Money & Banking

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Banksy’s shredded work sells for 300 percent over estimated price

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">British street artist Banksy has reappeared in the headlines after his painting that shredded itself after it sold for $US 1.4 million ($AUD 1.9 million or $NZD 1.98 million)  has been sold again, this time for an even greater sum.</span></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Love is in the Bin</span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;">, formerly known as </span><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Girl With Balloon</span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;">, </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://7news.com.au/news/world/shredded-banksy-artwork-sells-at-auction-c-4240790" target="_blank"><span style="font-weight: 400;">was sold</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> for $USD 25 million ($AUD 33.71 million or $NZD 35.37 million) at Sotheby’s in London.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">With a pre-sale estimate of 4 to 6 million pounds ($AUD 7.4-11.0 million or $NZD 7.75-11.52 million), the work was sold for more than three times its estimated price.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The artwork consists of a half-shredded canvas depicting a spray-painted image of a girl reaching for a heart-shaped balloon, with half of the piece still in one piece within an ornate gold frame.</span></p> <p><img style="width: 0px; height: 0px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7844914/banksy1.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/9a381196478843a3bd62b6f88e30edcb" /></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Image: @Sotheby’s / Instagram</span></em></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">When the artwork was first sold at Sotheby’s in 2018, a shredder embedded in the frame started tearing it just as the winning bid was made.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Banksy later implied that the work was supposed to be turned entirely into scraps, but didn’t due to a malfunction.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Sotheby’s said the work created by the stunt is “the ultimate Banksy artwork”.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“It was a big moment because nothing like that had been done before,” art historian Matthew Israel told </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">CNN </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">in an earlier email interview.</span></p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/Bokt2sEhlsu/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="14"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/Bokt2sEhlsu/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">A post shared by Banksy (@banksy)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The self-destructing artwork was “entirely at odds with the aims of the auction house, where the condition of an artwork is paramount and the knowledge and expertise about it is core to its authority and value”, he explained.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The most recent auction took the artist’s record for the highest sale price, beating the sale of </span><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Game Changer</span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;"> last year.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">That artwork sold for 16.7 million ($AUD 31 million or $NZD 32.47 million) to benefit UK hospitals, with the piece depicting healthcare workers as superheroes.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Though the identity of the new owner of </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Love is in the Bin</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"> has not been revealed, Sotheby’s described the person as a female collector from Europe with a long-standing history with the auction house.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The buyer can also choose to pay for the work in cryptocurrency.</span></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Image: Getty Images</span></em></p>

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Tax avoidance, evasion, and the Pandora Papers

<p>What’s the difference between tax avoidance and tax evasion?</p> <p>The difference used to matter. Evasion was illegal. It meant not paying tax that was due. Avoidance meant arranging your affairs so tax wasn’t due.</p> <p>Australian media mogul Kerry Packer used the distinction as a complete defence when he told a <a rel="noopener" href="https://youtu.be/LnwYoOeWZGA?t=312" target="_blank">parliamentary committee</a> in 1991 he was "not evading tax in any way, shape or form. Of course, I am minimising my tax. Anybody in this country who does not minimise his tax wants his head read".</p> <p>The Pandora Papers — the biggest-ever leak of records showing how the rich and powerful use the financial system to maximise their wealth — shows the distinction has lost its meaning.</p> <p>The dump of almost <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.icij.org/investigations/pandora-papers/" target="_blank">12 million documents</a> lays bare the ways in which 35 current or former leaders and 300 high-level public officials in more than 90 countries have used offshore companies and accounts to protect their wealth.</p> <p>Only in some of the cases could their activities be categorically declared illegal.</p> <p><strong>Tax havens are legal</strong></p> <p>Here’s how tax havens are used. Trusts and companies are set up in places with low tax rates and secrecy laws such as the Bahamas, Cayman Islands, Hong Kong, Singapore, Switzerland, the US state of Delaware and the Republic or Ireland.</p> <p>If, for example, a wealthy celebrity or a politician wants to buy a new yacht or a luxury villa but doesn’t want to pay tax or stamp duty or expose their wealth to scrutiny they can get their lawyer or accountant to do it through such a trust.</p> <p>For somewhere between <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.icij.org/investigations/pandora-papers/global-investigation-tax-havens-offshore/" target="_blank">US$2,000 and US$20,000</a> to set up the trust, the name of the real owner or beneficiary can be hidden.</p> <p>It isn’t illegal for the celebrity or a politician to move their money (so long as it is theirs to begin with). Assets within the trust are subject to local tax laws (sometimes zero tax) and local secrecy laws (sometimes complete secrecy).</p> <p><strong>Legal, but used by criminals</strong></p> <p>These legal means of using complex networks of secret entities to move around money are the same as those used by criminals.</p> <p>Alongside the likes of India’s cricket superstar Sachin Tendulkar, Colombian pop singer Shakira and Elton John in the Panama Papers are Italian crime boss <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.icij.org/investigations/pandora-papers/global-investigation-tax-havens-offshore/" target="_blank">Raffaele Amato</a>, serving a 20-year jail sentence for weapons and drugs trafficking, and the deceased British art dealer <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.theguardian.com/news/2021/oct/05/offshore-trusts-used-pass-on-looted-khmer-treasures-leak-shows-douglas-latchford" target="_blank">Douglas Latchford</a>, suspected of smuggling looted treasures and money laundering.</p> <p><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/425189/original/file-20211007-13-1cp8an9.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="Colombian singer Shakira is one of the celebrities named in the Pandora Papers as using offshore companies. Others are Elton John, Ringo Starr, Julio Iglesias and Claudia Schiffer." /></p> <p><em> <span class="caption">Colombian singer Shakira is one of the celebrities named in the Pandora Papers as using offshore companies. Others are Elton John, Ringo Starr, Julio Iglesias and Claudia Schiffer.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Gregory Payan/AP</span></span></em></p> <p><strong>It’s far from clear these arrangements should be legal</strong></p> <p>The big question raised by the Pandora Papers is why any hiding of private wealth from tax authorities ought to be legal.</p> <p>The International Monetary Fund estimated in 2019 that tax haven deprived governments globally of <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/fandd/2019/09/tackling-global-tax-havens-shaxon.htm" target="_blank">US$500 billion to US$600 billion</a> per year.</p> <p>To put that into perspective, the estimated cost of vaccinating the world against COVID-19 is <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.nytimes.com/2021/06/11/briefing/biden-g7-vaccine-donations.html" target="_blank">US$50-70 billion</a>.</p> <p><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/425571/original/file-20211009-23-13m746j.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/425571/original/file-20211009-23-13m746j.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=237&amp;fit=clip" alt="" /></a></p> <p><em> <span class="caption">OECD chief Mathias Cormann has brokered a deal for a global minimum corporate tax rate.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">OECD (CC BY-NC 3.0 IGO)</span></span></em></p> <p>Some of what’s been uncovered in the Pandora Papers is illegal (“evasion”) but much might not be (“avoidance”, aided by anonimity).</p> <p>The effect is the same. Dollars that ought to have been paid in tax are withheld and used for the benefit of people who aren’t keen to admit to owning them.</p> <p>Over the weekend the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, now led by Australian Mathias Cormann, brokered a deal under which 136 countries agreed to charge multinational corporations a tax rate of at least <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.oecd.org/tax/international-community-strikes-a-ground-breaking-tax-deal-for-the-digital-age.htm" target="_blank">15%</a>, making tax havens harder to find.</p> <p>Ireland, previously used as tax haven, signed up.</p> <p>The nations concerned did this because because, even where legal, the use of tax havens costs billions.</p> <p>We’ll soon have to consider removing a distinction in law that vanished in practice some time ago.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/169353/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a rel="noopener" href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/alex-simpson-225991" target="_blank">Alex Simpson</a>, Senior Lecturer in Criminology, <a rel="noopener" href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/macquarie-university-1174" target="_blank">Macquarie University</a></em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a rel="noopener" href="https://theconversation.com" target="_blank">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a rel="noopener" href="https://theconversation.com/the-pandora-papers-show-the-line-between-tax-avoidance-and-tax-evasion-has-become-so-blurred-we-need-to-act-against-both-169353" target="_blank">original article</a>.</em></p> <p><em> Image: <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Aekawit Rammaket/Shutterstock</span></span></em></p>

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Tragic loss for Nobel Prize winners

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Economists David Card, Joshua Angrist, and Guido Imbens were awarded the 2021 Nobel Prize in Economics for their development of “natural experiments” that have since been used to answer some of society’s biggest questions.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The pioneering of this style of experiment has been significant for economists, who can’t use the randomised experiments or clinical trials that those in medicine and other sciences can.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Natural experiments work by using real-life situations to study the world, and have since </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-10-12/nobel-prize-economics-2021-winners/100531188" target="_blank"><span style="font-weight: 400;">been adopted</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> by other social sciences.</span></p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr">Good morning to 2021 economic sciences laureate David Card!<br /><br />Card’s wife Cynthia Gessele snapped this photo of him speaking to <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/NobelPrize?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#NobelPrize</a>’s Adam Smith (which he suspected might be a made-up name) right after he had heard the news. <br /><br />Listen to our interview, coming soon. <a href="https://t.co/I93bJwikGl">pic.twitter.com/I93bJwikGl</a></p> — The Nobel Prize (@NobelPrize) <a href="https://twitter.com/NobelPrize/status/1447517204430434308?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">October 11, 2021</a></blockquote> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Card was recognised for findings he made in the 1990s, alongside economist Alan Krueger.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The research duo used natural experiments to reverse misconceptions surrounding minimum wage, immigration and education.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Their most significant experiment debunked the commonly held belief that wage increases resulted in job losses by studying what happened after the US state of New Jersey increased wages from $4.25 to $5.05 in comparison to neighbouring Pennsylvania, where wages stayed the same.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">But Krueger, who served as a chair of President Obama’s Council of Economic Advisors, took his own life in 2019 and </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://theconversation.com/introducing-david-card-the-2021-nobel-prize-in-economics-winner-who-made-the-minimum-wage-respectable-169715" target="_blank"><span style="font-weight: 400;">could not receive the award</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> as Nobels aren’t awarded posthumously.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Instead, Angrist and Imbens - who also worked with Krueger - shared the prize for their contribution to “the analysis of causal relationships”.</span></p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr">MIT economist Joshua Angrist shares Nobel Prize: Cited for work building the foundations of “natural experiments” in economic research, Angrist is honored along with two others in California. <a href="https://t.co/vj0F47jO6m">https://t.co/vj0F47jO6m</a> <a href="https://t.co/sXTUBwBv6v">pic.twitter.com/sXTUBwBv6v</a></p> — Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) (@MIT) <a href="https://twitter.com/MIT/status/1447519773332496385?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">October 11, 2021</a></blockquote> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Angrist and Krueger studied the relationship between education and lifetime earnings, finding that one additional year of education was worth an increase of about 7.5 percent in earnings.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Imbens and Angrist then used natural experiments to study the relationship between cause and effect.</span></p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr">It's been a busy morning for <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/NobelPrize?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#NobelPrize</a> winner Guido Imbens and his family! After waking everyone up when they heard the news shortly before 3 a.m., <a href="https://twitter.com/Susan_Athey?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Susan_Athey</a> told their kids Andrew, Sylvia, and Carleton that they could decide if they wanted to go to school or not today. <a href="https://t.co/rJjZZAbKVO">pic.twitter.com/rJjZZAbKVO</a></p> — Stanford University (@Stanford) <a href="https://twitter.com/Stanford/status/1447549033539637248?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">October 11, 2021</a></blockquote> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Many took to Twitter to congratulate the three winners, as well as Krueger’s contributions.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“The Nobel today is a good time to remember and celebrate the economist Alan Krueger,” researcher Max Roser wrote on Twitter.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Krueger died two years ago. He dedicated his energy and skills to the same research that was awarded with the Nobel today.”</span></p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr">And they STILL do it, with language that everyone gets! "kungfu represents life as a journey where people have choices to make – everybody has a destiny and yet, they also have a free will. That works well for econometrics – it’s like you already have a destiny, which is y0, ..."</p> — Dr. Tammy McGavock (@tmcgav) <a href="https://twitter.com/tmcgav/status/1447569546295054342?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">October 11, 2021</a></blockquote> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The conversation also turned to the importance of mental health and checking in with those around us.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Alan Krueger also taught us something even more important: Deep dark, life-ending depression can and does attack beloved, creative, prolific, widely respected people,” economist Dr Tammy McGavock tweeted.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“No one is immune.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“We must check on each other. We must normalize seeking help.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The three winners split the 10 million Swedish kroner prize, with Card receiving half and Angrist and Imbens splitting the remainder.</span></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Image: Niklas Elmehed / Nobel Prize Outreach</span></em></p>

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Queensland town GIVING AWAY land

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">A Queensland town has started a new scheme that has been practically giving away free blocks of land, as long as aspiring property owners meet one requirement.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The outback town of Quilpie, which lies 1000 km west of Brisbane, has a population of just 800 people and is looking to expand.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Quilpie Shire Council has started offering $12,500 grants to anyone who buys a block of land and builds a home on it valued at less than $750,000, which they must also live in for six months.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">With some blocks selling for $12,500, homeowners can essentially receive the land for free.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">As well as being known for opal mining and dinosaur bones, the area is home to two supermarkets, a butcher and baker, several newsagents and hairdressers, two schools, and an early learning centre.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Though the town is in dire need for people to fill vacancies for roles including teaching and nursing, the area doesn’t have enough homes for people to move into.</span></p> <p> </p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Image: Quilpie Shire Council</span></em></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">When Quilpie Shire Council CEO Justin Hancock first moved into the area, he spent six months living in a retirement village.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The 30-year-old has now lived in the town for eight months, and wanted to do something about the lack of housing.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“I made some great friends at the retirement village, and still drop by for a cuppa with some of the lovely residents, but it wasn’t the ideal place for me to live, regardless of how lovely the villa was,” he </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.news.com.au/finance/real-estate/buying/australian-town-of-quilpie-giving-away-free-land-with-125k-grant/news-story/460822c8aee66603902455bc47b0ae44" target="_blank"><span style="font-weight: 400;">said</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">With the new financial scheme, Mr Hancock said “you would be hard-pressed to find a better deal anywhere in Australia”.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“If you’re looking to retire and need an affordable home base for travel, or you’re a young person starting out in your career and getting a foot in the property ladder, you would be hard-pressed to find a better deal anywhere in Australia. Depending on the cost of the land chosen, it can equate to us essentially giving land away,” he said.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“We have over 10 job vacancies in Quilpie at the moment that we’re hoping will attract some new younger residents to live out here and the younger demographic won’t want to live in a retirement village.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Mr Hancock also noted that there would be the opportunity to establish a new business in town, and that there would be more tourism roles available next year.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Tessa McDougall, 24, and Tom Hennessy, 23, have already taken up the offer to become first-home buyers, with Tessa taking up a teaching role and Tom working as a technical officer for the council.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“There’s probably not a lot of people our age who are getting into the property market - but it’s so affordable in Quilpie, and even more so with this great land grant, and we’re confident it’s going to be a great investment for our future,” Mr Hennessy said.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“We’re also hopeful that other young people will look at the job opportunities out here along with these great property deals and make the move to Quilpie. It’s a great lifestyle and small town vibe, there’s no crime and everyone is pretty laid back. And Covid really hasn’t touched Western Queensland.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In addition to encouraging newcomers to purchase land, the council is also redeveloping Quilpie’s depot into 40 townhouse villas.</span></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Image: Getty Images</span></em></p>

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10 garage sale finds worth buying.

<p><span>It’s hard to know exactly what is worth buying secondhand, but these garage sale finds should be snapped up if you see them!</span></p> <p><strong>Large furniture</strong></p> <p><span>Large furniture can be a great garage sale find. The key to buying big items at a garage sale is to wait until the end of the day. By then, the sellers are wondering how they are going to get that huge vintage sofa off of the grass and back into the living room. Be careful with upholstered items (bed bug alert!), but once you’re confident it’s clean, try to look past garishly coloured fabric and eye-popping patterns: you can always reupholster a piece of furniture to better suit your sense of style.</span></p> <p><strong>Home office supplies</strong></p> <p><span>Stationary is a great garage sale find. Normally, your eye instantly jumps to the larger items like couches, kitchen countertop appliances, and, yes, questionable taxidermy. But force yourself to examine smaller items too, especially ones you use regularly. Pens, push pins, and paperclips are office staples you can never have enough of.</span></p> <p><strong>Artwork</strong></p> <p><span>Garage sale artwork is a great way to add some colour to your home. It’s fun to pick up art for two reasons: You might learn about interesting local artists, or, even if you don’t like the image, you can always repurpose the frame. This is key for larger paintings and drawings, because big frames can be so expensive. Haggle if you want, since art is subjective and the sellers might not have too many interested buyers. Also, odds are that they’re tired of looking at it and just want it gone.</span></p> <p><strong>Vintage brooches</strong></p> <p><span>Not to sound old-fashioned, but they don’t make brooches like they used to. Since their popularity has declined over the years, you can usually get a deal on these accessories, and if you like, the possibilities for upgrading them are endless. They’re a great garage sale find! Tip: Consult a vintage jewellery guide to learn how to spot key details that will help you recognise what an old brooch might actually be worth.</span></p> <p><strong>Kitchenware</strong></p> <p>When you see pots and pans at a garage sale, look out for rust, non-stick surfaces that are scratched or flaking, and chemical coatings that might leach out into your food. Cast-iron ware, on the other hand, can be salvaged and restored no matter what the condition – and it’ll last forever.</p> <p>Also, if you find the following items in good working condition, snap them up: stainless steel baking items, kitchen timers, serving utensils, Pyrex or ovenproof glass baking dishes, wooden or bamboo serving bowls, wicker baskets, ceramic or porcelain dinnerware, stainless steel flatware and quality knives (you can always take them in to be sharpened). Just make sure to wash these great garage sale finds well before use!</p> <p><strong>Jackets</strong></p> <p><span>Jackets are a great garage sale find. Since sellers spring-clean before their sales, bulky or unworn winter coats and vests are some of the first things to hit the to-go pile. Check for holes and wear before purchasing, and dry clean or give a good washing before putting in the wardrobe for next year. For children, buy the next size(s) up and store in a wardrobe for future seasons.</span></p> <p><strong>Tools</strong></p> <p><span>Tools like drills, saws, nail guns and compressors can be great garage sale finds. As long as the seller can prove that they’re in good working condition, snap them up. Ask how old the product is and how much it has been used over the years. Always keep an eye out for rust, which usually means the integrity of the metal is compromised, making the tool more dangerous to work with.</span></p> <p><strong>Fishing rods</strong></p> <p><span>Bamboo rods and reels are non-mainstream antiques that some collectors will shell out major bucks for.</span></p> <p><strong>Silverware</strong></p> <p><span>Odds are you can pick up a stylish silverware set for cheaper than what you can find new at most stores, plus you’re likely to hear a cool back-story to boot. There’s also a chance that what you’ve got is actual silver. How can you tell? On the back of silver-plated items there will be markings that can include the company name, the country in which it was made, a product number, and the E.P. (electroplate) marking. Don’t miss this garage sale find!</span></p> <p><strong>Children's formal clothes</strong></p> <p><span>Looking for a children’s dress or suit for a special occasion? Formal clothes for kids only tend to be worn on a few occasions, and you will often find them being sold in near-new condition for a low price, which makes them one of the best garage sale finds. Garage sales are the perfect place to look for a communion dress or a suit for an upcoming wedding. Also good to score: slightly damaged, cheap party clothes for kids to use in dress-up games.</span></p> <p><em><span>This article was written by Alison Caporimo and first appeared in </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/food-home-garden/money/20-garage-sale-finds-worth-buying" target="_blank"><span>Reader’s Digest</span></a><span>. For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, </span><a rel="noopener" href="http://readersdigest.innovations.com.au/c/readersdigestemailsubscribe?utm_source=over60&amp;utm_medium=articles&amp;utm_campaign=RDSUB&amp;keycode=WRA87V" target="_blank"><span>here’s our best subscription offer.</span></a></em></p> <p><em>Image: Getty Images</em></p> <p><img src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7820640/1.png" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/f30947086c8e47b89cb076eb5bb9b3e2" /></p>

Money & Banking

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“A bit terrifying”: Shocking image from Australia Post emerges

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">A photo </span><a href="https://au.news.yahoo.com/terrifying-photo-reveals-extent-of-australia-post-backlog-amid-delivery-delays-075607215.html"><span style="font-weight: 400;">has emerged</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> of an Australia Post distribution centre, showing the “Christmas levels” of parcels the postal giant faces amidst a COVID-19 induced staff crisis.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">After almost 200 staff entered self-isolation, Australia Post has struggled with “an enormous logistical problem” as the online shopping boom continues in Victoria.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">A spokesperson from Australia Post told </span><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Yahoo News</span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;"> that the staff shortages have combined with “border closures, reduced flights and compliance with COVID-safe restrictions” to “create challenges” and delay deliveries.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The new photo comes a week after the company announced a temporary pause on e-parcel pickups and collections in an attempt to clear the backlog.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“With parcel volumes at Christmas levels, our network continues to be under pressure, and is amplified in Victoria where we continue to manage a heavily reduced workforce due to the impact of the Delta strain,” a statement read.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“The temporary pause will help manage the record volumes being experienced in the network and importantly return them to a level that is safe and manageable for our people.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In the photo, sent to radio station <em>3AW</em>, the distribution centre in the Melbourne suburb of Sunshine is shown to be filled with piles of parcels waiting to be delivered on Sunday.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Michelle Skehan, Australia Post general manager of corporate affairs, admitted to <em>3AW Breakfast</em> that the picture “looks a bit terrifying”.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“It is very orderly and they are massive facilities, but look, it’s not a great situation we’ve found ourselves in,” she said.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Ms Skehan said the company was finding it more difficult to cope with increased demand during the current outbreak than earlier in the pandemic.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Even last year when we had workforce restrictions in our facilities … we could send things up to Sydney,” she said.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Because we’ve got Sydney, the ACT and Victoria all in lockdown, it's an enormous logistical problem.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The postal giant told </span><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Yahoo News</span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;"> that more than one million parcels passed through its facilities in Victoria over the weekend, with around half a million being delivered from Friday to Sunday.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Our people at our facilities, our drivers and our posties, are busier than ever before, processing and delivering a record number of parcels, as online shopping in locked down Melbourne and Sydney soars,” a spokesperson said.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Australia Post said it has invested in chartering additional planes, using more vehicles, and opening new permanent and temporary facilities to process parcels, as well as starting a hiring spree of 1000 people in Victoria in the lead-up to Christmas.</span></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Image: 3AW</span></em></p>

Money & Banking

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Woman finds record-busting diamond

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">A California woman made a surprise find after discovering a 4.38 carat yellow diamond in Arkansas’ Hot Springs National Park.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Noreen Wredberg was visiting the park with her husband Michael and decided to explore the Crater of Diamonds park, the state Parks Department told </span><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">NBC News</span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;">.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“I first saw the park featured on a TV show several years ago,” Ms Wredberg </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://travel.nine.com.au/latest/american-airlines-removes-mother-toddler-refusing-wear-mask-onboard/0e144844-75b3-40a3-8ad7-92e3416c425d" target="_blank"><span style="font-weight: 400;">told</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> the department.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“When I realised we weren’t too far away, I knew we had to come.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The couple arrived at the park after several days of rain which had left the slightly-dry soil in an ideal condition for finding diamonds.</span></p> <p><img style="width: 500px; height: 333.33333333333337px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7844590/244189895_10161140297647646_1540172523317654032_n.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/48ee06d0d5d84df4b199faf2b84bde25" /></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Image: The State Parks of Arkansas</span></em></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Ms Wredberg had been searching for about an hour before she noticed the large gem.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“I didn’t know it was a diamond then, but it was clean and shiny, so I picked it up!” she said, according to </span><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">NBC News</span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;">.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">If visitors find diamonds at the park, they can take it to the park’s Diamond Discovery Centre to confirm whether the diamond is real.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Arkansas is the only state with a public diamond mine, with more than 75,000 unearthed at the Crater of Diamonds since 1906.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Arkansas parks department said the diamond Ms Wredberg found is the biggest in the last year.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Ms Wredberg has been allowed to keep the stone, but said she was unsure about what she would do with it.</span></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Image: The State Parks of Arkansas / Facebook</span></em></p>

Money & Banking

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Five minute fixes: car care and repair on a budget

<p>All those seemingly unimportant cosmetic problems with your car can add up when it is time to sell.</p> <p>Here’s how to fix a range of automobile problems yourself quickly and efficiently.</p> <p><strong>A rock chipped my windshield</strong></p> <p><strong><img style="width: 500px; height: 281.25px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7844627/car-fix1.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/072bedc1b8dc487db1b4c594c466831c" /></strong></p> <p><em>Image: Shutterstock</em></p> <p>A pebble tumbles out of a dump truck on the highway, your windshield smacks it at the maximum speed limit and your day is ruined.</p> <p>Not necessarily – small chips and bullseye cracks are easy to repair.</p> <p>First, keep dust, mud, bird droppings, and such out of the crack, because they will interfere with the repair.</p> <p>So pull over and put some clear plastic tape over the windshield crack until you can make your permanent fix.</p> <p>Then tend to the crack as soon as possible.</p> <p>Changes in temperature and everyday vibration caused by driving can worsen the crack.</p> <p>Swing by an auto parts store and pick up a clear epoxy repair kit designed specifically for windshields.</p> <p>They can be pretty cheap.</p> <p>Apply the adhesive according to the package directions.</p> <p>Do-it-yourself fixes won’t work well for cracks larger than, say, 30 centimetres.</p> <p>For those, you’ll need to have the windshield replaced by a professional.</p> <p><strong>Someone scratched my car's finish</strong></p> <p><img style="width: 500px; height: 281.25px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7844626/car-fix2.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/3e85e8f3a66547b584c27c853f42ce0a" /></p> <p><em>Image: Shutterstock</em></p> <p>Rub your finger gently over the scratch.</p> <p>If you can’t feel the indentation made by the scratch, you’re in luck.</p> <p>Only the surface clear coat was marred, not the paint layer.</p> <p>Go to an auto parts store, pick up a polish (many feature scratch-removing properties), and follow the package directions. If you can feel the scratch on the surface of your car’s finish, buffing and polishing will not help.</p> <p>The only solution is to paint over the scratch to make it less noticeable. Browse through the fingernail polish available in your home, a drugstore, or a department store.</p> <p>When you find a shade that matches the colour of your car, delicately paint over the scratch and let it dry. If you mess up the patch job, dab on a little nail polish remover with a cotton swab to clean it up, let it dry, and start over.</p> <p>Auto parts stores also sell touch-up marking pens and coloured polishes that will disguise a scratch temporarily.</p> <p><strong>I ripped my car seat</strong></p> <p><img style="width: 500px; height: 281.25px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7844625/car-fix3.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/fd2b5cefab3b4d0ebfcd00ba7a3b4337" /></p> <p><em>Image: Shutterstock</em></p> <p>If you’ve cut a gash in your car’s leather or vinyl upholstery, find duct tape that matches the colour of the upholstery and cut a piece just large enough to cover the rip.</p> <p>Auto parts stores sell duct tape in a wide range of colours.</p> <p>The tape will mask the wound until you can get it permanently repaired at an upholstery repair shop.</p> <p>Auto parts stores also sell colour-matching adhesive repair kits for leather and vinyl upholstery.</p> <p>Duct tape and do-it-yourself repair kits don’t work quite as well on fabric, however.</p> <p>For large fabric tears, you’ll need the help of an auto upholstery shop.</p> <p><strong>I'm worried my child's car seat isn't secure</strong></p> <p><img style="width: 500px; height: 281.25px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7844624/car-fix4.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/180a8c402ef2422f84dc23ff6eea0bbe" /></p> <p><em>Image: Getty Images</em></p> <p>You never want to put your kids in harm’s way. But an incorrectly installed car seat is doing just that.</p> <p>To find out if your car seat is up to snuff, take a quick ride to your local police station.</p> <p>Most police are trained to spot a faulty car seat and will be able to secure yours properly.</p> <p>In addition, many libraries, doctor’s offices, day care centres, and other places where kids congregate hold free car-seat checkups.</p> <p>Find out when the next one is scheduled.</p> <p><strong>My car has been dented</strong></p> <p><img style="width: 500px; height: 281.25px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7844623/car-fix5.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/3bb486a27ec24dd0a80a484bb6412906" /></p> <p><em>Image: Getty Images</em></p> <p>Here are two ways to fix a dent without taking your car to the shop:</p> <p>If the dent is on or near the wheel arch, you’ll be able to tap it out with a hammer, but only after you unscrew the black plastic shields under the arch.</p> <p>To do this, first make sure the emergency brake is in place. Next, using a small screwdriver, unscrew the four to six screws holding the shield in place.</p> <p>Depending on the size of the dent, use either your fingers or a hammer to knock out the dent. Of course, if the dent is on the plastic shield itself, there is no need to take it off.</p> <p>Just get underneath it and push out the plastic with your fingers.</p> <p>If the dent is on the side of your car, you’ll need a little suction to repair it. Find anything with a suction cup attached.</p> <p>Many automatic pencil sharpeners, for instance, have them on their bases. Most auto supply stores sell suction cups for pulling out dents. They cost about $7. Take the cup, place it directly over the dent, and pull it off.</p> <p>That wonderful pop sound indicates you’ve pulled the body back into shape.</p> <p><strong>I got car wax on my bumper</strong></p> <p><img style="width: 500px; height: 281.25px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7844622/car-fix6.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/ac244476aab44f5fb6bc2029ccfb13d1" /></p> <p><em>Image: Getty Images</em></p> <p>Until they make car wax that easily comes off plastic car components, thank goodness for WD-40. Spray a little of it on the wax and wipe it off with a rag or an old toothbrush.</p> <p>This also works for wax that gets into crevices.</p> <p>All those seemingly unimportant cosmetic problems with your car can add up when it is time to sell.</p> <p>Here’s how to fix a range of automobile problems yourself quickly and efficiently.</p> <p><strong>I can't jump-start a dead car battery</strong></p> <p><img style="width: 500px; height: 281.25px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7844621/car-fix7.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/17ce1b848abf4f9b82939a62ca47590c" /></p> <p><em>Image: Getty Images</em></p> <p>You found a kind soul to help you cable up your reluctant car battery, but the engine still won’t turn over. Don’t despair.</p> <p>The good news is that a car battery might get really, really weak, but it’s never completely dead.</p> <p>If your jump-start isn’t working and there’s a lot of corrosion around the battery terminals where you attach the cables, pour a can of cola on the corroded area.</p> <p>The acid in the cola will dissolve the corrosion, improving your connection and increasing your odds of a successful jump-start.</p> <p>The cola also contains electrolytes, which will help improve the electrical flow.</p> <p>Once you get home, wash the battery with a little bit of water to get rid of the cola residue.</p> <p><strong>My car is specked with stubborn sap</strong></p> <p><img style="width: 500px; height: 281.25px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7844620/car-fix8.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/7aecadfd8b7e4b2c96b7735abc475dc5" /></p> <p><em>Image: Getty Images</em></p> <p>Soap and water won’t remove sap stuck to the finish of your car.</p> <p>But there is a simple solution.</p> <p>Pour a drop of rubbing alcohol directly on the sap spot, rub with your fingertips, and watch the marks disappear.</p> <p>No need to rinse, either.</p> <p>The alcohol will evaporate.</p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">This article first appeared in </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/true-stories-lifestyle/five-minute-fixes-car-care-and-repair-budget" target="_blank"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Reader’s Digest</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">. For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, </span><a rel="noopener" href="http://readersdigest.innovations.com.au/c/readersdigestemailsubscribe?utm_source=over60&amp;utm_medium=articles&amp;utm_campaign=RDSUB&amp;keycode=WRA87V" target="_blank"><span style="font-weight: 400;">here’s our best subscription offer.</span></a></em></p> <p><img style="width: 100px !important; height: 100px !important;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7820640/1.png" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/f30947086c8e47b89cb076eb5bb9b3e2" /></p>

Money & Banking

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The origins of money

<div> <p><span style="font-size: 14px;">From cowrie shells to native resources and animals, currency in some shape or form has long been a part of human history. </span></p> <div class="copy"> <p>A currency of sorts was first thought to emerge as trade and exchange, with trade being tracked through the archaeological record, starting in the <a rel="noreferrer noopener" href="https://www.annualreviews.org/doi/10.1146/annurev.anthro.31.040402.085416" target="_blank">Upper Palaeolithic</a>, when groups of hunters traded the best flint weapons and tools. Throughout the years, various objects were used as units of value until nearly 5,000 years ago, when the <a rel="noreferrer noopener" href="https://theconversation.com/when-and-why-did-people-first-start-using-money-78887#:~:text=The%20Mesopotamian%20shekel%20%E2%80%93%20the%20first,gold%20coins%20to%20pay%20armies." target="_blank">Mesopotamian shekel</a> emerged as the first known form of currency.</p> <p>Now, researchers from Leiden University in the Netherlands are adding an Early Bronze Age piece to the currency puzzle. They’re proposing that Bronze Age people may have used rings and axe blades as an early form of standardised currency. </p> <p>“Archaeology can provide a unique perspective on the development of money and systems of weighing over space and time, but the discipline has difficulties with the identification of objects that functioned either as commodity money or as weights,” the authors write in their paper, <a rel="noreferrer noopener" href="https://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0240462" target="_blank">published</a> in the journal <em>PLOS ONE.</em></p> <p>The authors compared objects from Early Bronze Age Central Europe. Based on the similarity in weight and shape of the objects, they suggest that ancient people used bronze objects that were standardised in shape and weight as currency. </p> <p>“Found in bulk, sometimes in hoards containing multiple hundreds, many of the rings, ribs and axe blades are considered to have no other practical function besides their tentative use as ingots, or rough-outs for further production,” the authors write.<em> </em></p> <p>“Moulds, made of clay, stone or casted directly in sand made serial production possible, which led to some degree of unintentional standardisation. However, there are indications that for some types of objects, a deliberate effort was made to achieve a specific weight interval, meaning that weight mattered.”</p> <p>The researchers studied just over 5,000 objects made of bronze in rings, ribs and axe blades from more than 100 ancient hoards.</p> <p>The objects’ weights were compared using a psychology principle known as the <a rel="noreferrer noopener" href="http://apps.usd.edu/coglab/WebersLaw.html" target="_blank">Weber fraction</a>, which suggests if objects are similar in mass, a human being weighing them by hand can’t tell the difference. </p> <p>Around 70% of the rings were similar enough in weight – they averaged about 195 grams – and would have been indistinguishable by hand, as were subsets of the ribs and axe blades. </p> <p>Standardisation is a key feature of money. However, the researchers say this can be difficult to identify in the archaeological record since ancient people had inexact forms of measurement. </p> <p>“Commodity money displays rough similarities in terms of shape and weight, because of standardisation, without necessarily following a strict metrological system,” the authors write.</p> <p>“Though archaeologists have no insight in the transactions that took place, there can be no doubt that at least the rings and ribs conform to the definition of commodity money.”</p> <p>More precise weighing tools appear in the archaeology record later, in the Middle Bronze Age of Europe, along with an increase in the availability of scrap bronze.</p> <!-- Start of tracking content syndication. Please do not remove this section as it allows us to keep track of republished articles --> <img id="cosmos-post-tracker" style="opacity: 0; height: 1px!important; width: 1px!important; border: 0!important; position: absolute!important; z-index: -1!important;" src="https://syndication.cosmosmagazine.com/?id=135363&amp;title=The+origins+of+money" alt="" width="1" height="1" /> <!-- End of tracking content syndication --></div> <div id="contributors"> <p><em><a rel="noopener" href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/history/the-origins-of-money/" target="_blank">This article</a> was originally published on <a rel="noopener" href="https://cosmosmagazine.com" target="_blank">Cosmos Magazine</a> and was written by <a rel="noopener" href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/contributor/amelia-nichele" target="_blank">Amelia Nichele</a>. Amelia Nichele is a science journalist at The Royal Institution of Australia.</em></p> </div> </div> <p><em>Image: </em><em>M.H.G. Kuijpers</em></p>

Money & Banking

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Lottery winner drowns with winning ticket still in his wallet

<p>A 57-year-old man has drowned in a lake with a winning lottery ticket in his wallet. </p> <p>Michigan-local Gregory Jarvis was found washed up on a beach in the state's east, almost 10 days after scooping the impressive jackpot. </p> <p>Gregory had been at a local inn on September 13 when he won $45,000 in a Club Keno game. </p> <p>He was unable to cash out his winnings straight away, as he didn't have his social security card with him at the time. </p> <p>According to the state of Michigan and <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.abc12.com/2021/09/28/caseville-drowning-victim-had-winning-lottery-ticket-his-wallet/" target="_blank">ABC12 news</a>, social security cards must be presented in order to cash lottery jackpot winnings over $600.</p> <p>Gregory had applied for a new card and was planning to visit his family with the winnings once he could cash them in, according to the Blue Water Inn owner Dawn Talaski. </p> <p>Gregory returned to the inn's bar on September 19 to celebrate his win as he bought a round of drinks.</p> <p>However, when he didn't show up as usual the following day, inn owner Dawn became concerned. </p> <p><span>"He wasn’t here all week and we thought, something is wrong," she said.</span></p> <p><span>Gregory's boss even went to the bar on September 22 to search for him when he hadn't shown up for work. </span></p> <p><span>Two days later, a local resident called the police when they witnesses a body had washed ashore on their private beach in Huron County. </span></p> <p><span>The body was found near a boat, and police confirmed the boat belonged to Gregory Jarvis.</span></p> <p><span>An autopsy revealed that Gregory had hit his head before he drowned.</span></p> <p><span>Local police found the winning lottery ticket in Gregory's wallet, which prompted an investigation to rule out foul play. </span><span></span></p> <p><span>Their investigation showed no such motives or evidence, as Caseville Police Chief Kyle Romzek said, "We are thinking that he was tying up his boat, slipped and fell, hit his head and that’s where he ended up in the water."</span></p> <p><span>The winning lottery ticket has now been handed over to Gregory's relatives. </span></p> <p><em>Image credits: Facebook / Shutterstock</em></p>

Money & Banking

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"Cold and brutal": Karl grills treasurer over scrapping of disaster payments

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Today Show co-host Karl Stefanovic has criticised the federal government over its plan to scale back, and eventually scrap, COVID-19 disaster payments. It was announced on Tuesday that the government will begin winding down the payments, which give $750 a week to people who have lost at least 20 hours of work, and $450 a week to those who have lost between eight and 20 hours, as each state and territory reaches their 70 and 80 per cent vaccination targets.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Per the changes, once a state or territory reaches 70 per cent fully vaccinated, people will have to reapply each week for the payment, instead of it being automatically renewed. At 80 per cent, the payment will be phased out entirely within two weeks. For states and territories like NSW or the ACT, which are </span><a href="https://twitter.com/CaseyBriggs/status/1442700206420549636/photo/1"><span style="font-weight: 400;">estimated</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> to reach 80% fully vaccinated by October 18th and 21st respectively, this change means the scrapping of the payment is imminent. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Talking to treasurer Josh Frydenberg on the Today Show on Wednesday morning, co-host Karl Stefanovic called the decision “cold and brutal”, telling Frydenberg, “I get that you can’t keep it going and going but many industries won’t be back to normal at 70 or 80 per cent – you have the arts, nightclub, hospitality and tourism, especially in Far North Queensland … to cut them off is kind of cold and brutal, isn’t it?”</span></p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr">“We can't continue with these emergency payments indefinitely.”<br /><br />The Federal Government will announce today that COVID disaster payments will be wound back as each state hits the 80 per cent double-dosed vaccination target. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/9Today?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#9Today</a> <a href="https://t.co/jHMFvZtDSH">pic.twitter.com/jHMFvZtDSH</a></p> — The Today Show (@TheTodayShow) <a href="https://twitter.com/TheTodayShow/status/1442976255402340363?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">September 28, 2021</a></blockquote> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In response, Frydenberg outlined the government’s partnership with the Queensland Government to support Queensland businesses, concluding that, “It’s those sorts of direct economic payments that complement what we’ve been doing at higher, broader level with the Covid disaster payment and other economic support.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Frydenberg failed to address how the federal government would provide support to those who have lost work as a result of COVID-19 and are not able to find replacement work in between now and the looming deadline. Many anti-poverty advocates and welfare campaigners expressed concern about the phasing out of the payments online, including the Antipoverty Centre, who tweeted, “They’re making a huge gamble with our lives, betting that jobs will magically return overnight.”</span></p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr">The government has started the poverty clock ticking.<br /><br />They’re making a huge gamble with our lives, betting that jobs will magically return overnight. <br /><br />All that will come of this is more people in poverty and more lives destroyed. The disaster payment living up to its name. <a href="https://t.co/LtwzgMXotU">https://t.co/LtwzgMXotU</a></p> — The Antipoverty Centre (@antipovertycent) <a href="https://twitter.com/antipovertycent/status/1442856771341664264?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">September 28, 2021</a></blockquote> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Image: TODAY Show/Nine</span></em></p>

Money & Banking

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Gaming or gambling: study shows almost half of loot boxes in video games constitute gambling

<div class="copy"> <p>The Australian Senate has <a href="http://trade-media.com.au/news/read/australian-senate-passes-motion-investigate-loot-boxes/">passed a motion to investigate</a> whether purchasable random rewards in video games (known colloquially as loot boxes) constitute a form of gambling and whether they are appropriate for younger players.  </p> <p>Our recent <a href="https://rdcu.be/ZXTg">paper</a>, which was cited in the senate motion, explores exactly these questions.</p> <p>We found that the loot boxes in almost half (45%) of the 22 games we analysed met the criteria to be considered psychologically similar to gambling, even though they are rated as appropriate for adolescent players under the age of consent for gambling.</p> <h2>What is a loot box?</h2> <p>Loot boxes are digital containers of randomised rewards, and are available in a number of video games.</p> <p>The box may contain rewards ranging from cosmetic items which alter the appearance of in-game characters to functional items that increase the player’s power in some way (for example a gun that fires faster or does more damage).</p> <p>In our research, we sought to answer two questions: are loot boxes like gambling and, if so, what should be done about it?</p> <p>First up, we want to clarify that video games are not evil.</p> <p>Games companies are not evil. Making money from video games is not evil.</p> <p>And playing video games with loot boxes is unlikely to result in young people flocking in great numbers to casinos.</p> <p>However, simultaneously, it may also be true that loot boxes represent a troubling and potentially inappropriate monetisation strategy, with the potential to cause short and long-term harm to some players.</p> <p>Our intent is to educate readers about loot box mechanisms, and promote a reasoned, evidence-based discussion about ethical practice in video games.</p> <p>Loot box rewards may be highly desirable or valuable (for example, a particularly valuable cosmetic item or very powerful weapon), or virtually useless and undesirable (items referred to as “vender trash”).</p> <p>Most importantly, the contents of the box are determined by chance.</p> <p>Some (but not all) loot boxes are purchasable for real money.</p> <p>In some cases, items earned from a loot box can also be “cashed out” for real world money.</p> <h2>The gambling problem</h2> <p>The problem is that spending real money on a chance outcome that results in some people “winning” and others “losing” is fundamental to gambling activities.</p> <p>Thus, we analysed the loot box features in 22 console and PC games released in 2016 and 2017, with a view to understanding how psychologically similar they were to gambling.</p> <p>We used five criteria to distinguish gambling from other risk-taking activities.</p> <p>These have been developed by Nottingham Trent University psychologist <a href="https://www.ntu.ac.uk/staff-profiles/social-sciences/mark-griffiths">Mark Griffiths</a> in his work on behavioural addictions and gambling disorders.</p> <p>To be considered psychologically similar to gambling, loot boxes must involve:</p> <ul> <li>an exchange of money or valuable goods takes place</li> <li>an unknown future event determines the exchange</li> <li>chance at least partly determining the outcome</li> <li>non-participation avoiding incurring losses</li> <li>winners gaining at the sole expense of losers.</li> </ul> <p>We took a reasonably strict interpretation of the final criterion; assuming that people only “won” if they gained some form of in-game competitive advantage (for example more powerful weapons).</p> <p>Arguably, this approach ignores the subjective value that might be created by the scarcity of, or player preference for, certain cosmetic items.</p> <p>However, it appeared to us to most closely resemble Griffiths’ intent.</p> <p>Loot boxes in just under half of the games (45%) met all five of Griffiths’ criteria and, thus, could be considered psychologically akin to gambling.</p> <p>All of the loot boxes operated on a variable ratio reinforcement schedule – a technical term for a reward given to a person on average every so many times they engage in a particular behaviour.</p> <p>This type of reward schedule results in people quickly learning new behaviours (for example buying loot boxes) and repeating them often in the hope of receiving a <a href="http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1111/j.1467-9280.1990.tb00220.x">reward</a>.</p> <p>The strategy is effective because the next time a box is opened it might be the “big win”.  </p> <p>Perhaps most concerning was the fact that at least five of the games had mechanisms available to on-sell virtual items, allowing players to cash out their winnings (though four of these five had terms and conditions explicitly prohibiting this).</p> <p>The ability to cash out winnings is something that many consider a legal requirement for an activity to be considered gambling.</p> <p>Although the legality of loot boxes is a question for individual regulators and governments, exposure to mechanisms which closely mimic gambling in a psychological sense is concerning to us, especially since all of the games we examined were rated as appropriate for those under the age of consent for gambling.</p> <p>The short and long-term consequences of engaging with these mechanisms are unknown.</p> <p>Plausibly, short-term consequences may include overspending on loot boxes.</p> <p>The potential for long-term consequences also concerns us because males (a <a href="http://www.theesa.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/EF2017_Design_FinalDigital.pdf">particularly large group within gamers</a>) exposed to gambling when young are particularly at <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs10899-008-9088-6">risk of developing problematic gaming behaviours</a>.</p> <h2>What to do about it</h2> <p>There is cause for hope. Electronic Arts (one of the largest game studios in the world) has recently announced the <a href="https://variety.com/2018/gaming/news/no-loot-boxes-anthem-1202838734/">removal of loot boxes</a> from upcoming titles.</p> <p>This suggests the games industry is taking consumer and expert feedback seriously, and may take steps to self-regulate.</p> <p>In our view, this is the optimal solution, given the diverse policy landscapes across the countries in which video games are sold.</p> <p>Where industry is not willing to self-regulate, and loot boxes are most similar to gambling, regulators may need to consider additional steps, although this should be undertaken selectively.</p> <p>Belgium and the Netherlands have <a href="https://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2018-04-25-now-belgium-declares-loot-boxes-gambling-and-therefore-illegal">declared at least some loot boxes to be illegal</a>, while the US and UK have decided that they are <a href="https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-43906306">not a form of gambling</a>.</p> <p>As noted above, the Australian Senate unanimously supported a vote on the 28th of June to refer an inquiry into the legality of loot boxes in video games to the <a href="http://trade-media.com.au/news/read/australian-senate-passes-motion-investigate-loot-boxes/">Environment and Communications References Committee</a>.</p> <p>Most importantly, we recommend that loot box mechanics should be added to content warnings to give users and parents the information they need to properly assess whether particular games are appropriate for themselves or their children.</p> <p>Ensuring that users can make well informed decisions about the appropriateness of content remains one of the strongest consumer defences.</p> <p>We hope that this work will form the basis for a well-reasoned, evidence-based policy discussion about ethical and sustainable practices in video games.</p> <p>Our intent is not to stigmatise games or gamers, but to spark a discussion about what mechanisms are and are not appropriate for particular audiences, games and the industry more broadly.</p> <p><em>Image credit: Shutterstock</em></p> </div> <div id="contributors"> <p><em>This article was originally published by <a rel="noopener" href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/people/social-sciences/gaming-or-gambling-study-shows-almost-half-of-loot-boxes-in-video-games-constitute-gambling/" target="_blank">cosmosmagazine.com</a> and written by The Conversation.</em></p> </div>

Money & Banking

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How maths can help you get a good deal at the bank

<div class="copy"> <p>Few people love mathematics.</p> <p>A common refrain among students is, “Why do I have to learn this stuff? When will I need it?” But having a working knowledge of the basic concepts is essential in daily life as an adult.</p> <p>We use them when counting cash, calculating mortgage payments and filling out tax returns.</p> <p>In fact, it was financial matters such as loans, interest payments and gambling that spurred the development of a lot of early mathematics.</p> <p>Negative numbers, for example, were needed to represent debt, and the mathematical rules for their use were worked out in India and the Islamic world by the 7th century.</p> <p>One money problem that was carefully analysed in the 17th century concerned compound interest – a familiar enough concept today.</p> <p>Just like modern banks, the money lenders of the day competed for customers using interest rates as incentives.</p> <p>But when making comparisons the customer always has to be careful of the small print.</p> <p>Interest rates are normally expressed on an annual basis.</p> <p>For example, a simple 5% annual interest means that $100 investment becomes $105 at the end of one year.</p> <p>But if interest is credited, say, every six months, the customer gets a higher overall annual return.</p> <p>To keep the arithmetic simple, imagine a bank that paid 100% annual interest (that would be nice!).</p> <p>If credited annually, that rate of interest would turn $100 into $200 at the end of the year.</p> <p>But if credited every six months, then $50 gets credited to the account after six months, so at the end of the year the original capital has earned $100, but the $50 credited after six months will itself earn $25 interest over the second half of the year.</p> <p>So by offering biannual compound interest, the bank would pay the customer $125 interest at the end of one year rather than $100.</p> <p>A customer who started with $100 would now have $225 in the account.</p> <p>If the interest is paid quarterly, the deal is even better, amounting to a little over $244 at the end of the year.</p> <p>The more often the interest is credited, the higher the final total.</p> <p>But it is a process of diminishing returns: the total goes up by a smaller and smaller amount the more frequently you credit the interest.</p> <p>Crediting every day would yield a bit over $271. That is to say, the original capital will have been boosted 2.71 times.</p> <p>All of which raises the question: what would be the upper limit to this compounding process?</p> <p>Mathematicians were pondering this even back in the 17th century.</p> <p>In 1683, the mathematician Jacob Bernoulli found the answer: 2.7182818… (the ellipsis indicates that this number is an unending decimal).</p> <p>It is an <a href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/mathematics/the-square-root-of-2">irrational number</a> and, like π<span style="font-family: inherit;">, proved to be a fundamental mathematical constant that turns up in fields as diverse as accounting, physics, engineering, statistics and probability theory. </span></p> <p><span style="font-family: inherit;">It is such an important number it is given a letter all its own: e. </span></p> <p><span style="font-family: inherit;">Peruse any textbook on science, engineering or economics, and you will see the symbol e scattered throughout. </span></p> <p><span style="font-family: inherit;">It is most often used in connection with “exponential growth” – a term that has entered the popular lexicon, though it is often misused. </span></p> <p><span style="font-family: inherit;">The correct meaning refers to a specific type of rapid, runaway growth in which a quantity doubles in a fixed time, and then doubles again, and again, ad infinitum. </span></p> <p><span style="font-family: inherit;">The population of bacteria in a dish, for example, will increase exponentially if their growth is unrestrained. </span></p> <p><span style="font-family: inherit;"> One familiar example of exponential growth is Moore’s Law, named after Gordon Moore, co-founder of Intel. </span></p> <p><span style="font-family: inherit;">After noticing in 1965 that the size of transistors was rapidly shrinking, which meant more of them could fit onto a computer chip, he predicted that processing power would double roughly every two years (and the price would drop by half). </span></p> <p><span style="font-family: inherit;">Remarkably, this exponential growth has remained more or less consistent for several decades, though nobody expects it to go on forever. </span></p> <p><span style="font-family: inherit;">And e makes a surprise appearance in less obvious places, too. </span></p> <p><span style="font-family: inherit;">My favourite example is e’s application to the secretary problem. </span></p> <p><span style="font-family: inherit;">Imagine there are 100 applicants </span><span style="font-family: inherit;">to be randomly interviewed </span><span style="font-family: inherit;">for a secretarial job. </span></p> <p><span style="font-family: inherit;">At the end of each interview, the interviewer must give the applicant an irrevocable decision as to whether they’ve got the job. </span></p> <p><span style="font-family: inherit;">It would be risky to see them all, dismissing the first 99, because the 100th interviewee would have to be given the job regardless of quality.</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: inherit;">The conundrum is this: to maximise the probability of getting the best candidate, how many should be interviewed before selecting the first remaining candidate who trumps the ones already seen? </span></p> <p><span style="font-family: inherit;">It turns out the answer is 100/e, or about 37. This result is worth remembering by people who like to play the dating game methodically. </span></p> <p><span style="font-family: inherit;">So mathematical knowledge isn’t just useful at tax time. </span></p> <p><span style="font-family: inherit;">Perhaps if more people knew maths could help them find love, more would be willing to embrace it.</span></p> <p><em><span style="font-family: inherit;">Image credit: Shutterstock</span><span style="font-family: inherit;"></span></em></p> <p><em><span style="font-family: inherit;">This article was originally published on <a rel="noopener" href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/science/mathematics/explore-the-potential-of-exponential-growth/" target="_blank">cosmosmagazine.com</a> by Paul Davies. </span></em></p> </div>

Money & Banking

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Sam Burgess' huge SAS Australia salary revealed

<p><em>Image: SAS Australia </em></p> <p>The massive range of salaries for the 2021 SAS Australia cast have been revealed.</p> <p>According to The Daily Telegraph on Sunday, former footballer Sam Burgess has the highest pay day, earning between $150,000 and $200,000 for his appearance on the brutal program, the paper claims.</p> <p>Next in line is tennis player Mark Philippoussis, 44, who is said to be earning $100,000.</p> <p>Model Erin Holland, 32, is earning between $60,000 and $80,000 while footballer Heath Shaw, 35, actress Isabelle Cornish, 27, and athlete John Steffensen, 39, tennis player Alicia Molik, 38, are on around the same amount.</p> <p>In the next rung, singer Pete Murrary, 51, athlete Jana Pittmann, 38, actor Dan Ewing, 36, runner Jessica Peris, 31, ironman Jett Kenny, 27, volleyball player Kerri Pottharst, 56, and socialite Brynne Edelsten are estimated to be being paid between $50,000 and $70,000.</p> <p>Bringing in a little less is former pro surfer Koby Abberton, 42, who is getting between $50,000 and $60,000.</p> <p>At the very bottom of the ladder is former Australian Labor Party member Emma Husar, 41, who is earning just $25,000.</p> <p>Meanwhile Manu Feildel, 47, will go without a pay day because his appearance is likely part of his contract at Channel Seven.</p> <p>This comes after news that retired cricketer Michael Clarke ‘pulled out’ of the next season of SAS Australia due to a back injury.</p> <p>Reportedly, the 40-year-old backed out of the Channel Seven Show shortly after the premiere of the current season.</p> <p>The Daily Telegraph reported that Clarke initially signed up for the military-style show with a $750,000 asking fee and had already signed a contract.</p> <p>Season three is due to begin filming in just weeks, but Clarke, who has suffered chronic back pain throughout his sporting career, pulled the pin after seeking medical advice and treatment.</p>

Money & Banking

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7 signs you’re a shopping addict

<p>Online shopping is a huge help for many people, especially in lockdown. </p> <p>But, with online shopping rates sky rocketing, here are some tips on how to identify a shopping addiction.</p> <p><strong>1. Spending hours a day scrolling through online shops/apps</strong></p> <p><span>Apps have made it easier than ever to access a worldwide wardrobe at the click of a button. </span></p> <p><span>As great as this can be for retailers and those always on the go, for those struggling with shopping addiction, this can be extremely detrimental as it has never been easier to instantly feed your shopping habit.</span></p> <p><strong>2. Spending more than you can afford</strong></p> <p>This is a common issue for those suffering from an addiction.</p> <p>An addiction can lead to a feeling of lack of control, and this can include the amount we spend.</p> <p>Much like gambling addiction, shopping addiction can have a hugely negative impact on our finances.</p> <p>If you find that you can relate to this and feel overwhelmed about what to do next, please do reach out for professional help and do not feel afraid of being judged.</p> <p>You can quickly find yourself dipping into savings, remortgaging your home and even in some cases borrowing or stealing from partners/family or friends to fund the addiction.</p> <p><strong>3. Feeling a loss of control</strong></p> <p>For those with an addiction, repeating the unhealthy action can sometimes feel like the only way they can regain control of their lives.</p> <p>As we know, it is hard to step out of this unhealthy cycle.</p> <p>With shopping addiction, placing an order is the only way some people may feel like they can feel in control for a brief period of time.</p> <p>It is important to try to remember that this feeling of control will fade again and breaking a cycle like this is important for our mental health.</p> <p><strong>4. The urge to shop when you feel upset or angry</strong></p> <p>If you find you have the urge to shop more when you are going through periods of feeling upset or angry, this may be a sign of a shopping addiction.</p> <p>Again, this is a form of trying to gain back control or take your mind off the topic that has upset or angered you.</p> <p>For any ongoing depressive moods or mood swings, we would always recommend seeking advice from your healthcare provider – or alternatively from mental health services who will be able to give you advice on how best to tackle these feelings in a healthier way.</p> <p><strong>5. Euphoric type rushes</strong></p> <p>Do you ever get a feeling of exhilaration and/or anxiety whenever you place an order?</p> <p>We have all got excited now and again about an order—but if shopping gives you an intense rush (as if you have just been on a rollercoaster) every time, then this may be a sign of addiction.</p> <p>Euphoric rushes are caused by surges of the brain chemical dopamine.</p> <p>Much like a drug addiction, the brain will produce less dopamine each time as it gets used to the activity.</p> <p>However, the body then craves the exhilarating feeling and therefore people can feel like they need to increase the amount they spend, or number of orders they place, in order to get the highs they are craving.</p> <p><strong>6. Buying so much that you own many items never worn or used</strong></p> <p>If you find many items you have bought still have their labels on them, it may be time to think about how much you are shopping.</p> <p>We are all guilty of having items in our wardrobe we swore we were going to wear on the right occasion.</p> <p>However, if there are more than a few items in your wardrobe or in storage that you have not seen or touched since buying them then consider this before buying anything else.</p> <p><strong>7. Shopping in bed when you should be asleep</strong></p> <p>Many people with addiction struggle to switch off. At night, those with an online shopping addiction can find themselves unable to sleep and reaching for their phones, and specifically their shopping apps, for comfort.</p> <p>Those with an online shopping addiction may find themselves more prone to shop on an evening or when they’re in bed with nothing else to do or concentrate on.</p> <p>If you do relate to this then many can find that doing calm exercises such as yoga before bed can help relax the body.</p> <p>We would also recommend turning off your phone or leaving it in another room for the night so you are less tempted to reach for it.</p> <p>Further tips from the experts to curb the urge</p> <ul> <li>Take your shopping apps off of your phones main home screen, or remove them from your phone completely</li> <li>Monitor the amount of time you spend scrolling for clothes and other items</li> <li>Understand it is not the norm to have the same amount of clothes as influencers – most of these clothes/items get sent back to the brands</li> <li>If you need some motivation to shop less, remember the less items we buy, the better for the environment. Consider donating items you haven’t used or worn to charity, or donating the money you would otherwise spend towards a charity to offset your carbon footprint.</li> </ul> <p>Most importantly, if you feel you are struggling with a shopping addiction, do not play this down.</p> <p>Do reach out to friends and loved ones who may be able to help and make sure to reach out to mental health professionals.</p> <p>Shopping addiction generally masks underlying issues of stress that may manifest into another addiction if you do not shop.</p> <p><em>Image credit: Shutterstock</em></p> <p><em>This article was first published for <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/food-home-garden/money/7-signs-youre-a-shopping-addict" target="_blank">Reader's Digest</a>. </em></p>

Money & Banking

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How to save money by buying second-hand

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Melbourne woman Tamara DiMattina has become a self-proclaimed expert at finding bargains at second-hand stores. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Tamara, who is the founder of the lifestyle program </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">The New Joneses</span><span style="font-weight: 400;">, perfected the art while working at a high-end auction house in London. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The savvy shopper discovered the wonder of op-shopping when her profession required her to look the part, which seemed out of reach due to her low salary. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Tamara now considers her love of op-shopping as a lifestyle choice which has allowed her to pay off her mortgage quicker, while buying better for less. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“If people can get over thinking: ‘It’s second-hand, it’s not as good,’ then they can get fantastic deals, and afford that fantastic quality,” she said to </span><a href="https://www.news.com.au/finance/money/costs/the-new-joneses-tamara-dimattina-shows-how-buying-second-hand-saves-money/news-story/65e6801865810dbc8839a049a2add6e0"><span style="font-weight: 400;">news.com.au.</span></a></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“That’s how I live my life. I buy everything second-hand and I’m always buying beautiful quality things.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“It means I’m saving money on pretty much every purchase I make, and that money then goes against my mortgage.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Tamara has scored a range of bargains from shopping second-hand, including </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">$60 fully-functional speakers that retail for $150, and paying $800 for a Thermomix, which cost considerably less than its $2000-plus RRP.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">She believes that it’s important for people to re-frame how they view op-shopping, and realise it is not only the more sustainable choice, but it enables shoppers to buy higher end products that may have been previously out of reach. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“I think it’s really important to understand that this is a fantastic opportunity to get great stuff at a much reduced rate.” </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“(Buying second-hand) doesn’t mean it’s no longer good, it just means that person doesn’t need that anymore,” she says. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“For example, I’ve never bought a new iPhone, I always buy a second-hand iPhone. It might mean I’m a few generations behind the latest model, but I don’t need the latest and I save a huge amount of money.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Some of the things Tamara can easily find during her op-shopping ventures are high quality kitchenware and appliances, as well as furniture that just needs a clean and good home. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Tamara has also utilised Facebook marketplace to find pre-loved treasures, and has also found items for free which comes with a true sense of accomplishment. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“I don’t waste money buying excessively,” she says. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“I get this extreme pride and joy in going, ‘Wow look at this and it only cost me this much’ but not in a way that says I think cheaper is better.”</span></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Image credit: Shutterstock / Florence Guild Youtube</span></em></p>

Money & Banking

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Sneaky twist in Olympic medallists' $20k bonus

<p>Australian athletes who won a medal at the Olympics or Paralympics in Tokyo this year are about to receive a major monetary bonus – but there is one catch.</p> <p>Australian athletes who finished on the podium at the Olympics in Tokyo will not receive the bonus of $20,000 if they retire after the Games.</p> <p>The Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) gives a $20,000 cash bonus to Olympic gold medallists, while silver medallists and bronze medallists take home $15,000 and $10,000 respectively.</p> <p>The AOC has confirmed it will not give money to any athletes who are retiring after the Games – all for one exception. If the athlete is a Paralympian and they retire after the Games, they will still receive the bonus.</p> <p><strong>Medal Incentive Funding from AOC</strong></p> <p>The Medal Incentive Funding (MIF) is entirely funded by the AOC and is independent of the federal government.</p> <p>Set up as an annual athlete incentive scheme, an AOC statement says: ‘MIF aims to incentivise athletes to continue training, with the goal of representing Australia at the next Olympic Games, summer and winter,’</p> <p>The AOC statement explains the MIF is not available to athletes who stop competing at an elite level.</p> <p>‘Athletes must maintain appropriate training regimes with the intention of gaining national selection in the following year in order to receive the payment,’ the statement explains.</p> <p><strong>This rule does not apply to Australia’s Paralympians</strong></p> <p>However, this rule will not apply to Australia’s Paralympians.</p> <p>Sports Minister Richard Colbeck said: “Every Australian Paralympian who received a medal for their performance at the Tokyo Games will receive a bonus payment.”</p> <p>“This includes any athlete who is planning to retire,” he added.</p> <p>Only last week, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced Australia’s Paralympic medallists will for the first time receive equivalent bonus payments to their Olympic counterparts.</p> <p>Speaking before the House of Representatives, the Prime Minister said the move recognised the “national significance” of the Paralympic team.</p> <p>Prior to Mr Morrison’s announcement, the Paralympic athletes did not receive any monetary bonuses for winning medals.</p> <p>This year’s Paralympics featured more than 4500 athletes representing 163 different countries.</p> <p>Australia finished seventh on the Tokyo Paralympic Games medal tally with 21 gold, 29 silver and 30 gold medals.</p> <p><em>Image: Getty Images</em></p>

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Outsourcing unpleasant tasks makes you happier

<div> <div class="copy"> <p>Paying someone to help out with odd jobs is on the rise through apps like AirTasker, and new research suggests this behaviour could lead to a happier life.</p> <p>A research team from Canada, the UK and the Netherlands conducted a global study of more than 6000 people, and found a correlation between happiness and procuring paid help with their least favourite daily jobs, such as cleaning and cooking.</p> <p>“Around the world, increases in wealth have produced an unintended consequence: a rising sense of time scarcity,” the researchers write in their paper, <a href="http://www.pnas.org/cgi/doi/10.1073/pnas.1706541114">published in the journal </a><a href="http://www.pnas.org/cgi/doi/10.1073/pnas.1706541114">PNAS</a>.</p> <p>“We provide evidence that using money to buy time can provide a buffer against this time famine, thereby promoting happiness.”</p> <p>The research team, led by Ashley Whillans at Harvard University, focused on increasing levels of time stress in developed countries.</p> <p>Research says time scarcity, which is on the rise in many countries, can be linked to higher anxiety, reduced happiness, insomnia and even obesity in individuals. </p> <p>The team wanted to investigate whether using a portion of income to “buy free time” – for example, paying someone to do household chores like cooking, cleaning and shopping – could potentially decrease the effects of these feelings of “time famine”.</p> <p>The surveyed participants included a mix of everyday workers and millionaires living in the USA, Denmark, Canada and the Netherlands.</p> <p>The survey recorded how much money each participant spent each month on delegating unenjoyable everyday tasks, as well as reporting on each individual’s overall life satisfaction.</p> <p>Across all four countries, and across a range of demographics and income brackets, buying time was linked to greater life satisfaction.</p> <p>The researchers suggest the link could point to a greater sense of perceived control, however spending too much money on services and tasks could have the reverse effect, giving an individual the sense they can’t manage their own life tasks, and therefore reducing their happiness.</p> <p>These results are particularly relevant in discussions of gender-based labour division in the home, the researchers say.</p> <p>“Within many cultures, women may feel obligated to complete household tasks themselves, working a ‘second-shift’ at home, even when they can afford to pay someone to help.</p> <p>“In recent decades, women have made gains, such as improved access to education, but their life satisfaction has declined; increasing uptake of timesaving services may provide a pathway toward reducing the harmful effects of women’s second-shift.”</p> <p><em>Image credit: Shutterstock</em></p> <em><img id="cosmos-post-tracker" style="opacity: 0; height: 1px!important; width: 1px!important; border: 0!important; position: absolute!important; z-index: -1!important;" src="https://syndication.cosmosmagazine.com/?id=17061&amp;title=Outsourcing+unpleasant+tasks+makes+you+happier" alt="" width="1" height="1" /></em></div> <div id="contributors"> <p><em>This article was originally published on <a rel="noopener" href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/people/society/outsourcing-unpleasant-tasks-scientifically-proven-to-make-you-happier/" target="_blank">cosmosmagazine.com</a> and was written by Amy Middleton.</em></p> </div> </div>

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Napoleon Bonaparte’s iconic hat showcased for auction

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">A newly discovered hat that once belonged to European statesman and general Napoleon Bonaparte has been showcased at an auction house in Hong Kong. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The hat contains DNA of the esteemed general, proving it was once in his possession. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Described by Bonhams auction house as the “first hat to bear the emperor’s DNA”, the item is currently on display in Hong Kong, before it will be relocated to Paris for a showing and then passed on to London, where it will be auctioned off. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The hat is one of the most iconic images of Napoleon’s reign during the French Revolution, and a highly sought after item for history buffs and collectors of unique items.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Napoleon’s hat was bought by its current owner at a small auction house in Germany, with the owner not realising that it once belonged to the emperor. </span></p> <p><br /><img style="width: 500px; height: 281.25px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7843847/napoleon-hat.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/c67f28fc696e47899a509c07949bbc0a" /></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Image credit: Bonhams Auctions</span></em></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">"It was purely a chance encounter," said Simon Cottle, managing director for Bonhams Europe.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The buyer became interested in the hat when he realised it had unique inscriptions and other unusual characteristics that suggested it could have belonged to Napoleon.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The hat was then extensively tested using various methods, which recovered five hairs that carried the General’s DNA. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Most other Napoleon collectors' items were handed down by noble families or from soldiers who picked them up off the battlefield, whereas this hat holds a very different story. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The estimated price for the hat is currently between $185,000 and $270,000 with interested buyers remaining skeptical of that hat’s authenticity. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Other Napoleon items that have gone through global auction circuits have been sold for as much as $3.3million. </span></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Image credit: Getty Images/Bonhams Auctions</span></em></p>

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