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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Cultural ownership and responsibility is not just a fad

    • Esther Anatolitis
    • 03 October 2016
    10 Comments

    Who owns a cultural object? Who has the right to determine cultural values? And how can public institutions exercise cultural responsibility? It's a timely set of questions as we consider the implications of the National Gallery of Australia's return of ancient Indian sculptures, the British Museum's refusal to return Indigenous objects, or Lionel Shriver's rejection of minority cultural identities. Each of these unleashes complex, painful consequences that can undermine cultural value or cultural safety.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    The dangers of Trump and climate conspiracy theories

    • Fatima Measham
    • 28 September 2016
    6 Comments

    Trump predictably resorted to insinuation to mask his deficiencies. After the first presidential debate, he said: 'They gave me a defective mic. Did you notice that ... was that on purpose?' It is hilarious until you realise how it would be received by supporters. It captures something of contemporary politics, where the line between conspiracy theory and legitimate anti-establishment criticism is more smudged than ever. A deficit of trust is one thing; a detachment from truth is something else.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Oliver Stone's love letter to hero Edward Snowden

    • Tim Kroenert
    • 27 September 2016
    1 Comment

    Snowden's disclosures regarding the data-mining activities of the US government sparked a worldwide debate about security versus privacy that rages to this day. If his status as either a villain or a hero - a traitor, or the ultimate patriot - remains a matter of debate in some circles, you won't die wondering in which camp Oliver Stone sits. In Snowden the famously didactic filmmaker posits an utterly sympathetic portrait within the structure of a lithe and gripping political thriller.

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  • ENVIRONMENT

    My climate change denial is worse than Malcolm Roberts'

    • Greg Foyster
    • 25 September 2016
    11 Comments

    In January, swathes of ancient forest in Tasmania burned in bushfire. February 2016 was a scorcher - the warmest in 136 years of modern temperature records. By late March I was looking at images of a bleached Great Barrier Reef and feeling similarly blanched. I went for a walk, breathing heavily. It was sunny. Ominously warm. Fifteen minutes later, when I returned to my desk, my mood was buoyant again. I turned off my computer, and threw the report I'd been reading in the recycling bin.

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  • ENVIRONMENT

    Count the cost of Apple's September sell

    • Megan Graham
    • 18 September 2016
    5 Comments

    Apple has been in hot water for years about the ethics of the manufacture of their devices. Yet iPhone fans gleefully fork out more money every September when the next version is ceremoniously revealed. This circus has become so normalised, most of us hardly blink an eye. How many people ask themselves whether the upgrades in the technology are worth getting a new phone every year? More importantly, how many people question the real-world costs that their purchase entails?

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Heroes and humanity in Hudson River plane miracle

    • Tim Kroenert
    • 14 September 2016
    1 Comment

    On 15 January 2009, US Airways pilot Chesley 'Sully' Sullenberger successfully executed an emergency water landing on the Hudson River in New York, after both engines on the passenger jet he was flying were disabled following a collision with a flock of geese shortly after takeoff. Miraculously, and thanks largely to the veteran pilot's razor instincts and resourcefulness, all 155 passengers and crew on board escaped the ordeal all but unscathed. In Sully the incident itself is portrayed in near forensic detail (aviophobics might best stay away). But it is the human touches that really make it soar.

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  • MEDIA

    Media must go deeper than 'yellow peril' fear-mongering

    • Jarni Blakkarly
    • 06 September 2016
    2 Comments

    China is out to undermine every aspect of the Australian way of life, from our Census to the integrity of our democracy. Any day now the red flag of the Communist Party will be flying over Parliament House in Canberra ... Or so, you'd be forgiven for believing. Chinese fear-mongering has hit a fever-pitch in Australia's media in recent months and the lines between genuine concern and sensationalism is becoming increasingly blurred. How can we make sure journalism keeps level-headed and fair?

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Thoughts of an ambivalent feminist

    • Fatima Measham
    • 04 September 2016
    5 Comments

    Unless feminism abandons its individualistic, secular, western framing of freedom, it cannot presume to liberate all women. Some of its recent concerns give away limitations: whether this politician identifies as feminist, whether child-raising is self-sabotage, whether women abandon autonomy when they take their husband's name. I wonder sometimes whether it is ever possible to talk about sexual exploitation of women in Asia without getting entangled in sex positivity and legal sex work.

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  • ENVIRONMENT

    SA power play backfires

    • Greg Foyster
    • 25 August 2016
    8 Comments

    On 7 July, South Australia experienced a cold snap. As residents turned on their heaters, the still and cloudy conditions meant wind and solar power couldn't contribute much to meeting electricity demand. The last coal plant had closed a few months before, pushed out of the market by renewable energy. As if on cue, the spot electricity price spiked. Instead of a lesson about the danger of too much wind power, it's about the danger of too much market power in the hands of a few big players.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Truth beyond written records of the Wave Hill walk off

    • Moira Rayner
    • 22 August 2016
    9 Comments

    I had been in WA for exactly a year when the local newspaper reported that a white guy had led about 200 people off Wave Rock station. Coming out of the comfortable myth that my home country of New Zealand was not racist, I was amazed to learn that Australia's Indigenous people were obliged to work without industrial protections. In 1966 it was the British Vesteys Group that had been exploiting Aboriginal people: today it is the State in the guise of 'community development', aka work for the dole.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Israel can't be both abuser and saviour

    • Ruby Hamad
    • 18 August 2016
    10 Comments

    This week, Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu claimed that although 'some of you will not believe' it, he 'cares more about Palestinians than their leaders do'. He is right - I don't believe him, not least because what he is saying is nothing new. Israel has long been claiming that it only harms Palestinians because Palestinians force them to do it. As well as making Israel sound remarkably like an abusive partner (Why did you have to go and make me hit you?) this is also Dehumanisation 101.

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  • EDUCATION

    Homeschooling on the road

    • Sarah Klenbort
    • 03 August 2016

    While snorkelling at Ningaloo, we had an underwater lesson, in Auslan, about tropical fish and coral. On a walk to Manning Gorge on the Gibb River Road, I explained the terms 'first' and 'third-person' narrators. As we strolled past boabs, we discussed the merits and drawbacks of each perspective. Kaitlyn's written four stories on the trip so far and she recalled which point of view she chose for each story, and why. I used to criticise parents who thought their kids too precious for school. Now, I'm not so sure.

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