Tuesday, August 22, 2006

More systemic failure.......

The mental models of those responsible for US/Israeli policy in the middle-east seem well suited to deliver systemic failure. Seymour Hersh provides the background! As a colleague said: 'This would be ironic, on the 50th anniversary of Suez, if it were not so sad and dangerous.'
Return to Oz 2

It is now six weeks since my return. It has been an exponential learning curve about Melbourne. House hunting is a good way to learn your way around, re-orient to the sun - north facing, or more strictly north-east facing rather than south facing is the go (but hard to find)! Otherwise the task is not something I enjoy. The campus and surrounds are buzzy, cosmopolitan and people are friendly, welcoming and helpful. The diversity of food and coffee outlets on campus are in marked contrast to my previous one.

The quality of light and the blue of the sky are so different from the UK. The wattle and the wine uplifting!

What has changed and what is unsettling? The TV programmes leave a lot to be desired (so do a lot in the UK). The focus of the Melbourne media on the injuries to players and on field 'assaults' in the AFL is an interesting cultural statement! I sense a growth in US-style 'self-made person' rhetoric and belief. Is this at the expense of concern for others, giving something back? After six weeks Melbourne does not feel very big.

Rises in petrol prices are causing concerns - a hot political issue. Here I can fill my car up for $52. In the UK I cannot do it for £52. I suggest most poeple here are not aware of how expensive petrol and other forms of energy are likely to become. The sprawling outer suburbs, the mortgage belts, seem unsustainable socially and environmentally (particularly when water is added to the equation). The same seems true of the car industry (reminiscent of the UK) - still a big employer in some states but surely not viable in a global economy!

This is world water week. Given the extent of concerns about water at both a global and national level I was surprised when Kerry O'Brien, presenter of the ABCs 7.30 report, found the comments of Frank Rijsberman of the International Water Management Institute, so controversial.