 1992 for his role in building relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities. He died aged 56 at his home in Yirrkala, NT, after fighting kidney disease for over 5 years.
Fat City. Physician Karen Hitchcock writes eloquently in The Monthly on obesity in Australia and the obesity-as-disease paradigm.
The history of people finding Australia goes a little something like this: Aboriginal Australians separated from a migration out of Africa into Asia about 70,000 years, and Australian archaeological sites have proof of humans going back 50,000 years. Jump ahead to 1606, when there were two European voyages that made landfall and charted portions of Australia. First was Willem Janszoon's voyage in late February or early March of that year, and then Luís Vaz de Torres came a few months later. Abel Jansen Tasman was the first European to come across Tasmania, and between 1642 and 1646, his crew charted the Australian coast, more or less (Google auto-translation, original page). Then of course, there was James Cook's 1770 voyage. With all these dates in mind, how did five copper coins from an African sultanate that collapsed in the early 1500s (Google books) end up on an uninhabited island in the Northern Territory of present-day Australia? [more inside]
On January 4th, 2013, in the midst of a national heat wave, Tasmania experienced some of the most extreme weather on record, with Hobart recording a record temperature of 41.8°C in the afternoon. Fires blazed around the state, covering almost 50,000 acres, claiming hundreds of properties, and destroying the town of Dunalley. The Tasman peninsula was cut off by the fires, necessitating a sea rescue of over 2,000 people. An image of a family clinging to a jetty in the water to escape from the fire captured the attention of the world. With the launch of their Australian edition, The Guardian have produced a frightening and fascinating multimedia article exploring the human side of the inferno.
You may remember the 7.5 hour documentary released in 2009 which allowed you to travel the journey between Bergen to Oslo from the comfort of your home. If your wanderlust was fired up watching that video, then you may enjoy some of the other trips you can take. Switzerland:
- Zermatt to Gornergrat in Summer (50m)
- Zermatt to Gornergrat in Winter Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 (30m)
- Le Train de Vignes (11m)
Nicholas J. Johnson is a no good dirty rotten cheat. So when he invites you to play an incredible new game that he’s invented, you probably shouldn’t come…
Why Australia hates thinkers, an essay on anti-intellectualism in today's Australia and the populist hostility to “intellectual elites”, by Alecia Simmonds.
Three young filmmakers from Melbourne, Australia were set to make a short film on the serenity of fly fishing, focusing on a man named Phipps who lived on a lake in central Tasmania. Once they met Phipps, however, that all changed. Here is a glimpse into Phipps' beautiful, quiet world. [more inside]