John Green: "Why Are Americans Health Care Costs So High?" A quick, handy little overview of common misconceptions on the US healthcare system. (SLYT)
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]
Bad Jelly. Trying retro recipes so you don't have to. (Some images involving fruit may be NSFW. )
So much rain fell on Australia during 2010-11 that global sea levels dropped, rather than normally rising. Australia has large basins from which rainwater doesn't drain (well). Australia is giving it back as evaporation and sea levels are on the rise again thanks. The record breaking rainfall was attributed to global warming.
Noah Veltman gives us a comparison of Google Search Suggestions By Country for America, Canada, the UK, Australia, and New Zealand.
tholman.com is the playground and folio of interactive developer Tim Holman, where he has posted 15 different projects, both interactive (fizzy cam [info/demo]; ZenPen; Texter; and Image Nodes) and passive (Meet the Ipsums, more than 30 text generators, from corporate to batman; the useless web; dripping paint). [more inside]
"Echo Point" is a chilling, sound-rich supernatural radio drama written by Australian author Louis Nowra. Originally aired on BBC Radio 4, it is now available on SoundCloud via producer/director Judith Kampfner. [more inside]
Let's go back to 1982 and let Jim Butterfield not only tell you about the Commodore 64, but really show you what it's all about, in a two hour demonstration and training video that takes you from opening the box to coding with the Commodore. (on YouTube, and with a different intro on Archive.org) [more inside]
Tomorrow, the 2013 Ashes series (England verses Australia) begins with the start of the first match at Trent Bridge (Nottingham). Though England and Australia have battled since 1861, the Ashes were first contested in 1882. Australia lead England 31-30 in series victories. England start as strong favorites with the bookmakers. Glenn McGrath cautiously predicts a 2-1 Australia series win, whilst Ian Botham predicts a 10-0 wipeout for England over the two series. The 2013 Ashes will be streamed live to 53 countries over YouTube. With Britain in the grip of unusual summer weather (sun), much play is likely. [more inside]
A case currently before the International Court of Justice has Australia (supported by New Zealand) seeking to either stop the flagrant abuse of a loophole in the International Whaling Commission's rules by Japan, or a nasty cultural imperialist "moral crusade" attempt to suppress a sustainable, ancient tradition of killing whales with factory ships around Antarctica. You can watch Court arguments here.
From Australia Day 2011 to Australia Day 2012 (26 January, natch) John Thompson posted a different Australian folk song on his blog each day, starting with Mortom Bay and ending of course with Waltzing Matilda. For those who'd like the full audio visual Aussie folk experience, there's also Raymond Crooke's Youtube playlist.
Former Labor leader and Prime Minister Kevin Rudd defeated her in a Labor Party leadership spill, 57-45, on Wednesday. The result has triggered a wave of cabinet resignations, including that of the erstwhile Midnight Oiler and Minister for School Education, Minister for Early Childhood and Youth, Peter Garrett. Previously.
The upcoming game Saints Row 4, an over-the-top open world action game that features weapons like a Dubstep Gun, has been refused classification (banned) in Australia. The new R18 classification for games was supposed to make this less common, but Saints Row 4's (trigger warning) 'alien anal probe' weapon and 'alien narcotics' have caused it to fall afoul of the new guidlines. Developer Deep Silver said they'll resubmit Saint's Row 4 to the reclassification board, while The Guardian sees this as evidence of Australia's conservative culture. Saints Row previously.
In a Sydney Morning Herald exclusive, an international team of archeologists have revealed the discovery of a hitherto unknown city in Cambodia.
Dr Evans, director of the University of Sydney's archaeological research centre in Cambodia, said the ''eureka moment'' in the discovery came weeks earlier when the lidar data popped up on a computer screen. ''With this instrument - bang - all of a sudden we saw an immediate picture of an entire city that no one knew existed which is just remarkable,'' he said.Mahendraparvata, as the city is known, is estimated to be 350 years older than the UNESCO Heritage site of Angkor Wat, built on on Phnom Kulen before Jayavarman II descended from the mountain to build another capital. As Dr Evans said ''This is where it all began, giving rise to the Angkor civilisation that everyone associates with Angkor Wat." The news comes on the heels of the recent repatriation of looted archeological treasures back to Cambodia by the New York Metropolitan museum.
As an investigation is launched into men in the Australian Army circulating explicit and derogatory material about their female colleagues, Lieutenant General David Morrison, Chief of Army, delivers a searing rebuke to those who perpetuate or condone the harassment of women in the military.
Yunupingu, former Yothu Yindi frontman, has died at 56 Yunupingu was the the first Indigenous Australian from Arnhem Land to gain a university degree. He Co-founded Yothu Yindi in 1986. Yothu Yindi released six major albums, from 1988 to 2000. The band was nominated for 12 ARIA music awards between 1992 and 1997. They won eight awards, including Song of the Year for Treaty. Yunupingu was inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame in 2012 Yunupingu was named Australian of the Year in 1992 for his role in building relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities. He died aged 56 at his home in Yirrkala, NT, after fighting kidney disease for over 5 years.
Fat City. Physician Karen Hitchcock writes eloquently in The Monthly on obesity in Australia and the obesity-as-disease paradigm.
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]
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.
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. Switzerland:
- Zermatt to Gornergrat in Summer (50m)
- Zermatt to Gornergrat in Winter Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 (30m)
- Le Train de Vignes (11m)
Nicholas J. Johnson is a no good dirty rotten cheat. So when he invites you to play an incredible new game that he’s invented, you probably shouldn’t come…
Why Australia hates thinkers, an essay on anti-intellectualism in today's Australia and the populist hostility to “intellectual elites”, by Alecia Simmonds.
Three young filmmakers from Melbourne, Australia were set to make a short film on the serenity of fly fishing, focusing on a man named Phipps who lived on a lake in central Tasmania. Once they met Phipps, however, that all changed. Here is a glimpse into Phipps' beautiful, quiet world. [more inside]
David Glasheen was a wealthy executive in the 1980's, but he lost about $10 million in the 1987 market crash. That was his family's fortune, which lead to their house was repossessed by the bank, then his marriage of 22-years ended. Glasheen found his way to the semi-remote Restoration Island, where Captain William Bligh landed after the mutiny on the Bounty. Once Glasheen settled down, it was his plan was to live as a custodian of the island, until he died. Unfortunately, the beer-brewing hermit who hopes for love might be forced to leave, due to the fact that he hasn't been able to get an eco resort built on the property. [more inside]
Tripod are an Australian comedy trio primarily known for the parodic humor, amusing lyrics, and musical talent displayed in their many performances on TV and at festivals. In 2010, Scod, Yon, and Gatesy teamed up with jazz singer Elana Stone to perform their greatest work yet: a two hour musical set in a Dungeons and Dragons campaign.
Antony Green's Election Calculator Compare your own predictions with Antony Green’s. Handy list of recent past polls to see just what sort of caning the Gillard government might be in for. Probably more fun for coalition voters than Labor voters.
Extinction got you down? Try de-extinction! Our species has played a role in the extinction of ... many other species. But now some scientists are proposing a radical turn of the tables: Bringing lost species back from the dead. How to Resurrect Lost Species. [more inside]
Mining Boom are a Perth band whose videos for the fuzzed out pop songs Telecom and Craigie (NSFW language) use found footage to invoke and skewer a sense of nostalgic Australiana.
If you follow music chart news in Australia at all, you might have heard of a young chap who goes by Flume, born Harley Streten in November '91. Now a mere 21 years old, Flume's self-titled debut knocked One Direction off the #1 spot last November (though the boy band ended up out-ranking the homegrown talent in following charts) and earlier this month bumped Bieber down a notch on the Aussie charts, too. But what is the sound of this Australian chart-topper? There's plenty of the "spectral beats ... 21st-century, post-glitchpop" on his Soundcloud page, including the complete album, or as individual tracks on Grooveshark. [more inside]
The plot is thickening in the lead-up to the Australian national elections. "'I said a week or so ago everyone should take a long cold shower,' Mr Rudd told Channel Seven on Friday morning. 'What I'd say to Malcolm and you Joe (Hockey) is it's time to jump in the ice bath'." [more inside]
Sneezing in Slow Motion; somehow simultaneously more fascinating, terrifying, and disgusting than you'd imagine it'd be. [more inside]
A recent genetic study suggests that around 2200 BC explorers from India arrived and settled on the continent of Australia. "Unlike their European successors, these earlier settlers were assimilated by the locals. And they brought with them both technological improvements and one of Australia’s most iconic animals." [SLEconomist]
Liloing: "the art [pdf] of enjoying oneself paddling down a river on an inflatable rubber mattress,* shooting the odd friendly rapid." Groups like Span Outdoors organize liloing trips, and much discussion of liloing can be found at bushwalk.com. (*i.e., a lilo)
When 17th-century Dutch captain Willem de Vlamingh encountered what he described as "a kind of rat as big as a common cat" on on island off the western coast of Australia, he quickly dubbed it "Rats' Nest". Despite the insult, these marsupials aren't known to hold a grudge: the Quokkas, native to what is still known as Rottnest Island and nearby isles, are some of the happiest-looking, most inquisitive furry critters around.
After years of deliberation, Australia finally have an R 18 rating for games, allowing a wider range of games to be legally released in Australia. The first game to be rated R18 will be Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge, a Wii U game that will receive that rating due to its 'high impact bloody violence'.
It's so hot in Australia they've added a new color to the weather map, a Tasmania-sized deep purple blob 50 degrees or more (123 F). In the USA 2012 was the hottest year ever recorded, smashing through previous records by a healthy margin. 2012 was also the second-worst on a measure called the Climate Extremes Index, surpassed only by 1998. Globally, 2012 is expected to be ranked as the eighth-warmest year on record, with that announcement coming later in the month. "Climate change has had a role in this,” said Jake Crouch, a climate scientist at NOAA.
A new MP, Gloria De Piero was taken aback by how many people despised her because of her new profession. So she took to the streets to find out why. [more inside]
Computer Boy! (also available here): Abe Forsythe made the movie Computer Boy when he was just 18. It's a 50 min. spoof of The Matrix that was filmed in less than two weeks at actual Matrix shooting locations in Australia and cost just over $2000 to make.* It became a cult hit when it was released online in 2000 & was one of the first internet films to hit 500,000 views.* (wikipedia, imdb) [more inside]
The Guardian, the 191-year-old British daily newspaper whose name is synonymous with broadly left-leaning values, is reported to be planning to open an Australian online-only news operation. The venture (which has not been confirmed) is said to be headed by current Saturday Guardian editor Katherine Viner, and to be a joint venture with Australian philanthropist Graeme Wood, who already runs a not-for-profit media site). The Guardian already runs a US online news operation (previously) with local reportage and commentary. [more inside]
Dame Elisabeth Murdoch, AC DBE, wife of Sir Keith and mother of Rupert, was an outspoken philanthropist. She died overnight in Australia, aged 103.
“a board sign which announced in fading paint but one word: STORE. Just in case the traveler might be in some doubt.”
Harrods, in the bustling heart of London, is in a good location for a shop. So is the Macy’s in Herald Square, which boasts of serving 350,000 New Yorkers every day at Christmas time. Whereas down at the Mulka Store, in the furthermost reaches of South Australia, George and Mabel Aiston used to think themselves lucky if they pulled in a customer a week.The Loneliest Shop In The World [more inside]
Frog Dreaming, aka The Quest (North America), aka Go Kids (UK), aka The Spirit Chaser (Sweden) features Henry Thomas as an American orphan in Australia investigating an aboriginal legend at a flooded quarry in Devils Knob national park. And yes, it's available in its entirety on youtube.
Bryce Courtenay, prolific Australian author, dies. "Courtenay, who has been suffering from stomach cancer, died in Canberra late on Thursday with his wife Christine, son Adam, and his family pets, Tim the dog and Cardamon the Burmese cat, by his side. He was 79."
I am Hazara Close to 1,000 Hazaras have been killed in targeted attacks and shootings in [Quetta] the capital of Pakistan’s largest province [Baluchistan]. The indifference towards the atrocities has forced this shrinking community to take escape routes and gamble between life at the promised land and death at the ocean. Dawn, Pakistan's largest English-language daily, puts together an essay accompanied by short videos (subtitled in English).