Bounty on Disney: Star Wars Strikes the Outrage Cycle Again

11/02/2021

The ever-harmonious Star Wars fanbase’s discourse is crashing through Twitter again. This time, “#CancelDisneyPlus” is trending, as some call for subscriptions to the streaming service to be dropped after Lucasfilm confirmed that Mandalorian actress, Gina Carano, is no longer a part of the series. It’s the usual story: a controversy, actual or perceived, occurs, and the usual suspects come out to give their “politically incorrect” opinion on the matter.

In short, the “free market capitalists” are trying to cancel Star Wars. Again.

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Sky News’ Rita Panahi Spreads Lies About Victoria Anti-Conversion Bill

08/02/2021

Like all other Sky News’ hosts, Rita Panahi is a textbook example of how vacuous sycophants will reject and oppose anything so long as they get paid large enough sums to do so. The more outrage and clicks it can generate, the better – facts and science be damned. Yesterday, she rambled (and on occasion stumbled) on about how the “radical left” can fool the “apathetic masses” by using ostensibly pure naming to “[ram] through radical policies”. Antifa, BLM, the Labor Victorian government – surely, she’ll consider all the facts on hand!

Heh.

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All Must Suffer as History Did: Student Debt

07/02/2021

This is a strange argument I see from a lot of “conservative” voices online, usually in the form of a disingenuous attack on decent social and economic policy and as a defense for the “free market”. The rationale behind it is that past generations had to work hard and pay their dues to reach where they are today, so all these entitled young folk need to sit down and wait in line. They must struggle and face the same uphill battles, otherwise it is (somehow) an injustice to those who came before.

But isn’t life supposed to get better for future generations as society “improves”?

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Different Arenas, Same Tactics

06/02/2021

Drifting in and out of online political discourse as an observer (rarely bothering or daring to get swept up in Twitter threads with self-righteous mobs of any persuasion), I have noticed that there is a common thread between some unlikely groups. Pro-China, Russia, DPRK, Assad, etc. “communists” (read: people who think anything anti-US imperialism is amazing), and “right-wing” conspiracy nutcases come up with similar stories to justify their positions – it’s all fake!

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Outsourcing Deliberation: Political Misinformation Online

04/02/2021

Through the rambling redundant sections, forced jokes (except the one that sounded like something straight out of a Discworld novel*), and seemingly irrelevant personal anecdotes, the book The Knowledge Illusion: The myth of individual thought and the power of collective wisdom has (thankfully) offered up a few worthwhile points as I read it. In particular, the discussion on intuition and deliberation was interesting. Intuition is your immediate response to something, whereas deliberation is taking a moment to properly consider and reflect on it beforehand (or in hindsight). With social media today however, especially in political circles, many people do “deliberate” – they just get someone else to do it for them.

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Communities of Knowledge: The Power of Networks

30/01/2021

I recently bought a book (which has joined my daunting and ever growing to-be-read pile) called The Knowledge Illusion. The subtitle really caught my eye: “The myth of individual thought and the power of collective wisdom”. Perhaps the book may change my mind on the individual thought front – I think individual thought is still extremely important and powerful – but the notion of collective wisdom had me making parallels with other fields, from neuroscience to the cosmos. I think it is undeniable, if not plainly obvious, that creating a community of open knowledge is a natural and necessary part of any society or group.

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The Irony of Trump’s Twitter Ban

10/01/2021

Trump has been permanently suspended from Twitter, and seemingly banned from various other social media sites, in the wake of his efforts to incite violence in Washington DC. Obviously, that hasn’t simmered down tensions on the dear bird app as we now have an already raging debate reaching new heights – that is, the power of Big Tech and the right to freedom of speech in relation to causing harm. I’ll let that little discussion run its course, because here I just want to point out the obvious contradiction from the pro-Trump camp.

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Some Notes on the American Coup Attempt

07/01/2021

2021 off to a great start, eh? Julian Assange not being extradited, but not for the precedent setting reasons, and denied bail. Now the US is yet again in turmoil, probably the closest to a genuine threat to their government and “democracy” since the Civil War, with a rather incompetent and short-lived coup attempt. Both events occurred at times inconvenient for an Australian political addict. Here are some very quick thoughts on the events in America today, in no real order:

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My 2020 Reading List

30/12/2020

As this rather wretched and exhausting year comes to a close, I looked back at my list from 2019 and laughed sadly at my optimistic plans to read more in 2020. Perhaps I did when you count news, analysis, etc. online, but in terms of books it was disastrously minimal. However, the books I did read offered brilliant insights or just fascinating bits of knowledge. So, in no real order:

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Did Gough Whitlam Play Us or the US?

13/12/2020

It has been generally accepted that the Dismissal of Gough Whitlam in November 1975 was a “soft coup”. It was the culmination of various tensions between Whitlam and the United States, namely its intelligence communities (and, by extension, our own). One of the oft cited reasons was Whitlam’s purported opposition to the US’ bases within Australia, perhaps the most infamous of which is Pine Gap in Alice Springs. But did Australia’s arguably best Prime Minister actually oppose them as public perception believes?

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