Busy, busy

Hi there! Oof, it’s been a bit longer than I intended since my last post. I’ve been keeping busy… I’m now halfway through my final placement and am starting to look beyond uni, putting feelers out there.

I have also participated in the LaTUCS semester 2 concert for 2018, last Thursday. Very fun indeed!

I’ve been cooking this and that – I hope to add to my recipe posts again soon.

I’m learning and growing and reflecting. Life is pretty good, if a bit hectic.

This week’s tasks include finishing my AHPRA registration (the thing that will allow me to practice as an occupational therapist!), learning different things on placement, and some adulting in the form of future-planning.

Hopefully, it’s not two weeks in-between posts when you hear from me next.

 

Six months gone

Today, Friday 18th September, is 26 weeks – or six months – since I “Shaved for a Cure”. Wow.

I can still remember how it felt….it was a strange experience and good at the same time. And look: then and now.

 Hair

Just this week there was a story showing just how some of that money is being used, beyond the day-to-day practicalities. It gave me a good feeling.

[Text copied from email I received:]

Exciting news today! Leukaemia Foundation supporters have aided a world-first double discovery to defeat one of the most aggressive forms of blood cancer, acute myeloid leukaemia.

Leading Australian researcher, Associate Professor Mark Dawson, and the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre team in Melbourne, have uncovered vital new leads on how to outsmart the deadly disease based on how acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) fights back against treatments.

Two discoveries have been announced today – both aided by the Leukaemia Foundation’s National Research Program.

Discovery 1 – AML cells grown in a laboratory dish

This research team is the first in the world to have successfully grown and maintained AML cells in a laboratory dish. This gives us unprecedented access and insight into how they work, so we can find new, faster, and better ways to target and destroy them.

Discovery 2 – New understanding of how AML grows resistant to chemotherapy

AML stem cells are particularly aggressive and most people with this disease will become resistant to therapy over time. Sadly on average, only 25% of people with AML will live for five years.

Until now, we have not known why AML stem cells became resistant. This research has uncovered how the cells respond when under attack by chemotherapy, which means researchers can propose new treatments to effectively ‘turn-off’ cancerous genes in AML.

The Leukaemia Foundation’s Head of Research & Advocacy, Dr Anna Williamson, said it was exciting to see another example of the Foundation’s support of “very talented researchers with great ideas” delivering important new knowledge.

“Each year, around 900 people in Australia will be diagnosed with AML,” she said. “This double discovery is a game changer. This advance in our understanding of leukaemia stems cells is opening the doors to new treatment approaches not just for AML, but other types of leukaemia and blood cancers more generally.”

“As the Leukaemia Foundation receives no ongoing government funding, we thank all of our generous supporters who enable us to continue supporting this and other ground-breaking blood cancer research.

To read the full research story and our response, click here to visit our website.

It’s That Time of Year Again

Image sourced from google.

“High on the hill, looking over the bridge to the M-C-G…”
(Paul Kelly, Leaps and Bounds, 1987)

It’s that time of year again. September: the time of year when the Aussie Rules footy finals have arrived and we’re edging our way towards that “one day in September”. This year, it’ll be in October, but who cares. On the telly we’ll hear that Hunters and Collectors song, Holy Grail (1992), which was not originally intended to be a footy song but has turned into a staple.

Sport is one of those things that bring us together, regardless of who we are. We unite to divide along team lines, of which there are eighteen now. It unites and divides family and friends, jokingly or seriously. But mention your team and there’s sure to be a reaction.

Some people take it very seriously, taking a strong interest. The footy becomes their community/ family/ etc. That’s okay and can be good – unless of course the person becomes too “one-eyed”. 😉

Personally, I’m a sort of peripheral supporter – still strong, but not exactly into all the depth and detail. I like the human sides better. After all, I don’t play (or watch) much of any sport myself. Reading the sports section doesn’t really interest me unless they’re doing a “player profile” or something. But given how strong footy’s presence is here, you can’t help but pick things up…and then be at least somewhat interested. 🙂

It helps that we’ve been a one-team family for ages, most of the extended family (on one side anyway) included. That particular team has had quite a few tough years and perhaps are seeing a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel. We’ll see. Maybe.

All I know is that tomorrow, this girl who goes to maybe one game a year will go down to the ‘G again to watch an elimination final with some of the rest of her family.

Good luck to all teams.

Yellow and Black! Go Tiges!

Shelter

There is a beautiful song by Eric Bogle called, “Shelter”, which I remember singing as part of school choir. It’s a wonderful song, reflecting on Australia, though it never quite mentions the actual name.

I remember it had three verses, the first verse went something like:
I’m drowning in the sunshine as it pours down from the skies
There’s something stirring in my heart, bright colours fill my eyes
As from here to the far horizon, your beauty does unfold
And oh you look so lovely, dressed in green and gold”

The rest of the song is just as poetic and beautiful. I love travelling, but – well, never say never, but I feel that I was born in Australia and so will live and eventually die in Australia, even if I visit other places. As much as I grumble about the current government, some things transcend politics. There’s a certain rugged beauty to be found here that I wouldn’t trade for anywhere else in the world.

I like taking photos with my iPod touch – especially nature stuff, even if that’s just the sunset as seen from my family’s back deck. I feel like today is a picture-sharing day…especially given how cold it is outside.

Here are a few which I took last night from slightly different angles. All the pretty colours!

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Here are also some photos from back in April, around the Easter weekend, when my family went on a day trip along the Great Ocean Road. I can’t help but admire the wild beauty and natural peace of these places….

“I’m the hot wind from the desert, I’m the black soil of the plains
I’m the mountains and the valleys, I’m the drought and flooding rains
I am the rock, I am the sky, the rivers when they run
The spirit of this great land, I am Australian”

(Bruce Woodley & Dobe Newton, one of the verses of I Am Australian)

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We have such a beautiful country. I think of many things when I take these pictures and look at nature. Another song I cannot help but think of is that lovely hymn, “How Great Thou Art” (Stuart K. HIne).

“Then sings my soul, my Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, how great Thou art!
Then sings my soul, my Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, how great Thou art!” (Chorus)

If only we humans hadn’t stuffed it up. Hopefully we’ll be able to agree to fix it before it’s too late.

Our Perception of the Elderly Leaves Something to be Desired

What would change if more of us took time to speak to the elderly people in our community? They all must have stories to tell. Where I live, there are three four older people living nearby (a widow, widower and couple). Also, I have three grandparents alive. I often want to talk to them about the past and their experiences….but where to begin?

Then, think about this:

“ When an old man died in the geriatric ward of a nursing home, it was believed that he had nothing left of any value.

Later, when the nurses were going through his meager possessions, They found this poem. Its quality and content so impressed the staff that copies were made and distributed to every nurse in the hospital.

The old man’s sole bequest to posterity has since appeared in the Christmas editions of magazines around the country and appearing in mags for Mental Health. A slide presentation has also been made based on his simple, but eloquent, poem.

And this old man, with nothing left to give to the world, is now the author of this ‘anonymous’ poem winging across the Internet.

Cranky Old Man . . .

What do you see nurses? . . . What do you see?

What are you thinking . . . when you’re looking at me?

A cranky old man, . . . not very wise,

Uncertain of habit . . . with faraway eyes?

Who dribbles his food . . . and makes no reply.

When you say in a loud voice . . . ‘I do wish you’d try!’

Who seems not to notice . . . the things that you do.

And forever is losing . . . a sock or shoe?

Who, resisting or not . . . let’s you do as you will,

With bathing and feeding . . . the long day to fill?

Is that what you’re thinking? . . . Is that what you see?

Then open your eyes, nurse .you’re not looking at me.

I’ll tell you who I am . . . as I sit here so still,

As I do at your bidding, . . . as I eat at your will.

I’m a small child of Ten . . . with a father and mother,

Brothers and sisters . . . who love one another

A young boy of Sixteen . . . with wings on his feet

Dreaming that soon now . . . a lover he’ll meet.

A groom soon at Twenty . . . my heart gives a leap.

Remembering, the vows . . . that I promised to keep.

At Twenty-Five, now . . . I have young of my own.

Who need me to guide . . . and a secure happy home.

A man of Thirty . . . my young now grown fast,

Bound to each other . . . with ties that should last.

At Forty, my young sons . . . have grown and are gone,

But my woman is beside me . . . to see I don’t mourn.

At Fifty, once more, . . . babies play ’round my knee,

Again, we know children . . .  my loved one and me.

Dark days are upon me . . . my wife is now dead.

I look at the future . . . I shudder with dread.

For my young are all rearing . . . young of their own.

And I think of the years . . . and the love that I’ve known.

I’m now an old man . . . and nature is cruel.

It’s jest to make old age . . . look like a fool.

The body, it crumbles . . . grace and vigour, depart.

There is now a stone . . . . where I once had a heart.

But inside this old carcass . . .  a young man still dwells,

And now and again . . . my battered heart swells

I remember the joys . . . I remember the pain.

And I’m loving and living . . . life over again.

I think of the years, all too few . . . gone too fast.

And accept the stark fact . . . that nothing can last.

So open your eyes, people . . . open and see.

Not a cranky old man.

Look closer . . . see . . . ME!!

Remember this poem when you next meet an older person who you might brush aside without looking at the young soul within . . .

we will all, one day, be there, too!

The best and most beautiful things of this world can’t be seen or touched.

They must be felt by the heart.”

_________________________________________________________________________________________________

http://theaimn.com/old-people-we-walk-straight-past-them-we-ignore-them/

http://theaimn.com/the-heart-of-australia/

It is PAST Time: Equality now, Please

So, it’s happened – marriage equality is legal across the US.
This has of course sparked the revival of the Marriage Equality “debate” in Australia, already moving after Ireland’s historic yes vote. As you’re probably aware by now, a couple of Bills on this topic have been proposed, including by Labor leader Bill Shorten and other by Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young. Certain others are still dragging their feet.

Newsflash: 68% or more of Australians (polled in The Age Monday 15/6) support Marriage Equality.

I say, it’s about time. I personally think it’s ridiculous that the debate has gone on for so long. I simply don’t understand why people insist on making it so complicated.
Well. It’s because we’re all people. Messy, complicated humans who insist on making things that on the surface should be straightforward more complex.

I’ve got mixed up and grumpy over this, as it’s even split me from others’ whose interpretations about things I’d gladly follow in other circumstances. I just see this as an equality issue. Religion doesn’t – shouldn’t – come into it (more on that in a minute). Besides, it’s about love, right? And all that “love” means.

I’ll put it more bluntly: I’m a straight, white, Catholic woman and I’m for marriage equality – and equality generally, regardless of colour, sexual orientation, religion, gender, etc. I will not budge. Why should I need to justify that? (*)

By continuing to keep to the ‘status quo’ currently defined by the Marriage Act, parliament is actively discriminating against non-heteronormative people.

It’s as simple as changing five words in the Act: Parliament simply needs to remove “a man and a woman” and replace it with “two persons”. They also need to strike the bit that forbids overseas same-sex marriages being recognised legally here. There – done!

Shorten’s Bill (snort) is the 14th such attempt. Must we keep repeating the same debate over and over? Just get on with it already – we need a conscience vote now, thank you. We’re already social pariahs on the world stage because of several issues. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could at least move one such ‘issue’ into step with 22 other countries?

As things stand now, it is currently absurd. To be prejudiced – hold a bigoted view – is one thing. To discriminate – i.e. act on that view – is quite another. To be frank, I’m sick of it. It needs to be fixed.

So, pollies, hurry up. Please?

P.S. * = I do feel the need to justify it, but as this is broader than just marriage equality, I’ve put my thoughts into a second post.

References:

http://unveiledthought.com/2015/05/24/marriage-equality-in-ireland-my-chance-to-come-out/

http://theaimn.com/marriage-equality-as-simple-as-changing-five-words/

http://theaimn.com/its-time-marriage-equality-and-why-i-support-it-updated/

http://theaimn.com/thats-one-for-bill/

http://theaimn.com/it-is-never-a-bad-time-for-equality/

https://polyfeministix.wordpress.com/2015/06/03/the-biggest-consequence-of-marriage-equality/

http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2015/06/29/science-clear-children-raised-same-sex-parents-are-no-disadvantage-0

https://kkherheadache.wordpress.com/2015/06/27/socs-roygbiv/

http://theaimn.com/gay-marriage-and-why-australia-is-the-developed-country-left-behind/

http://whatever.scalzi.com/2004/05/17/a-quick-note-to-about-to-be-married-gays-and-lesbians/

Introducing Carly Findlay & Ichthyosis Awareness Month

Hi everyone. I suppose some of you may remember that back in late January I had brunch with Carly Findlay and linked her blog in. I meant to do a post about her, but I kept forgetting (sorry Carly! :/). Well, now it’s Ichthyosis Awareness Month and I thought I’d better bloody well get on with writing that post I’d kept saying to myself that I’d write.

Carly Findlay is a blogger, writer, speaker and appearance activist, using her talents to challenge “people’s thinking about what it’s like to have a visibly different appearance”. She has a condition called ichthyosis and is currently (as she mentions below) planning a wedding with her lovely fiance, a blog course and the Ichthyosis Meet, while holding down a job. 🙂 She’s a really nice woman.

From her blog: “Ichthyosis (ick-thee-o-ses) is the name of a rare genetic skin disorder. Since it’s a genetic mutation, it isn’t contagious–you can’t “catch” it. Ichthyosis causes the skin to build up and scale, causing it to be extremely dry, among other problems. Most types of ichthyosis are present at birth, and are life-long. Currently, there is no cure, only treatments. 

“I am red and scaly. My skin gets itchy and sore. My face is the reddest part of my body because it is exposed to the elements. I get infections easily – generally on my legs, but sometimes on my face. Sometimes my infections result in hospital stays where I am bandaged up like a mummy. Infections can make me very sore.
My skin condition affects lots of other things in my body. My eyes, ears, digestive system, temperature and metabolism are all affected to a degree. I see lots of doctors!

“While it is medically challenging, the social challenges can be even more difficult. I am stared at, commented on and teased every day. I try to deal with peoples’ questions and rudeness the best way I can, with a smile and a polite answer (most of the time). Sometimes all I can do is laugh at the stupidity of some people!”
[found here: http://carlyfindlay.blogspot.com.au/p/what-is-ichthyosis.html]

So without further ado, this is an extract from her opening story for the month yesterday – go to her blog to read the full story and lots of other things! [found here: http://carlyfindlay.blogspot.com.au/2015/05/introducing-ichthyosis-awareness-month.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed:+TuneIntoRadioCarly+(Tune+into+Radio+Carly)%5D:

01 May 2015

Introducing Ichthyosis Awareness Month 2015. “Create the things you wish existed.”

Today is the start of Ichthyosis Awareness Month – where I will be sharing stories by patients and parents affected by the rare severe skin condition Ichthyosis. There will be one or two stories each day. You’ll get to know that the range of Ichthyosis types is extensive and the symptoms, appearance and treatment of each varies. You will read about peoples’ struggle to come to terms with a life changing condition, and also the courage to ignore society’s perceptions of difference and gain the self confidence to love and celebrate themselves. The contributors range in age – from 11 years old to their mid 60s. And you’ll also read about some of the cultural differences – there are contributors from Norway, Belarus and Indonesia this year. I am so excited to bring these stories to you. You will be able to read all of the posts here, as they’re published.

And so my theme for Ichthyosis Awareness Month 2015 is community. The blog project brings people together online, and the Australian Ichthyosis Meet will bring people together face to face – allowing us to laugh and maybe cry and experience the emotions of being with people who just get us.

For more information and to support research and networks for Ichthyosis, visit:
Foundation for Skin and Related Skin Types (FIRST)
Ichthyosis Support Group
Friends of Ichthyosis

For support and education around living with a facial difference, visit Changing Faces and Positive Exposure.

 
You can read stories from 2013 and 2014’s Ichthyosis Awareness Month too.

I’m not asking you to donate money. I do ask that you read and share these stories widely – to encourage people to think about how they react to visible difference and disability, and to continue to build a supportive community. That will make the world of difference.

An Open Letter About Metadata

http://theaimn.com/an-open-letter-to-australias-politicians-in-opposition-to-the-proposed-metadata-retention-laws/

Another great article from AIMN regular, Rob Marsh. I’m copying the open letter in full here, to give it exposure.

Stupid ideological, business-driven, paranoid government.
They want Big Brother to watch us closely.

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

An Open Letter to the Politicians of Australia on the Potential Adverse Effects of Proposed Metadata Retention Legislation on Human Rights and the Functioning of Our Democracy

This letter contains many references to the Report of the Inquiry into Potential Reforms of Australia’s National Security Legislation, where there is a number or text enclosed in brackets like so: (5.17), refer to the appropriate section of the report.

[Politician’s name],

I am writing to you to express my deep and sincere concern with regards to the proposed Metadata Retention legislation that the government wishes to pass by the 27th of March 2015.

This legislation represents, contrary to the claims of those with vested interests in seeing the legislation pass, a grave threat to the right to privacy, freedom of speech and association that is fundamental to a well-functioning democracy.

You may not be aware of what the legislation addresses, or what the “telecommunications data” it refers to actually entails.

Nicola Roxon, in a statement to the Attorney General, describes telecommunications data as: “Telecommunications data is information about the process of communication, as distinct from its content. It includes information about the identity of the sending and receiving parties and related subscriber details, account identifying information collected by the telecommunications carrier or ISP to establish the account, and information such as the time and date of the communication, its duration, location and type of communication. (5.7)

The proposed legislation, based on the definitions above, would give the Australian government unprecedented access to nearly every aspect of the online activity of it’s citizens, and the ability to infer a disturbingly accurate “pattern of life” from the collected data.

For example, you may have your cellphone’s GPS services enabled to use Google Maps. That data, in conjunction with your phone records and timestamps on the above data could clue in a security agency as to your most likely whereabouts on any given day. This poses an enormous risk to freedom of the press, as governments could use these capabilities to track journalists and their sources to frequented meeting places, limiting concerned parties’ abilities to bring sensitive information to the public for democratic review.

“The database will contain every page they accessed – every article they’ve read on a newspaper site, any online political activity, any purchases on ebay, books bought from amazon, Facebook pages visited etc.” – Ian Quick

In the words of former NSA/CIA Director Michael Hayden:

“We kill people based on metadata.”

Fears about the above stated powers and the implications thereof have been echoed by several EU countries.

The Romanian Court, with regards to local metadata retention, held that a “continuous legal obligation” to retain all traffic data for six months was incompatible with the rights to privacy and freedom of expression. (5.26)

In Germany, the Constitutional Court described metadata retention as a “serious restriction of the right to privacy” and stated that a “retention period of six months [was] at the upper limit of what should be considered proportionate”. (5.27)

The Czech Constitutional Court, in analogous statements, described misgivings about the potential abuses of these powers: “Individual citizens had insufficient guarantees against possible abuses of power by public authorities.” (5.28)

The EU Court of Justice found that the 2006 European Data Retention Directive violated citizens “fundamental rights to respect for private life and to the protection of personal data”.

With such strident international condemnation, it seems to go without saying that any committee responsible for review of similar legislation would be given express access to details of the proposed changes and sufficient resources to complete a sincere and detailed examination of the material. Oddly enough, these criteria were not met: “Having commenced the inquiry at the beginning of July 2012, the Committee was asked to report if at all possible by the end of the calendar year. This afforded the Committee a highly compressed and unachievable time frame of less than six months to examine what is an extensive list of potential reforms, some of which are far reaching.” (Introduction, Page 3)

It seems that the government also failed to provide the committee with the relevant draft legislation, leaving those involved to rely on speculation and inference rather than an appraisal of the raw data: “The Government sought the Committee’s views on a mandatory data retention regime. The Committee did not have access to draft legislation. Furthermore, the inadequate description of data retention in the terms of reference and discussion paper also impaired both the public discussion and the Committee’s consideration of the data retention issue.” (1.29)

The question of how efficacious metadata retention is in solving and preventing crime is a raging debate.

Electronic Freedom Australia noted that it was “highly questionable” whether data retention would aid in the investigation of terrorism, organised crime or other serious illegal activities:

“It is worth noting that determined criminals will have little difficulty disguising or anonymising their communications. There are many relatively simple and effective tools available that allow for the protection of communications from surveillance.” (5.167)

This is an excellent point. The proposed legislation is no secret. Those in the criminal world will have no doubt heard of the potential for their activities to be monitored and have likely already taken steps to anonymise their online behaviour. Even in the event that the scope of the metadata retention reforms is so broad that it includes tools for opening encrypted chats and messaging services, it is not unlikely that tech savvy individuals on the wrong side of the law will be developing tools to combat this unwanted intrusion, rendering the legislation effectively useless in dealing with its raison d’être: combating terrorism and serious crime.

An unintended consequence of the introduction of metadata retention could be the opposite of what it is designed to achieve: a progressive opacification of the internet, with more and more users turning to encrypted browsing and communication, thereby shrinking the usable pool of data.

“Why do we imagine that the criminals of the greatest concern to our security agencies will not be able to use any of numerous available means to anonymise their communications or indeed choose new services that are not captured by legislated data retention rules?”

This quote from Communications Minister Macolm Turnbull, in addition to his recently revealed use of the messaging app Wickr, which provides a platform for anyone to send and receive self-deleting encrypted messages, seems to indicate that the reforms are likely to bring about little change in the positive ability of law enforcement agencies to stop criminal activity.

Add to this comments made by Blueprints for Free Speech, indicating that “there is no evidence to suggest data retention would assist with the prevention of crime or terrorism. A 2011 study of Germany’s Data Retention Directive found it had no impact on either the effectiveness of criminal investigation or the crime rate. Further, the study specifically found that countries without data retention laws are not more vulnerable to crime.”

Make no bones about it, metadata retention is mass surveillance. It can be used to form a dataset, a pattern of life indicating your movements, interests, affiliations and beliefs. You will be paying for this intrusion of privacy through rises in service bills, a kind of “tele screen tax” if you will. You will be at a higher risk of identity theft through the creation of ‘honeypots’ of data, irresistible to organised criminals and foreign actors. Your basic rights to privacy, to freedom of speech, to live as a dignified human person, are being infringed upon in ways that do not preclude a broadening of the scope of these abuses.

Even the supporters of the legislation don’t buy into their own rhetoric, with members of the Liberal party using Wickr on a daily basis, showing the world that privacy is of the utmost importance even to those who adamantly maintain that it isn’t.

With unanimous condemnation from leading human rights groups around the world, with a public backlash on a scale almost never witnessed, with the potential for so much to go horribly wrong, we simply must put a stop to this.

Tony Abbott has made statements that he wants a parliamentary inquiry into the legislation to be scrapped. I think it’s our responsibility as members of our democracy to ask why anyone would want a piece of legislation with so many potential avenues for abuse to pass without appropriate scrutiny.

I implore you, with the utmost sincerity and urgency, to do whatever is within your power to oppose this legislation at the very least until it is put before an independent NGO and reviewed in depth, with all the aspects of the legislation made available for public review and scrutiny.

Thank you for your time and your consideration, I hope that we, together, can make history and bring our society forward into an age of social egalitarianism, where the ideals of freedom of speech and thought, freedom of association and transparency of government are enshrined as they once were, as the foundations of a working democracy.

Sincerely,

______

For more information on the legislation you can refer to the Report of the Inquiry into Potential Reforms of Australia’s National Security Legislation, which you can find here: http://www.aph.gov.au/parliamentary_business/committees/house_of_representatives_committees?url=pjcis/nsl2012/report.htm

An independent summary/opinion piece on the legislation can be found here: https://wideeyedandhopefullywild.wordpress.com/2015/03/05/metadata-and-you/

Calling all Aussies! This week will decide the tertiary education Bill

Now Minister Pyne is trying to blackmail the crossbench senators.

Read this: http://theaimn.com/pyne-playing-poor-politics/

He’s been quoted as saying that, “There are consequences for not voting for this reform and that’s very important for the cross benchers to understand,”
These consequences include the sacking of some 1700 scientists and researchers, claiming that if he cannot achieve savings in education, he will reduce funding for scientific research. Idiot!

It smacks of bullying. He’s not the first in this government to declare “my way or the highway”. I don’t think he’ll be the last. Hmph.

Labor and the Greens are opposed to this bill, so he needs six crossbench senators to agree. If you’re an Aussie, please try and find a way to contact your crossbench senators to ensure they’ll vote it down. D-Day is apparently Wednesday.
In case anyone needs reminding (in the words of John Kelly), “includes a big emphasis on deregulation, meaning increases in fees for students that will, in some cases, render a University education unaffordable, for others, carrying a heavy financial burden into their professional lives, assuming they are able to find appropriate employment when they finish. … [It] originally included interest loans for students to be pegged to the bond rate, but has now been linked to the Consumer Price Index. It also contained a 20% funding cut to courses which now appears to be open to negotiation.”

I am a university student. While my course is not as expensive as some, it’s still going to be a pretty big debt, especially since I’m doing part-time due to circumstances. Add to the fact that I’m a commuting regional student, forced to spend at least $25 a week for public transport (don’t get me started on living “on res” or in Melbourne itself; waaaay too expensive right now) and the fact that I’ll be taking time off work sometime (10+ years) in the future for family and such…. You begin to feel my annoyance. I’m just one of many voices grumbling similar things.

Of course, uni is not the only option. TAFE and other such vocational training efforts, including apprenticeships, need support also.

Education – all education – along with health, is just one of those things that needs to be valued, for it is bloody important.

Everyone deserves a chance to have it.

UPDATE – look!!

Gah, Dunno if you can see it (quality of the screenshot is lousy), but….announcement: Pyne has backed down on his threat to cut research funding & jobs if he didn’t get his way. He’s guaranteed funding for this year at least. Phew.

But we do need to be aware of these sorts of things. Apparently, Australia’s education standards and such are slipping. At a time when people in other countries are threatened for going to school and such, we need to remember that education is important. Bigots and such dislike true education, because it gives “the masses” power. To decide their own futures, to push themselves out of bad circumstances….etc.

Value your education, in whatever form it takes. Life education can be good; but supporting education is great.

Yes, I’m at uni today. How could you tell?

pyne backs down for now

“Facts”

I just read this article: http://theaimn.com/is-it-a-fact-that-all-you-need-is-the-facts/
It makes a good – and interesting – point that in order to change minds, we need to be able to think similarly to those we’re talking with. Not in an “on their level” sort of way, but an “in their terms” sort of way.

Basically, while a rant on here about politics and such may feel therapeutic for me, it will only preach to the converted. Facts don’t help; we humans are creatures that thrive on believing in our own bulls***. There’s even been a suggestion this is wired into us in our brains – I would assume by our early-life experiences.

Quoted from the article: “According to research, there are identifiable differences in the brains of conservatives and progressives. Apparently conservatives have demonstrably ‘a more threat-oriented and reactionary mindset than liberals’ (i.e. progressives in the US.) ….
Cognitive linguist George Lakoff has written extensively on the way in which voters interpret the political messages they hear. He postulates that we all have two competing frames in our heads, though one is usually more dominant than the other. One is the ‘authoritarian father’ frame. Lakoff argues that for some voters, the metaphor of the nation as family and government as parent evokes the strict parent, who provides discipline, and values responsibility, morality and self-sufficiency. Such voters favour independence from government, patriotism and aggressive foreign policy, and abhor welfare and public spending on things like health and education. The other is the ‘nurturing parent’ model, where parents – ie the state – work to keep citizens away from ‘corrupting influences’ such as pollution, social injustice, poverty, etc. He’s not suggesting that these frames are completely inflexible, but he is saying that the concept of ‘welfare’, for example, will be seen quite differently according the frame of reference of the voter.”

So next time you’re having a conversation with someone of a different ‘ideology’, remember this. It might save a bit of frustration.

Facts are useful, for this. But they need, perhaps to be delivered correctly. Or it’ll just become another big argument. And I don’t know about you, but I’m getting sick of those.

We need to reshape the debate somehow. Anyone got any ideas?