While New Zealand might be the gold standard in terms of covid response, the delta strain has tested them as well as everyone else due to it’s much higher transmission rate in a younger demographic. However the recent new outbreak in Australia once again highlighted the dangerous folly of trying to place a political philosophy up against Science. Our neighbouring state NSW run by a conservative government was initially slow to react to an outbreak. Follow this by only going into lockdown “lite” a week too late and the result of that turned the state into what looked like becoming another “Florida”. This is the state that criticised others for locking down too hard & early only to find out the harsh reality of what it really costs if you don’t. In any crisis, critical thinking is the key element to a solution not political philosophy. There are no silver bullets to some of these problems but critical thinking and science are the only weapons we have, not opinions. Last week 4Corners aired it’s two part report on the other toxic gift Australia gave America in “The Murdochs” which in destructive terms may be even worse than the pandemic. Creating the democracy destroyer in the evolution of Fox News. Something I have posted about previously, as this is the ultimate example of how misguided “Opinion” can really be when it decides it can arbitrate on what it chooses to be the truth rather than reporting the truth. Examples of the Murdoch press & co in Australia pushing fabricated information. Sometimes science can make specific predictions with limited information. While “Opinions” on the other hand are just rolling the dice as they are using an inbuilt prejudice rather than thinking with an educated mind. As NDT said, the ultimate judge, jury and executioner on truth with science, is Nature. Part one below and Part two here.
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As boomer we were blessed with one of the most creative periods in music. Especially in the pop/rock genre, along with personally being able to hear some of the greatest bands in musical history live. So it’s a high bar for anything that follows, mainly if your musical taste requires a unique sound as well as being complex. The current decade’s music is another example where technology can infringe on that creativity component in song writing using things like auto-tune extensively in production. A bit like the same piece of art being reproduced in different colour combinations then being sold as something new. In fact with the odd exception it can be hard to tell some of today’s Top 20 songs apart. So I thought I’d pick five of my favourite songs with clickable links from each decade as pleasant distraction from being caught up in lockdown again back home. In the Sixties I could not go pass Simon & Garfunkel’s “The Sounds of Silence” it is simply brilliant. For the Seventies I decided on a band called Steely Dan who would take extra time in the studio polishing the final cut with one of their songs called “Reeling in the Years.” The Eighties became a lot harder as this was a decade of big hair & shoulder pads where disco dominated and while there were some nice jazz and good rock albums from the likes of Queen I decided on one from Sting, with a song called “An Englishman in New York” with an honourable mention to Sade who also came from that era. The Nineties was a lot easier as this introduced some new styles of music some good and some not so good. Like the introduction of Techno, the big progression of World music, plus Hip Hop & Rap. Although I can’t say I was ever a fan of the last two genres. In the end I decided on a song from Seal called “Kiss from a Rose” which is a great song written by him and with all those ingredients to make a song unique. Which leaves the 2000’s and beyond where finding something unique is a lot harder. Although there are decent artists like Adele and Co. But there was one pop song I was impressed with and that was the Miley Cyrus break up song, “Slide Away”. Regardless of what one may think of her personally, her voice has developed more depth with a raspy tone that is suitable for both rock & country. Plus I think it’s a well crafted song that will stand the test of time. Also an honourable mention to Aussie Pete Murray’s “So Beautiful”
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An overdue visit to Australia Zoo was also worthwhile. It’s well laid out and full credit to the Irwin family for keeping the dream alive. With visitor numbers way down due to covid last year plus all the lockdowns this year would make it very frustrating running this type of business. You can easily see how fragile the tourism industry has become with infrastructure such as this needing people through the gates constantly just to maintain its zoo population let alone anything else. Here are some of the animal pics I took while walking around, it’s well worth a visit if you can get there.
It was touch and go whether I would get up there this year with covid running rampant over a large part of our neighbouring state. However a window of opportunity opened and I made a successful road trip via the outback to avoid any covid hotspots. The day I left it was snowing in Canberra so the long winter trek to warmer weather was made even more worthwhile. Sunshine never fails, we had blue sky days the whole time I was there even if it was cut short by yet another lockdown. So I apologise for the location selfies mostly in Noosa National park, (always a bucket list favourite) but I wanted a memento that I actually made it. These are the times we live in now.
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While Australia might have Tash Sultana as the ultimate one person band who originated from street busking. This guy is America’s equivalent, a talented musician who mixesmodern day with older style music. How people walk by while playing this is just astonishing, had I been walking past at the time I would have been stuck there mesmerized. Especially when he breaks into Carlos Santana like riffs in a piece called Improvisation for one. A song for the lone woman sitting on the park bench listening. The other woman seen holding the camera is the musician’s wife who records his videos.
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This is a short documentary on the Global Climate from an outstanding short film maker who gained fame with his work with the Fallen short on World War II. Which also highlights the folly of throwing away democracy to put your faith in a autocratic leader such as Hitler or Stalin in how many lives that will cost in the end. Especially when you think about current trends in modern day politics. While this Climate video was only posted in the last week or so it deserves more views than it currently has. His ability to paint a picture with hard data and graphs is unmatched in my view. Although this can be best described as those who are comfortable with uncertainty as their truth and others who are willing to accept science as the certainty. At the moment in Australia we have our own sense of shame with a conservative government who seem to be placing their bets on uncertainty as the future rather than science. To any rational logical thinker this is much the same as arguing with God.
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While I come across informative videos all the time online, these guys at Polymatter go the extra mile with subject matter. It is well thought out and researched not unlike a Think Tank analysis on numerous subjects. Analysing Population growth, Industry, Economics, Technology, Science and Politics. This is an interesting video on China’s housing crisis plus the demographic hurdle coming for them in the future with it’s ageing population. It shows how the real value of politics for any country are with those who can deal with reality and plan ahead without succumbing to the comfort zone of wishful thinking. This can be anything from infrastructure spending or just how you plan your social welfare, population growth and education programs decades ahead. Getting it wrong can mean total economic collapse if the productive segment of the population gets out of balance with the non productive segment.
Enlighten Canberra has come and gone for another year, although this year was the first event back following a cancelled year in 2020. While it still had restrictions on numbers and social distancing it was a pleasant change to walk amongst crowds again. It was also good to hear live music at various venues, it almost felt like life was returning to normal. 🙂
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With interest rates being the lowest in history, the money being poured into the Stock-market at unprecedented levels is also alarming. By most expert opinions stocks are over valued by around 30% or more which means at some point a correction will happen. This is the million dollar question because no one can truly predict when this correction will come. Only that all the factors are now there for it to happen. There are relatively few companies that have made money during this global pandemic and these are mainly tech companies. The rest are struggling, especially bricks & mortar retailers along with tourism and everything else. The video below shares some light on this subject as it’s not the sort of opinion your local stock broker would ever share. Keep in mind it’s only an opinion we have seen enough of these opinions in 2020 that keep defying gravity. However an interesting four part documentary has surfaced since this post was made on Wall St Power & Money that is produced by PBS Frontline. This is an excellent insight into the mechanics of how the world of high finance is run. It can be heavy going at times (4 hrs) but it highlights just how powerful lobby groups become in order to get away with what is effectively massive white collar crime that is unchecked by governments. It is a lot more devastating than any terrorist attack and not only that, the tax payer gets to foot the bill for all the collateral damage as well. Links to the documentary can be seen here. Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four
For decades now Conservatism globally has been slowly walking this path back to a dark age by it’s inability to adapt to a modern world. Instead they have trended to be more extreme with nationalism and isolationist views. This lack of any long term vision and being entirely comfortable taking on absurdities to prop up a belief system only amplifies how lost they have become , some don’t even believe in the value of government. The election of Trump tested this viewpoint like no other. On the line was a politician’s integrity, easily identified defending blatant falsehoods or just by staying silent when they should have spoken out. In Australia it’s the same, while we don’t have the extremes of Trumpism it’s clear that certain conservative politicians and media still want to ignore facts in order to protect these precious beliefs. No different in Britain with Brexit, conservatism propped up with falsehoodswalking the same path. Meanwhile China, a communist regime turned it’s ideology in knots to adapt to a modern world. A totally focused plan weaponizing Capitalism with it’s thirst for profit and lower costs becoming manufacturer to the world. In the USA, it operates like 50 small countries instead of thinking as one. The obsession with individualism, on one hand that’s a good thing but in a nation that has now grown to over 325+ million, one would think it might be time to take a second look. Especially when 700,000+ covid deaths puts up a litmus test on what is most important, Individual or Country. Instead conservatism now wants to double down, unlike in previous times they could see the value in universal rules for seat belts, gun control, finance or even scientific facts. Now its Climate change is a leftest fantasy, wearing a mask in public during a pandemic is an infringement of “My” rights or election results are fake when it doesn’t go your way. Now they are best known as being the Party of “NO” without any policies for the past 13 yrs. Blocking any attempt at governance for the country while just being content to be angry. Once it gets to this then you know that is an ideology gone rogue and more of a threat to humanity than its saviour. I replaced the video link with a more up to date commentary by the same Fareed Zakaria as it is more relevant to the post. Just a footnote now that the Biden administration has been in office some 50 days on. The US vaccination rates against covid are heading towards the highest numbers in the world. Why…….because Government is “getting in the way” as opposed to the other mantra that conservatism ran with for decades which proved to be just another misguided slogan of deception. As one commentator on YouTube said, the Conservative movement is like a ship adrift at sea without a rudder searching for the 1950’s
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