Public service leads while politicians lag. The steady increase in the proportion of women in leadership positions continues to increase in the Australian public service, but when it comes to female politicians, things are going backward. The Australian Bureau of Statistics this morning released its annual Gender Indicators publication. bringing together information from its own and other official sources. The report shows the proportion of women in senior and middle manager roles rose from 35% in 2002 to 46% in 2012. Yet seven out of 10 federal and state parliamentarians remain men, and this hasn’t changed over the past 10 years.

Campaign kissing. Not a baby yesterday. Tony Abbott moved up the age scale slightly as the kissing campaign continued at Melbourne’s Royal Children’s Hospital.

The war on cats. Lest I be accused of anti-feline bias, I put on the record again that I once exhibited the best Burmese in the Canberra cat show. With that out of the way, a follow up to my recent snippet on the New Zealand efforts to contain cat-caused carnage.

Behind a paywall in the latest issue of the online journal nature communications comes an estimate that free-ranging domestic cats kill 1.4 to 3.7 billion birds and 6.9 to 20.7 billion mammals annually in the United States alone. Says the article’d abstract:

“Un-owned cats, as opposed to owned pets, cause the majority of this mortality. Our findings suggest that free-ranging cats cause substantially greater wildlife mortality than previously thought and are likely the single greatest source of anthropogenic mortality for US birds and mammals. Scientifically sound conservation and policy intervention is needed to reduce this impact.”

News and views noted along the way.

  • Climate change refugees lack legal protection. “Millions of people worldwide are fleeing their homes because of environmental disasters. But the conditions in which the refugees have to take up residence in neighboring countries isn’t regulated by international law.”
  • Why the Queen is never going to abdicate. “The House of Windsor won’t follow Queen Beatrix’s example in the Netherlands. Our monarch believes the job is God-given and for life.”
  • Incestuous Amplification, Economics Edition. ” ‘Incestuous amplification’ happen when a closed group of people repeat the same things to each other — and when accepting the group’s preconceptions itself becomes a necessary ticket to being in the in-group. A fundamentally flawed notion … becomes part of what everyone knows, where ‘everyone’ means by definition only people who accept the flawed notion.”
  • Quantum biology: Do weird physics effects abound in nature?