Opinion

We shouldn’t airbrush Margaret Court or anyone else from our history

Margaret Court Arena 1a Pat Scala

We are a mad, shortsighted, often awful and contradictory species. Julia Baird The Sydney Morning Herald Margaret Court has provided ample evidence of that this week, with bizarre and ignorant remarks as she attempted to explain her boycotting of Qantas because of its support of same sex-marriage. When she swung from biblical arguments about the definition of marriage, to musing on whether there was a… We shouldn’t airbrush… Read More »

Australian government’s citizenship test moves political, not practical

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No better than the old police gag: And when did you stop beating your wife, Sir? Editorial The Age There is consensus across the political spectrum that immigration has been a boon for this country. Australia is often, and rightly, held up as one of the most successful multicultural communities. We have long derived huge social and economic benefits from diversity. So the recent posturing, and… Australian government’s citizenship… Read More »

The ugly side of politics we rarely hear about

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You may think the media is full of the argy-bargy of politics, full to saturation point. There is, however, a level of politics we rarely hear about. Ross Gittins Brisbane Times You may not have noticed, but it raised its ugly head at the time of the budget earlier this month. One sign was the anger, almost outrage, of the big banks when, on budget night, Scott Morrison surprised them by announcing a small new tax on them. Why weren’t we… ... Read More »

When politicians bully, judges and journalists need to stand firm

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Donald Trump and Peter Dutton have both criticised the judiciary and the media. What does it say about their grasp of the functions of democracy? Richard Ackland The Guardian ”We had a very smooth roll out of the travel ban, but we had a bad court. We’ve had a bad decision.” That was Donald Trump at his White House press conference after the ninth circuit court of… When politicians bully… Read More »

Charismatic leaders: Too much of a good thing?

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Leaders with moderate amounts of charisma seen as more effective than those with high or low levels, study says American Psychological Association EurekAlert! WASHINGTON — How important is charisma in a leader? While at least a moderate level is important, too much may hinder a leader’s effectiveness, according to research published by the… “Our findings suggest that organizations may want to consider selecting applicants with mid… Charismatic leaders: Too… Read More »

“The Responsibility of Intellectuals”: An Exchange

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The following private correspondence took place after the publication of Noam Chomsky’s essay in the February 23 issue of The New York Review: George Steiner, reply by Noam Chomsky Dear Professor Chomsky, I write to express my admiration for your lucid and compelling essay in the New York Review of Books. This piece will mean a great deal to all who share your worry and to many who are now beginning to learn how vital that worry is to our ... Read More »

Cyprus Responds to Bloomberg Article: Nicos Christodoulides

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To the Editor: Re article, “EU Passports for Sale in Cyprus Lure Rich Russians” (Originally published on May 11): Whilst we are strong advocates of independent and οbjective journalism, we regret to note that this article remains in our view a biased account. Bloomberg The citizenship by investment program is an investment program and in no way constitutes a “sale οf ΕU passports,” “sale οf ΕU citizenship” or “money-for-passports program” as is repeatedly and… Cyprus Responds to… Read More »

Bacteria Are Evolving To Eat The Plastic We Dump Into The Oceans

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The ocean is full of plastic, a grim marker of the Anthropocene. There are floating, continent-size patches of it in the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, and there are newly formed ones in the Arctic. IFLscience New Scientist There are some uninhabited islands that are drowning in the stuff. Weirdly, though, scientists have come to the conclusion that, based on the amount of plastic we make every year, there is only about one… Bacteria Are Evolving… Read More »

Empowering Children to Lead Positive Social Change

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Children have great capacity to affect the lives of those around them, writes Dr Andrea Lemon, CEO and founding co-director of Kids… Andrea Lemon Pb When children are given the skills, responsibility and opportunity to think and act creatively and independently, spectacular things can happen  –  to them, and to their whole… I have just returned from the National Rural Health Conference in Cairns, where Kids Thrive was invited to present the… Empowering Children to… Read More »

Don’t let psychopathic murderers suppress our common humanity

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In the face of horror, let no one distract us from the magnificent facts of our nature: neither the terrorists nor those who demand we lash out George Monbiot  The Guardian It is a blow to the heart: an atrocity whose purpose was to kill and maim as many children and teenagers as possible. No parent, hearing the voices of those still seeking news of their children, could fail to imagine the frantic play of hope and despair, the terrible ... Read More »

Quality journalism is about more than just unearthing scandals and injustice

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With the demise of ABC presenter Mark Colvin a fortnight ago – a journalist of exceptional intelligence and integrity – it’s difficult not to feel that his death marks the… Sarah Gill The Age The end of an era, perhaps. There’s no doubt that the week of Colvin’s passing was a pretty bleak one for Australian journalism. His final days were foreshadowed by a week-long Fairfax strike and the launch of an Australian Senate inquiry into the future of public… ... Read More »

Twiggy Forrest’s philanthropy is great. But he could have just paid more tax

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It’s true philanthropy is more common in the USA. So is tax minimisation, citizens without health insurance and homelessness Kristina Keneally The Guardian Fortescue Metals Group founder and billionaire Andrew “Twiggy” Forrest and his wife Nicola made the single biggest philanthropic donation by a living person in Australian history on… For that, they are to be congratulated… Twiggy Forrest’s philanthropy… Read More »

Peter Dutton’s fake war on asylum seekers

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Peter Dutton’s war on “fake refugees” is misleading, based on a false premise and dangerous in that it pre-empts a fair hearing of claims for refugee… Michael Gordon The Sydney Morning Herald The message is that thousands of asylum seekers who arrived on boats in the Labor years have not lodged protection claims because they are not refugees and are intent on taking the… Quite simply, the Minister for… Peter Dutton’s fake… Read More »

Is the Universe a Hologram?

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Scientists Answer the Most Provocative Questions Science today is more a process of collaboration than moments of individual “eurekas.” * By Adolfo Plasencia * Foreword by Tim O’Reilly * The MIT Press Overview This book recreates that kind of synergy by offering a series of interconnected dialogues with leading scientists who are asked to reflect on key questions and concepts about the physical world, technology, and the mind. These thinkers offer both… Is the Universe… Read More »

Standing royal commission to protect the vulnerable

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All Australians should be appalled at allegations about NSW mental health units and group homes for the disabled. Editorial The Sydney Morning Herald The Herald, like many Australians, adheres to Gandhi’s adage: “The true measure of any society is how well it treats its most vulnerable.” With great regret, then, we all must recognise that abuses and mistreatment of the vulnerable occur daily in our neighbourhoods, communities, towns and… Standing royal commission… Read More »

A Patient With Diabetes No Longer Needs Insulin After Receiving A Bioengineered “Pancreas”

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A year after receiving a new type of islet cell transplant to treat her severe diabetes, a patient continues to do well and no longer needs insulin injections to manage her disease. Kristin Houser Futurism Even the most exciting breakthrough medical treatment can be rendered obsolete by a particularly insurmountable obstacle: time. A HAPPY ANNIVERSARY If a treatment only works temporarily, it has… A Patient With… Read More »