Public vs. private:

Joe Boswell writes: Re. “Privacy Eye: the vast effort to find out everything about you” (Friday, item 2). Bernard Keane accurately summed up the old excuse of the tabloid press when it intrudes into the private lives of politicians and anyone else whose name is even vaguely recognisable:

“… they’ve chosen to be in the public eye. They’ve chosen to play the game. Politicians ‘have to take the rough with the smooth,’ said Tony Abbott.”

Is this very much better than the argument that any woman wearing anything less modest than a nun’s habit in public is “asking for it”?

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Virgin wine:

Matt Davis writes: Re. “Virgin, after urging kids to binge drink, pulls ‘disgraceful’ ad” (Friday, item 3). Whoever thought this was a good idea? Cut price “wine” from the same company that brings you “cut price” airfares and credit cards.

As for this ad appealing to youf. I remember going to rock gigs and hitting the piss in my early years and I doubt, back then, if I ever knew what wine was. Of course if Branson’s wine is as lacking in substance as his image – and this ad’- lead one to believe, anyone who knows what wine is will want to give it a wide berth.


Niall Clugston writes: Re. “There’s more than refugee boats on our northern horizon” (Friday, item 10). I’m not sure why Charles Richardson believes that a regime change in Beijing would help resolve the conflict over the Spratly Islands. After all, the pretenders in Taiwan also claim the islands as Chinese territory.

And I don’t think Australia can claim the high moral ground. After all, Australia gets hysterical about incursions on Christmas Island, which is closer to Jakarta than any Australian city and which was run from Singapore until 1957! Of course the island itself is not as important as the right to claim vast tracts of open ocean as territorial waters.

Then there’s Australia’s claim to the entire Torres Strait, an unrenounced legacy of the British Empire, and its refusal to accept an equitable division of the Timor Sea.

Carbon tax:

Linda Vij writes: Ultimately green reforms must come from company profits and focus on carbon footprints shouldn’t divert attention off issues such as metallic pollution and contaminated soils. No wonder the public is wary of carbon tax. It’s all tunnel vision, big bureaucracy, big stick and no carrot.

Gavin Greenoak writes: Given the objective of any carbon tax I have decided to take only one shower a week (water heating being the biggest load for electricity); limit room heating to when people are in them; drive to work only two days a week, and up my donations to reforestation projects. It will be an odd sort of tax if I use less and do not pay less.

Reverse osmosis:

John Gleeson writes: Re. “Coal seam gas miners’ water bargaining potentially tainted” (Friday, item 5). Reverse osmosis became popular during the Falklands War, when the British forces needed large quantities of fresh water. This was provided by many Osmosis generators, usually on ships, and using hot engine room water for the process of converting sea water to fresh water. Applying this to coal seam extraction, where will the heat energy requirement for the process be sourced?

On a ship, waste energy is utilised. Also, with the scale of the extraction process, what will be the cost of providing and maintaining Osmosis plant, and the operational stability and reliability? This process does not remove bacteria-after treatment is needed. The effects of corrosive chemicals in coal — i.e. tars — on the osmosis membranes, which are a critical component, should be addressed.

Peter Wotton writes: If reverse osmosis can remove sodium and chloride ions from sea water, I would reasonably expect that it could also remove larger toxic molecules that would be in water derived from seam gas mining.

Our media landscape is amongst the most concentrated in the democratic world. Big media businesses are marred by big media interests. If you want the full, untainted picture on important issues — our environment, corruption, political competence, our culture, our economy — Crikey is required reading.

I am a private person that takes online privacy very seriously but I wanted to contribute my words to this campaign as I genuinely believe that we will improve as a country if more people read publications such as Crikey.

Sydney, NSW

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