Objects Through Time tells the story of immigration and the changing ethnic diversity of New South Wales, Australia through "movable heritage" - that is, artifacts and objects with historical resonance. While almost ignoring 50,000 years of aboriginal occupation, the site does a nice job of both familiar topics through a fresh lens (e.g., Captain Cook's "secret instructions"), but also takes pains to look at those lesser known topics which may be more accessible through material culture than through texts. [more inside]
Victoria (Australia) had moderate flooding last week, which journalists were keen to report. Perhaps too keen. Full story here.
The elegant and sophisticated paintings found in the north west Australia, are claimed to be the oldest figurative paintings in the world, known as the Bradshaws, or Gwion Gwion. The Bradshaw Foundation website has an awesome online collection of rock and cave art paintings with extensive information. [more inside]
An ABC Investigative Unit team hit the streets of western Sydney, where young people are struggling to break a vicious cycle of unemployment and family breakdown, to find out what's being done to stop them from falling through the cracks. In a great article by ABC reporters Eleanor Bell and Ed Giles, they found that the lack of resources, infrastructure and support for families in these communities is getting worse, not better but that despite this, many locals are still proud of their community.
Toothy tubes of hunger. SharkweekFilter. Good snaps.
In the wake of the Port Arthur massacre, in 1997 Australia implemented a gun buyback program that reduced the stock of firearms by around one-fifth, and nearly halving the number of gun-owning households. Leigh and Neill (2010) find that the buyback led to a drop in the firearm suicide rates of almost 80%, or about 200 lives per annum (with no significant effect on non-firearm death rates). This translates into an annual benefit of $500M, or $800 000 per weapon destroyed. However, Baker & McPhedran (2006) have previosuly concluded that there was no impact on homicides.
Mr Controversial (video, transcript): an in-depth report by Dateline (SBS One, Australia) on Geert Wilders, and the most comprehensive English-language profile of him I have seen to date.
Cloud surfing the strange and marvelous looking Morning Glory. This film shows at 2:07 an animation of how the cloud is formed. [more inside]
The people have
spoken mumbled a bit. The Australian Federal election held last Saturday has produced an extraordinary result. A minority government with the support of 1 Green and (maybe) 4 very independent independents will should result, but which way will it fall, left or right? Every Westminster-style government, claimed to produce strong stable majorities, now has a hung parliament.
Even though results may not be known for several days yet, we can acknowledge the outstanding work of the Australian Electoral Commission. (Previously).
In what seems to be a growing trend, Australian voters have spoken a resounding "meh". Rejecting both major parties, the most likely result of yesterday's election is a hung parliament.
rage is a weekend-only night-time music video show on Australia's ABC1 that started back in 1987. The presentation was minimal, with an intro, hours of music videos, and then the outro, no adverts, and a few variations from this no-frills format. The format remains largely unchanged to date, and you can check the archive of playlists (back to 1998) and see a mix of local talent and international hits, but one thing was missing: the videos. Enter the rage YouTube playlist generator. [via mefi projects] [more inside]
In a couple of weeks there will be a Federal Election in Australia. One of the key issues is migration policy, and policy relating to the processing of refugee claims, particularly those who escape from their home country and travel to Australia by boat. This one-page web comic is the most detailed examination of the issue I've seen anywhere in the media.
New Urbanism (previously) is a hot topic these days, yet its core idea of building walkable cities that rely less on automobiles can be traced to a city plan created almost a century ago: the Radburn Design. [more inside]
Today mammals are the only surviving members of the Synapsids, but several hundred million years ago, they had company. Meet the dicynodonts: beaked, sabre-toothed herbivores that look like nothing you've seen before. [more inside]
Just over three weeks after being sworn in, Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard visited the Governor-General this morning and called a federal election for the 21st of August. [more inside]
Julia Gillard has become Australia's first female Prime Minister in stunning fashion, after toppling Kevin Rudd as leader of the ruling Labor Party. [more inside]
As reported a few hours ago in The Australian, the right wing faction of the Australian Labor Party rolls on Rudd and a caucus meeting is scheduled for 9 tomorrow morning, where it's predicted that he'll lose the ballot. One senior party source said: "This crypto-facist made no effort to build a base within the party and now his only faction - Newspoll - has deserted him. He is gone."
After suspending all asylum applications from Sri Lanka and Afghanistan, the Australian Government has made a series of confronting youtube videos showing the dangers of the sea, and the arrest and detention of asylum seekers. [more inside]
listening grooving to ABC News in Australia, or 7 News, or Ten. And now, over to the UK for the BBC or Sky News. Don't listen to the others! They are false prophets!
Salo has been discussed before here in the blue, but last week the Australian Classification Review Board determined that the DVD release can be classified R18+ (available, but with sale restricted to adults), if it includes 3 hours of additional material proposed by the potential distributor, Shock. In the decision, the Board notes that the additional material "facilitates wider consideration of the context of the film." While this decision is a win for anti-censorship campaigners and film buffs, it may not be the final chapter. The film has had a checkered history in Australia. The Board's media release is here (PDF).
The Worst Of Perth showcases the worst in public art, architecture, design, fashion, car culture, graffiti and suburban landscape in and around Perth in Western Australia, with the occasional public victory over bad art. Substantially NSFW.
In 2009, four Buddhist nuns (Bhikkunis) were secretly ordained in Australia - the first ever ordination of Bhikkunis in Australia, and a first for the Thai Forest tradition anywhere. London-born Ajahn Brahm, a long-time supporter of women's equality in Buddhism, facilitated the ordination. For this he was expelled from his community, the Wat Pa Phong Sangha, and his monastery's status was revoked. This video summarizes the conflict, and is possibly the first use of the Downfall meme related to Buddhism. This March, more nuns were ordained in the UK for the first time since the Australia controversy, but they're still not equal to male monks. This blog post discusses sexism, fundamentalism, and the conflict between East and West. The modern opposition to bhikkhuni ordination is no ancient Buddhist tradition. It can be traced no earlier, so far as I am aware, than the abhorrent 1928 ruling against bhikkhuni in Thailand, made by monks who thought it reasonable to arrest nuns and throw them in jail for ordaining. [more inside]
"Whybin TBWA Australia and The Sydney International Food Festival cooked up a clever way to promote last year’s fest — they used iconic foods from the participating countries to recreate their flags. From the green-white-red of basil-spaghetti-tomatoes to the orange-white-green of tikka masala-rice-saag, the results are both appetizing and a little reminiscent of middle-school geography class. Which brings us to our challenge: Can you correctly identify these 12 culinary flags?" [more inside]
An Australian Madoff? Trio Capital, an Australian fund manager, has been ordered to wind up its funds after being unable to account for $123 million in its Astarra fund since investigations began in October. The fund "has a total of $426 million under management - including superannuation savings of about 10,000 Australians." Some worry what this means for more potential frauds in Australia's "privatized social security." [more inside]
If you'd like something to work on today other than your pint of Guinness, why not take a crack at "one of Australia's most profound mysteries," a sixty-two-year-old unsolved murder known as the Taman Shud case? [more inside]
In January, Google Australia agreed to take down links to the Encyclopedia Dramatica. The Australian Human Rights Commission has now written to the owner of the ED threatening legal action. [more inside]
Opera lovers embrace tree-hugger! Opera Australia presented Bliss, an opera based on Peter Carey's 1981 Kafka-esque novel last night. 'Carey's story was set in a tropical city that could well be Brisbane. And the idyll depicted in the final chapter of a free, clothing-optional, communal life seemed to mirror Carey's experience: the author and former ad man once lived on a commune at Yandina, north of Brisbane.' Harry Joy is an unlikely hero, 'a bit of an idiot really' but his tree-change journey is a timely one, and is garnering international interest. Australian mefites can watch Bliss live from Sydney Opera House next week on ABC2.
Due to a serious form of tuberculosis which he contracted on a trip to South America Christiaan Van Vuuren (aka Fully Sick Rapper) has been quarantined in a Australian hospital room since January 18th. "This is starting to take it's toll on my mental stability, and this song is about the impact (or lack thereof) it has had so far." [more inside]
An Australian politician who opposes the lifting of a censorship ban on adults-only computer games has said he feels more threatened by gamers than outlawed motorcycle gangs. Talking about motorcycle gangs, and just for fun, and because it is almost Mardi Gras in Sydney,The DOB ladies.
Recently, a postgraduate researcher in journalism attended a talk about the challenges of Australia's aging population, given by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd. Afterwards, when a member of the group she was in introduced her to Rudd and mentioning the PhD she was completing, Rudd rolled his eyes and remarked that that is the "excuse" that "all" young women are using nowadays to avoid starting families.
The United States and Australia have long shared a peaceful alliance, but it was not always so. In 1942, U.S servicemen and Australian soldiers fought openly and violently in what is known today as The Battle of Brisbane. [more inside]
Governments around the globe are opening up their data vaults allowing us to check out the numbers for ourselves. This is the Guardian’s gateway to that information. Search for government data here from the UK, USA, Australia and New Zealand — and look out for new countries and places as they are added. Read more about this on the Datablog. [more inside]
Pioneers of Love - a three part documentary about relations between the Ngadjonji people of Far North Queensland, Australia & early white settlers. More about the Ngadjonji people can be found here, including early photos, language, traditional stories, ancient history & more. [previously]
KFC are in trouble after an Australian ad hit YouTube. Some say it's racist. KFC themselves say it was a light-hearted look at cricket rivalry intended to play on stereotypes. (Previously)
Ryan Strathfield has uploaded hundreds of rock and pop songs from Australia and New Zealand to YouTube, organized by year (full list inside). Here are some favorites, Marcia Hines' Eleanor Rigby, The Boys Next Door's Shivers, The Falling Joys' You're in a Mess, Split Enz' I See Red and Warumpi Band's Blackfella Whitefella. Strathfield focuses on the period 1974-89 but it extends back into the 60s and forward into the 90s. [more inside]
In response to shortfalls in organ donation, policy is undergoing a serious rethink in several countries. In Australia, the government has just lifted a ban on animal-to-human transplants. In the UK, the Chief Medical Officer has called for presumed consent, while in Israel a new law gives donor card carriers a legal right to priority treatment if they should require an organ transplant. Many are looking to Spain, which leads the world, having seen the number of deceased donors per million people - a commonly used benchmark - increase from 14 in 1989 when a new system was put in place to 34.2 last year. Interestingly, people committing suicide have a higher rate of donating organs than average.
The Australian Federal Government has decided to implement legislation filtering web content at the ISP level, despite ongoing criticism that the filter will do nothing to protect children and is diversion of funds from more fruitful policies, and is fairly simple to circumvent, and ignores peer-to-peer traffic completely. In light of March's leaked ACMA blacklist, many are understandably concerned about the list becoming a political tool. [more inside]
In 2005, the first comprehensive characterisation of decapod fauna of the continental margin of southwestern Australia was performed. 524 provisional species were identified, including 175 species (33%) that were new to science, each needing to be named. Earlier this year the naming rights for one particular unnamed spotted shrimp went up for auction to support the Australian Marine Conservation Society. Bob Rosenberry, journalist and publisher of Shrimp News International was an enthusiastic bidder, with plans to name the species Lebbeus shrimpnewsii, until he learned he couldn't name it after a commercial entity. The winner was a surprise to all involved: Lucien James "Luc" Longley, retired NBA player. (via) [more inside]
Dust Echoes is a series of twelve beautifully animated Aboriginal Australian dreamtime stories from Central Arnhem Land. The themes of these stories tell tales of love, loyalty, duty to country and aboriginal custom and law. Each story comes with descriptions on its history, what the story means and the text of the original story as told by local story tellers. Be sure to check out the downloads section for free desktop wallpapers and MP3 bonus tracks.
Australia's emissions trading scheme, the "Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme", is being debated in the Senate today. [more inside]
Someone has started publishing a handy guide to the Australian bogan. One bogan is not amused. (Previously)
In its' third year, Softies for Mirabel is an appeal for handmade stuffed toys to benefit children supported by The Mirabel Foundation. [more inside]
Army Pack: Horrie the Wog Dog, 2/1Australian Machine Gun Battalion. An Australian soldier in WW2 befriended a puppy, and he went to great lengths to save him after the War. I saw it this morning on Letters of Note and thought it was great. Be sure to read to the end.
The billionth jar of Vegemite was sold in 2008. This nutritious yeast-based brown paste has been popular in Australia for decades, although its "distinctive" taste has limited its popularity in foreign markets. In July 2009, a competition was held by Kraft to come up with a name for the new cheesy variant. The result, chosen from 30,000 entries, sparked such a backlash that Kraft quickly backed down... but was iSnack 2.0 a marketing failure or a publicity coup? [more inside]
Jewish-Australian John Safran is (in)famous for his outrageous style of comedic television documentary, including the AFI award winning "Music Jamboree" and "John Safran vs God" (previously). His latest effort, "Race Relations" has already been described as the "lowest point in the history of Australian television". Including a "sniff test" comparison of Eurasian and Jewish panties and a scene involving a plastic cup and a copy of Obama's "Audacity of Hope" inside a Palestinian sperm-bank, episode one (of eight) aired last Wednesday to a buzz of controversy, and there's plenty worse to come.