All posts for the topic: Resources, Food and Environment

If Australian states were countries

Est Reading Time: 2 min There’s been quite a few interesting maps imagining states of a particular country as countries of their own. Some examples: US states as countries – by education rank US states as countries – by GDP US states as countries – by area China provinces as countries – by GDP per person China provinces as countries – by GDP China provinces as countries – by life expectancy Australia has states but somehow doesn’t get the same level of attention! Luckily we have fewer states/territories so I made some. Australian states/territories as countries – by size Australian states/territories as countries – by […]

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What will we be hated for?

Est Reading Time: 5 min [CN: Everything.] There’s a great scene in Mad Men S2E07 (The Gold Violin). The family is having a picnic in the park and when they finish Betty Draper shakes the rubbish from the blanket onto the grass. There’s a lot of other subtext but it’s supposed to leave a modern audience shocked. Here’s the clip: [Video link] And it did: lots of people have been discussing this online: the degree to which such blatant littering was common in the 1960s USA, the other symbolism around it etc. I thought it was a bit heavy-handed in making us repulsed by the […]

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You are entitled to a job, but not to any particular job

Est Reading Time: 4 min A prior post talked about the genuine cost of the upcoming NSW ban on greyhound racing. This got me thinking about public discussion of what job someone’s “entitled” to. Usually I’ve seen opinions about this fall closely towards one of these 3 (arranged from most to least utopian): You are entitled to the livelihood you want You are entitled to a livelihood You are entitled to the pursuit of livelihood I’m firmly with #2 but to explain why it’s easiest to first look at both ends of the spectrum: You are entitled to the pursuit of livelihood This one’s the […]

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We must acknowledge the social cost of NSW’s greyhound racing ban

Est Reading Time: 3 min Last week there was a rare bit of good news in Australian politics. After a review of the greyhound racing industry, the current (right wing) NSW government unexpectedly banned greyhound racing. Of course the industry will fight this big-time, but within my bubble-of-a-circle-of-friends the reaction was unanimously positive. To me the decision is clearly correct since the industry’s an ethical clusterfuck. But it’s important not to make policy questions too one-sided. I can’t endorse this entire post from Less Wrong (or the website as a whole) but it has an important bit: A policy may legitimately have lopsided costs or […]

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How not to be an asshole about Valentine’s day

Est Reading Time: 5 min Some people celebrate Valentine’s day and some do not. Both categories of people though tend to talk about Their OpinionTM of the day. Every year, you will probably be able to find statements from both sides of this “debate” that are assholish, whether in meatspace or social media. Here are two lists of things to remember in order not to be an asshole about it. The first list is for people who celebrate Valentine’s day, post about it and so on: Not everyone has a romantic partner: You wouldn’t know this from many of the posts about it but if […]

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2016: a wishlist for the Flying Spaghetti Monster

Est Reading Time: 4 min [CN: All the things] Dear noodly overlord, I know that 2016 has already started but you’re as generous as the FSMas season is long. I know that if you look at it from one way there’s never been a better time to be alive. Last year was the first year child mortality rates fell below 6 million. The overrall deaths from war and conflict are in decline. We might be able to cross polio off the list soon. Global life expectancy is over 70, the highest it’s ever been. Only 0.4% of the world’s population are enslaved which could well […]

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On those “food around the world” photo-essays

Est Reading Time: 6 min One genre that does well online is photo-essays about food around the world. The food is often fascinating but the pieces can also elicit some interesting and simplistic reactions from the online audience. The form I’ve seen this take is people from wealthy English-speaking countries looking at examples of food from “their” countries vs “other” countries and comparing it. Here are three photo-essays that I’ve seen reveal some simplistic attitudes on the part of the audience (I’m not sure how much we can attribute this to the photographers). School lunches around the world This was a blog investigation that got […]

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5 things to remember about China’s one-child policy

Est Reading Time: 4 min In a village north of the Longgang Zhen (the town) in Yangxin county. The hand-painted white text on the wall (below the pig-breeder’s ad) apparently threatens village women who’ve exceeded the two-child limit with tubal ligation. [CN: Reproductive coercion, crimes against humanity] Last week headlines that China has abandoned its one child policy (after 35 years) have rocked international news media. There are many aspects of Chinese history that get really simplified when most non-Chinese people talk about it. This is one of them. Here are some important things to keep in mind. 1. The policy was never absolute Enforcement […]

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The Australian government is pretty good at misleading charts

Est Reading Time: 3 min The Abbott government introduced a new page in Australian tax assessments that provides a breakdown of where your taxes go. I’m not sure whose idea it was but I really like the concept. It might be one of the only positive achievements of Abbott’s 726 days in office. But the way it’s executed is seriously misleading to be in line with the Abbott government’s agenda. Here’s an example tax return with the personal details and amounts deleted: It starts off with some alarmist (ie. bold) text about the level of Australian Government debt. This is supposed to be a big […]

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Sydney’s war against the homeless is a form of social cleansing

Est Reading Time: 6 min [CN: Dehumanisation, crimes against humanity] In addition to the problems intrinsic to homelessness, homeless people often suffer from deliberate harm by others. For example, this story documents how often gangs of [non-homeless] people have been attacking homeless people in Melbourne, stealing their things and even throwing them into the Yarra river. It’s hard to fathom the callous sense of entitlement and belief in the just world fallacy that would drive such actions, but these have been taken to much greater extremes in parts of Latin America. Social cleansing is the act of targeting people you deem “undesirable” for the selfless […]

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