The School of Athens

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

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Chainsaw's alter ego

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

Dateline: Australia, Federal Politics, May 2015.

A serious query:

Has anyone seen these two 'fellows' in the same room together? Methinks they are one and the same. 

Listen for yourself.

Ian Macfarlane's 2013 election advertisement here.

Farewell Aunty Jack theme here.

Uncanny, is it not?

Friday, 15 May 2015

Inoculate media against delusional balanced coverage disease

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

Dateline: Australia, Media Responsibility, May 2015.

It is estimated that as many as 500 million people died from smallpox from 1900 to 1980. Yes, that's right, 500 million. Six times the number of people killed in World Wars One and Two combined.

That equates to an average of 17,000 deaths each day.

Smallpox would kill up to 35% of those who were infected and often left survivors hideously scarred and sometimes blind.

From 1966 -1980 the World Health Organisation undertook a comprehensive vaccination program to eradicate the disease.

As a result of this campaign, this is a photograph of all the people who have been infected and died from smallpox since 1980.

In case that wasn't clear enough, the number of smallpox infections and deaths since 1980 = 0.

Yes, that's right, no one. Not one person. None. 

Many other diseases that have inflicted great misery on humanity, such as polio, are close to being eradicated thanks to vaccination programs.

It is grossly irresponsible that media outlets under the delusion of providing 'balanced coverage' of an issue or, more disgracefully, simply to chase cheap ratings and sales, are actually providing a platform and credibility to anti-vaccination campaigners. 

The anti-vaccination campaign is a deeply misguided crusade that purports to be protecting people when, in truth, its recommendation to forgo vaccinations could cause untold misery and death to millions of people. 

Its spurious claims are as bereft of intellectual rigour as: thinking that the Moon landing in 1969 was faked, that Elvis faked his death and is still alive, that 1 + 1 = 3, and that climate change is a hoax perpetrated by communist conspirators at the United Nations looking to form a world government.

If media outlets are incapable of understanding this then clearly what's required is a comprehensive vaccination program to inoculate them from this insidious delusional balanced coverage disease.

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Hewson made more sense in 1 minute than Government in 1 year

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

Dateline: Australia, Federal Budget, May 2015.

Last night on the ABC's RN Drive, John Hewson was asked what he would do with this year's budget.

He made more sense in 1 minute than the Prime Minister, Treasurer and the rest of the Government have made in 1 year:

"You've got to step back and take a longer term view. A lot of these issues are very significant structural challenges."

"Aim to double national productivity by 2025; then go through the various areas of policy, one of which is the Budget, the others are tax, education, training, industrial relations, science and technology, and pull these various strands together such that realistically we could hope to double national productivity - then you'll get your jobs and you'll be able to restore growth."

Perhaps the Government should "get out there and have a go" at that.

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

When the free world loved communists

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

Tomorrow, May 7, marks 70 years since Germany surrendered to end the European component of World War 2.

What must never be forgotten is the terrible price the people of the Soviet Union paid to defeat the fascist dictatorship of Adolf Hitler and his National Socialist (Nazi) ideology.

It is estimated that the Soviet Union suffered losses of 26.6 million people killed: a staggering 8.7 million military deaths and an indescribable 17.9 million civilian deaths. 

A death toll larger than the current population of Australia. Truly devastating to contemplate.

Lest we ever forget it.

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

When we didn't want to mention the war

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

Dateline: Australia, War Commemorations, 2015.

On the 100th anniversary of the Gallipoli landings we saw extraordinary numbers of people commemorating the day.

More than 8,000 Australians ventured to Gallipoli (thousands more would have liked to have been there if space permitted), over 120,000 people attended the dawn service at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra and many thousands attended services around the nation.

It was fitting that so many marked the anniversary.

However, honouring war service was not always so popular: far from it.

In the 1970's returning Vietnam veterans were treated appallingly, being shunned and even abused by members of the public simply for doing their duty as they were commanded (or compelled in the case of conscripts) by the Australian Government -- a public, I hasten to add, that was conveniently suffering from a remarkable case of collective amnesia as it was this same public who voted overwhelmingly in favour of conscription and participating in the Vietnam War at the 1966 Federal Election. 

50,000 Australians served in Vietnam (including 15,381 conscripts): 521 were killed (including 202 conscripts) and 2,396 were wounded (including 1279 conscripts). 

4 were awarded the Victoria Cross.

Finally on the 3rd of October 1987, 15 years after Australia's involvement in the war ended, a long overdue recognition of their efforts occurred with the 'Welcome Home Parade' in Sydney. 25,000 Vietnam veterans participated.

You can view the ABC broadcast of the Vietnam Veterans' Welcome Home Parade on YouTube here 

Sadly, this lack of interest in the 1970's for valuing war service didn't only extend to the Vietnam veterans; the collective guilt of the Australian public over Vietnam contaminated its view of all war service.

Recognising the efforts of World War 1 and World War 2 veterans became rather an unfashionable thing to do, indeed archaic; and as for the few remaining Boer War veterans, or the 17,000 who served in Korea, the 7,000 who served in the Malayan Emergency, and the 3,500 who served in the Indonesian Confrontation, they were largely forgotten.

It was a most unedifying period of our social history.

Lest we ever forget it.

Thursday, 23 April 2015

Read it and weep

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

In this week of remembrance, not much to say except read it and weep.

Quite possibly the finest cartoon of all time, created by the Australian illustrator Will Dyson in 1919.

First some background on this desperately sad four act tragedy.

Act One: The June-July Crisis of 1914, commencing with the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria on June 28 1914 followed by a series of miscalculations and inept brinkmanship leading to the outbreak of war in August 1914. So baffled were the participants at this terrible outcome it is reported that Prince Bulow, the former German Chancellor, asked the then Chancellor Bethman-Hollweg, "How did it all happen?" to which Bethman-Hollweg replied, "Ah, if only one knew." The British Foreign Secretary Sir Edward Grey, all too aware of its implications, lamented "The lamps are going out all over Europe, we shall not see them lit again in our life-time."

Act Two: World War One 1914-1918 costing 16.5 million lives.

Act Three: The Treaty of Versailles in 1919 where the victorious and deeply vengeful Allies were intent on "squeezing Germany until the pips squeaked" comm­itted Ger­many to vast war repa­ra­tion payments which eventually led to the eco­nomy of Germany col­lapsing in the 1920s and ulti­mately to the rise of Adolf Hitler.

Intermission: The Great Depression 1929-1939

Act Four: World War Two 1939-1945 costing 65 million lives.

Will Dyson, Australian illustrator and political cartoonist, drew what was to become one of the most celebrated and widely-reproduced of all cartoons, entitled "Peace and Future Cannon Fodder" and astonishing in its uncanny foresight. Published in the British Daily Herald on 13 May 1919, it showed David Lloyd GeorgeVittorio Orlando and Georges Clemenceau (the Prime Ministers of Britain, Italy and France respectively), together with Woodrow Wilson, the President of the United States, emerging after a meeting at Versailles to discuss the Peace Treaty. Clemenceau, who was identified by his nickname "The Tiger", is saying to the others: "Curious! I seem to hear a child weeping!". And there, behind a pillar, is a child in tears; it is labelled "1940 Class". [Wikipedia]

Epilogue, written by Confucius (551 - 479 BCE):

"Before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves" and "When anger rises, think of the consequences." 


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