Do not return after an encounter. Australian magpies have an incredible memory (as with all members of the Corvid family, they are very intelligent) and will attack the same people again and again. It is also too bad if you happen to look like someone they attacked before.
-- Thoughts on Australia fauna
posted by Chrysostom
on Dec 9, 2013 -
West Australian MP Stephen Dawson and his partner Dennis Liddelow have become the first same-sex couple
to legally marry in Australia. But the High Court of Australia may declare the legislation that allowed them to get married — and thus their marriage itself — invalid next week. [more inside]
posted by Georgina
on Dec 7, 2013 -
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]
posted by kithrater
on Nov 20, 2013 -
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]
posted by AgentRocket
on Nov 13, 2013 -
"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]
posted by MartinWisse
on Oct 19, 2013 -
“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]
posted by fearfulsymmetry
on Oct 9, 2013 -
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]
posted by Quilford
on Oct 7, 2013 -
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]
posted by de
on Sep 22, 2013 -
Australian ABC Arts critic
, theatre blogger
, 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)."
posted by crossoverman
on Sep 21, 2013 -
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]
posted by deadwax
on Sep 18, 2013 -
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]
posted by Athanassiel
on Aug 21, 2013 -
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]
posted by filthy light thief
on May 28, 2013 -
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.
posted by Jimbob
on May 26, 2013 -
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.
posted by jontyjago
on May 25, 2013 -