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Daily Archives: February 27, 2009

Love Ned the Bear

He’s a regular on Club Troppo, and I always note whenever it appears in my Google Reader. But this one I love so much I have to share it directly.

ned27-02-09_telstra

Ah Sol! (Be careful how you say that…)

In case you don’t know what this is about, read Departing Trujillo flags more job cuts. See the obscene juxtapositions in a related story:

Federal Industry Minister Kim Carr says there is an extraordinary double standard when it comes to executive pay and worker benefits.

The clothing manufacturer Pacific Brands this week sacked more than 1,800, but last year its top executives received more than $7 million in pay rises.

Outgoing Telstra CEO Sol Trujillo is also due for a multi-million dollar payout.

Senator Carr says the executives need to explain.

"What I’ve seen for many years is there seems to be a great disparity between the way in which executives are treated and the way in which workers are treated," he said. “Look at what’s happening with Telstra. I find it quite extraordinary. There’s an enormous double standard about what happens on the shop floor and what happens in the boardroom." – ABC.

Hard to disagree.

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Posted by on February 27, 2009 in Australia, Australia and Australian, current affairs, globalisation/corporations, other blogs

 

Friday intellectual spot 7: Tobias Ziegler on perceptions of ideological bias in research

If that sounds like a recent post by Bruce, it’s because I took my cue from that post! I commented there: “I may steal this for my Friday Intellectual Spot (or should that be in my case ‘Intellectual’?) — a really good find, Bruce.” Now I have stolen…

Tobias Ziegler has a blog, Not a Hedgehog, on WordPress.com. The item Bruce cites appeared on a Crikey blog, Pure Poison, on 24 February: Pure Science: Seeing ideological bias in research findings. So I have tagged this “meet a blog” as well, since you have now met several so far!

The results suggest that research findings which support liberal approaches to public policy are more likely to be regarded with scepticism, and that this scepticism seems to be associated with concerns about the ideological bias of the researchers. These perceptions of bias are more likely to come from those who are conservative in general, or who hold conservatively-aligned attitudes on the specific issue the research looked at. These findings seem consistent with a lot of the reactions to research that we see in conservative columns and blogs, and in responses from the commenters on those sites. And although they were explicitly artificial, the descriptions of research findings are similar to what we typically see presented in the mainstream media – brief, superficial and lacking the detail needed for critical evaluation. Under those conditions, there appears to be a tendency to see Leftist influence on the research endeavour – and the source of the research becomes the focus, rather than the integrity and quality of the research itself…

…We regularly see scientific research and academic institutions criticised as having philosophical and/or ideological motivations to conduct research that supports certain outcomes (e.g., anthropogenic global warming). This study provides evidence for one type of bias in judgment that may contribute to these types of claims.

But that doesn’t mean those of us who lean to the left can sit back with a smug sense of self-satisfaction. Liberals still appear to be more suspicious of findings that contradict their existing beliefs. It’s good to be sceptical, but that scepticism needs to be applied equally, without being influenced by the nature of the findings. And as the authors of this study note, the proneness to see liberal but not conservative bias might be because researchers are more likely to be liberals.

Rigorous, objective research should be able to serve as evidence in the debate over public policy. Rather than dismissing any research on ad hominem grounds, everyone involved in that debate needs to focus on the research itself. If the findings are genuinely affected by ideological bias, point to the evidence of ideological contamination in the study. We need to avoid this natural tendency to point to the researcher just because the findings don’t fit with what we believe.

 
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Posted by on February 27, 2009 in Australia, Australia and Australian, intellectual spot

 

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Friday poem #5 – from Thylazine – Michelle Cahill

Today we go back to Oz Poetry and forward to some newer voices, courtesy of Thylazine and their TWELVE AUSTRALIAN POETS SERIES 2. I have chosen something by Michelle Cahill, born in Kenya. “Her first collection of poetry The Accidental Cage was Best First Book with Interactive Press 2006 and was listed among the Sydney Morning Herald’s Best Books for 2006.”

Waves

You tell me how it feels
to be inside the glass of a wave,
quiet as a womb
with the force to pitch
against the velvet rocks
what skims iridescent
from its dark mouth.
Sea-gulls angle off the point
where I watch the grommets,
black seals in wet-suits
with livid lips.
When the wind turns
the sea wears a mask of mercury,
begins to swirl and chop.
The sky is spitting rain,
the surfers paddle back.
I wonder when love turns.
You scramble down the cliff
sprint across the rocks.
Now the waves close out
a monologue wracked
by contradiction.

A “grommet” is a young or inexperienced surfer.

 
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Posted by on February 27, 2009 in Australia and Australian, OzLit, poets and poetry

 

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