Monthly Archives: April 2022

The Binary Code Hidden Inside a Trick for Multiplying Numbers

There's a trick for multiplying numbers that goes back hundreds, if not thousands, of years. Here are the steps to do it:

  1. Take the first number you're multiplying and cut it in half, writing it on the line below the original math and ignoring any fraction left over. Then take the other number, double it, and write it down on the same line.
  2. Keep adding rows by repeating the first step until you reach the number 1 and complete the final line.
  3. For any row whose first value is an even number, cross out the entire row.
  4. Add up the second numbers, the ones you've been doubling, for all the remaining rows. The resulting sum is the product of multiplication!

Different variations of this trick have been done since ancient Egyptians first came up with what might be the original version of it. In the following Numberphile video, Johnny Ball reveals the magic behind how the trick works, which involves secretly converting the first number you're multiplying into its binary code.

Nobody tell Dan Brown about the Egyptian code!

Australian Politics 2022-04-29 06:30:00


Rent control in Australia? Plan to ban landlords from raising rental prices - because 'it's worked in New York for years'

It takes a brain-dead Greenie to argue for something that will WORSEN the shortage of rental accomodation. Particularly in a time of inflation, rent control will just frighten off most investors in housing. It has been tried many times in Australia in the past and has always been abandoned eventually -- because of the way it makes renting almost impossible at any price

The Greens have called on the South Australian government to introduce rent controls amid revelations most properties on the market are too expensive for people living on the minimum wage.

Anglicare looked at 45,992 rental listings across the country and found just 712, or two per cent, could be afforded by people on the minimum wage.

In SA only two of 1125 properties listed were considered appropriate and affordable for a single person.

'Rental prices are skyrocketing out of control,' SA Greens housing spokesman Robert Simms said.

'While many South Australians are being locked out of the rental market, some landlords are making record profits.

'It's time for the state government to follow the lead of other jurisdictions overseas and implement rent controls to protect struggling renters. 'This has worked in New York for years - why not Adelaide?'

Mr Simms said he would raise the issue when parliament resumed next week.

The Greens also renewed calls for the government to boost investment in public housing to reduce prices.
At a federal level, the party said it would push for 70,000 affordable homes to be built across Adelaide and regional South Australia.

It said the plan would ensure low-income earners were not priced out of the housing market, with options for low-cost and long-term secure rentals and purchase options at around $300,000.

SA Senate candidate Barbara Pocock said the housing market was particularly brutal for low-income earners.
'For a person working full time on minimum wage in Adelaide, almost no rentals are affordable,' she said.

'The same goes for those on income support, whether that be Youth Allowance, JobSeeker or the disability and age pensions.'

Sitting SA Senator Sarah Hanson-Young said it was a disgrace that so many Australians could not afford basic housing.

'Housing is a basic human right. When everyday South Australians cannot afford to put food on the table and keep a roof over their heads, there is a serious problem with the system,' she said.


Targin pain relief drug shortages leave cancer patients, chronic pain sufferers without options

This is a bit overhyped. I am myself on Targin to control the pain from a cracked rib. And it does seem to help. I am able to take it because I have a supply left over from last year

But is not irreplaceable. It is just an opiate plus something to combat the constipation that opioids cause. And it is not so good at that. I have to take an apieriant as well

Thousands of cancer patients are being forced to spend their final days sitting in medical waiting rooms trying to source alternative pain relief because of a critical nationwide shortage of a major drug.

Targin is a slow-release oxycodone and naloxone combination often prescribed to cancer patients in the palliative stages and chronic pain sufferers to reduce severe pain.

But stocks have dwindled due to issues with shipping lines and flight availability.

"These patients don't want to spend what limited time they have left at the hospital on the phone to doctors, in waiting rooms, trying to get prescriptions," north Queensland pharmacist Cate Whalen said.

"They want to be spending those last days with their families and those that love them."

Finding alternatives

Dr Abhishek Joshi is a medical oncologist at Townsville ICON Cancer Care and Townsville University Hospital.

He said his clinic saw about 1,000 new patients each year and the shortage would affect about half of them.

"Switching a pain drug which a patient has been using for a long time to a newer alternative and finding a drug of an equivalent dose is not an easy task. That process can take time," he said.

"Patients might now have to undergo a period ranging from days to weeks in which their pain levels might actually fluctuate and start affecting their lifestyle."

Dr Joshi said it was the first time he had seen a shortage of Targin.

"I know regional towns are not the preference sites where these stocks are channelled, mostly bigger cities and metros are much more advantaged," he said.

"So, we have to really fight hard to make sure our patients are getting the stock. There is no sort of specific timeline as to when these shortages will go away."

Unlike many other drugs on the market, Targin does not have a suitable substitute.


A shameful Presumption of guilt

When the Left is out to get you, you will be lucky to escape, regardless of justice. It was plain to me from the behginning that this was another Dreyfus case. It pained me to hear what this good and holy man was put through -- JR

Tony Abbott

What’s not both to enthral and repel in this story of Australian Catholicism’s greatest churchman, brought low by an allegation of child sex abuse, humiliated and imprisoned, only to be vindicated, triumphantly, by a seven-nil High Court verdict to the effect that he should never have been investigated, never have been charged, never have been convicted and never have been gaoled. What was really on trial here was the Australian system of justice: how susceptible it was to public hysteria, media stereotyping and lynch-mob justice so at odds with the traditional presumption of innocence. The verdict, albeit only at the last gasp, thanks to the High Court, is that it’s still capable of delivering justice according to law; but not before a fine man had had his reputation officially trashed, several years of his life stolen, and massive legal bills incurred that he has yet to re-pay. Yes, the cardinal had a win – but this was not a fight he should ever have been in.

Only because the Catholic Church had been judged collectively guilty of institutionalised sexual abuse and, therefore, needed to be punished; and only because Pell had become the personification of that church was a process put in place that, until its very end, but for his faith in divine providence and in his own innocence, would have put the cardinal into a very dark place. Of course, in the sloppily disciplined post-Vatican II church of the Sixties and Seventies there does seem to have been an unusually large number of pedophiles exploiting the cover and the opportunities of clerical life. And because abuse at the hands of God’s servants is such a monstrous betrayal, it’s to the church’s particular shame that this wasn’t realised and acted upon sooner. Paradoxically, Pell was actually one of the very first senior churchmen anywhere in the world to confront it directly: sacking deviant priests and reporting them to the police rather than simply forgiving their sins while moving them on. Perhaps this is why Windschuttle (who’s not a Catholic), Henderson (now a ‘cultural’ Catholic) and Brennan (a Jesuit intellectual, to be sure, but often Pell’s antagonist on theology and ecclesiology) have come so staunchly to his defence.

As expected of a trained lawyer, Brennan focuses on the extreme implausibility of the prosecution’s case. The idea that a fifty-something archbishop, of exemplary life and reputation, would or could slip out of the procession concluding High Mass; and, without anyone noticing, sneak back into the sacristy to commit enormities on two unknown 13-year-old choirboys, all while fully robed and in the space of six minutes, was never credible. Especially when a succession of witnesses testified to Pell’s invariable practice of going to the front of the cathedral to greet parishioners. What’s extraordinary is the lengths to which Victoria Police went on operation ‘Get Pell’: launching an investigation without a complaint; advertising for victims; disregarding and ignoring contrary evidence; and leaking to the media.

The fact that this vendetta was led by two police officers who went on to become successive chief commissioners says everything about the sorry state of Victorian officialdom. In any system that valued integrity, the current commissioner would have resigned in shame for sponsoring such an obviously flawed and prejudiced prosecution; as would the appeal judges who were so blind to such palpable faults.

But as always in the people’s republic of Victoria, no one takes any responsibility or accepts any blame; the public seems to accept that there’s ‘nothing to see here’; and the plethora of entities from the parliamentary opposition down that should hold officialdom to account are incapable of anything other than futile hand-wringing. Brennan’s conclusion: that ‘but for the incompetence and animus of the Victoria Police, the DPP, and the two most senior judges of the state, Pell would have been cleared of those charges much sooner, or more likely, not charged at all’ makes his further observation that ‘the Victorian criminal justice system cries out for reform’ a masterly piece of understatement!

Henderson’s J’Accuse…! extends beyond the police and the judiciary to the media and the Gillard government’s royal commission into institutional child sexual abuse which, as he makes clear, could be shoddy and biased. Here’s Henderson on the to-ing and fro-ing between Vic Pol, desperate to charge Pell, and the DPP, initially deeply hesitant: The case was sent by Victoria Police to the Victorian Director of Public Prosecutions which sent the matter back to Victoria Police which sent the matter back to the DPP which sent the matter back to Victoria Police which sent the matter back to the DPP which sent the matter back to Victoria Police stating that it could lay charges against Pell if it wished. Which, eventually, it did.

As befits our most dogged and shrewd critic of sloppy journalism, Henderson is forensic in his exposure of the barrage of anti-Pell smear. Here he is on the media pile-on, particularly from the ABC: ‘The campaign against Pell was unrelenting across its main television (7.30, Four Corners, Lateline, News Breakfast) and radio (AM, The World Today, PM, Radio National Breakfast) outlets. The ABC also commissioned special programs which contained attacks on Pell –…Unholy Silence…Guilty…plus…Goliath.’ The conferral of a Walkley Award on one of the anti-Pell diatribes, Fallen – even after the High Court’s dismissal of the case against him – exemplified the intractable media hostility to the man who once joked, when asked about the church position on the Gay Mardi Gras, ‘Well, we’re not going to sponsor a float, if that’s what you mean’.

Both authors deserve our gratitude for their defence of the presumption of innocence and their insistence that justice according to law must prevail over guilt by association and accusation.

Still, not in Victoria, where the response of the Premier to Pell’s release was: ‘I make no comment about today’s High Court decision. But I have a message for every single victim and survivor of child sex abuse: I see you, I hear you, I believe you


Troubled islands

The revelation that the Solomon Islands has signed a security pact with China has sent shock waves across the Pacific reaching Washington. It’s a stark reminder that while the US has been drawn by Europe’s weakness into countering Russia’s blundering and bloody war in Ukraine, China is expanding the strategic threat it poses by stealth.

The deal between the Solomon’s Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare was leaked by his domestic critics because of the threat it poses to their democracy. Using Chinese money as a slush fund, Sogavare apparently plans to buy enough votes to postpone the next election scheduled for 2023, supposedly for a year, but perhaps forever. That would suit China since the opposition has said it would tear up the agreement. Sogavare no doubt wants Chinese armed forces to quell dissent as he imposes unpopular policies, particularly in the island of Malaita, whose provincial government remains loyal to Taiwan.

The pact with China is also alarming South Pacific nations. The president of the Federated States of Micronesia said Sogavare had an obligation to recognise that the agreement had profound consequences for the security of the people of the South Pacific and the world.

China has exploited Sogavare’s political vulnerability to secure the right to build a military base less than 1800 kms from Townsville. That’s the distance from Townsville to Sydney and a direct threat to Australia.

For Labor’s foreign affairs spokeswoman Senator Penny Wong to blame the Morrison government is a paternalistic trope that denies Sogavare agency. To claim it wouldn’t have happened on Labor’s watch is absurd. Wong did nothing to dissuade Victorian premier Dan Andrews from signing up to China’s Belt and Road Initiative in October 2018. It was the federal government that cancelled the agreement a year ago while Labor’s deputy leader, Richard Marles, welcomed China’s increasing presence in the South Pacific in a book he published last August and said Australia could not and should not try to outspend China, even though Australia spends far more than China in the Solomon Islands and the South Pacific.

What Australia doesn’t do is provide slush funds to South Pacific politicians. It’s a practice of which the NSW Labor party has first-hand knowledge. It accepted $100,000 in cash in an Aldi bag from a Chinese billionaire property developer who presumably made the donation on behalf of the Chinese Communist Party’s United Front Work Department.

Former Labor senator Sam Dastyari, friend and factional ally of Marles, had to resign from parliament after accepting Chinese money. Both Marles and Dastyari said Australia should be neutral about sovereignty disputes in the South China Sea even though 60 per cent of Australia’s trade travels through it and any limit to our freedom of navigation would have a significant impact on the Australian economy.

It is true that the Country Liberal government in the Northern Territory was unacceptably naive when it signed, in 2015, a 99-year lease to manage the port of Darwin with a company with links to the CCP and the People’s Liberation Army. At the time, Australia’s department of Defence and even its Navy approved the lease even though control of the port would give the Chinese the opportunity to surveil or attack the US and Australian navies that regularly access the port.

It is also true that former Liberal foreign minister Alexander Downer, who was for a time on the board of Huawei, was wrong when he argued that the company should be allowed to participate in the construction of Australia’s national broadband network. All that can be said, is that it has taken both sides of politics a long time to recognise the threat that China poses.

Former foreign minister Julie Bishop is a case in point. She is now so conscious of that threat that she joined Labor in criticising the government for sending its foreign minister rather than its Pacific minister to attempt to dissuade Sogavare. Yet in 2018, Ms Bishop wanted to sign an extradition treaty with China, something almost all Western nations have eschewed because of China’s travesty of a legal system in which the only guarantee is that the accused will be found guilty. Worse, it is legal in China to harvest the organs of executed prisoners and a report released this month by a researcher at ANU found that in it least 71 cases, a prisoner’s heart was removed for transplant while they were still alive, causing their death.

Herein lies the real answer to the threat posed by China’s pact with the Solomons. Pacific Islanders are profoundly Christian, in the mould of Israel Folau. They need to understand that China’s godless communists are guilty of crimes of which no Christian could approve. Australia must work with all the nations of the South Pacific to bring Sogavare, a devout Seventh Day Adventist, back into the fold and develop a common policy to prevent China’s incursions in the region until it ceases its barbarous abuse of its own people and the threat it poses to the civilised world.




Increasing Day-to-Day Volatility for the S&P 500

Statistically speaking, day-to-day changes in the S&P 500 (Index: SPX) don't start to be interesting until the index changes by more than two percent from its previous day's closing value. But those day-to-day changes get really interesting when the S&P 500 changes by more than three percent from its previous day's closing value.

That's because big changes like that don't happen very often. Going back to 3 January 1950, for the 18,198 days through 27 April 2022 where we have the data to tell how much the index gained or lost from where it ended on the previous day's trading, just 239 involved the index gaining or losing more than 3.00%. That's 1.3% of all the trading days in the index' modern era.

The following chart updates our visualization of that day to day volatility, where the dashed red lines roughly coincide with when the S&P 500's volatility has gotten really interesting.

S&P 500 Daily Volatility, 3 January 1950 - 27 April 2022

The index has experienced two trading days in the past week where it has gotten close to becoming really interesting. Friday, 22 April 2022 saw the index fall by 2.77%, while Tuesday, 26 April 2022 saw the S&P drop by 2.81%. We're pointing these recent changes out because when the S&P 500 experiences big changes like these, they tend to be clustered together in time. Which is to say that once they show up, they tend to keep showing up until the market's volatility dies down.

They also tend to be roughly balanced between gains and losses, with the number of big daily gains being nearly equal to the number of big daily losses. Today, the market's big gain/loss ratio is 118/121.

Here's the question to answer: How long might it be until what looks like a developing volatility cluster for the S&P 500 causes the index to cross the line and become really interesting by our standards?

Australian Politics 2022-04-28 09:22:00


Housing: The election issue no one wants to talk about ahead of Federal election

There is a good reason why the parties do little about this. Governments are the cause of the problem, not the solution. Get government out of housing and the problem would largely vanish.

Both to buy and to rent housing is costly because the supply is legislatively restricted. Landlord and tenant laws keep investors out of rental housing provision and land use restrictions -- "zoning" -- limit how many houses can be built.

A shocking number of the most vulnerable Australians are being left out in the cold by both major parties this election, new figures reveal.

While wages have remained close to stagnant for more than a decade, rental prices in every corner of the country have climbed at an increasingly rapid rate.

The annual housing affordability survey by Anglicare found that for most low-income earners and those on welfare finding suitable housing was almost impossible.

By taking a snapshot of 45,992 rental listings from one weekend in March this year, the study found just 720 – or roughly 2 per cent – were considered affordable for someone earning a full-time minimum wage of $772.60 per week.

Those on the age pension could afford just 1 per cent of listed dwellings and for someone on a disability support pension, youth allowance or JobSeeker, the figure dropped down to zero per cent.

Affordability was measured by a person paying less than 30 per cent of their salary on rent, a long-established metric beyond which financial stress can be expected.

Some of those on higher payments could consider share housing as an affordable option; however, this may be unsuitable, particularly for older Australians.

For those on youth allowance, even a share house was above their affordability threshold.

One JobSeeker recipient from Wollongong in NSW told Anglicare that they received $580 per fortnight in payments but were paying $520 each fortnight in rent – leaving just $60 for all other expenses.

“I can‘t buy phone credit, I can’t pay my internet bill, I can’t buy money to put on my travel card. There’s just no way to stretch it to cover everything,” they said.

The report found there was not a single affordable rental or share house option for a person on JobSeeker in the Illawarra region.

With 950,000 people on JobSeeker and other unemployment payments, advocates say the issue should be front and centre of this year’s election.

“We keep hearing that this election is about living costs, but housing is the biggest cost facing Australians,” Anglicare Australia executive director Kasy Chambers said.

“Voters are desperate for action. Instead, parties are promising more of the same. At best they are offering grants that overheat the market. At worst they ignore the problem,” Ms Chambers added.

Both major parties have largely shied away from even mentioning housing affordability in the early weeks of the campaign.

Scott Morrison received a swift backlash for suggesting in one interview the best way to help renters was for them to buy a house through the Coalition’s expanded first-home buyers’ support scheme.

The government's plan to relieve housing stress also includes an additional $2bn in low-cost financing aimed at delivering 29,000 more homes through the National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation (NHFIC).

Since 2018, the scheme that the Prime Minister devised during his time as treasurer has helped create around 15,000 social and affordable homes through loans to community housing providers.

Labor says it will establish a $10bn Housing Australia Future Fund to deliver 30,000 new social and affordable homes over the next five years, also through the NHFIC.

The Greens revealed that as well as committing $21bn towards building new dwellings they would remove tax breaks for those with two or more investment properties.

Ms Chambers said the situation called for 500,000 new social and affordable rentals across Australia, saying investing in housing is the “most powerful” way to make the market more affordable.

Australian Council of Social Service chief executive Dr Cassandra Goldie said she would also like to see JobSeeker payments increased on top of “a substantial boost to social and affordable housing stock and reforms to tax settings like negative gearing and the capital gains discount to address its structural causes”.

“People on low incomes are caught in crushing pincer movement of rising rents and stagnant incomes. They have long been priced out of major cities and, increasingly, from many regional areas,” she said.

“Without major housing policy changes, this situation is likely to continue to deteriorate.”


New generation of '10-pound Poms' as Australia lures British and Irish backpackers with bargain basement $17 FLIGHTS

An Australian state is so desperate for workers that it's offering bargain basement $17.60 (£10) fares to entice British backpackers to come Down Under.

The South Australian scheme is a modern twist on the post-war '10-pound Pom' scheme and will see Irish travellers get even cheaper trips to Australia costing just €10, or $14.90.

The move comes as the battle for backpackers heats up due to worker shortages across the country.

The scheme is an updated version of the program that brought migrants from the United Kingdom - including future pop stars and prime ministers - to Australia in the decades after World War II until 1982.

That plan saw 1.5 million British and Irish people travel Down Under for just £10, but there are some major differences today in price, transport and availability.

The £10 of 1945 is the equivalent of £460 ($810) in 2022, so today's £10 is vastly cheaper.

It's also more comfortable now, with backpackers taking a 24-hour flight rather than a six-week boat journey.

But the availability is a lot tighter. Just 200 lucky travellers will be chosen for the £10 flights.

In a bid to 'populate or perish', Australia initiated the Assisted Passage Migration Scheme in 1945.

These people became known as '10-pound Poms' after the price of the transport by ship to Australia.

The scheme lasted until 1982 and saw 1.5million British and Irish people move to Australia.

Two of the most famous people to arrive Down Under that way were former prime ministers Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott, who both migrated with their families in the 1960s.

South Australia has always played second fiddle to the eastern states of Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland when it comes to attracting migrants.

Backpackers, in particular, are far more likely to fly into cosmopolitan Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane than South Australia's capital Adelaide - which has the well earned but not very exciting nickname 'the city of churches'.

Starting in May, young British and Irish people will be able to buy flights out of Heathrow, Manchester, Edinburgh or Dublin to Adelaide from Qatar Airways.

Those interested must be eligible to get a working holiday visa for Australia and be able to travel before September 30.

'South Australia is welcoming the return of working holiday makers – it's a real win-win for young people eager to travel and work abroad, and for our local tourism industry,' said South Australian Minister for Tourism Zoe Bettison.

She said tourism operators have missed having international visitors due to Covid restrictions over the past two years, while the state has also missed out on the backpacker workforce and 'the vibrancy they bring'.

'These backpackers foster a love for our state and our country which often inspires them to return later in life.

'Whether it's in our bars, restaurants, wineries and hotels, or on our outback stations and farms, there are so many ways that British and Irish citizens can work in Adelaide and in regional South Australia,' said Ms Bettison.

'We look forward to welcoming back young people from the UK and Ireland, and encourage them to make the most of these £10 fares.'


Young Queenslanders take Clive’s coal company to court, arguing ‘devastating’ consequences of mine

Clive Palmer’s Galilee Coal Project could be the biggest thermal coal mine in Australia and produce almost four times that of the Adani mine, the Queensland Land Court has heard as a landmark climate and human rights challenge kicked off on Tuesday.

Youth Verdict, a coalition of young Queenslanders, and environmental conservation group The BimbleBox Alliance is challenging Waratah Coal in court over the project proposed on the Galilee Basin west of Emerald.

The groups will argue that burning coal from the mine will impact the cultural rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people by further contributing to adverse climate change.

It’s the first time a coal mine has been challenged on the grounds of human rights violations in Australia.

Barrister Peter Ambrose, for Waratah Coal, in his opening statement said Waratah’s coal was high-energy producing, meaning less high rate coal needed to be burned to produce the same amount of energy as other coal.

He said coal experts agreed that Waratah Coal had the potential to displace coal that already existed on the market.

“Coal market experts also agree that if the applicant’s coal is not brought to market, coal from other sources will continue to supply the market as long as that market exists,” Mr Ambrose said.

“And it’s that last position that the experts are apart on- how long that market will exist.

“That is in our case, there will be no reduction in greenhouse gas emissions if Waratah Coal is not brought to market.”

Mr Ambrose acknowledged that climate change was real and said the world would face the impacts unless action was taken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

He said Waratah Coal would take more reasonable measure to reduce its Scope 1 and 2 emissions, and look to “preferably” sell its coal to generators who “look to become” carbon neutral.

Barrister Saul Holt, for Youth Verdict and The BimbleBox Alliance, told the court he understood the proposed mine would contribute more than 2.159 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

“ … easily the largest thermal coal mine operating in Australia from when it starts, and almost four times bigger than Adani is currently proposed to produce,” Mr Holt said.

“The burning of that coal will accrue with other carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and so will cause, necessarily as a matter of physical process, environmental harm …”

Mr Holt argued underground mining through the Bimblebox Nature Refuge would have “devastating” impacts, including the loss of control by current custodians.

He said President Fleur Kingham of the Land Court of Queensland was being asked to unlock carbon dioxide in the earth into the atmosphere, by way of approving the coal mine.

He said the subsequent limitations on rights would include the right to life, cultural rights, and children and young people.

Mr Ambrose argued Waratah Coal’s evidence would show there would be no increase in adverse climate change effects if the coal entered the market.

“It follows, at least in Waratahs case, that there will be no infringement on any Queenslanders' human rights,” he said.

Mr Ambrose argued that changed plans for the mine, to be underground rather than open cut, meant there would be fewer adverse environmental impacts around the Bimblebox Nature Refuge.

The court also heard brief openings from the Department of Environment and Science, and active objector John Brinnand, before Mr Holt began questioning Waratah Coal managing director Nui Harris.

Mr Holt asked Mr Harris if he was familiar with the International Energy Agency’s position regarding whether new coal mines could be approved if they were to reach net zero emissions by 2050.

Mr Harris conceded he didn’t know any details around the agency’s position.

He was also asked if Waratah Coal’s parent company Mineralogy, controlled by Clive Palmer, would create delays by shifting resources from the Galilee project to another, as Mr Harris accepted had previously occurred.

“That’s a business decision isn’t it? That’s his decision,” Mr Harris said.

He said it was beyond his scope why Mr Palmer would have a parent company to Waratah Coal based in Singapore.

Judge Kingham said Mr Harris would continue answering questions on Wednesday and advised him to have a close look at documents his team had tendered to the court.

Outside court, co-director of Youth Verdict and First Nations campaign lead Murrawah Johnson said she was glad to finally have their day in court.

“We trust in our legal team but also our First Nations’ witnesses’ evidence is just amazing and we really hope that the court can see the importance of the cultural aspects that our witnesses put forward in their evidence,” Ms Johnson said.

The hearing is expected to span several weeks and include a range of experts.


Net Zero is dead

As this magazine argued early last year, the simplest way for the Coalition to win the 2022 election would have been to replicate John Howard’s and Peter Costello’s ‘tough decision’ GST strategy and in the interest of national prosperity and cleaner energy go to the polls with a commitment to revoke the Australian ban on nuclear energy in order to give us the cheap, reliable energy we will require for decades to come and with which we are abundantly blessed via natural resources. Such a policy would not only have given the Coalition something to fight for, it would have been the ultimate ‘wedge policy’ to skewer Labor on and – not that this seems to matter anymore – would actually have been the right thing to do.

Instead, Scott Morrison and his team of quislings, sorry advisers, asked the wrong questions in a motley grab-bag of inner-city focus groups and came up with the worthless and pointless policy of pledging to get Australia to Net Zero without nuclear power. Or indeed without any credible clean base-load energy source. (And please, spare us the Twiggy Forrest/ Mike Cannon-Brookes drivel about green hydrogen. Only the most cynical, corrupt or foolish politician would gamble an entire nation’s future on such an unproven and illogical technology spruiked by billionaire investors.)

All of which is now fairly academic because, as is always the way, events (dear boy) have overtaken political hypotheticals.

Vladimir Putin’s vile invasion of Ukraine has not only killed a tragic number of Ukrainians as well as Russian soldiers, it has also stabbed a bayonet through the heart of Net Zero with all the murderous efficiency of a Zaporozhian Cossack.

European governments like Germany’s, which for the last few decades have pursued the climate cult’s insane goal of obliterating carbon emissions, are now frantically re-opening coal mines and seeking reliable base load energy sources wherever they can find them, whether from fossil fuels or nuclear power. Countries in Scandinavia are suddenly desperate to start exploration and drilling in the North Sea again.

According to Benny Peiser, head of the Global Warming Policy Foundation who is currently visiting Australia and who along with Professor Ian Plimer (another regular and popular contributor to these pages) spoke at length to the Roseville branch of the Liberal party, average household electricity prices in the UK have jumped from a thousand pounds a year to two thousand and are headed for three thousand pounds per annum by this coming British winter. Mr Peiser forecasts many individuals and families will simply not be able to heat their homes.

Among British conservative backbenchers there is now a serious push to abandon Net Zero altogether. In the coming months, as war in Ukraine drags on and the energy crisis worsens, the delusional Greens-fuelled commitment to Net Zero may well cost not only Boris Johnson his job, but risks bringing down governments of all hues across Europe.

The task for a re-elected Morrison government, or a minority Coalition government relying on the support of any One Nation, Liberal Democrat or UAP representatives who scrape into the lower house, will be to abandon Net Zero and to rapidly set about promoting a nuclear energy industry in Australia.

The alternative, a Labor/Greens government, does not bear thinking about, but think about it we must. The simple reality is that, much like Joe Biden’s hopeless administration, an Albanese-Marles-Wong-Keneally government (just putting it down in black and white is risible enough) will quickly collapse in popularity as cold hard reality smashes to smithereens their utopian climate fantasies.




Surge of U.S. New Homes’ Market Cap in March 2022

A combination of record high new home sale prices and an upward trend in the number of new homes sold as buyers raced to beat rising mortgage rates caused the market capitalization of the U.S. new homes market to surge in March 2022.

In doing that, the market cap of new homes in the U.S. surpassed its previous nominal, non-inflation adjusted record. Political Calculations' initial estimate of the U.S. new homes market cap is $31.19 billion. That figure is 0.45% higher than the previous record of $31.05 billion set in August 2005 during the peak of the first U.S. housing bubble.

The following chart shows what that new record looks like in the context of the new home market cap history since January 1976:

Trailing Twelve Month Average New Home Sales Market Capitalization in the United States, January 1976 - March 2022

March 2022 also saw significant upward revisions for the number of new homes sold in January and February 2022, which were coupled with small adjustments in the average new home sale prices during these months. Overall, the trailing twelve month averages for both new homes sales and average new home sale prices continued their recent upward trends.

Sales of new homes rose in March 2022:

Trailing Twelve Month Average of the Annualized Number of New Homes Sold in the U.S., January 1976 - March 2022

Average sale prices topped $500,000:

Trailing Twelve Month Average of the Mean Sale Price of New Homes Sold in the U.S., January 1976 - March 2022

The trailing twelve month average for new home sales removes the effects of annual seasonality from this data, while the math helps smooth the month-to-month noise in new home sale prices, making it easier to identify trends for both data series. Note the number of new home sales is still well below its recent November 2021 peak. The market capitalization of new homes sold in the U.S. has broken its nominal housing bubble era record mainly because of the contribution of rapidly inflating new home sale prices.

Since new home sales are counted toward GDP when their sales contracts are signed, a rising trend in the market cap for new homes represents an economic plus for the U.S. economy. The National Association of Home Builders estimates new homes sales represent 3% to 5% of the nation's Gross Domestic Product.