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Can Cancun disappoint?

Most climate change researchers are so pessimistic about the likely outcomes in Canjun that any small success will be seen as a bonus. An excellent background document on the negotiations is provided by Bridges here. Many of the issues raised here form the centre of my current research – the role of border tax adjustments […]

Liberals win in Victoria

I am elated by the Liberal Party win in Victoria but less elated than I would have been had John Brumby not been the Labor leader. Victoria has enjoyed reasonable quality government under Labor for the last 11 years although there have been too many problems – the FoodBowl idiocy, the transport tickets fiasco and […]

Hunan & Changsha

I am spent a week in the central southern part of China – specifically in Changsha the capital of Hunan Province. I gave a seminar at a local university – The Central South University of Forestry and Technology – and for the first time in my life I received a certificated award as ‘Guest Professor’ […]

Guqin

Over the weekend I took the bullet train from Beijing to Jinan, the capital of Shandong Province. The 500 km journey is a comfortable 3 hour trip. Jinan is a large modern city with some attractive tree-lined lakes and a magnificent central park – Baotuquan – with numerous mineral springs near its centre – indeed […]

Global carcinogen producers fight rear guard action

Big tobacco is fighting back. Apart from relying on increased sales to developing countries – Indonesia a terrible instance – big tobacco is fighting stricter regulations in developed countries. Tomorrow, a conference in Punta del Este, Uruguay, will try to add specific terms to a public health treaty known as the Framework Convention on Tobacco […]

Beware of Greeks (& Irish) bearing bonds

This entertaining tract from Michael Lewis in Vanity Fair provides a fascinating glimpse of the stark extent of near collapse and bankruptcy – it may still happen – of the Greek economy. $250,000 US indebtedness per working person, Greek government estimates of a public sector deficit of 3.7% of GDP that turned out to be […]

Alternatives to plain packaging

The Institute of Public Affairs and other far-right groups have objected to the plain packaging laws on cigarettes proposed by the Australian Government. The opposition is based on claimed infringement of the intellectual property rights of the carginocen producers. I wonder if these same defenders of intellectual property would object to these new intended US […]

No room for girlfriend at girl’s school

Ivanhoe Girls Grammar School is a very good girl’s school in the north of Melbourne. Both my daughters went to the school and I have a great deal of affection for it and its excellent teachers and Head. This interested me.

Fa piao 发票

I am interested in the way China manages receipts for various types of transactions. A fa pio is a type of super-receipt that is given for many transactions (large durable items, taxi, car rental and interesting to me, for restaurant meals). It can act as a type of warranty and a contract and is also […]

A fish

I bought a fish in the Zhonguancun shopping plaza – a Siamese fighting fish – with a satchel of food included for 20 RMB – that’s about $3-50. In the shop it was sitting in a bowl of water about half a coffee cup size and I sympathised with its dilemma. The world is not […]