"In life you often look around for someone or something to compare yourself favourably with. The games dealers and supervisors in a casino whose souls are troubled can look to the poker machines and say, well at least we provide entertainment (we’re in the hospitality industry, don’t you know!). But in reality, that was just bullshit we told ourselves. The machines blinked and made music while they took the money; we smiled and chatted aimlessly while we took it." Former casino worker Greg Jericho has written an exhaustive article about the human and economic costs of poker machines. It comes in the middle of an anti-pokies campaign by Independent Senator Nick Xenophon that is being bitterly opposed by the Australian Hotels Association.
Excellent footage of the stunningly beautiful yet bizarre courtship and mating behavior of the Peacock Spider.This is quite possibly the first footage of this quality that shows this behavior. Many jumping spiders have elaborate courtship dances. More Previously.
We care about climate change, but we hate the idea of having to do anything about it. Professor of Public Ethics at CAPPE, Clive Hamilton (also author of Requiem for a Species and Affluenza), tells it like it is on climate change policy in Australia.
The annual Melbourne University Puzzle Hunt is back - and this time they need your help fending off villians with your puzzle-solving abilities. Anyone from anywhere in the world can compete in teams of 1 to 10 people (or you can see the puzzles for yourself and play at home). [more inside]
The Santiniketan Park Association, known informally as "The Family" was a group founded around 1964 after Dr. Raynor Carey Johnson began hosting regular meetings of a religious and philosophical discussion group led by the yoga teacher Anne Hamilton-Byrne on his property on the outskirts Melbourne, Australia. The group began to recruit potential new members from Newhaven Hospital, a private psychiatric hospital, owned and managed by Marion Villimek, a Santiniketan member, and staffed by other Santiniketans psychiatrists who would administer LSD to patients. [more inside]
Tsunehisa Kimura (1928-2008) was a Japanese artist best known for his photomontage art. There doesn't seem to be much about him in online in English, beyond reiterations of the same three images that BLDG BLOG copied from the 1979 book Visual Scandals, and a few short pages that are related to an interview on Australian radio back in 2002. Yet his imagery has caught the eye of various musical groups over the years, including Midnight Oil, Paul Schütze, and most recently, Cut/Copy join the fanclub, with their cover for Zonoscope. [more inside]
Fully (sic) is "Crikey’s very own language blog for discerning word nerds. Sit back and enjoy the spectacle of Australian linguists getting all hot and bothered about the way we communicate." It's the Aussie equivalent of Language Log, frequently linked here on the Blue. To get you started, Does Moomba really mean ‘up your bum’? (Answer: Nobody knows for sure, but the search is lots of fun.)
Irish dancing flash mob in Sydney's Central Station. The dancers included twenty members of the Riverdance show and dancers from local Irish dancing schools.
Long-time bullying victim finally snaps: a video of an incident at a Sydney High School has gone viral over the internet three days prior to Australia's National Day of Action Against Bullying and Violence. Police and bullying experts are concerned about the level of online support that the fed-up victim's actions have received after the video, filmed by his miscalculating tormentors, was posted to Youtube (since removed and reposted multiple times). The 16 year-old has been suspended from school, but already has an online tribute to his actions and thousands of Facebook supporters.
Mortal Kombat has been banned in Australia. In the highest profile censorship incident since last year's butchering of Left 4 Dead 2, the new Mortal Kombat game has been "refused classification by the Australian Classification Board and will not release in Australia". This should galvanize efforts to implement an R18 rating for Australian games, though so far progress has been slow.
The Australian Government has committed to a price on carbon from 1 July 2012, prior to a likely full emissions trading scheme within three to five years. The Opposition are outraged, predicting a people's revolt. This should clearly define the next election.
Australia, already a leader in tobacco sales restrictions, is seeking plain packaging for all cigarette packaging, forcing a fight with Big Tobacco. Other governments around the world watch interestedly, as arguments revolve around intellectual property rights and spill-over effects. An astro-turf group has been formed to protest "on behalf of retailers". Meanwhile, the Federal Opposition maintains it's links to the tobacco industry. (previously)
Two delightful minutes in which Australian morning TV presenters discuss their preferred home defense weaponry.
Blue-Tongue Films are an Australian collective of film makers. They’ve produced a couple of features including Animal Kingdom, for which Jacki Weaver has been nominated for this year's Best Supporting Actress Oscar. You can find a number of their shorts and other works on their Youtube Channel. [more inside]
I looked over my shoulder and saw her sitting on the floor of the aircraft and she was just devastated. It was heartbreaking.
Mark Kempton s a chopper pilot. On Monday January 10, 2011 while flood waters rose in Grantham, Queensland, Mark and his Emergency Management Queensland helicopter crew from Archerfield winched 28 people to safety over a period of 2 1/2 hours. [more inside]
Attorney-General, John Hatzistergos, backs a NSW law that allows private schools to expel gay students simply for being gay. "But the churches are now divided. The Anglican bishop of South Sydney, Robert Forsyth, told the Herald: 'I don't think our schools would want to use it.'"
Before and After the Flood. Startling pictures of recent events in Brisbane.
40,000-year-old rock paintings are alive. "These organisms are alive and could have replenished themselves over endless millennia to explain the freshness of the paintings' appearance," Professor Pettigrew told BBC News.
New Weird Australia is a not-for-profit, government-sponsored initiative promoting new eclectic & experimental music - plenty of free downloads & podcasts are available on the site.
For the past three years, 28-year-old Sydney man James West has been receiving personal emails about the Thanksgiving dinner of the Tran family of Somewhere, USA. This year, he decided he wanted an invite to dinner and started a YouTube channel about his quest to track down the Trans and obtain an invite to dinner. Fortunately, his mission has been successful, and West will be attending Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow with the Trans in Florida.
Bliss N Eso - Addicted features some amazing stop-motion graffiti and just a pinch of NSFW language. The bonus is seeing how it was done.
''I don't think it's appropriate they feel discriminated against, and I'm very upset they feel that,'' "After inviting friends to her home for ''pre-drinks'', [Hannah Williams] stood on her doorstep and watched her classmates file into the darkness to attend one of the highlights of the school year. Instead of joining them, Hannah took off her heels and black dress and went to bed...A few weeks earlier a teacher had told the year 11 student she couldn't attend the dance with her 15-year-old girlfriend, Savannah Supski. She was asked to bring a male instead."
Dan McPharlin is an Australian artist who creates fantastic landscapes that seem more likely to come from sci-fi novels from decades past than an artist who who gives away his music for donations (YT sample). McPharlin also made a series of miniature analog synthesizers that were featured on album art for Steve Jansen's album Slope (YT sample), as well as Moog Acid by Jean-Jacques Perrey & Luke Vibert (YT sample). Currently, McPharlin's website only has an 18 page portfolio in PDF form and an email address, but his Flickr collection is a sight to behold. Even his house looks like something from a 1970s photo shoot. [more inside]
For the first time in their freely-traded history, the Australian Dollar, the Canadian Dollar and the US Dollar are all within a penny of parity.
Tegan Leach, the first Queensland woman to be charged with procuring her own miscarriage, has been acquitted. She faced seven years in prison if found guilty. [more inside]
On 12 February 2009, soldiers from the ADF 1st Commando regiment crept through the dark near the village of Surkh Morghab, in southern Afghanistan. What happened next will be closely scrutinised, however grenades were used and five children were killed. [more inside]
Europe according to... is a project to map stereotypes of European countries according to other countries and groups of people. [more inside]
Rolf Potts will travel through 12 countries in 42 days, with his current location updated here. He intends to do all this with no luggage, no backpack, no man purse -- not even a fanny pack. [via mefi projects]
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]