Opinion

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 »

Australia has much to celebrate – and to fear

An acquaintance was walking his dog along the promenade at Sydney’s Manly beach one beautiful morning recently. Peter Hartcher WAtoday He describes the golden sun sparkling on the waves, the mild breeze, the grace of the surfers, the people strolling and jogging, enjoying the early calm under the soaring Norfolk pines. He happened to pass one of the many park benches overlooking the ocean, where three older blokes sat contemplating the scene, pudgy hands clasped across substantial bellies. “Yeah,” he overheard ... Read More »

We can’t fix violence against women until we see this as an epidemic

The day I heard that Olga Edwards’s children had been murdered by their father in July this year, I rang the only women I know who would really understand. Jenna Price Brisbane Times Rosie Batty and Ann O’Neill. Their children were killed in front of them. Just writing those words is chilling. We take our children with us in our hearts everywhere, every day. They are at once the reason we live and the elephant on our shoulders. Their death ... Read More »

Confront Turkey’s ethnic cleansing and stop indulging it

Every April, Turkish diplomats and members of the Congressional Turkey Caucus scramble to avert a resolution recognizing as genocide the World War I-era Ottoman massacres of Armenians. Washington Examiner Turkish officials oppose any resolution holding Turkey responsible both because the Republic of Turkey was not formally declared until 1923 and because they hold that what happened was not deliberate but… Other Turkish historians and politicians hold that the evidence upon which genocide historians rely is exaggerated if not fraudulent. Lost ... Read More »

Socialism: What do Americans think?

| In 60 Seconds In a recent USA Today article, President Trump stated that “If Democrats win control of Congress this November, we will come dangerously closer to socialism in America.” Karlyn Bowman American Enterprise Institute Is he right? AEI’s Karlyn Bowman reviews polling data to discover American attitudes about socialism… Read More »

Arctic’s record warming propelling ‘broad change’ in climate: study

US scientists have warned that higher temperatures in the Arctic could be fueling extreme weather in the US and Europe. DW The NOAA report said 2018 was the second-warmest year on record in the Arctic since 1900. The warming of the Arctic is occurring at a record pace and having a significant impact across the planet, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has revealed in its 2018 Arctic Report Card. The report was released on Tuesday at the ... Read More »

The Writer Who Destroyed an Empire

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, born 100 years ago today, did more than anyone to bring the Soviet Union to its knees. Michael Scammell The New York Times When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, pundits offered a variety of reasons for its failure: economic, political, military. Few thought to add a fourth, more elusive cause: the regime’s total loss of credibility. This hard-to-measure process had started in 1956, when Premier Nikita Khrushchev gave his so-called secret speech to party leaders, in which ... Read More »

Why do the media demonise African Australians?

Calling out the media for its biased reporting of crimes committed by African Australians is not about defending criminals or failing to sympathise with victims. Nyadol Nyuon The Age No African Australian I know supports criminal activity, thinks it is OK or wishes to excuse it in any way. What we are trying to do, however, is to highlight that the media consistently reports crimes committed by black people vastly differently from the way it reports crimes committed by white ... Read More »

Dying With Dignity Versus The Metastases Of Our Religious Heritage

Why do we let religion rule our lives, but in particular our deaths? Geoff Russell takes a look at the power of Churches to prevent people from making the most intimate of choices. Geoff Russell New Matilda The fingers that once skipped around the frets and strings of her guitar made hard work of rolling the little plastic wheel. But as it finally moved into place, the process began: drip, drip, drip. Clear sodium pentobarbital moved into the plastic intravenous ... Read More »

Economic hardship and nationalism are gutting climate action

What a difference three years makes. In December 2015, world leaders gathered in a historic display of species consciousness to sign the Paris climate accord to keep global warming below 2 degrees Celsius. Nathan Gardels The Washington Post Today, in December 2018, Paris is experiencing a winter of discontent, with a virtual uprising against a tax increase on fuel aimed at fulfilling France’s 2015 obligations. In a dramatic illustration of the battle between the present and the future, the mantra of ... Read More »

End the Innovation Obsession

Some of our best ideas are in the rearview mirror. TORONTO — A year ago I stepped into the Samcheong Park Library in Seoul, South Korea, and saw the future. David Sax The New York Times The simple building in a forested park had a nice selection of books, a cafe at its center and a small patio. Classical music played while patrons read, reclining on extra-deep window benches that had cushions to sit on and tables that slid over ... Read More »

A dying industry is displacing entire communities

KEYENBERG, Germany — Norbert Winzen remembers the winter they laid the cobblestones in the courtyard of his family’s farmhouse here in this small village. Peter Mellgard The Washington Post He was 12 years old, maybe 13. He and his brothers and sister scrubbed each and every one of the hundreds of heavy stones so their father could lay them in tidy rows. It was the kind of drudgery he despised as a kid but that he looks back on fondly ... Read More »

Voters are crying out for better government but have mixed views on how to achieve it

Support for democracy and trust in politicians is falling. We hear a lot about evidence-based policy as a way to stem this decline, but less about how that evidence should be generated. Authors: The Conversation One idea that may generate the type of evidence that will help make more informed decisions appears, paradoxically, fairly unpopular with the punters. Perhaps the problem is that not enough has been done to explain to the public what this idea – carefully testing new ... Read More »