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Read, listen, understand: why non-Indigenous Australians should read First Nations writing

read, listen, understand: why non-indigenous australians should read first nations writing
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Alexis Wright won the Miles Franklin award for her 2006 novel Carpentaria. AAP Image/Dean Lewins Do you read Australia’s First Nations (Indigenous) writers? If not, why not? People read for many reasons: information, entertainment, escape, to contemplate in company, to be moved. Reading can also...

Grattan on Friday: Everything’s going Bill Shorten’s way

grattan on friday: everything’s going bill shorten’s way
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The fight over penalty rates is an issue made for Bill Shorten’s skill set. Paul Miller/AAP Bill Shorten has been on holidays this week. Probably just as well. The “energizer bunny” would have felt the need to be out every day, as usual. His absence...

Surgery to make intersex children ‘normal’ should be banned

surgery to make intersex children ‘normal’ should be banned
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Intersex people are born with sexual anatomy that doesn’t fit binary notions of male or female bodies.  Questions in the proposed new citizenship test that address family violence, child marriage and female genital mutilation imply opposition to these is an Australian value. Indeed most Australians would agree...

The media dangerously misuses the word ‘trolling’

the media dangerously misuses the word ‘trolling’
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We need to call out trolling for what it is: harassment and abuse.  The word “trolling” has become a media stand-in for online behaviours that are nothing to laugh about. Journalist Ginger Gorman touched on this in her recent “Staring Down The Trolls” series, which...

Essays on health: microbes aren’t the enemy, they’re a big part of who we are

essays on health: microbes aren’t the enemy, they’re a big part of who we are
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Modern diets are changing the compositions of our gut microbiota,and with that, our personalities. We have long believed that “good” immune cells recognise and defend against “bad” invaders. That’s why a large proportion of medicine has been directed at killing microbial enemies and conquering...

Redefining the rock god – the new breed of electric guitar heroes

redefining the rock god – the new breed of electric guitar heroes
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St Vincent performing with Dave Grohl (at rear) after Nirvana was inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in New York in 2014. Lucas Jackson/Reuters The electric guitar symbolises rebellion, freedom, excess and youth. But with the classic rock period well behind us,...

Get headaches? Here’s five things to eat or avoid

get headaches? here’s five things to eat or avoid
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Drinking more water can help with headaches.  Last week I had a headache. Two hours in a traffic jam, hot day, no water, plans thrown into chaos. That day I was one of the five million Australians affected by headache or migraine. Over a year one...

We need more than just extra water to save the Murray-Darling Basin

we need more than just extra water to save the murray-darling basin
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The Murray-Darling Basin is an incredibly complex ecological system. Mike Russell After a long and contentious public debate, in 2012 Australia embarked on a significant and expensive water recovery program to restore the Murray-Darling Basin’s ecosystems. Despite general agreement that a certain amount of water should be...

Sunday essay: how the Men’s Painting Room at Papunya transformed Australian art

sunday essay: how the men’s painting room at papunya transformed australian art
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A close up from Michael Jensen’s Pintupi and Anmatyerr artists in Men’s Painting Room (circa August 1972). Michael Jensen Seismic shifts occur infrequently on the cultural landscape, and the works produced at such rare moments accrue mystique over and above their individual artistic...

Common pesticides can harm bees, but the jury is still out on a global ban

common pesticides can harm bees, but the jury is still out on a global ban
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  Two papers published yesterday report that neonicotinoids have negative effects on honey bees and wild bees in realistic field experiments Some of the world’s most widely used pesticides can be harmful to bees, according to the first large-scale studies aimed at measuring the impact of...