Iain Hall's SANDPIT

Home » Popular Culture (Page 2)

Category Archives: Popular Culture

Looking for the iClouds in the Internet sky

(by SockPuppet ~ one confused little puppy)

This is just a brief and short little post with a question I want answered:

What the f*ck is an iCloud and how do I find one?

Apparently there are some dumb celebratees who have stuck nude photos of themselve innit.

If you know the answer maybe you know the passwords too?

That is all. I have to go outside now and look for iClouds in the sky before it gets too dark.

 

 

Abbott’s “defining moment” defines Australia as still subservient to England

(by Ray Dixon ~ an Australian blogger who blogs for Australia, not for bloody England)

abbotts-australia

“Defining moment”

noun : a point at which the essential nature or character of a person, group, etc., is revealed or identified.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s comments that the arrival of the First Fleet was the defining moment in Australian history are interesting … but wrong. And dumb. In my opinion.

Before you rusted-ons jump up and down, I’m not commenting on the reactions and rebukes from indigenous leaders, who have claimed that Abbott’s remarks were an insult “ignoring 50,000 years of (aboriginal) history” that preceded the arrival of the First Fleet on the 26th of January 1788.

No disrespect intended to our indigenous past but even the National Museum could not find much of significance from that period to add to its list of 100 ‘moments’. And I hardly think that either the first rock art, the invention of the boomerang or the arrival of the dingo revealed, shaped or identified the essential nature or character of this nation. Let’s be realistic, there was little or no change in that long 50,000 year period.

No, I actually agree with Tony Abbott that Australia (as we know it today) was more shaped by events after the arrival of ‘white man’. I just think he chose the wrong event.

So putting that aside (PLEASE put it aside because I don’t want this to be an argument over ‘the invasion’) and looking at Australia post Captain Cook claiming it for Britain in 1770, what would you call Australia’s “defining moment”, bearing in mind the definition above? At what point was the “essential nature or character” of Australia revealed or identified?

This is what Abbott said:

Mr Abbott made the remarks at the opening of a history exhibition at the National Museum in Canberra on Friday, repeatedly stating that he believed the arrival of the First Fleet “was the defining moment in the history of this continent”.

“It was the moment this continent became part of the modern world. It determined our language, our law and our fundamental values.”

And this is why I think he was wrong:

The best that could be said about the arrival of the First Fleet – which was primarily the establishment of a penal colony to relieve congestion in England’s jails – is that it marked the ‘birth’ of a nation. I’d actually call it the ‘birth’ of Great Britain’s bastard child, seeing the intent was to dispose of its unwanted dregs but, nonetheless (and regardless of how you see it), the fact is that most people wouldn’t consider childbirth to be the defining moment of their life.

What “fundamental values” were determined by that event? A “fair go”? Equality? Freedom? Hardly.

For Tony Abbott to claim the arrival of the First Fleet of convicts revealed our “essential nature” is actually to say we are still in servitude to Great Britain. We are still unwanted. We are still inferior. We are still ‘the dregs’.

And that’s a very poor choice, especially coming from a Prime Minister who was born in England himself!

The arrival of the First Fleet and subsequent settlement at  Sydney Cove certainly facilitated more arrivals (of both convict and free people), but surely it was somewhere in the events that followed our ‘bastard birth’ that more defined the true character of this great country.

For example, McArthur’s arrival and introduction of Merino sheep in 1797 had far more impact on our nationhood, especially as it gave us our first significant industry – one that still survives today.

And Matthew Flinders circumnavigation of the continent in a tiny boat in 1802 after which he named the continent ‘Australia’, certainly went a long way to define the land on which we lived.

The Gold Rush of the 1850s was also a great defining moment that brought many people from many nations to try their luck, leading to the rebellion (against the British) at Eureka Stockade, an event that was wholly justified and demonstrated our stance against an oppressive authority.

I’d even rate Ned Kelly’s last stand at Glenrowan in 1880 as more “defining” than Abbott’s First Fleet moment.

But I’d say the most significant and “defining” moments in our history are these:

The Federation of Australia on 1 January 1901 when the six separate (British) colonies of Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia, and Western Australia formed as one nation with a federal government responsible for matters concerning the whole nation. That was when the Constitution of Australia came into force and when the formerly British colonies collectively became states of the Commonwealth of Australia – i.e. it was our ‘Independence Day’, albeit still with the Queen as Head of State. That event – the marking of our independence from British rule – was surely the moment that defined Australia throughout the 20th Century.

And:

The 1942 thwarting of the Japanese advancement on the Kokoda Track in Papua New Guinea (following the bombing of Darwin) when for nearly six months our soldiers fought bravely (with no thanks to the Brits) to prevent the Japanese establishing a stronghold at Port Moresby from where it intended to isolate (and possibly invade) Australia. That was the first (and so far only) time we have ever really had to fight for our survival and very existence. And we prevailed. It was truly an event of monumental importance in our history.

So what do you think of Abbott’s choice of the First Fleet of British dregs defining who we are?

What do you say is the most “defining moment” in our history from this list of 100 events put out by the National Museum?

(Note: I’ve bolded those I think are the most significant … and added a few of my own at the end) :

at least 52,000 years ago: Archaeological evidence of first peoples on the Australian continent

about 28,000 years ago: Earliest known Australian rock art engraved and painted

about 20,000 years ago: Earliest evidence of the boomerang in Australia

about 12,000 years ago: Sea level rises, separating Tasmania from mainland

about 5000 years ago: Arrival of the dingo, Australia’s first domesticated species

1606 Dutch explorer Willem Janssen becomes first European to map parts of the Australian coast

about 1700 Makasar from Sulawesi visit northern Australia and trade with Aboriginal people

1770 Lieutenant James Cook claims east coast of Australia for Britain

1788 Captain Arthur Phillip establishes convict settlement at Sydney Cove

1792 Aboriginal warrior Pemulwuy leads resistance against Sydney colonists

1797 Introduction and improvement of merino sheep

1802–03 Matthew Flinders circumnavigates continent, which he names ‘Australia’

1813 Blaxland, Lawson and Wentworth cross Blue Mountains

1830 The ‘Black Line’ — settler force attempts to corral Aboriginal people on the Tasman Peninsula

1836 Governor Richard Bourke funds Protestant and Catholic churches in New South Wales on equal basis

1838 Myall Creek massacre, New South Wales

1851 Gold rushes in New South Wales and Victoria begin

1854 Rebellion of goldminers at Eureka Stockade, Ballarat, Victoria

1854 Australia’s first railway line opens in Victoria

1856 Secret ballot introduced and all adult men given the vote, South Australia

1856 Melbourne building workers win an eight-hour day

1858 First organised game of Australian Rules football

1859 Rabbits successfully introduced into Australia

1861 First Melbourne Cup horse race

1868 Convict transportation to Australia ends

1868 Aboriginal cricket team tours England

1872 Free, compulsory and secular education introduced, Victoria

1872 Completion of the Overland Telegraph from Darwin to Port Augusta, South Australia

1879 Australia’s first national park created — (now Royal) National Park, Sydney

1880 The Bulletin established

1880 Ned Kelly’s last stand at Glenrowan, Victoria

1885 Victorian Employers’ Union formed

1885 BHP begins mining silver, zinc and lead at Broken Hill, New South Wales

1887 Chaffey brothers introduce irrigation on Murray River

1889 9 by 5 Impression Exhibition shows paintings by Tom Roberts, Arthur Streeton and Charles Conder, Melbourne

1890–91 Depression and strikes; formation of the Labor Party

1894 Legislation introducing women’s suffrage, South Australia

1901 Inauguration of the Commonwealth of Australia

1901 White Australia policy enshrined in law

1902 Commonwealth Franchise Act gives women the vote in federal elections

1903 William Farrer begins distribution of ‘Federation’ wheat

1906 Australia takes control of Papua as an ‘external territory’

1907 Justice HB Higgins hands down ‘Harvester Judgement’

1908 Legislation introducing national age and invalid pensions

1911 Douglas Mawson leads Australasian expedition to Antarctica

1912 Australian Government introduces a maternity allowance

1913 Foundation of Canberra as national capital

1915 New South Wales Government gains unfettered power to remove Aboriginal children from their families

1915 Australian troops land at Gallipoli

1916 Federal–state agreement for Soldier Settlement

1916–17 Conscription for military service overseas defeated in two referendums

1917 Completion of Trans-Australian Railway linking Western Australia and the eastern states

1920 Country Party founded at national level

1920 Qantas established

1924 Australian Aboriginal Progressive Association formed

1932 Height of the Great Depression, with 32 per cent unemployment

1932 Foundation of the Australian Broadcasting Commission

1932–33 England cricket team in Australia on ‘Bodyline’ Ashes tour

1936 Tasmania’s thylacine becomes extinct

1938 Sydney celebrates 150th anniversary of British settlement; Aboriginal leaders hold Day of Mourning

1942 Japanese bomb Darwin but are halted on Kokoda Track

1943 First women elected to Australian federal parliament

1944 Formation of Liberal Party of Australia

1945 Florey, Fleming and Chain win Nobel Prize for developing penicillin

1945 National introduction of unemployment and sickness benefits

1945 Australia plays a leading role in founding United Nations

1945 Australian Government announces post-war migration drive

1948 Australia’s first locally made car, the Holden 48-215, launched

1949 Chifley government begins Snowy Mountains Hydro-Electric Scheme

1949 Election of the Menzies government — the longest serving in Australian history

1951 Australia signs ANZUS treaty with New Zealand and the United States

1954 Visit of Queen Elizabeth II, the first by a reigning monarch 1955 Split within Australian Labor Party; formation of the Democratic Labor Party

1956 Television introduced in time for Australia’s first Olympic Games, Melbourne

1960 Australian Government lifts restrictions on export of iron ore

1961 Introduction of the oral contraceptive pill

1966 Holt government effectively dismantles White Australia Policy

1966 Gurindji strike (or Wave Hill walk-off) led by Vincent Lingiari

1967 Australians vote overwhelmingly to alter the Constitution allowing Aboriginal people to be counted in the Census and subject to Commonwealth laws

1970 Moratorium to protest Australian involvement in Vietnam War

1972 Aboriginal tent embassy established in front of Parliament House, Canberra

1972 Conciliation and Arbitration Commission grants equal pay for men and women

1973 Sydney Opera House opens

1974 Cyclone Tracy hits Darwin

1975 Governor-General dismisses Whitlam government

1976 Australian Government passes Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act

1978 First Gay Mardi Gras march, Sydney

1978 Special Broadcasting Service (SBS) established

1983 Floating of the Australian dollar

1983 Protests against Franklin Dam in Tasmania lead to formation of the Greens

1984 Australian parliament passes Sex Discrimination Act

1991 Port Hedland immigration detention centre opens

1992 High Court decision in Mabo case establishes native title

1996 Port Arthur massacre leads to tighter gun laws

2000 Walk for Reconciliation across Sydney Harbour Bridge

2001 Australian troops take control of Tampa carrying rescued asylum-seekers

2002 Bali bombing kills 88 Australians

2004 Australia signs Free Trade Agreement with the United States

2008 National Apology to the Stolen Generations

2009 ‘Black Saturday’ bushfires kill 173 people in Victoria

And they forgot about these:

1966 St Kilda wins its first (and so far only) VFL/AFL Premiership

1972 Election of Whitlam Government marks the end of conscription and our involvement in the Vietnam War

1983 Australia II wins the America Cup

2005 Makybe Diva wins an unprecedented 3rd consecutive Melbourne Cup

2010 Julia Gillard shoots the Labor Party in the foot by knifing its most popular ever Prime Minister Kevin Rudd

2014  Joe Hockey and Tony Abbott lose the plot

Recognise? What precisely?

KangarooNappingAnimatedByHeatherGillWith all of the talk of changing to constitution to “recognise” Indigenous Australians in the constitution I have been doing my darnedest to find out anything about what the proposed changes to the constitution will actually be saying, some sample of the proposed words would be good but instead all we get are vagueries and platitudes:

OPPOSITION LEADER Bill Shorten has warned against waiting “too long” to change the constitution to acknowledge indigenous Australians — and said any reform should be “substantive” and not tokenistic.

“I believe that the sooner our constitution gives just recognition to our First Australians, the better,” he told The Australian.

OK Bill but what does that mean? will such changes have any practical effects in the lives of any Australian?

“It is a historical wrong that must be made right. But it must be more than a token gesture — it must be substantive change”.

“Bipartisanship is critical for any referendum proposal to succeed. I’m prepared to work with the Prime Minister on this to make sure there is a political consensus on the timing and the content”.

If I’m not mistaken the “historical wrong” Shorten is referring to is the Establishment of the British colonies , firstly in NSW and later elsewhere, well personally I just can’t see such events in the sort of negative light that Shorten shines here.

Coalition indigenous MP, Ken Wyatt, who is leading the process, has been more cautious, saying any vote should only be held when “Australia is ready.”

Mr Wyatt, the chair of the cross party constitution committee, said: “We shouldn’t go too early but we shouldn’t go too late either and run the risk of missing the opportunity.

Err OK Ken but until we see the words no one will have the slightest notion of the virtue of what is proposed now will they?

Mr Wyatt’s committee is currently consulting on the wording to be taken to a referendum.

“The Committee is considering presenting a progress report in December and is not required to present its final report until 30 June 2015,” he said.

So does that mean that we are going to get nearly another year of these endless empty gestures trying to soften up the public for an as yet unenunciated change to the constitution?

Aboriginal Commissioner Mick Gooda has called for the referendum to acknowledge indigenous Australians to be held next year.

Delivering the annual Nulungu Reconciliation Lecture in Broome, Mr Gooda challenged the Prime Minister to hold a referendum before the next federal election and avoid endless rounds of consultation on the issue.

How typically undemocratic a notion from a minion of the left.

Joint Campaign Director of the Recognise campaign Tim Gartrell praised Mr Gooda’s “excellent contribution to the debate”.

“We’ve always said we shouldn’t wait a day longer than is necessary to make these important changes to the constitution,” he said. “This also means all the preconditions need to be in place. The momentum needed for success is growing every day. There are now more than 215,000 supporters who have joined Recognise.

215,000 supporters is notthat significant when you consider that we are a nation of more than 20Million people, in fact I would suggest that  215,000 supporters is barely even all of the “usual suspects”

Labor’s first indigenous senator -Nova Peris does not back Aboriginal Commissioner Mick Gooda’s call for the referendum to acknowledge indigenous Australians to be held next year, arguing it is better to take longer than get it wrong.

Senator Peris, who is the deputy chairwoman of the committee looking at options for recognition, said rushing the issue would be devastating.

“It’s imperative we do the work required to ensure this succeeds,” he said. “To risk failure in an attempt to simply rush the procedure would be devastating.”

Source

Well for once I agree with a Labor person about something! That said unless we have a very clear enunciation of just what words are to be added to the constitution and what the possible effect of that change could be then I for one will be campaigning against there being ANY change simply because those advancing the yes case are already being deceptive. You see I am old fashioned enough to think that there should be no laws on our statute books that privileges any individual on the basis of their race or ethnicity, or what they claim is their race or ethnicity. We live in the here and now, in a contemporary Australia whose laws apply equally to all with a blindness to race gender or ethnicity. Its not a perfect blindness to those distinctions but its close enough to sing its praises and we should resist any move that makes the law notice the colour of a man’s skin, the faith in his heart or even if he is a man. So many on all sides of politics espouse notions of equality and I think that if   we the public are being asked to agree with the proposition that some Australians are going to be considered “more equal” than the rest of us that we should just vote NO!

Cheers Comrades

hy

I’m awake early to meet the new Doctor Who, are any other Sandpit readers doing likewise?

doctor-who-series-8Cheers Comrades

Tardis_animated

Update, some thoughts on the show

I’ve watched it twice now , firstly at five minutes to five am when it was globally simulcast and secondly after my wife arose from her slumbers after a respectable Sunday morning sleep in.

I liked the new credits very much especially with the use of lots of clockwork iconography the revised theme seemed to work pretty well also. It was certainly well novel, crafted but respectful to the lore of the Whovian universe. Less impressive was the actual Tardis’ exterior frankly the police box windows and the general appearance of the prop was woeful it just did not look at all like it was a real police box given the budget for the show why on earth did they fail so miserably on that iconic prop?

That said going to the well worn Victorian setting was not much of a surprise, earlier stories have used the same setting and the same trio of secondary characters who do have their charms The dinosaur was however entirely over the top in more ways than one. firstly its appearance in the episode did not have even the most vague Whovian logic, essentially it only existed for the visual joke of the Tardis being spat out in the opening sequence of the show.

To get to the most interesting part of this first episode, namely the new wielder of the Sonic Screwdriver Peter Capaldi, he was actually quite impressive his interpretation of the 2000 year old time-lord seems to be quite inspired and in many ways I feel that he has gone full circle back to the sort of Doctor that William Hartnell gave us back in the very first iteration of the Doctor.

Sidekick: Jenna-Louise Coleman who plays assistant Clara Oswald at Comic Con

Sidekick: Jenna-Louise Coleman who plays assistant Clara Oswald at Comic Con

Clara Oswald continues as the Doctors companion and she certainly is both easy on the eye and far from whimpy showing the world a strong female character.

The first episode concludes quite well with a celebration of the Doctor’s new Scottishness with a fleeting visit to Glasgow which was a nice touch considering that is where Capaldi himself hails from. Finally the teaser for the next episode tells us that the old foe, the dreaded Daleks, are on the menu for the next episode, Hardly surprising when you consider that they are the Villains that  we most associate with Doctor Who adventures.

Over all I did not feel disappointed by the reboot, except for the aforementioned  faux par with the Tardis prop

bbb

Daleks

bbb

Prefer

bbb

the

bbb

Sandpit

bbb

For

bbb

world domination

Foretelling the future and negating the wrath of the Gods

human_15

The thing is that as there are now many thousands of people who have studied science enough to have “qualifications” it has become a very “broad church” that has elements that can support and endorse almost any proposition. Add to that the fact that there are many millions of people who are reasonably scientifically literate and an Internet to allow anyone to engage in the previously closed shop and you have the foundations for science becoming the new secular religion of the modern world.

No more perfect example of the making science a religion exists than the branch of science that deals with our climate and trying to predict the way that it may change into the future. Because “climate science” is utterly immune to any testing by the foundational tenet of science, the scientific method, So instead of being able to test the theory of AGW (which we can’t do because we don’t have  a spare planet earth to experiment on) we the public are fed a constant stream of faith statements and dire predictions all of which are based upon some rather convoluted reasoning built upon a great deal of assumption, a little bit of (incomplete) data and huge amounts of confirmation bias, The proponents of this theory have take on a priest like role and many of their congregation argue about what they imagine will happen with the certainty of the religious zealot.

sacroficial-stone

the simple truth is always going to be that we won’t know what the future of the climate will be until it actually happens and we are going to have to adapt to any changes if and when they come. We can try to anticipate change and spend a great deal of effort and treasure in the process but what if those anticipations are based on a wrong call? That was the underlying point of Newman’s piece in the Australian. As a “clever country” we have to be able to jump which ever way we have to to survive and prosper into the future. The planet is littered with edifices to failed millenarian thinking, the temples and monuments meant to placate the gods that did not avert the expected end of humanity lets not fall into the same trap of wasted effort just because the priests of the new warming religion wear white coats and use computers instead of tearing the beating hearts out the chests of human sacrifices on the altars of their faith.

Cheers Comrades

the only certainty in life is that we will all eventually die

the only certainty in life is that we will all eventually die

Vale Robin Williams

While socky wants to rif on the possible (but unlikely and rather unkind and unfunny ) idea of Robin Williams passing I can’t help but think about  the parts of his back catalogue that I remember fondly.

You see while many will be focusing Williams’ ability to make people laugh I like the shear humanity of the man that shone through in so many of his movie roles

The world is a better place because it had Robin Williams in it but its also a much sadder one today now that he has taken that last bow it is a poorer and far too sombre place.

 

Respect Comrades

tumblr_lpdu4tbCm51qh8nbpo1_500

 

 

 

 

Mike Carlton’s Career suicide bombing via twitter

tele-header1-660x440

You  just  got to love crap like this:

In a letter to the Fairfax chief executive, Greg Hywood, and editor-in-chief, Darren Goodsir, the Australian National Imams Council, Islamic Council of New South Wales and Muslim Legal Network New South Wales, among others, said they would boycott the Sydney Morning Herald unless the outspoken columnist was reinstated.

Carlton quit the Herald on Wednesday after being told he would be suspended for the language he used when replying to readers who objected to an article he wrote discussing the conflict in Gaza. The editor-in-chief of the SMH and Sun-Herald, Darren Goodsir, said Carlton had used “inappropriate and offensive language” – not in the column, but in his responses to readers.

In Saturday’s Sydney Morning Herald, Carlton’s column was replaced by one by author and columnist John Birmingham.

The letter to Fairfax said the Muslim groups would consider notifying community organisations and spokespersons to cease cooperating with Fairfax journalists for media interviews.

“As representatives of the Muslim community we have always regarded Fairfax to be one the more balanced media organisations in the country and where possible we have co-operated with your journalists on countless stories,” it said.

“But with the resignation of Mr Carlton from your publications we have now lost one of the very few voices advocating for the Palestinian cause in the country.”

A media campaign targeting Fairfax advertisers was also being considered, the groups said.

Source

Lets face it Mike Carlton has always been a rather nasty piece of work in the boorish leftard mould and it was his boorishness that has cause Fairfax to give him the opportunity to resign. He forgot the most important thing in public life which is no matter how nasty your interlocutors may be one has to maintain a certain level of decorum and you certainly don’t publicly abuse them on twitter or any other forum.

As for the threat to boycott Fairfax from the   “the Australian National Imams Council, Islamic Council of New South Wales and Muslim Legal Network New South Wales, et al” I can’t help thinking that the only significant thing about these groups is their overly grandiose titles and inflated notions of their own self importance. Honestly who could possibly care if they won’t talk to Fairfax?  I ‘m sure that the Fairfax editors are laughing into their Lattes this morning at such an impotent attempt at blackmail.

As for Carlton anyone want to give me odds that he will soon be embraced by that leader in apologia for Islam, The Guardian, sooner rather than later? After all it is where all of the otherwise washed up hard left Journos all seem to end up.

Cheers Comrades

ggggjpg

Guardians of the Galaxy the Sandpit review

guardian-of-the-galaxy-poster1

Yesterday I had to visit my doctor for myself and to take my son as well so once we were finished visiting the sawbones I gave in to my son’s repeated pleading and we went to see “Guardians of the Galaxy” and you know what? I it wasn’t a bad movie at all it both engaged and entertained us both which isn’t too bad from where I was sitting:

Marvel Studios’ new superhero film Guardians of the Galaxy is a smart, funny, self-aware bubblegum movie; like the recent X-Men film Days of Future Past, it features a retro playlist indicating an increasing possibility that middle youth, as well as actual youth, is an important target audience.

Chris Pratt (from TV’s Parks and Recreation) plays the Han-Solo-ish intergalactic freebooter Peter Quill, whose cynicism masks an inner hurt: he was abducted from Earth as a little kid just after his mom had died of cancer – a classic touch of comic-book fantasy, alchemising pain into superheroism – and always carries around the old-fashioned Sony Walkman with a mixtape his mother made for him. (A very prominent British producer once told me pop soundtrack riches like these induce stunned awe in indie film-makers – only the big studios can pay the staggering copyright fees.)

Quill has found himself in possession of a mysterious orb that certain ruthlessly villainous parties would like to have, and this compels him to team up with a ragtag crew of space adventurers whose story takes place in surroundings made to look like classic photorealist sci-fi paperback covers. There is a huge Tolkienian creature in the shape of a tree called Groot (played in motion-capture by Vin Diesel), the enormous musclebound, oddly coloured hombre Drax (Dave Bautista), a strangely beautiful female alien with the off-puttingly biblical name of Gamora (Zoe Saldana) and Rocket, a cunning little talking raccoon voiced by Bradley Cooper, with hints of Nathan Lane’s Timon from The Lion King and the meerkat in the TV advert who says “simples”.

Source

The makers of this film managed to get the right mix of outrageous action with believable and likable characters. Its not at all  deep and meaningful, instead its a roller-coaster ride of colour and movement with a quite satisfactory conclusion. My boy loved the film almost as much as he loved having the bragging rights engendered by seeing it in the first day of its release. Me? Well at least I did not retreat to the land of nod as I did for the Lego Movie so I rate it as a good four on the five star Sandpit scale and that means you won’t regret paying yer money for the seat if you are accompanying a small person for a day out .

Cheers Comrades

%d bloggers like this: