The School of Athens

The School of Athens
The School of Athens by Raphael (click on picture to view short documentary from Columbia University)

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Trust: It's as simple as ABC.

Colleagues and scholars from coast to coast, across Bass Strait and all the ships at sea.

Dateline: Australia, Federal Politics and the Media, 2014.

The ABC continues to be accused relentlessly by some commentators, politicians and media outlets of bias in its reporting.

Therefore I thought it would be helpful to once again remind ourselves of what the public's opinion is of the quality of the reporting of various media outlets in Australia.

What better time to have measured that than during the heat of the 2013 federal election campaign when any bias would have been most easily detected.

On the 19th August 2013 Essential Research published its results to the following question:

"How much trust do you have in the way the following media have reported and commented on the election campaign so far? - A lot of trust, some trust, not much trust, no trust at all, don't know, don't use."

The combined responses (in descending order) to 'a lot of trust' and 'some trust' were as follows:

A lot of trust/ some trust %
ABC Radio
The Age (VIC)
Sydney Morning Herald (NSW)
The Australian
Herald Sun (VIC)
Commercial TV
Commercial Radio
The Telegraph (NSW)
Courier Mail (QLD)

Friday, 24 October 2014

Fellas, we need to do much better.

Colleagues and scholars from coast to coast, across Bass Strait and all the ships at sea.

Dateline: Australia, Federal Politics, 2014.

There's little doubt that our political leaders need to do a lot better. Sartorially, they leave a great deal to be desired.  

No imagination, no creativity; just bland, bland, bland. Do they all buy off the rack from the same shop?

See for yourself, would watching paint dry not be more inviting?

Hence, it's well past time for a few ideas to help them just a little.

Now if they looked more like this, would the public not be a great deal more engaged?

Monday, 20 October 2014

Grown-up language

Colleagues and scholars from coast to coast, across Bass Strait and all the ships at sea.

Dateline: Australia, Federal Politics, 2014.

While I won't soil this post by reprinting the juvenile language used by our 'grown-up' Prime Minister and Finance Minister in the last week; I will illustrate, by contrast, how language has been used by genuine grown-up leaders, speaking to adults, with an authentic message to convey.

Take note political staffers, each of these quotes would also easily qualify for the modern-day imperative of a sound bite.

"We do not say that a man who takes no interest in politics is a man who minds his own business; we say that he has no business here at all."

Pericles, during The Peloponnesian War, explaining the importance of Athenian citizens participating in democracy: The Funeral Oration, 431 BC.

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

Thomas Jefferson, bringing forth a new nation: The Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776.

"That government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the Earth." 

Abraham Lincoln, explaining why The American Civil War was being fought: The Gettysburg Address, November 19, 1863.

"The only thing we have to fear is fear itself."

Franklin D. Roosevelt, providing hope to the American public during The Great Depression: Inaugural Address, March 4, 1933.

"Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few."

Winston Churchill, recognising the efforts of the Royal Air Force during The Battle of Britain: Speech to The House of Commons, August 20, 1940.

"And so my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country."

John F. Kennedy, inspiring a generation: Inaugural Address, January 20, 1961.

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

The Thrilla in Manila

Colleagues and scholars from coast to coast, across Bass Strait and all the ships at sea.

39 years ago today, millions around the world stopped to watch what is widely regarded to be the greatest heavyweight boxing match of all time: The "Thrilla in Manila" between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier.

Ali predicted "It will be a killer and a chiller and a thriller when I get the gorilla in Manila!"

The fight was so brutal that Ali said afterwards it was the "closest I had come to dying" and that to win the fight he had to "borrow power that came from tomorrow." 

Ali also nominated Frazier as the greatest fighter he had fought and one of the all time greats.

You can view a short interview by Howard Cosell with Ali discussing highlights of the fight on YouTube here: 

You can view a very short interview by Norman Gunston with Ali pre-fight on YouTube here:

Ali to Gunston: "I'm punchy that's my excuse for being crazy, what's your reason?" 

You can view the Thrilla in Manila full fight on YouTube here: 

Monday, 29 September 2014

Freedom of the press

Colleagues and scholars from coast to coast, across Bass Strait and all the ships at sea.

Dateline: Australia, Federal Politics, 2014.

Two quotes regarding freedom of the press that should be displayed prominently, in large type, in every newsroom and every office of every politician.

The first is from President John F. Kennedy in 1962:

Mr. Vanocur: You once said that you were reading more and enjoying it less. Are you still as avid a newspaper reader, magazine......I remember those of us who travelled with you on the campaign, a magazine wasn't safe around you.

THE PRESIDENT. Oh, it is. No, no, I think it's invaluable, even though it may cause you's never pleasant to be reading things frequently that are not agreeable news, but I would say that it's an invaluable arm of the Presidency, as a check really on what's going on in administration, and more things come to my attention that cause me the concern or give me information, so......I would think that Mr. Khrushchev operating a totalitarian system which has many advantages as far as being able to move in secret, and all the rest, there's a terrific disadvantage not having the abrasive quality of the press applied to you daily, to an administration. Even though we never like it, and even though we wish they didn't write it, and even though we disapprove, there still is......there isn't any doubt that we couldn't do the job at all in a free society without a very, very active press.
Now, on the other hand, the press has the responsibility not to distort things for political purposes, not to just take some news in order to prove a political point. Seems to me their obligation is to be as tough as they can on the administration but do it in a way which is directed towards getting as close to the truth as they can get and not merely because of some political motivation.
You can view him speaking those words on YouTube here. 

The second is from Thomas Jefferson in 1786:

"Our liberty depends on the freedom of the press, and that cannot be limited without being lost."
Long after the temporary power of ISIS is gone and the term once again refers to an Egyptian goddess, the permanent power of these quotes will remain. 

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Together we shall save our planet

Colleagues and scholars from coast to coast, across Bass Strait and all the ships at sea.

On September 25, 1961 (53 years ago today) President John F. Kennedy addressed the United Nations General Assembly.

He ended his address with these words:

Ladies and gentlemen of this Assembly, the decision is ours. Never have the nations of the world had so much to lose, or so much to gain. Together we shall save our planet, or together we shall perish in its flames. Save it we can--and save it we must--and then shall we earn the eternal thanks of mankind and, as peacemakers, the eternal blessing of God.

You can view him saying those words on YouTube here

President Kennedy was referring to avoiding nuclear annihilation. A very real threat at that time, as the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis was to prove.

His words are just as applicable today to addressing the ravages of another human created crisis - climate change.

Will our actions in addressing this crisis earn us the eternal thanks of mankind? Or, as seems most likely given our current behaviour, will they earn us eternal condemnation?

In 53 years from today will this be typical of the response from Gen Then? 

"We finally, really did it. You maniacs! You blew it up! Ah damn you! God damn you all to Hell!"

You can view that haunting final scene from the 1968 film Planet of the Apes on YouTube here

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Sand between the toes

Colleagues and scholars from coast to coast, across Bass Strait and all the ships at sea.

Something to contemplate as we wade through today's 'important' issues.

There are more stars in the Universe than there are grains of sand on all the beaches of all the world; and there are more atoms in one grain of sand than there are stars in the Universe.

Blog Archive

Our home

Our home
Earthrise over the moon (click on picture to view film)

The pale blue dot

The pale blue dot
Earth viewed from Saturn (click on picture to view film clip)

Our neighbourhood

Our neighbourhood
The Solar System (click on picture to view film)

Our Home Galaxy

Our Home Galaxy
The Milky Way (click on picture to view film)

A sister galaxy

A sister galaxy
Andromeda (click on picture to view film)

Another sister galaxy

Another sister galaxy
Triangulum (click on picture to view short film clip)

The Local Group of Galaxies

The Local Group of Galaxies
Our Galactic Neighbourhood (click on picture to view film clip).

Our farthest view of the Universe

Our farthest view of the Universe
Hubble's farthest view (click on picture to view film clip)

The virgo super cluster of galaxies

The virgo super cluster of galaxies
Galaxies within 100 million light years (click on picture to view film clip)

Galaxies within 1 billion light years

Galaxies within 1 billion light years