Sunday essay: toxic beauty, then and now

Beauty is still understood as a process of ongoing work and maintenance. Throughout history, humans have been willing to try almost any method or product to improve their physical appearance. In response, enterprising businesses and beauty moguls have conspired to sell us almost anything — from water to poison — in the guise of cosmetic treatments. While many...

Listen To Older Voices reaches a 1,000 program milestone

1,000 unbroken weekly interviews is quite a record On Monday 23rd October, Listen To Older Voices will celebrate it’s 1,000th continuous weekly program. Never heard of Listen To Older Voices? Well, maybe it’s time you did! The program was first aired nationally in October of 1998. It had that embryonic national start with Hannah Sky and Jaycey Hall. At...

Wi-Fi can be KRACK-ed. Here’s what to do next

WPA2 has been cracked, so it’s time to update your router. Ksander/Shutterstock A security researcher has revealed serious flaws in the way that most contemporary Wi-Fi networks are secured. Discovered by Mathy Vanhoef from the University of Leuven, the vulnerability affects the protocol “Wi-Fi Protected Access 2”. Otherwise known as WPA2, this encrypts the connection between a computer or mobile phone and a Wi-Fi...

Bringing back an old idea for smart cities – playing on the street

Play activates cities and engages people, and by appropriating urban spaces it changes what these mean to people. Smart cities promise efficiency and resilience in urban design to combat climate change, population growth, transport congestion and other wicked problems. The processes that run a city may be abstracted into algorithms that feed on big data, their design optimised for...

Artefacts and other stories by Rebecca Burns

I’m delighted to share my review of Artefacts and other stories by Rebecca Burns     That dandelion. A flash of stubborn yellow in a dark box of space. It had promised sunshine but had tasted sour. Artefacts. A dandelion. A mayfly. A family, bereft. Items and mementos of a life, lived hard and with love, or long, empty, bitter. In these sharply...

Designing suburbs to cut car use closes gaps in health and wealth

Having to own multiple cars comes at a cost to the finances and health of residents in the sprawling outer suburbs.  David Crosling/AAP Large health inequalities exist in Australia. Car ownership and its costs add to the health inequalities between low-income and high-income households. The physical characteristics of neighbourhoods influence our transport use and, in turn, make health inequalities better or worse. Rising housing...

Grattan on Friday: The rift between Brandis and Dutton deepens as the behemoth of Home Affairs rises

The exit of George Brandis would be one less frustration for Peter Dutton. Mick Tsikas/AAP Immigration minister Peter Dutton got a towelling from the Senate this week when he couldn’t reach a deal with the crossbench on his legislation to toughen requirements for people seeking Australian citizenship. The bill was to impose a harder – many would say a ridiculously...

Bob Brown wins his case, but High Court leaves the door open to laws targeting protesters

Bob Brown was arrested under an anti-protest law after refusing to obey police directions to leave a forestry coup at Lapoinya State Forest. AAP The High Court has ruled yesterday by a 6:1 majority in favour of Bob Brown and Jessica Hoyt’s challenge to the validity of a Tasmanian anti-protest law. The decision is a significant win for forestry and...

Here’s what’s actually driving up health insurance premiums (hint: it’s not young people dropping off)

‘HOW MUCH has my health insurance gone up?’ There’s a simple reason premiums are increasing. Last week the government announced a raft of changes aimed at slowing the rise in health insurance premiums, as well as initiatives to improve access to mental health care. Commentators have already expressed scepticism on the ability of these initiatives to effectively slow the inexorable rise in premiums, with...

Sex versus death: why marriage equality provokes more heated debate than assisted dying

While fear suppresses talk about dying, marriage equality involves sex. AAP/Danny Casey The Greek philosopher Epicurus wrote: Death does not concern us, because as long as we exist, death is not here. And when it does come, we no longer exist. We are in the midst of two great ethical debates: marriage equality and assisted dying. The results of the marriage equality...