French Resistance fighter "Nicole". (Image: Wikimedia Commons)

WHITE MEN UBER ALLES

The importance of white supremacism in Australia’s establishment as a federation and World War I has garnered considerable attention of late via Peter Cochrane’s Best We Forget: The War for White Australia, 1914-18, reviewed by Ross Fitzgerald here.

Marilyn Lake gave the book a less glowing review at ABR, to which Cochrane replied at Honest History. And in the wake of Christchurch, there’s an American academic perspective on the same subject. I reckon Australia needs more journalists like Rashna Farrukh, the young woman who told Australia’s premier platform for fascists and race-baiters, Sky News, to go shove their job.

But, of course, criticism of the internet as a platform for hate, stupidity, surveillance and exploitation isn’t recent — it was made at the very start of the World Wide Web (speaking as a now lapsed net libertarian, it’s a pity they weren’t listened to). Meanwhile, like any good monopolist, Google is very busy trying to influence policy in Washington DC…

THE PROPER WAY TO DEAL WITH NAZIS

A new biography details the short life of France Bloch-Sérazin, who knew what to do with Nazis: she made explosives to kill them for the French resistance during WW2. A stiletto in the foot of misogyny?

Mary Beard discusses women in politics — and the dangers of giving them rubbish facilities.

Plus, there’s been a massive surge in the murders of women in Mexico, but — surprise! — it’s not a priority for the new national government.

Across the border, in the United States, nearly half of female economists in the US report they have faced discrimination. Tech startups insist they can’t bother with things like diversity when they first get going — but evidence is, male-dominated start-ups never recruit women.

*INSERT NAFF BREXIT PUN HERE*

One of the consequences of the latest Brexit shenanigans: delaying Brexit means individual EU countries now have the whip hand if they want to demand anything from the Brits — though no one seems yet inclined to employ it (Nigel Farage is lobbying right-wing European governments to veto a delay anyway).

Now I’m not the biggest fan of Robert Fisk but this is a fascinating exploration of Roman imperial policy as a template for later empires. Oh and while we’re in the Roman empire, there’s finally a proper translation of Justinian’s — great legal systematiser, truly rotten emperor — body of law.

Meanwhile, what role did the murderer Putin play in the assassination of charismatic Russian opposition politician Boris Nemtsov? A new book and documentary explores the killing. And in American war simulations, America keeps losing. It needs fewer big, easily targeted weapons and more missiles, apparently (and the original Flying Heap Of Shit, the F-35, is part of the problem).

THE WEEK IN SCIENCE

Wondering if you need blockchain in your salad/coffee/water/necklace? Worry no more — this gamechanging article will help! 

And while you’re at it, stop judging sleep — it’s really good for you, and so is napping (nearly all of my fond memories of 15 years in the public service involve napping).

DARPA wants to build a secure electronic voting system (still, why not waste millions of dollars trying to build something that not merely is unnecessary but which will actively make democracies less safe…?)

Which planet is our closest neighbour? Not the one you thought! Back on Earth, China’s decision to stop taking Western countries’ garbage might finally drive proper restrictions on single-use plastics as we run out of places to put our mountains of recyclables.

MEAT TO PLEASE YOU

As it becomes clear just how profoundly toxic our consumption of red meat is for the planet, not merely our insides, the search for “lab-grown” meat continues apace.

Meanwhile, Americans are only now working out what people in the Middle East have known for millennia — chickpeas are amazing.

The humble and underrated chickpea.

Ever wondered why we use some sounds and not others in language? OK probably not — but our changing diet in Neolithic times might have created “f” and “v” sounds.

BETTER SHRED THAN DEAD

From Jimi Hendrix to punk and heavy metal, surf music giant Dick Dale’s influence on modern music was colossal — and he even influenced the development of Fender guitars and amplifiers because he played so fast, so hard and so loud he became Leo Fender’s gold standard for resilience. Everyone knows his version of the ancient eastern Mediterranean “Misirlou” from Pulp Fiction, of course (which, despite its Middle Eastern origins, has now supplanted the Surfaris’ “Wipeout” as the quintessential surf track), but then there’s “Pipeline”, with Stevie Ray Vaughan; better yet, check out this amazing set from Dale on the Ed Sullivan Show from the early ’60s. 

Ensenada Slim shook his head gravely. ‘There’s too many stories about that break. Times it’s there, times it ain’t. Almost like something’s down below, guarding it. The olden-day surfers called it Death’s Doorsill. You don’t just wipe out, it grabs you — most often from behind just as you’re heading for what you think is safe water, or reading some obviously fatal shit totally the wrong way — and it pulls you down so deep you never come back up in time to take another breath, and just as you get lunched forever, so the old tales go, you hear a cosmic insane Surfaris laugh, echoing across the sky.’ Everybody in Wavos including the Saint proceeded to cackle ‘Hoo-oo-oo-oo-oo-oo—Wipeout!’ more or less in unison…

Thomas Pynchon, Inherent Vice

Peter Fray

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