Spam, spam, spam
Recently I’ve experienced an upsurge of spam email in my inbox. Out of curiosity, yesterday I decided not to delete any but to allow them to fill up my Junk Email folder. By the end of the day I had received 41 items, the most I could remember. The main culprits were spammers promising to provide drinks that would reduce my waistline or drop my dress size (oi, watch it!), pills to … Read more
Massaging the message
The “medium is the message” is an expression coined by Marshall McLuhan to describe how the presentation of information (spoken, filmed, textual) affects our senses. He was concerned with the form of communication rather than its content. He ought to be alive today to see how we are manipulated by both form and content. A particularly egregious and well-known example is the British Sun newspaper’s front page headline ahead of the Brexit … Read more
A slave to technology
I bought a FitBit a few months ago to help me stay fit. I set a target of 6000 steps a day, a modest total if you’re in the prime of life, less so when you’re my age. I manage to achieve this most days, but I can’t deny its effect on my daily activities. The FitBit counts steps by the swinging of the arm bearing the watch, so I avoid riding … Read more
A new left future?
If you believe the mainstream media you could be forgiven for thinking that Alexandria Ocasia-Cortez’s victory in the Democratic primary for New York’s 14th Congressional district against the 10-term incumbent Representative Joseph Crowley was merely reactionary, a need for change. In fact, it was more reflective of her constituency and its rejection of the status quo. Ms Ocasia-Cortez is a young socialist activist. She’s a third-generation New Yorker whose family has roots in Puerto … Read more
The peril of ignoring history’s lessons
One more thing about the creeping erosion of liberty in the name of security: underlying public acceptance of these measures is the assumption that we will continue to live under a benign government. History gives the lie to that. Look at Turkey, for example. Or Italy and Germany in the thirties, where the expectation that embracing authoritarianism would make everyone much safer. Except it didn’t.
The worst Aussie politician ever?
Tough call, I know, but Pauline Hanson must be a serious contender if not the champion. This week, in regard to the government’s two tax bills, she has switched positions on her and her party’s voting intentions so frequently that no-one knows what her current stance is. One minute she’s saying she’s “steadfast” in her opposition, only to say hours later she’ll vote with the government if her demands are met, one … Read more
More erosion of liberty (2)
Yesterday I was concerned about a federal bill to limit the right to protest freely. Today I discover that the New South Wales Parliament has just issued a regulation that provides public officials with broad power to “direct a person” to stop “taking part in any gathering, meeting or assembly” that takes place on public land, e,g. roads, squares, parks. The only exception is “in the case of a cemetery, for the … Read more
More erosion of liberty
The Foreign Espionage Bill (or, to give it its full name, National Security Legislation Amendment (Espionage and Foreign Interference) Bill) going through parliament at the moment is a threat to not-for-profit (NFP) organisations in that it could make peaceful protests punishable by up to 20 years in jail. Hundreds of thousands of people around Australia took to the streets to protest against Australian involvement in the Iraq war. Potentially, they could all be … Read more
Not everyone seeks to aspire
Years ago I received a phone call from someone saying I’d been referred to him by my local servo owner. The caller said he had a great investment that would interest me. It was one of those too good to be true opportunities and I told him I wasn’t interested. “But,” he said, “you’ll make a small fortune.” “Still not interested,” I said. “Don’t you want to be rich?” he persisted. “No. … Read more
Antarctic ice melting faster than ever
“Ice in the Antarctic is melting at a record-breaking rate and the subsequent sea rises could have catastrophic consequences for cities around the world, according to two new studies. A report led by scientists in the UK and US found the rate of melting from the Antarctic ice sheet has accelerated threefold in the last five years and is now vanishing faster than at any previously recorded time. A separate study warns … Read more
Is Neoliberalism the same as capitalism?
Capitalism is an economic system where the means of production and distribution of goods and services for profit are owned by a few as opposed to the state. The means of production are entrepreneurship, labour, capital goods, and natural resources. Capitalism requires a free market economy in which to operate. Neoliberalism is both an economic and a political system. It embraces laissez-faire (unregulated) capitalism, removal of all constraints to trade, globalisation (removal … Read more