Search Results: technology

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Border control shake-up takes us into dangerous waters

    • Tony Kevin
    • 13 May 2014
    46 Comments

    Scott Morrison has announced the formation of a powerful new paramilitary force with its own ideology, training and rank structure, answerable only to an immigration minister. There is a disturbing comparison that may be drawn between this new agency, apparently with no legal or constitutional checks and balances outside itself, and the Schutzstaffel security service established by Hitler and answerable only to him as leader.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    A plague of killer robots

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 23 April 2014
    6 Comments

    Killer robots — drones in an advanced stage of development — are now a daytime reality. They will be autonomous in their operation, able to identify targets, track them down, work out the best way to destroy them, and learn from their failures, all without the need for human direction. These qualities raise serious ethical questions. Obama's use of just war theory to defend such drones was misguided at best, pernicious at worst.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    China syndrome haunts Abbott's Japanese jaunt

    • Walter Hamilton
    • 09 April 2014
    3 Comments

    The two powers in Asia on whom our economy and security depend, Japan and China, have reached an impasse. That should not constrain Australia from reaching out to both on the basis of mutual interest and shared values. China has a keen appreciation of the former and an abiding suspicion of appeals to the latter. Distinguishing one from the other and acting accordingly is the first great test of Abbott's statecraft.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Colouring the fading customs of a Greek Lent

    • Gillian Bouras
    • 26 March 2014
    6 Comments

    The 'Lenten Lady' has no mouth, because Lent is not a time for eating. Her hands are demurely crossed on her breast, for it is a time for prayer and self-examination. And she has seven feet: every Saturday, with one week elapsed, housewives would cut one foot off, with the last cut off on Holy Saturday. This custom is very old, and supposedly Greece-wide, but neither I, my Peloponnesian children nor my Cretan daughter-in-law knew of it.

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  • MEDIA

    Turnbull's bone for the News Corp behemoth

    • Ray Cassin
    • 24 March 2014
    17 Comments

    Malcolm Turnbull is unusual among Australian politicians in having a keen regard for the role of journalism in a democracy. That makes his blithe disregard of the prospect of handing Rupert Murdoch even greater influence over Australian politics all the more puzzling. It is unsurprising that some observers see the foreshadowed change to media ownership laws as a pay-off for News Corp's support of the Coalition in the 2013 election.

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  • ENVIRONMENT

    It's time to heatproof our cities

    • Greg Foyster
    • 10 February 2014
    23 Comments

    Climate change has loaded the dice towards hotter days and more frequent heat spells. Heatwaves are only going to get worse, and air conditioning isn't the godsend it seems. We need to start retrofitting our cities, suburbs and homes to withstand the sweltering summers to come. Any new houses that perform poorly in the heat are going to be a tremendous burden on the next generation.

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  • EDUCATION

    Best of 2013: End of the education revolution

    • Dean Ashenden
    • 15 January 2014

    The backsliding began before Gonski even got started: his riding instructions were to ensure that 'no school will be worse off'. Since then one backward step has followed another. What the prime minister wants now from the state premiers when they meet on 19 April is not Gonski but the appearance of Gonski. She may not get even that.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Best of 2013: It's time to recognise secular same sex marriage

    • Frank Brennan
    • 08 January 2014
    59 Comments

    The US Supreme Court and our newly installed Prime Minister have put their weight behind legal recognition of same sex marriage. In California alone there are already 40,000 children who are being brought up by same sex couples. In this debate we need to be mindful of the wellbeing and dignity of these children as well as the unknown number in future who will be created in a test tube.

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  • MARGARET DOOLEY AWARD

    Best of 2013: Slow down, you're just in time

    • Megan Graham
    • 08 January 2014
    1 Comment

    At a certain point, emotional and mental overstimulation leads to a sort of emotional numbness, as the brain and central nervous system can only respond to so much. With enough dopamine hits from 'likes' on Facebook, and adrenalin spikes from sensationalised news stories, one's emotions can become blunted. That is, with the notable exception of general irritability borne of expecting one's real life to be as fast-paced as one's online one.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Best of 2013: Transformed by a boring Brussels Mass

    • Benedict Coleridge
    • 07 January 2014

    The coughing is getting worse; it sounds like the pew behind me is hosting a cardiac arrest. English theologian James Alison described mass as 'a long term education in becoming unexcited', a state that allows us to dwell 'in a quiet place' that 'increases our attention, our presence'. In Brussels, becoming 'unexcited' seems important.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    The Christmas story's whisper from the edges

    • John Falzon
    • 17 December 2013
    13 Comments

    Recently Pope Francis blasted the so-called trickle-down economic theories in his apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium. Some will scorn his message as naive at best and dangerous at worst, while others will regard it as an urgent enkindling of hope in the face of degradation and despair. The Christmas story hints that another kind of world is possible.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Monster in the car park

    • Prue Gibson
    • 27 November 2013
    1 Comment

    The car park is a concrete cave, a holding cell, a sarcophagus. From the outside, it looks like other buildings, but inside, there are darker, deeper modalities. I wind down to sub level four. Free spaces, empty rows: I savour the desolate and bare space. 'Hey you,' shouts someone from up ahead. A man, in well-groomed suit pants with a snappy vest, strides towards me. I glance around at level four. There are almost no cars to be seen.

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