"The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself." - Friedrich Nietzsche

A gamma-ray burst

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Photo: NASA/Swift/S. Immler (Goddard Space Flight Center) and M. Siegel (Penn State University)
26.11.14 12:01 am

Gamma-ray bursts are the most luminous explosions in the cosmos. Most are thought to be triggered when the core of a massive star runs out of nuclear fuel, collapses under its own weight, and forms a black hole. The black hole then drives jets of particles that drill all the way through the collapsing star and erupt into space at nearly the speed of light.

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Is this the beginning of the end of the ABC as we know it?

Brian McNair, Queensland University of Technology and Adam Swift, Queensland University of Technology.
26.11.14 12:50 pm

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Scott is articulating the only viable strategy for all public service media organisations – no retreat to the cultural ghetto demanded by the big private interests and their supporters in the News Corp media, but in the avant garde of digital innovation, harnessing its vast potential for public good.

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Parents rally against cuts to state school staffing

Margie Law, South Hobart
26.11.14 12:02 am

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Our kids and our families have been caught up in the politics at play here. The 2 hour stop work would have caused us all some inconvenience but the Minister’s sudden decision to close schools for the whole day [on Thursday] appears to be a political decision rather than an issue of safety as the Minister knew about the 2 hour stop work for almost 2 weeks but waited until the last minute to announce the school closures.

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Tasmanian Liberals polling slide continues

The Editors
25.11.14 4:25 pm

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The latest EMRS Tasmanian voting intentions poll is mostly bad news for the Liberal Party. Their vote continues to slide. The only bright spot for them is that Will Hodgman is ranked as the preferred Premier by 50% while Bryan Green languishes at 22%.

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Very little made sense … apart from crowd control and money-making

Dr David Obendorf, Veterinary Pathologist.
24.11.14 5:00 am

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Before the March 2014 State election the State Liberals indicated they would stop the wastage of public funds directed to the fox program. In May the Tasmanian Legislative Council unanimously passed a motion that effectively ended the political underwriting for Tasmania’s fox eradication program. Not unsurprisingly, in the circumstances, this was a silent finale that contrasted to the years of fox media. The end was not covered in any Tasmanian media.

The heavy reliance on the local media to highlight fox stories, the dismissal of well-reasoned criticism and the absence of genuinely independent scientific review seems to have led to its own form of lingering embarrassment. There were important lessons to be learned for Tasmania from this Cry Wolf program. Unless Tasmania accepts the defective processes used in the conduct of this costly attempt to eradicate an invasive species that remained intangible and changes its approaches to its biosecurity responses, a future high-risk invasive incursion might not be taken seriously.

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The Wedding Hiatus ...

Lindsay Tuffin
24.11.14 4:45 am

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The Principal Editor’s beloved daughter is getting married this week from Howrah Flats ... so TT will rely on the good offices of Bob, Jimbo and Peter. Articles and Comments will still be posted but the normal ‘Newspaper of Record’ elements - Media Releases, Arts, Plate/Grape, Travel, etc - won’t be happening ... Blessings, Linz!x

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Devil disease: I wish I was a scientist

Garry Stannus
24.11.14 4:30 am

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Devils:  It might have begun with atrazine, 1080, or even with tree cloning experiments, but the scientists say it’s transmitted by biting…

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Wine! You know enough ... to know what you like!

Hilary Burden* https://hilaryburden.wordpress.com/ Pic: of Hilary Burden
24.11.14 4:30 am

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As part of making a living where I live, I work casually at a cellar door in Pipers River, an area long regarded as Australia’s “little Champagne”.  Much of what I know about wine has come from being in the wine room and vineyard, rubbing up against passionate people who work there, as well as those who come to taste.

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Feminists please don’t shut up ...

Josie Young*. Pic*
24.11.14 4:15 am

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There are those who say that feminism has gone too far, those who claim “I don’t need feminism to protect me - I am not weak. And perhaps in some way they have a point. While there was once a time in Australia when a woman could not vote, instigate a divorce or own her own house, a woman in contemporary Australia can theoretically do all of these things. One might argue that the days of a woman’s place being in the kitchen has passed, existing now only in the memories of our mothers and grandmothers. Today, women are doctors, lawyers, MPs and CEOs. Surely this indicates that in contemporary Australian women can have it all? Assuming of course that “it all” refers to professional success.

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They are failing us miserably ...

Fiona Stocker*
24.11.14 4:00 am

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Last Friday I had the privilege of watching children from northern Tasmania’s public schools play at the annual Esk Band Extravaganza, and wondered how many more years I would be able to do so before the present government ‘comes after’ the program with its cost and opportunity cutting scythe.

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Crikey says: Abbott’s ABC pledge must be taken in context

Crikey Editorial. Satire: Kudelka, used with permission: http://www.kudelka.com.au/
24.11.14 3:45 am

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Defending the Abbott government’s decision to cut more than $300 million from the public broadcaster budgets yesterday, Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull said the Prime Minister’s election eve commitment to make no cuts to the ABC or SBS must be taken in “context”. Here at Crikey, we agree. Below is just some of the context we found while searching online this morning:

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The Moral Irrelevance of Christian Doctrine ...

Chris Sharples* First published October 21. Republished with Updates
24.11.14 3:40 am

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... How – exactly - is anything better if Jesus died for our sins? First published 2013. Updated today Christian doctrine says Jesus came to ‘save us’, and that his (temporary) ‘death’ redeemed us from our sins. This sounds somehow wonderful and heart-warming, so much so that it almost seems churlish to suggest that there is something very odd and dubious about the notion.  Yet on closer consideration, the idea starts to look deeply troubling.

Greg Ray, Newcastle Herald: The Ocean is Broken ... BACK in Newcastle, Ivan Macfadyen is still coming to terms with the shock and horror of the voyage. “The ocean is broken,” he said, shaking his head in stunned disbelief.

Newcastle Herald: Ocean’s horror tale gets global audience

The Age: Clear link between climate change and bushfires: UN adviser warns Tony Abbott A senior United Nations climate change official says there is ‘‘absolutely’’ a link between climate change and bushfires and has warned that the Coalition government will pay a high political and financial price for its decision to scrap carbon pricing. In an interview with CNN’s Christine Amanpour on Monday, the head of the UN’s climate change negotiations, Christiana Figueres, said there was a clear link between climate change and bushfires such as those raging in New South Wales. She noted that the World Meteorological Organisation had not yet established a direct link between the NSW fires and climate change. “But what is absolutely clear is the science is telling us that there are increasing heat waves in Asia, Europe, and Australia; that these will continue; that they will continue in their intensity and in their frequency,” Ms Figueres said. The highly unusual intervention by a senior UN official in a domestic climate policy debate comes three weeks before the next major round of UN-sponsored talks in Warsaw. The negotiations are aiming to reach a global climate treaty by 2015 that would take effect by 2020. Ms Figueres described the NSW fires as an ‘‘example of what we may be looking at unless we take actually vigorous action’‘.

• Sue DeNim, in Comments: However I would argue with Leonard that the Enlightenment, often touted as the death knell for religion, was our saviour. Certainly it was for philosophy, thought, scientific endeavour etc. but it was also the time when we discarded our love and fear of the unearthly, and became firmly enamoured with our own achievements and plans. Along with mysticism and superstition, the enlightenment discarded our fear of meddling. Though at first sparking a side shoot of reverence and worship of the natural in all its power and beauty (Romanticism), it ultimately led us to view everything through the cold harsh, and myopic eye of the microscope. It was all reductionism and cataloguing. Regardless of whether a freak occurrence of physics or bestowed by an omnipotent deity, we have lost the reverence and awe for our only home and replaced it with our own smug self satisfaction at the myriad of ways we can manipulate it to our own ends. Very sad.

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Afghanistan: ‘A Shocking Indictment’

New York Review of Books
24.11.14 3:30 am

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Ashraf Ghani, who has just become the president of Afghanistan, once drafted a document for Hamid Karzai that began ...

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Mother Mountain: The Symphony of Birdsong (39)

Don Knowler, http://donaldknowler.com/ Pub: Oct 21
24.11.14 3:15 am

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The “Respect the Mountain” forum ( here, here, and here ) at the Hobart Town Hall earlier this year prompted Don Knowler to return to a diary he compiled after daily rambles on Mt Wellington during the previous year. In what promises to be a momentous year in the modern history of Kunanyi, the weekly diary gives the mountain and its wildlife its own voice. All Don’s Mother Mountain columns - and much more by this superb writer - can be found under the Category, Don Knowler, here

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Flight MH370: Emirates chief Sir Tim Clark believes information is being concealed

Fairfax
24.11.14 3:00 am

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The head of the world’s largest international airline believes information about missing flight MH370 is being concealed, calling into question who was in control of the doomed aircraft and the role of the Malaysian military.

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Support Séralini Team for New GMO & Pesticide Risk Research

via Dr Alison Bleaney
24.11.14 2:45 am

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Your health is at stake !

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Buy Martyn’s book ...

Editor
24.11.14 2:30 am

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Turner’s Taoisigh by Martyn Turner Martyn Turner made his way from Essex to Co. Kildare via Belfast in the 1970s. When he landed among us, Jack Lynch was Taoiseach, soon to be followed by Liam Cosgrave, then Jack again – then the Napoleon of Kinsealy. And so on up to Enda Kenny. Turner has drawn them all – all nine men (alas, no women) who have been head of government on his watch. In Turner’s Taoisigh, he reproduces representative samples of his work on each – aggregating to more than a hundred brilliant cartoons – together with a commentary (all his own work) on the technical problems each man presented for the struggling cartoonist.

HERE

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St Andrews - Home of “Golfe”

Evan Whitton @EvanWhitton1 http://netk.net.au/whittonhome.asp Pic*
24.11.14 2:00 am

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Background: This was a background piece for the 1984 British Open. Ian Baker-Finch, 23, was a tall, nice lad from Nambour, Queensland, with looks a Hollywood star would give his boots for. He had the Open sewn up going into the fourth round; all he had to do was clear Swilcan Burn on the 376-yard first hole. The Burn is a creek about eight feet wide and 105 yards from the green. His second shot went into the drink. Baker-Finch blew up; he took 79 for the round, and finished 10th to the Spaniard, Severiano Ballesteros (1957-2011). Golf is a pursuit played largely in the mind. I suspect that if Baker-Finch had cleared the burn he would have been one of the great golfers. I also suspect he was haunted by Swilcan Burn. He did win some tournaments but by 1994 his confidence was completely shot; perfect in practice, he often missed the cut in the real thing, and retired at 37 in 1997. Swilcan Burn yet again sadly confirms Eliot on the effect of chance in our lives:

Footfalls echo in the memory
Down the passage we did not take
Towards the door we never opened  
Into the rose garden.

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Iceland shows that a UK constitutional convention should involve politicians as little as possible

THORVALDUR GYLFASON 10 November 2014 Open Democracy
24.11.14 1:45 am

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The people of Iceland drafted a new constitution. But their parliament has essentially ignored it.

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Neuroscientist warns young brains being re-wired by digital technology

ABC
24.11.14 1:30 am

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The use of digital technologies is reshaping human brains and the impact on young people must be considered by their parents and educators, a neuroscientist warns.

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8 comments

Unique Plan a Recipe for Secret Deals for Liberal Mates

Kim Booth MP | Greens Leader Media Release. Pic: Bob Brown. Pub: Nov 20
22.11.14 5:30 am

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Greens Leader Kim Booth MP today slammed the Hodgman government’s proposal to establish a secret new development process, saying it fails modern transparency and accountability expectations and opens the door to a corrupted process.

TT Media HERE for other perspectives ...

What Matthew Groom says: Government open for innovative business ideas

Luke Martin: Tourism industry welcomes Unsolicited Proposals Policy

• ABC Radio is reporting there are 100 expressions of interest in developing in or around National Parks ... ABC HERE for updates ...

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Editor's Choice

Editor's Choice

The Moral Irrelevance of Christian Doctrine ... 

Media

Media

An evening with Dr Helen 

Arts

Arts

MORE THAN JUST FRACTALS: FRACTANGULAR HAS MATURED 

Books

Books

The perfect crime: Michael Robotham in Conversation 

Plate/Grape

Plate/Grape

Tasting Tasmania: Pointing to food, wine reviews, with latest news, MRs below ... 

Travel

Travel

Travel Videos: Meet the locals: Cape Tribulation 

What's On

What's On

Fractangular:  February 6 - 8 at Buckland 

Satire

Cartoons

Decoding Julie Bshop ... 

Comments

Comments

Black holes are just a theoretical object resulting from an inappropriate linearisation of Einstein’s energy-momentum…

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