Brandis confuses right to be heard with right to be taken seriously

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In a recent interview, federal attorney-general George Brandis laments that deniers of climate science are being “excluded” from the debate. On the surface this seems a justifiable complaint, but the point hangs on what he means by “excluded”. Brandis said he was: …really shocked by the sheer authoritarianism of those who would have excluded from the debate the point of ... Read More »

Antisemitism: A Good Idea to Find the Real Culprit


While translating an article about antisemitic attacks in Sweden it occurred to me that the automatic  blaming of the usual suspects occurs here, in Australia, as well.  Several incidents of antisemitism and/or attack on the Australasian Union of Jewish Students [AUJS} have occurred  over the past month or so. I'm far from convinced that the conventional wisdom that blames left-wing ... Read More »

Robb Fast-Tracks UAE Uranium Deal

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The Federal Government has signed another uranium export deal with a dubious overseas partner – and without inspecting the country’s facilities. We need an independent inquiry, writes Dave Sweeney In a move that marks the first time Australia uranium would be sold to the Middle East, Trade Minister Andrew Robb is fast-tracking a nuclear cooperation agreement with the United Arab ... Read More »

Behind Turkey’s Roaring

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Turkey’s refusal to submit flight plans for its military airplanes is consistent with its doctrine of preemptive strike when the time is ripe. Turkey’s doctrine developed from the fact that not only it went unpunished for a number of rogue actions that it perpetrated against Greek interests especially after it joined NATO, but it was additionally rewarded for the same ... Read More »

Science funding cuts are vandalism

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Sixty years ago, the then prime minister Robert Menzies was hailing the achievements of the CSIRO as ”miracles”. In 1953, Menzies used the CSIRO to illustrate the point that some in society who contributed substantially to progress were most often unrecognised. The context for Menzies’ comments was the part the CSIRO had played in assisting the economy through breakthroughs in ... Read More »

Did removing lead from petrol spark a decline in crime?


Many Western nations have experienced significant declines in crime in recent decades, but could the removal of lead from petrol explain that? Working away in his laboratory in 1921, Thomas Midgley wanted to fuel a brighter tomorrow. He created tetraethyl lead – a compound that would make car engines more efficient than ever. But did the lead that we added ... Read More »

Dementia, it’s all in the mind

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Everyone forgets things – even premiers. But those middle-aged memory lapses do not necessarily presage the onset of dementia. Is it possible, from a scientific point of view, that former NSW premier Barry O’Farrell had a ”senior moment” when he forgot about the $3000 bottle of wine he received as a gift? Kind of. At 56,   O’Farrell is deep into ... Read More »