around the traps

  • Sydney businessman given travel permit to pick up a luxury yacht: A Sydney businessman with connections to the Morrison government was granted an exemption from the travel ban to pick up a new luxury yacht in Europe. ... Official grounds for an exemption to the travel ban include urgent personal business, compassionate reasons, travel for critical business or industry, travel in the public interest, and the provision of humanitarian or medical aid.
  • Burning bush, melting Arctic, a deadly virus: nobody said the end times would be boring | Australia news | The Guardian: Sometimes your luck just runs out, and a hard truth of human nature is that we really only care about what's close. White Australia was a lucky country for so long, because the gift of distance was history's lack of interest in our affairs. But that absence of concern for a tiny outpost, removed from the centre of things, can just as easily turn to indifference and genuine disdain when fate turn against us. From afar it was possible to see with the cold objectivity of foreigners just how unflattering a picture we made for any who cared to look. An immensely privileged dominion occupied by a small number of deeply selfish people, suddenly confronted with the consequences of inaction. For a few months there you could finally see the world accelerating towards the existential discontinuity of irreversible, devastating climate change. No more projections. No theories. No modelling or arcane math. The future had arrived. It was not evenly distributed. It had exploded into the real on the eastern edge of the Australian continent. Meanwhile, sitting on a beach in Hawaii was our doughy, aggressively know-nothing prime minister, infamous for carrying a big lump of coal on to the floor of parliament and fondling the same with the puckish joy of a man-sized Billy Bunter in possession of a large, unexpected jam donut. To the beach he went, while his land and his people hurtled towards the burning pit.
  • Is Plastic Recycling A Lie? Oil Companies Touted Recycling To Sell More Plastic : NPR: Industry documents from this time show that just a couple of years earlier, starting in 1989, oil and plastics executives began a quiet campaign to lobby almost 40 states to mandate that the symbol appear on all plastic — even if there was no way to economically recycle it. Some environmentalists also supported the symbol, thinking it would help separate plastic. Smith said what it did was make all plastic look recyclable.
  • Ami, the tiny cube on wheels that French 14-year-olds can drive | Road transport | The Guardian: Classed as a light quadricycle, the Ami is, Citroën says, an “urban mobility object”. All-electric, 2.4 metres long and 1.4m wide, with a top speed of 45km/h (28mph) and a range of 75km (46 miles), it can be driven in France without a full licence by anyone aged 14 or over.
  • Killer whales launch 'orchestrated' attacks on sailing boats | Marine life | The Guardian: The Spanish maritime authorities warned vessels to “keep a distance”. But reports from sailors around the strait throughout July and August suggest this may be difficult – at least one pod appears to be pursuing boats in behaviour that scientists agree is “highly unusual” and “concerning”. It is too early to understand what is going on, but it might indicate stress in a population that is endangered.
  • People protesting against coronavirus lockdown arrested in Melbourne amid clashes with police - ABC News: Any protesting is outlawed in Melbourne under the current stage 4 restrictions, and people are only allowed to exercise for one hour a day within a 5 kilometre radius of their home. Gatherings are completely banned.
  • Microsoft's underwater data centre resurfaces after two years - BBC News: When the container was hauled off the seabed around half a mile offshore after being placed there in May 2018, just eight out of the 855 servers on board had failed. [...] The team is speculating that the greater reliability may be connected to the fact that there were no humans on board, and that nitrogen rather than oxygen was pumped into the capsule.
  • COVID-19 Melbourne: Big lie about lockdown under Daniel Andrews: There is far too much talk about how disgruntled the people of Melbourne have become after months of monotony. There is far too much focus on the few who try to bend the rules with a breach of curfew, a refusal to mask up, a cheeky drive to a mate's place. And there is far too much legitimacy afforded to the few hundred protesters who clash with police in scenes that are then shared around the country and make headlines around the world. What is left is a notion that Victorians are impatient, unwilling participants in a plan to keep themselves safe from a deadly virus. It is an unfair characterisation of what the majority of Victorians are doing, and have done, since they were thrust back into lockdown for a second time. The truth is that millions of Victorians are doing the right thing.
  • Robodebt court documents show government was warned 76 times debts were not legally enforceable | Welfare | The Guardian: The federal government was warned 76 times by a tribunal that Centrelink robodebts were not legally enforceable, according to court documents. Gordon Legal claims that the dozens of judgments– which were previously hidden from public view – show the government knew the scheme was unlawful because it declined to appeal on every occasion.
  • E-cigarettes to become available as prescription-only items in Australia from June 2021 | Smoking | The Guardian: The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) announced its interim decision to reclassify nicotine as a prescription-only medication, meaning nicotine for use in e-cigarettes, and e-juice containing nicotine, would become prescription-only from June 2021. The changes would also effect heat-not-burn tobacco products, chewing tobacco, snuff and other novel nicotine products. ... E-cigarettes are not proven as a first-line treatment for smoking cessation. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there is some evidence that young people may be attracted to the products, and may go on to use tobacco products.