Opinion

Sting in the tail of strict High Court ruling

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Time this week seems to be on the government’s side: the Treasurer on Tuesday handed out a budget that promised significant tax cuts, and a return to surplus, largely through a series of complex choices about timing. Rosalind Dixon Brisbane Times And the High Court ruled Wednesday that ALP Senator Katy Gallagher was incapable of being chosen for the Senate at the last federal election, because at the time she nominated as a candidate the UK Home Secretary had not ... Read More »

Hybrid World Adelaide: Connecting the dots to spark AI consciousness

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What is consciousness? It’s an age-old mystery that’s long frustrated scientists, yet one that could be partially answered, subjectively speaking, when a hi-tech festival opens in Adelaide during July. ABC Radio Adelaide By Malcolm Sutton Among speakers at the second annual Hybrid World Adelaide tech conference will be Phillip Alveda, a former program director of the US Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). He started a program at DARPA to develop its brain-machine interface beyond just using implants that connect ... Read More »

A woman’s right to live as she chooses is again under threat

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All sorts of scaremongering is used by opponents of a woman’s right to control her own body. In their ability to quote nonsense as fact and trot out debunked or out-dated “studies” to support their arguments, these people rival the anti-vaxxers. Jane Caro Brisbane Times Women are warned that abortion increases their chances of breast cancer – wrong. They are told that it affects their chances of being able to have babies later on – also wrong. And that it ... Read More »

Japan has a form of capitalism that works

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Japan deserves the Nobel Prize for applied economics. I say this not because Japan’s capitalism has no flaws, but because the overall outcome produced by the Japanese economic system is extremely… Jesper Koll The Japan Times Japan manages to balance income growth and income distribution so well that, unlike many other advanced economies, Japan’s society is resilient against the rise of popular nationalism a-la Donald Trump in America, Jean-Marie Le Pen in France or Xi Jinping in… The goal of ... Read More »

AI will spell the end of capitalism

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BEIJING — The most momentous challenge facing socio-economic systems today is the arrival of artificial intelligence. Feng Xiang The Washington Post If AI remains under the control of market forces, it will inexorably result in a super-rich oligopoly of data billionaires who reap the wealth created by robots that displace human labor, leaving massive unemployment in their wake. But China’s socialist market economy could provide a solution to this. If AI rationally allocates resources through big data analysis, and if ... Read More »

New Study Links African Conflict to Lack of Term Limits

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This week, Chad’s parliament voted to introduce a new constitution that will allow two more terms for President Idriss Deby, who has led the country since 1990. Salem Solomon VoA On May 17, Burundians will vote on a constitutional amendment that would enable President Pierre Nkurunziza, president since 2005, to stay in office an additional 16… And in the Democratic Republic of Congo, a worsening humanitarian crisis unfolds while President Joseph Kabila refuses to step down, despite reaching the end ... Read More »

Chinese dissident: Trump, don’t trade away democratic values

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As U.S. representatives visit China this week to talk about trade negotiations, President Donald Trump and his administration have an opportunity to take advantage of a pivotal moment. Chen Guangcheng The Washington Post Trump should pressure the Chinese regime to make real, substantive change regarding the rule of law and human rights, both to form the basis of a fair and stable trade relationship going forward and to reassert America’s embrace of… In 2001, the United States granted China a legal status ... Read More »

Researchers discover ‘switchblade’ lurking in faces of stonefish

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Researchers have discovered a new feature of stonefish – and if the potentially deadly animals hadn’t already scared you off barefoot rock pool capers, this might push you over the edge. Jenny Noyes The Canberra Times Adding to the array of defense mechanisms the fish are already known to possess – venom, spines (which hurt and shoot poison right into your foot), camouflage that makes them seamlessly blend in with rocks and coral – biologists from Kansas have now discovered the creatures that lurk… It’s basically ... Read More »

Gaia’s Map of 1.3 Billion Stars Makes for a Milky Way in a Bottle

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Call it a galaxy in a bottle. Last Wednesday, astronomers in Europe released a three-dimensional map of the Milky Way. Dennis Overbye The New York Times It is the most detailed survey ever produced of our home galaxy. It contains the vital statistics of some 1.3 billion stars — about one percent of the whole galaxy. Not to mention measurements of almost half a million quasars, asteroids and other flecks in the night. Analyzing all these motions and distances, astronomers ... Read More »

Young and old need a new social contract

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Providing healthcare for the elderly and homes for the young requires a major shift in thinking Torsten Bell The Guardian We need to follow the lead of Britain’s families and put in the hard work to renew the contract between the generations You don’t get a better Britain by chance – you have to build it. Nor are we likely to overcome the divides facing our country by accident – we have to unify it. But when it comes to ... Read More »

The failings of super-minister Dutton

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Peter Dutton is arguably the most powerful person in the country. In his new ministry he has oversight for national security, for the Federal Police, Border Force and ASIO, for the law enforcement and emergency management functions of the Attorney-General’s Department, the transport security functions of the Department of Infrastructure, Regional Development and Cities, the counterterrorism and cybersecurity functions of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, the multicultural affairs functions of the Department of Social Services, and the… Julian ... Read More »

Erdogan’s Revenge and the Kurdish Dilemma

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After 4,000 years of continuous habitation, there is no Kurdish presence left in Afrin. Maurice Glasman * The Nation Arriving in Baghdad, it is clear who has won the Iraq War. The Shia are in charge. Tower-sized, luminous green posters of Husseyn and Ali define the landscape, draped from Brezhnevite tower blocks, augmented by portraits of martyred fighters in identical uniforms, with a prominent place for Nimr Baqir al-Nimr, the Shia cleric executed by the Saudis. These are reproduced in ... Read More »

Another man waging war on women

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A 25-year-old man stands accused this week of murdering 10 people after he allegedly drove a van into a group of pedestrians, killing 10 and hospitalising a further 15. Clementine Ford Brisbane Times Alek Minassian has been arrested and charged with 10 counts of murder, and multiple further counts of attempted murder. Facebook has confirmed that a post published shortly before the attack came from a profile linked to Minassian, and it provides some chilling insight into what may have motivated ... Read More »

The Ghost of Herut: Einstein on Israel, 70 Years Ago

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Albert Einstein, along with other Jewish luminaries, including Hannah Arendt, published a letter in the New York Times on December 4, 1948. Ramzy Baroud CounterPunch That was only a few months after Israel had declared its independence and as hundreds of Palestinian villages were being actively demolished after their inhabitants were expelled. The letter denounced Israel’s newly-founded Herut party and its young leader, Menachem Begin. Herut was carved out of the Irgun terrorist gang, famous for its many massacres against ... Read More »

Why President Trump Should Recognize The Armenian Genocide

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Despite the passage of a century, the Turkish government seems to have grown more resistant to hearing that its Ottoman forebears had anything to do with the mass killings of Armenians. Stella Morabito The Federalist If President Trump recognizes the Armenian genocide by specifically using the word “genocide” in his April 24 proclamation, he would send a strong signal to the… He would be only the second president, after Ronald Reagan, to do so boldly and officially. Every year on ... Read More »

More Than 100 Retired Military Leaders Raise Concerns About CIA Nominee Gina Haspel

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Over 100 retired military leaders have joined the list of outside groups voicing concern about President Donald Trump’s pick to lead the Central Intelligence Agency. Maya Rhodan Time In a letter to members of the U.S. Senate, 109 retired generals and admirals said they were “deeply troubled” by the prospect of Gina Haspel being named CIA director given her links to the former U.S. torture program. “We devoted our lives to the defense of our country. We know that fidelity ... Read More »