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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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Is Scott Walker Secretly Tony Abbott?

Abbott-Walker Mutant

Scott Abbott, or perhaps it’s Tony Walker…

From a comment on a Dispatches From the Culture Wars post titled Scott Walker Proves His Foreign Policy Chops by raven (raven wrote the following comment, not the blog post):

Walker certainly didn’t do much for Wisconsin. His track record on the economy and budgets is simply terrible.

In terms of recovery from the Bush Great Recession, they rank low, 35. Wisconsin is running a $280 million deficit this year and projected $1 billion for each of the next two years.

Meanwhile the adjacent state, Minnesota has a Democrat governor who raised taxes. They are rated 5th in recovery and running a $1 billion budget surplus.

Walker must have to keep talking about union busting because he’s only done three things, cut state services, trashed the state’s budget and economy, and demolished a few unions.

Hmmm, so not only is Scott Walker’s foreign policy woeful (saying that Reagan busting up the 1981 strike of air traffic controllers was the most significant American foreign policy decision in his lifetime…) but his conservative policies (cutting state services, “incidentally” increasing debt in the service of the rich and attacking workers rights) have sent Wisconsin down the drain, directly next to a state run by a democrat, with liberal (not our liberal…God I hate how they’ve corrupted that word) policies that is in excellent health.

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Acid Attacks

I just wanted to say that I’m not going to show any of the graphic images of acid attack victims, out of complete disgust as to what humans can lower themselves to, but I absolutely fucking hate, with every inch of my fibrous being, people who throw acid on another person.

What fucking honour could you possibly be retaining by permanently scarring another living being? There’s absolutely nothing honourable in the action. I mean, really, it’s fucking terrible. If you disagree with someone, then fine, talk about (or potentially, if you have the fucking guts, to) them, perhaps start a blog and argue with their viewpoints that way. Act in a way that discounts their viewpoint. Chucking fucking acid on someone has none of those qualities.

It marks you, not the acid victim, as a perpetually disgusting human being. You are utter filth. It’s one of the most horrific acts I can imagine someone doing. Far, far, far beyond the shame of being rejected, or having to defend your honour in public, or any of the other utterly contemptible and incredibly pathetic rationales offered for such a disgusting act.

Fuck you. Seriously. Fuck you, you fucking inhuman jerks. It makes the bile rise in my throat. Fuck you.

The Rap Guide to Human Nature

I’m an old school rock guy in love with Bowie, Beatles and Queen. A lot of the time that musical heritage discounts rap as a pathetic attempt to talk over a pre-recorded beat (can you feel my bias already?). I’m not entirely in the rap camp, though I do understand the way that the musical discourse of rap countered the racial aspects of musical success (to an extent). I also find many rappers very talented in wordplay.

MC Paul Barman displays a grand example of the intellectual discourse that rap can achieve (and the depths that wordplay for the sake of wordplay can sink to), along with Jurassic 5 (who don’t sink to those depths, as far as I’m aware) and numerous others, but my favourite by far is Baba Brinkman. He has a whole album entitled the Rap Guide to Human Nature (it’s literally free, FREE). And it is fucking brilliant. It’s old(ish) now, but it’s still a genius work of popular culture attempting to integrate itself with the current level of human knowledge. My favourite song from Baba is Performance, Feedback, Revision (though it’s not on the Rap Guide to Human Evolution album).

He has some (what I consider, at least) flaws in his music, especially to do with feminism (although it requires a close listen to pick them out) but overall it’s an awesome attempt to integrate the latest art with the latest science and I couldn’t knock him for the world. Listen and cum.

Sexism and Dentistry Collide

Dentistry; apparently another hive of scum and villainy. I hope before this story is told that I don’t have to go over the fact that all dentists are not like this (obviously) and that that doesn’t excuse the behaviour of the people who ARE like this.

The University of Manitoba apparently has a problem with student dentists.

"When I started I was one of two females and the jokes [and] the acceptance for certain kinds of jokes were shocking to me."

"He would make comments about other [female] residents weight or about her height. When we were studying cranial-facial abnormalities he would pick each one of us and say that we look to have this syndrome."

Sarah says eventually it evolved to text messaging.

"I got a text message from him asking where he could find girls like me, I asked what he was talking about and he said 'oh, because you're a whore.'"

In what fucking world is this acceptable discourse to a colleague (for that matter, anyone)? I mean really, what self-entitled jerk thinks it’s ok to text to a fellow student that they’re a whore? Would they have the guts to do that to a male colleague? I very much highly doubt it.

Just another statistic in the chilling effect of discrimination on females in science…We’re actively forcing half of the population out of a highly beneficial area towards humanity. Fuck that, let’s embrace the insights and developments that EVERYONE can bring to us a species.

The Labour Movement

The labour movement has traditionally been at the forefront of progressive social change and for that reason and others it's under severe attack and by now, partly it's the fault of labour bureaucrats, but partly it's just fierce attack from the business world, which pretty much runs the country. And by now the labour movement is pretty much a shadow of what it once was. It could come back.

Noam Chomsky on the American Labour movement. It could just as easily be changed around to talk about the Australian Labour movement. Wise words from an oft-ignored man. To view the whole speech, click here.