(no subject)

So, just in case anyone missed it, Australia seems to have acquired a new Prime Minister overnight.  Not sure what I think about the way it happened yet, but I have heard a variety of different things. 

Like any of them though, I am praying for her and hoping she can hold her integrity together enough to do something that is right for Australia.  And also hoping it's not just a power game.  Because we don't need that, but we do need someone who will be prepared to do some difficult things.  Whatever they are.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/06/24/2935900.htm

electronic health records

Big news here at the  moment is electronic health records.  One of the parts of it is assigning everyone an electronic identification number.

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/news/aussies-to-get-electronic-health-records-budget/story-e6frg90f-1225865218295

The interesting thing about this particular part of the debate is I don't see why an additional number is required.  People here already *have* a number- it is printed on our Medicare cards.  (Medicare is the government health system).  But apparently we need a new number, and there is great official enthusiasm for the 'e-health' records.

Myself, I am suspicious.

Too tired to talk in any depth about it though.

Facebookery. Not a murder this time.

After responding to ailbhe 's comment on my last Facebook post (that's a post about Facebook on LJ!), I open up the news for the morning.  First thing I read:

"Facebook responds to privacy concerns".  Do they?  And I'm only quoting part, but..."

He says Facebook's default settings will continue to make it relatively easy for users to obtain information about each other, as the company treads a delicate balance between protecting privacy rights and promoting social networking over the internet.

"Users use the service because they love sharing information," Mr Zuckerberg said."
www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/05/27/2910428.htm

And yesterday:

"ANZ debt collector accused of Facebook spying":

The ANZ bank has launched an internal investigation into claims staff have used Facebook to spy on customers.

It is alleged one of the bank's Melbourne-based debt collectors set up a fake account on the social networking site to covertly gather debtors' addresses, phone numbers and emails.

More than 80 people added "Max Bourke" as a contact before the fake profile was removed from the website yesterday.
www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/05/26/2909648.htm

Social networking indeed.

Wow.

In response to a question from fjm , I have been attempting to find out about Australian Aboriginal sci-fi or fantasy writers, existence of.

After much web searching, consulting with a university creative writing and sci-fi literature lecturer, as well as some Australian writers and fans, I have come up with  - ta da! - exactly nothing.  That is, no support for the hypothesis for the existence of Aboriginal writers of sci-fi or fantasy literature, at this point in time, given the research conducted.

This surprises me.  It's not something I had thought of before, but I can see it.  Given that I know there are many Aboriginal writers, and that story/literature/narrative is an important aspect of Aboriginal cultures, this makes me think of a couple of possibilities. 

Maybe the focus of Aboriginal writing is on social conditions or Aboriginal styles of writing and art, which do not involve science fiction or fantasy as we know it.

Maybe being an Aboriginal writer is difficult enough for social reasons and so on, and perhaps if writers are writing genre fiction they do not want disadvantage and discrimination so they do not identify as Aboriginal.  (Identifying as Aboriginal can be an advantage when writing about cultural stuff - from my perspective about non-Aboriginal, there does seem to be support, funding and publicity for Aboriginal artists to create work about Aboriginal and related social conditions, as well as 'literary' fiction).

Maybe people who are into sci-fi and/or fantasy are not people who identify themselves racially/culturally as much as writers of 'general' or 'literary' fiction - this hypothesis might relate to the nature of people who create these imaginative kinds of worlds. I wonder...

It would be interesting to hear from anyone who has opinion or experience about this.

Post-flood ecology

You might be interested to look at the following ABC video.  www.abc.net.au/news/video/2010/03/25/2855995.htm  It shows floodwaters heading into Lake Eyre (central Australia) - with a massive population spike of birds and wildlife (very impressive on camera).  If you look carefully at the end of the video, you'll be able to identify some kangaroos or wallabies hopping through wetlands.

We have snow

This is so much a land for all seasons.  Note, when I say "we" have snow, it's not like it's even in this state.  But given that half the country had a heatwave last week, and such things don't exactly respect state boundaries, and parts of the Australian Alps are prone to rather bad bushfires round this time of year, it's all just rather amusing. 

I was in Victoria when it snowed for Christmas a couple of years ago - we went for a drive and saw it on some peaks.  That seriously did my head in.  But in a much nicer way than watching footage of endless stuff burning.

www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/01/18/2794824.htm