keywords: Book Review

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  • ENVIRONMENT

    An interplanetary future favours the wealthy

    • Francine Crimmins
    • 19 September 2017
    11 Comments

    In a ball of fire, Cassini's 20-year journey across the solar system came to an abrupt finale last week. The spacecraft's odyssey soon revealed not 12 but 62 moons orbiting the gas giant. The most significant of these is Titan, which harbours large quantities of liquid water, considered to be essential to the existence of life. Meanwhile back on Earth ...

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Life lessons from the Abuja-Keffi expressway

    • David Ishaya Osu
    • 17 September 2017
    2 Comments

    On 12 May 1996, I was knocked down by a car, along the Abuja-Keffi expressway in Nigeria. I was five years old, a small boy whose fingers almost always hung in my mama's. Nigerians call this 'mummy's handbag'. But I was impatient; I wanted to be the first to cross. The things that followed were: boom! Screeches, shouts of 'Jesus', etc. I woke up in the midst of people praying for me at the nearby hospital.

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  • RELIGION

    Citizenship and the Common Good

    • Frank Brennan
    • 30 August 2017
    6 Comments

    'There was one controversy in which Lionel Bowen was involved that does provide good lessons for the contemporary Catholic considering the desirable law or social policy on a contested issue - lessons for the citizen weighing what is for the common good. Back in 1979 there was debate in the Parliament on a motion which was framed to stop Medicare funding of abortions. Bowen, a strict Catholic, was strongly opposed to the motion. He did not think the motion was about abortion. He thought it was about money.' Frank Brennan's 2017 Lionel Bowen Lecture

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  • MEDIA

    Encryption and liberties on the 'ungovernable' internet

    • Binoy Kampmark
    • 14 July 2017
    6 Comments

    Turnbull's attitude echoes the fear all autocracies have: that control is slipping away, and that citizens cannot be trusted to behave in a modern communications environment without government intrusions. Arguments are repeatedly made that such enlarged powers are never abused - a charmingly naive assumption - and that law enforcement authorities merely need the 'capacity' to have them. These can either abate, or be extended, after a review. The reality tends to be different.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Why 'white' isn't a racist slur

    • Sonia Nair
    • 13 July 2017
    11 Comments

    I hung out with a group of Indian-Australians while I was a university student who called themselves 'curries', but the unspoken camaraderie that ensued from this self-identification stood in stark contrast to that time I was called a 'f***ing curry' by a passing car full of white people. You often hear from white people that they can't be called 'white' because that too is racist language. This reflects a flawed assumption that societal structures advantage and disadvantage people in the exact same way.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    A sensitive view of high school gay romance

    • Tim Kroenert
    • 29 June 2017
    1 Comment

    Some films seem custom made for the high school English curriculum. First Girl I Loved should be essential viewing and a conversation starter for teenagers and their parents, for its sensitive and authentic exploration of the lived experiences of young people coming to terms with their sexuality in a high school context.

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  • ENVIRONMENT

    Finkel and the climate theatre of the absurd

    • Greg Foyster
    • 22 June 2017
    6 Comments

    If politics is theatre, climate politics is a family drama. For the last decade we've watched two rival households having the same endless argument. Political journos call it the 'climate wars' and mostly focus on the lead actors standing in the spotlight - in the Western narrative tradition, characters drive events. Almost no one has noticed the scenery change. Stagehands dismantled the backdrop years ago, but politicians have carried on as if the same circumstances existed when they started this charade.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Nearly knowing John Clarke

    • Brian Matthews
    • 13 June 2017
    2 Comments

    One of the 30 comedians, satirists, cartoonists and writers they interviewed was John Clarke. 'I first met John Clarke five years ago,' Murray recalls in his 1992 introduction to the interview, 'even though we grew up in the same town in New Zealand and for a while went to the same school. My claim to fame is that I nearly knew John Clarke. Recently when we looked though his school photos we realised that we knew every kid in Palmerston North in 1960 except each other.'

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Lessons for ALP in UK Labour fightback

    • Jeff Sparrow
    • 09 June 2017
    17 Comments

    When Corbyn invoked the many against the few, he did so while advocating free education, the renationalisation of utilities and a break from the US alliance. By contrast, Blair coined the phrase in a speech where he urged listeners to put behind them 'the bitter political struggles of left and right that have torn our country apart for too many decades. Many of these conflicts have no relevance whatsoever to the modern world - public versus private, bosses versus workers, middle class versus working class.' We all know which version sits closer to Shorten's heart.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Poems for Anzac Day

    • Jena Woodhouse and Ian C. Smith
    • 24 April 2017
    2 Comments

    Now, the forces of annihilation once again cohere, as if this were a valve in history's cardiac arrhythmia that faltered and unleashed a haemorrhage of horror, trauma, fear. The damask roses bloom unharvested in devastated fields. Their perfume cannot mask the stench that permeates the air, the atmosphere of dread, of mute despair. But when the juggernaut of war is redeployed elsewhere, the fragrant fields will come into their own, if there are hands to care.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Mme. Blanchard hits the roof

    • Ian C. Smith
    • 03 April 2017

    Riding her gondola, a skimpy thing like herself, she sees her balloon ablaze, begins her descent, feathered hat lost, a rushed farewell performance. The house roof's pitch steep, her rigging tangled, fire almost out, burned, broken, she can't hang on, she who once remained aloft all night over Rome.

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  • ENVIRONMENT

    Climate pipe dreams

    • Greg Foyster
    • 31 March 2017
    5 Comments

    About 40km from Warrnambool in south-western Victoria is Australia's first demonstration site for storing carbon dioxide pollution deep underground. In photos, it doesn't look like much - a few water tanks, sheds and pipes in a brown paddock - and yet plans to meet the internationally agreed climate change target are betting on the success of projects like this. This isn't a fringe strategy anymore. It is a big part of the mainstream, politically preferred approach to address global warming.

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