Trouble for Qantas to Dallas. Following on from Ben Sandilands’ article on the Virgin-Delta deal: To make it worse about six weeks ago Boeing offered Qantas six new 777-300s, which were an option for American Airlines (it doesn’t want them). Naturally it knocked them back. This info came from a pilot manager and a Boeing rep on a flight across the Pacific.

There problems are about to get worse with the 747-400 flying Dallas/Brisbane. To arrive in Brisbane with minimum fuel that is legal the aircraft will depart Dallas approx 20 tonnes under maximum takeoff weight, with maximum fuel uplift to allow fuel flows that will get it to Brisbane with minimum reserves on arrival. Payload will be about 280/300 pax and no freight. But 50%-60% of services will be unable to make it direct and have to stop off in Nadi or Noumea where, under the current industrial climate, the crew will probably walk off the aircraft due to fatigue. The tour of duty without a crew change? About 19 hours. Keep up the good work.

Does mental health funding even work? Among all the back slapping surrounding Julia Gillard’s announcement to boost funding to traditional mental health services, will be no one asking the critical, evidence-based question: will this work? For example, a recent study from Norway (“Changes in Mental Health Services and Suicide Mortality in Norway: An Ecological Study”, Joahnnessen, et al. 2011), shows that despite government funding for mental health services in that country being increased by a whopping 175% over the period 1998-2007, that had null impact on the country’s suicide rate.

No doubt nobody will challenge Julia Gillard on the point that traditional mental health services, solely reliant on psychotropic medication as they are, have woefully poor outcomes. Look past the hype, rely on the evidence.

Taylor’s ears burn on Facebook. Which politico person put comments about ABC reporter/presenter Josie Taylor on their Facebook page? Sad but true. Old habits die hard.

Used shoes: going, going, gone. They are really different and not too bright in Sydney’s eastern suburbs (Malcolm Turnbull’s electorate). Picture this: Shapiro Auctioneers in Queen Street, Woollahra on a very cold May night. The small rooms packed, the action, an auction of jewellery and goods and pre-loved and unloved clothing, shoes, etc. Good stuff, labels and all sorts of sparkly bling.

Up comes a late lot, a pair of Hermes riding boots. Unmarked except for a small bit of wear on one heel (dragged from someone’s feet because they were uncomfortable?) Top of the range, kid leather, palladium fittings, the price range: $1500 to $2000. Bargain? Bidding started at $1400 and went on. They finally sold for $2400 (plus the usual buyer’s premium, which would add $400 or so to the price).

At Hermes in the CBD, 5-6km away, they’re $2280. And under $2000 on the Hermes website. Who says consumer caution is all the rage and people are saving their money?

Peter Fray

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