Vol 24 No 14

21 July 2014


Dubious heroes of Wikipedia

22 July 2014 | Philip Harvey

Robots churning out Wikipedia entriesSwedish physicist Sverker Johansson has reportedly written over 2.7 million articles on Wikipedia since 2001, at an average of 10,000 articles a day. Phil Parker is purported to be the most published author in history, successfully publishing over 85,000 physical books, each of which takes less than an hour to 'write' — 'patented algorithms enable computers to do all the heavy lifting'. But the real work begins after they have finished.

Central American ganglands spark child refugee crisis

22 July 2014 | Antonio Castillo

A Special Forces officer of the Grupo Reacion Policial guards an alley during a raid against gang members in El Salvador.The exodus of thousands of unaccompanied and undocumented children from Central America countries to the US — via Mexico's unforgiving northern border — has become a humanitarian crisis of unprecedented dimensions. While organised crime continues, economic violence remains unresolved and the US doesn't get its migration policy right, such children will keep risking their lives.


World woe

1 Comment
22 July 2014 | Fiona Katauskas

In Fiona Katauskas' cartoon 'World woe' the world tells a counsellor 'Lately I just feel so conflicted'

View this week's offering from Eureka Street's award winning political cartoonist.


Rules won't restore the Church

22 July 2014 | Chris McGillion and Damian Grace

'Reckoning' by Chris McGillionIt is widely assumed that rules are the solution to transgressions such as those being investigated by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. Rules are useful. They can be framed to aid compliance and deter wrongdoing. It is no argument against them to say that people will still offend, but if rules are more legal requirements than the expression of genuine morality, they will have limited effectiveness.


Beware of political posturing after MH17 tragedy

21 July 2014 | Justin Glyn

MH17 wreckageThe horror of the crash that killed 298 people was not a day old before blame was being vigorously assigned by all sides. Not only is this deeply unhelpful and disrespectful, it obscures the fact that, whatever actually happened, a terrible tragedy is at risk of being compounded by the hot-heads on all sides calling for more war and escalation of a conflict in which both Russia and the United States have acted with rank opportunism.


No longer thumped

1 Comment
21 July 2014 | Isabella Fels

Young people kissFirst kiss was kind of crass. Like a big bite on the bottom. Not bliss. Not my idea of a wish. I could have crossed it off the list ... You only get one life. For some women it's all about being a wife. I stay away from the conventions of life.


Australia's diplomatic role amid MH17 fallout

21 July 2014 | Tony Kevin

Putin Initially I was uneasy about Abbott's strong anti-Putin rhetoric. Why was Australia so upfront, so early? I thought he was jumping to conclusions too soon. It is clear now though that his response was based on the same satellite imagery intelligence that John Kerry and Hilary Clinton cite as evidence that it was a Russian missile fired from Russian-supported insurgent territory. He was right, and Bill Shorten is correct to support him.

Elegy for the 298 of MH17

20 July 2014 | Andrew Hamilton

Malaysian airlinerThe deepest questions raised by the deaths of those on the plane shot down over the Ukraine are the unavoidable questions that face us all: questions about the patent precariousness and vulnerability of our lives, about what matters to us when our grasp on the future is so tenuous, about the mysterious conjunction of love, loss, pain and gift, and about the capacity of the human heart for evil and the terrible consequences that follow.


Abbott Government blind to social capital

20 July 2014 | Michael Mullins

Human capital imageThe Coalition glorifies business entrepreneurship, which is promoted as a good that trumps social inclusion. It is paradoxical that there is more appetite for social entrepreneurship in the USA, which is known as the land of the self made man. The explanation is that investing in social capital ultimately makes good business sense.


Bittersweet victory for the Mothers of Srebrenica

1 Comment
20 July 2014 | Binoy Kampmark

Women hold a banner that reads SrebrenicaLast week the Dutch Supreme Court found that the Netherlands was liable for the deaths of over 300 Bosnian Muslim men and boys at Srebrenica in Bosnia-Hercegovina in July 1995. They had been part of a group of 5000 refugees, who had been sheltering with Dutch UN peacekeepers known as Dutchbat and were handed over to Serb forces in exchange for 14 Dutch peacekeepers. A historical arrangement had been writ in blood.