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When one door closes just open a window - 14 sites with great free art

<p>As the coronavirus outbreak forces the closure of museums, art galleries, libraries and theatres around the word, the concept of “on demand culture” is gaining momentum.</p> <p>Institutions – museums, galleries and concert halls, which by their very nature rely on in-person visits – are seeking out digital solutions in the form of live-streamed performances, virtual tours and searches of online collections. The Sydney Biennale announced a <a href="https://www.biennaleofsydney.art/?gclid=CjwKCAjw3-bzBRBhEiwAgnnLCh7Dci4zUp2TZ2UWAdSHNyu4crESwT52p0og5UA-FouEesZ8lzZ_7xoCD3AQAvD_BwE">shift to digital</a> display this week and the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra has streamed a <a href="https://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/culture/music/online-and-on-song-mso-keep-the-music-going-20200322-p54cm2.html">performance</a> of Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony to a live audience that peaked at 4500 and gathered thousands of subsequent viewers.</p> <p>The current pandemic is dragging cultural institutions into the 21st century, forcing them to catch up with technological solutions to replace on-site experiences. But many institutions are already well down this path. They have already found the shift online has benefits and dangers.</p> <p>Voorlinden will have to wait. <a href="https://images.unsplash.com/photo-1525067445930-5968dc619dfb?ixlib=rb-1.2.1&amp;auto=format&amp;fit=crop&amp;w=765&amp;q=80">Christian Fregnan/Unsplash</a>, <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/">CC BY</a></p> <p><strong>Crossing technical boundaries</strong></p> <p>From as early as the 1920s, museums have been using the technologies of the day. Back then, it was presenting <a href="https://books.google.com.au/books?id=XDZ7DwAAQBAJ&amp;pg=PT78&amp;lpg=PT78&amp;dq=1920s+museum+lectures+on+public+radio&amp;source=bl&amp;ots=gD-dFO6UN8&amp;sig=ACfU3U2pXdZIo3UGAnTODDW7VUcvtJvjbA&amp;hl=en&amp;sa=X&amp;ved=2ahUKEwjDreuvu7ToAhX-zzgGHb-3CfMQ6AEwA3oECAoQAQ#v=onepage&amp;q=1920s%20museum%20lectures%20on%20public%20radio&amp;f=false">public lectures on broadcast radio</a>.</p> <p>From the early to mid-1950s, the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology collaborated with CBS to produce <a href="https://www.penn.museum/collections/videos/playlist/list.php?id=7">What in the World</a>, a program that presented storeroom objects to a panel of industry specialists who had to figure out what in the world the objects were and who made them.</p> <p>A more recent turn is towards cultural institutions partnering with digital media organisations to deliver access to mediated cultural content. <a href="https://artsandculture.google.com/">Google Arts &amp; Culture</a>, a digital platform, makes the collections of over 12,000 museums available online. Web portal <a href="https://www.europeana.eu/en">Europeana</a>, created by the European Union, hosts over 3,000 museums and libraries.</p> <p>Well before the coronavirus closed ticket desks and moved some experiences onto digital media platforms, virtual gateways had become an important means of generating awareness and engagement with culture.</p> <p><a href="https://www.annefrank.org/en/">Anne Frank House</a> has illustrated how online visitors can take part in holocaust remembrance without travelling to Amsterdam. Anne Frank House now uses a chatbot to create personalised conversations with users globally via Facebook messenger. Similarly, <a href="https://www.instagram.com/eva.stories/?hl=en">Eva.Stories</a> is an Instagram page that recounts, via a series of 15 second videos, the diary of a 13-year-old girl killed in a concentration camp.</p> <p><strong>Doors shut</strong></p> <p>The forced closures as a result of coronavirus will accelerate and amplify this shift towards digital transformation.</p> <p>At a time of social distancing, individual artists, small private companies and major public cultural institutions are quickly re-purposing technology in creative ways.</p> <p><a href="https://www.artscentremelbourne.com.au/festival-and-series/morning-melodies">Morning Melodies</a> is an online broadcast of the usually popular live performances offered by the Victoria Arts Centre.</p> <p><a href="https://www.abc.net.au/doublej/music-reads/features/isol-aid-festival-review-2020-covid-19-julia-jacklin-spacey-jane/12082228">Isol-Aid</a> live streamed a music festival over the weekend, with 72 musicians across Australia each playing a 20-minute set on Instagram.</p> <p>The <a href="https://www.acmi.net.au/events/melbourne-cinematheque/">Australian Centre for the Moving Image</a> has set up an online weekly film nights, while acknowledging it “can’t replace the joy of being in the cinema”.</p> <p><strong>What might be lost</strong></p> <p>Despite the benefits of this mediated content, social media scholars Jose Van Dijck and Thomas Poell <a href="https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2309065">point out</a> digital technologies come with a set of core logics or rules that shape users, economic structures and institutions. These underlying rules of online engagement have long-term implications for how we engage with culture. For future generations, it’s conceivable that a visit to the library, museum, theatre or art gallery won’t be something experienced in person but rather through a digital media platform.</p> <p>With the “on demand culture” comes a dispersal of audiences into online spaces. In those spaces, their private contemplation of art and culture can become fodder for data mining and analysis.</p> <p>Art gals on google arts &amp; culture...</p> <p>This data then feeds into the repurposing of cultural content according to the priorities of social platforms such as Facebook and Instagram. In 2018, Google Culture launched a <a href="https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2018/01/15/578151195/google-app-goes-viral-making-an-art-out-of-matching-faces-to-paintings">face match app</a> that matched user selfies to images drawn from cultural collections. It expanded access for new global audiences, but questions remain about the extent to which phone camera images were used to train Google’s facial recognition algorithm. Some users were critical of the collection’s <a href="https://twitter.com/KaraBTweets/status/952572084076646400?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E952572084076646400&amp;ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.npr.org%2Fsections%2Fthetwo-way%2F2018%2F01%2F15%2F578151195%2Fgoogle-app-goes-viral-making-an-art-out-of-matching-faces-to-paintings">lack of diversity</a>.</p> <p>The mediation of culture highlights a new set of ethical dilemmas as content goes online.</p> <p><strong>What we gain</strong></p> <p>This isn’t to say the availability of “on demand” cultural content isn’t a good thing. At “normal” times it can allow people to virtually visit exhibitions or enjoy performances they can’t access in real life. Online presentations can enhance understanding with “explore more” links or additional information.</p> <p>During times of crisis, online cultural experiences can be a <a href="https://www.fastcompany.com/90478442/for-artists-the-show-must-go-on-and-zoom-is-their-venue">lifeline for both art audiences and creators</a>. It is vital that we create avenues through which the community can access culture and seek out technological solutions to keep artists and cultural workers employed during what could be a long hiatus.</p> <p><strong>14 art &amp; culture links</strong></p> <ul> <li><a href="https://abiawards.com.au/">Australian Book Industry Awards</a> will be awarded online, as will the <a href="https://thestellaprize.com.au/prize/2020-prize/">Stella Prize</a> for female authors.</li> <li><a href="https://www.facebook.com/events/1143946145941832/">Born to Boogie Dance Connection</a> is hosting a much-needed online groove this week.</li> <li><a href="https://www.instagram.com/dnice/">Club Quarantine</a> is where DJ D-Nice or Derrick Jones from 90s hip-hop group Boogie Down Productions is spinning tracks for 100,000+ viewers. Guest appearances include Michelle Obama, Naomi Campbell, Chaka Khan, Halle Berry, Rihanna, and Diddy.</li> <li><a href="https://www.europeana.eu/portal/en">Europeana Collections</a> are celebrating Women’s History Month.</li> <li><a href="https://artsandculture.google.com/">Google Art and Culture</a> Explore collections from around the world, from the British Museum to Macchu Pichu.</li> <li><a href="https://www.guggenheim-bilbao.eus/en/">Guggenheim Museum Bilbao</a> in Spain is the place for Mark Rothco, Jeff Koons and Richard Serra.</li> <li><a href="https://karaoke.camp/">Karaoke Camp</a> uses Zoom to connect singers worldwide.</li> <li><a href="https://museumsvictoria.com.au/melbournemuseum/at-home/">Melbourne Museum</a> has virtual tours of the Phar Lap, dinosaur and First Peoples displays.</li> <li><a href="https://www.mmca.go.kr/eng/">National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art</a>, South Korea is showing meet the curators chats on YouTube.</li> <li><a href="https://nowadays.nyc/">Nowadays</a> live music lounge in New York is streaming DJs online.</li> <li><a href="https://www.rijksmuseum.nl/en">Rijksmuseum</a> is home to Dutch masters: Vermeer’s Milkmaid, Van Gogh’s Self-portrait and Rembrandt’s most well-known painting: the Night Watch.</li> <li><a href="https://www.socialdistancingfestival.com/">Social Distancing Festival</a> is drawing live streaming performances together in one place.</li> <li><a href="https://www.zoo.org.au/animal-house">Zoo Victoria’s Animal House</a> is livesteaming lions, giraffes, snow leopards cubs, penguins and the occasional <a href="https://www.bbc.com/news/video_and_audio/headlines/52000441/coronavirus-melbourne-zookeeper-s-livestream-dance-goes-viral">dancing zoo keeper</a>.</li> </ul> <p><em>Written by Caroline Wilson-Barnao. Republished with permission of <a href="https://theconversation.com/when-one-door-closes-open-a-window-14-sites-with-great-free-art-134153">The Conversation.</a> </em></p>

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Good people break bad laws: Rough sleepers

<p>In terms of the law, people who are forced to sleep out on the streets are already on the wrong side of it, seemingly because they have no fixed address. Indeed, the <a href="https://www.cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au/community/community-support/homelessness/street-count">334 rough sleepers</a> counted in the City of Sydney last month are simply criminalised by default.</p> <p>Sleeping rough can guarantee intensified policing. Being moved on can get to be a part of daily life. Places where the homeless are camping together can be busted up. And even having a drink can be problematic, as consuming alcohol in the park or on the street is often a crime.</p> <p>It’s not like things are getting any better either. Recent years saw then Melbourne lord mayor Robert Doyle move to ban sleeping rough in his city <a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/nsw-premier-broadens-police-powers-to-remove-the-homeless/">in early 2017</a>. The plan <a href="https://www.theage.com.au/national/victoria/violation-of-human-rights-un-condemns-melbournes-homeless-camping-ban-20170314-guxkld.html">was eventually</a> dropped after United Nations condemnation.</p> <p>And after a <a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/premier-demands-that-council-moves-on-martin-place-rough-sleepers/">very public tit for tat</a> between the NSW government and the City of Sydney over responsibility for the Martin Place Tent City, the Berejiklian government decided to rush through new laws that forced the rough sleepers to vacate the public square.</p> <p>RMIT homelessness professor Guy Johnson explains that people sleeping outside only make up <a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/the-homelessness-crisis-an-interview-with-rmit-professor-guy-johnson/">about 20 percent</a> of the overall homeless population. But, while they may not be the majority, they’re certainly bearing the brunt of a society that treats they’re circumstances as criminal.</p> <p><strong>Pushing them out</strong></p> <p>“The City of Sydney has unambiguously had a policy since the mid-90s of trying to move homeless people out,” said frontline homelessness advocate Lanz Priestley. “There’s no consideration for Sydney to house homeless people, other than a token solution.”</p> <p>“They tend to point to housing estates somewhere else, whether that be the traditional estates or the community model, which is problematic in itself,” he told Sydney Criminal Lawyers.</p> <p>The City of Sydney website sets out that it’s <a href="https://www.cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au/community/community-support/homelessness/street-count">the only council in NSW</a> to run a specialist homelessness unit, which was launched in 1984. Operating on a 7 days a week basis, the homelessness unit <a href="https://news.cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au/articles/reducing-rough-sleeping-in-the-city">aims to reduce</a> rough sleeping by putting those on the street in touch with the right services and support.</p> <p>However, according to Priestley, the purpose of the homelessness unit is to manage rough sleepers in the local government area in response to issues raised by ratepayers. And there’s no consultation with the actual people doing it rough.</p> <p>“They’re doing it in consultation with the poverty industry,” Mr Priestley continued. “They’re doing it in consultation with a whole lot of other external groups, without asking homeless people what the solutions are that they want.”</p> <p><strong>Moving them on</strong></p> <p>The NSW government introduced the <a href="https://www.homelessnessnsw.org.au/sites/homelessnessnsw/files/2016-12/TheProtocol_Factsheet.PDF">Protocol for Homeless People in Public Places</a> in 2000. It sets out that homeless people have the same rights as all citizens in public places, and government organisations, including the NSW Police Force, should treat them accordingly.</p> <p>But, as Priestley puts it, “that doesn’t mean it always happens”. And when asked about laws that impinge upon homeless people unfairly, he pointed to move on powers, which were introduced <a href="https://research-repository.griffith.edu.au/bitstream/handle/10072/49245/78970_1.pdf%3Bsequence=1">in the 1990s</a>.</p> <p><a href="http://www7.austlii.edu.au/cgi-bin/viewdoc/au/legis/nsw/consol_act/leara2002451/s197.html">Section 197</a> of the Law Enforcement (Powers and Responsibilities) Act 2002 (NSW) (the LEPRA) provides police with the power to direct people to move on in public places if an officer believes on reasonable grounds that the person is obstructing, harassing, intimidating or causing fear to others, or they’re supplying or buying prohibited drugs.</p> <p>And <a href="http://www7.austlii.edu.au/cgi-bin/viewdoc/au/legis/nsw/consol_act/leara2002451/s199.html">section 199</a> of the LEPRA provides that an individual who refuses to comply with such an order can be fined $220.</p> <p><strong>Word from the street</strong></p> <p>As Priestley tells it, move on orders were first used in the late 90s to deal with homeless people sleeping in the lanes around Woolloomooloo’s Matthew Talbot Hostel in an effort to move the rough sleepers out of the city centre.</p> <p>“Cops would go up to them and say, “move on”. The guy would go to pick up his gear and be arrested for failing to follow a move on order,” Priestley explained. “They were given a court date two years down the track, and a 10 kilometre exclusion from the Matthew Talbot”, as part of their bail.</p> <p>“The effect of that was that without going to court, they excluded these people who were getting these move on orders from the city,” he added.</p> <p>Other tricks of the trade that Priestley recalls are <a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/police-officer-charged-with-murder/">NSW police officers</a> repeatedly searching homeless people at Central’s Belmore Park until they’d leave for good, along with people being held on remand for a longer period of time than the maximum penalties that applied to the minor charges they were facing, only to have the prosecution drop them after they’d served the time.</p> <p><strong>Pushing them along</strong></p> <p>Mr Priestley founded the Martin Place Tent City <a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/sydneys-24-7-street-kitchen-and-safe-space-an-interview-with-lanz-priestley/">in late 2016</a>. Initially, it was in response to women sleeping on the street reporting that they didn’t feel safe, and that men had been trying to sexually assault them. The setup provided a secure place for the homeless to spend the night and get a meal.</p> <p>By August 2017, Tent City numbers had swelled and NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian had <a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/premier-demands-that-council-moves-on-martin-place-rough-sleepers/">complained</a> that the rough sleepers made her feel “completely uncomfortable”. So, her government decided to rush through new move on powers to get rid of them.</p> <p>The aim of the <a href="https://www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/bill/files/3421/Passed%20by%20both%20Houses.pdf">Sydney Public Reserves (Public Safety) Bill 2017</a> (NSW) was “to deal with an occupation of a public reserve in the City of Sydney that interferes with the reasonable enjoyment of the rights of the public or that is unlawful and, in particular, to deal with the unauthorised camp site at Martin Place”.</p> <p>“My reaction then and now remains that it’s an absolute shame that as a kneejerk reaction, they could pass laws like that with such haste,” Priestley said, “instead of passing laws that solve homelessness.”</p> <p>The new laws enabled police to move on people deemed to be hindering the enjoyment of others in a public reserve, as well as seize their belongings. Failure to comply with such an order can result in a $220 fine and trying to prevent officers from taking one’s belongings incurs a fine of $2,200.</p> <p>And facing these enhanced laws, the rough sleepers left Martin Place, prior to NSW police moving in.</p> <p><strong>Preventative measures</strong></p> <p>Mr Priestley relates that at present, he’s been seeing a different cohort of rough sleepers on the city streets. These are people who only find themselves without a home for short periods of time – usually under six weeks – before they sort their issues out and are back off the streets.</p> <p>The long-term social justice activist is still running his street kitchen once a fortnight in Martin Place. And for every other night, there are different groups doing the same.</p> <p>And as for the issue of homeless people in this state, he advises that authorities should be looking at the bigger picture, rather than “parking the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff”, there should be moves to stop people becoming homeless in the first place.</p> <p>“We need to work towards a point in time when there’s not the possibility of becoming homeless,” the unofficial mayor of Martin Place concluded. “And I don’t think it’s an impossibility to build that.”</p> <p><em>Written by Paul Gregoire. Republished with permission of <a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/good-people-break-bad-laws-rough-sleepers/">Sydney Criminal Lawyers.</a></em></p>

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Dark web not dark alley: Why drug sellers see the internet as a lucrative safe haven

<p>More than six years after the demise of Silk Road, the world’s first major <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/1748895813505234?casa_token=xjYBG0jb8Y8AAAAA:8NyrWITwd0jAIZxW-ZDyIoWGbdiTG34kkYpibnTX6blXkZOtApmx4Mmf-wCeBqIUGU9DbRFwKors8A">drug cryptomarket</a>, the <a href="https://theconversation.com/explainer-what-is-the-dark-web-46070">dark web</a> is still home to a thriving trade in illicit drugs.</p> <p>These markets host hundreds, or in some cases thousands, of people who sell drugs, commonly referred to as “vendors”. The dark web offers vital anonymity for vendors and buyers, who use cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin to process transactions.</p> <p>Trade is booming despite <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0376871617300741">disruptions</a> from law enforcement and particularly “exit scams”, in which market admins abruptly close down sites and take all available funds.</p> <p>Why are these markets still seen as enticing places to sell drugs, despite the risks? To find out, our <a href="https://academic.oup.com/bjc/advance-article-abstract/doi/10.1093/bjc/azz075/5645405">recent study</a> surveyed 13 darknet drug vendors, via online encrypted interviews.</p> <p>They gave us a range of reasons.</p> <p><strong>More profitable</strong></p> <p>First, selling drugs online is safer and more profitable than doing it offline:</p> <p><em>Interviewer: So you still sell on DNMs [darknet marketplaces], and prefer that to offline. Correct?</em></p> <p><em>Respondent: YES. Selling offline is borderline stupid. You can make so much more money online, the risks [in selling outside cryptomarkets] aren’t even remotely worth it.</em></p> <p>Both of these claims correspond with <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0955395913001722">previous research</a> showing that the dark web is perceived to be a safer place to buy and sell drugs.</p> <p>Regarding profits, darknet vendors do not have to limit their trading to face-to-face interactions, and can instead sell drugs to a potentially worldwide customer base.</p> <p><strong>Less violent</strong></p> <p>Encryption technologies allow vendors to communicate with customers and receive payments anonymously. The drugs are delivered in the post, so vendor and customer never have to meet in person.</p> <p>This protects vendors from many risks that are prevalent in other forms of drug supply, including undercover police, predatory standover tactics where suppliers may be robbed, assaulted or even killed by competitors, and customers who may inform on their supplier if caught.</p> <p>Other risks, such as frauds perpetrated by customers and exit scams, were considered inevitable on the dark web, but also manageable.</p> <p>Some respondents said that being protected from physical risk on the dark web is not only a benefit for existing drug suppliers, but may also make the activity attractive to people who would not otherwise be willing to sell drugs.</p> <p>While some of our respondents had previously sold drugs offline, others were uniquely attracted to the perceived safety and anonymity of the dark web:</p> <p><em>I hadn’t ever thought about selling drugs in any capacity because I dislike violence and it just seemed impossible to be involved in selling drugs in “real life” without running into some sort of confrontation pretty quickly… I was always too scared and slightly nerdy to do that and never really contemplated it seriously until the dark web.</em></p> <p><strong>More customer-focused</strong></p> <p>Some vendors told us the feeling of safety and control lets them focus on providing a more courteous service to their customers or “clients”:</p> <p><em>I try to provide the best products and service I can, when someone has a problem or claims [their order was] short on pills (as long as they have ordered from me before) I usually take them at their word.</em></p> <p>This is a stark contrast with perceptions of the street trade, which some of our respondents perceived not only as “small-time”, but also rife with danger and potential violence:</p> <p><em>The street trade is a mess. I wanna provide labelled products, good advice and service, like a real business. Not sit in a shitty car park selling $10 bags from a car window all day.</em></p> <p><strong>Not just about profit</strong></p> <p>Dark web vendors also pointed out the various non-material benefits of their work. These included feelings of autonomy and emancipation from boring work and onerous bosses, as well as excitement and the thrill of transgression. One respondent described it as:</p> <p><em>Exhilarating … and nerve-wracking. Seemed so alien. “Drugs? Online? In the post? Naaaah surely not.” Plus if I’m honest, my inner reprobate buzzes from it. The rush of chucking a grand’s worth of drugs into post boxes… unreal, man.</em></p> <p>Interviewees rationalised their participation in the dark web drugs trade in a variety of ways. These included pointing out the <a href="https://files.transtutors.com/cdn/uploadassignments/1509030_1_article-1-seminar.pdf">relative safety</a> and medicinal benefits of some illicit drugs, and the <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/0004865814524424?casa_token=P1q12ppNwlIAAAAA:iRe-gQHWLKsD0fqCl45Bj7ms1eRqCHY6sa0zYtMjoyuORRQBfj_7A0JLub2FZCt65-u2UjxXCnQzBQ">dangers associated with drug prohibition</a>.</p> <p><em>Let’s face it, a LOT of people like getting high… It’s human nature, but to ban it and make it criminal so that it’s hard to get, then you get poison and people die… I can tell you that the use of darknet protects users from buying products that during traditional prohibition would likely kill much more people. It also takes drugs off the street, reducing some violent crime.</em></p> <p>These insights help us understand why the dark web is increasingly attractive, not only to consumers of illicit drugs but to the people who supply them.</p> <p>For those who are averse to confrontation, and who are sufficiently tech-savvy, the dark web offers an alternative to the risk and violence of dealing drugs offline.</p> <p><em>Written by James Martin and Monica Barratt. Republished with permission of </em><a href="https://theconversation.com/dark-web-not-dark-alley-why-drug-sellers-see-the-internet-as-a-lucrative-safe-haven-132579"><em>The Conversation</em></a><span><em>.</em></span></p>

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Police accused of lying about use of “ineffective” facial recognition software

<p>An <a href="https://www.buzzfeed.com/hannahryan/clearview-ai-australia-police">online tech news source</a> recently ran a story detailing a data breach at controversial facial recognition company Clearview AI, which exposed its entire client list.</p> <p>According to the report, the list includes four Australian police organisations, comprising the Queensland Police Service, Victoria Police, South Australia Police and the Australian Federal Police.</p> <p>The leaked client list suggests that police officers have used the highly inaccurate technology in an attempt to ‘identify’ around 1000 suspects in Australia – a process which has been <a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/queenslands-facial-recognition-regime-a-complete-failure/">proven over and over again</a> to lead to <a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/facial-recognition-database-could-lead-to-wrongful-arrests/">the false identification and arrest of innocent persons</a>.</p> <p>Indeed, a previous trial of facial recognition technology in Queensland was ruled a ‘<a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/queenslands-facial-recognition-regime-a-complete-failure/">complete failure</a>’ – with the software misidentifying people the ‘vast majority’ of cases – and a trial in the United Kingdom in 2016/17 got it wrong in 98% of cases.</p> <p>Police had previously denied using the Clearview AI software and, despite the leak, have continued to do so – with the South Australian Police Force issuing a statement which asserts that its officers have not been using it.</p> <p>Queensland has been slightly more forthcoming, saying that facial recognition technology is one of ‘many capabilities’ available to its officers.</p> <p>Victoria Police claims the software has not been used in any ‘official capacity’, which begs the question as to why police organisations would spend large amounts of taxpayer dollars on purchase and licensing.</p> <p>The AFP has remained silent.</p> <p>Clearview AI’s programme has attracted an enormous amount of controversy worldwide, being variously labelled as ‘ineffective’, ‘wasteful’, a ‘gross breach of privacy’ and a ‘honeypot for hackers’.</p> <p>The Clearview database contains billions of images amassed from sources such as Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and other public websites, and the application of the software has the potential to lead to wrongful arrests, whereby innocent persons are wrongly matched to suspected offenders.</p> <p>The reports regarding the leaked client list have heightened concerns that ill-intentioned hackers will gain access to a wealth of private information and use it to engage in criminal conduct such as <a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/the-rising-cost-of-identity-crime-in-australia/">identity theft</a>.</p> <p><strong>Privacy laws</strong></p> <p>Under current Australian privacy laws, biometric information, that is your face, fingerprints, eyes, palm, and voice is considered sensitive information.</p> <p>The <a href="https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/C2014C00076">Privacy Act 1988</a> (Cth) makes clear that any organisation or agency collecting this ‘sensitive’ information must first obtain consent to do so.</p> <p>However, there are exceptions to this general rule including where the information is “necessary” to prevent a serious threat to the life, health or safety of any individual.</p> <p>It’s an exception many believe has been exploited by law enforcement agencies, with legal commentators suggesting it is not broad enough to encompass all of the conduct that police have been engaging in.</p> <p><strong>National surveillance</strong></p> <p>Red flags were raised last year when the Federal Government announced plans to <a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/australias-future-is-nationwide-facial-recognition-surveillance/">create a national facial recognition database</a> by collecting photos from drivers’ licences and passports.</p> <p>The government justified the implementation of the database, by saying that it would both help to combat identity theft <a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/the-rising-cost-of-identity-crime-in-australia/">(which is on the rise)</a> as well as be a useful tool for protecting national security, because the database would be made available to law enforcement agencies too.</p> <p>The legislation presently before parliament allows both government agencies and private businesses to access facial IDs held by state and territory traffic authorities, and passport photos held by the foreign affairs department.</p> <p>The legislation is currently stalled because of concerns about privacy implications and lack of safeguards in the proposed law.</p> <p>But most state and territory governments have already updated their driver’s licence laws in anticipation of the database after an agreement at the Council of Australian Governments in October 2017. If you’re applying for, or renewing a passport, then you are required to sign a consent form.</p> <p><strong>Facial recognition AI is unreliable</strong></p> <p>One of the most significant concerns is that AI technology is still unreliable – the benefits don’t outweigh the massive intrusion into our personal privacy. Plus, there are inherent problems with the current technology. False positives are a major issue.</p> <p>In 2016 and 2017, London’s Metropolitan Police used automated facial recognition in trials and reported that more than 98% of cases, innocent members of the public were matched to suspected criminals.</p> <p>Despite these concerns, the Home Affairs Department is impatient to implement the technology and says that facial recognition experts (humans) will work with the technology to provide more accurate outcomes.</p> <p>But that’s of cold comfort to anyone concerned about their privacy. <a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/welcome-to-1984-the-governments-relentless-assault-on-democracy/">Because, as is already the case in China</a>, facial recognition can be used for mass surveillance.</p> <p>And, we’ve already seen many examples of how data breaches can occur even with appropriate legislation in place.</p> <p><strong>Data breaches in government departments</strong></p> <p>Last year, information came to light showing that <a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/dozens-of-breaches-of-the-my-health-record-database-have-already-been-recorded/">data breaches of the My Health Record</a> database rose from 35 to 42 in the past financial year, despite consistent claims by the federal government that the database is safe and secure, and that the privacy of those who choose not to opt out is protected.</p> <p>In 2018, the South Australian government was forced to shut down guest access to its online land titles registry, after an unidentified overseas ‘guest user’ was able to download the personal details of more than a million Australian home owners, information that could potentially be used to develop a false identity.</p> <p>Police forces and other government organisations have repeatedly failed to <a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/police-officers-misuse-private-information-for-personal-gain/">properly secure confidential information</a> of members of the public, and some rogue police officers have <a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/police-officer-jokes-about-giving-victims-address-to-abusive-partner/">broken the law by releasing sensitive information</a>, putting vulnerable individuals in danger.</p> <p>Right now, the fact that Australian police forces exist on Clearview AI’s client list, and they’re not forthcoming about it should also set alarm bells ringing for all Australians.</p> <p>The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) has launched an inquiry into whether the software is being employed in Australia, or if its database contains information on Australians. The commission’s final report will no doubt reveal all.</p> <p><em>Written by Sonia Hickey. Republished with permission of <a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/police-accused-of-lying-about-use-of-ineffective-facial-recognition-software/">Sydney Criminal Lawyers.</a></em></p>

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Why do people believe con artists?

<p>What is real can seem pretty arbitrary. It’s easy to be fooled by misinformation disguised as news and deepfake videos showing <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/09/technology/ben-nimmo-disinformation-russian-bots.html">people doing things they never did or said</a>. Inaccurate information – even deliberately wrong information – doesn’t just come from snake-oil salesmen, door-to-door hucksters and TV shopping channels anymore.</p> <p>Even the president of the United States <a href="https://www.worldcat.org/title/deciding-whats-true-the-rise-of-political-fact-checking-in-american-journalism/oclc/941139313&amp;referer=brief_results">needs constant fact-checking</a>. To date, he has made an <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/politics/trump-claims-database/">average of 15</a> false or misleading public claims every day of his presidency, according to a tally from the Washington Post.</p> <p>The study of <a href="https://www.ideasworthteachingawards.com/2019-course-winners/market-manipulations">business history</a> reveals that people everywhere have always had a sweet tooth for the unreal, enthralled by what should be taken as too good to be true.</p> <p>Cognitive scientists have identified a number of common ways in which <a href="https://www.worldcat.org/title/not-born-yesterday-the-science-of-who-we-trust-and-what-we-believe/oclc/1099689542&amp;referer=brief_results">people avoid being gullible</a>. But <a href="https://www.worldcat.org/title/ponzi-scheme-puzzle-a-history-and-analysis-of-con-artists-and-victims/oclc/851345711?referer=di&amp;ht=edition">con artists</a> are especially skillful at what social scientists call <a href="https://doi.org/10.1002/9781405186407.wbiecs107">framing</a>, telling stories in ways that appeal to the biases, beliefs and prominent desires of their targets. They use strategies that take advantage of <a href="https://theconversation.com/humans-are-hardwired-to-dismiss-facts-that-dont-fit-their-worldview-127168">human weaknesses</a>.</p> <p><strong>Unpleasant reality</strong></p> <p>Often, people who are “<a href="https://www.ft.com/content/7802f662-a7b2-11e9-984c-fac8325aaa04">emotionally vulnerable</a>” are <a href="https://www.ft.com/content/1f90bdfe-4522-11e9-b168-96a37d002cd3">unwilling to accept an unpleasant reality</a>. Consider Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the British author who created Sherlock Holmes, the ultimate deductive rationalist – a character who said, “<a href="https://www.gutenberg.org/files/2097/2097-h/2097-h.htm#chap06">When you have eliminated the impossible</a> whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.”</p> <p>Yet, after experiencing family tragedies and the horror of the deaths in World War I, <a href="https://www.worldcat.org/title/conan-doyle-and-the-mysterious-world-of-light-1887-1920/oclc/1052838293&amp;referer=brief_results">Doyle publicly announced in 1916</a> that he subscribed to <a href="https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2012/10/silencing-the-dead-the-decline-of-spiritualism/264005/">Spiritualist beliefs</a>, including that the <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/science/2013/oct/20/seances-and-science">spirits of the dead can communicate with the living</a>.</p> <p>In 1922, Doyle visited Harry Houdini in his home in New York City and was shown a clever magic trick involving automatic writing on a suspended slate. Houdini could not convince a stunned Doyle <a href="https://web.archive.org/web/20170412193049/http:/www.csicop.org/si/show/houdinirsquos_impossible_demonstration">it wasn’t paranormal activity</a>.</p> <p><strong>Envy and opportunism sideline doubt</strong></p> <p>Sometimes <a href="https://www.worldcat.org/title/envy-at-work-and-in-organizations/oclc/945169819&amp;referer=brief_results">people covet what their peers have already achieved</a> so badly that they will overlook the obvious and <a href="https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1750-4716.2007.00002.x">deceive themselves and others</a> in an effort to claim better opportunities and a better life.</p> <p>In 1822, a Scottish con man, Gregor MacGregor, convinced countrymen seeking easy wealth and their neighbors’ better lives to buy bonds, land and special privileges, fill two ships and sail to an idyllic country, the <a href="https://www.worldcat.org/title/land-that-never-was-sir-gregor-macgregor-and-the-most-audacious-fraud-in-history/oclc/229019939&amp;referer=brief_results">Land of Poyais</a>.</p> <p>MacGregor priced land in Poyais to make it affordable to Scottish tradesmen and unskilled workers who had heard of promising South American investments but lacked the means to take advantage of them. Poyais had a distinctive flag, its own currency and a diplomatic office in London. The only problem was that Poyais did not exist. Most of those who sailed died on the Mosquito Coast of Honduras. Some of the few survivors were so taken in that they refused to accept that Poyais did not actually exist and argued that it was MacGregor who had been defrauded.</p> <p><strong>Greed is blinding</strong></p> <p><a href="https://www.worldcat.org/title/ponzi-scheme-puzzle-how-victims-get-caught-in-the-net-and-how-self-awareness-can-help-protect-them/oclc/809163533&amp;referer=brief_results">Greed can prevent people from seeing</a> that they have made a decision that defies common sense.</p> <p>In 1925, the con artist Victor Lustig took advantage of the French government’s public complaints that it would cost more to renovate a decaying Eiffel Tower than to demolish it. He gathered together scrap iron dealers, convinced them the tower would be taken down and sold it to one of them. Then he sold it again. Lustig gained a reputation as the “<a href="https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/man-who-sold-eiffel-tower-twice-180958370/">man who sold the Eiffel Tower</a>.”</p> <p><strong>Ignorance of customs and business practices</strong></p> <p>Swindlers can find opportunity in their marks’ ignorance and unfamiliarity with local customs. The confidence man George C. Parker <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2005/11/27/nyregion/thecity/for-you-half-price.html">sold the Brooklyn Bridge four times</a>, usually to recent immigrants who did not understand that the bridge could not be sold. He also sold Grant’s Tomb, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Statue of Liberty.</p> <p><strong>Misery generates desperate belief</strong></p> <p><a href="https://www.healthline.com/health-news/why-people-fall-for-miracle-cures#6">Desperate people can suspend disbelief</a>. People believe promises have to be true when the alternative is too miserable. <a href="https://www.worldcat.org/title/titan-the-life-of-john-d-rockefeller-sr/oclc/866583942?referer=di&amp;ht=edition">John D. Rockefeller’s father, William,</a> was a bigamist and seller of alleged cures and ineffective patent medicines to ailing people, riding the circuit through rural towns. Bill “Doc” Rockefeller is said to have tutored his son, the builder of the <a href="https://www.britannica.com/topic/Standard-Oil">Standard Oil Trust</a>, in business.</p> <p><strong>Sometimes it’s just about trust</strong></p> <p>People believe stories because <a href="https://www.worldcat.org/title/ponzi-scheme-puzzle-how-victims-get-caught-in-the-net-and-how-self-awareness-can-help-protect-them/oclc/809163533&amp;referer=brief_results">they trust those who tell them</a>. They don’t know how to, or don’t want to bother to, investigate the claims – or see no need to do so.</p> <p>Starting as early as the mid-1980s, swindler <a href="https://www.worldcat.org/title/wizard-of-lies-bernie-madoff-and-the-death-of-trust/oclc/1022907270&amp;referer=brief_results">Bernie Madoff</a> sought investors in his <a href="https://www.sec.gov/fast-answers/answersponzihtm.html">Ponzi scheme</a> among wealthy Jewish retirees and their philanthropic organizations in the U.S., and, in Europe, among members of aristocratic families. His victims simply trusted others in the group who vouched for Madoff and his investments.</p> <p><strong>Claims are difficult or costly to disprove</strong></p> <p>In 1912, a skull, some bones and other relics were found in Piltdown in East Sussex in the U.K. The remains appeared to be from a creature who could be the long-sought “missing link” between apes and humans. It took over 40 years to confirm that <a href="https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2016/08/study-reveals-culprit-behind-piltdown-man-one-science-s-most-famous-hoaxes">Piltdown Man</a> was a hoax, and over 100 years to identify who forged it. It’s hard to disprove untruths – consider the ongoing searches for Bigfoot or the Loch Ness Monster.</p> <p><strong>People want dreams to be true</strong></p> <p>Sometimes, <a href="https://www.worldcat.org/title/not-born-yesterday-the-science-of-who-we-trust-and-what-we-believe/oclc/1099689542?referer=di&amp;ht=edition">despite built-in skepticism,</a> <a href="https://www.worldcat.org/title/ponzi-scheme-puzzle-how-victims-get-caught-in-the-net-and-how-self-awareness-can-help-protect-them/oclc/809163533&amp;referer=brief_results">people badly want improbable but wonderful things to be true</a> – to move the world with a dream. For instance, if alien spacecraft had really crashed and were being analyzed in <a href="http://content.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,1860871_1860876_1861006,00.html">Area 51</a> in Nevada, it could mean that interstellar travel is possible.</p> <p><strong>Repetition – the hallmark of social media – creates belief</strong></p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/unbelievable-news-read-it-again-and-you-might-think-its-true-69602">Hearing a false claim over and over</a> can be enough to generate belief in it. A common advertising and public relations strategy is to be extremely visible by multiplying “<a href="https://www.investopedia.com/terms/i/impression.asp">impressions</a>,” so people see the message everywhere.</p> <p><strong>Independent matching claims are seen as credible</strong></p> <p>Repetition alone may not be sufficient. When people try to assess whether something is true, they often look for objective reasons on which to base their belief, such as finding two similar, independent judgments about events. In my research I call this the “<a href="https://ssrn.com/abstract=1278110">Rule of Two</a>.”</p> <p>On social media, users often see a claim repeatedly, posted by different friends or connections. The same information seems to come not only from everywhere but from apparently independent sources. But often there is <a href="https://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2020/jan/07/nikki-haley/nikki-haleys-pants-fire-claim-top-democrats-are-mo/">just one source</a>, though easy online sharing makes it appear there are more than that. That is why so many observers worry about the role that social media has assumed in politics – it can lead people to believe that false claims are true.</p> <p>The 1938 radio broadcast of ‘War of the Worlds’ generated multiple reports and confused some, but did not cause mass hysteria.</p> <p><strong>People believe what others appear to believe</strong></p> <p>People have a built-in willingness to defer to confident assertions made by an <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1037/gpr0000111?journalCode=rgpa">apparently expert or legitimate authority</a>. In <a href="https://www.worldcat.org/title/obedience-to-authority/oclc/877329529?referer=di&amp;ht=edition">experiments by Stanley Milgram</a>, ordinary people complied with directives from the scientist to administer to subjects what they (falsely) believed were painful shocks. A passionate and convincing swindler, often masquerading as an expert – for example, an art dealer or researcher of miracle cures – exploits that weakness to get people to believe false claims.</p> <p>A related mechanism introduced by Robert Cialdini is called “<a href="https://www.worldcat.org/title/influence-science-and-practice/oclc/476204687?referer=br&amp;ht=edition">social proof</a>”: Seeing someone else do what you are thinking about doing frees you to act. It’s evidence of the correctness of the action. This is why con men often use “shills,” helpers who confirm to the victim that the con man’s scheme is legitimate.</p> <p><a href="https://www.worldcat.org/title/not-born-yesterday-the-science-of-who-we-trust-and-what-we-believe/oclc/1099689542?referer=di&amp;ht=edition">Research by Hugo Mercier and others</a>, as well as my research on the <a href="https://doi.org/10.1177/000765030003900405">theory of testaments</a> and ongoing work with <a href="https://ryanrc11.wixsite.com/robertryan">Robert C. Ryan</a> on the “skeptical believer model,” argues that human defenses against scams and falsehoods are more robust than the entertaining tales of bridges sold and voyages to nonexistent paradises would suggest. In more ways than one, social interaction can become a “con-test.”</p> <p>Society – including government – cannot function well if every claim requires fact-checking. Yet con artists thrive, year in and year out, in business, politics and everyday experience. Ultimately, however, a world of “<a href="https://www.nbcnews.com/meet-the-press/video/conway-press-secretary-gave-alternative-facts-860142147643">alternative facts</a>” is not the world that our dreams want to be true.</p> <p><em>Written by Barry M. Mitnick. Republished with permission of The </em><a href="https://theconversation.com/why-do-people-believe-con-artists-130361"><em>Conversation.</em></a></p>

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Beware: Your private data could be shared with strangers

<p>Just to remind us that even the world’s biggest and wealthiest tech companies are not immune to privacy breaches, Google made worldwide headlines recently after a glitch that sent thousands of users’ private videos backed up on Google Photos to complete strangers.</p> <p>Google Takeout is a service that allows Google Photo users to backup their personal data or use it with other apps. <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com.au/google-photos-accidentally-sent-users-private-videos-to-strangers-report-2020-2?r=US&amp;IR=T">Google mixed up user-data</a> and sent many Take-out users’ personal videos to random people.</p> <p>While the issue lasted several days, Google says it only affected 0.01% of users – but with the number of users in excess of 1 billion, the number is believed to run into the thousands.</p> <p>The way big tech companies like Google and Facebook collect, store and share user-data has <a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/facebook-defiant-in-the-face-of-data-scandal/">come under scrutiny in recent years.</a></p> <p><strong>The ACCC has taken legal action against Google</strong></p> <p>Last year, the Australian consumer watchdog, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) filed legal proceedings against Google, accusing it of misleading smartphone users about how it collects and uses personal location data.</p> <p>It’s the ACCC’s first lawsuit against a global tech giant, but one which the Commission hopes will send a clear message that tech companies are legally required to inform users of how their data is collected, and how users can stop it from being collected.</p> <p>Other countries are said to be watching the proceedings closely, as they too consider how to keep tech companies accountable.</p> <p>In a nutshell, <a href="https://www.reuters.com/article/us-australia-google-regulator/australian-regulator-files-privacy-suit-against-google-alleging-location-data-misuse-idUSKBN1X804X">the ACCC alleges that Google breached the Australian Consumer Law (ACL)</a> by misleading its users during the years 2017 and 2018 by:</p> <ul> <li>not properly disclosing that two different settings need to be switched off if consumers do not want Google to collect, keep and use their location data, and</li> <li>not disclosing to consumers on which pages personal location data can be used for a purposes unrelated to the consumer’s use of Google services.</li> </ul> <p>Some of the alleged breaches carry penalties of up to A$10 million or 10% of annual turnover.</p> <p>According to the ACCC, Google’s account settings on Android phones and tablets have led consumers to believe that changing a setting on the “Location History” page stops the company from collecting, storing and using their location data. It alleges that Google failed to make clear to consumers that they would actually need to change their choices on a separate setting titled “Web &amp; App Activity” to prevent this from occurring.</p> <p>It is well known that Google collects and uses consumers’ personal location data for purposes other than providing Google services to consumers, although users are often surprised to realise just how much information these tech giants have and profit from.</p> <p>For example, Google uses location data for its navigation platforms, using the data to work out demographic information for the sole purposes of selling targeted advertising. And, as it has become increasingly clear, digital platforms have the ability to track consumers when they are <a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/smile-facebook-may-soon-be-filming-you/">both online and offline</a> to create highly detailed personal profiles.</p> <p>These profiles are then used to sell products and services, but companies like the ACCC believe the way the information is gathered is misleading or deceptive, and could also breach <a href="http://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/police-hacking-in-australia-a-case-of-breach-of-privacy/">privacy laws</a>.</p> <p><strong>No ‘blanket’ protection for users globally</strong></p> <p>The closest thing to a cross-jurisdiction set of rules regarding privacy rights is the General Data Protection Regulation (EU) 2016/679 (GDPR), which were introduced in 2018 and govern data protection and privacy in the European Union (EU) and the European Economic Area (EEA).</p> <p>The regulation also addresses the transfer of personal data outside the EU and EEA areas. The instrument aims to give individuals control over their personal data and to simplify the regulatory environment for international business by unifying the rules within the EU.</p> <p>Not all companies and organisations have adopted the GDPR. Rather, only those with offices in an EU country or that collect, process or store the personal data of anyone located within an EU country are required to comply with the rules.</p> <p>But because many businesses have an international focus and reach, <a href="https://www.oaic.gov.au/privacy/guidance-and-advice/australian-entities-and-the-eu-general-data-protection-regulation/">many Australian businesses have adopted the regulations</a> and given consumers some assurances regarding privacy.</p> <p>And the GDPR laws do have teeth. In January, a French regulator fined Google 50 million euros (about AUD$82 million) for breaches of privacy laws. And Ireland’s Data Protection Commissioner is currently investigating Google over contravening the privacy rules.</p> <p>Facebook is also under fire for privacy breaches as well as for misuse of data. Last year, it was fined a record-breaking $5 billion in the United States over the misuse of data and inadequate vetting of misinformation campaigns, which were used together to help sway the 2016 presidential election in favour of Donald Trump.</p> <p><strong>Beware of posting or uploading information</strong></p> <p>In the meantime, the ACCC has not yet specified the nature and scope of the corrective notices and other orders it is seeking against Google.</p> <p>However, the regulator has sent warnings to <a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/thinking-of-getting-a-digital-assistant-device-think-again/">all technology users to be vigilant</a> in updating their privacy settings and being aware the information they provide when setting up devices and apps can be used and, indeed, profited from by tech companies.</p> <p><em>Written by Sonia hickey and Ugur Nedim. Republished with permission of <a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/beware-your-private-data-could-be-shared-with-strangers/">Sydney Criminal Lawyers.</a> </em></p> <p> </p>

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If Diana were alive: Artist shows how modern royal portraits might look with the People's Princess

<p>An artist has honoured the late Princess Diana by creating artworks with her in modern royal life with her two sons and their families.</p> <p>Why the late royal could not be there for her eldest son’s wedding to Kate Middleton in 2011, artist Autumn Ying took to social media to create painting that imagine what it would be like if she had been able to meet her daughters-in-law.</p> <p>The artist has shared a number of her incredible artworks with social media, including a post of Princess Diana where she wrote: “While Princess Diana won’t get to see her daughters-in-law in reality, I’m thinking of visualizing this scene as a touching tribute to the late mother of Prince William and Prince Harry.”</p> <p>In another, Ms Ying showcased a painting that featured Princess Diana, Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle as they were on their wedding days altogether.</p> <p>Another stunning sketch depicted Princess Di with all four of her grandchildren, Prince George, 6, Princess Charlotte, 4, Prince Louis, 1 and Archie, nine months.</p> <p>Ying shared the prints of the royals are available for purchase and that proceeds from the sales will go to charity.</p> <p>"While for every art print purchased, the amount will be donated to <em><a rel="noopener noreferrer" href="https://www.unicef.org/" target="_blank">UNICEF</a></em>, in hope of helping the children in need out of malnutrition in Cambodia," she wrote on Instagram.</p> <p>Scroll through the gallery to see Autumn Ying’s prints dedicated to Princess Diana and the royal family.</p>

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Are all body modifications legal in Australia?

<p>From horn implants to split tongues and scrotal injections – extreme forms of body art, sometimes called ‘body modifications’, are becoming increasingly popular and gaining greater social acceptance.</p> <p>But Australian law doesn’t seem to be keeping up with changing attitudes regarding such forms of self-expression.</p> <p><strong>Body Art and the Law</strong></p> <p>Standard tattoos and piercings are accepted forms of body art in Australia, and are regulated by public health laws and local council bylaws in all States and Territories.</p> <p>In NSW, the <a href="https://www.legislation.nsw.gov.au/#/view/act/2012/32/part4/div1/sec28">Tattoo Parlours Act 2012</a> requires all tattooing businesses and their staff to be licensed. Tattooing without a licence carries a maximum penalty of 100 penalty units, or $11,000, as well as a criminal record.</p> <p>Tattoo licensing systems focus heavily on the perceived character of those who apply for a licence, requiring criminal record checks and prohibited those who are suspected of being linked to alleged criminal organisations such as ‘bikie gangs’.</p> <p>Body, nose and ear piercing as well as tattooing fall within the definition of ‘skin penetration procedures’ under the <a href="https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/environment/skinpenetration/Documents/skin-ph-act-2010.pdf">Public Health Act 2010</a> (NSW) and its corresponding regulations.</p> <p>The laws impose <a href="https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/environment/skinpenetration/Documents/skinpen-public-health-regulation-2012.pdf">standards of hygiene</a> that all practitioners must abide by, but do not regulate more extreme forms of body art such as embedding objects into the skin, branding and splitting tissue.</p> <p>Due to the omission, practitioners who perform these procedures can place themselves at risk of falling foul with the criminal law – as two men from New South Wales recently discovered.</p> <p><strong>Body Mods Charged</strong></p> <p>The men are currently facing charges of manslaughter and <a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/criminal/legislation/crimes-act/female-genital-mutilation/">female genital mutilation</a> in a matter that has been set down for trial in May 2020.</p> <p>Brendan Russell is facing a charge of manslaughter for allegedly implanting a snowflake under a women’s skin with her consent in 2017, which subsequently became infected. The woman died of blood poisoning a few weeks later.</p> <p>Mr Russell is also accused of using a branding iron to mutilate a female customer’s genitals in 2016, with the assistance of his co-accused Howard Rollins.</p> <p>Mr Russell is also facing a third charge relating to a ‘tummy tuck’ on a woman who later had to seek medical attention, as a hole allegedly severed her stomach muscles.</p> <p>The case is expected to set an important precedent relating to work of this kind.</p> <p><strong>What about consent?</strong></p> <p>It is important to be aware that consent is not a valid defence to certain criminal offences.</p> <p>So while consent can overcome certain charges, including where a person is playing a contact sport and the subject injury was sustained in the course of the game, it may not help a person who is accused of inflicting serious harm, especially if their actions was outside accepted conduct.</p> <p>For example, the infamous House of Lords case of <a href="http://www.cirp.org/library/legal/UKlaw/rvbrown1993/"><em>R v Brown [1993] All ER 75</em></a> set a longstanding precedent – that has been cited with approval in Australian case law – that in cases of serious harm, consent will not suffice as a defence.</p> <p>The facts of the case involved consensual sadomasochistic activities including genital torture, branding and bloodletting, and the House was called upon to decide whether consenting to these activities means they are legal.</p> <p>In reaching his decision, Lord Templeton found that:</p> <p><em>“Society is entitled and bound to protect itself against a cult of violence. Pleasure derived from the infliction of pain is an evil thing. Cruelty is uncivilised.”</em></p> <p>The Court drew a line between harm that is caused in the course of accepted social conduct, such as playing football or boxing, and ‘uncivilised’ acts such as torture, which consent does not excuse.</p> <p>And in the 2018 UK case of <a href="https://www.casemine.com/judgement/uk/5b2897fe2c94e06b9e19ebb2"><em>R v BM</em></a><em>,</em> the court found that similar rationale can be applied to body modification practitioners.</p> <p>In <em>R v BM,</em> a body mod artist was charged with three counts of actual bodily harm for removing a customer’s ear, another customer’s nipple and splitting another’s tongue all without anaesthetic. All of the customers consented to the procedures.</p> <p>Relying on the rationale of <em>R v Brown,</em> the England and Wales Court of Appeal found that consent to extreme body modifications does not act as a defence to criminal charges. In summing up, Justice Nawaz stated:</p> <p><em>“…medical procedures performed for no medical reason and with none of the protections provided to patients by medical practitioners…the personal autonomy of the appellant’s customers did not justify removing body modification from the ambit of the law of assault.”</em></p> <p><strong>Legislation in New South Wales</strong></p> <p>Laws have been passed in our state which make it clear that certain acts can never be excused, regardless of whether or not consent is given.</p> <p>For example, female genital mutilation is offence under <a href="http://www5.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/nsw/consol_act/ca190082/s45.html">section 45 of the Crimes Act 1900</a> which carries a maximum penalty of 21 years in prison.</p> <p>To establish the offence, the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt that the defendant:</p> <p>1. Excised, infibulated or otherwise mutilated the whole or any part of the labia majora, labia minora or clitoris of another person, or</p> <p>2. Aided, abetted, counselled or procured another person to do so.</p> <p>It is not an offence to perform a surgical operation which causes female genital mutilation where it is done by:</p> <p>1. A medical practitioner and is necessary for the medical welfare of the other person,</p> <p>2. A medical practitioner or authorised professional on a person in labour or who just gave birth and is connected with that labour or birth, or</p> <p>3. A medical practitioner and is a sexual reassignment procedure.</p> <p>A ‘medical practitioner’ is a person authorised under the law to practise medicine.</p> <p>An ‘authorised professional’ includes:</p> <p>1. A registered midwife</p> <p>2. A midwifery student, and</p> <p>3. A medical student</p> <p>A ‘sexual reassignment procedure’ is that which alters the genital appearance to that of the opposite sex.</p> <p>So in summary, body modification practitioners would be well advised to steer away from inflicting what may amount to serious injuries under the law, as to do otherwise could render them liable for criminal prosecution in addition to civil remedies such as damages.</p> <p><em>Written by Jarryd Bartle and Ugur Nedim. Republished with permission of Sydney Criminal Lawyers. </em></p> <p> </p>

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What is the place of the performing arts fair in the age of the internet?

<p><em>Review: Platform Papers 62: Performing Arts Markets and their Conundrums, by Justin Macdonnell (Currency Press)</em></p> <p>The performing arts may be a public good that serve to enrich Australia’s cultural imagination, but they are also a product competing for audience share and government, corporate and private support.</p> <p>Established in 1994, the <a href="https://apam.org.au/">Australian Performing Arts Market (APAM)</a> has aimed to facilitate one aspect of this “arts market” by hosting biennial trade fairs that connect national and international producers and programming venues.</p> <p>From 2020, APAM will move from hosting these biennial conferences to “<a href="https://www.australiacouncil.gov.au/international/australian-performing-arts-market-apam/">gatherings</a>”, dividing its promotional activity across existing arts events such as Darwin Festival and Melbourne’s AsiaTOPA.</p> <p>Author Justin Macdonnell brings a commanding insider’s perspective to the topic. He has worked in and around touring arts companies for several decades, and is currently executive director of arts industry advocacy organisation <a href="http://www.anzarts-institute.com/index.htm">Anzarts</a>.</p> <p>Noting APAM’s new model might lessen the intensity and impact of its work – especially given that overseas producers are unlikely to make multiple excursions to Australia a year – Macdonell asks whether the arts fair has outlived its usefulness.</p> <p>This might seem at best an issue of marginal concern to people who work outside the performing arts industry. However, Macdonell argues the current system has led not so much to “good art” but “convenient art” being promoted to Australian audiences.</p> <p>Given the significant role that public funding and public bodies such as the <a href="https://www.australiacouncil.gov.au/">Australia Council</a> play in supporting the performing arts and arts venues, his question deserves wider attention.</p> <p>Frustratingly (but, no doubt, diplomatically), Macdonnell does not offer concrete examples of “convenient art”. He nevertheless argues that the “dominating presence of state and federal agencies” in the Australian arts market has led to the stifling of independent arts managers and small-scale producers, and also of innovative and risky projects.</p> <p>It is time we asked, he suggests, whether an arts fair is necessary, let alone desirable, in today’s digitally empowered, globalised marketplace.</p> <p><strong>An online world</strong></p> <p>Macdonnell notes trade fairs are at odds with calls to curb air travel due to its <a href="https://theconversation.com/sustainable-shopping-is-it-possible-to-fly-sustainably-88636">environmental impact</a>.</p> <p>He also wonders if touring itself is so desirable or necessary in the age of YouTube and teleconferencing:</p> <p><em>This is not to say that these means have replaced seeing a work or meeting the artist in person. In all probability, they never will. But they have revolutionalised access to knowledge of the work and are creating and maintaining contact about it.</em></p> <p>In this digitally enabled market, companies and individual artists can also now bypass the traditional arts brokers and gatekeepers such as arts agencies, or indeed APAM itself, and promote themselves directly to producers.</p> <p>APAM, he further observes, has “never has been the practitioner’s market”, rather it has “come to be about just one part of the industry (non-profit)”. Presenters and producers might attend to seek out new and innovative work, but they are not given a comprehensive overview of what might actually be available.</p> <p><strong>Left unsaid</strong></p> <p>Although Macdonnell does not explore this, such institutionalised impediments to free choice may help explain the growing trend towards <a href="http://doi.org/10.1016/j.tourman.2005.06.002">homogenisation</a> in major arts programming across the developed world.</p> <p>Artistic directors of major performing arts festivals, in particular, can appear impregnable to pitches from outside established promotional routes.</p> <p>But if, as Macdonnell notes, “anyone, anywhere in the world at any time can now see the newest show on YouTube”, why would we seek to rely on the filter of agents or industry bodies to select what we will see or hear?</p> <p>The potential for market distortion under the current system can be made worse by horsetrading behind the scenes. The most powerful artist agencies routinely leverage access to their most profitable performers or productions to make hiring companies and venues take on other acts they represent, with little regard for local circumstances.</p> <p>To my mind, the major buyers in the arts marketplace – artistic directors, festivals and venues – should be specifically resourced and encouraged to look for acts outside these existing industry networks.</p> <p>Wesley Enoch’s provocative 2014 Platform Paper, <a href="https://currencyhouse.org.au/node/42">Take Me To Your Leader</a>, however, suggested we lack this kind of cultural leadership across the Australian performing arts:</p> <p><em>With the growth of government-led cultural leadership we have seen the voices of the mob, the dissenters and the opposition slowly becoming tamed and included in a sort of official culture […] Government champions the arts more these days than artists do.</em></p> <p>Enoch asked whether those who run subsidised organisations might be brave enough to bite the hand that feeds them.</p> <p>Macdonnell refrains from concluding his platform paper with similarly provocative statements.</p> <p>But he has done a useful service to both the arts industry and the wider Australian public by asking us to consider whether there might be better ways for our major performing arts institutions to seek out, and promote, their wares.</p> <p><em>Written by Peter Tregear. Republished with permission of <a href="https://theconversation.com/what-is-the-place-of-the-performing-arts-fair-in-the-age-of-the-internet-130542">The Conversation.</a></em></p>

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“I want to stare death in the eye”: why dying inspires so many writers and artists

<p>It may seem paradoxical, but dying can be a deeply creative process.</p> <p>Public figures, authors, artists and journalists have long written about their experience of dying. But why do they do it and what do we gain?</p> <p>Many stories of dying are written to bring an issue or disease to public attention.</p> <p>For instance, English editor and journalist Ruth Picardie’s description of terminal breast cancer, so poignantly described in <a href="https://www.goodreads.com/en/book/show/424646.Before_I_Say_Goodbye">Before I say Goodbye</a>, drew attention to the impact of medical negligence, and particularly misdiagnosis, on patients and their families.</p> <p>American tennis player and social activist Arthur Ashe wrote about his heart disease and subsequent diagnosis and death from AIDS in <a href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/698054.Days_of_Grace">Days of Grace: A Memoir</a>.</p> <p>His autobiographical account brought public and political attention to the risks of blood transfusion (he acquired HIV from an infected blood transfusion following heart bypass surgery).</p> <p>Other accounts of terminal illness lay bare how people navigate uncertainty and healthcare systems, as surgeon Paul Kalanithi did so beautifully in <a href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25899336-when-breath-becomes-air">When Breath Becomes Air</a>, his account of dying from lung cancer.</p> <p>But, perhaps most commonly, for artists, poets, writers, musicians and journalists, dying can provide <a href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25733900-the-violet-hour">one last opportunity for creativity</a>.</p> <p>American writer and illustrator Maurice Sendak drew people he loved as they were dying; founder of psychoanalysis Sigmund Freud, while in great pain, refused pain medication so he could be lucid enough to think clearly about his dying; and author Christopher Hitchens <a href="https://books.google.com.au/books/about/Hitch_22.html?id=H6nbV6nLcWcC&amp;redir_esc=y">wrote about</a> dying from <a href="https://www.cancer.org.au/about-cancer/types-of-cancer/oesophageal-cancer.html">oesophageal cancer</a> despite increasing symptoms:</p> <p><em>I want to stare death in the eye.</em></p> <p>Faced with terminal cancer, renowned neurologist Oliver Sacks wrote, if possible, more prolifically than before.</p> <p>And Australian author Clive James found dying a mine of new material:</p> <p><em>Few people read</em></p> <p><em>Poetry any more but I still wish</em></p> <p><em>To write its seedlings down, if only for the lull</em></p> <p><em>Of gathering: no less a harvest season</em></p> <p><em>For being the last time.</em></p> <p>Research shows what dying artists have told us for centuries – creative self-expression is core to their sense of self. So, creativity has <a href="https://www.headspace.com/blog/2017/04/18/grief-creativity-together/">therapeutic and existential benefits</a> for the dying and their grieving families.</p> <p>Creativity <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/jocb.171">provides</a> a buffer against anxiety and negative emotions about death.</p> <p>It may help us make sense of events and experiences, tragedy and misfortune, as a graphic novel did for cartoonist Miriam Engelberg in <a href="https://www.harpercollins.com/9780060789732/cancer-made-me-a-shallower-person/">Cancer Made Me A Shallower Person</a>, and as <a href="https://books.google.com.au/books?hl=en&amp;lr=&amp;id=MkcGiLeATe8C&amp;oi=fnd&amp;pg=PP2&amp;dq=%5BCarla+Sofka+and+Illene+Cupit+(eds)++Dying,+Death,+and+Grief+in+an+Online+Universe:+For+Counselors+and+Educators,+Springer+2012&amp;ots=vdXYa_3cvU&amp;sig=Od3eQ4A7_hadLwgIn4liIEoyo5c&amp;redir_esc=y#v=onepage&amp;q=%5BCarla%20Sofka%20and%20Illene%20Cupit%20(eds)%20%20Dying%2C%20Death%2C%20and%20Grief%20in%20an%20Online%20Universe%3A%20For%20Counselors%20and%20Educators%2C%20Springer%202012&amp;f=false">blogging and online writing</a>does for so many.</p> <p>Creativity may give voice to our experiences and provide some resilience as we face disintegration. It may also provide agency (an ability to act independently and make our own choices), and a sense of normality.</p> <p>French doctor Benoit Burucoa <a href="https://www.cairn.info/article.php?ID_ARTICLE=INKA_181_0005">wrote</a> art in palliative care allows people to feel physical and emotional relief from dying, and:</p> <p><em>[…] to be looked at again and again like someone alive (without which one feels dead before having disappeared).</em></p> <p><strong>A way of communicating to loved ones and the public</strong></p> <p>When someone who is dying creates a work of art or writes a story, this can open up otherwise difficult conversations with people close to them.</p> <p>But where these works become public, this conversation is also with those they do not know, whose only contact is through that person’s writing, poetry or art.</p> <p>This public discourse is a means of living while dying, making connections with others, and ultimately, increasing the public’s “<a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29402101">death literacy</a>”.</p> <p>In this way, our <a href="https://www.thegroundswellproject.com/">conversations about death</a> become <a href="https://www.penguin.com.au/books/the-end-9781742752051">more normal, more accessible</a> and much richer.</p> <p>There is no evidence reading literary works about death and dying fosters <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rumination_(psychology)">rumination</a> (an unhelpful way of dwelling on distressing thoughts) or other forms of psychological harm.</p> <p>In fact, the evidence we have suggests the opposite is true. There is plenty of <a href="http://www.artshealthandwellbeing.org.uk/appg/arts-and-palliative-care-dying-and-bereavement">evidence</a> for the positive impacts of both making and consuming art (of all kinds) at the <a href="http://www.artshealthandwellbeing.org.uk/appg-inquiry/Briefings/WWCW.pdf">end of life</a>, and specifically <a href="https://spcare.bmj.com/content/7/3/A369.2">surrounding palliative care</a>.</p> <p><strong>Why do we buy these books?</strong></p> <p>Some people read narratives of dying to gain insight into this mysterious experience, and empathy for those amidst it. Some read it to <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/18/opinion/sunday/the-neuroscience-of-your-brain-on-fiction.html">rehearse</a> their own journeys to come.</p> <p>But these purpose-oriented explanations miss what is perhaps the most important and unique feature of literature – its delicate, multifaceted capacity to help us become what philosopher <a href="https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2016/07/25/martha-nussbaums-moral-philosophies">Martha Nussbaum</a> <a href="https://www.jstor.org/stable/pdf/2026358.pdf?seq=1">described as</a>:</p> <p><em>[…] finely aware and richly responsible.</em></p> <p>Literature can capture the <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/books/2003/apr/01/londonreviewofbooks">tragedy</a> in ordinary lives; its depictions of <a href="https://partiallyexaminedlife.com/2016/08/12/martha-nussbaum-on-emotions-ethics-and-literature/">grief, anger and fear</a> help us fine-tune what’s important to us; and it can show the <a href="https://books.google.com.au/books/about/Love_s_Knowledge.html?id=oq3POR8FhtgC">value of a unique person</a> across their whole life’s trajectory.</p> <p><strong>Not everyone can be creative towards the end</strong></p> <p>Not everyone, however, has the opportunity for creative self-expression at the end of life. In part, this is because increasingly we die in hospices, hospitals or nursing homes. These are often far removed from the resources, people and spaces that may inspire creative expression.</p> <p>And in part it is because many people cannot communicate after a stroke or dementia diagnosis, or are <a href="https://www.theatlantic.com/family/archive/2019/01/how-do-people-communicate-before-death/580303/">delirious</a>, so are incapable of “<a href="https://press.princeton.edu/books/hardcover/9780691628554/last-words">last words</a>” <a href="https://www.amazon.com/Final-Gifts-Understanding-Awareness-Communications/dp/1451667256">when they die</a>.</p> <p>Perhaps most obviously, it is also because most of us are not artists, musicians, writers, poets or philosophers. We will not come up with elegant prose in our final days and weeks, and lack the skill to paint inspiring or intensely beautiful pictures.</p> <p>But this does not mean we cannot tell a story, using whatever genre we wish, that captures or at least provides a glimpse of our experience of dying – our fears, goals, hopes and preferences.</p> <p>Clive James <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/books/2018/sep/01/clive-james-poem-story-mind-heading-obivion">reminded us</a>:<em> “There will still be epic poems, because every human life contains one. It comes out of nowhere and goes somewhere on its way to everywhere – which is nowhere all over again, but leaves a trail of memories. There won’t be many future poets who don’t dip their spoons into all that, even if nobody buys the book.”</em></p> <p><em>Written by Claire Hooker and Ian Kerridge. Republished with permission of <a href="https://theconversation.com/i-want-to-stare-death-in-the-eye-why-dying-inspires-so-many-writers-and-artists-128061">The Conversation.</a> </em></p>

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Posting about politicians? The NSW police force may have you in their sights

<p>A Blue Mountains man was arrested <a href="https://www.bluemountainsgazette.com.au/story/6328433/fixated-persons-unit-investigates-winmalee-man/">in August last year</a>, over allegations that he’d been harassing the local mayor and a NSW Labor MLC. The 37-year-old was charged with a number of offences, including <a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/criminal/legislation/domestic-and-personal-violence-act/stalking-or-intimidation/">stalking or intimidation with intent to cause fear of physical or mental harm</a> and <a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/criminal/legislation/criminal-code-act/use-carriage-service-to-menace-harass-or-cause-offence/">using a carriage service to menace, harass or cause offence</a>.</p> <p>The charges related to claims the man had been making<a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/false-sexual-assault-allegations-ruin-lives/"> false allegations about sexual assault</a> and child abuse. And this decade-long intimidation campaign was carried out via email, social media, text and phone messages.</p> <p>The investigation leading to the arrest was carried out by detectives from the NSW Police Force Fixated Persons Unit, which is a specialist investigation team comprised of police officers and government mental health workers that was formed in the wake of the Lindt café siege.</p> <p><strong>Identifying pre-criminals</strong></p> <p>The Fixated Persons Unit commenced operations <a href="https://www.westernadvocate.com.au/story/4627585/new-police-unit-deals-with-obsessed-individuals-video/">on 1 May 2017</a>. NSW police commissioner Mick Fuller referred to the Martin Place shootings, when announcing its formation. And he said it would target “lone actors”, who are obsessed with public figures, as well as ideologies or beliefs.</p> <p>The state’s top cop outlined that the unit would focus on non-terrorist suspects, who threaten public officials. However, the unit also has a focus on proactively locating individuals <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-04-26/police-strike-force-to-target-people-who-make-violent-threats/8472280">vulnerable</a> to becoming involved in this sort of behaviour before it develops.</p> <p>And that’s where the scope of these operations becomes worrying. If detectives aren’t responding to reports of threatening behaviour being carried out by fixated persons, then how are they locating those who pose a potential threat?</p> <p>At the time the unit was formed, NSW police said it had up to <a href="https://www.theage.com.au/national/nsw/up-to-50-wouldbe-extremists-assessed-by-new-police-fixated-persons-unit-20170426-gvsldb.html">50 people</a> on its radar who could potentially be targeted, which included one man who’d fallen short of the law due to shouting anti-war slogans during the minute’s silence on Anzac Day in Martin Place.</p> <p>And by October 2017, it was reported that <a href="https://www.crikey.com.au/2017/10/05/cops-and-health-professionals-can-decide-if-youre-too-obsessed-with-a-public-official/?fbclid=IwAR0MrgLNBOAoHvqutMTXWjm-aMg0qB06f5g5FJgXGsMWuVh2zAQxYDDVh1U">six people</a> in this state had been charged in relation to the unit.</p> <p>The future crime regime</p> <p>“The creation of this unit forms part of the reengineering process for the NSW Police Force moving forward,” commissioner Fuller told reporters. Although, he didn’t elaborate on what that actually meant.</p> <p>However, one could posit that this “reengineering” is a further step into the realm of policing future crimes, or what NSW police refers to as <a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/systemic-unlawfulness-an-interview-with-dr-vicki-sentas-on-police-powers/">proactive policing</a>. This is part of a global trend towards trying to sniff out criminals before they commit any offences as its seen as being more cost effective.</p> <p>An example of this is the NSW police <a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/nsw-police-future-crime-program-an-abuse-of-power/">Suspect Target Management Plan (STMP)</a>, which is a secret list of individuals subjected to intensified monitoring due to their assessed potential to commit crimes in the future. Those on the list don’t even have to have been convicted of a crime in the past.</p> <p>And while these developments are occurring, <a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/predicting-and-preventing-crime-an-interview-with-ctdss-dr-roman-marchant/">there’s research being carried</a> out with the aim of being able to predict the level of criminality present in urban areas by analysing socioeconomic factors, so as to better allocate policing resources to prevent crime before it happens.</p> <p>Of course, as yet, no one has turned up to parliament with a bill that puts thoughtcrimes on the law books. However, proactively locating individuals before they perpetrate any criminal acts certainly sounds a lot like Orwell’s dystopian vision.</p> <p><em>Written by Paul Gregoire. Republished with permission of <a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/posting-about-politicians-the-nsw-police-force-may-have-you-in-their-sights/">Sydney Criminal Lawyers.</a></em></p> <p> </p>

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5 tips to help ease your grandchild back into school mode after the holidays

<p>Most children in Australia are going back to school in just over a week. Children experience a <a href="https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/children-australia/article/selfreported-perceptions-readiness-and-psychological-wellbeing-of-primary-school-students-prior-to-transitioning-to-a-secondary-boarding-school/C86DEA7A6CD20AAF29C26C6947A01F7E">mix of emotions</a> when it comes to going to school.</p> <p>Easing back after the holidays can range from feeling really excited and eager to concern, fear or anxiety. Getting butterflies or general worry about going back to school is <a href="https://kidshealth.org/en/teens/school-stress.html">common</a>.</p> <p>Among the <a href="https://media.bloomsbury.com/rep/files/ch2-outline.pdf">biggest worries of preschool children</a> are feeling left out, being teased or saying goodbye to their caregiver at drop off. Concerns of <a href="https://learning.nspcc.org.uk/research-resources/childline-annual-review/">school-aged children are about </a> exams (27%), not wanting to return to school (13%), and problems with teachers (14%). Some feel lonely and isolated.</p> <p>The <a href="https://www.missionaustralia.com.au/publications/youth-survey/1326-mission-australia-youth-survey-report-2019/file">main concerns</a> for teens are coping with stress (44.7%), school or study problems (34.3%) and mental health (33.2%).</p> <p>Not thinking about school until it is time to go back is one way to enjoy the last week of holidays. But for some, this can make going back to school more difficult.</p> <p>Supporting parents, children and young people with back-to-school challenges can help reduce negative school experiences using the below steps.</p> <p><strong>1. Set up a back-to-school routine</strong></p> <p>Create structure about going back with a <a href="https://healthyfamilies.beyondblue.org.au/age-6-12/mental-health-conditions-in-children/anxiety/tackling-back-to-school-anxiety">school routine</a>. Be guided by your knowledge and history of what best supports your child during times of change and transition.</p> <p><a href="https://raisingchildren.net.au/school-age/school-learning/school-homework-tips/morning-routine-for-school">Set up a practical chart of getting ready</a>. You could include:</p> <ul> <li>what needs to be done each day for school like getting up, eating breakfast, dressing</li> <li>what help does your child need from you to get ready?</li> <li>what they can do on their own? (Establish these together).</li> </ul> <p>The first week back can cause disruption from being in holiday mode so don’t forget <a href="https://childmind.org/article/encouraging-good-sleep-habits/">healthy habits around sleep</a> (<a href="https://www.health.qld.gov.au/news-events/news/physical-activity-exercise-sleep-screen-time-kids-teens">around 9-11 hours for children aged 5-13</a> and 8-10 hours for those aged 14-17), <a href="https://www1.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/health-pubhlth-strateg-phys-act-guidelines#npa517">exercise</a> (around <a href="https://www1.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/health-pubhlth-strateg-phys-act-guidelines#npa517">one hour per day</a> of moderate to vigorous physical activity <a href="https://raisingchildren.net.au/toddlers/nutrition-fitness/physical-activity/physical-activity-how-much">three times a week</a>) and <a href="https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/food-and-your-life-stages">diet</a>.</p> <p>Having <a href="https://www1.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/health-pubhlth-strateg-phys-act-guidelines#npa517">consistent bed and wake-up </a> times helps too. The National Sleep Foundation <a href="https://www.sleepfoundation.org/articles/plan-ahead-start-back-school-bedtime-routines-now">suggest starting two weeks</a> before the first day of school to set sleep routine habits. But a week beforehand will help get your kid on their way.</p> <p>In some way, parents go back to school with their children. Consider adjusting your own schedule to make the transition smoother. If you can’t in the mornings, arrange the evenings so you can give as much time as your child needs, especially during the first week.</p> <p><strong>2. Talk about going back to school</strong></p> <p>Most children deal with some level of stress or anxiety about school. They have insight into their school experiences, so find out what worries them by asking directly.</p> <p>You can offer support by normalising experiences of worry and nerves. <a href="https://www.heysigmund.com/how-to-deal-with-school-anxiety-no-more-distressing-goodbyes/">Reassure your child</a> the feelings they have are common and they will likely overcome them once they have settled in. Worries and courage can exist together.</p> <p>Depending on your child’s age, you can also try the following to help:</p> <ul> <li>early years/pre-school – write <a href="https://www.andnextcomesl.com/2018/08/free-social-stories-about-going-to-school.html">a social story </a> about going to daycare or school and the routine ahead</li> <li>primary years – set up a <a href="https://www.education.vic.gov.au/Documents/childhood/professionals/learning/trkpp6.pdf">peer-buddy system</a> where a peer or older child meets yours at the school gate or, if neighbours, kids can go into school together</li> <li>secondary years – establish healthy routines as a family. Support each other around <a href="https://theconversation.com/how-parents-and-teens-can-reduce-the-impact-of-social-media-on-youth-well-being-87619">technology</a> use, sleep and <a href="https://www.education.vic.gov.au/parents/going-to-school/Pages/tips-starting-school.aspx">schoolwork</a>.</li> </ul> <p><strong>3. Help create a sense of school belonging</strong></p> <p>A sense of belonging at school <a href="https://theconversation.com/many-australian-school-students-feel-they-dont-belong-in-school-new-research-97866">can affect</a> academic success and student well-being. Parents can facilitate positive attitudes about school by setting an encouraging tone when talking about it.</p> <p>Also show an interest in school life and work, and be available to support your child both <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs10648-016-9389-8">academically and socially</a>.</p> <p><a href="https://www.webmd.com/special-reports/kids-and-stress/20150827/stress-survey">More than half of the parents in one survey</a> said homework and schoolwork were the greatest drivers of stress in their children. When parents are more engaged in their child’s schoolwork, they are better able to support them through it.</p> <p><strong>4. Look out for signs of stress</strong></p> <p>Research suggests <a href="https://www.webmd.com/special-reports/kids-and-stress/20150827/stress-survey">parents can miss stress or anxiety</a> in their children. Parents can spot stress if their child (depending on age):</p> <ul> <li>is more clingy than usual or tries escape from the classroom</li> <li>appears restless and flighty or cries</li> <li>shows an increased desire to avoid activities through negotiations and deal-making</li> <li>tries to get out of going to school</li> <li>retreats to thumb sucking, baby language or increased attachment to favourite soft toys (for younger students).</li> </ul> <p>If these behaviours persist for about half a term, talk to your classroom teacher or school well-being coordinator about what is happening. Together work on a strategy of support. There may be something more going on than usual school nerves, like <a href="https://lens.monash.edu/@christine-grove/2018/01/18/1299375/no-one-size-fits-all-approach-in-tackling-cyberbullying">bullying</a>.</p> <p><strong>5. Encourage questions</strong></p> <p>Encourage questions children and teens may have about the next term. What will be the same? What will be different?</p> <p>Often schools provide transition information. If the school hasn’t, it might be worth contacting them to see if they can share any resources.</p> <p>Most importantly, let your child know nothing is off limits to talk about. <a href="https://www.heysigmund.com/school-anxiety-what-parents-can-do/">Set up times to chat</a> throughout the school term – it can help with back-to-school nerves.</p> <p><em>Written by Christine Grové and Kelly-Ann Allen. Republished with permission of <a href="https://theconversation.com/5-tips-to-help-ease-your-child-back-into-school-mode-after-the-holidays-129780">The Conversation.</a> </em></p>

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Hidden women of history: Catherine Hay Thomson – the Australian undercover journalist who went inside asylums and hospitals

<p><a rel="noopener" href="https://nla.gov.au/nla.obj-147135448/view" target="_blank"><em><strong>See pictures of Catherine Hay Thomson here. </strong></em></a></p> <p>In 1886, a year before American journalist Nellie Bly <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/history/2019/07/28/she-went-undercover-expose-an-insane-asylums-horrors-now-nellie-bly-is-getting-her-due/">feigned insanity</a> to enter an asylum in New York and became a household name, Catherine Hay Thomson arrived at the entrance of Kew Asylum in Melbourne on “a hot grey morning with a lowering sky”.</p> <p>Hay Thomson’s two-part article, <a href="https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/6089302">The Female Side of Kew Asylum</a> for The Argus newspaper revealed the conditions women endured in Melbourne’s public institutions.</p> <p>Her articles were controversial, engaging, empathetic, and most likely the first known by an Australian female undercover journalist.</p> <p><strong>A ‘female vagabond’</strong></p> <p>Hay Thomson was accused of being a spy by Kew Asylum’s supervising doctor. The Bulletin called her “the female vagabond”, a reference to Melbourne’s famed undercover reporter of a decade earlier, Julian Thomas. But she was not after notoriety.</p> <p>Unlike Bly and her ambitious contemporaries who turned to “stunt journalism” to escape the boredom of the women’s pages – one of the few avenues open to women newspaper writers – Hay Thomson was initially a teacher and ran <a href="https://www.austlit.edu.au/austlit/page/A79772">schools</a>with her mother in Melbourne and Ballarat.</p> <p>In <a href="https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/207826580?searchTerm=%22Catherine%20Hay%20Thomson%22&amp;searchLimits=exactPhrase=Catherine+Hay+Thomson%7C%7C%7CanyWords%7C%7C%7CnotWords%7C%7C%7CrequestHandler%7C%7C%7CdateFrom%7C%7C%7CdateTo%7C%7C%7Csortby">1876</a>, she became one of the first female students to sit for the matriculation exam at Melbourne University, though women weren’t allowed to study at the university until 1880.</p> <p><strong>Going undercover</strong></p> <p>Hay Thomson’s series for The Argus began in March 1886 with a piece entitled <a href="https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/6087478?searchTerm=%22The%20Inner%20Life%20of%20the%20Melbourne%20Hospital%22&amp;searchLimits=">The Inner Life of the Melbourne Hospital</a>. She secured work as an assistant nurse at Melbourne Hospital (now <a href="https://www.thermh.org.au/about/our-history">The Royal Melbourne Hospital</a>) which was under scrutiny for high running costs and an abnormally high patient death rate.</p> <p>Her articles increased the pressure. She observed that the assistant nurses were untrained, worked largely as cleaners for poor pay in unsanitary conditions, slept in overcrowded dormitories and survived on the same food as the patients, which she described in stomach-turning detail.</p> <p>The hospital linen was dirty, she reported, dinner tins and jugs were washed in the patients’ bathroom where poultices were also made, doctors did not wash their hands between patients.</p> <p>Writing about a young woman caring for her dying friend, a 21-year-old impoverished single mother, Hay Thomson observed them “clinging together through all fortunes” and added that “no man can say that friendship between women is an impossibility”.</p> <p>The Argus editorial called for the setting up of a “ladies’ committee” to oversee the cooking and cleaning. Formal nursing training was introduced in Victoria three years later.</p> <p><strong>Kew Asylum</strong></p> <p>Hay Thomson’s next <a href="https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/6089302">series</a>, about women’s treatment in the Kew Asylum, was published in March and April 1886.</p> <p>Her articles predate <a href="https://www.sas.upenn.edu/~cavitch/pdf-library/Bly_TenDays.pdf">Ten Days in a Madhouse</a> written by Nellie Bly (born <a href="https://www.biography.com/activist/nellie-bly">Elizabeth Cochran</a>) for Joseph Pulitzer’s <a href="https://www.britannica.com/topic/New-York-World">New York World</a>.</p> <p>While working in the asylum for a fortnight, Hay Thomson witnessed overcrowding, understaffing, a lack of training, and a need for woman physicians. Most of all, the reporter saw that many in the asylum suffered from institutionalisation rather than illness.</p> <p>She described “the girl with the lovely hair” who endured chronic ear pain and was believed to be delusional. The writer countered “her pain is most probably real”.</p> <p>Observing another patient, Hay Thomson wrote:</p> <p><em>She requires to be guarded – saved from herself; but at the same time, she requires treatment … I have no hesitation in saying that the kind of treatment she needs is unattainable in Kew Asylum.</em></p> <p>The day before the first asylum article was published, Hay Thomson gave evidence to the final sitting of Victoria’s <a href="https://www.parliament.vic.gov.au/papers/govpub/VPARL1886No15Pi-clxxii.pdf">Royal Commission on Asylums for the Insane and Inebriate</a>, pre-empting what was to come in The Argus. Among the Commission’s final recommendations was that a new governing board should supervise appointments and training and appoint “lady physicians” for the female wards.</p> <p><strong>Suffer the little children</strong></p> <p>In May 1886, <a href="https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/6095144/276118">An Infant Asylum written “by a Visitor”</a> was published. The institution was a place where mothers – unwed and impoverished - could reside until their babies were weaned and later adopted out.</p> <p>Hay Thomson reserved her harshest criticism for the absent fathers:</p> <p><em>These women … have to bear the burden unaided, all the weight of shame, remorse, and toil, [while] the other partner in the sin goes scot free.</em></p> <p>For another article, <a href="https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/6099966?searchTerm=%22Among%20the%20Blind%3A%20Victorian%20Asylum%20and%20School%22&amp;searchLimits=">Among the Blind: Victorian Asylum and School</a>, she worked as an assistant needlewoman and called for talented music students at the school to be allowed to sit exams.</p> <p>In <a href="https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/254464232?searchTerm=%22A%20Penitent%E2%80%99s%20Life%20in%20the%20Magdalen%20Asylum%22&amp;searchLimits=">A Penitent’s Life in the Magdalen Asylum</a>, Hay Thomson supported nuns’ efforts to help women at the Abbotsford Convent, most of whom were not residents because they were “fallen”, she explained, but for reasons including alcoholism, old age and destitution.</p> <p><strong>Suffrage and leadership</strong></p> <p>Hay Thomson helped found the <a href="https://www.australsalon.org/130th-anniversary-celebration-1">Austral Salon of Women, Literature and the Arts</a>in January 1890 and <a href="https://ncwvic.org.au/about-us.html#est">the National Council of Women of Victoria</a>. Both organisations are still celebrating and campaigning for women.</p> <p>Throughout, she continued writing, becoming <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Table_Talk_(magazine)">Table Talk</a> magazine’s music and social critic.</p> <p>In 1899 she became editor of The Sun: An Australian Journal for the Home and Society, which she bought with Evelyn Gough. Hay Thomson also gave a series of lectures titled <a href="https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/145847122?searchTerm=%22catherine%20hay%20thomson%22%20and%20%22women%20in%20politics%22&amp;searchLimits=">Women in Politics</a>.</p> <p>A Melbourne hotel maintains that Hay Thomson’s private residence was secretly on the fourth floor of Collins Street’s <a href="https://www.melbourne.intercontinental.com/catherine-hay-thomson">Rialto building</a> around this time.</p> <p><strong>Home and back</strong></p> <p>After selling The Sun, Hay Thomson returned to her birth city, Glasgow, Scotland, and to a precarious freelance career for English magazines such as <a href="https://onlinebooks.library.upenn.edu/webbin/serial?id=cassellsmag">Cassell’s</a>.</p> <p>Despite her own declining fortunes, she brought attention to writer and friend <a href="http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/carmichael-grace-elizabeth-jennings-5507">Grace Jennings Carmichael</a>’s three young sons, who had been stranded in a Northampton poorhouse for six years following their mother’s death from pneumonia. After Hay Thomson’s article in The Argus, the Victorian government granted them free passage home.</p> <p>Hay Thomson eschewed the conformity of marriage but <a href="https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/65330270?searchTerm=&amp;searchLimits=l-publictag=Mrs+T+F+Legge+%28nee+Hay+Thomson%29">tied the knot</a> back in Melbourne in 1918, aged 72. The wedding at the Women Writer’s Club to Thomas Floyd Legge, culminated “a romance of forty years ago”. <a href="https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/140219851">Mrs Legge</a>, as she became, died in Cheltenham in 1928, only nine years later.</p> <p><em>Written by Kerrie Davies and Willa McDonald. Republished with permission of <a href="https://theconversation.com/hidden-women-of-history-catherine-hay-thomson-the-australian-undercover-journalist-who-went-inside-asylums-and-hospitals-129352">The Conversation.</a></em></p>

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Synonyms to use that will make you a better writer

<p><strong>Put it in writing</strong></p> <p>Good writing is considerate of its audience. You want to think about your reader and consider the best way to get your message across to them. Even in the digital age, the right word elevates your writing and the wrong one drags it down. If you’re writing in a business context, you want to make a good impression and come across as professional. You want to be efficient, but not overly dry. While keeping your writing clear of grammar and spelling errors is a given, you’ll also want to use words that avoid cliché and relay your message with aplomb.</p> <p>You’ll also want to avoid these overused words that make you sound boring.</p> <p><strong>Instead of using “a lot”</strong></p> <p>A lot is a descriptor that skews ultra-casual. If you describe your background by saying, “I have a lot of experience,” or convey your aptitude with “I have a lot of ideas,” you come across as too laid-back and imprecise. Laura Hale Brockway, at Entrepreneur, offers 32 alternative synonyms for “a lot.” She offers descriptors like “a great deal” or “a copious amount” as a stand-in for the informal term. Choose a synonym that elevates your message and offers precision like “myriad” or “several.”</p> <p><strong>Instead of using “fine”</strong></p> <p> “Fine” is a rejoinder to questions about either quality or physical health. However, it’s become so common that it now means “OK” or “average.” If you’re writing in a business setting or descriptively, “fine” seems polite, but there are other options that can get specific about what you’re describing. A simple synonym is “well,” as in “I’m feeling well.” You can also use synonyms like “exceptional” or “skilful” to describe quality. If you do mean “fine” in the sense of passable, use “mediocre” or “average” instead.</p> <p><strong>Instead of using “very”</strong></p> <p>Very is a qualifier that’s often overused. How many times have you peppered emails or business communications with this word? Have you ever written “I’m very excited about the upcoming project” or “Your work is very good?” Eliminate “very” unless it adds necessary and real meaning to the idea you describe. If it’s important then use synonyms for “very” like “remarkably,” “substantially,” “emphatically,” or “profoundly.” Otherwise, using “very” adds sloppy imprecision to your writing.</p> <p><strong>Instead of using “great”</strong></p> <p>Great is a superfluous term that often shows up in place of “yes” or “good” in written writing. It’s a shorthand term that conveys enthusiasm but has become so common that it’s lost its nuance as a descriptor. Consider more precise words like “choice” or “breathtaking” to describe a state of being or an object’s quality. Here are some more options from Daily Writing Tips like “deluxe” and “favourable” that get closer to the idea you’re trying to convey. Looking for more great synonym options for words like great?</p> <p><strong>Instead of using “crazy”</strong></p> <p>Using “crazy” (or “insane”) is common, but it’s an imprecise way to express what you really mean. Katie Dupere at Mashable explains that the term is insensitive and makes light of mental health issues. The term is also far from what you mean to say. Look carefully at what you’re actually trying to convey when you write, “The midterm was crazy” or “The project was insane.” It’s best to stay away from casual idioms in formal writing. You also want to stay mindful about how such terms could affect your reader. Consider words like “busy,” “intense,” “erratic,” and “wacky” as synonyms. Let the idea of what you truly want to convey be your guide.</p> <p><em>Written by Molly Pennington, PhD. This article first appeared in </em><a href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/culture/12-synonyms-that-will-make-you-a-better-writer?slide=all"><em>Reader’s Digest.</em></a><em> For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, </em><a href="http://readersdigest.innovations.com.au/c/readersdigestemailsubscribe?utm_source=over60&amp;utm_medium=articles&amp;utm_campaign=RDSUB&amp;keycode=WRA87V"><em>here’s our best subscription offer.</em></a></p>

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Visual arts help marginalized youth learn mindfulness and self-compassion

<p>How do girls feel before and after learning mindfulness? The six girls in our program, aged 11 and 12, drew pictures showing that learning and practising mindfulness helped them feel more in control and compassionate, less judgmental, happy, focused, calm and logical, especially when they make good choices.</p> <p>These girls had just completed the 12-week <a href="https://www.dianacoholic.com/my-work/">holistic arts-based program (HAP)</a>that we offer at Laurentian University, which teaches mindfulness-based practices and concepts using arts like painting, drawing and collage, or materials like clay and sand. We also incorporate games and and tai chi.</p> <p>I developed HAP with the help of <a href="https://laurentian.ca/faculty/hcheu">Hoi Cheu</a>, a professor in the English department with training in film making, marital and family therapy, tai chi and mindfulness. Part of our early team were Sean Lougheed (with a graduate degree in child and youth care), Jennifer Posteraro (research co-ordinator with a graduate degree in psychology) and Julie LeBreton (social work student).</p> <p><strong>Youth facing challenges</strong></p> <p>We wanted to respond to the needs of marginalized children in our communities — such as those who <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10566-010-9139-x">face diverse challenges</a>, including academic, mental health and social challenges, and those facing life circumstances such as abuse, bullying, social exclusion, poverty or family dysfunction.</p> <p>We wanted to help them build skills and capacities such as paying attention, and for improving peer relationships and mood. But we knew that these children may <a href="https://psycnet.apa.org/record/2006-12259-004">not have the attention skills</a> required for a more traditional mindfulness program.</p> <p>In developing the program, we drew on the extensive knowledge bases of <a href="https://books.google.ca/books?id=y6PY4hv47I0C&amp;lpg=PR3&amp;ots=-huao1DPlo&amp;dq=malchiodi%20art%20therapy&amp;lr&amp;pg=PP1#v=onepage&amp;q=malchiodi%20art%20therapy&amp;f=false">art therapy</a> and <a href="https://doi.org/10.1177/1468017315581772">arts methods with youth</a>. We then refined the program through research with children involved with the child welfare and/or mental health systems.</p> <p>We receive referrals for the program from a variety of sources, including mental health practitioners, guidance counsellors, principals and teachers, child welfare workers and self-referrals (mostly from parents).</p> <p><strong>Self-compassion, acceptance</strong></p> <p>Discussions about mindfulness seem to be everywhere these days, including <a href="https://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-018-0998-9">some schools</a>. Mindfulness has come under <a href="https://theconversation.com/mcmindfulness-buddhism-as-sold-to-you-by-neoliberals-88338">criticism as it has gained in popularity throughout the West</a>. Some say institutions that use it may encourage or distract people from advocating for systemic change. We understand that systems need to be challenged and changed. In our program, <a href="https://www.jstor.org/stable/41669899?seq=1">we work to assist individuals and groups to cope better with, and challenge, the oppressive or unjust systems</a> in their lives.</p> <p>Since 2009, more than 300 other youth from our community have participated in our arts and mindfulness program. Over a two-hour period, two facilitators lead small groups of participants. Through the activities they aim to help participants work together, learn about themselves and express their feelings and thoughts and practise breathing, self-compassion and acceptance.</p> <p>The drawing by several girls in the program of a brain before and after mindfulness is a wonderful depiction of the benefits of learning mindfulness, <a href="https://link.springer.com/content/pdf/10.1007%2Fs12671-012-0123-4.pdf">often defined</a> as the ability to pay attention, purposefully, to the present moment without negative judgements. The power of mindfulness is the ability to make choices about one’s feelings, thoughts and behaviours rather than reacting and acting out.</p> <p><strong>‘Happy awareness program’</strong></p> <p>Creative activities such as <a href="https://doi.org/10.1007/s10560-015-0431-3">painting how music makes you feel or drawing yourself as a tree </a>aid in <a href="https://doi.org/10.1080/01609513.2013.763326">identifying and naming feelings, communicating these feelings and thoughts and discovering things about yourself</a> in ways that are effective and developmentally relevant. Belonging to a <a href="https://books.google.ca/books?id=PS42CwAAQBAJ&amp;printsec=frontcover&amp;dq=andrew+malekoff&amp;hl=en&amp;sa=X&amp;ved=0ahUKEwiV-sfVvOPlAhXqYd8KHe0YCF4Q6AEIKDAA#v=onepage&amp;q=andrew%20malekoff&amp;f=false">supportive group helps youth</a> develop a wide variety of capacities and strengths such as social skills, empathy and self-awareness.</p> <p><a href="http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/01609513.2019.1571764">Common reported benefits</a> of mindfulness-based interventions with youth often include improved emotion regulation, mood and well-being and decreases in stress and feelings of anxiety. Almost all of the youth we have worked with described the holistic arts-based program as “fun.” One youth suggested we re-name our program the “Happy Awareness Program.”</p> <p><strong>Benefits to mental health</strong></p> <p>In our <a href="https://doi.org/10.1177/1468017319828864">research</a> with youth admitted to a small in-patient mental health program, we found that youth who participated in the program activities reported that the program was enjoyable and beneficial in that they learned to identify and express what they were feeling, and they could focus better and think in different ways.</p> <p>We interviewed the youth and they shared feedback about their experiences:</p> <p>“I learned that I like doing art and it relaxes me and makes me express myself better.”</p> <p>“Being mindful helps with the anxiety that I have and helps me just focus either on my work or something else that I am doing.”</p> <p>“There are a lot of fun activities that can help you find yourself and find peace within yourself, to relax and catch your thoughts instead of them jumping all over.”</p> <p>There are a multitude of mindfulness-based programs for youth, many of which have been adapted from two well-known programs originally developed for adults: <a href="https://books.google.ca/books?id=fIuNDtnb2ZkC&amp;printsec=frontcover&amp;dq=full+catastrophe+living&amp;hl=en&amp;sa=X&amp;ved=0ahUKEwjajZC_x-DlAhWFhOAKHbMFBakQ6AEIKTAA#v=onepage&amp;q=full%20catastrophe%20living&amp;f=false">mindfulness-based stress reduction</a>, and <a href="https://books.google.ca/books?hl=en&amp;lr=&amp;id=QHRVDwAAQBAJ&amp;oi=fnd&amp;pg=PP1&amp;dq=mindfulness+based+cognitive+therapy+for+depression&amp;ots=EUEf7xSzr6&amp;sig=ggv0OWhPhIkcN4b0TTInAlEmdEM&amp;redir_esc=y#v=onepage&amp;q=mindfulness%20based%20cognitive%20therapy%20for%20depression&amp;f=false">mindfulness-based cognitive therapy</a>.</p> <p>Two examples of programs for youth developed by clinical psychologists are <a href="https://books.google.ca/books?id=qT6nSwnipiMC&amp;printsec=frontcover&amp;dq=mbct-c&amp;hl=en&amp;sa=X&amp;ved=0ahUKEwiP1s3Y0uDlAhXPmuAKHSMFAX4Q6AEILzAB#v=onepage&amp;q=mbct-c&amp;f=false">Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy for Children</a> and <a href="https://books.google.ca/books?id=fw0A5HETcIAC&amp;printsec=frontcover&amp;dq=learning+to+breath&amp;hl=en&amp;sa=X&amp;ved=0ahUKEwjo1LD40uDlAhWPTd8KHbt7B4QQ6AEINDAB#v=onepage&amp;q=learning%20to%20breath&amp;f=false">Learning to Breathe</a>.</p> <p><strong>Strengths-based change</strong></p> <p>Arts-based activities do not have to be complicated. For example, having group members notice and write down each other’s strengths can begin to shift the negative beliefs youth have about themselves. Developing <a href="https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1751-9004.2010.00330.x">self-compassion</a> and self-acceptance is an important part of living more mindfully and experiencing well-being.</p> <p>Awareness and expression of feelings can be facilitated by drawing what we call feelings inventories. Such feelings inventories are always unique.</p> <p>Based on our research experiences, we have become strong advocates of teaching mindfulness-based practices and concepts <a href="https://doi.org/10.1080/01609513.2015.1091700">through the arts</a>.</p> <p>Through this approach, we can make the cumulative benefits of practising mindfulness more accessible to diverse groups of youth — and youth are enabled to express themselves in relevant, meaningful and developmentally appropriate ways.</p> <p>I have learned through <a href="https://www.northrose.ca/northrose-titles.html">my work</a> that change does not have to be daunting. Important learning can take place through experiences of fun and belonging.</p> <p><em>Written by Diana Coholic. Republished with permission of </em><a href="https://theconversation.com/visual-arts-help-marginalized-youth-learn-mindfulness-and-self-compassion-126149"><em>The Conversation.</em></a></p>

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The offence of graffiti in NSW

<p>A mural depicting a satanic figure hovering over a kneeling, handcuffed <a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/george-pell-found-guilty-of-sexual-assault/">George Pell</a> in a prison tracksuit has been removed from privately-owned premises.</p> <p>The mural, <a href="https://www.sbs.com.au/news/mural-of-kneeling-george-pell-in-handcuffs-removed-after-being-deemed-offensive">created by Australian artist Scott Marsh</a>, was painted on property of owned by Wilson Parking – just 50 metres from the entrance of St Mary’s Cathedral College and less than 100 metres from the front door of Mr Pell’s former residence.</p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/B0h7SEllgN_/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="12"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="margin: 8px 0 0 0; padding: 0 4px;"><a style="color: #000; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none; word-wrap: break-word;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/B0h7SEllgN_/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">#Prey round 2 👿🔥 #vatican #roma #sistinechappel #stpetersbasilica #georgepell #locationlocationlocation #vaticannews #wheninrome</a></p> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;">A post shared by <a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/scottie.marsh/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank"> Scott Marsh</a> (@scottie.marsh) on Jul 29, 2019 at 11:04pm PDT</p> </div> </blockquote> <p><strong>The complaint</strong></p> <p>A spokeswoman for the Archdiocese of Sydney confirmed it had contacted Wilson Parking to complain about the mural, and had been assured the company was already in the process of removing it.</p> <p>Wilson Parking said its decision was due to complaints received from members of the public.</p> <p>“We’re not seeking to make any kind of statement, religious or otherwise, but have simply acted upon complaints from members of the public who find the painting offensive,” a the company’s spokesperson told the media.</p> <p><strong>Political art</strong></p> <p>This is not the first time Mr Marsh’s politically-charged artwork has attracted controversy.</p> <p>Nor is the first time he has sought to satirise George Pell, painting two other large scale murals of the disgraced former cardinal.</p> <p>One of those murals, painted behind Botany View Hotel during the same-sex marriage debate, featured Mr Pell with his hand on a wedding-dress clad Tony Abbott’s crotch, captioned with “the happy ending”. That mural was later painted over.</p> <p>When asked about his latest piece, Mr Marsh described it as “holding a mirror up to the hypocrisy of the church.”</p> <p>“This is a global institution that for half a century at a minimum was molesting children and covering it up on an industrial scale,” he remarked. “Thousands of lives ruined in Australia alone.”</p> <p>In March this year, Pell was sentenced to six years in jail for sexually abusing two Choirboys while he was the Catholic archbishop of Melbourne in the 1990s.</p> <p><strong>The offence of graffiti in NSW</strong></p> <p><a href="http://www8.austlii.edu.au/cgi-bin/viewdoc/au/legis/nsw/consol_act/gca2008179/s4.html">Section 4</a> of the <a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/criminal/legislation/graffiti-control-act/">Graffiti Control Act 2008</a> (NSW) prescribes a maximum penalty of four penalty units, or $440, for intentionally marking any premises or property without the consent of the occupier or, where the premises is unoccupied, the person in charge.</p> <p>The section makes clear that the offence does not apply to the marking of any public footpath or public pavement with chalk, including, but not limited to, marking out a hopscotch or handball court with chalk.</p> <p>The maximum increases to 12 months in prison and/or a fine of 20 penalty units, or $2,200, where the offence is committed in ‘circumstances of aggravation’ – which means by the use of any ‘graffiti implement’ or in such a manner that the mark is not readily removable by wiping or using water or detergent.</p> <p>A ‘graffiti implement’ is defined as spray paint, a marker pen, or any implement designed or modified to produce a mark that is not readily removable by wiping or by use of water or detergent.</p> <p>‘Spray paint’ includes any liquid or other substance that is designed to stain, mark or corrode and to be applied from a spray can, and includes the spray can.</p> <p><strong>The offence of destroying or damaging property in NSW</strong></p> <p>Posting graffiti can also constitute an offence under <a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/criminal/legislation/crimes-act/destroying-or-damaging-property/">section 195 of the Crimes Act 1900</a> (NSW), which prescribes a maximum penalty of 5 years in prison for any person who <a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/the-law-on-destroying-or-damaging-property-in-new-south-wales/">intentionally or recklessly destroys or damages property</a>belonging to another.</p> <p>Intentionally means wilfully or purposely, while recklessly means foreseeing the possibility of damage or destruction but proceeding regardless.</p> <p><strong>The courts have found that property is considered to have been damaged where:</strong></p> <ul> <li>There is permanent damage,</li> <li>There is temporary functional derangement,</li> <li>There is temporary impairment of usefulness,</li> <li>The physical integrity of the property is altered, and</li> <li>The property is rendered imperfect or inoperative.</li> </ul> <p><strong>Examples of conduct found by the courts to constitute damage include:</strong></p> <ul> <li>Painting graffiti on walls or floors,</li> <li>Placing a blanket in a toilet and flushing,</li> <li>Letting down the tyres of a car,</li> <li>Breaking a raw egg on the windscreen of a car, and</li> <li>Taking a cap from a person’s head and repeatedly stomping on it.</li> </ul> <p>It has been held that temporarily blocking another from accessing property is not enough to establish the offence.</p> <p>The maximum penalty increases to ten years in prison where the offence occurs ‘in company’, which means with another person or persons.</p> <p><em>Written by Ugur Nedim and Zeb Holmes. Republished with permission of </em><a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/the-offence-of-graffiti-in-new-south-wales/"><em>Sydney Criminal Lawyers.</em></a></p>

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Tell Me Why review: Archie Roach’s pain is the pain of all of us

<p><em>Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander readers are advised this article contains images and names of deceased people.</em></p> <p><em>Review: Tell Me Why: The Story of My Life and My Music, by Archie Roach (Simon &amp; Schuster)</em></p> <p>Singer songwriter Archie Roach’s new autobiography <a href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/47805151-tell-me-why">Tell Me Why</a>, is a grim portrayal of his life of suffering at the hands of 20th century white Australia.</p> <p>The Australian government eugenics programs against Aboriginal people led to the <a href="https://www.nfsa.gov.au/collection/curated/stolen-generations-dreams-whiteness">removal</a> of many thousands of Aboriginal children from their families: the stolen generations. Archie was one of them.</p> <p>Archie’s many successes in the music industry did not begin until he stopped drinking. Archie sang <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aywDT6yHMmo">Took the Children Away</a> at the 1988 Survival Day event in Sydney. Though historian Peter Read had been working on the family tracing and reunion service <a href="https://www.findandconnect.gov.au/ref/nsw/biogs/NE01131b.htm">Link-Up</a> since 1981, it was Archie’s song that brought home the tragedy of the stolen generations for all of us.</p> <p>Archie sings from the heart about what he knows and what he and his family have experienced. Given how much pain is visible, we can only imagine the rest. Archie’s first album was Charcoal Lane and in 1991 he won the ARIA award for Best New Artist and Best Indigenous Release.</p> <p>He was born in 1956 at Mooroopna near Shepparton. Aboriginal people had moved there as a direct result of the <a href="http://608464716852957457.weebly.com/pre-1945.html">Cummerangunja Walk Off</a> on 6 February 1939, when around 200 people left a mission in southern New South Wales to protest poor conditions and government control.</p> <p>However, Archie’s family was from the south and so they moved to <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Framlingham,_Victoria">Framlingham</a> mission. He and his sisters were stolen from there when he was just four. They were placed in separate foster homes, some very bad, until Archie was placed more permanently with the Cox family. A Scottish family with, it seems, good hearts, they fostered Archie and another Aboriginal boy Noel.</p> <p>Life was relatively good for Archie. But, when one of his birth sisters wrote to tell him that their mother had died, he and his foster parents discovered the government had lied to them. The Cox family had been told Archie’s family had perished in a fire.</p> <p><strong>Searching</strong></p> <p>Archie’s choices after this became limited by his inability to trust non-Aboriginal people as well as his deep desire to reconnect with his real family, to learn who he really was. He left the safety and security of his foster parents’ home when he was only 15, never to see them again, and began searching.</p> <p>Soon, Archie was in Sydney. It was here he met one of the ugliest characters of his life story, Albert, an alcoholic living on the streets. To Albert, the young and impressionable Archie, was prey and a potential drinking buddy. Archie had never had alcohol before he met Albert but he writes that Albert turned him into an alcoholic while he was still only 16.</p> <p>Archie had been raised by a good white family. For many people from the stolen generations, the notion of being good then becomes synonymous with being white. The Christian teachings in the missions are also about being good. For many Aboriginal people being good then mistakenly becomes antithetical to being Aboriginal.</p> <p>For many of the stolen generations and later generations who grew up without proper Aboriginal culture, the white trash culture of street living begins to seem the Aboriginal way. While drinking in the streets and pubs of inner Sydney and Melbourne, Archie did find the rest of his family.</p> <p>Most of Archie’s story is about drinking, the depth and the dangers, the epilepsy, and a drunken suicide attempt. For fellow Aboriginal people of the same era, the extent of this drinking and its effects are not new. Archie writes about the consistent choice to drink and his difficulty stopping.</p> <p>He doesn’t explicitly write how his choice to keep drinking was a cop-out, but drinkers don’t have to be responsible for anything or anyone. Perhaps this is why Archie writes so little about his children. He didn’t choose his children — for a long time he chose booze.</p> <p><a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ruby_Hunter">Ruby Hunter</a> is at the heart of Archie’s life story.</p> <p>Ruby and Archie met when they were teenagers, they drank together and got sober together. Ruby was the strength behind Archie. She gave birth alone and raised the boys alone until Archie stopped drinking. But although Ruby (who died in 2010, aged 54) is there in Archie’s story, she is also strongly absent in Archie’s memoir. One senses the pain in the absence.</p> <p>Archie would work for a while but then he would choose the booze again. He loved Ruby, but chose the booze again and again. Archie hasn’t tried to romanticise the drinking culture he was a part of in the book, but perhaps he has in his music. Charcoal Lane, the name of his first album, came from one of the places he used to drink. Can regret be romantic?</p> <p><strong>‘White trash’ culture</strong></p> <p>I recognise the choices Archie and so many others like him made as we grew up in cities or country towns without strong Aboriginal laws that could tell us how to behave right; while at the same time rejecting white colonial laws as a form of resistance.</p> <p>It is an empty space, that in-between place, with the added difficulty of acceptance by white trash - the white alcoholics. The term “white trash” explains the ugliness of the colonisation of the Americas and Australia.</p> <p>Although perceived as classist, <a href="http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/09502389700490171">researchers argue</a> it’s more about forms of behaviour determined by a lack of knowledge of how to make good choices. Or how to be a good person - to take responsibility for one’s choices, as his experience with the principles of Alcoholics Anonymous later taught Archie.</p> <p>Song lyrics begin each chapter of Tell Me Why and Took the Children Away, Archie’s first, award-winning song begins his autobiography. In many ways, it is his redemption song.</p> <p>Archie visited the Framlingham mission, from where he was stolen, while he was drinking; but it was not until he stopped drinking that his Uncle Banjo told him what it was like for them, Archie’s parents, the generation left behind with the silence from the absent children.</p> <p>This enabled Archie to stop thinking so much about his own pain, and more about the pain of others.</p> <p><em>Written by Aileen Marwung Walsh. Republished with permission of </em><a href="https://theconversation.com/tell-me-why-review-archie-roachs-pain-is-the-pain-of-all-of-us-127723"><em>The Conversation.</em></a></p>

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Don’t like spiders? Here are 5 reasons to change your mind

<p>Australia is famous for its supposedly scary spiders. While the sight of a spider may cause some people to shudder, they are a vital part of nature. Hostile reactions are harming conservation efforts – especially when people kill spiders unnecessarily.</p> <p>Populations of many invertebrate species, including <a href="https://www.researchgate.net/publication/297742805_Quality_not_quantity_Conserving_species_of_low_mobility_and_dispersal_capacity_in_south-western_Australian_urban_remnants">certain spiders</a>, are highly vulnerable. Some species have become extinct due to <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-018-07916-1">habitat loss and degradation</a>.</p> <p>In dramatic efforts to avoid or kill a spider, people have reportedly <a href="https://www.bluemountainsgazette.com.au/story/4448093/huntsman-spider-sparks-four-car-crash/">crashed their cars,</a> <a href="https://www.news.com.au/technology/science/animals/man-tries-to-kill-wolf-spider-with-a-blowtorch-but-sets-apartment-on-fire/news-story/13ba250e2d8a58658b6c2960d69bd815">set a house on fire</a>, and even caused such a commotion that <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-01-03/wa-police-called-out-for-man-trying-to-kill-spider/10683454">police showed up</a>.</p> <p>A pathological fear of spiders, known as arachnophobia, is of course, a legitimate condition. But in reality, we have little to fear. Read on to find out why you should love, not loathe, our eight-legged arachnid friends.</p> <p><strong>1. Spiders haven’t killed anyone in Australia for 40 years</strong></p> <p>The last confirmed fatal spider bite in Australia <a href="https://australianmuseum.net.au/learn/animals/spiders/spider-facts/">occurred in 1979</a>.</p> <p>Only a few species have venom that can kill humans: some mouse spiders (<em>Missulena</em> species), Sydney Funnel-webs (<em>Atrax</em>species) and some of their close relatives. <a href="https://australianmuseum.net.au/learn/animals/spiders/spider-facts/">Antivenom</a> for redbacks (<em>Latrodectus hasseltii</em>) was introduced in 1956, and for funnel-webs in 1980. However, redback venom is <a href="https://www1.health.nsw.gov.au/pds/pages/doc.aspx?dn=GL2014_005">no longer considered life-threatening</a>.</p> <p><strong>2. Spiders save us from the world’s deadliest animal</strong></p> <p>Spiders mostly eat insects, which helps control their populations. Their webs – especially big, intricate ones like our orb weavers’ – are particularly adept at catching small flying insects such as mosquitos. Worldwide, mosquito-borne viruses <a href="https://www.worldatlas.com/articles/the-animals-that-kill-most-humans.html">kill more humans</a> than any other animal.</p> <p><strong>3. They can live to an impressive age</strong></p> <p>The <a href="https://doi.org/10.1071/PC18015">world’s oldest recorded spider</a> was a 43- year-old female trapdoor spider (<em>Gaius villosus</em>) that lived near Perth, Western Australia. Tragically a wasp sting, not old age, killed her.</p> <p><strong>4. Spider silk is amazing</strong></p> <p>Spider silk is the <a href="https://theconversation.com/curious-kids-what-are-spider-webs-made-from-and-how-strong-are-they-91824">strongest</a>, most flexible natural biomaterial known to man. It has historically been used to make bandages, and UK researchers have worked out how to load silk bandages with <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/adma.201604245">antibiotics</a>. Webs of the golden orb spider, common throughout Australia, are <a href="https://australianmuseum.net.au/learn/animals/spiders/golden-orb-weaving-spiders/">strong enough to catch bats and birds</a>, and a <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/gallery/2012/jan/23/golden-silk-cape-spiders-in-pictures">cloak was once woven</a> entirely from their silk.</p> <p><strong>5. Their venom could save our life</strong></p> <p>The University of Queensland is using spider venom <a href="https://imb.uq.edu.au/article/2017/07/taking-bite-out-chronic-pain-new-spider-venom-treatment">to develop</a>non-addictive pain-killers. The venom rapidly immobilises prey by targeting its nervous system – an ability that can act as a painkiller in humans.</p> <p>The venom from a Fraser Island funnel web contains a molecule that <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-04-02/funnel-web-spider-venom-could-help-protect-brain-stroke-damage/10959032">delays the effects of stroke on the brain</a>. Researchers are investigating whether it could be administered by paramedics to protect a stroke victim on the way to hospital.</p> <p>Funnel-web venom is also being used to create <a href="https://www.smh.com.au/technology/funnel-web-venom-the-bees-knees-of-natural-pesticides-20160516-govvss.html">targeted pesticides</a> which are harmless to birds and mammals.</p> <p><em>Written by Leanda Denise Mason. Republished with permission of <a href="https://theconversation.com/dont-like-spiders-here-are-10-reasons-to-change-your-mind-126433">The Conversation</a>. </em></p>

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Why board games are booming

<p>Board games are booming. <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/sep/25/board-games-back-tabletop-gaming-boom-pandemic-flash-point">Article</a> after <a href="https://time.com/4385490/board-game-design/">article</a> describes a “<a href="https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2014/nov/25/board-games-internet-playstation-xbox">golden</a> <a href="https://attackofthefanboy.com/articles/the-golden-age-of-board-games-continues-to-get-better-every-year/">age</a>” or “<a href="https://www.usatoday.com/story/life/2017/07/31/bored-digital-games-join-board-game-renaissance/476986001/">renaissance</a>” of boardgaming.</p> <p>In Germany, the home of modern boardgaming, the industry has grown by over 40% in the past five years; the four-day <a href="https://www.spiel-messe.com/en/%22%22">SPIEL trade fair</a> this year saw 1,500 new board and card game releases, with 209,000 attendees from around the world.</p> <p>What is it about board games that attracts people, and what emerging trends can we see in the latest releases?</p> <p><strong>Social, challenging, real</strong></p> <p>Four main elements make board games enjoyable for families and <a href="https://boardgamegeek.com/">dedicated</a> hobbyists alike.</p> <p>Firstly, board games are social; they are played with other people. Together, players select a game, learn and interpret the rules, and experience the game. Even a mediocre game can be fun and memorable when you play it with the right group of people.</p> <p>Secondly, boardgames provide an intellectual challenge, or an opportunity for strategic thinking. Understanding rules, finding an optimal placement for a piece, making a move that surprises your opponent – all of these are enormously satisfying. In many modern boardgames, luck becomes something that you mitigate rather than something that arbitrarily determines a winner.</p> <p>Thirdly, board games are material – they are made of things; they have weight, substance, and even beauty.</p> <p>Hobbyists speak of the tactile joy and sensual delight of moving physical game pieces, and of their appreciation for the detailed art on a game box or board. Some go to great lengths to protect their games from damage, even “sleeving” individual cards in plastic to protect them from greasy fingers, spills or wear.</p> <p>Collectable Monopoly sets and other <a href="https://www.workandmoney.com/s/valuable-vintage-board-games-32b5423591a94861">vintage games</a> can fetch hundreds of thousands of dollars at auction.</p> <p>Finally – and this helps to explain the enormous volume of new releases each year – board games provide variety. Beyond “the cult of the new” lurks a desire to have the right game for the right situation – whatever combination of gamers and strategic depth that might require.</p> <p>The game’s theme matters, but so do the mechanisms of its play, as well as the game’s expected duration. Like authors, <a href="https://www.boardgamequest.com/top-10-board-game-designers/">game designers</a> such as Pandemic creator Matt Leacock attract a following of fans who enjoy the style of games that they produce.</p> <p><strong> ‘Escape room’ experiences</strong></p> <p>To meet the demand for variety, designers look for new elements to offer in their games. “<a href="https://nonstoptabletop.com/blog/2017/6/17/tear-up-your-cards-legacy-games-explained">Legacy</a>” style games – where players customise the game as they play it, writing on the board, and discarding rules or game components – create a one-off, individualised variant of a core game. They also invite a group to play together over several play sessions, modifying “their” game throughout the experience.</p> <p>That can feel confronting to those of us who grew up protecting our games from “damage”.</p> <p>If writing on game pieces is confronting, the <a href="https://boardsandpawns.com/2019/05/11/the-complete-list-of-exit-the-game-series/">Exit</a> game series, by German couple <a href="https://opinionatedgamers.com/tag/inka-markus-brand/">Inka and Markus Brand</a> is even more so.</p> <p>These small, inexpensive games aim to replicate the experience of an “<a href="https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Escape_room">escape room</a>” experience by providing the players with a series of puzzles to solve together, as a cooperative activity. To solve the puzzles, however, players must literally destroy the game – cutting up cards, tearing objects, folding and gluing and writing on them.</p> <p>Board games are not fading away in the digital world. They are booming.</p> <p>There’s a lot to be said for these low cost single-play games, which build communication and teamwork skills and – like real-world escape rooms – provide an opportunity for friends and families to work together to solve a common problem.</p> <p>For those who would like to be able to retrace their steps, or to pass a game on to friends, the <a href="https://www.spacecowboys.fr/unlock-demos-english">Unlock!</a> game series takes a different look at the escape room genre by using an integrated app to provide clues and answers.</p> <p>This ensures that the game itself is replayable, even if the players do not wish to revisit the same story.</p> <p>Like Exit games, the Unlock! series offers creative opportunities to combine different objects as part of solving the puzzles, but adds occasional multimedia elements and uses the various properties of a smartphone as problem-solving tools.</p> <p><strong>Real boards, digital play</strong></p> <p>For people who enjoy solving puzzles, there are many other new games that combine <a href="http://www.digra.org/digital-library/publications/digitising-boardgames-issues-and-tensions/">digital technologies</a> with the components and feel of a board game.</p> <p><a href="https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/239188/chronicles-crime">Chronicles of Crime</a> puts players in the role of police detectives, who must travel to different locations to interview suspects, consult experts, and conduct searches.</p> <p>Similarly, <a href="https://detectiveboardgame.com/">Detective</a> sets players to solve a series of crimes. In this game, however, it is not enough to simply learn who committed a crime, it also must be proven by the chain of collected (and registered) evidence registered by players on a custom website.</p> <p>These games reflect the broader development of a small group of games that use digital tools to add new features to board games.</p> <p><a href="https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/286927/one-night-ultimate-super-heroes">One Night Ultimate Superheroes</a> uses an app to run the game, taking on an administrative role that would otherwise have to be performed by a player.</p> <p>The <a href="https://www.fantasyflightgames.com/en/products/the-lord-of-the-rings-journeys-in-middle-earth/">Lord of the Rings: Journeys in Middle-Earth</a> uses an app to speed setup, set game maps, resolve rules and track the players’ progress, streamlining and simplifying play.</p> <p><a href="https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/185709/beasts-balance">Beasts of Balance</a> – a simple, dexterity-based stacking game – uses an app to create a story world which brings the tabletop animal figures to life and encourages players to stack different figures to continue its narrative.</p> <p>These digital tools add variety to the range of boardgames that are available. More than simple battery-enabled games like <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_(game)">Operation</a>, they provide new ways to interact with the game material and mechanisms while still supporting the sociability, intellectual challenge and tangibility so enjoyed by players.</p> <p>Physical board games aren’t going anywhere, but apps add exciting new possibilities to this play space.</p> <p><em>Written by Melissa Rogerson. Republished with permission of <a href="https://theconversation.com/board-games-are-booming-heres-why-and-some-holiday-boredom-busters-128770">The Conversation.</a> </em></p>

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5 funniest words added to the dictionary in the last decade

<p>Language is used to decipher the world in which we live, and that world is ever-changing. So are the words we use to describe it. Dictionaries keep track of words that are important enough to make the cut, including the seemingly strange ones that are culturally relevant at a certain point in time. In the past decade, some of those words have been downright funny. Why? Elin Asklöv, a language expert at Babbel, explains it’s because “we have a feeling they’re made up, and it’s funny to see them in a serious context in a dictionary, when in reality, all words are made up.” Here are a few recent additions to some very serious dictionaries that might surprise you – and make you giggle.</p> <p><strong>Meh</strong></p> <p>In our fast-paced, tech-driven world, it can be tempting to shorten your words, especially when writing online. Social media has a big influence on language, according to Asklöv. Meh is essentially the verbal equivalent of shrugging. It might sound surprising that such a meh word was added to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, but Asklöv isn’t surprised. “A lot of the words they’re adding come from informal settings, like through social media,” she explains. “It then travels to other types of media, gains popularity and becomes common enough to be added to the dictionary.”</p> <p><strong>Twerking</strong></p> <p>Merriam-Webster, which added this word in 2015, defines twerking as “sexually suggestive dancing characterised by rapid, repeated hip thrusts and shaking of the buttocks especially while squatting.” That may be the least hip way to describe twerking, says Kevin Lockett, author of The Digital Handbook 2020. But despite the clinical definition of the dance that was popularised by Miley Cyrus, Lockett gives kudos to the dictionary for including the word at all. After all, even though it seems like a silly thing to put in a formal book of language, twerking has – for better or worse – been culturally important to an entire generation.</p> <p><strong>Bromance</strong></p> <p>This word melds bro and romance to encapsulate “a close non-sexual friendship between men,” according to Merriam-Webster. Bromances are categorised by back-slap hugs and exchanges of “I love you, man,” with the emphasis on man. Asklöv points out that from a traditional gender-role perspective, the concept of a bromance is comical – and maybe a bit mocking. Right or wrong, that’s because it characterises a close relationship and emotions that men typically (or, rather, stereotypically) don’t show. But once a bromance is official, men can let their friendship flag fly.</p> <p><strong>Coot</strong></p> <p>This word has two meanings: an aquatic bird and an eccentric old man. The nature of the bird – small and unassuming – has been adopted to describe an older person of simple manners. But it’s usually used in conjunction with the word crazy, so it’s not quite as innocuous as that definition may sound. If you see such a person talking to himself near the coot pond, don’t worry – he’s just a crazy old coot. Although this word has been in existence since the 15th century, it was only added to the Oxford English Dictionary in 2014.</p> <p><strong>Scrumdiddlyumptious</strong></p> <p>You might be able to guess what this word means, but let’s see what the experts have to say. “Extremely scrumptious, excellent, splendid; (esp. of food) delicious” is how the Oxford English Dictionary defines it. This word was first used by novelist Roald Dahl and popularised in <em>Charlie and the Chocolate Factory</em>, and it was added to the dictionary in 2016.</p> <p><em>Written by Isabelle Tavares. This article first appeared in </em><a href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/true-stories-lifestyle/our-language/12-funniest-words-added-to-the-dictionary-in-the-last-decade?slide=all"><em>Reader’s Digest</em></a><em>. For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, </em><a href="http://readersdigest.innovations.com.au/c/readersdigestemailsubscribe?utm_source=over60&amp;utm_medium=articles&amp;utm_campaign=RDSUB&amp;keycode=WRA87V"><em>here’s our best subscription offer.</em></a><span><em> </em></span></p>

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