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Stand with the Alyawarr and Anmatyerr Peoples and tell the government not to abandon homelands.

The Government has no right to abandon Aboriginal people for choosing to live on their homelands.


he’s as creepy as ever…

Originally posted on the interpretOr:


“And I know that you will agree with me that standing up for Australia also means standing up for the God, who has so blessed our land. I believe this country hungers for a spiritual revival. I believe it longs to see traditional values reflected in public policy again.”

ERIC(K) ABETZ, Address to the Australian Christian Lobby Conference, Brisbane, May 2013.

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The Real Winner of the Midterms: Wall Street

The crop of newly elected politicians from last week’s elections are likely to increase profits for banks while further cutting public sector workers’ pensions.


Republicans pulled together in the midterms to continue waging war on workers, the planet and democracy. Democrats ran from each other.


With Net Neutrality, Obama Finally Takes a Principled Stand

By calling for the reclassification of broadband as a utility, the president has opened the lanes for a truly free and open Internet.


Chicago Progressives’ Midterms Performance Actually Wasn’t That Bad

Far from wringing their hands about last week’s election’s implications, Chicago progressives should take heart at their performance.


A former Army Ranger says he doesn’t want to be thanked for his service–he wants politicians to stop sending young soldiers off to die.

The new sci-fi thriller is beautiful, but tells the same old story: A guy with a dead wife nobly pursues blowing things up.
Rasmea Odeh faces up to 10 years in a U.S. prison and deportation for failing to disclose a criminal history that was allegedly the result of physical and sexual torture.


Students to Teach for America CEOs: You Are ‘Complicit’ in Attacks on Public Education

Student activists didn’t mince any words about the damage the group is doing to teachers and students.



The world needs to take immediate action towards a complete phase out of fossil fuels and force global greenhouse gas emissions onto a downward trajectory. This is the clear message from the United Nations Environment Programme in its latest Emissions Gap Report. Launched today in Washington DC, the report confirms there is no time to waste if the world is to stay under the agreed red line of 2DegC average warming. The good news is that more and more countries are already waking up to this – forced to face facts by the recent government-endorsed IPCC report confirming that carbon emissions will have to be brought to zero.

The US, China and the EU have all recently showed climate action leadership: the EU with its 2030 climate and energy package; the US with its pledge to double the pace at which it will reduce carbon pollution; and China with plans to slow, peak and then reverse the course of its carbon emissions. But today’s report shows that all countries need to take action, and that deeper and faster emissions cuts will reduce climate risks and the costs of action.

Now is the moment – in the run up to the UN climate summit in Lima, Peru - for coal-obsessed blockers like Australia to show that they too wish to be on the right side of history.


Link feast

pick of the best psychology and neuroscience links from the past week or so:

Winter Is a Black Hole: How I Deal With Seasonal Depression
“Seasonal depression hits for me, like clockwork, the day after Halloween” – writes Dayner Evans at

Learning How Little We Know About the Brain
By James Gorman in the New York Times.

How To Debunk Falsehoods
At BBC Future, Tom Stafford investigates the best way to correct false ideas.

The “Paper Effect” – Note Something Down And You’re More Likely To Forget It
At the Brain Watch blog I lampoon fears about the effect of computers and other digital devices on our memories.

How to Be Efficient: Dan Ariely’s 6 New Secrets to Managing Your Time
At Time magazine, Eric Barker summarises time-keeping advice from the author of Predictably Irrational.

I Hated Keeping a Gratitude Journal – Here’s What Worked Instead
Allison Jones at

Fooled By Your Own Brain
Don’t be so certain your senses are telling you the truth, says Virginia Hughes at Nautilus.

Human Body: The “Ultra-athletes” aged 60+
At BBC Future, David Robson reports on the senior ultra-athletes who are defying the limits of aging and the body.

Living With Schizophrenia
Access 60 free journal articles on this topic, courtesy of Psychology Press / Taylor and Francis.

How to Study The Brain
We’re about to obtain unprecedented amounts of new data on the brain, says Gary Marcus at The Chronicle, but the important missing ingredient is theory.

Illustrations of Madness: James Tilly Matthews and the Air Loom
At the Public Domain Review, Mike Jay recounts the tragic story of James Tilly Matthews, who was confined to Bedlam asylum in 1797 for believing that his mind was under the control of a terrifying machine.

Post compiled by Christian Jarrett (@psych_writer) for the BPS Research Digest.


As “Queensland premier tells Obama he is ‘solid’ on protecting Great Barrier Reef” (the Guardian), here’s a reality check…

The Abbot Point dredging project, recently approved by Australian environment minister, Greg Hunt, will allow India’s Adani Enterprises to build Australia’s biggest coal mine in the Galilee Basin in central Queensland, and dredge, to allow massive coal ships to access their proposed new shipping terminal at Abbot Point…to send coal overseas.

@ the interpretOr, we’re looking at the Indian Government’s recent report on Adani’s existing Mundra port operations that found incontrovertible evidence of:

destruction of mangroves,

blocking of creeks and…

…non-compliance of other clearance conditions.

The reporting committee, headed by Sunita Narain of Centre for Science and Environment, was set up by the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests (Government of india), to inspect ship-breaking facility of M/s Adani Port and SEZ Limited near Mundra West Port in Gujarat’s Kutch district. The committee submitted its report on April 18, 2013 and it can be downloaded in pdf by clicking here :::

Subsequently, on July 29, 2013 a public hearing for the project was held where people from four project-affected villages and nearby locations attended the public hearing at Tunda village in Mundra taluka and posed questions about the project and its impact on the environment. But the public hearing ended without the company being able to give comprehensive answers to the queries raised by the project-affected people, report Down To Earth (DTE)the Indian science and environment fortnightly:

Using remote sensing technology, the committee has found that that over the last decade, 75 hectares of mangroves have been destroyed in Bocha Island, a conservation zone. Satellite imagery indicates deterioration and loss of creeks near the proposed North Port due to construction activities. The company has also neglected to inventory its utilisation and disposal of fly ash, and has not ensured that storage tanks, seawater inlets, and discharge outlets are lined to prevent increase in salinity and contamination of water. The report also states that the Adani group has been less than serious about reporting on compliance with the conditions set at the time of clearance. In many cases, non-compliance with reporting conditions has been observed.

The committee also noted that there have been instances to circumvent statutory procedures by using different agencies, at the Centre and state, for obtaining clearances for the same project. The public hearing procedure, which is a critical part of project clearance and helps to understand and mitigate the concerns of local people, has also been bypassed on one pretext or another. The fisher community, which depends on the coasts for their livelihood, is the worst hit by the changes brought on by land acquisition and construction for the project. 


(Adani project in Mundra has violated environmental norms: MoEF committee report)


The Australian government took its strategy of fighting the future to a whole new level this week, with ministers lining up to attack the ANU’s decision to abandon many of its fossil fuel investments, and Prime Minister Tony Abbott taking the coal industry’s PR line to claim that coal is “good for humanity” and has a “bright future” despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

We know that we cannot burn the majority of our fossil fuel reserves, the international community is preparing for a low carbon future, and it costs more to mine and ship Australian coal than it can be sold for. Couple this with China imposing a new 6 per cent coal import tariff, its steel industry being close to peak production, and forecasters saying the decline in prices will continue as China moves away from imported coal; it’s clear to see why the Abbott government’s vocal protection and support for coal has been dubbed a “suicide strategy”.


‘November 15 is a day of action and acknowledgement,’ said Marian Botsford Fraser, Chair of PEN International’s Writers in Prison Committee. ‘It is PEN’s way of saying to all of our 900 imprisoned, harassed, murdered and disappeared writers: you are not silenced. You are not forgotten. We stand with you and fight for you.’

In order to demonstrate how freedom of expression is being curtailed, each year PEN’s Writers in Prison Committee highlight five cases of writers currently in prison or being prosecuted from around the world that are emblematic of the type of threats and attacks faced by writers and journalists.

This year PEN is highlighting the cases of five writers from Cameroon, China, Iran, Kyrgyzstan, and Paraguay and calls for their immediate and unconditional release and for the charges against them to be dropped, along with all other writers similarly threatened. On 15 November, and the days surrounding, PEN Members will be sending appeal letters, raising publicity and staging events in support of their colleagues under attacks around the globe.

This year PEN International is advocating on behalf of the following writers:

enoh-meyomesse-1-890x395Cameroon – Dieudonné Enoh Meyomesse poet, currently serving a seven-year prison sentence. PEN believes that the charges against Meyomesse are politically motivated. He is in poor health.



HONG KONG-LITERATURE-FREEDOMChina – Gao Yu:  journalist and member of the Independent Chinese PEN Center, she was arrested on 23 April 2014. She remains detained pending trial, and faces a lengthy prison sentence if convicted.



Mahvash_SabetIran – Mahvash Sabet: teacher and poet, is currently serving a 20-year prison sentence.  She has been detained since 2008 for her faith and activities related to running the affairs of the Bahá’í religious minority in Iran.



16348Kyrgyzstan – Azimjon Askarov: journalist and member of Kyrgyzstan’s Uzbek minority who has spent his career exposing corruption. Sentenced to life imprisonment.




nelsonParaguay - Nelson Aguilera: writer, teacher and member of PEN Paraguay, he was sentenced to 30 months in prison on 4 November 2014 for allegedly plagiarising a novel.  Although not currently in prison as his appeal is pending, PEN is highlighting his case in an attempt to keep him at liberty.




::: click on through to PEN :::

Everyone knows about the military-industrial complex, which, in his farewell address, President Eisenhower warned had the potential to “endanger our liberties or democratic process” but have you heard of the “Deep State?”

Mike Lofgren, a former GOP congressional staff member with the powerful House and Senate Budget Committees, joins Bill to talk about what he calls the Deep State, a hybrid of corporate America and the national security state, which is “out of control” and “unconstrained.” In it, Lofgren says, elected and unelected figures collude to protect and serve powerful vested interests. “It is … the red thread that runs through the history of the last three decades. It is how we had deregulation, financialization of the economy, the Wall Street bust, the erosion or our civil liberties and perpetual war,” Lofgren tells Bill Moyers.


Climate change may not be the most obvious subject for a play, but theatregoers in London have been turning up in droves to see scientist Chris Rapley give an impressive account of the subject.

The 75-minute play, illustrated with swirling video images, manages to captivate audiences just with the power of the bare, stripped down facts of science, and without relying on the usual catastrophe imagery and doom and gloom language. “2071” discusses the consequences of mankind’s dependence on fossil fuels – how 90 per cent of the world’s glaciers and ice caps are retreating and raising sea levels. Soaring greenhouse gas levels are affecting the climatic equilibrium which is the basis of modern civilisation, says Rapley, highlighting a global temperature-rise of 2DegC as a crucial “guard rail”.

To avoid such levels of warming, “the greatest collective action in history” is required. But audiences are left with hope that with energy efficiency and a greater use of renewables such as wind farms and solar power, mankind can start to tip the balance in a better direction.





“Stop whinging, get on with it and prove them all wrong.”

While the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has warned that the world must phase out up to 70 per cent of fossil fuels by 2050, Australia and other G20 nations continue to pay lip service to a clean energy transition by spending billions subsidising new fossil fuel exploration activities.

The ‘age of entitlement’ isn’t over for those filthy fossil corporations, and what’s more, we the people are subsidising them…

…A new report from Oil Change International (US) and the Overseas Development Institute (UK) has highlighted the perverse incentives governments are giving to fossil fuel companies, with G20 governments spending $100 billion (USD$88 billion) a year searching for new oil, gas, and coal reserves. The US leads the way with $5.9 billion (USD$5.1bn), but Australia’s $4 billion (USD $3.5bn) puts it a close second, and ahead of the $2.7 billion (USD $2.4bn) Russia spends.

Globally, governments subsidise fossil fuels to the tune of AUD$887 billion a year, while spending, by comparison, a tiny AUD$117bn (USD$101 bn) on renewable energy…

Such skewed support for fossil fuels is a direct threat to the global carbon budget, which states that two thirds of known fossil fuel reserves have to stay in the ground if the world is to keep average warming to 2DegC. The report urges G20 leaders to phase out these dirty, inefficient exploration subsidies as a first step to meeting existing commitments to avoid harmful climate change.

…but don’t take our word for it; here are a selection of tools and resources :::

I’m urging the to keep the internet open and free.

Here’s my plan to protect for everyone:


“More than any other invention of our time, the Internet has unlocked possibilities we could just barely imagine a generation ago. And here’s a big reason we’ve seen such incredible growth and innovation: Most Internet providers have treated Internet traffic equally. That’s a principle known as “net neutrality” — and it says that an entrepreneur’s fledgling company should have the same chance to succeed as established corporations, and that access to a high school student’s blog shouldn’t be unfairly slowed down to make way for advertisers with more money.” – LATEST :::


Australia is the worst polluter per capita in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), (and that is not counting the significant impact of its coal exports on air pollution and global warming, (click logo below for OCD’s spreadsheet):


The industry and the government are ignoring climate science, and would rather pretend that coal is “good for humanity”, and sell as much of it as possible to the developing world under the guise of ending “energy poverty” when they are really only interested in keeping coal profits alive in a dying market. In fact, the World Bank has called climate change “a fundamental threat to development in our lifetime”, saying that “If we do not confront climate change, we will not end poverty.” Scientists warn that the world needs to phase out coal in the electricity sector altogether by 2050 to keep warming below 2DegC.


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