Three pallets of cardboard for recycling
(Image: Unplash/Alfonso Navarro)


Let’s start with three must-read pieces:

  • “The Jews of Harbin”: an astonishing read — by turns funny, devastating, enraging and deeply bewildering — about the history of the Chinese city of Harbin, and its current devotion to Jewish stereotypes.
  • Luke Pearson offers some history in response to Scott Morrison’s claims about the history of Indigenous protest. Richly deserved, after Morrison restarted the Indigenous recognition process last week and then killed it a day later with that “third chamber” garbage.
  • And the remarkable Witold Pilecki got himself arrested by the Nazis to get into Auschwitz and document the Holocaust. The Allies refused to believe him.


We have a fundamental disagreement about the rate the universe is expanding. Rare — but fortunately not too rare — phenomena could fix it. And is there any way of living with both palm oil and biodiversity? Some scientists think there could be — and others are savaging them.

By the way, Westerners, you better get used to Asian countries sending your filthy rubbish back to you — it’s very likely we’re going to have to work out how to deal with our own garbage rather than dumping it on low-income people. So how do we process our garbage mountains? (Note: washing your plastics before putting them in the recycle is really useful.)

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And while we don’t really know the relationship between anti-depressants and the causes of depression, opposition to anti-depressants is driven by ideology and self-interest.


A great example of how we need to take the perspective of outsiders to our own countries more: the F-35 fighter program is like China’s Belt And Road initiative — but much worse (this also explains why Turkey’s aerospace industry is in serious trouble if it persists with buying Russian weaponry).

Wait, did someone say F-35?! Turns out you have to be careful using afterburners on that baby otherwise the inviso-paint falls off.

F-35 at the Avalon air show.
The F35 at the Avalon airshow. (Image: AAP/Tracey Nearmy)

Another problem for the soccer World Cup, handed by corrupt FIFA to the corrupt dictatorship of Qatar: the hosts are still keen to restrict beer drinking. Plus, the political history of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons program is fascinating and deeply depressing. And modern mass culture as vomit — yes, the metaphor actually works, especially as Disney comes to dominate Western content production.


From different ends of the US political spectrum: how the Epstein case reveals America’s class system at work; and the links between Epstein, Clinton and Trump are the stuff that causes revolutions.

After decades of negligence, contempt and indifference to rape victims, US police departments were shamed into testing a vast backlog of rape kits — revealing a wealth of information about how sexual predators operate.

How the dramatic works of the late Sam Shepard predicted modern America and its divisions. And one struggling Texas town’s bitter experience with Bitcoin.


A couple of pertinent reads:

Plus, for many of us, Tony Blair can never be forgiven for the crime of Iraq. But a recent book makes an effort to reappraise his — and Gordon Brown’s — legacy. If Nixon can be reconsidered, Blair can too, I guess.

And for Stat of the Week: courtesy of military spending and Trump’s company tax cut that delivered no economic benefits, the debt of the US government is back to World War II levels and headed to all-time highs, as a report from the Congressional Budget Office shows:

US debt history figures


Don’t get your hopes up, but the Uber and Lyft bubble could be about to burst. Meanwhile, other tech companies — Google and IBM — have placed themselves at the cutting edge of China’s surveillance state.

How to refuse to monetise internet traffic: mistype Gmail and you might end up at And that’s actually quite nice.

Meanwhile, YouTube won’t do anything to prevent the homophobic abuse by the far-right bullies it has helped build up in recent years. The Reply All team explains how YouTube’s algorithms and business model drive extremist content.

If you’re old enough, you’ll remember that once upon a time, we designed our own web pages. Crazy, huh?

And Michael Dulaney on the Chicken of Tomorrow — the industrialisation of poultry.


Those crazy researchers put a camera on some cats and let them go. They do pretty much what you expect, but, hey, cats.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
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