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Christopher Pyne Pines For Australian Science (Though Not Enough To Save It)

So I was reading an article on the Guardian about Australian science being squeezed, like a mob boss squeezes a small fruit stall owner, and this particular quote by Pyne struck me:

“The funds for NCRIS only exist because of savings elsewhere in the higher education package.

“The way for Labor to support NCRIS, which they themselves defunded, is to support the higher education reforms.

“Labor needs to stop playing politics and enter negotiations with the government because it will be on the heads of Labor, the Greens and the crossbenchers if it closes,” he said.

It’s a small statement, well, relatively small at least, but the thing that strikes me is that it’s just so…goddamn…political…

You see, Pyne is giving the excuse, or the ‘argument ender’, to his base. He’s saying, “Look, it’s everyone else’s fault if this travesty of a budget cut to Australian science comes to pass! (It’s just coincidental that in order to stop this travesty of a budget cut to science, everyone else has to agree to my travesty of a budget cut to education.)”

This, as I said, is to give his base something to argue back against with people who disagree about his actions. It doesn’t matter, of course, that what he really means is, “I want my education cuts to pass and until they do, I’m going to hold my scythe next to the string that is holding Australian science up! And if, dog forbid, you don’t agree with me before I cut the string and Australian science plunges into this convenient volcano…Well then you only have yourselves to blame!”

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History Repeats Itself

I had to write a commentary-based popular science article for my Brain, Behaviour and Evolution class so I thought I’d post it up in case anyone felt like reading it. It’s based off a paper titled “Can a collapse of global civilisation be avoided?” by Paul and Ann Ehrlich. Have fun.


History Repeats Itself

Everyone has heard of collapsed ancient civilisations; their stories shine out to us from the tombs of history, sometimes seeming like cautionary tales, sometimes like ridiculous and contrived plays, but always bringing to mind the idea of lost opportunity. But why did they fall? One of the questions we have begun asking ourselves seriously in the past hundred years is what impact we’re having on the environment around us. Continue reading