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]
As reported a few hours ago in The Australian, the right wing faction of the Australian Labor Party rolls on Rudd and a caucus meeting is scheduled for 9 tomorrow morning, where it's predicted that he'll lose the ballot. One senior party source said: "This crypto-facist made no effort to build a base within the party and now his only faction - Newspoll - has deserted him. He is gone."
After suspending all asylum applications from Sri Lanka and Afghanistan, the Australian Government has made a series of confronting youtube videos showing the dangers of the sea, and the arrest and detention of asylum seekers. [more inside]
listening grooving to ABC News in Australia, or 7 News, or Ten. And now, over to the UK for the BBC or Sky News. Don't listen to the others! They are false prophets!
Salo has been discussed before here in the blue, but last week the Australian Classification Review Board determined that the DVD release can be classified R18+ (available, but with sale restricted to adults), if it includes 3 hours of additional material proposed by the potential distributor, Shock. In the decision, the Board notes that the additional material "facilitates wider consideration of the context of the film." While this decision is a win for anti-censorship campaigners and film buffs, it may not be the final chapter. The film has had a checkered history in Australia. The Board's media release is here (PDF).
The Worst Of Perth showcases the worst in public art, architecture, design, fashion, car culture, graffiti and suburban landscape in and around Perth in Western Australia, with the occasional public victory over bad art. Substantially NSFW.
In 2009, four Buddhist nuns (Bhikkunis) were secretly ordained in Australia - the first ever ordination of Bhikkunis in Australia, and a first for the Thai Forest tradition anywhere. London-born Ajahn Brahm, a long-time supporter of women's equality in Buddhism, facilitated the ordination. For this he was expelled from his community, the Wat Pa Phong Sangha, and his monastery's status was revoked. This video summarizes the conflict, and is possibly the first use of the Downfall meme related to Buddhism. This March, more nuns were ordained in the UK for the first time since the Australia controversy, but they're still not equal to male monks. This blog post discusses sexism, fundamentalism, and the conflict between East and West. The modern opposition to bhikkhuni ordination is no ancient Buddhist tradition. It can be traced no earlier, so far as I am aware, than the abhorrent 1928 ruling against bhikkhuni in Thailand, made by monks who thought it reasonable to arrest nuns and throw them in jail for ordaining. [more inside]
"Whybin TBWA Australia and The Sydney International Food Festival cooked up a clever way to promote last year’s fest — they used iconic foods from the participating countries to recreate their flags. From the green-white-red of basil-spaghetti-tomatoes to the orange-white-green of tikka masala-rice-saag, the results are both appetizing and a little reminiscent of middle-school geography class. Which brings us to our challenge: Can you correctly identify these 12 culinary flags?" [more inside]
An Australian Madoff? Trio Capital, an Australian fund manager, has been ordered to wind up its funds after being unable to account for $123 million in its Astarra fund since investigations began in October. The fund "has a total of $426 million under management - including superannuation savings of about 10,000 Australians." Some worry what this means for more potential frauds in Australia's "privatized social security." [more inside]