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History

 

Have you ever been part of an actual news event?  Most of us have.  Did you think that the way it was reported accurately represented what happened?  Unless you were the reporter I doubt that you did.  Yet we daily read, or watch on TV, this approximation of events and accept it as if it was true.   Indeed, if you ask ten independent witnesses or participants you are famously likely to get ten versions or perspectives.

Before engaging in the recollections, reminiscences and gossip we call 'History' it's a good idea to forewarn readers or interlocutors with a disclaimer. 

The text should contain phrases like 'and so we agreed'; 'as I remember'; 'that's what I was told'; 'according to a witness'; and 'so the official version claims'. 

The disclaimer should make it clear that none of these confirm incontrovertibly what actually happened.  That someone believes something to be true does not make it true.  Worse, it is possible that they may say it without believing or meaning it, they may be concocting imaginatively or lying, and this may be indistinguishable to us from true belief or honest intent.

Irrespective of any historical account, what actually happened irrevocably changed the future; our more recent past; and our present.  There are world changing events occurring all the time because that's what 'time' is.  Most of these pass unremarked, unnoticed by 'history'.  As I have repeatedly asserted you would not be reading this now if what actually happened had not gone exactly as it did.  And you would not be here at all if the exact past had not been as it was to the moment of your conception.  This depended as much on 'historical' events, like Hitler and the Jewish holocaust; or the impact of Isaac Newton or Genghis Kahn as it depends on your ancestor slipping on the bathroom floor or their disappointment in a meal. 

For a more detailed argument follow this link...

But 'History', the story told and agreed by the 'winner' retrospective to an event, is independently relevant in so far as it alters the behaviour of those that act afterwards.  History as a story, true or not, about an event influences perceptions and future decisions. 

 

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Travel

South Korea & China

March 2016

 

 

South Korea

 

 

I hadn't written up our trip to South Korea (in March 2016) but Google Pictures gratuitously put an album together from my Cloud library so I was motivated to add a few words and put it up on my Website.  Normally I would use selected images to illustrate observations about a place visited.  This is the other way about, with a lot of images that I may not have otherwise chosen.  It requires you to go to the link below if you want to see pictures. You may find some of the images interesting and want to by-pass others quickly. Your choice. In addition to the album, Google generated a short movie in an 8mm style - complete with dust flecks. You can see this by clicking the last frame, at the bottom of the album.

A few days in Seoul were followed by travels around the country, helpfully illustrated in the album by Google generated maps: a picture is worth a thousand words; ending back in Seoul before spending a few days in China on the way home to OZ. 

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Fiction, Recollections & News

The new James Bond

 

 

It was raining in the mountains on Easter Saturday.

We'd decided to take a couple of days break in the Blue Mountains and do some walking. But on Saturday it poured.  In the morning we walked two kilometres from Katoomba to more up-market and trendy Leura for morning coffee and got very wet.

After a train journey to Mount Victoria and back to dry out and then lunch in the Irish Pub, with a Cider and Guinness, we decided against another soaking and explored the Katoomba antique stores and bookshops instead.  In one I found and bought an unread James Bond book.  But not by the real Ian Fleming. 

Ian Fleming died in 1964 at the young age of fifty-six and I'd read all his so I knew 'Devil May Care' was new.  This one is by Sebastian Faulks, known for his novel Birdsong, 'writing as Ian Fleming' in 2008.

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Opinions and Philosophy

Manufacturing in Australia

Originally written in August 2011 - it might have been yesterday - so little has changed.

 

 

Manufacturing viability is back in the news.

The loss of manufacturing jobs in the steel industry has been a rallying point for unions and employers' groups. The trigger was the announcement of the closure of the No 6 blast furnace at the BlueScope plant at Port Kembla.  This furnace is well into its present campaign and would have eventually required a very costly reline to keep operating.  The company says the loss of export sales does not justify its continued operation. The  remaining No 5 blast furnace underwent a major reline in 2009.  The immediate impact of the closure will be a halving of iron production; and correspondingly of downstream steel manufacture. BlueScope will also close the aging strip-rolling facility at Western Port in Victoria, originally designed to meet the automotive demand in Victoria and South Australia.

800 jobs will go at Port Kembla, 200 at Western Port and another 400 from local contractors.  The other Australian steelmaker OneSteel also recently announced a workforce reduction of 400 jobs.

This announcement has reignited the 20th Century free trade versus protectionist economic and political debate. Labor backbenchers and the Greens want a Parliamentary enquiry. The Prime Minister who reportedly initially agreed has now, perhaps smelling trouble, demurred.

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