IN A DECISION OF the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal, the senior member was asked to rule—amongst other things—on whether a particular kind of rifle, that the applicant wanted to import into Australia and own, was 'of a kind that is designed or adapted for military purposes'. Unless you're particularly interested in the arcane details of specific 20thC weapons, which I'm not, it's an interesting judgement for the sheer taxonomic argument that must have gone on between the two parties, discussing what particularly about this object set it in either a prohibited or a permissible category.


What I'm reading—monotype and fossils

Alice Spawls, LRB, At The Type Archive:

Part of what makes the Type Archive unusual is that it has machines and tools from every stage of the process: those that were owned by Monotype and those owned by the printers who used its system. One room contains the original patterns (metal templates) for different typefaces, the giant machines used for pressing the punches and the pantographs that reduce the size of the template to the desired point or pica. (The floors were long ago reinforced for the animals the building once accommodated, so can bear these many-tonned iron beasts.)

Matt Castle, Damn Interesting, Chronicles of Charnia:

Like Mason, Tina realised the frond’s potential significance, and decided she should ask someone in authority. Her parents were supportive, but lacked geological expertise or convenient contacts at local proto-universities. So she mentioned the strange “fern” to her geography teacher at school the next day.

“There are no fossils in Precambrian rocks!” was the teacher’s reply. Tina said she was aware of this; indeed, that was why the find was so perplexing. “Then they are not Precambrian rocks,” her teacher shot back, closing down the discussion.


Cheap human beings

THE FAIRFAX NEWSPAPERS HAVE long figured in this country as an expression of liberalism's two-facedness; as the cliché goes, able to entertain two opposed ideas at the same time, and put them both in a single edition. That they can be demonised by the political Right as the mouthpieces of the inner city élites and also by the political Left as unashamed barrackers for corporate and boss power, and that both can be right, is only credit to Fairfax/Nine's editors. Consider this pair (the italics are mine):


Money for nothing

JESSICA IRVINE WROTE ON the subject of 'weaning' the nation off the coronavirus support Jobkeeper. It is less economic thought, which is her specialty, than Methodism, which is a school of economic moral order.

Because JobKeeper, as a public policy, is not a keeper. A policy that pays some people to do nothing is not a long-term plan, despite what advocates of a Universal Basic Income might say.

This is exactly wrong. It's not even about creating UBI or Citizen's Income, In fact our society pays many people very well to do nothing, for good and bad reasons, and has done, without protests or disagreement, for a long time.



LIKE MOST I WAS impressed and awed at the crowds who attended protests against Aboriginal deaths in custody this weekend. It's all I can do to walk on the footpath on the way to work. If you'd asked me on New Years Eve what challenges I'd be taking on this year, I wouldn't have picked agoraphobia, but here I am, and here we all are, walking backwards away from people, trying to avoid our bosses who like handshaking and slapping people on the back. I can only admire the fortitude of tens of thousands of people facing that, as well as the prospect of arrest, capsicum spray, and a beating. I can only groan as, completely predictably, the protesters' good faith in marching is seized on in bad faith by hoteliers, wedding planners, and other people interested in getting a profit.


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