Extract: In my day job as an arts and humanities librarian I’ve been gathering links to Australian literary blogs, so we can recommend some of these blogs to students and link to them from our library website.
Of course there is a wide range of literary blogs: blogs about Australian literature and writers, book reviewing blogs, newspaper literary blogs, writer’s blogs, group blogs, and blogs devoted to particular authors, or types of literature: poetry, young adult literature etc.
I have come up with my A list of the most influential Australian literary blogs.
Extract: When it comes to news and breakfast TV, the commercial networks have almost had a monopoly on it - with various versions of Today and Sunrise, and not forgetting Ten's 6am news and the old Good Morning Australia - but from November not only will our ABC be delving into this arena, it will be doing so with an innovative format and as an investment into its digital channel ABC2.
From Monday 3 November, ABC News Breakfast launches with four hours every weekday of news and current affairs with Virginia Trioli, Barrie Cassidy and Joe O'Brien, but don't expect any "Mel and Kochie"-type nicknames for this group, this will be serious stuff for those that don't prefer the froth and bubble of the Sunrise set or Today.
Extract: Bob Dylan’s forthcoming album, Tell Tale Signs: Rare and Unreleased, 1989-2006, is now available for free online listening – a week ahead of its release!
Extract: On 3rd August, American giant Starbucks closed 61 of its 85 shops in Australia. After over a month and hundreds of jobs lost, I and many other coffee lovers still think about what went wrong and why did Starbucks fail to break the Australian market.
Extract: Funner. Impactful. Blowiest. Territorialism. Multifunctionality. Dialoguey. Dancey. Thrifting. Chillaxing. Anonymized. Interestinger. Wackaloon. Updatelette. Noirish. Huger. Domainless. Delegator. Photocentric. Relationshippy. Bestest. Zoomable.
What do all these words have in common? Someone, somewhere, is using them with a disclaimer like "I know it's not a real word ..."
Extract: You may not realise this, but Peter Bjorn and John have a brand new album. Whatever you do, don't go out and buy this record based on the merits of their last one, because I can safely say this album is nothing like it. No, I don't mean that they've changed their style. Instead, they've gone out and created something that can only be described as utterly bizarre. The album is entirely instrumental, other than occasional snippets of foreign-language speech.
Extract: One of the things Aussie critics often say about Cate Blanchett is that although she is undeniably a good actress, there has been no movie of hers that has been truly memorable. Not even her role as Elizabeth makes you think of her the way one would think of, say, Harrison Ford and Indiana Jones. Notes on a Scandal sort of goes to prove this theme: Blanchett throws an excellent performance, but the result is nothing you wouldn't forget about shortly after the DVD has been returned to the rental store.
Extract: Chessbase better watch out. It looks like there's a new player on the loose. Some outfit called VersaGlobe is aiming to design what may become the world's most powerful chess program. Dubbed Deep Delta, it is "being designed to run on eight 64-bit processors and will be able to analyze millions of positions per second."
Extract: Twitter hitting the mainstream? Surely not?
Twitter Up 518.2% in Australia
Extract: Next Thursday I'm scheduled to undergo a laparoscopy. I was referred to a gynaecologist after having constant, unrelenting (albeit fairly mild on a scale of 1-10) pelvic pain and abdominal bloating for nearly a month, which I assumed was another ovarian cyst. An ultrasound revealed no cyst, urine tests revealed no chlamydia or gonorrhoea or urinary tract infection, so that left the possibility of endometriosis.
Extract: My suspicion is that most people don't go into politics for the money. Politicians do get paid more than your average slob (like me, and everyone in my family, and everyone I know), but I imagine that the power and influence is much more attractive than the money. Still, the money's pretty good. And the benefits, particularly the parliamentary pension that long-standing members receive, are pretty attractive too.
Extract: I’m stunned by the nature of some of the commentary about the collapse of the US financial system, and specifically by suggestions that the pain people are enduring is comparable to that experienced in the Great Depression. It demonstrates how secure people feel in developed nations in the 21st century and how little they comprehend the real extent of the dangers they face from an economic catastrophe. They’re like people who’ve survived a bad thunderstorm and smugly believe a category 5 cyclone can’t be much worse.
The Great Depression is actually a convenient label for a period of time in which each country had its own unique disasters. For most it was waaaayyy worse than having the value of your super go down a bit or seeing the notional worth of your house/s come down 10%.
Extract: Brendan and Malcolm have provided a nice little distraction, but it’s time to look at other world news: to wit, another US financial giant has hit the deck (two, if you count the takeover of Merrill Lynch as well as Lehman Brothers filing for Chapter 11). Is the rest of the world going to catch a cold from America sneezing, or will the strength of the BRIC economies keep the global economy relatively robust while only the US coughs its lungs out?
Extract: One reason I maintain a guarded optimism about how the world is tackling climate change is that there is evidence of progress on the technological front. The Economist recently carried a nice survey of trends in the car industry, arguing that alternatives to the traditional internal combustion engine are no longer just fads:
Extract: say it. ban-off-ee. chant it! banoffee! BANOFFEE! i had a craving for something sweet and with a truckload of cream and didnt particularly feel like eating tiramisu and so a quick google search for the easiest banoffee recipe i could find from the nestle website here and 2 hours later behold!
Extract: It is possible to convert brain waves into music, but only by making conscious choices to map certain frequencies to other frequencies. Brain waves are all in the 0 to 30 hertz range (http://hypertextbook.com/facts/2004/SamanthaCharles.shtml)) and human hearing is in the 20 to 20,000 hertz range. Unless brain waves just happen to have relationships that correspond to the relationships between pitches in the western major or minor diatonic scale (extremely doubtful), the creation of what most middle-class westerners would call 'relaxing' music would require quite deliberate mapping - introducing myriad unscientific and culturally skewed choices. Isaac Newton ran into this problem when he unsuccessfully attempted to map the frequency of colours in the light spectrum to the diatonic scale (the reason we say there are seven colours in the rainbow - but that's another story).
Extract: Here is a situation which looks as if it is about an arcane squabble between television channels, and a minor protest by a couple of indy filmmakers crushed by bureaucratic shenanigans. But it is much more than that.
Extract: The session was a discussion between MEAA federal secretary Chris Warren and media academic, journalist and author Margaret Simons. Warren began by hailing Simons’ 2007 book The Content Makers as “the text that summarises where we at” with the Australian media (an assessment I fully agree with). He then asked her where she thought the local industry was headed. Simons said that the industry had gotten industry into dire straights in the last twenty years and “it would get worse before it got better”. She said new media technologies (Internet, mobile, digital broadband) had put a bomb under the establishment and we had reached the “end of Empire” stage of the two major powers in Australian media: Murdoch and Packer.
Extract: As some of you may be aware, New Zealand is having a general election on November 8th. Over the next eight weeks, I’ll be blogging it on and off here, with the aim of informing people what the hell is going on this side of the ditch.
The problem is where to start. So, I’ll start with the meta-narrative: currently, New Zealand has a nominally centre-left Labour-led minority government.
Extract: One of the easiest ways for an artist to get a little media love is to make fun of a religion. People usually take their religion a little too seriously, so it's a proven method to create some controversy and to get your brand out there. It's probably better to pick on religions like christianity, buddhism or maybe even judaism though as you may have to go in to protective custody if you go picking on islam (they really take their religion seriously).