First you had changing the Australian migration zone, then the Pacific Solution, and then boat turnbacks (and paying people smugglers for the same - a policy supported by both major parties), and then a murder in custody on Manus Island, and then allegations of rape, trafficking and traumatising children (some of whom try to hang themselves at 6yo) and spying on parliamentary oversight, and now a whistleblower says staff members at the Australian detention centre on Nauru - "a diverse workforce and provides continuing cultural awareness training" - employed waterboarding on asylum-seekers. [more inside]
Richard Cooke visits Rohingya refugees in Malaysia and looks at Australia's history of collaborating with human-rights abusers: "There’s a strange feeling in the room. An unusual aspect of being subjected to a 21st-century genocide-in-progress is that there are templates, blueprints, precedents. They know the fate of the Bosnian Muslims, of the Vietnamese boat people, of the Tutsis. They know this will take a long time, that their fate is uncertain. There is patience, and much more humour than I anticipated." [more inside]
Once upon a time, three Australian friends decided to take their private jokes and characters and turn them into a cartoon. Then something unexpected happened: they actually did it. This is THE BIG LEZ SHOW. Here's the compiled first season - links to episodes from all three seasons are after the break. Oh, and here's a recent podcast episode about it I just discovered. Warning: series contains profanity and depictions of drug use, yeeeewww fukken druggo. [more inside]
Adnyamathanha and Narungga man Adam Goodes is an Australian Rules football (AFL) player, two times winner of the highest individual award for the fairest and best player, as well as playing in two premiership winning games over his eighteen year career with the Sydney Swans. He works with indigenous youth in detention and co-chairs a foundation (with Michael O'Loughlin) working to empower the next generation of indigenous mentors. Goodes is a former Australian of the Year (2014) who recently said that "If people only remember me for my football, I've failed in life." So why are people booing Adam Goodes? [more inside]
Starting in the late 70s and throughout the 80s, Australian Rock strode the earth like a tiny, screaming colossus. Whether Hard Rock (drummer convicted of death threats), Pop Rock (lead singer dead from autoerotic aspyxiation), Pub Rock (lead singer's kids no longer forced to play), or what we'd now call Indie (they broke up, get over it) the 80s was the high water mark in Aus/NZ music history.Then the nineties and naughties ushered in an ero of reality-TV driven drivel... [more inside]
In the last decade, some cities have created unusual municipal projects using personal and institutional technologies and Open Data, to keep things running smoothly. In Chicago, there’s a text-based pothole tracker. Pittsburg, Chicago, NYC and other cities have snowplow trackers during winter storms. Boston asked people to adopt-a-hydrant and shovel them out after snowstorms. In Honolulu, you can adopt a tsunami siren. In 2013, the city of Melbourne assigned email addresses to 70,000 trees as part of their Urban Forest Project, so citizens could report problems. Instead, people wrote thousands of love letters to their favorite trees, and in many cases, the "trees" wrote back. [more inside]
BriggsGE, aka Adam Briggs, from a town called Shepparton, just dropped his latest track The Children Came Back featuring occasional collaborator Gurrumul, and Dewayne Everettsmith. It's not just a track though, it's an homage to Archie Roach's They Took the Children Away, in and of itself about The Stolen Generation. It features, amongst others, Samara Muir . It namedrops some of the best and brightest, and makes it clear - always was, always will be, Aboriginal land and this struggle is not over.
The Taman Shud case has been one of the world's great unsolved mysteries. Is an amateur enthusiast now on the verge of finally cracking the case? [more inside]
A short explanation of why an Australian state's parliament officially declared Eddie McGuire to be a boofhead. [more inside]
"Vivid Sydney is an 18 day festival of light, music and ideas bringing Australia's Emerald City to life as winter approaches. This year Vivid began on 22 May and finishes on 8 June. Just for once, I'll let my camera do the talking..." Example of a light show on the Customs House (YouTube, Doctor Who 50th Anniversary). [more inside]
The 2015 Eurovision Song Contest winner has now been crowned (previously), but the real stars of the contest were the fabulous and entertaining International Sign interpreters. [more inside]
Interview with a fast talker. Interview with a hand model. Interview with a Joss Whedon. Interview with the relentlessly positive. Interview with a cat lady. Interview with a racist. [more inside]
Episode 1 - In the toughest renovation show to ever hit our screens, New Zealand couple Marwyn and Jess have purchased Australia to turn it into the home of their dreams. Episode 2 - In this episode, our couple finally get a contractor to help them fix the national identity. Episode 3 - In this episode, our couple tackle the climate--and a big air con is beyond their budget. [more inside]
At Maralinga, the British Government treated Aborigines, Australian servicemen and even its own troops as scientific guinea pigs. John Keane, whose father was there, looks at the dirty games that were played in the desert of South Australia.
Remember this? The date-entry form no longer works, but that's okay, because now RAGEagain is here to automate (more than ever before) the process of reliving episodes of the beloved long-running minimalist Australian music video program rage from 1998 onwards, by automatically pulling songs listed on rage's archive of playlists from YouTube. [more inside]
The Minister for Men: a web series by Gretel Killeen. As background, it probably helps to know that Tony Abbott, Australian Prime Minister, appointed himself the Minister for Women. But the series is entertaining even without a background knowledge of Australian politics. [more inside]
The Australian Government has announced that parents who refuse to vaccinate their children (on the basis of a 'conscientious objection') will no longer have access to key government benefits, including taxpayer funded child care benefits, child care rebates and family tax benefit A. The plan is backed by the Australian Medical Association, and has bipartisan support. More coverage: Sydney Morning Herald. The Australian. Sky News. [more inside]
Belle Gibson and the Pernicious Cult of 'Wellness.' Jenny McCartney writes in The Spectator about the unraveling business empire and reputation of Australian celebrity "wellness" blogger and "cancer survivor" Belle Gibson. [more inside]
In a few short hours the final of the Cricket World Cup will be held at the 'G. With some games of the World Cup reaching a billion viewers globally, it has now come down to a dream final between co-hosts Australia, who have won the cup four times, and first time finalists New Zealand. [more inside]
Lee Lin Chin is an Australian television presenter best known for anchoring SBS World News for over a decade. She is also utterly hilarious, most recently attracting attention for her own take on a 'mean tweets' video. [more inside]
The Gympie Gympie is an Australian plant with spindly stems and heart-shaped light green leaves. Brushing your hand against it can make you throw up from the pain. Using it as toilet paper has made people shoot themselves. (SLio9)
With all of the national selections now made, let's take a look at how the Eurovision Song Contest's 60th anniversary is shaping up. Terribad songs ahead; enter at your own risk. [more inside]
"What I couldn't say" by Anita Sarkeesian, part of the "What I couldn't say" session at the All About Women Festival at the Sydney Opera House this week [more inside]
The UN has released a report finding that Australian policies may breach the international convention against torture. Prime Minister Tony Abbott's response? "I really think Australians are sick of being lectured to by the United Nations." * Not so much. Meanwhile, thousands of letters of support to detainees in Nauru have been returned, undelivered. [more inside]
Flood Live in Australia. They Might Be Giants has released a live cover of their album, Flood. Songs are recorded in reverse order because, you know, Australia.
While a few still fret about the ongoing fisticuffs in the eastern parts and the reluctance of Greece to repay a few bucks borrowed for the weekend from Germany, the real surprise, anger and confusion enveloping contemporary Europe is the admittance of Australia. [more inside]
'waiting for a heart attack': Ali Cobby Eckermann writes about her first-hand experience of the Northern Territory National Emergency Response as the Art Centre Manager at Titjikala. This includes poetry based on her experiences and this may trigger upsetting emotional issues for some readers as it deals with fall out of colonisation, alcoholism and domestic violence.
Kinja user "Curious Squid" is an Australian woman who moonlights as a prostitute. She keeps a diary of her life as a sex worker, writing about the banal (arranging jobs) to the very interesting (sexual violence against sex workers).
It's summer in Australia and that can only mean one thing: lots and lots of cricket! (Some previous discussions of cricket on Metafilter.) Cricket has long had a reputation as a "gentlemanly game", which quietly ignores the increasing popularity of women's cricket that has existed since 1745. Times change and some substantial technology is now being used to assist the umpires and referees. As the sport becomes more professional and attracts more money, controversy is increasing in these less genteel times. However, there is now one great ethical dilemma facing cricketers: should the batter voluntarily walk (dismiss themselves) when they know they are out, even if the umpire fails to give them out? [more inside]
Mel Campbell mines the Macquarie and her own Melbournian experience to come up with six divisive regional slang terms that just might result in an Australian civil war, if last year's Scallop War is anything to go by. [more inside]
Every year, Australia designates a week in August and spends that week actively celebrating and promoting science with events, activities, and general sciency-ness. Everybody has a great time doing hands-on experiments, looking at exhibitions, talking, laughing, viewing, inhaling, tasting science. This is known as the National Science WeekWhich is why in August of last year Signe Cane started her Common Year of daily science blogging, inspired to do so by Sarah Keenihan's 2012 (and still going) Science for Life daily science blogging project.
As a science writer and passionate nerd I would like every week to be science week.
In the 1950s, to clear an area for missle testing, the Australian government forcibly resettled a number of nomadic Aboriginal families. One was overlooked --- continuing to roam the desert without contact with any other humans, until 1984.
Global news sources are reporting a what appears to be a hostage taking at the Lindt Chocolate Café in Martin Place, Sydney, also home to the Reserve Bank of Australia. [more inside]
“I was in London on business in the fall of 2013 when an Australian colleague brought me to a coffee place at Canary Wharf,” says Jason Fox, the global head of product, technology, and program management at Reuters News Agency. “She ordered something called a ‘flat white,’ and I had no idea what it was, but she raved about it, and I got one too. I was hooked.” ("Meet the Flat White, the Coffee Drink Taking the U.S. by Storm", Bon Appétit)
Time Trap: a short comedy about time travel.
Flavor scientists in Australia have discovered a link between cup/container color and perceived coffee taste.
"He was a fun-loving, care-free sort of see-ball, hit-ball guy with a cheeky grin" ... "We would have late-night coffees and he would just be in awe of the fact he was playing for Australia.... He would just say 'I'm going to go out there and smash it bro'. That was how he would talk. He would not think about it. He would just go out there and whack the ball. He was just positive all the time, he never moaned or complained.Australian test cricketer Phillip Hughes has died in hospital two days after being hit by a bouncer during a match between South Australia and New South Wales in Sydney. [Warning: graphic images.] [more inside]
Gough Whitlam, the progressive Labor prime minister of Australia from 1972 to 1975, has died aged 98. [more inside]
Walsh agreed to pay Boltanski for the right to film his studio, outside Paris, twenty-four hours a day, and to transmit the images live to Walsh, in Tasmania. But the payment was turned into a macabre bet: the agreed fee was to be divided by eight years, and Boltanski was to be paid a monthly stipend, calculated as a proportion of that period, until his death. Should Boltanski, who was sixty-five years old, live longer than eight years, Walsh will end up paying more than the work is worth, and will have lost the bet. But if Boltanski dies within eight years the gambler will have purchased the work at less than its agreed-upon value, and won. "He has assured me that I will die before the eight years is up, because he never loses. He’s probably right," Boltanski told Agence France-Presse in 2009. "I don’t look after myself very well. But I’m going to try to survive." He added, "Anyone who never loses or thinks he never loses must be the Devil."—Tasmanian Devil is the story of David Walsh and his Museum of Old and New Art in Hobart, Tasmania, as told by recent Man Booker winner Richard Flanagan.
Cousu Main (which starts here) is an adaptation of The Great British Sewing Bee, and the blog of one of the participants features significant spoilers for this season. Although it's in French, the show is not hard for an English speaker to follow, just as Project Runway Vietnam (2013: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8), Project Runway Korea (2009: 1 2 3 4 5 6 ...), and Projeto Fashion from Brazil--among others--make some sense to those familiar with the English-language series Project Runway Australia, Project Runway Canada, Project Runway Malaysia (2007 finale: 1-5 and 6), Project Runway Philippines (2008: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15), and Mission Catwalk from Jamaica.
Barry Spurr, an expert on T. S. Eliot and the Virgin Mary, is Australia's first Professor of Poetry and Poetics. Appointed as one of two English subject specialists to the new Australian Review of the National Curriculum PDF, his concerns that "the Western literary canon" has been neglected and "the impact of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on literature in English in Australia" overemphasized in the existing curriculum are quoted liberally in the final report, which recommends that: "There ... needs to be a greater emphasis on dealing with and introducing literature from the Western literary canon, especially poetry," in Australian schools. The report has met with approval in the right-wing Australian press. Now, emails leaked to the New Matilda show that Spurr has spent the past several years sending messages from his University of Sydney email account referring to Native Australians as "Abos" and human "rubbish" and Asians as "chinky poos," calling Nelson Mandela a "darkie," Desmond Tutu a "witch doctor," and his own Vice Chancellor "an appalling minx," comparing Methodists to "serpents," and referring to women generally as "whores." Now, in the wake of the New Matilda exposé, the University of Sydney is investigating the emails and the Australian Education Minister is denying that the Abbott administration had anything to do with Spurr's appointment. Spurr, meanwhile, maintains that the emails were nothing more than "a whimsical linguistic game" and "repartee" shared with friends, which went right over the heads of the New Matilda journalists. There is also a petition to dismiss Spurr from the Review Commission.
Planned cities are not a new idea (Palmanova, Italy, 1593). From Washington, D.C. (1791), to Canberra, Australia (1911), to Brasilia, Brazil (1957), planned cities have long been an urban dream (from space), perhaps most frequently applied to national capitals. But they don't always work out as planned. [more inside]