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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Low fat food products are a con

    • Mike Foale
    • 05 August 2014
    15 Comments

    The medical researcher who developed the saturated fat theory was Ancel Keys, who had cherry-picked data. He achieved celebrity status in the media through aggressive promotion of his theory. Credible science journals have lately been publishing robust reports that saturated fat is not implicated in heart disease, much to the chagrin of manufacturers of low fat processed food products. 

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Dubious heroes of Wikipedia

    • Philip Harvey
    • 23 July 2014
    6 Comments

    Swedish 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.

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  • RELIGION

    Rules won't restore the Church

    • Chris McGillion and Damian Grace
    • 23 July 2014
    20 Comments

    It 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.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Australia's hypocrisy in Greste verdict protest

    • Justin Glyn
    • 25 June 2014
    10 Comments

    Australians are understandably shocked at the sentencing of Peter Greste in Egypt. They may wonder what the Government can do for those caught up in the vagaries of a foreign legal system. The answer is, not much. The international order is still largely based on national sovereignty. We do not need to look to Egypt to see how this can allow a multitude of injustices to go unpunished — we need only ask our neighbours, the Indonesians.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Government blasé on Australian drone deaths

    • Justin Glyn
    • 27 May 2014
    13 Comments

    While recent weeks have been taken up with thinking about the Budget's disproportionate impact on poorer Australians, another, more spectacular, area of government disregard for the lives and rights of its citizens has gone relatively unremarked. It goes to the heart of democracy, revealing not only the distance between Western governments and their citizens, but also the acceptance of that gulf as a fact of modern political life.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    The right to be bad

    • Ellena Savage
    • 09 May 2014
    8 Comments

    There's nothing wrong with being nice. But women need to stop asking nicely for equality, and instead just expect it. I relate strongly to my near namesake, F. Scott Fitzgerald's Eleanor Savage, who in 1920 asks why she couldn't have been born 100 years into the future, assuming that a century of progress would give her the freedoms she desires. Women do have it it better today, but that is not the same as having innate equality.

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  • EDUCATION

    Audit Commission's Gonski landmines

    • Dean Ashenden
    • 06 May 2014
    9 Comments

    The Commission of Audit has planted so many landmines across the political landscape that two have been scarcely noticed. One is planted directly under Gonski, the other under the federal role in schooling. Christopher Pyne's brazen effort to get rid of Gonski served only to show that he is not to be trusted. Abbott must be wondering whether this minister could carry the day with the kind of scheme recommended by the Commission.

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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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  • AUSTRALIA

    What's killing the charities regulator?

    • Michael Mullins
    • 31 March 2014
    5 Comments

    The Federal Government is moving to abolish the body set up to protect and regulate the non-profit sector. Vinnies CEO John Falzon describes the action as 'ideological', while Melbourne Catholic education chief Stephen Elder sees it as an opportunity to spend more time raising money and delivering services. The Government must explain the policy imperatives driving it to dismantle such an extensively considered piece of legislation.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Bali fear beyond Rhonda and Ketut

    • Ali Winters
    • 17 March 2014
    14 Comments

    Insurer AAMI's 'Rhonda and Ketut' Balinese love story, teased out over four commercials and three years, has come to its soapy end. Whether you loved it or cringed, its camp, cocktail soaked tentacles have penetrated the Australian mainstream. But the knowledge Australians have for our closest Asian neighbour is poor. According to a DFAT report released last year, 30 per cent of respondents didn't know Bali was part of Indonesia.

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  • RELIGION

    Radical Pope's gender flaws

    • Megan Graham
    • 13 March 2014
    47 Comments

    The broad support Francis receives from progressives, despite his unwillingness to even consider female ordination, demonstrates how marginalised women's issues really are in our society. He may have changed the game in terms of the Church's engagement with the poor, but this does not diminish the significance of his oppressive and outdated views on gender roles.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Closing the Gap won’t work without human reconciliation

    • Michael Mullins
    • 17 February 2014
    14 Comments

    The Prime Minister's Closing the Gap speech to Federal Parliament last Wednesday was a finely crafted piece of work that failed to hit the spot. It seems that 'Closing the Gap' is the Government's Indigenous policy. Yet it can be seen as a justification for getting out the big stick to achieve short term gains that will look good on the Government's own political report card. 

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