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]
Joanna Goddard has been interviewing American women raising their children in other countries, to hear how motherhood around the world compared and contrasted with motherhood in America. She's talked to parents in Norway, Japan, Congo, Northern Ireland, Mexico, Abu Dhabi, India, England, China, Germany, Australia, Turkey, and Chile. [more inside]
Street-fighting 'roos. Irritable marsupials duke it out. Who will be crowned king of the cul-de-sac?
"Not since the days of Mike Brown’s conviction of obscenity over 50 years ago have Australian police successfully prosecuted an artist over such charges. These repeated failures have not, however, stopped the police from trying." [more inside]
Australian journalists must ask what agenda they serve At the end of a week of much media hysteria about terrorism, the Senate passed arguably the most significant restraints on press freedom in Australia outside of wartime.
We Made Young Liberals And Young Labor Date Each Other Vice Australia: "Who are those students who join political clubs at university? They wear suits, push flyers, and disagree by default, but what makes them tick? To find out we paired them up with the people they disagree with most—students from opposing parties—and made them go on dates with each other."
The secret ingredient in Geoff Beattie’s rich dark fruit cake. Need a heartwarming story? "Geoff Beattie had arrived. Show after show, city after city, state after state, word began to spread about the mysterious widowed dairy farmer who was toppling the greats of Australian show cooking." Might you or someone you know have had a similar experience?
I am on the western edge of the United States-Mexico border to understand more about the most publicised and most crossed border in the world. Ben Stubbs visits one of the most notorious borders in the world and reflects on Australia's frontier issues.
March in August: thousands rally against Tony Abbott by taking to streets:
Thousands of protesters have taken to the streets for the latest wave of protests against the federal government.[more inside]
Demonstrations were held in cities across the country, including Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide, to protest against a range of of social and economic policies being implemented by the Abbott government.
About 3,000 protesters marched through Sydney, voicing their concerns on a range of issues, from Australia's asylum seeker policies, to education cuts and the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.
Delhi College of Linguistics presents How to Talk Australians. (YouTube playlist).
Up, up and g'day: Superdoreen is Miss Galaxy 1982 A fascinating peek into Australian history and culture through a tiny sliver of artwork. [more inside]
Featured in the Australian literary journal Meanjin, Restless Indigenous Remains is a Paul Daley essay on how the Australian government's National Museum handles the remains of Indigenous people accumulated during Australia's colonial period. An engaging, thoughtful and sobering piece, it covers the history of 'remains collection' in Australia, as well as the current debate concerning whether the Indigenous defenders against colonial expansion should be recognized by the Australian War Memorial.
First world war – a century on, time to hail the peacemakers "On the 100th anniversary of the start of the Great War, we should remember those who tried to stop a catastrophe" [more inside]
Stephen "Hoppy" Hopkins reports finding a large-bodied earthworm, tentatively identified as Martiodrilus crassus, in Provincia de Napo, Ecuador. The internet weighs in: real or fake? [more inside]
Why the modern bathroom is a wasteful, unhealthy design (The Guardian): "Piped water may be the greatest convenience ever known but our sewage systems and bathrooms are a disaster" [more inside]
You're Drinking the Wrong Kind of Milk: "The A1/A2 debate has raged for years in Australia, New Zealand, and parts of Europe, but it is still virtually unheard of across the pond. That could soon change..." [more inside]
In the July issue of The Monthly, John van Tiggelen tells the tale of “The Destruction of the Triabunna Mill and the Fall Of Tasmania's Woodchip Industry,” detailing how “How the end of Gunns cleared a new path for Tasmania.” [more inside]
The Umbilical Brothers are the best mime with words duo act you might ever have the chance to see. Their performances combine mime with ordinary dialogue and vocal sound effects. They use puppetry, slapstick, mimicry and audience participation, and make scant use of props and lighting. [more inside]
It's NAIDOC week in Australia. NAIDOC stands for National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee, which dates from the 1920s. NAIDOC Week is held in the first full week of July. It is a time to celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and an opportunity to recognise the contributions that Indigenous Australians make to our country and our society. ... Music and more inside. [more inside]
From the album of the same name recorded in Jamaica in 1979, Serge Gainsbourg smokes, samples and sings "La Marseillaise" to a loping reggae beat, leaves out some words and titles it "Aux armes, et cætera", thereby deeply offending some of his co-citoyens. I was recently discussing the Marseillaise with a French person, who linked me to Gainsbourg's version. My friend agreed that musically his country's national anthem was wonderful, but said the violence of the lyrics disgusted him. It's interesting to consider a nation's official anthem in the cultural and political setting of its birth, and then contrast with the present day. [more inside]
Rainbow-Cake Recipe Inspires Comment Apocalypse - sometimes you should read the comments, because they're an amazing trainwreck.
Today the High Court of Australia ruled (Williams v Commonwealth of Australia  HCA 23) for the second time that Commonwealth funding of school chaplains was unconstitutional. This is in direct contradiction of the Abbott government's recent budget moves to totally defund secular counsellors in favour of a $244M school chaplaincy program[me]. [more inside]
The award-winning Australian television series McLeod's Daughters aired from 2001 – 2009. A drama, the story begins by following the lives of half sisters Claire and Tess McLeod, reunited after they inherit a vast outback cattle farm (“Drover’s Run”), that has been handed down through the men in their family for generations. 224 episodes were produced, and all are available on YouTube. [more inside]
While Australian public TV channels ABC2 and SBS2 contemplate a possible merger, on their official Twitter accounts sparks fly.