The Conversation (270)

The ABC is not siphoning audiences from Fairfax

Claims that ABC News siphons readers away from Fairfax publications are unfounded. AAP Image/Joel CarrettFairfax CEO Greg Hywood has been busy. His company's announcement on 3 May 2017 that Fairfax would sack 125 of its newsroom staff led to Sydney Morning Herald and The Age journalists going on ...

When Trump met NATO: Blunt talk and meaningful silences

World leaders met in Brussels for the NATO Summit 2017. AP Photo/Matt Dunham, PooDonald Trump's electoral campaign was notable for his abrasive statements and blunt assessments about a variety of issues. Among his more unforgettable claims was his suggestion that NATO was obsolete.' This comment was ...

Poor and middle-income families need a better way than 529s to save for college

A college education is increasingly necessary for success in today's economy. It's also increasingly expensive. Americans with a college degree earn, on average, US$1 million more over the course of their lives than those without one. At the same time, the cost to attend a four-year school has ...

How would engineers build the Golden Gate Bridge today?

What could be better? Uladzik Kryhin via Shutterstock.com.Ever since the Golden Gate Bridge opened to traffic on May 27, 1937, it's been an iconic symbol on the American landscape. By 1870, people had realized the necessity of building a bridge spanning the Golden Gate Strait to connect the city of ...

Faith, dance, and truth: the art of 2017 Red Ochre award-winner Ken Thaiday Snr

Ken Thaiday's dance machines layer people, animal, land and sea. CarriageworksOver the last three decades, the ingenious sculptural telling of stories from the island of Erub has propelled Ken Thaiday Snr from being a maker of Torres Strait dance objects to an internationally acclaimed artist. Today ...

Are UK pollsters headed for another embarrassing election?

Following the political surprises of 2015 and 2016, there has been much reflection and debate on the accuracy of the polls in the run-up to the impending snap-election of 2017. It is fair to say that, although perhaps somewhat unfair on the pollsters, the EU referendum and US presidential election ...

Homeless vets with families: An untold part of veterans' struggles

A homeless Vietnam vet begs for money on a Boston street in 2012. Joseph Sohm/Shutterstcok.comIn 2010, the Obama administration announced the ambitious goal of ending homelessness among veterans. Over the last year, the number of veterans who are homeless dropped 30 percent in Los Angeles County. ...

Diplomat in chief: How did Trump do on his first Middle East visit?

President Donald Trump received both pageantry and a warm reception on his first trip to the Middle East. Whether bowing his head to receive the King Abdulaziz al Saud Collar from Saudi Arabian King Salman, gathering around the glowing orb' at the Global Center for Combating Extremist Ideology in ...

Cut immigration and the UK's economic prospects will just get worse – here's why

After having arguably been one of the most powerful fear factors exploited by the Leave campaign during the EU referendum, the debate on immigration is continuing apace during the UK general election campaign. Given its central role in the campaign thus far, immigration will clearly continue to ...

The Conversation Quiz – #13

titiya chuaichat / shutterstock

Are we really seeing the rise of a 'new jihad'? It's just not that simple

In a BBC interview just after the recent Manchester suicide bombing, French scholar Gilles Kepel offered a three-stage chronology of the development jihadi' activism. The first stage he identified emerged in 1979, around the time of the Iranian revolution, and failed to mobilise the pious masses. It ...

What science can reveal about the psychological profiles of terrorists

Osama bin Laden and his advisor Ayman al Zawahiri. Hamid Mir/wikipedia, CC BY-SAWhat went though the mind of the suicide bomber Salman Abedi just before he blew himself up in Manchester this week, killing 22 people? We often dismiss terrorists as non-humans, monsters, at first. But when we learn ...

Djuna Barnes: the 'lesbian' writer who rejected lesbianism

Writer Solita Solano and Djuna Barnes in Paris, 1920s. Wikipedia CommonsI'm not a lesbian, I just loved Thelma.' What did the modernist author Djuna Barnes mean by this? And why has this quote – in which the elderly Barnes managed to sound both closeted and confessional – become one of her ...

Why Montana just elected Greg Gianforte, a man charged with assault, to Congress

Until just about 24 hours before the polls closed, the race for Montana's sole congressional seat seemed to be focused on health care, Donald Trump and gun rights. Republican businessman Greg Gianforte appeared to be headed for a likely victory in the race against another political newcomer, ...

Fighting for your knife: law, religion and parmesan in multicultural Italy

ShutterstockOn May 15 2017, the Italian Court of Cassation, the highest court of appeal, issued a verdict ruling that Sikh men in Italy cannot carry the kirpan, the sacred dagger that represents one of the five holy customs Sikhs must observe. The appeal had been lodged by Jatinder Singh, a 32-year ...

Anger and youth fan flames of terror – not race and religion

A game of football in Douma, Syria, where prospects for many youngsters look bleak. EPA ImagesThe bombing of Manchester Arena on May 22 struck the very heart of British society. It was a horrific, direct assault on the innocent and the vulnerable. Many of the victims were children and young people, ...

Google's latest Go victory shows machines are no longer just learning, they're teaching

Just over 20 years ago was the first time a computer beat a human world champion in a chess match, when IBM's Deep Blue supercomputer beat Gary Kasparov in a narrow victory of 3Β½ games to 2Β½. Just under a decade later, machines were deemed to have conquered the game of chess when Deep Fritz, a ...

Welsh Labour is distancing itself from Corbyn but its manifesto reveals shared ambitions

The 2017 general election is being portrayed as a battle between Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn for the role of prime minister. But across the border in Wales a very different story is unfolding. Wales, particularly in the south, is known as the traditional Labour heartland. Welsh Labour currently ...

Happy 100th birthday, Mr President: how JFK's image and legacy have endured

JFK remains among the most charismatic presidents in US history. Florida Memory, State Library of FloridaJohn F Kennedy was born 100 years ago on May 29, 1917. While the achievements of his presidency and the content of his character have been subjects of contestation among historians and political ...

Tory manifesto's NHS and social care promises – do they add up?

Having presided over annual funding increases that are among the lowest in the history of the English NHS, the Conservative manifesto offers less generous funding increases over the next five years than the other parties. Even this offer should not be taken at face value. Just as in their 2015 ...

Listening to the heart: what now for Indigenous recognition after the Uluru summit?

The statement from the constitutional convention at Uluru reflects long-held Indigenous aspirations. AAP/Lucy Hughes JonesDelegates at the First Nations Constitutional Convention at Uluru have issued a powerful statement from the heart'. They called for the establishment of a First Nations Voice' ...

Has Everest's iconic Hillary Step really collapsed? Here's the science

Everest: The Hillary Step is just 100 metres below the summit. ShutterstockThe Hillary Step, a rocky outcrop at 8,770m, just beneath the summit of Everest , has finally succumbed to gravity and partially collapsed. At least it has according to mountaineer Tim Mosedale, who climbed the mountain this ...

Voters with learning disabilities are being excluded from this election

There are more than 1m people with learning disabilities in the UK and the number is expected to increase. These are people who face exclusion from society more than ever – particularly when it comes to voting. Not enough is done to enable their participation in the most basic democratic right ...

At a time of great change, Theresa May offers nothing but the status quo

Since the advent of New Labour in 1997, a common trope of general election campaigns has been the promise of a new way of doing politics. Given the current state of flux in British politics, the 2017 general election seems to offer party leaders a ripe opportunity to forge a bold, new confident ...

The problem of treating play like work – how esports can harm well-being

Esports has become big business. BagoGames/ CC BYWe are mid-way through the annual esports calendar and South Korean team SK Telecom 1 recently scored a resounding victory at the Mid-Seasonal Invitational. The MSI, as it's known, is a tournament where teams compete to win the video game League of ...

Three ideas on how the new WHO DG can build health systems from the bottom up

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the new Director-General of the World Health Organisation Reuters/Denis BalibouseDr Tedros Ghebreyesus Adhanom is the first African to become the director-general of the World Health Organisation . He is also the first non-physician to head up the United Nations' body. He ...

Palestinian prisoners continue their hunger strike as Israel refuses to budge

As the massive Palestinian prisoners' hunger strike enters its second month, there are more than 1,300 detainees on hunger strike in Israeli prisons. More and more family members and supporters are gathering in solidarity tents' throughout the West Bank and Gaza. I visited one such tent in Ramallah. ...

Value of Australian sport: the National Sports Plan

AAP/Tracey NearmyGreg Hunt, the minister for health and the minister for sport, recently announced a federal government initiative to develop a National Sports Plan. This is not a new idea. The Labor government's independent sport panel in 2009, chaired by David Crawford, concluded: Australia does ...

Labour surges into contention for UK general election

With two weeks to go until the 8 June UK general election, current polls give the Conservatives about 45%, followed by Labour on 34%, the Liberal Democrats on 8%, and the UK Independence Party has fallen below 5%. While the Conservative 11-point lead is large, Labour has risen from about 25% at the ...

In Argentina, the Supreme Court spurs national outrage with leniency for a 'Dirty War' criminal

In post-dictatorship Argentina, citizens, like the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo, have been the guardians of justice. Argentine Ministry of Culture/ streets of Argentina's cities went white on May 10 as tens of thousands donned the iconic headscarf of the Mothers and Grandmothers of the Plaza de ...

Is China the potential driver of a new wave of globalisation?

The final part of our series Globalisation Under Pressure considers how China is trying to take a leading role in continued global integration with its Belt and Road Initiative, and the obstacles it faces. Since the 2008 global financial crisis – and with a particular impetus after Xi Jinping ...

Trump budget's cuts to international aid put global health security at risk

US President Donald Trump's first budget request for fiscal year 2018 includes drastic cuts for diplomacy and overseas aid , and slashes US$4.6 billion from humanitarian assistance and global health spending. In the last decade, the United States has been the leading funder for preparing and ...

In razing its modernist buildings, Iran is erasing its past Western influence

A view of Tehran, with its mix of traditional and modern design. JΓΈrn Eriksson/Flick, CC BY-NDHassan Rouhani's re-election as Iran's president has rekindled hope for liberals in the country. During his first term, Iran began edging closer to the West, and his positions on both international and ...

The NHMRC program grant overhaul: will it change the medical research landscape in Australia?

Medical researchers should be conducting life-saving research, not spending half their time writing grants. from www.shutterstock.comMedical research in Australia is facing some unprecedented challenges. Investment in the National and Medical Research Council has been flat for years and since 2011, ...

Scientists are accidentally helping poachers drive rare species to extinction

The beautiful Chinese cave gecko, or Goniurosaurus luii, is highly prized by poachers Carola JuckniesIf you open Google and start typing Chinese cave gecko', the text will auto-populate to Chinese cave gecko for sale' – just US$150, with delivery. This extremely rare species is just one of an ...

VIDEO: Michelle Grattan on the fate of budget measures in the Senate

AAP/Brendan Esposito The University of Canberra's vice-chancellor and president, professor Deep Saini, and professorial fellow Michelle Grattan discuss the week in politics, including how the budget bills will go in the Senate, whether the government will get support from the Greens to pass its ...

Codswallop: how to stop boxing deaths and brain injury with a simple rule

If hitting below the belt, not the head, was the aim, then brain damage from boxing would disappear overnight. from www.shutterstock.comThe coronial inquest in Sydney into the death by subdural haematoma of 28-year-old boxer Davey Browne has yet again seen the same predictable response about how we ...

Call for mandatory screening to cut the risk of malnutrition in older people

A new study calls for screening to lower the risk of malnutrition for older people. from www.shutterstock.com, CC BY-SAOld age comes with many challenges, including concerning levels of malnutrition. The issue is particularly worrying among older people recently admitted to residential care. Better ...

No problem too big #1: Artificial intelligence and killer robots

Imagine a world where artificial intelligence is in control and humans are brink of extinction. What went wrong? What could we have done? ShutterstockThis is the first episode of a special Speaking With podcast series titled No Problem Too Big, where a panel of artists and researchers speculate on ...

Bogan in the eye of the beholder: the curious case of Rebel Wilson

The current legal action between Bauer Media and actress Rebel Wilson has created yet another opportunity for the notion of the bogan' to rear its head in popular media. Wilson has sued Bauer Media for defamation following the publication of a series of articles that included claims Wilson lied ...

When image trumps ideology: How JFK created the template for the modern presidency

President John F. Kennedy watches as planes conduct anti-sub operations during maneuvers off the North Carolina coast in April 1962. Associated PressEven at John F. Kennedy's centennial on May 29, 2017, the 35th president remains an enigma. We still struggle to come to a clear consensus about a ...

Why a monthly period is especially hard for millions of women and girls around the world

Girls in Tanzania listen to an instructor who is teaching them about menstruation. From menstrualhygieneday.orgMillions of girls and women are displaced and on the move right now globally – and the Trump administration's proposed drastic cuts to humanitarian aid will have a major impact on these ...

How do the chemicals in sunscreen protect our skin from damage?

Don't skimp on the SPF. Sabphoto via Shutterstock.comNot so long ago, people like my Aunt Muriel thought of sunburn as a necessary evil on the way to a good base tan.' She used to slather on the baby oil while using a large reflector to bake away. Aunt Muriel's mantra when the inevitable burn and ...

Designing games that change perceptions, opinions and even players' real-life actions

In 1904, Lizzie Magie patented The Landlord's Game,' a board game about property ownership, with the specific goal of teaching players about how a system of land grabbing impoverishes tenants and enriches property owners. The game, which went on to become the mass-market classic Monopoly,' was the ...

Trump says the IRS regulates churches too much. Here's why he's wrong

Who enforces regulations that bar churches from engaging in politics? www.shutterstock.comPresident Donald Trump recently signed an executive order that he said would keep his campaign promise to defend religious groups from the IRS when they engage in political speech. Like other experts, I believe ...

JFK at 100: Why we still cherish his memory

President Kennedy and First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy on Dec. 15, 1961. White House PhotographsOn May 29, the nation commemorates the 100th anniversary of John F. Kennedy's birth. It's worth noting on this occasion that even now, more than 50 years after his death, Kennedy is widely regarded as one of ...

The song that had one British politician wishing for the Sex Pistols' 'sudden death'

Since punk rock's earliest days, the genre has sought to challenge social norms and traditions. But when the Sex Pistols came out with God Save the Queen' 40 years ago, on May 27, 1977, it was instantly greeted with widespread, visceral condemnation. Released only months after the band's infamous ...

Brazil plunges once more into political crisis, jeopardizing economic recovery

Demonstrations demanding Temer's removal from office have been growing. AP Photo/Eraldo PeresBrazil's massive corruption scandal – which has brought down dozens of politicians and business leaders – has ensnared its latest victim: President Michel Temer, who got the job after his predecessor was ...

Defying Empire: the legacy of 1967

Brenda L. Croft shut/mouth/scream 2016 Courtesy of the artist and Stills GalleryThe Third National Indigenous Art Triennial: Defying Empire at the National Gallery of Australia would have been unimaginable 50 years ago. Despite the widespread goodwill towards Aboriginal people in 1967, there was ...

Why is Australian 15-year-olds' financial literacy declining?

Teenagers don't know as much as they should about managing money. from shutterstock.com Around a fifth of 15-year-olds in Australia do not have basic financial literacy, according to a new OECD Programme for International Student Assessment financial literacy assessment results report. Financial ...