Australian Culture
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The good oil on the Aussie way of life, and how it's changing out of sight!
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An insult to free speech

An insult to free speech | Australian Culture | Scoop.it

When Dan Nolan wanted to put together a Paul Keating insult generator app for the iPhone he had to contend with a new law preventing use of the federal parliamentary record for satirical purposes.  He was advised he needed to make do with Keatingesque imitations, so you get “You imbecilic caucus of political harlots” instead of “He’s like a shiver waiting for a spine”.  It didn’t stop his 99 cent insult generator becoming Australia’s top paid app in the Store.  But it’s a law that goes against our long tradition of ‘keeping the bastards honest’.  And an insult to free speech.

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Saving the eastern quoll

Saving the eastern quoll | Australian Culture | Scoop.it

Once found from Melbourne to Brisbane, no wild eastern quoll has been seen on the mainland in 50 years, and the Tasmanian population is in decline. But a plan is being hatched in Secret Creek, 100km west of Sydney, to change all that...

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Wide open road

Wide open road | Australian Culture | Scoop.it

It’s the name of this streaming music show from DJRingfinger as well as the Triffids track that inspired it, included on this edition’s playlist.  It’s also the place to be while these rocking Aussie tracks, themed this time around ‘loving, leaving, lying and cheating’, wash over you.  Another link courtesy of Peter Bryant.

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Death in Brunswick

Death in Brunswick | Australian Culture | Scoop.it

An ephemeral outpouring of thoughts and emotions on the fate of Jill Meagher shared with a friend at a Melbourne bar is brilliantly captured here by the pen of Helen Garner.  "What about the poor guy, her workmate, who offered to walk her home? And she said no, she’d be all right? I feel terrible for him. All the women he’s ever known would be feminists. He would have learnt not to patronise them with his protectiveness. God, how many times have I walked home feeling invincible."  A must-read, with an artful ending.

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Eclipsing the sun

Eclipsing the sun | Australian Culture | Scoop.it

What’s better than viewing a rare total solar eclipse?  Viewing one at the Palmer River Eclipse Festival in Far North Queensland!  Live music, art, workshops and food.  And the love – like the eclipse – comes for free.

 

Sold?  Unfortunately, the next total solar eclipse in Australia isn’t until 2028 – and won’t be visible anywhere in Queensland.  Drainer.

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PM’s sexism speech goes viral

PM’s sexism speech goes viral | Australian Culture | Scoop.it

Like Caitlin Welsh, I reckon the media has totally missed the Zeitgeist on the diatribe Julia Gillard unleashed on Tony Abbott.  Abbott, the man whose Alan Jones -like world view is so poorly hidden.  Abbott, the man who somehow remains PM-in-waiting, despite the litany of self-made political disasters that have befallen him.  Abbott, whose judgement was so poor that he stood across from Gillard and used the phrase ‘died of shame’ even while the Jones fallout continued.

 

Welsh’s Vine article nails it.  The Abbott outrage is not a party political one; it is the product of 1950s views that a progressive 21st Century nation should not be normalising in its political leadership.  Gillard’s eruption was brilliant, and its cultural significance has been recognised all over the world.  But not here.

 

Abbott as potential PM?  Only in Australia.

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Surviving the Sun

Surviving the Sun | Australian Culture | Scoop.it

The Australian sun is fierce.  On a lightly overcast day 80% of the searing UV light can still get through – more than enough to cause skin damage and, potentially, melanoma.  We are way more sunsmart than we used to be, and deep tans are fairly rare.  But a freckle-free face is no guarantee that all is well, as Carrie Bickmore discovered when she got a scan from the UV Photobus touring the country.  The bus is a clever marketing move by sunscreen manufacturer Sunsense, providing a free, um, portrait to anyone who wants one (if you can get seen – only 2 of the 21 days are reserved for Sydney and Melbourne’s 8.7 million inhabitants!)  80% of damage is done before the age of 18, and the UV scan has changed Carrie’s attitude to protecting her 5-yo son.  “I think he's annoyed with me, but now every day we have to put sunscreen on”.

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Taryn Coxall's curator insight, August 4, 2013 7:34 PM

This article explains a new service that travels around the country foccusingon awaremess of UV and skin damage fromt he sun via a Photo Bus.
The education of sun safety ins chools is vital, especailly in early years so students can maintain a safe approach to being sun smart throughout their lives. I think this bus would be a great resourse to visit schools and urther educate kids on the damaging effects of the sun, by showing images of the deeper damage the sun has on your skin. 

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Meerkat medicine

Meerkat medicine | Australian Culture | Scoop.it

Melbourne’s Royal Children’s Hospital can boast a world first: a zoo-maintained animal enclosure.  A piece of south-western African desert has been created for a family of meerkats to call home, inspiring delight and a much needed joie de vivre in its young residents.

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Be vigilant, not afraid

Be vigilant, not afraid | Australian Culture | Scoop.it

This article, sensitively penned by Rachel Wells, describes an extraordinary day in Brunswick history, as over thirty thousand people take to the streets in memory of Jill Meagher.  Those gathered were also determining not to allow fear to take over.  It’s something easier said than done: only one person a year is lost to a shark around the 35,000 km of Australian coastline, yet many deeply fear that fate.  So the headline of Rachel’s piece is spot on: be vigilant, not afraid.

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Crowd-sourcing on scheduling rorts

Crowd-sourcing on scheduling rorts | Australian Culture | Scoop.it

The commercial TV networks have spent a decade playing games with their program schedules, vying with each other for ratings boosts because of a flaw in the counting system: if an hour-long show is slated to start at 8pm but is ten minutes late those still watching are counted in the 8pm show’s figures.  They’re also trying to stop viewers switching, hoping that by making them miss the start of the other network’s show they’ll give up and stick with the channel that’s screwing them around.

 

It’s flawed logic, because the networks cause growing resentments among those vital to their business success – the viewers.  As if that wasn’t bad enough, they drive viewers to timeshift, where they’re far more likely to skip the ads.  (You may not like the ads, but they’re paying for the show.)  Yes, few creatures on this planet are dumber than a network executive.

 

So David Knox over at the TV Tonight blog is taking a stand.  He’s set up a page where you can log this constant stream of insults on you, the viewer, here: http://www.tvtonight.com.au/late-list When the results are in, he’ll be naming and shaming the worst offenders.

 

Here’s hoping his next crusade is against those infuriating twitchy programming changes where whole shows are pulled late and the printed guide suddenly becomes useful only as a fly-squat.

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The irrepressible Paul McDermott

The irrepressible Paul McDermott | Australian Culture | Scoop.it

Paul McDermott is a phenomenon.  Warm-hearted and heart-warming, he uses his prolific singing, songwriting, comedic and presenting talents for good, and in his progressiveness moves our country forwards towards being that radiant land it so nearly is.  This ‘quadruple threat’ is now touring his new show Paul Sings, which reviewer Anna Locke here gives a resounding thumbs-up.

 

Photo by Anthony Tran – click link below for more: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.467000509999968.112052.152844451415577&type=3

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Things Bogans Like

Things Bogans Like | Australian Culture | Scoop.it

Here’s a site with much to say about (and against) bogans: thingsboganslike.com.  Like Daley, it has Middle Australia in its sights.  “The bogan ... is comfortably ensconced in its cocoon of normalcy. The bogan has its quarter-acre, its IKEA furniture, its large car and its porn collection, all designed to allow it to exist in such a way that it never interacts with those it finds unlike itself.”  Ausculture, being ‘In search of Australia 2.0’, is a little wary of some of the vociferous contempt found amongst its descriptions of the 251 Things so far added; them-and-us thinking is rarely helpful when it comes to moving a whole country forward.  (What makes Kath & Kim so special is its fondness for the subject, and the notion that perhaps there’s a little bogan in all of us.)  Nevertheless, TBL is entertaining and thought-provoking.  Here’s what it has to say about #74, Border Security:

 

“Settled in its interest free lounge suite, the bogan is able to vicariously enjoy the act of keeping Australia safe from people it steadfastly refuses to understand. Its endorphins gush on each and every occasion that such a person is not able to move about in the manner that it hopes to. At the completion of the show, the bogan is reassured that it has done its part to defend the nation that it has done so very little to create.”

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Cullen's demons trouble him no more [vid]

Cullen's demons trouble him no more [vid] | Australian Culture | Scoop.it

Adam Cullen was an artist who liked to shock.  He once chained a festering pig’s head to his leg, and slept with it sticking out of a window due to the stench, or so the story goes.  He shook up the Archibald competition, paving the way for other out-there painters, and his 2000 win was his in for the mainstream art world.  Death was a major inspiration, and now it has claimed him at just 47, his body succumbing to a decades-long onslaught of alcohol and other drugs.

 

This Lateline clip includes some of his works, and touches on his quietness, rage, mental health, infamous associations and legacy.

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Kindling an indigenous readership

Kindling an indigenous readership | Australian Culture | Scoop.it

Here’s an inspiring story to remind us that anyone can make a difference, no matter the scale of the issue.  Three years ago, Daniel Billing determined to try to improve reading ability in fledgling indigenous readers.  He managed to raise funds for 20 Kindles and got them to struggling readers near and far.  After reading fluency went up by 51%, Daniel has been able to expand the project to 100 students, and that’s just the beginning...

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Jemma Tanner's curator insight, October 28, 2013 8:24 AM

I thought this story was one to be shared because it proves that one good idea can make a great deal of difference to students. By introducing this program (providing struggling indigenous students with Kindles), Daniel Billing has effectively improved reading fluency to many students around the country. By interesting the students with technology they have successfully made a difference in their reading skills, which makes me think that this simple act can make a difference in any type of learning. By applying this principle I want to be able to engage my students in all lessons of Humanities, even the ones who are easily distracted.

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Snake on a plane!

Snake on a plane! | Australian Culture | Scoop.it

A life and death struggle at 28,000 feet, involving a packed Qantas passenger plane, a python, blood and 400 kph winds. Sadly, the snake comes to a sticky end. With video/pics.

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Rebel running hot

Rebel running hot | Australian Culture | Scoop.it
The rise and rise of Rebel Wilson in the US has led to the sort of artsy video piece in NYT Mag even Smack The Pony would be in awe of. Here, Aus pop culture site Pedestrian TV enjoys the subtle comedic derailing, while also tipping its hat to Rebel’s skilful cracking of that oh so hard nut – Tinseltown.
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Ten's bone-headed boning

Ten's bone-headed boning | Australian Culture | Scoop.it

The way Network Ten terminated the employment of experienced news anchor Helen Kapalos defies belief – just minutes after finishing a Friday evening bulletin she was bluntly told by ‘the grim reaper’ her contract would not be renewed, and within half an hour her computer access and security pass had been cancelled (see Age link below).

 

Kapalos co-anchored Melbourne’s news with Mal Walden, 67, who remains.  (One hell of a double-standard, unless you can point me to any female 60+ newsreader on Ten.)  Other culled newsreaders include Ron Wilson and Bill Woods (Sydney) and Craig Smart (Perth).  Question marks remain over others, and around 100 news-gathering staff have been axed.

 

Here (link above), Fairfax’s Michael Lallo looks back at a disastrous cancelling of Walden 25 years ago – ironically by Fairfax – and sees history repeating itself.

 

Capitalism evangelist and idiot Russel Howcroft becomes executive general manager of Ten in Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth early next year.  I wonder how many news anchors his salary could have paid for.  And in a final ironic twist, with little experience in television he’s been asking Kapalos for tips on how to run the station!  (See WA Today link below)

 

http://www.theage.com.au/entertainment/tv-and-radio/end-transmission-20121110-295b0.html

 

http://www.watoday.com.au/entertainment/guess-who-came-to-lunch-20121121-29p7s.html

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Roo blue over Newstart

Roo blue over Newstart | Australian Culture | Scoop.it

It’s not easy being a bettong on unemployment benefit in Australia (or a human, for that matter).  This is one part of a six-panel drawing by Crikey’s First Dog on the Moon – click through for the full sequence.

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Condoning police brutality

Condoning police brutality | Australian Culture | Scoop.it

This sequence, from last night’s A Current Affair, shows a Queensland police officer pushing a drunk young woman sideways so hard that she doesn’t have a chance to put her arm out to cushion her fall. It was an appalling act, which could have resulted in death.

 

The main reason men die after a single, sudden punch – the so called king-hit – is that the back of their head hits the pavement with great force. The same risk applies here. But it gets worse...

 

The report says no disciplinary action is to be taken against the officer concerned, despite this damning video evidence from a concerned witness. Worse yet, this is supposedly something officers are TRAINED TO DO – a manoeuvre called an ‘open-handed tactic’.

 

What this actually is is routine police brutality from a State police force which frequently performs far more disturbing acts of violence than the moderately rowdy revellers it is supposed to be protecting.

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Scoop.it #humblebrag

Scoop.it #humblebrag | Australian Culture | Scoop.it

Earlier this year I posted the idea on which the new Topic Filtering feature (see here http://blog.scoop.it/en/2012/05/14/digging-the-scoops/) was based.  This makes it far easier to find something within the topic, and it’s nice the developers listen to community suggestions.

 

The downside to the active development is that sometimes a change causes a new problem.  The recent placement of the little grey Rescoop button next to the headline seems innocuous enough, but it actually cuts the space left for the headline by a quarter, because the button expands when you mouse-over it.

 

OK, so maybe this is a bit of a #firstworldproblem, but it bugs me.  If you’d like to help please click the lightbulb and vote for my suggestion.  Thanks!

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Alan Jones’ Gold Ernie

Alan Jones’ Gold Ernie | Australian Culture | Scoop.it

We can only speculate how PROUD Alan Jones must be as the recipient of the top gong at The Ernie Awards 2012.  The annual event has been recognising high profile male sexism in Australia since 1993.  (Perhaps reporter Margot Saville should receive a Germaine – if there was such an award – for this piece of female sexism: “My general rule is anyone who doesn’t have a vagina isn’t allowed to comment on them; doctors excepted.”)

 

Margot’s Crikey piece may seem a bit tl;dr, but it does explain, for instance, the genesis of #destroythejoint – the Jones quote that won him the Ernie – as well as the tone of the event: ‘getting pissed and making fun of men’.

 

It’s been an eventful week for Jones.  As well as becoming Australia’s most hated man for his vile comments on 2GB, which he part-owns and which has dropped in value by $3m, he’s been found – again – to have incited hatred against Muslims ahead of the Cronulla riots, December 2005 (see link below).  Alan Jones: a National Treasure!

 

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-10-02/tribunal-rules-alan-jones-incited-hatred/4292052

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Swan Street – it’s un-Victorian!

Swan Street – it’s un-Victorian! | Australian Culture | Scoop.it

A bunch of larrikins posing as council workers has gone right down Swan Street in Melbourne’s CBD changing every sign they could reach to ‘Hawks Street’.  If Hawthorn is victorious against the Sydney Swans in the AFL Grand Final on Saturday they even intend to petition for the change to be made permanent.

 

What I like most about this story is the relaxed attitude of the Lord Mayor – the signs will remain in place until after the big match.

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Starry, starry night – outback star trails

Starry, starry night – outback star trails | Australian Culture | Scoop.it

The night sky over the Australian outback is a wonder – 5000 bright specs on a pitch black dome stretching to the horizon in every direction, suspended in eerie silence.  If you had a couple of hundred million years to spare you could watch them make a complete orbit of the supermassive black hole at the centre of the Milky Way.  As you probably don’t, photographer Lincoln Harrison gives you the opportunity to see the star trails caused by our twenty-four hour daily tumble through the cosmos.  New and mesmerising views of a 13.2 billion year old galaxy.

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Fifty Shades à la Surry Hills

Fifty Shades à la Surry Hills | Australian Culture | Scoop.it

This tongue-in-cheek short story transmutes Fifty Shades to the heart of Sydney, where baristas are gods (and the it crowd is secretly paranoid about not being as with it as Manhattan or Paris).

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Bogans R Us?

Bogans R Us? | Australian Culture | Scoop.it

The Oxford English Dictionary now includes a definition for 'bogan': "...an unfashionable, uncouth, or unsophisticated person, especially regarded as being of low social status". Bogan is a fascinating word because everyone knows what it means, everyone agrees there are a lot of bogans and everyone considers themselves to be non-bogan. Which doesn't quite add up.

 

Here, Paul Daley accosts our expansive middle classes, asking whether sore looser Rudd actually had a point when he described Gillard's current home as Bogan-ville.

 

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Loreto Obias's curator insight, March 17, 2013 6:51 PM

Even though Australia is a Multicultural society this article talks about how the term 'bogan' is now in the English dictionary in a rasict matter portraying a negative meaning of a white person. This influences eveyrones view on the culture of an Australian person.