Safely in the range. The Reserve Bank has been reading things right when it comes to inflation. It decided in the second half of last year that inflation was not going to be a problem and so it has proved.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics figures out this morning show that, by any measure, rapidly rising prices need not concern policy makers.

And it will take something extraordinary for the March quarter CPI change on the 2011 quarter not be comfortably inside the 2 to 3% guidelines of the bank as the high last March figure drops out of the calculations.

Only someone insensitive to the suffering of the rising number of unemployed Australians would now be arguing for official interest rates not to be cut.

No doubt about the underdog. Queensland Premier Anna Bligh is probably grateful that the flood commission’s request for an extension of time to complete its work has given her an excuse to push the state election date to 24 March. The opinion polls and the Crikey Election Indicator show Labor well behind.

Decide in the House of Representatives. Advice for Andrew Wilkie: make it your new principle that you will listen to debates in Parliament before making a decision. No more back room negotiations with a Prime Minister who cannot be trusted.

That, apparently, is what the Tasmanian independent has decided to do on a proposed Opposition no confidence vote based on the government’s support for Labor backbencher Craig Thomson, who is facing several serious investigations.

Not just economists fail at forecasting. As Ricky Ponting raced along to his second Test match century in three Tests  it was the News Ltd cricket commentator Malcolm Conn who kept coming into my mind.

A few Conn quotes from back in November:

  • “It’s time. Ricky Ponting’s mortality has caught up with him.”
  • “His downward spiral has become a freefall …”
  • “Hanging onto an aging side can quickly become catastrophic …”

And in the interests of balance I should mention that I’m waiting for the next contribution of Crikey‘s very own sports blogger Leigh Josey whose comment after that Test loss to New Zealand before the victories against India was headlined “Forget a reshuffle, it’s time to bring out the axe” in which he quoted what he called the most astute analysis on the Australian team he had heard.

“Hughes is fxxxed. Ponting is fxxxed. Hussey is fxxxxed. And Haddin can just fxxx right off. Then I will be OK.”

When your iPad’s a pain in the neck. Ah, the new ailment of the modern world. Shoulder pain for tablet computer users. And a new area for academic research.

“Touch-Screen Tablet User Configurations and Case-Supported Tilt Affect Head and Neck Flexion Angles” published in Work: A Journal of Prevention, Assessment, and Rehabilitation proposes a solution.

“Compared to typical desktop computing scenarios, the use of media tablet computers is associated with high head and neck flexion postures, and there may be more of a concern for the development of neck and shoulder discomfort,” said lead investigator Jack T. Dennerlein, PhD, of the Department of Environmental Health, Harvard School of Public Health, and Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

The answer? Don’t use the tablet on your lap.

Head and neck posture during tablet computer use can be improved by placing the tablet higher to avoid low gaze angles, and through the use of a case that provides optimal viewing angles.

Peter Fray

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