I am currently reading The Future History of the Arcticby Charles Emmerson. I will be writing a lot more about the Arctic and its geopolitical significance in the future. I spent several weeks travelling around the Nordic region of the Arctic Circle, and like Emmerson, I have been fascinated about this northern most region since I was young. I guess coming from the land down under, I was just keen at the lands up top.
While I was in the Arctic Circle, I was fortunate enough to witness the Northern Lights. Recently I came across this amazing piece by Norwegian photographer Terje Sørgjerd featuring the Aurora Borealis.
Though I have been brought up with rugby union, and am a fan of ‘the game that is played in heaven’, I have been following our indigenous code, Aussie Rules, (wrongly called AFL), for a while. I support the Sydney Swans, though I am yet to go to a Swans game.
“You would think that Karl-Theodor Maria Nikolaus Johann Jacob Philipp Franz Joseph Sylvester Freiherr von und zu Guttenberg had enough titles.
In Germany, the “von” and “zu” denote aristocracy and he has both. And the word “Freiherr” means “Baron”. But if you want real clout in politics, being a doctor is desirable and that was his downfall. The title in front of even such a grand name is desirable, but not if it is the product of the work of others.
Law and Medical graduates usually are included in other lists of ‘suitable’ degrees in various graduate programmes. But what about those from Arts and Social Sciences? Why are they almost always excluded in Australia?
It is because we do not value a liberal arts education. It is because we do not value the social sciences. This is a testament to the lack of creativity, innovation, dynamism and cognitive diversity that exists in Australia, which also extends to her recruitment practices. Why is it that an Arts and Social Science graduate is barred from applying for graduate roles with the Reserve Bank of Australia? In fact this is true throughout most commercial banks and other corporates. They value sociological diversity over cognitive diversity. They want people to look different, but think the same.
“Six years ago I wrote an essay called Bloggers vs. Journalists is Over. It was my most well read piece at the time. And it made the points you would expect: This distinction is eroding. This war is absurd. Get over it. Move on. There’s bigger work to be done.”
Are there limitations on the freedom of speech? Most would say, no, there cannot be limitations on any freedoms. But what happens if that freedom to speak, incites hate?
Last week the United States Supreme Court, in a 8 to 1 ruling, upheld the First Amendment right of a small, fringe church to stage anti-gay protests at funerals, among other places. The church believes any unnatural death is God’s punishment for the United States’ tolerance of gays.
“The court sided with a group on the outskirts of American life: a tiny family church in Topeka, Kansas, that has drawn disdain across the nation for its protests of military funerals and its lewd signs proclaiming God’s hatred. Its message is that military deaths – and virtually any natural disaster – are divine punishment for the country’s tolerance of homosexuality.”
The country may not be a flashpoint for all out ethnic conflict and rarely rates a mention in the world’s media. It is prosperous and well-run bureaucratically. The caretaker government of acting prime minister Yves Leterme has just completed a smooth presidency of the Council of the European Union.
But the parties representing the 6 million Dutch-speaking Flemings and 4.5 million French-speaking Walloons cannot agree on very much.