Turning on Tony? A couple of opinion polls showing a slight improvement for Labor and it is possible to detect an increasing media scrutiny, albeit also only a slight one, in the performance of Tony Abbott. There was an example of it in the Sydney Daily Telegraph this morning:

The key judgment came at the end:

Who knows, we might even be getting close to the stage where the Julia Gillard leadership stories are replaced by some “Tony Abbott’s job under threat” tales. All it will take is a further drift upwards in Labor’s poll numbers while the Abbott unpopularity figure remains even lower than the Prime Minister’s.

“The day the world went mad” That is how they headlined it in The Guardian — August 28th 2012, the day most of the world’s press and most of its politicians virtually ignored the implications of Arctic sea ice reaching a new record low point. Barely an expression of concern anywhere and certainly not in Australia outside of these little snippets.

To me the lack of interest makes this anguished cry from Al Gores speaking on Current TV’s coverage of the National Republican Convention all the more relevant:

“When the Senate voted to go to war in Iraq, 77% of the American people believed that Saddam Hussein was responsible for the 9/11 attack. And yes the administration put that impression out there, but where was the news media? Where were the responsible members of the Republican party in the House and Senate and why weren’t more democrats standing up to that upright falsehood.”

“The underlying point I’m making is we have serious problems in our democracy and all of the blame put on George W. Bush — I’m not defending him in any way, believe me — but I think sometimes that misses the larger point that our democracy is indeed in trouble. And all of us have an obligation to try to fix it … Global warming is real. And they refuse to connect those dots… We have the whole country suffering from this massive drought. West Nile virus is directly connected to the conditions that global warming has made worse. The whole North polar ice cap is disappearing in  front of our eyes. Twelve massive million dollar plus climate related disasters … and they keep coming.”

“Just as they did not report the truth about the proposal to invade Iraq, we are not getting the accurate impression about this challenge that we have to face. To stop putting 90 million tons of global warming pollution up into the atmosphere every single day… They aren’t only doing nothing about it, there’s hardly any discussion about it. It drives me crazy.”

The old age capital of Australia. Tuncurry on the New South Wales mid-north cost gets the title. Census details released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics show it was the oldest area in the country with a median age of 59 years.


In Queensland, Bribie Island was the oldest (57 years) and in South Australia, it was Victor Harbor (56).

The youngest areas were Thamarrurr in the Northern Territory, Acton in Canberra and Yarrabah in Queensland, each with a median age of 22 years.

At June 2011, the median age of the Australian population (the age at which half the population is older and half is younger) as a whole was 37.3 years, up from 35.7 years in June 2001. The median age of males increased from 34.9 to 36.4 years and the median age of females increased from 36.4 to 38.1 years over this period.

The median age of all states and territories increased between 2001 and 2011. In 2001, South Australia had the oldest median age, at 37.6 years, just ahead of Tasmania at 37.2 years. However, between 2001 and 2011, the median age of Tasmania increased more than any other to become the oldest state or territory, at 40.4 years. The Northern Territory remained the youngest state or territory with a median age of 31.4 years, up from 29.6 in 2001.

Research report of the day. The things that scientists study! How the Cucumber Tendril Coils and Overwinds or Uncoiling the cucumber’s enigma

Cambridge, Mass. — August 30, 2012 — Captivated by a strange coiling behavior in the grasping tendrils of the cucumber plant, researchers at Harvard University have characterized a new type of spring that is soft when pulled gently and stiff when pulled strongly…

Some news and views noted along the way.