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Trust Me, I'm An Expert
28 minutes | a year ago
250 years since Captain Cook landed in Australia, it's time to acknowledge the violence of first encounters
DAVID CROSLING/AAPCaptain James Cook arrived in the Pacific 250 years ago, triggering British colonisation of the region. We’re asking researchers to reflect on what happened and how it shapes us today. You can see other stories in the series here and an interactive here. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander listeners should be aware the podcast accompanying this story contains the names of people who are deceased. It’s 250 years since Captain James Cook set foot in Australia, and there’s a growing push to fully acknowledge the violence of Australia’s colonial past. On today’s episode of the podcast, historian Kate Darian-Smith of the University of Tasmania explains that the way Australia has commemorated Cook’s arrival has changed over time – from military displays in 1870 to waning interest in Cook in the 1950s, followed by the fever-pitch celebrations of 1970. Now, though, a more nuanced debate is required, she says, adding that it’s time to discuss the violence that Cook’s crew meted out to Indigenous people after stepping ashore at Botany Bay. “I think discussing those violent moments is quite confronting for many Australians, but also sits within wider discussions about Aboriginal rights and equality in today’s Australia,” Darian-Smith told The Conversation’s Phoebe Roth. In her companion essay here, co-authored with Katrina Schlunke, Darian-Smith argues many of the popular “re-enactments” of national “foundation moments” in Australia’s past have elements of fantasy, compressing time and history into palatable narratives for mainstream Australia. New to podcasts? Everything you need to know about how to listen to a podcast is here. Additional audio credits Kindergarten by Unkle Ho, from Elefant Traks. Podcast episode recorded by Phoebe Roth and edited by Sophia Morris. Tasfilm report on the 1970 commemorations of Cook’s arrival. 1970 news report of protest. Lead image David Crosling/AAP Read more: As we celebrate the rediscovery of the Endeavour let's acknowledge its complicated legacy
30 minutes | a year ago
An honest reckoning with Captain Cook's legacy won't heal things overnight. But it's a start
Uncle Fred Deeral as little old man in the film The Message, by Zakpage, to be shown at the National Museum of Australia in April. Nik Lachajczak of Zakpage, Author provided (No reuse)Captain James Cook arrived in the Pacific 250 years ago, triggering British colonisation of the region. We’re asking researchers to reflect on what happened and how it shapes us today. You can see other stories in the series here and an interactive here. Editor’s note: This is an edited transcript of an interview with John Maynard for our podcast Trust Me, I’m An Expert. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander readers are advised this article contains names of deceased people. There are a multitude of Aboriginal oral memories about Captain James Cook, right across the continent. As the research from Deborah Bird Rose shows, many Aboriginal people in remote locations are certainly under the impression that Cook came there as well, shooting people in a kind of Cook-led invasion of Australia. Many of these communities, of course, never met James Cook; the man never even went there. But the deep impact of James Cook that spread across the country and he came to represent the bogeyman for Aboriginal Australia. Even back in the Protection and Welfare Board days, a government car would turn up and Aboriginal people would be running around screaming, “Lookie, lookie, here comes Cookie!” I wrote about Uncle Ray Rose, sadly recently departed, who’d had a stroke. Someone said, “How do you feel?” And he said, “No good. I’m Captain Cooked.” Cook, wherever he went up the coast, was giving names where names already existed. Yuin oral memory in the south coast of NSW gives the example of what they called Gulaga and Cook called “Mount Dromedary”: […] that name can be seen as the first of the changes that come for our people […] Cook’s maps were very good, but they did not show our names for places. He didn’t ask us. Cook has been incorporated into songs, jokes, stories and Aboriginal oral histories right across the country. Why? I think it’s an Aboriginal response to the way we’ve been taught about our history. Read more: Captain Cook wanted to introduce British justice to Indigenous people. Instead, he became increasingly cruel and violent Myth-making persists but a shift is underway I came through a school system of the 50s and 60s, and we weren’t weren’t even mentioned in the history books except as a people belonging to the Stone Age or as a dying race. It was all about discoverers, explorers, settlers and Phar Lap or Don Bradman. But us Aboriginal people? Not there. We had this high exposure of the public celebration of Cook, the statues of Cook, the reenactments of Cook – it was really in your face. For Aboriginal people, how do we make sense of all of this, faced with the reality of our experience and the catastrophic impact? We’ve got to make sense of it the best way we can, and I think that’s why Cook turns up in so many oral histories. I think wider Australia is moving towards a more balanced understanding of our history. Lots of people now recognise the richest cultural treasure the country possesses is 65,000 years of Aboriginal cultural connection to this continent. That’s unlike anywhere else in the world. I mean no disrespect, but 250 years is a drop in a lake compared to 65,000 years. From our perspective, in fact, we’ve always been here. Our people came out of the Dreamtime of the creative ancestors and lived and kept the Earth as it was in the very first day. With global warming, rising sea levels, rising temperatures and catastrophic storms, Aboriginal people did keep the Earth as it was in the very first day to ensure that it was passed to each surviving generation. There was going to be a (now-cancelled) circumnavigation of Australia in the official proceedings this year, which the prime minister supported. But James Cook didn’t circumnavigate Australia. He only sailed up the east coast. So that’s creating more myths again, which is a senseless way to go. A painting of Captain Cook and the Endeavour journal on display at the National Library of Australia. AAP/ALAN PORRITT ‘With the consent of the Natives to take possession’ Personally, I have high regard for James Cook as a navigator, as a cartographer, and certainly as an inspiring captain of his crew. He encouraged incredible loyalty among those that sailed with him on those three voyages. And that has to be recognised. But against that, of course, is the reality that he was given secret instructions by the Navy to: With the consent of the Natives to take possession of the convenient situations in the country in the name of the king of Great Britain. Well, consent was never given. When they went ashore at Botany Bay, two Aboriginal men brandished spears and made it quite clear they didn’t want him there. Those men were wounded and Cook was one of those firing a musket. There was no gaining any consent when he sailed on to Possession Island and planted that flag down. Totally the opposite, in fact. And the most insightful viewpoint is from Cook himself, who wrote that: all they seem’d to want was for us to be gone. Cook’s background gave him insight James Cook wasn’t your normal British naval officer of that time period. To get into such a position, you normally had to be born into the right family, to come from money and privilege. James Cook was none of those things. He came from a poor family. His father was a labourer. Cook got to where he was by skill, endeavour, and, unquestionably, because he was a very smart man and brilliant at sea. But it’s also from that background that he’s able to offer insight. There’s an incredible quotation of Cook’s where he says of Aboriginal people: They live in a Tranquillity which is not disturb’d by the Inequality of Condition… they live in a warm and fine Climate and enjoy a very wholsome Air. Now, Cook is comparing what he is seeing in Australia with life back Britain, where there is an incredible amount of inequality. London, at the time, was filthy. Sewerage pouring through the streets. Disease was rife. Underprivilege is everywhere. In Australia, though, Cook sees what to him looks like this incredible egalitarian society and it makes an impact on him because of where he comes from. But deeper misunderstandings persisted. In what’s now called Cooktown there are, at first, amicable relationships with the Guugu Yimithirr people, but when they come aboard the Endeavour they see this incredible profusion of turtles that the crew has captured. They’re probably thinking, “these are our turtles.” They would quite happily share some of those turtles but the Bristish response is: you get none. So the Guugu Yimithirr people go off the ship and set the grass on fire. Eventually, there’s a kind of peace settlement but the incident reveals a complete blindness on the part of the British to the idea of reciprocity in Aboriginal society. Read more: 'They are all dead': for Indigenous people, Cook's voyage of 'discovery' was a ghostly visitation A collision of catastrophic proportions The impact of 1770 has never eased for Aboriginal people. It was a collision of catastrophic proportions. The whole impact of 1788 – of invasion, dispossession, cultural destruction, occupation onto assimilation, segregation – all of these things that came after 1770. Anything you want to measure – Aboriginal health, education, employment, housing, youth suicide, incarceration – we have the worst stats. That has been a continuation, a reality of the failure of government to recognise what has happened in the past and actually do something about it in the present to fix it for the future. We’ve had decades and decades of governments saying to us, “We know what’s best for you.” But the fact is that when it comes to Aboriginal well being, the only people to listen to are Aboriginal people and we’ve never been put in the position. We’ve been raising our voices for a long time now, but some people see that as a threat and are not prepared to listen. An honest reckoning of the reality of Cook and what came after won’t heal things overnight. But it’s a starting point, from which we can join hands and walk together toward a shared future. A balanced understanding of the past will help us build a future – it is of critical importance. New to podcasts? Everything you need to know about how to listen to a podcast is here. Additional audio credits Kindergarten by Unkle Ho, from Elefant Traks. Marimba On the Loose by Daniel Birch, from Free Music Archive. Podcast episode recorded and edited by Sunanda Creagh. Lead image Uncle Fred Deeral as little old man in the film The Message, a film by Zakpage, to be shown at the National Museum of Australia in April. Nik Lachajczak of Zakpage.
18 minutes | a year ago
Nearly all your devices run on lithium batteries. Here's a Nobel Prizewinner on his part in their invention – and their future
Lithium ion batteries revolutionised the way we use, manufacture and charge our devices. They’re used to power mobile phones, laptops and even electric cars. ShutterstockBritish-born scientist M. Stanley Whittingham, of Binghamton University, was one of three scientists who won the 2019 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for their work developing lithium-ion batteries. L-R: John Goodenough; Stanley Whittingham; Akira Yoshino, the three scientists who won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry this year for their work developing lithium-ion batteries. Niklas Elmehed/Royal Swedish Acad. Sci. Maybe you know exactly what a lithium-ion battery is but even if you don’t, chances are you’re carrying one right now. They’re the batteries used to power mobile phones, laptops and even electric cars. When it comes to energy storage, they’re vastly more powerful than conventional batteries and you can recharge them many more times. Their widespread use is driving global demand for the metal lithium – demand that Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese this week said Australia should do more to meet. The University of Queensland’s Mark Blaskovich, who trained in chemistry and penned this article about Whittingham’s selection for the chemistry Nobel Prize, sat down with the award-winner this week. They discussed what the future of battery science may hold and how we might address some of the environmental and fire risks around lithium-ion batteries. He began by asking M. Stanley Whittingham how lithium batteries differ from conventional, lead-acid batteries, like the kind you might find in your car. Read more: 'Highly charged story': chemistry Nobel goes to inventors of lithium-ion batteries New to podcasts? Podcasts are often best enjoyed using a podcast app. All iPhones come with the Apple Podcasts app already installed, or you may want to listen and subscribe on another app such as Pocket Casts (click here to listen to Trust Me, I’m An Expert on Pocket Casts). You can also hear us on Stitcher, Spotify or any of the apps below. Just pick a service from one of those listed below and click on the icon to find Trust Me, I’m An Expert. Read more: Trust Me, I'm An Expert: what science says about how to lose weight and whether you really need to Additional credits Recording and production assistance by Thea Blaskovich Kindergarten by Unkle Ho, from Elefant Traks. Announcement of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2019 Images Shutterstock
30 minutes | 2 years ago
Nimbin before and after: local voices on how the 1973 Aquarius Festival changed a town forever
A scene at the Aquarius Festival, Nimbin, 1973. Flickr/Harry Watson Smith, CC BY-SA, CC BY-SAToday, Trust Me, I’m An Expert brings you a special episode carried across from another Conversation podcast, Essays On Air. In the north-east corner of Australia’s most populous state of New South Wales is a small former dairying and banana farming community. Today, however, that village is unrecognisable. Nimbin is now widely acknowledged as Australia’s counter-cultural capital, a sister city to both Woodstock in New York State and Freetown Christiania in Denmark. Among Nimbin’s tourist attractions today are its Hemp Embassy and the annual Mardi Grass festival in early May, which argues for the legislation of marijuana for personal and medicinal use. The village’s transformation from a rural farming community to its present form can be traced to 1973, when Nimbin became the unlikely host of the Aquarius Festival – a counter-culture arts and music gathering presented by the radical Australian Union of Students. A scene from the Aquarius Festival in Nimbin, 1973. Flickr/harryws20/Harry Watson Smith, CC BY Why is Nimbin the way it is? These social and political origins of the commodified hippie culture on display today in Nimbin have become less apparent to visitors and more recent migrants to the region. Visitors, especially those arriving on bus tours, tend to shop, buy coffee and leave again. To counter this, the Nimbin Tourism Office commissioned me in 2016 to produce an app-based audio walk to promote a deeper engagement for tourists with the town and help answer the question: why is Nimbin the way it is? Here’s a snippet: Local voices on how the 1973 Aquarius Festival changed Nimbin forever. Jeanti St Clair, CC BY2.44 MB (download) The audio walk, an adapted version of which features on today’s episode of Essays On Air, was published onto the GPS-enabled mobile phone app Soundtrails. Soundtrails is owned by The Story Project, an Australian organisation focusing on oral history-based audio walks and they’ve published more than a dozen such walks in regional Australia. A scene from the Aquarius Festival in Nimbin, 1973. Flickr/Harry Watson Smith/harryws20, CC BY Anyone with a smartphone can access it by downloading the app and the Nimbin audio walk and following the route through the village’s streets and parklands. Headphones provide the best experience. The stories I share with you today are excerpts from the Nimbin Soundtrail and are drawn from consultations and interviews with more than 60 Nimbin residents, Aquarius Festival participants and Indigenous elders. Here, I’ve tried to reconnect the past and the present to make clear how Nimbin became the counter-cultural capital that it is. And the caveat is that many of the events in this documentary walk happened more than 40 years ago. I’ve recognised that memories have merged with other retellings that evolved over the years and the definitive truth is perhaps unavailable. Any version of Nimbin’s counter-culture will be an incomplete history. The nine months it took me to gather these stories and make some sense of how they fitted together were rewarding. And while there are some who might dispute the accounts of what happened in these stories, others agree that it’s a fair record of Nimbin contemporary history. The full Nimbin soundtrack can be heard by downloading the Soundtrails app and listening here. And if you are ever in the area, I invite you to take a day out, visit and listen to the stories in town. A crowd at the Nimbin Hotel during the Aquarius Festival, Nimbin, 1973. Flickr/Harry Watson Smith, CC BY New to podcasts? Podcasts are often best enjoyed using a podcast app. All iPhones come with the Apple Podcasts app already installed, or you may want to listen and subscribe on another app such as Pocket Casts (click here to listen to Essays On Air on Pocket Casts). You can also hear us on PlayerFM or any of the apps below. Just pick a service from one of those listed below and click on the icon to find Essays On Air. Additional audio Recording and editing by Jeanti St Clair from Southern Cross University. This podcast contains excerpts from the Nimbin Soundtrail, used with grateful permission from The Story Project/Soundtrails. See the app for the walk’s full credit list. Selections of original music from the Nimbin Soundtrail by Neil Pike. Excerpt from Deke Naptar’s Culture, Culture from Necroscopix (1970-1981), Free Music Archive Fair Use Excerpts: Nimbin Mardi Grass 2018 parade ABC, Vietnam Lottery, 1965 Pathé Australians Against War 1966 ABC, This Day Tonight, anti-Vietnam War Moratoriam, 1970 Gough Whitlam policy speech, 1972 It’s Time, ALP campaign song, 1972 Snow by David Szesztay Jeanti St Clair would like to again thank Lismore City Council and Nimbin Tourism for commissioning the Nimbin Soundtrail, and all the many contributors to the audio walk. Additional reading/listening Nimbin Soundtrail Image Lead image from Flickr/harryws20/Harry Watson Smith/, published under Creative Commons. Correction: An earlier version of this article included a caption that described the 1973 Aquarius Festival as the “first”. In fact, it was the first Aquarius Festival in Nimbin, and followed other Aquarius festivals that had taken place on university campuses. Jeanti St Clair has consulted in the past for Soundtrails as an associate producer. She was paid by Lismore City Council to produce the audio walk. She does not have any ongoing financial benefit from Soundtrails or Lismore City Council.
53 minutes | 2 years ago
The myth of 'the Queensland voter', Australia's trust deficit, and the path to Indigenous recognition
Today we're asking: what Queensland seats are the ones to watch on election night? How to give Indigenous Australians a true voice in politics? And how can we improve trust in the political system? ShutterstockToday we’re bringing you a special discussion about the federal election that took place at the launch of a book of Conversation essays, Advancing Australia: Ideas for a Better Country. Recorded at Avid Reader bookshop in Brisbane on April 17, the discussion featured Indigenous academic lawyer Eddie Synot from Griffith University and Griffith’s Dean of Engagement, Professor Anne Tiernan. Eddie Synot is currently completing his PhD, taking a hard look at the liberal rights discourse of Indigenous recognition, and has also taught Indigenous Studies. And political scientist Anne Tiernan has worked in and advised Australian governments at all levels, so she knows politics from the inside out. Together with Liz Minchin, the Executive Editor of The Conversation Australia & New Zealand, the panel covered topics including the Queensland seats to watch on election night, how to give Indigenous Australians a true voice in politics, and how to improve trust in the political system. Today’s episode was recorded by Michael Adams from Griffith University. Read more: Our Advancing Australia series is about starting a conversation about what really matters New to podcasts? Podcasts are often best enjoyed using a podcast app. All iPhones come with the Apple Podcasts app already installed, or you may want to listen and subscribe on another app such as Pocket Casts (click here to listen to Trust Me, I’m An Expert on Pocket Casts). You can also hear us on Stitcher, Spotify or any of the apps below. Just pick a service from one of those listed below and click on the icon to find Trust Me, I’m An Expert. Additional audio Kindergarten by Unkle Ho, from Elefant Traks Recording and editing by Michael Adams from Griffith University Additional reading Buy Advancing Australia: Ideas for a Better Country Griffith University’s special election coverage, including interactive maps of Queensland’s 30 federal electorates The Uluru statement showed how to give First Nations people a real voice – now it’s time for action by Griffith University’s Eddie Synot The 14 Indigenous words for money on our new 50 cent coin by the University of Queensland’s Felicity Meakins Explainer: the significance of the Treaty of Waitangi by the University of Waikato’s Sandra Morrison and Ingrid L M Huygens The end of uncertainty? How the 2019 federal election might bring stability at last to Australian politics by University of Canberra’s Michelle Grattan Image Shutterstock
36 minutes | 2 years ago
Trust Me, I'm An Expert: What research says about how to stick to your New Year’s resolutions
Ready for all the research-backed tips and tricks for setting a goal and meeting it? www.shutterstock.com, CC BYIt’s that time of year when we all start to make promises to ourselves about how this year it’ll be different. This is the year I’ll get my health in order, exercise more, save money, cut that bad habit, do more of this, less of that, and just be better. But the fact is, change is hard. Most of us need help. So, we found some. Today, experts who have researched this terrain will be sharing with us insights into how to make a change – big or small – using evidence from the world of academic research. Read more: Trust Me, I'm An Expert: the science of sleep and the economics of sleeplessness We’ll hear from Amanda Salis, a professor of obesity research at the University of Sydney’s Boden Institute of Obesity, Nutrition, Exercise and Eating Disorders in the Charles Perkins Centre. She explains exactly is happening inside your body when you get that feeling you’ve eaten too much this silly season, that it’s time to step away from the festive feasts, put down the bubbly beverages and do a bit of exercise: CC BY1.25 MB (download) If you’re interested in participating in one of Amanda Salis’ weight loss trials, please contact her. Also on the podcast episode Lisa Williams, a social psychologist from UNSW, shares with us all the research-backed tips and tricks for setting a goal and meeting it: Read more: Trust Me, I'm An Expert: Competition We’ll also hear from Amy, our case study, on how she stuck to her goals and made some big changes in her life: Trust Me, I’m An Expert is a podcast where we ask academics to surprise, delight and inform us with their research. You can download previous episodes here. And please, do check out other podcasts from The Conversation – including The Conversation US’ Heat and Light, about 1968 in the US, and The Anthill from The Conversation UK, as well as Media Files, a podcast all about the media. You can find all our podcasts over here. The segments in today’s podcast were recorded and edited by Sunanda Creagh, with additional editing by Dilpreet Kaur Taggar. New to podcasts? Podcasts are often best enjoyed using a podcast app. All iPhones come with the Apple Podcasts app already installed, or you may want to listen and subscribe on another app such as Pocket Casts (click here to listen to Trust Me, I’m An Expert on Pocket Casts). You can also hear us on Stitcher, Spotify or any of the apps below. Just pick a service from one of those listed below and click on the icon to find Trust Me, I’m An Expert. Additional audio and credits Kindergarten by Unkle Ho, from Elefant Traks Refraction by Podington Bear, Free Music Archive Gruyere by Podington Bear, Free Music Archive
23 minutes | 2 years ago
Trust Me, I'm An Expert: the science of sleep and the economics of sleeplessness
You know you're not supposed to do this -- but you do. ShutterstockHow did you sleep last night? If you had anything other than eight interrupted hours of peaceful, restful sleep then guess what? It’s not that bad – it’s actually pretty normal. We recently asked five sleep researchers if everyone needs eight hours of sleep a night and they all said no, you don’t. Read more: Does everyone need eight hours of sleep? We asked five experts In fact, only about one quarter of us report getting eight or more hours of sleep. That’s according to the huge annual Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) survey which now tracks more than 17,500 people in 9500 households. We’ll hear today from Roger Wilkins, who runs the HILDA survey at University of Melbourne, on what exactly the survey found about how much and how well Australians sleep. But first, you’ll hear from sleep expert Melinda Jackson, Senior Research Fellow in the School of Health and Biomedical Sciences, RMIT University, about what the evidence shows about how we used to sleep in pre-industrial times, and what promising research is on the horizon. Here’s a taste: Listen. Trust Me, I’m An Expert is a podcast where we ask academics to surprise, delight and inform us with their research. You can download previous episodes here. And please, do check out other podcasts from The Conversation – including The Conversation US’ Heat and Light, about 1968 in the US, and The Anthill from The Conversation UK, as well as Media Files, a podcast all about the media. You can find all our podcasts over here. The two segments in today’s podcast were recorded and edited by Dilpreet Kaur Taggar. Additional editing by Sunanda Creagh. Read more: I can't sleep. What drugs can I (safely) take? Additional audio and credits Kindergarten by Unkle Ho, from Elefant Traks Morning Two by David Szesztay, Free Music Archive.
23 minutes | 3 years ago
Trust Me, I'm An Expert: what the huge HILDA survey reveals about your economic well-being, health and family life
The enormous Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) survey tells the stories of the same group of Australians over the course of their lives. Mavis Wong/The Conversation NY-BD-CC, CC BY-SAOn today’s episode of the podcast, we’re talking about what one of Australia’s biggest longitudinal surveys and richest data sets, released today, says about how the nation is changing. And some of the trends may surprise you. The Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) survey tells the stories of the same group of Australians over the course of their lives. Starting in 2001, the survey now tracks more than 17,500 people in 9,500 households, asking about their economic well-being, health and family life. So what does this year’s report tell us about the country Australia has become? Here to break it all down for us today is Roger Wilkins from the University of Melbourne, lead author of the report. Read more: HILDA Survey reveals striking gender and age divide in financial literacy. Test yourself with this quiz Wilkins said he was surprised by what this huge survey showed about Australians’ financial literacy, our energy use, how many of us are putting off getting a driver’s licence, how our economy is changing, and how our attitudes toward marriage and family life are shifting. The report reveals some insights into where we perhaps need to concentrate our public policy efforts to boost Australia’s economic well-being. What does it all mean for you and me? Listening to Roger Wilkins explain it all may just inspire you to rethink your own financial future. Roger Wilkins spoke to The Conversation’s deputy politics and society editor Justin Bergman. We’ve included an edited transcript below. What is HILDA and why does it matter? Justin Bergman: Roger, in a nutshell I’d love to start out by just hearing what the HILDA survey is and why this matters to people. Roger Wilkins: The HILDA survey is Australia’s nationally representative longitudinal study of Australians. It started in 2001 and it’s a bit like the ABS (Australian Bureau of Statistics) cross-sectional surveys we’re familiar with, where we get information on people’s employment, their family life, their incomes, their health and well-being. But what distinguishes HILDA is that we’re following the same people year in, year out. So we are getting a moving picture of people’s lives rather than the cross-sectional snapshot or photograph that the ABS surveys give us. So that’s really what’s unique about HILDA. We’re now entering our 18th year. So we’re getting a really rich picture of how people’s lives evolve over time, and it allows us to answer all sorts of questions that we couldn’t do with cross-sectional data. Things like: if someone is poor in one year, how likely are they to be poor the next year? You can’t answer that with cross-sectional data but with our data you can see how long, whether it’s the same people who are poor year in, year out, or whether it tends to be a temporary affair. And moreover, you can look at: well, who are the people who managed to get themselves out of poverty? And who are the people who don’t? This gives us incredibly useful information for policymakers about who are the people who are persistently struggling, for example, and therefore we should be thinking more about from a policy perspective. And that’s just one example of many in terms of the value of the HILDA Survey. Some of the findings in this year’s HILDA report. Energy spending is falling Justin Bergman: I realise it’s probably a great deal of data to pore through and lots of interesting findings we’re going to get into in this podcast. Were there any that you found particularly surprising or interesting, just off the top? Roger Wilkins: Well, we have been tracking people’s household expenditure since 2005 and that includes their expenditure on home energy. Things like electricity and gas. So, we thought, well, there’s been a lot of attention recently to rising prices for electricity and gas. So we thought, well let’s have a look at what’s been happening to household expenditure. That’s different to the price because your expenditure depends on not only the price but how much of the energy you use. And one thing that surprised me was that the HILDA data is showing that people’s expenditure actually peaked in around 2014. So since then people have actually been decreasing their expenditure, in real terms at least, adjusting for inflation. So that was something that I wasn’t expecting because there’s been a lot of recent media about prices continuing to rise since 2014 and yet expenditure hasn’t been rising since 2014. What it seems is that people are have been adapting to these higher prices and doing things like buying energy-efficient appliances, insulating their homes, installing solar panels, perhaps heating fewer rooms in the house in winter. That sort of thing seems to have been going on. So, as I said, the total expenditure on home energy has actually declined slightly since 2014. Cognitive ability and decline Justin Bergman: Great. And one of the interesting chapters that we thought was quite surprising was the one about measuring cognitive ability. And I wanted to ask you, starting off, what are the factors that you looked at in this chapter, when it comes to what contributes to cognitive decline? Roger Wilkins: Yes, so we have now in two years - in 2012 and 2016 - administered these tests which are called “cognitive ability tasks”. They ask the respondents to perform various activities which allow us to produce measures of their cognitive functioning or their cognitive ability. And because we have, as I said before, we’re following the same people year in, year out, we can actually look at how these measures of cognitive ability changed between 2012 and 2016. And we do indeed find that, particularly at the older end of the age spectrum, that there is considerable cognitive decline; that people’s performance on these tests does decline, particularly once you sort of get over the age of 70 - 75. That’s when we really start to see that decline becoming quite sizeable. So one of the things that we did in this year’s report is looked at whether there were things other than age that were predictive of cognitive decline. And we were particularly interested in whether there were various cognitive activities or other activities that you might engage in that could protect against cognitive decline. So we looked at things like how often you do puzzles, things like crosswords, how often you read, how often you write, whether you use a computer regularly, whether you do any volunteering, whether you are actually doing any paid employment, how often you look after grandchildren. These sorts of activities, the basis that perhaps the more stimulated you are cognitively, the less decline you’d experience. And the overriding result we found is that very little seems to protect against cognitive decline. We find some evidence in favour of doing puzzles regularly, things like crosswords, where on one of the measures of cognitive ability it did seem to reduce the extent of decline. But broadly speaking, most of these cognitive activities didn’t seem to impact on the extent of decline. Justin Bergman: But doing puzzles was one that you saw that did have an impact. Any idea why that might have been? Roger Wilkins: Well, I mean, the logic is that it’s sort of the “use it or lose it” argument; that if you’re using your brain, in the same way as if you were exercising a muscle, it keeps it in better condition. That’s sort of the logic. But for some reason we don’t, for example, find that with writing regularly. That probably is suggestive that doing your crosswords or Sudoku or the like is perhaps not a bad idea, particularly if you enjoy doing them, because it might be having this beneficial side effect. We also looked at perhaps what you think of as behaviours that might be adverse to cognitive functioning. So, in particular, things like smoking and drinking. And there is some evidence that heavy consumption of alcohol does accelerate cognitive decline but we don’t find any effects of smoking. Justin Bergman: Very interesting. So do your puzzles and try to avoid alcohol as much as possible. Roger Wilkins: Sounds like common sense, doesn’t it? More young people are delaying getting a driver’s license Justin Bergman: So, going to the chapter about people driving in Australia, what did you notice about the data on driver’s licences? Roger Wilkins: Yes, well, I mean, people would not be surprised to learn that most people do have a driver’s licence. Although a surprising - well, for me, at least - quite a surprisingly high proportion of young people in the 18-24 range don’t have a driver’s licence. So while most people — over 90% — eventually get their licence, for many of them it’s not until their late 20s or even their 30s when they do get their licence. So, for example, in the 18-19 range, over a third of people in that age range don’t have a driver’s licence. And something that we see in just the four-year period between 2012 and 2016: when we asked people whether they have a driver’s licence, even over that short period, we have seen a decline in the proportion of people who have a driver’s licence in that age range. So whether that’s because the requirements in order to pass the test have been tending to ramp up in most states, I’m not sure. Certainly, there obviously have always been significant costs for obtaining a licence which might be a barrier for young people but I’m not sure that, you know, the extent to which those costs have increased
29 minutes | 3 years ago
Trust Me, I'm An Expert: 'Dancing out of depression' – how Syrian refugees are using exercise to improve mental health
Dr Simon Rosenbaum in Gaziantep, Turkey, with participants in an exercise program for Syrian refugees. Simon Rosenbaum , Author provided (No reuse)A growing body of research is drawing a link between mental and physical health – and the connection is much stronger than you might realise. Simon Rosenbaum, a senior research fellow in school psychiatry at UNSW, had been researching the role of exercise in mental health treatment for years when he teamed up with a colleague, Ruth Wells. Wells is a PhD candidate in clinical psychology at the University of Sydney and a research fellow at the school of psychiatry at UNSW, and her research expertise focuses on the mental health of refugees. Late last year, the pair flew to Gaziantep in southern Turkey, where about one in four people are Syrian refugees. They wanted to explore what role exercise might play in improving the mental health of Syrian refugees. Full concentration – mindful bicep curls. Simon Rosenbaum, Author provided (No reuse) Today on Trust Me, I’m An Expert, we hear from Simon Rosenbaum and Ruth Wells on what they found when they got there; how exercise might fit with existing treatments for refugees with PTSD and other conditions; and how exercise can help people anywhere who are trying to improve their mental health. We’d love you to listen to the whole episode, but we’ve included a few snippets below to get you started. What does the science say on exercise and mental health? The science linking exercise and mental health. Simon demonstrates bicep curls. Simon Rosenbaum, Author provided (No reuse) Simon Rosenbaum teaches the Syrian refugee women how to do a push-up. Simon teaches female participants how to do a push-up. The work Ruth Wells and Simon Rosebaum have been doing in Gaziantep has come out of years of collaboration with their partners in the field, including Rania Said Yousef and Raiya Al Said. So a special thanks goes out to them, as well as Omar Said Yousef, Dr Ammar Beetar and the organisation Syria Bright Future. Raiya tells us that music, exercise and dance can help depression. Raiya explaining the importance of dance and exercise. Some opportunities for designing local exercise programs identified by the group. Simon Rosenbaum, Author provided (No reuse) For support, call Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636, Lifeline on 13 11 14 or visit Headspace, which has information for schools, young people, and family and friends. If you’re interested in more information about, or donating to, the women’s gym that Simon and Ruth are working with, you can find their contact details here and here. Trust Me, I’m An Expert is out at the start of every month. Find us and subscribe in Apple Podcasts, Pocket Casts or wherever you get your podcasts. Additional audio Kindergarten, Unkle Ho, from Elefant Traks Free Music Archive, Gushe Cheman by Turku, Nomads of the Silk Road Free Music Archive, Muhabet by Turku, Nomads of the Silk Road Free Music Archive, Drum Solo by Turku, Nomads of the Silk Road Free Music Archive, Penceresi Yola Karsi by Turku, Nomads of the Silk Road
31 minutes | 3 years ago
Trust Me, I'm An Expert: Brain-zapping, the curious case of the n-rays and other stories of evidence
Evidence isn't always as straightforward as it might first seem. Mai Lam/The Conversation NY-BD-CC, CC BY-SAYou’ve had an x-ray before but have you had an n-ray? Of course not, because they’re not real. But people used to think they were. Scientists had shown they were. And the weird history of n-rays, explored in today’s episode of Trust Me, I’m An Expert, tells us a lot about people’s willingness to believe wrong information – but also how well-designed studies can debunk myths, reveal important truths and bring good evidence to the surface. Today, we’re bringing you stories on the theme of evidence. We’d love you to listen to the whole thing, but here are a few snippets to get you started. What would a digital forensics expert find in your phone’s photo reel? Richard Matthews, an expert on forensic identification, was given photos from the phones of two Conversation editors. It was unsettling how much information he was able to unearth from the metadata hidden in these photos. Why would someone be a guinea pig in a science experiment? We talk with a woman who was part of a randomised controlled trial on how a new treatment called transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) might affect people with depression. And Laurent Billot, a biostatistician and an expert on study design, explains how everyone can benefit when people volunteer to participate in a randomised trial. Sham surgery, double-blinding and scurvy Andrew Leigh, the federal member for Fenner and Labor’s shadow assistant treasurer, was a professor of economics in a previous life. Today he’s talking with Fiona Fidler, an expert on the history of science and the replication crisis, about some of the ideas he explores in his new book Randomistas: How radical researchers changed our world. The weird history of n-rays Conversation editor Madeleine De Gabriele tells us about a form of radiation “discovered” in 1903: n-rays. Later debunked as myth, the n-rays case tells us a lot about how much people are influenced by what they believe to be true. She spoke to Will Grant, who researches public awareness of science. What the studies show about treating depression with a gentle electric current to the head We’re ending today’s show with Professor Colleen Loo, who shares with us some of the promising results from the transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) study we mentioned earlier: For support, call Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636, Lifeline on 13 11 14 or visit Headspace, which has information for schools, young people, and family and friends. Trust Me, I’m An Expert is out at the start of every month. Find us and subscribe in Apple Podcasts, Pocket Casts or wherever you get your podcasts. Additional audio Kindergarten, Unkle Ho, from Elefant Traks Free Music Archive, Ghost Science by Teeth Mountain Free Music Archive, Wisteria by Blue Dot Sessions
43 minutes | 3 years ago
Trust Me I'm An Expert: The science of pain
Pain lets us know when there is something wrong, but sometimes our brains can trick us. Mai Lam/The Conversation NY-BD-CC, CC BY-SAAs many as one in five Australians suffer from chronic and recurring pain. But despite its prevalence, it’s not always easy to find the help you need to manage it. “When I went through medical school, we had about one hour on acute pain. And the whole concept of chronic pain and how it’s so very different from acute pain was not something that was ever on our horizon,” pain expert Professor Fiona Blyth says in the latest episode of The Conversation podcast Trust Me, I’m An Expert. On Trust Me, I’m An Expert, we ask researchers to take us behind the headlines and walk us through the research on issues making news. Our latest episode takes a deep dive into the science of pain: what it is and what the evidence really says about how to manage it. Today, we’re talking about: What exactly is pain? Professor Lorimer Moseley explains to Deputy Health Editor Sasha Petrova what really happens in your body when you experience pain. Pain is meant to keep us safe, he says, but unfortunately your brain can play tricks on you, making you feel pain even when there’s no real need for it. Bioplasticity – the body and brain’s ability to train and change itself – could hold the key, he says. Here’s a taste: Professor Lorimer Moseley on bioplasticity. After the codeine crackdown, what now? We asked student Sabine Hamad, who has thus far managed her chronic and recurring pain with occasional codeine use, to join us in the studio with pain experts Professor Michael Nicholas and Professor Fiona Blyth, to talk about the recent ban on over the counter sales of codeine – and the alternatives. Professor Michael Nicholas on making sense of someone’s pain. Australia’s opioid issues Ben Ansell spoke to Dr Suzanne Nielsen, a lead researcher from the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, about growing concern around opioid addiction in Australia. Dr Suzanne Nielsen on addiction. Talking about suicide and self-harm in schools can save lives Our last story is about a different kind of pain. Education editor Sophie Heizer spoke to Dr Sarah Stanford, whose research focuses on self-harm in schools, churches, and other community settings. Dr Stanford said there are helpful – and harmful – ways for schools to talk about suicide: Dr Sarah Stanford on suicide and self-harm prevention strategies. For support, call Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636, Lifeline on 13 11 14 or visit Headspace, which has information for schools, young people, and family and friends. Trust Me, I’m An Expert is out at the start of every month. Find us and subscribe in Apple Podcasts, Pocket Casts or wherever you get your podcasts. Additional audio David Szesztay, Backward, Free Music Archive Kindergarten, Unkle Ho, from Elefant Traks Poddington Bear, Storm Passing from Free Music Archive Poddington Bear, Paper Boat, from Free Music Archive Poddington Bear, Waves, from Free Music Archive Letmeknowyouanatole, Free Music Archive Komiku, Resolution, Free Music Archive Kosta T, Free Music Archive Audiobinger, Stress, Free Music Archive. Blue Dot Sessions, Paper Feather A Life in Pictures by David Hilowitz
19 minutes | 3 years ago
Marrying across Australia's Catholic-Protestant divide
John and Helen Haynes on their wedding day in 1962. John, a Protestant, was cut out of three wills after marrying Helen, a Catholic. Siobhan McHugh, Author providedThese days, when Australians of Irish Catholic descent have occupied the highest positions in the land, it may seem hollow to talk of them as marginalised. But right up to the 1970s the Catholic-Protestant divide was deeply entrenched – with painful and often lasting social consequences for those who dared to marry across it. Siobhan McHugh, a journalism academic and oral historian, captured some of those experiences in interviews we’re showcasing on this month’s episode of Trust Me, I’m An Expert – a podcast where academic experts surprise, delight and inform us with their research. Here’s a teaser: Some of the 50 oral histories collected by Siobhan McHugh. Siobhan McHugh, Author provided1.99 MB (download) Among the stories McHugh collected was the tale of Susan Timmins. Her parents, Julia and Errol, married despite their different religious backgrounds. After Julia died in childbirth, neither side of the family helped Errol and he subsequently put Susan and her brother into an orphanage. Julia O'Brien and Errol White, who were in a ‘mixed marriage’. Susan Timmins, Author provided In this episode, McHugh explains what drove her to unearth these stories and how they fit into broader debates about race, class and sectarianism in Australian society. “It’s actually a myth that there was once this sort of polite and white Australia before the multicultural kind of Australia that we have now. Actually, this period is misrepresented by the term Anglo-Celtic, which suggests there was a cosy community of British and Irish at the time,” she said. “That is actually absolutely the opposite of what the truth was. The truth was that there was this over 70% Protestant majority and about 23% Catholic minority – and the minority of Irish Catholics were deliberately kept as an underclass.” Trust Me, I’m An Expert is out at the start of every month. Find us and subscribe in iTunes, Pocket Casts or wherever you get your podcasts. You can read more about what the podcast is all about here, and find our previous episodes here. Music in Episode 3 of Trust Me, I’m An Expert: Kindergarten by Unkle Ho, from Elefant Traks Lee Rosevere: Thoughtful, from Free Music Archive Music in Siobhan McHugh’s segments by Thomas Fitzgerald, with vocals by Kavisha Mazella. Additional audio sources: CNN Radio Documentary Series, Marrying Out: 2 x 50 minutes Part One: Not in Front of the Altar: audio documentary and transcript Part Two: Between Two Worlds Additional material: History Australia journal article by Siobhan McHugh on mixed marriages National Library of Australia: Sectarianism and Mixed Marriage Oral History Collection by Siobhan McHugh (indexed) https://siobhanmchugh.org/marrying-out/
27 minutes | 3 years ago
Trust Me, I'm An Expert: Competition
Sibling competition may have played a bigger role in human evolution than you thought. Flickr/Dmitry Boyarin, CC BY-SADid you fight with a brother or sister when you were little? Do you still? According to Rob Brooks, professor of evolutionary ecology at UNSW, sibling competition has played a more important role in human evolution than many of us realise. “Siblings compete with one another for the love and affection of their parents but even more importantly for the investment of their parents. And that’s been a really big force in the evolution of our species,” he says in the latest episode of Trust Me, I’m An Expert, a podcast from The Conversation about the most fascinating stories from Australia’s academic experts. Our November episode is all about research on competition, including the often fierce rivalry between siblings. “There’s the notion that if that other child gets something that I don’t get or gets to it first – even if it’s the Weet-Bix packet and there are more than enough Weet-Bix in there – then I am going to be denied,” Brooks says on the podcast. “I think we have deep psychological affinity for this knowledge.” In the same episode, Victoria University sports historian Rob Hess discusses some of the long forgotten categories of the Olympic Games and its precursor the Wenlock Olympian Games – including penny-farthing races and even a town planning competition. And we hear from Seng Loke, a professor in computing science at Deakin University about how driverless cars may one day end up colluding with each other and competing against rival cars. Trust Me, I’m An Expert is out at the start of every month. Find us and subscribe in iTunes, Pocket Casts or wherever you get your podcasts. You can read more about what the podcast is all about here, and find our previous episodes here. And if you like Trust Me, you’ll love The Anthill, a podcast from our colleagues at The Conversation UK that draws out the best stories and brightest minds from the UK academic community. Their latest episode is all about the 1917 Russian Revolution, with stories from historians, music experts and even descendants of key players in the story. Here’s a taste, featuring Jan Plamper, professor of history at Goldsmiths, University of London: The Anthill. The Anthill519 KB (download) Music in Episode 2 of Trust Me, I’m An Expert: Kindergarten by Unkle Ho, from Elefant Traks Podington Bear: Pulsars, from Free Music Archive. Podington Bear: Vibe Drive, from Free Music Archive Survivor: Eye of the Tiger Additional audio: CNN BBC broadcasts of the 2012 London Olympics and the 1936 Berlin Olympics. The Olympic Channel
36 minutes | 4 years ago
Trust Me, I'm An Expert: a lawyer, a biblical scholar and a fact-checker walk into the same-sex marriage debate...
Our first episode of Trust Me, I'm An Expert tackles the debate unfolding as Australia contemplates changing the Marriage Act to allow same-sex couple to marry. Axel Heimken/dpaWhere should the line fall between protecting people’s right to hold religious beliefs and the right to be free from discrimination? It’s a question that’s emerged several times as the same-sex marriage debate has unfolded in Australia. “Freedom of religion is not absolute. And neither is anti-discrimination law. Both are rights, absolutely, but both have limitations - particularly where they impinge upon the rights of others,” University of Western Australia law lecturer Renae Barker says in an interview on The Conversation’s new half-hour podcast, Trust Me I’m An Expert. On Trust Me, I’m An Expert, we ask academics to share their expertise with us, unpack the issues making headlines and explain the research in a way we can all understand. In a world of endless opinions and hot takes, we’re aiming to bring you informed analysis and the research evidence from the world of academia. Our first episode tackles the debate underway as Australia contemplates changing the Marriage Act to allow same-sex couple to marry. Dr Barker, an expert on the relationship between religion and the state, explains what the law really says on secularism, religion and discrimination in the context of same-sex marriage. And she outlines some of complex legal issues that may emerge if it is legalised in Australia. Here’s a snippet of the interview: Video produced by the University of Western Australia. Listen to the full interview with Renae Barker on episode one of The Conversation’s new podcast, Trust Me, I’m An Expert. “Should someone be permitted to refuse to provide a service where they don’t agree with the beliefs of the person they are providing the service to? That’s a conversation we have to have as a society. It’s going to need to be carefully discussed and debated and we need to be prepared for whatever the consequences of that may be,” she says in the full interview, featured on episode one of Trust Me, I’m An Expert. “That’s going to need a mature, reasoned, polite, political debate – and I’m not sure we are having that just yet.” In this episode of the podcast, we also asked University of Divinity biblical scholar Robyn J. Whitaker to detail what the Bible really says about human sexuality, in a historically grounded analysis informed by disciplines such as archaeology, history and social science. And Jennifer Power, a La Trobe University researcher who has reviewed the major studies on outcomes for children raised by same-sex parents, fact-checks the oft-repeated claim that kids do best when they are raised by a mother and a father. Trust Me, I’m An Expert is out at the start of every month. Find us and subscribe in iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts. You can read more about what the podcast is all about, and listen to our teaser episode, here. Music: Kindergarten by Unkle Ho, from Elefant Traks Blue Dot Sessions: When in the West, from Free Music Archive. Podington Bear: Bass Rider, from Free Music Archive Scott Gratton: Electro Lab from Free Music Archive. Additional audio: Q&A on ABC TV, The Misinformation Ecosystem. CNN WH.GOV SkyNews BBC Radio 5 Additional recording by Rhys Woolf.
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