Opinion

Why Does Art Matter? Why Should We Support The Arts?

Economic rationalists would point out that most artists are economically unviable. That is true, unfortunately. Julian Burnside Daily Review Creative artists generally have miserable incomes from their art, and survive by teaching or waiting on tables. Performing artists do not have it much better; depending on their speciality, they may have just as difficult a time as creative artists. Economic rationalists would argue that pouring money into the arts makes no sense unless the consumer considers the transaction to deliver ... Read More »

Hostility towards minorities can be contagious

If people act hostile towards other ethnic groups, they easily find imitators Max-Planck-Gesellschaft EurekAlert! Inter-ethnic conflicts often escalate surprisingly quickly. In a recent study, researchers have investigated the influence of the environment on peoples’ hostility against minorities with the help of experiments. They found that hostility towards members of other ethnic groups is much more often imitated than hostility towards co-ethnics. Whether in Bosnia, Liberia, or Rwanda, violent conflicts have suddenly broken out between… So far, there… Hostility towards minorities… Read More »

Drug testing dole recipients will only make addiction worse, but the government won’t hear it

Fifty-two. That’s how many submissions were made to the Senate inquiry into the Government’s drug testing bill for welfare recipients, which handed down its findings this week. Toby Hall ABC The bill aims to trial drug testing for new income support recipients at three sites: Mandurah in Western Australia, Logan on the outskirts of Brisbane and Bankstown in south-west Sydney. It’s estimated that 5000 people will be drug tested over two years as part of the trial. Those who test ... Read More »

Sex without consent is rape. Courts around the world must catch up

While some judicial systems acknowledge that ‘no means no’, they don’t seem to understand that ‘no’ can be conveyed in more than just words Cathy Camera The Guardian As Saxon Mullins bravely told her rape story on Four Corners, Twitter lit up in horror and disbelief. This young woman was shining a light on the issue of consent and how it is interpreted by our judicial system. Her story was powerful and moving, and the next day the NSW attorney ... Read More »

Russian arms deal sours US-Turkey relations

That Turkey, a Nato ally, is at odds with the US is something that is more than obvious. Nicos Panayiotides Asia Times The deteriorating relations between Ankara and Washington are manifested by a number of issues, ranging from disagreements about the Kurds’ role in the fight against Islamic State and violations of the domestic rule of law to strategic decisions considered by the Americans to be against their interests. Specifically, Ankara’s strategic decision to buy the S-400 missile system from ... Read More »

Enough is enough: s44 needs to go to a referendum as soon as possible

It’s time for section 44 of the constitution to be put to the people with a view to amending what has turned out to be an outdated and cumbersome citizenship requirement that is out of step with who Australians are in the 21st century. Editorial The Canberra Times It is even out of step with who Australians were in the 19th century given any citizen of the British Empire, regardless of whether they had been born in New Zealand, Canada, ... Read More »

Sting in the tail of strict High Court ruling

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

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

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

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 »

Socialising the losses and privatising the gains

The case of Cyprus five years after the bail-in of bank deposits As pointed out in a recent IMF report,[1] “private sector indebtedness in Cyprus remains extremely high”. Savvas Savvides StockWatch Politicians and banks, however, continue to present the non-performing loans (NPLs) as being the core problem of the economy. They argue that reducing NPLs is basically the same as providing a cure to the economy’s woes. However, NPLs is only a symptom of the real problem of the economy which, ... Read More »

AI will spell the end of capitalism

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

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

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

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

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 »