Opinion

Find parenting tough? Be glad you’re not American

I have a news flash: being a grandad beats being a parent. Parenting is now a much tougher gig, whereas grandparenting is all care and no responsibility. And it’s a lot cheaper. Ross Gittins The Age These thoughts are prompted by an article in the New York Times, in which Claire Cain Miller writes that parenthood in the United States has become much more demanding than it used to be. “Over just a couple of generations,” she writes, “parents have greatly ... Read More »

‘For 30 years I’ve been obsessed by why children get leukaemia. Now we have an answer’

Newly knighted cancer scientist Mel Greaves explains why a cocktail of microbes could give protection against disease Robin McKie The Guardian Mel Greaves has a simple goal in life. He is trying to create a yoghurt-like drink that would stop children from developing leukaemia. The idea might seem eccentric; cancers are not usually defeated so simply. However, Professor Greaves is confident and, given his experience in the field, his ideas are being taken seriously by… Based at the Institute of Cancer ... Read More »

You can’t get public service ethics from bankers

When Matt Comyn, now chief executive of the Commonwealth Bank, was a slightly more junior bank executive, he had qualms and scruples about the bank’s shameful practice of selling virtually useless personal loan insurance to its… Jack Waterford The Canberra Times His then boss, Ian Narev told him to “temper your sense of justice.” Mr Comyn, the successor and protégé of Narev, apparently followed this advice. It wasn’t until about 10 months ago, after it was clear that the banking ... Read More »

The Sum of All Brexit Fears

The Leavers lied: The costs of withdrawing from the European Union were always destined to outweigh the benefits. Chris Patten * Project Syndicate Alas, the responsible, imaginative, and inclusive political leadership needed to minimize the damage is nowhere in sight. LONDON – Day after day, week after week, most British citizens think that the turmoil over their country’s proposed exit from the European Union cannot get any worse. But, without fail, it does. Turmoil turns into humiliating chaos; a political ... Read More »

In Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan faces a make-or-break year

Adnan R. Khan: For more than a decade and a half, Turkey has aggressively pursued a more prominent role in the world. In 2019, it will pay the price. The goal was unity. Adnan R. Khan Maclean’s At least, that’s what Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the president of Turkey, claimed about his campaign to transform Turkey’s fractious parliamentary democracy into a highly centralized presidency. When his “yes” side prevailed in an April 2017 constitutional referendum, the ambitious and polarizing leader promised ... Read More »

Turning Brexit Into a Celebration of Democracy

Paradoxically, while the current Brexit impasse is pregnant with risk, the British should welcome it. Yanis Varoufakis The Project Syndicate Their discontent with the choices before them is an opportunity, not a curse, and more democracy is the antidote, not the disease. ATHENS – Discontent without end looms over Britain. Leavers and Remainers are equally despondent. Her Majesty’s Government and the Labour opposition are equally divided. The United Kingdom is deeply divided between a Europhile Scotland and a Euroskeptic England, ... Read More »

How can we break the Brexit deadlock? Ask ancient Athens

Citizens’ assemblies have their roots in sortition – selecting citizens at random to fill public posts – which was once central to democracy James Bridle The Guardian n the central marketplace of ancient Athens, around 350BC, there stood a machine called the kleroterion. This was a six-foot-high slab of stone that had a series of slots on the front, and a long tube bored down from the top to the base. Those up for selection for the various offices of state ... Read More »

Trump’s Syria Withdrawal Hinges on Turkey

Whether pulling the remaining U.S. troops from Syria turns out to be a bold and beneficial move or a stupid, harmful one depends on what Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will do. Angelo M. Codevilla American Greatness That, in turn, depends in no small part on what constraints he senses from President Trump—as well as from Russia’s Vladimir Putin. Here, to the best of my understanding, are the circumstances and the possible consequences of the president’s decision to withdraw from Syria. ... Read More »

2018: The year in figures and charts

BY THE NUMBERS Telling the story of the last 12 months through data. By ARNAU BUSQUETS GUÀRDIA Politico What a tremendous, nebulous year. Very much like last year, 2018 was full of endless Brexit drama. And endless Trump drama. And then there was some more Brexit drama. And some more Trump drama. But hey, other stuff happened too (right?). The French proved that they are still the global champions of street protests, the far right grabbed headlines across the Continent and Angela ... Read More »

47% of Jobs Will Disappear in the next 25 Years, According to Oxford University

“No government is prepared,” The Economist reports. Philip Perry Big Think The Trump campaign ran on bringing jobs back to American shores, although mechanization has been the biggest reason for manufacturing jobs’ disappearance. Similar losses have led to populist movements in several other countries. But instead of a pro-job growth future, economists across the board predict further losses as AI, robotics, and other technologies continue to be ushered in. What is up for debate is how quickly this is likely to occur. ... Read More »

What if Donald Trump did fire the Federal Reserve chairman?

Reports that US President Donald Trump discussed whether he could fire Federal Reserve board chairman Jerome Powell with his advisers have produced widely differing opinions of what would happen if he did. Stephen Bartholomeusz The Age The reports elicited a peculiar response from the White House. While Trump himself remained silent, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin tweeted on his behalf. “I totally disagree with Fed policy. I think the increasing of interest rates and the shrinking of the Fed portfolio is ... Read More »

North Korea: We Asked 27 Experts What They Think Will Happen in 2019

The world’s best Korea and Asia watchers gave us their predictions. Will we go back to “fire and fury” or is lasting peace just over the horizon? Harry J. Kazianis and John Dale Grover The National Interest The following is a note from our Executive Editor and the Center for the National Interest’s Director of Defense Studies, Harry J. Kazianis : What happens next when it comes to the North Korea challenge? Your guess is as good as mine, but by looking ... Read More »

Five things we learned from Australian media in 2018

From explosive, leaked emails, to the fall of the digital giants, there are plenty of lessons to be learned from the stories that dominated the media industry in 2018. John McDuling Brisbane Times Here are five of the best of them: Lesson one: emails are the gift that keeps on giving Former Cricket Australia chairman, David Peever’s, leaked email to CBS executive, Armando Nuñez, admonishing Network Ten (which CBS owns) for its “appalling tactics” and for being “bottom feeders in this market” ... Read More »

China Confronts Its Eternal Dilemma

With pressure building for major stimulus, leaders must decide whether boosting growth or controlling debt is more important. Christopher Balding Bloomberg China’s top leaders meet this week in Beijing to set economic policy objectives for the coming year. The central question is whether they will do what they want or what the country needs. Clear evidence has emerged in the past couple of months that the Chinese economy is slowing to an uncomfortable degree. That’s raised expectations that the leadership ... Read More »

What can Philosophy teach Machine Learning?

A Journey from Socrates to AI via Cognitive Science From Socrates to Cognitive Science Federico Castellano Towards Data Science Since Socrates asked Thrasymachus for a definition of the concept of justice, philosophy posed for the very first time one of the most challenging philosophical questions: what is a concept? For many hundred years, inquiries concerning the nature and structure of concepts caught the attention of the world’s finest minds; yet it wasn’t until the sixteenth and… Empiricists argued that concepts are ... Read More »

Move to call abortion and assisted suicide ‘human rights’ is ‘evil’, says Princeton professor

The United Nations Human Rights Committee has been accused of elevating individual freedom above moral considerations after recently including abortion and assisted suicide among the… Christian Today The committee’s ‘General Comment’ on the right to life, issued at the end of October, argued for the decriminalisation of abortion and the removal of restrictions that could subject women or… It also put the rights of women and girls seeking an abortion before the rights of medical practitioners with conscientious objections to performing ... Read More »