The Para-Academic Handbook

Specialists in all manner of things, from the humanities to the social and biological sciences, the para-academic works alongside the traditional university, sometimes by necessity, sometimes by choice, usually a mixture of both. Frustrated by the lack of opportunities to research, create learning experiences or make a basic living within the university on our own terms, para-academics don’t seek out alternative careers in the face of an evaporated future, we just continue to do what we’ve always done: write, research, learn, think, and facilitate that process for others.

That sounds pretty familiar to me. Read the Para-Academic Handbook immediately.

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Pirates!

What we admire in pirates—at least our fictional pirates—is that they so enjoy their villainy. They’re not sly or covert or subtle. Everything about them is over-the-top, histrionic: they glory in their infamy. While most of us drag ourselves through the daily dullness of our lives, they swagger, they pirouette, and, in the case of Captain Hook, even dance a tarantella. Like the trailblazer and the gunslinger, the pirate represents a New World ideal of freedom—a proud renegade living by his wits and his daring.

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Carbon Tax Information

LIKE MANY OTHER AGL customers I’ve recently received a very strange text message:

AGL estimates average electricity savings of 7.8% off NSW AGL residential bills by removing the carbon tax. See agl.com.au/carbon for details.

When I queried it, AGL’s twitter account informed me that the law required them to send it:

@AGLenergy: @liamvhogan Hi Liam - these are courtesy SMSs on upcoming price changes to your account. We're obligated by law to advise you ~Thanks, Matty

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Excellent Bones

ELIZABETH FARRELLY, A MASTER of her art, wrote these sentences with apparent sincerity.

Newcastle has excellent bones. Its pretty, gridded sandstone core drapes over a headland set between river and ocean. Sure, the surrounding sprawl is ugly, but rail lets you ignore all that, popping up like a meerkat right in its heart. Newcastle is as close to a European-style town as you’ll find in this country.

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Student housing in The Saturday Paper

BECAUSE THIS BLOG EXISTS, AND because I get to choose what I do with it, I’m going to start putting up excerpts and links to things on the internet that I have read that I think you, reader, would also enjoy. I understand that’s the original definition of ‘web log’. But what’s historicisation of technologies between web-‘social’ acquaintances in a relationship mediated by marketing? Call this post the first in a beginning form of adaptive re-use.

There’s increasing discussion about the role of the public sector in setting standards that mandate design quality in housing. Projects such as this remind us that authorities have another potent form of intervention at their disposal. With deep institutional knowledge and a desire to chase more than the bottom line, they are well placed to lead the development of innovative and life-affirming housing models. Wielded strategically, by a range of authorities across metropolitan areas, projects of this type could visibly lift the bar of housing quality for all of us.

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