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INSATIABLE BANALITIES #130. Den Hanrahan

the Converted

Present: Jim Boots, John Griffiths, Sharkie

Our guest is Den Hanrahan who is launching his CD, Black Swamp Road, at the Front this Sunday, 29th Sep, at 7.30pm (with Cuddlefish in support).

Click Play Audio to play podcast. Click here to download

If you’d like to download the podcast, tap this URL: http://the-riotact.com/~john/insban/pod130.mp3 into iTunes or your media player or whatever.

There is a facebook fan page for people to marvel at here.

This link is for people who have podcasting software which you can find here.

Recorded on Tuesday 24th August.

Click read more for the track list.

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Merchandising Doubt: the work of climate change scepticism

Book review by Alison’s Cousin’s Husband Bill. Naomi Oreskes & Erik M. Conway, Merchants of doubt: how a handful of scientists obscured the truth on issues from tobacco smoke to global warming (Bloomsbury Press, New York, 2010) 355pp $37.95

One hears it said that the scientific debate on human-induced climate change is over and that the real battle ground is in politics, ethics and the art of persuasion. In other words, that the formulation and implementation of responses has moved from the “hard” physical sciences to the “soft” social ones.

Orekes and Conway bolster this conclusion. There is no common ground between the sceptics or denialists and the consensus of physical science in all the facets of climate change: whether it is occurring, why and what, if anything, we must do to respond to it. Rather, there is common ground on the criteria of criticism: in the allegations of bias and failure to follow the time-honoured procedure expected of the virtuous scientist. Having a closed mind – being biased, not being sceptical – is the most serious charge that can be made against a scientist which is why denialists have sought to appropriate the term “sceptical” to themselves.

Backed by 64 dense pages of endnotes, the authors meticulously document what lawyers would dub a settled pattern of conduct over many years and seven scientific attempts to manufacture doubt where no scientific doubt existed. The title of the book, “Merchants of doubt” goes to this point: doubt has been deliberately manufactured and marketed.

The story starts with tobacco in the 1950s. A handful of high profile scientists working in conjunction with the tobacco industry, think tanks and media advisers deliberately set out to shake the consensus that was emerging that smoking was a serious health hazard. The pattern was repeated in two ways under President Reagan: to give the public impression of confidence in the feasibility and efficacy of the President’s technically suspect Star Wars Initiative and, secondly, to undermine the scientific case for the United States to take steps to reduce emissions of sulphur dioxide from burning fossils fuels which, falling as acid rain, was destroying forests in the north-east of the country and across the border in Canada. Then there was the ozone hole caused by chlorinated flurocarbons (CFCs) manufactured for hair sprays and refrigerants.

Back then to smoking. The battle in the early 1990s concerned passive or second hand smoking. What epidemiology and medical science were discovering was the stuff of nightmares for the tobacco industry. There were guns enough to hire to shell doubt at the conclusion of that science. In other words there was a well honed modus operandi in place to take on the scientific concern about human-induced global warming when it entered the public sphere with the establishment in 1989 of the International Panel on Climate Change. [Read more →]

INSATIABLE BANALITIES #129. The Converted

the Converted

Present: Jim Boots, John Griffiths, Sharkie

Our guests are the Converted

Click Play Audio to play podcast. Click here to download

If you’d like to download the podcast, tap this URL: http://the-riotact.com/~john/insban/pod129.mp3 into iTunes or your media player or whatever.

There is a facebook fan page for people to marvel at here.

This link is for people who have podcasting software which you can find here.

Recorded on Tuesday 3rd August.

Click read more for the track list.

[Read more →]

Chiffon #133. The Australia Cup

Ullo,

The night before the polling day for the general election saw me sitting up long into the night studying the form guide for the Saturday events. One has to take a lot of factors into account when sorting out the field, factors such as gender, age, as well as physical abilities like running are all taken into account (There is an indicator for the running, the Gallop poll).

Enough of this silliness. I have a preference for the grey horses who have a long history of winning against seasoned campaigners. Gunsynd, The Gundawindi Grey, Juene,  another little filly that used to always run with her stable mate and win and win and then won the greatest race Australia has to offer.

Oh well, this year there is a filly (or is  it is a mare), a big red mare who up until now has not had the opportunity to run in her own right, her trainer  and connections preferring the less hectic schedule of accompanying her stable mate up until now.

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Chiffon #132. The Smokeless Fire

Hallo, hullo or hello!

It is all the same no matter how you look at it. The fact of the matter is you must take action (that means doing something) in order to start putting into practice a life after smoking. In my own case I have been terribly caught up in my own case, so interested I have neglected to clean my house of emotional dirt.

Without the cigarettes in which to hide my issues, the result is behaviour much like that of a little kid, full of questions and misgivings (and that is putting it mildly). Things that were disguised by cigarettes, marijuana or another drug are now situating themselves at the visible end of my psyche. It really is obvious in the morning (three a.m.). I am snappy, even argumentative, because I am attempting to stop smoking, and my partner, who maintains she is not that bad with her own smoking she thinks no one will notice. And she is right. No one else will notice but me.

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INSATIABLE BANALITIES #128. Marji Curran Trio

Marji Curran Trio

Present: Jim Boots, John Griffiths, Jessica Fryer

Our guests are the Marji Curran Trio

Click Play Audio to play podcast. Click here to download

If you’d like to download the podcast, tap this URL: http://the-riotact.com/~john/insban/pod128.mp3 into iTunes or your media player or whatever.

There is a facebook fan page for people to marvel at here.

This link is for people who have podcasting software which you can find here.

Recorded on Tuesday 20th July.

Click read more for the track list and more pics.

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Assange a Hero

Julian Assange, the mastermind behind Wikileaks and apparent most dangerous man in the world, is a hero. Would that I had half the courage and genius. Would that the world didn’t require such clandestine methods of exposing the truth. In the case of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, would that we didn’t need exposure of actual incidents to know that war inevitably results in outrageous horror and tragedy, brutal miscarriage of justice, the ultimate of crimes against humanity. But, apparently, we do.

The real horror of the Wikileaks video of the killing of Reuters reporters in Afghanistan was not the incident itself, but that it was but one example of normal operations. The recent release of thousands of classified documents detailing countless episodes of civilian slaughter has been criticised by the US for endangering Afghan informers. Seldom has irony reached such an order of magnitude.

The soldier who leaked the video and documents faces life in prison. Assange is a wanted man who can never live a normal life free of surveillance and the fear of a similar fate. Australia joins our ally in condemning him. The wars roll on unperturbed. The public remains largely oblivious. But I, for one, salute Assange, a hero in an age with too few. You can donate to Wikileaks here.

Chiffon #131. Bloody Hell

Hullo,

Shut your face! So fucking what? I am feeling fucking angry. You dogs, you don’t have a fucking clue. I want to kill something.

I have been waking, walking and going back to sleep with a weird and uncomfortable feeling. It is very unsettling and keeps me agitated beyond belief sometimes. In my hurry to vent, purge or disarm the feeling, I did what you really should not do; react, lashing out blindly in a rage. I crossed the street firing my home made device at men and women going about their day. I hurled a grenade into the kitchen at my partner (for the moment, everything, it was her fault, no question. If I did not meet her, this would not be happening). Stop! Overkill extreme and untrue as well as irrational.

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Chiffon #130. The Stitch

Hullo!

Look it has nearly been two weeks since I started to document the process I have been subjecting myself to, that is, writing about my experience of being abstinent from cigarettes, marijuana, cocaine, heroin, amphetamines, sugar ,salt and coffee, oh yeah, and alcohol. The other day I requested, or more correctly suggested, that I have had enough of this experiment,  citing my usual lack of resolve to complete this task.

It was a weak moment for me and of course I was trawling for sympathy, nay, empathy, and a cursory lung full of tobacco smoke. I was curious about the reason dictating my decision. Upon analysis I had pretended I had a conscience and did not want to appear hypocritical, in as much as I must admit I have been allowing myself to have puffs of this and puffs of that. in order to get me through what is just a drag. Admittedly it is just air.

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Assemblage and Collage

Something in the Air, Canberra Art Gallery and Museum
by Bic Parker, Special Correspondent

Went to the art gallery located in Civic Square to have a look at an exhibition of works by local artists. I have had previous insights into some of these artistes works before this day and it was a delightful afternoon spent reminiscing with their works. I dont profess to be a leading authority on art, especially when it comes to assemblage and collage, but I was grateful to be able to benefit from the little blurbs with all the works which I guess were the artists statements pertaining to their works.

I found it all to be visually rich in symbols and metaphors, utilizing all ready found items that the artist has given new life to, quite often by its association with other objects but always by providing a new environment in which to view the objects. Some of the artists include David Watts, Michael Taylor, Rosalie Gasgoine (a long time local artist who has since passed away leaving a legacy of works very local and area orientated with an appreciation for the little delights which define Canberra), Alex Ashe and Marianna del Castillo who continues to humble me with her very South American style of in your face.

There are to many artists in this exhibition for me to cover every panel. I can only encourage you the reader to whip down and have a look, it does not cost anything and it is equipped with a lovely café and smack in the middle of the C.B.D. A great break from the tedium which is our city. Thank you artists of Canberra.

Continues to 10th Oct.