Learning from Canberra. Perhaps the authorities in Victoria and New South Wales learned something from the timid approach of their federal counterparts when it came to dealing with the occupation of public space by demonstrators.

In Canberra we will so0n be “celebrating” 40 years of the Aboriginal tent embassy on the lawns opposite the old Parliament House.

The official Invitation to the 40th Anniversary of the Embassy on the website says:

“…indigenous elders invite all Aboriginal people, supporters and other members of the general public, to come together at the ‘Aboriginal Tent Embassy’ site, on Thursday 26th January 2012, to celebrate ‘SOVEREIGNTY DAY’ and be part of the Sacred Fire Ceremonial Gathering that will mark 40 years since the first protest on the site.”

Collingwood should get a subscription. The Journal Current Directions in Psychological Science has a fascinating look (unfortunately behind a pay wall but that will mean nothing to Eddie) at why some athletes choke under pressure. The Colliwobbles is not one of the subjects studied but there should be clues to the phenomenon of why, when a shot could mean winning or losing, it’s easy to choke.

The author, Rob Gray, of the University of Birmingham, has found that baseball players that are under pressure have fewer hits because their swing varies more under pressure than at normal times. Other researchers have found that climbers move less fluidly when they’re higher up on a wall than when they’re near the ground, which suggests that their joints move less freely when they’re more anxious.

The research shows that there are particular things that go wrong when someone is under pressure — changing the angle of the club head when putting or throwing with more force. If those things can be identified, a coach could work on the particular problems.

One way to do it might be with analogies, Gray says. For example, a golfer who grips the club too tight when she’s nervous might benefit from an instruction like “imagine you have an open tube of toothpaste between your hands and the contents must not be pushed out.”

This would both address the problem and get her attention away from how well she’s doing.

Evidence for Andrew Wilkie. To me the most significant aspect of the Newspoll into voting intentions in the seats of the two New South Wales independents in the House of Representatives is the impact it is likely to have on their Tasmanian colleague Andrew Wilkie. The best chance for Wilkie of winning a second term will come if he is the reason Labor is forced to an early election. The government should be trying even harder to deny him a reason to do that by ensuring that Australia really does end up with curbs on poker machines.

The stalling continues. European leaders continue to flounder around trying to work out if and how they can find a solution to the continent’s financial problems with an announcement of the promised new policies now postponed to Wednesday. In Russia the pessimism is growing that there will be success:

From the Moscow Times: