Friday, November 24, 2006

New Oz think tank: will it make a difference - is this enough?

For some time I have been conscious that The Australia Institute seemed to be the only critical, alternative voice in town (i.e. Oz). Thinks tanks have an important role but I must admit to not knowing the lay of the land here very well, as yet.

None-the-less it is good to see a new one, New Matilda, launched to provide a much needed set of additional perspectives.
What would the Earth be like if you took humans away?

An intriguing article in New Scientist, worth a read. What it does not address is how, if at all, we might continue to co-evolve as a species with our world.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Sowing the seeds for systemic success

An inspiring story on last night's 7.30 report on ABC TV tells how a Festival of Healthy Living initiative of Melbourne's Royal Childrens' Hospital is helping to build resilience in disadvantaged communities. It seems to me a good example of dealing with a complex issue systemically. In the programme 'the hospital's mental health service works with professional performers to help school students create a fun show in which they learn how to juggle the ups and downs of life'. This has had systemic effects throughout the community.

Lets hope it can be sustained and the gains institutionalised in some way.
Broadband a disgrace - Rupert Murdoch agrees with me

It is not often I find Rupert agreeing with me. But on the matter of broadband we are in total agreement (see my earlier posting).

He is reported as saying:

“I think it is a disgrace, I think we should be spending – the Government with Telstra should be spending – $10 billion or $12 billion on it (so it gets to) every town in Australia – they do it in Japan, they do it in South Korea, we should be able to do it here,” he said.

“We are being left behind and we will pay for it.”
IT systems, ID cards, privacy .....and kids data bases

A significant report about these issues has just been released and gained media attention. As a colleague notes:

'These are related to the NHS IT programme. They were inspired by ministers' belief that NHS IT was working, and so could be 'rolled out' to other areas of 'e-government'. If experience - and the courts - support [the view arrived at in the report] that the children's databases are both unsafe and illegal, this will have dire effects on CfH [Connecting for Health]. NHS computing will fail similar safety tests, and keeping children's records on central NHS systems without the consent of both children and their parents will be unlawful. The NHS must therefore provide for treating dissidents without the details being recorded on central systems.'

Next Tuesday, 29th November a national campaign will be launched to persuade people to opt out of NHS central data collection at a meeting of No2ID at Imperial College [London]. The meeting publicity has also been released.