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The university as a terminal sewer

I had a nightmare-cum-fantasy yesterday evening. Writing it down might rid me of demons.

I can’t quite see the speaker at the centre of my horrors – he was shrouded in smog. A grey flannel suit, a fat cigar and a greasy visage from the previous night’s KFC, I think. He starts by paying […]

Procrastination Day gets deferred

The danger of doing things too quickly.

ALP facing oblivion in NSW

The strange thing about our NSW neighbours is that they have put up with incompetent state government for such a long time – for a long-time the Liberals have obviously been a very unattractive alternative. However now Barry O’Farrell will be the new NSW Premier in the most dramatic and overwhelming rejection of Labor in […]

Whaling ended by tsunami?

Possible end of Japanese whaling.

Radiation hormesis

I have posted in the past on hormesis in relation to dose response models. The idea is that human exposure to certain toxins and dangerous phenemena such as radioactivity might be health-promoting at very low concentrations. Thus there is a type of threshold effect at low enough concentrations. Below the threshold exposure improves health and […]

In praise of Japanese

Like many I have been impressed by the stoicism and community spirit displayed by the Japanese people in the face of the current terrible disaster. I liked this post by Nicholas Kristof which sums up things well. Japan has an imperfect political system and there persists some xenophobia but there is an impressive social cohesiveness […]

Population & the Environment

I’ve spilt a lot of printers ink on this topic over the years. Here is a draft of some notes I prepared for a Productivity Commission meeting next week. Comments welcome.


No fly zone over Libya

I am pleased that the UN have approved a no fly zone over Libya. It may have come too late but provides some help to retreating rebels that otherwise face the certain prospect of being massacred by the tyrant Gaddafi’s forces. The US, Britain and France led the move – they were backed by Arab […]

Best pool shot by a naked white chick


Thanks BL (I think).

Earthquake in Japan

A fearful event Friday that makes us all aware of our ultimate vulnerability to – and dependence on – the forces of nature.

Update: As of Saturday evening at least 1300 dead and a possible meltdown at a nuclear power station. Tens of thousands are missing.

Update: by Tuesday the full geographical and human extent […]

Irresponsible comments from Bennett

If Jeff Bennett is quoted correctly his actions in seeking to torpedo a move to introduce a carbon tax are grossly irresponsible. That’s putting it mildly.

His claims about about impacts on Australian trade are particularly silly given that the structure of the carbon tax base has not yet been agreed to. Almost certainly the […]

Craig Emerson’s free carbon quota proposals

Trade Minister Craig Emerson argues against border tax adjustments (BTAs) to protect import competing products subject to carbon charges in favour of emission quota handouts to local firms. The idea needs to be nuanced – as it stands it will not work effectively – but it is worth considering. The advantage of the free permit […]

Julia Gillard’s Speech to Congress

I have read a few critical commentaries on this speech but I thought it sounded heartfelt and sincere. This was not an occasion to express subtle political points – there were a few particularly in relation to US attitudes to China, Most importantly it was an occasion to affirm long-standing friendships and alliances.

I too […]


For those whose level of maturity qualifies them to relate to it…

1967: Long hair, 2010 : Longing for hair

1967: KEG, 2010: ECG

1967: Acid rock, 2010 : Acid reflux

1967: Trying to look like Marlon Brando or Liz Taylor, 2010: Trying NOT to look like Marlon Brando or Liz Taylor


Serenading Stephen Fry at Harvard

Molly offers to put her womb to use.


Climate change ‘scepticism’

There have been more squabbles in the blogosphere recently about the right of climate change ‘sceptics’ to post on sites that are concerned with climate change policy – this stoush at John quiggin’s blog is fairly typical. In this case comments began with the views of a ‘sceptic’ who reversed the main finding of a […]

ERA rebellion

I agree substantially with a post at Catallaxy that condemns the current Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) rankings. My own view is that the social sciences in Australia should respond positively to invitations to challenge these rankings but that the narrow-minded bigots who compile this nonsense are unlikely to listen.


Chinese ballet

I picked this YouTube up from Larvatus Prodeo. Not sure if it is ballet or extreme gymnastics/acrobatics but it is spectacular and entertaining. Here’s some more. Worth a look.