CRIKEY: In Rundle’s Friday drive-bys, (Friday 14 August Item 14), Guy Rundle wrote that Oscar Humphries had been sacked from his position as editor of The Spectator. That statement is untrue and has been removed from the story on the website. Humphries has not been sacked and has no intention of going anywhere in the near future. Crikey apologies for the error.

First Dog on the Moon:

A. Headcase (aka Jim Ivins) writes: Re. “First Dog on the Moon” (Friday, item 4). I wish to complain about First Dog’s “poorly formed opinion and self indulgent rambling disguised as badly drawn whimsy”.

I notice that, yet again, your cartoonist has chosen to attack a soft target, this time in the form of Vietnamese peasants who are so poor they have to eat their pets. Well, at least this makes a change from the attacks on helpless Christians and right wing politicians. I mean, it’s not as if the Vietnamese are actually capable of defending themselves against a bunch of misguided foreigners.

I demand to know why First Dog didn’t have a go at the Muslims or the Jews instead. After all, don’t they hang live sheep upside down before cutting their throats? Or is that how Black Pudding is made in the north of England? I’d look it up on Wikipedia but I was recently banned from that site, despite the many helpful additions I made to the entry on Steve Fielding. We’re so lucky to have him you know.

Female wage parity:

Kate Jackson writes: Re. “Stevens’ sunny-side-up optimism could bite him” (Friday, item 23). Glenn Dyer notes there were some “encouraging statistics on employment” in Crikey‘s business section on Friday, however he misses the downside to the employment stats as picked up by Peter Martin in The Age, “Downturn hits female wage parity.”

Martin says: Earnings figures for May put average female pay at $54,907, just 82 per cent of the $66,581 male average — the lowest proportion in 21 years. This is interesting when contrasted with historical figures.

Professor Glenda Strachan of Griffith University notes in a story for the ABC back in Feb that, “Female wage rates and earnings as a percentage of male wage rates rose from 71 in 1966 to 92 in 1976 (weekly rate).”

So women have gone from 92% in 1976 to 82% in 2009. So much for progress!

The Australian Fair Pay Commission website also notes that, ‘In 2006, women earned 84% of the average weekly earnings of male employees, compared with 87% in 2004.” Still embarrassingly short of the 1976 figures.

The Gods of Rock:

Denis Goodwin writes: Re. “Vale Les Paul, symbol maker of rock” (Friday, item 16). Tim Dunlop surely loses credibility when he writes “Best guitarist: Page, Clapton, Beck, Blackmore, Howe? Someone else?”.

I know he was writing about the sad news of the death of Les Paul and his personal preference for the Gibson over the Fender but that is no excuse to leave Jimi Hendrix of the list of best guitarists.

Climate change:

Moira Smith writes: Tamas Calderwood (Friday, comments) wrote: “3,600,000,000 — the number of years Earth has been warmer than it is today…” If I am correct in my interpretation of the “noughts” that is over three and a half billion years. Yes, the earth has been around a long time. And for much of that time life was what we’d today consider as “primitive” and even different, although interesting in its way. Sponges, for example. (And that was after a long long time.)

I am informed that much more recent Quaternaty period (from 2.5 million years ago) is when human type beings began to develop. From that point of view, the three billion or so years previous are irrelevant. The climate was different then, different life forms developed and flourished. Except for one thing: the fossil fuels we burn with such alacrity today were laid down and sequestered before humanoids emerged, yet we’re now re-releasing them into the contemporary atmosphere for the first ever time.

We’re potentially re-engineering the atmosphere into what it was BEFORE human life was possible. The latest observations from Antarctica and the Arctic indicate that something strange and worrying is happening. Glaciers are melting and disintegrating EVEN FASTER than the scientists had at first predicted. Does Tamas Calderwood have any children or grandchildren? Or is he one of the fortunate like me, who can say “après moi le deluge”?

Nigel Brunel writes: Re. Tamas Calderwood (Friday, comments) on the numbers concerning climate change. You missed one number Tamas. Zero: the number of times I have given a toss about what Tamas Calderwood opines.

Send your comments, corrections, clarifications and c*ck-ups to [email protected] Preference will be given to comments that are short and succinct: maximum length is 200 words (we reserve the right to edit comments for length). Please include your full name — we won’t publish comments anonymously unless there is a very good reason.

Peter Fray

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