Society

Privacy is having its moment. Google users have unknowingly permitted the corporation to track their every movement and record every web search, YouTube video watched, and more. Facebook allowed data to be collected from users and their friends via a third-party application, which were then used by data analytics firm ...

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Australians tend to have an ambivalent attitude to their respective police forces. We automat- ically expect that they will be there in an emergency. We share their grief when one of their number is killed while on duty, yet we regard Ned Kelly as a folk hero, even though he was responsible for the murder of three policemen in ...

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What is tinkering? As Katherine Wilson makes clear in Tinkering: Australians reinvent DIY culture, there is an easy answer to that question – but also several complex ones. At the physical level, tinkering is what the protagonists in Wilson’s book do: they convert cars to run on vegetable oil ...

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In the Australia of my childhood, the Gypsy skirt was fashionable, ABC Radio played Django Reinhardt, ‘The Gypsy Rover’ was in school songbooks, peripatetic players were called ‘Gypsy footballers’, the Gypsy Jokers were a feared bikie gang, and nefarious Gypsies were stock villains in children’s books. Gypsies – or Roma – occupied cultural terrain, but ...

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It is rare, in 2017, to return to a long news story’s beginning, to untangle its threads and find how it came to occupy its looming position in the cultural imagination, to learn how the dog-whistle words gathered their energy. Impressively, Benjamin Law’s Quarterly Essay achieves this feat. It is a meticulously researched piece of writing, clear-eyed and forceful ...

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With the help of new data such as Google searches, economist Seth Stephens-Davidowitz promises to reveal our innermost secrets. ‘Everything is data!’ he writes, ‘And with all this new data, we can finally see through people’s lies.’ Everybody Lies is a techno-evangelist’s search for clean answers amid the tangle of society ...

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'The same-sex marriage debate' by Peter Rose

Peter Rose
Wednesday, 16 August 2017

For decades, centuries, millennia, homosexuals (here as elsewhere) have been insulted, blackmailed, beaten, incarcerated, and murdered. Even now homosexuality remains one of the principal causes of suicide and despair in our society, especially among young males.

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David Marr’s Quarterly Essay, The White Queen: One Nation and the politics of race (2017) is a comprehensive and scholarly look at Pauline Hanson’s appeal, and what her revival, tepid as it may be in an international context, says about the way race has been exploited in the bread and circuses of politics. John Safran is equally interested in race, and ...

We are often told that baby boomers reshaped every stage of life they passed through. They are the most liberal-minded, creative, self-assured – and most of all, lucky – generation in history. Pop music, the sexual revolution, environmentalism, the internet – there is little, it seems, they have not been responsible for in the modern world. As they approach th ...

Deborah Zion reviews 'Time to Die' by Rodney Syme

Deborah Zion
Friday, 24 March 2017

Ethicist, physician, and writer Eric Cassell has remarked that it is troubling that patients and laypersons consider the relief of suffering to be one of the primary ends of medicine, yet the medical profession neglects it. It is even more disturbing given that we are on a daily basis confronted with images of war, pain, and displacement. Rodney Syme’s book about ...