While America is rich in exceptionalism stories crossing a lot of boundaries including innovation you can also add sport to that long list. It’s just unfortunate that Covid19 amongst other things exposed current USA politics where doesn’t quite earn that same distinction. That aside, the release of The Last Dance on streaming services was a welcome relief for a sports starved public offering a chance to relive some of the glory days with the Chicago Bulls during isolation. As a basketball fan there is no doubt Micheal Jordan represents the pinnacle of that sport. His ability to make shots under extreme pressure gave the impression he had almost super human qualities. No wonder the shoe company he teamed up with came up with the iconic nickname AIR which was also the making of that company. So to mark this series release I thought I’d include a clip with some of the highlights of his career.
On the lighter side of isolation, here is an old song by Curt Smith from the 80’s group Tears for Fears. He is seen here singing with his daughter Diva during covid lockdown. The song title is called Mad World. Seems more appropriate now than it was when it was actually written.
When I first started posting political comments on this blog it was a reaction to our own and various governments around the world not doing enough on Climate change. Which I narrowed down to conservatism going off the rails without ever stopping to think how this happened. How on earth can they not process truth like everyone else does but that’s being arrogant and dismissive. In the age of technology truth can be buried easily by just flooding it with other noise. Not everyone reads the same news stories these days as audiences are targeted. A complicated process which is tied in with an advertising and technology advances which can narrow down a demographic to what they eat for breakfast as well as what type of news they prefer. This can also place science and acquired knowledge under threat by an avalanche of fabricated stories disguised as news. But mostly these are not facts just opinions promoting an ideological position which discredits the experts. For instance lets just say a leading doctor along with science advises that vaccination is must for preventing disease. Then a troll social media account finds one person who had an adverse reaction to a shot. Which promotes the idea that because the doctor was wrong about this one individual then everything they say is wrong. This is one way expertise is discredited in modern social media and in the 24 hr news cycle. These extremist views are able to get exposure like they never had before. It’s next to impossible to be unbiased which makes it all that much harder for the voter to have a well informed factual opinion especially in a crisis. But if any good is to come out of this covid pandemic it will show vividly the Governments who ignored science and went with a belief system instead. So this post has many embedded videos that discusses this paradox which challenges positions on both the left and the right. Including the lecture posted below from Jonathan Haidt who has books published on this subject. He has an exceptional ability to analyse why people behave the way they do politically. Probably best explained by a comment posted on one of the videos along with a heavy dose of sarcasm saying “I’m just happy there is more than one reality” 🙂
While I try to make comments about political ideology gone crazy in a modern world and then almost always end up in a ramble. This guy has the ability to sum up points in a short and concise way that I wish I could. Stephen Fry is one person a lot of people would consider as being able to easy qualify as one of the real “stable” geniuses without ever giving that label to himself. Here he is in one of his informative videos making points on the Corona virus and how the world has dealt with it. It highlights the vast difference between conspiracy theories and real science. Something that is applicable to all aspects of society when dealing with modern day problems.
This is music video clip I like from Nigel Stanford a New Zealand composer, who mixes science with techno style music. Not to everyone’s taste but I think it’s very clever, not unlike the marble machine guy. I know a lot of it must be CGI but this clip is a bunch of manufacturing robots playing music, its well worth a watch. Plus check out his other video Cymatics, this one is called Automatica also known for his soundtrack for the movie TimeScapes.
While there may be differences in opinions within certain sections of the conservative movement regarding the science of climate change. There are other areas of this denial philosophy which can be locked into other historical failures. Particularly with the economy, where the dreaded “socialism” word gets gaslighted like the enemy at the gate in order to maintain an oligarchy. A democracy killer where a small group of the population exercise real power leaving the vast majority with virtually no say at all. It might be sold as great thing for the country but facts show otherwise. It can happen with both sides of politics but the right seem to embrace this a lot more enthusiastically than the left. Allowing power brokers outside of government to come up with policies totally geared to self interest although still claiming this mythical trickle down effect. It happens in Britain, Australia and in the USA. A short sighted philosophy that keeps repeating itself over and over since the 80’s and always results in a monumental economic crash that most likely a non conservative government ends up having to clean up. Like the one the Trump administration is now facing after gutting all the fail safe measures the previous Obama administration had set up following the last financial crash. Creating fault lines in an economy that becomes a House of Cards at best. It’s unfortunate the Morrison government tends to follow the same playbook to some extent until circumstances force a change of mind. The idea of Rule and Ruin is not a title they would be fond of but its no coincidence that every financial collapse in history happens during conservative rule. But in Australia conservatives have had their time in the sun also with John Howard benefiting from the China boom and the Menzies era taking a long ride on the sheep’s back. But hardly due to smart forward planning with big picture stuff, those bold major infrastructure projects plus any social safety nets tend to originate from the left. I think that would apply globally as well. It is in that light I’m posting a video from a small man with large brain, Economist Robert Reich. He has made many of these simple informative videos and most are well worth watching so I have embedded a few in this post. It was also made prior to the current financial collapse which while virus related most economists predicted it would happen long before corona. Finally when the dust finally settles on this disaster there is going to be a big political lesson in it especially for those who think government institutions aren’t as valuable as a tax break. Top that with weak leadership who keep delaying making tough decisions and you have got yourself a crisis on steroids.
Posted inPolitics|Comments Off on Conservatism Vs Reality
Last year I made a post that warned of coming weather catastrophes with climate change and not four months later we had one on the largest scale imaginable. So it’s hard not to be angry with wilful ignorance that is still on display with our government and hence the second post. The 2020 Bush fires in Australia has been unprecedented & the summer has only just started. Over 30 people dead so far, more than a billion native animals wiped from the face of the earth along with thousands of properties lost. Then trailing that we had super storms in three capital cities that caused even more damage to property and infrastructure. Australia was always going to be in the front line of Climate change, science warned us of that many decades ago due to our geographical location. Yet despite those warnings, the conservative movement in Australia along with a certain percentage of the population is still driven by this blind belief that refuses to connect human activity with a changing climate. This same movement has also been responsible for the political death of seven OZ leaders in the past decade. Especially anyone who even thought about taking any decisive action to reduce emissions. That’s how mind boggling stupid this is, denying science as if science was attacking their basic beliefs. I mean nothing is more basic than survival or preserving a quality of life. But to these individuals its like denying gravity, after falling flat on your face. No wonder the doomsday clock moved closer to midnight this year. But it’s not just limited to Australia its how conservatism around the world has evolved, small factions that determine a power base for governance because they hold the balance of power. Then drive policies from an economic and environmental template that dates back to the 50’s when a global population was only just over 2 billion. When you steal from nature for centuries this comes with consequences. Science warned us of a breaking point over 40 yrs ago but it was mostly dismissed because it meant a different model economy. Yes these same people who believe in rocket science that can put a missile through your front window but climate science, nope that’s always been a bridge too far. However the price of doing nothing is fairly obvious now. So why does this political minority keep holding the will of the majority at bay. Perhaps the very nature of their politics which can be adverse to change might be one explanation but still its playing Russian roulette with the way we live. Dismissing the smartest minds we have who voiced those alarms decades ago and in fact pin pointed the year it would start. But then it could be more about protecting that tiny percentage of the population who get enriched by never deviating from these policies regardless of the larger cost to billions more. That tiny percentage of people who on their own could not elect any government let alone dictate policy. The irony of all this is, the same model steered in a different direction where fossil fuels became worthless and renewable’s valuable could drive a global economy exactly the same.
Posted inCurrent News|Comments Off on Australian Bush Fires 2020
This is group from Sweden called Wintergatan (translated to English as MilkyWay) that I stumbled upon in YouTube and they made me smile straight away. A purely instrumental group lead by a very likeable guy named Martin who has to be the geekest musician ever. Apparently he likes making music machines, the tiny star machine featured in the video introducing the group was his first I think. Now he has graduated to one operated by over 2000 marbles which he made every working part himself or with the help of friends. Its very easy to find once you type in the name as he has a huge following from all around the world. I just get fascinated by the amount of detail that has to go into these machines that involves precise timing with all the mechanical parts working together. They put out a video almost every week detailing the build which is completely crowd funded. However I’m posting the video of him introducing the group some time back as the tune is one of my favourites, its called Sommarfågel or as I like to call it, the sound of optimism. 🙂
While this is a world away from global politics this is an annual event that is held in the political capital of Australia every Spring. Here are a couple photos from this years effort in 2019. Although the weather wasn’t kind leading up to the opening due to not much rain fall. However I still think its a monumental effort to have this many flowers come on to bloom all in one go.
The current chaos around world politics at the moment can be very disturbing to a lot of people in different countries. Especially when it involves dismantling trade and other alliances the West has built up over many decades. While I acknowledge it may not be politically correct commenting on offshore politics however when some of these crazy choices start to impact globally then of course it’s going to invite comment from other countries affected. It would not matter so much if these choices were factual based because then it would have a course to run where tangible benefits could be realised. Only these are emotional decisions that are made, devoid from reality. A decision based on how you feel which is tribalism at best or plain bigotry at worse wanting to play victim status. A good example of this in Britain during a recent interview with a BBC journalist putting a leading wealthy campaigner for Brexit on the spot. Not before highlighting the fact that he had made all his wealth by being part of the Euro. Then asked him just how does he know Brexit will be good for Britain and the best answer he could give was, he “just knows” and nothing else. In other words he feels good about it emotionally only the reality tells an entirely different story. It doesn’t matter if its Brexit in Britain or Trump in America, running on empty doesn’t get you far. Conjuring up wild conspiracy theories may be what some people take comfort in order to satisfy their mindset. It’s also one of the downsides of technology, facts can stand alongside fiction in the online world and both seem to carry equal weight. It’s what science and journalism fight every day. So trying to rationalise how people like Trump or Johnson still have support from anything greater than 10% of the voting population is not easy as many factors come into play. That includes very well educated political people still exhibiting this deliberate stifling of truth in order to keep promoting tribalism. Even if it means giving up long standing moral principles, breaking the law or just flat out lying. To any normal person not caught up in this cult like behaviour its betrayal to your own country, your community as well as yourself. In summing up my little soap box rant I was trying to think of a sentence that would encapsulate it all. Then I came across an article reviewing the Broadway play “To kill a mocking bird” and a line was quoted , it reads something like this. “A conscience can be exhausting. It’ll keep you up at night. A mob is a place where people go to take a break from their conscience”. This resonated with me as a powerful statement into what is going on in the world right now in some places. So I didn’t want to post a link to some news room rant on the rights & wrongs of anyone in political office. But rather short excepts from the eulogy spoken by former Presidents Obama and Bush at John McCain’s memorial service in 2018. As this was someone who always put country first above party or anything else. Yes he may have had flaws like all of us but stood up for those fundamental principles. It’s what I hope all countries will find their way back to in the very near future. Tribalism should stop at your family, your community and favourite sports team then not go much further than that or it becomes a destructive force. Forget the swamp, the world is still waiting for “all the best people”
Posted inPolitics|Comments Off on Politics in turmoil