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"Fly high, Bette!": World's longest-serving flight attendant dies aged 88

<p>Bette Nash, the world's longest-serving flight attendant has passed away aged 88, after a short battle with breast cancer. </p> <p>American Airlines, where Nash devoted almost seven decades of her life, announced her death on social media on Saturday. </p> <p>"We mourn the passing of Bette Nash, who spent nearly seven decades warmly caring for our customers in the air," they began their post. </p> <p>“Bette was a legend at American and throughout the industry, inspiring generations of flight attendants. </p> <p>“Fly high, Bette. We’ll miss you.”</p> <p>A spokesperson for the airlines confirmed that she was still an active employee at the time of her death. </p> <p>Nash, who was born on December 31, 1935,  began her flight-attendant career with Eastern Airlines in 1957, at just 21-years-old. </p> <p>In January 2022, she was officially recognised as the world’s longest-serving flight attendant by Guinness World Records, after surpassing the previous record a year earlier. She continued to hold the title until her passing. </p> <p>Tributes have poured in from people all over the world on social media, with many praising her for her unwavering dedication and kindness. </p> <p>"Fly high Bette! It was a pleasure being your passenger," wrote one person on X, alongside a selfie he took with her. </p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">Fly high Bette! It was a pleasure being your passenger. <a href="https://t.co/9N63YPB5Ia">pic.twitter.com/9N63YPB5Ia</a></p> <p>— Jon Kruse (@JonKruseYacht) <a href="https://twitter.com/JonKruseYacht/status/1794459429997273423?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">May 25, 2024</a></p></blockquote> <p>"She was flying as a passenger when she sat next to me, pinned her jacket to the bulkhead, gave me a three minute story of her life then said 'So what's your story?'. She was a dynamo. Rest easy," another added.  </p> <p>"She was an absolute delight in my earliest airline life working the USAir shuttle at LGA. Godspeed and eternal silvered wings Bette!" a third wrote. </p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">She was an absolute delight in my earliest airline life working the USAir shuttle at LGA. Godspeed and eternal silvered wings Bette!</p> <p>— Ryan Spellman (@JustJettingThru) <a href="https://twitter.com/JustJettingThru/status/1794480142766531034?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">May 25, 2024</a></p></blockquote> <p>"Rest in Peace Bette Nash," wrote a fourth. </p> <p>"Bette was a class act. Truly a loss for the skies. She was truly an Angel," added another. </p> <p><em>Image: CBS/ X</em></p> <p> </p>

Caring

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Another man dies after fall from world's biggest cruise ship

<p>A passenger has died after he fell from the world's largest cruise ship on the first night of a week-long voyage. </p> <p>The unidentified man allegedly jumped from Royal Caribbean’s new 366 metre-long Icon of the Seas, just hours after it left a port in Miami, Florida on its way to Honduras, according to the US Coast Guard.</p> <p>“The cruise ship deployed one of their rescue boats, located the man and brought him back aboard,” the Coast Guard told the <em><a href="https://nypost.com/2024/05/28/us-news/passenger-dead-after-jumping-off-worlds-largest-cruise-ship/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">New York Post</a></em>.</p> <p>“He was pronounced deceased. Beyond assisting in the search, the US Coast Guard did not have much involvement in this incident,” the agency added.</p> <p>Royal Caribbean told the publication, “The ship’s crew immediately notified the US Coast Guard and launched a search and rescue operation”. </p> <p>“Our care team is actively providing support and assistance to the guest’s loved ones during this difficult time.”</p> <p>At the time of the incident, the cruise ship had only travelled 500km from Florida, and stopped for two hours to help the search and rescue Coast Guard team to locate the passenger. </p> <p>The man was brought back on-board in critical condition before he succumbed to his injuries and died on the ship. </p> <p>The Icon of the Seas, the world’s largest cruise ship, took its maiden voyage in January this year.</p> <p>The Royal Caribbean ship has 20 decks and is nearly the size of four city blocks, holding 7,600 passengers and 2,350 crew members.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Royal Caribbean </em></p>

Travel Trouble

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How to write creative non-fiction history

<p><em>Discovering an old photo album from the 1920s, celebrated author and adjunct professor <strong>Paul Ashton</strong> embarked on a journey to turn historical research into engaging creative non-fiction, blending meticulous evidence with captivating storytelling. Here he shares he insights on the fascinating process. </em></p> <p>One afternoon my elderly father and niece came to my home for lunch. On their way they had seen something on a council clean up. ‘We thought you might be interested in this,’ said my father handing me a small, brown photo album. I was.</p> <p>The album contained around 100 undated black and white photographs. It became apparent quickly that this was the record of a road trip done in the 1920s or 1930s. A boy, two women and a man had gone on a trip from Sydney up through New England, to Tamworth then to Brisbane and back to Sydney. Shadows in some of the images indicate that they were taken by the man and at least one of the women. The album provided the basis for my first children’s book, Palmer’s Mystery Hikes.</p> <p>One photograph stood out for me. Hundreds of people were gathered somewhere in the bush. In the far left-hand corner in the background was an elevated table covered with a large white tablecloth. With a magnifying glass I could just make out ‘Palmers [something] Hike’. In 1932 Palmer’s men and boys’ department store, in Park Street in Sydney, had established a hiking club to promote the sale of hiking apparel. You bought a ‘mystery’ ticket from New South Wales Railways with which Palmer had an arrangement; turned up at Central Station on Sunday morning; and were taken to a mystery destination. From there you did a ten-mile hike to another station and were then trained back to Sydney. There were five hikes. The third one to the Hawkesbury River attracted over 8,000 people.</p> <p>Turning historical research into believable fiction or creative non-fiction has certain demands. How do you strike a balance between historical research and evidence and the narrative form? This is a big question and will ultimately depend on many things, including the availability of primary and secondary sources and the nature of the particular narrative. But perhaps the most important question is: how do writers use the past to give their work historical dimensions and insights?</p> <p>For me, the most critical element is context. And it’s the thing most missing in much historically based fictional literature. Evoking people, places and periods involves understandings of things such as continuity and change over time, historical process – like colonisation and suburbanisation – ideologies and superstitions. Where appropriate, these should form subtle backgrounds to the narrative. Fiction and creative non-fiction as historical modes of presenting history should also show – not tell.</p> <p>My edited collection, If It’s not True It Should Be (Halstead Press), explores writing history using fictional techniques. As Peter Stanley has written in that book, ‘those who seek to illuminate the past through the imaginative recreation of historical fiction … [are] motivated by the fundamental conviction that what links the fidelity of the historian and the imagination of the historical novelist is that the work of both should be offered and read as if it were true.’</p> <p><em>ABOUT THE AUTHOR<br />Paul Ashton is adjunct professor and co-founder of the Australian Centre for Public History at the University of Technology Sydney and adjunct professor at the University of Canberra and Macquarie University. He has authored, co-authored, edited and co-edited over 40 books and is editor of the journal Public History Review. His series of creative non-fiction children’s histories – Accidental Histories – is being published by Halstead Press.</em></p> <p><em>Images: Supplied</em></p>

Books

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Miss World Australia attacked outside shopping centre

<p>Miss World Australia has taken aim at the lack of police response after she called Triple Zero for urgent assistance when she was attacked. </p> <p>Jasmine Stringer was running a workshop with a group of aspiring young pageant contestants at a Gold Coast shopping centre on Friday night, when a woman lunged towards the group in a random attack.</p> <p>"This person was hurling abuse at the young girls and then charged at me from across the road and punched me straight in the face," Jasmine told <a href="https://9now.nine.com.au/today/miss-world-australia-and-children-attacked-during-gold-coast-shopping-centre-event/cf15799c-99e7-45ee-b143-519bcff1114f" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><em>Today</em></a>.</p> <p>"I fended her off and then she turned her sights to a 14-year-old girl."</p> <p>While doing her best to protect herself and the young girls, Jasmine called Triple Zero for assistance.</p> <p>As the young girls fled from the scene, Jasmine waited for police - or members of the public - to help, and was met with no response.</p> <p>"I guess the most concerning part of this whole story for me is that I called Triple Zero, we are in the Southport CBD of the Gold Coast, less than three kilometres from the police station and in a 15-minute time frame when women and children are being assaulted, there was no one turning up to help," the 27-year-old said.</p> <p>"I stayed there for 20 minutes on the call with the dispatcher and I was starting to get stressed, this woman was still physically attacking these children as they're trying to get into cars and taxis and it was escalating and I asked 'is someone coming?' and they were quite dismissive to me."</p> <p>As part of her Miss World Australia advocacy work, Jasmine has devoted a lot of time and effort into preventing violence against women, and says this attack is the second time within a month that she's called for help from police after witnessing a violent incident and there's been nobody there to help.</p> <p>'I'm going to go to the police station today just make sure that the report is made and hopefully have the person who attacked us charged," she said.</p> <p>"But at this point in time, I've received no follow up from the police and it's been a really distressing situation."</p> <p><em>Image credits: Today </em></p>

Legal

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World No.1 golfer breaks silence after bizarre arrest

<p>World No. 1 golfer Scottie Scheffler has broken his silence after he was arrested and charged by police on Friday, ahead of the second round of the PGA Championships. </p> <p>Scheffler was detained by Louisville Metro police, after he drove onto a curb to try and get around a fatal accident that occurred in front of the Valhalla Golf Club. </p> <p>Earlier that morning, a man who was working  for a vendor at the tournament, was hit and killed by a shuttle bus while attempting to cross the street near the golf club.</p> <p>The tragic incident caused the road to close in both directions, but Scheffler reportedly “refused to comply and accelerated forward” when Detective Bryan Gillis stopped the golfer to give instructions.</p> <p>The police report obtained by <em>ESPN </em>also said that the detective who stopped him “suffered pain, swelling and abrasions to his left wrist and knee." </p> <p>Scheffler was charged with felony assault on a police officer, criminal mischief, reckless driving and disregarding signals from an officer directing traffic and was released almost four hours later. </p> <p>He returned to the golf course and issued a statement on the incident before completing his second round. </p> <p>“This morning I was proceeding as directed by police officers,” Scheffler began.</p> <p>“It was a very chaotic situation, understandably considering the tragic accident that had occurred earlier and there was a big misunderstand of what I thought I was being asked to do.</p> <p>“I never intended to disregard any of the instructions.</p> <p>“I am hopeful to put this to the side and focus on golf today.</p> <p>“Of course, all of us involved in the tournament express our deepest sympathies to the family of the man passed away in the earlier accident this morning. It truly puts everything into perspective.”</p> <p>After completing the second round, he spoke further about the incident and said: “My head is still kind of spinning, I can’t really explain what happened this morning." </p> <p>He also recalled stretching and doing his warm-ups in the jail cell, in attempt to lower his heart rate. </p> <p>“I was never angry. I was just in shock, and I think my body was just -- I was shaking the whole time. I was shaking for like an hour. It was definitely a new feeling for me," he said.</p> <p>An officer even offered him a sandwich. </p> <p>“I was like, ‘Sure, I’ll take a sandwich’. I hadn’t eaten breakfast yet. I mean, they were really kind. I’m grateful that we have such strong police, and they’re our protectors out there, and like I said, we just got into a chaotic situation this morning. That’s really all it was," he recalled. </p> <p>Scheffler’s lawyer Steve Romines said that there was a bit of confusion as the officer directing traffic didn’t appear to be part of the tournament traffic detail “and that’s where the miscommunication arose”.</p> <p><span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">He also said that they will be pleading not guilty and told </span><em style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">The Golf Channel </em><span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">that charges against Scheffler “will either be dropped or we will go to trial because Scottie didn’t do anything wrong.</span></p> <p>“We’re not interested in any sort of settlement negotiations or anything like that. It was just a big miscommunication.”</p> <p><em>Images: Twitter</em></p>

Legal

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“I paint the world as I see it": Artist responds to Gina Rinehart's demand

<p>Acclaimed Aboriginal artist <span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">Vincent Namatjira </span><span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">has found himself at the centre of controversy following criticism from mining magnate Gina Rinehart over his portrait of her displayed at the National Gallery of Australia in Canberra. Rinehart reportedly <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/entertainment/art/gina-rinehart-demands-for-national-gallery-to-remove-her-portrait" target="_blank" rel="noopener">demanded the removal of the painting</a>, which she deemed unflattering, sparking a debate on artistic expression and the portrayal of power in contemporary art.</span></p> <p>Namatjira's artistic style is characterised by caricatures that border on the cartoonish, portraying influential figures such as Queen Elizabeth II, AFL player Adam Goodes and former Prime Minister Julia Gillard. His work challenges viewers to question the societal constructs surrounding power and influence, inviting them to delve deeper into the underlying messages within his art.</p> <p>In response to the removal request from Rinehart, Namatjira released a statement saying:</p> <p>“I paint the world as I see it. People don’t have to like my paintings, but I hope they take the time to look and think, ‘why has this Aboriginal bloke painted these powerful people? What is he trying to say?’"</p> <p>"I paint people who are wealthy, powerful, or significant – people who have had an influence on this country, and on me personally, whether directly or indirectly, whether for good or for bad. Some people might not like it, other people might find it funny, but I hope people look beneath the surface and see the serious side too.”</p> <p>Through his art, Namatjira confronts the complexities of privilege, wealth and authority, presenting a perspective that may not always align with mainstream perceptions.</p> <p>Despite objections raised by some, the National Gallery of Australia has stood by its decision to retain the painting, reaffirming its commitment to fostering dialogue and engagement with art in all its forms.</p> <p>Reports of complaints, including accusations linking the portrayal to political agendas, underscore the broader societal divisions that art can sometimes expose. However, the NGA's refusal to yield to external pressure reaffirms the institution's role as a custodian of artistic expression, providing a platform for diverse voices to be heard and interpreted.</p> <p>Namatjira's exhibition, "Australia in Colour", serves as a testament to the power of art to provoke, challenge and inspire. Through his unique lens, he invites audiences to reconsider notions of power and influence, urging them to look beyond the surface and engage with the deeper narratives embedded within his work.</p> <p>In a world where influence is often wielded unequally, his paintings serve as a catalyst for reflection, inviting viewers to confront uncomfortable truths and embrace the diversity of perspectives that define our collective experience.</p> <p><em>Images: Getty \ X (Twitter) \ National Gallery of Australia</em> </p>

Art

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What is allyship? A brief history, present and future

<div class="theconversation-article-body"> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/wendy-marie-cumming-potvin-542762">Wendy Marie Cumming-Potvin</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/murdoch-university-746">Murdoch University</a></em></p> <p>Despite social change, LGBTQI+ people still face discrimination <a href="https://www.ohchr.org/en/statements/2019/10/inclusion-lgbt-people-education-settings-paramount-importance-leaving-no-one">at school</a> and <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/10304312.2023.2296344">in the community</a>.</p> <p>Language for diverse genders and sexualities is continually changing. LGBTQI+ allyship is part of this change. But what is allyship?</p> <p>Allyship refers to people outside of a group – say, straight people – who actively support and work with people inside a group – say, LGBTQI+ people.</p> <p>It can also mean people from different groups working together to support each other’s goals. A key example of this was at the <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/10304312.2023.2296344">Stonewall riots in 1969</a>, when lesbians, gay men and transgender people joined with Black Panthers and civil rights activists in New York City to protest against police brutality.</p> <p>But defining allyship can be challenging. Some people disagree about who an ally is. Others disagree about what an ally does.</p> <h2>What is an ally?</h2> <p>The term “ally” first appeared in US universities among students <a href="https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED336682.pdf#page=215">in the early 1990s</a>. It was used to describe how majority group members (straight students) helped minorities (gay, lesbian and bisexual students), by advocating to end sexuality-based oppression in higher education.</p> <p>For many years, scholars have seen straight allyship for lesbian, gay and bisexual people as helpful for activism. Straight allies have played important roles in <a href="https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt7pf5j">policy</a> and in <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/19361653.2014.969867">combating prejudice</a> on high school and university campuses.</p> <p>Research has shown university and high school gay–straight alliances <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/19361653.2017.1326867?casa_token=A6nQuWeFBIYAAAAA%3Ad-Tg1edyeiOyRDuHKyeHDcWuvqLLVhAFqyhXMjOe8RtWJH6pdwxUpES759QaY_zacNUS-TtqMXYK">have contributed</a> to more positive campus environments and a reduction in gender- and sexuality-based discrimination.</p> <p>Over many years, gay–straight teacher alliances have <a href="https://go.gale.com/ps/i.do?id=GALE%7CA227011983&sid=googleScholar&v=2.1&it=r&linkaccess=abs&issn=10813004&p=LitRC&sw=w&userGroupName=anon%7E40663b6e&aty=open-web-entry">successfully used</a> inquiry groups to combat homophobia and explore <a href="https://theconversation.com/explainer-what-does-intersectionality-mean-104937">intersectionality</a> (the way different facets of someone’s identity intersect) within their schools. These groups highlighted LGBTQI-themed literature in English class, and encouraged teachers to be outspoken in their support by attending community events, such as pride parades.</p> <p>But allyship can be exclusionary. While early perspectives of allyship focused on helping gay or lesbian university students, transgender or non-binary folk <a href="https://www.routledge.com/LGBTQI-Allies-in-Education-Advocacy-Activism-and-Participatory-Collaborative/Cumming-Potvin/p/book/9781032298832">were often ignored</a>.</p> <p>There is also contention about <a href="https://www.queensjournal.ca/justin-timberlakes-queer-allyship-strips-ally-of-its-meaning/">how much “work”</a> a straight ally has to do to earn recognition. Some people say that for someone to be called an ally they need to actively work for change, not just say they support others.</p> <p>As allies, we are continually learning. And sometimes we get it wrong. When we make mistakes, it’s important to apologise and continue supporting those we wish to serve.</p> <h2>Allyship from within the community</h2> <p>Many current definitions of allyship only encompass allies outside of the group they are supporting. But a broadened definition of allyship would be useful.</p> <p>LGBTQI+ people, especially with leadership roles, can be strong allies in their communities. Laverne Cox uses her stardom <a href="https://ccrjustice.org/home/blog/2019/08/02/evening-activism-laverne-cox">to advocate</a> for her community of transgender women of colour and other LGBTQI+ people. Georgie Stone made medical processes <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/society/2019/sep/07/it-takes-a-lot-of-courage-rebekah-robertson-on-raising-transgender-activist-georgie-stone">easier for transgender children</a> in Australia.</p> <figure><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/-_dpLOXfOUE?wmode=transparent&start=0" width="440" height="260" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></figure> <p>Because identities can shift, identifying who sits inside and outside LGBTQA+ communities can be challenging. Sometimes, there are clear social group insiders. Sometimes, there are clear outsiders. Other times, things are less clear. A person might hover inside and outside minority groups. They may not identify as straight, but they may not live publicly as LGBTQI+. Or a bisexual person may live in a straight relationship for many years.</p> <p>This means allyship is also dynamic. It <a href="https://www.suu.edu/pridealliance/pdf/reynolds.pdf">shifts</a> depending on power, privilege and life experiences. For example, in one social context, a white, heterosexual woman may have power as a LGBTQI+ ally. But in a professional setting where the majority of attendees are white heterosexual men, this same woman may not be as powerful.</p> <h2>An intersectional process</h2> <p>Allyship needs to understand that many people’s gender and sexuality interact with language fluency, class, geography, race, age and disability.</p> <p>This means that despite victories such as marriage equality, LGBTQI+ people who are homeless, transgender or people of colour may face <a href="https://theconversation.com/despite-recent-victories-plights-of-many-lgbt-people-remain-ignored-49273">significant barriers</a> in society. For example, as of May 2024, <a href="https://translegislation.com/">550 anti-trans bills</a> have been introduced in US legislatures.</p> <p><a href="https://www.creativespirits.info/aboriginalculture/people/lgbti-aboriginal-people-diversity-at-the-margins">Because of</a> discrimination, racism and a silencing around Black queer history, LGBTQA+ Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people can receive inappropriate services, for example, <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/epdf/10.1177/10497323211069682">in healthcare and education</a>.</p> <p>Understanding the multiple identities of LGBTQI+ people will support strong allyship to reduce <a href="https://www.murdoch.edu.au/news/articles/national-survey-reveals-mental-health-burden-on-first-nations-lgbtqa-youth">negative health outcomes</a> for Aboriginal communities.</p> <h2>What’s next for allyship?</h2> <p>Recent Canadian work has grouped researchers, school boards and teacher federations to make <a href="https://trans-affirm.edu.uwo.ca/toolkit/Trans-Affirming%20Toolkit.pdf">ally resources</a> for supporting trans and gender-diverse students in Ontario.</p> <p>This tool kit includes modules for having conversations about gender identity and teaching about transgender policy. The final module introduces action plans for supporting transgender students through whole school approaches.</p> <p>History has shown coming together can lead to social transformation and better outcomes for marginalised groups. In 2016, US President Barack Obama designated the Stonewall Inn <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/jun/24/obama-announces-stonewall-inn-national-monument">a national US monument</a> to celebrate gay history.</p> <p>Apart from acknowledging evolving ideas about gender and sexuality, future LGBTQI+ allyship needs to be intersectional. This means that factors like age, social class, geography, race, language and disability count. And when barriers are broken down across sectors, like healthcare, education and housing, allies become stronger.<!-- 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;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/220668/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 href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/wendy-marie-cumming-potvin-542762">Wendy Marie Cumming-Potvin</a>, Associate Professor/ Director of Research (School of Education), <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/murdoch-university-746">Murdoch University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/what-is-allyship-a-brief-history-present-and-future-220668">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

Caring

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6 strange wedding traditions around the world

<p>Every country – indeed, every family – has their own wedding traditions and marriage superstitions. Most of us would be familiar with the rule of the newlyweds-to-be not seeing each other before the wedding and the “something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue” rhyme, but what goes on around the rest of the world? Let’s find out.</p> <p><strong>1. Greece</strong></p> <p>If you’ve ever attended a Greek wedding, you’ll know it’s a colourful, fun, family-oriented affair – you’ll also probably be familiar with koufeta. They’re sugar-coated almonds given to guests by the newlyweds as a way to secure happiness, health, wealth, children and a long life. How? The white of the almond is said to symbolise purity, the egg shape fertility, the hardness represents the endurance of marriage and the sugar shows the sweetness of married life.</p> <p><strong>2. Scotland</strong></p> <p>Many modern Scots have done away with this tradition, and we can’t blame them. Essentially, before the big day, the bride (and occasionally the groom) is covered head-to-toe in pungent foods like rotten eggs, curdled milk and fish sauce by her friends. Supposedly, it prepares the couple for the difficulties of marriage and wards away evil spirits. We’d rather give it a miss.</p> <p><strong>3. South America</strong></p> <p>Pearls might be the jewellery of choice for some woman, but you’re not likely to see a single stone on a South American bride. Many Latin cultures see pearls as “tears of the sea” and believe that wearing them on your wedding day could bring sadness into the new marriage.</p> <p><strong>4. India</strong></p> <p>It’s traditional for Indian brides to get henna tattoos on their hands and feet for their wedding day, and there’s often a sweet hidden message in them – the groom’s initials. If he is able to find his initials in the elaborate tattoo on the wedding night, it’s believed the couple will have good luck. Lucky for the bride, if he fails, he has to give his new wife a present. Score!</p> <p><strong>5. Poland</strong></p> <p>Polish brides have to be very careful when it comes to picking out their wedding shoes. According to tradition, open-toed shoes are bad luck since they allow the couple’s future wealth and fortune to escape through the opening. However, there’s also an opportunity for the newlyweds to make a bit of money, too! As they leave the church, their guests shower them with coins, which they then have to collect to secure a happy and prosperous future.</p> <p><strong>6. Germany</strong></p> <p>If you’re a young German woman, you might want to avoid splashing out on porcelain – come the night before your wedding, it’ll all be destroyed. Yep, “polterabend” is a tradition in which wedding guests arrive at the bride’s home the night before and smash anything made of porcelain they can get their hands on. This is thought to bring good luck, and since it’s up to the couple to clean up the mess, it’s also designed to teach them that married life isn’t always easy – but they can work through any challenges they may face.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock</em></p>

Relationships

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Adorable Collie sells for world record-breaking price

<p>A border collie has been sold for a world record-breaking amount at the Ray White Rockhampton Working Dog Sale and Trial.</p> <p>Helen and James Parker paid $40,000 for Liz, a border collie who they describe as the "whole package". </p> <p>The couple, who run a wagyu cattle farm in Monto, Queensland are keen to welcome the pup who will help them muster cattle as part of the day-to-day running of the farm. </p> <p>"We leave in the morning early, they might do three to four hours mustering in the morning, then we get the cattle to the yard and then in the afternoon we'll walk them away," Helen said.</p> <p>"Our mustering round's about a week, so all day for a week, so some big days and it's hot up here in summer so they need to be able to travel and follow us on a horse and big days in hot conditions so we can't do the job without them."</p> <p>Liz, who was raised by Joe Leven, is the second dog the couple have purchased from Joe, and they say the price was worth it. </p> <p>"We weren't planning on breaking records but we're happy to have her," Helen told 2GB's Ben Fordham.</p> <p>"She's the whole package, she's got breeding behind her, she has all herding ability, natural instinct. I just think she's a great asset to our team."</p> <p>Although Liz is an unusual name for a cattle dog, it is actually a tribute to the late Queen Elizabeth.</p> <p>"Joe named them and there's a bit of a story behind how Liz got her name. She was born the year that Queen Elizabeth passed away, so she's really upheld her name, she's the queen," Helen explained.</p> <p>The Rockhampton Working Dog trial and Sale was a success for Joe and Cabra Glebe Working Dogs, who managed to sell another dog, Jenny for $38,000. </p> <p><em>Image: Ray White Working dog sale Facebook</em></p> <p> </p>

Family & Pets

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World's most disappointing tourist hotspots revealed

<p>While many travellers tend to flock to must-see tourists attractions while exploring somewhere new on their holiday, it turns out not everyone is impressed with the hype. </p> <p>A host of scathing online reviews have targeted landmarks such as Stonehenge, the Eiffel Tower, the Leaning Tower of Pisa and even Bondi Beach, calling the sites "unimpressive", "boring" and "pointless".</p> <p>According to travellers, there are 15 tourist hotspots that don't live up to the hype, with many leaving the destinations feeling disappointed. </p> <p><strong>Mona Lisa - Paris, France</strong></p> <p>One of the most "disappointing" attractions, according to travellers, is da Vinci's masterpiece the Mona Lisa, which hangs in the Louvre in the French capital city. </p> <p>According to online reviews, nearly four in ten (37.1 per cent) visitors posted negative comments about visiting the work, saying it did not live up to their expectations. </p> <p>One review left on TripAdvisor described the experience as "a bit boring", adding, "The Mona Lisa was very small and not as beautiful as I thought it would be."</p> <p>Several other reviews stated how irritating the experience of actually seeing the artwork was, with one person claiming the Louvre had a "zoo-like atmosphere".</p> <p><strong>The Eiffel Tower - Paris, France</strong></p> <p>Tourists visiting France were double disappointed, after also being let down by the iconic Eiffel Tower, which many described as "not a very special place... it's just an iron building."</p> <p>"It's boring, nothing special about it. You have to wait in a long queue just to go up and take pictures," another person wrote. </p> <p>Others claimed the landmark is nothing but a "tourist trap", claiming it is "seriously underwhelming".</p> <p><strong>Stonehenge - England</strong></p> <p>For many, Stonehenge continues to be a wonder of mystery, as one of the most architecturally sophisticated ancient stone sculptures in the world, but for others, it's just a "big disappointment". </p> <p>One reviewer went so far as to say it was the "biggest disappointment of my life", saying, "I was expecting so much more. Do not waste your time people. The only magical thing about this place is that somehow it has the power to draw people on to look at it."</p> <p>Another person put simply, "It's a pile of rocks. Pointless."</p> <p><strong>The Leaning Tower of Pisa - Italy </strong></p> <p>While many tourists visiting Italy opt to check out the famous leaning tower, others tend to lean away from it, calling it a "tourist trap". </p> <p>One person reviewed the famous landmark, saying, "It's literally just a leaning tower. I wouldn’t make a stop here just to see it. It is overly crowded and hot in the summertime."</p> <p>Others claim they were hassled by countless street sellers, writing, "The whole area is crawling with at times aggressive street hawkers who feel it is OK to keep hassling and trying to sell you tourist crap."</p> <p><strong>Checkpoint Charlie - Berlin, Germany</strong></p> <p>Set up as a reminder of the former border crossing and the partition between East and West Berlin during the Cold War, Checkpoint Charlie is often known as a must-see spot. </p> <p>However, others have been left feeling let down by the historic spot. </p> <p>One traveller rated the site just one star, writing, "The only place in Berlin where we encountered street traders who were deeply unpleasant. The museum is overpriced and very tired. The whole area was uninspiring and a complete waste of our time."</p> <p><strong>The Empire State Building - New York City, USA</strong></p> <p>Every year, thousands of people pay to head to the top of the iconic Empire State Building to catch a glimpse of the New York City skyline. </p> <p>However, given the over-crowding of the observation platform and the hefty cost to enter, many have left feeling "underwhelmed" and "ripped-off".</p> <p>One person reviewed the landmark, writing, "Wow! What a waste of $185 for a family of three to struggle to fight our way to finally see a view obscured by a metal crisscross railing. Long lines, rude staff, cheesy "museum", and overpriced. It's as bad as an amusement park."</p> <p><strong>Bondi Beach - Sydney, Australia</strong></p> <p>A trip to Bondi Beach is often at the top of a tourist's travel itinerary when heading Down Under for the first time.</p> <p>But as the beach gains popularity, travellers have been increasingly underwhelmed by the picturesque beach given the over-crowding. </p> <p>One review read, "The beach is all the hype and show but it's like having a bath with your entire family and a dozen strangers. It's packed on any normal day and should be regulated with a fence line and tickets so it's not like cramming sardines into a can."</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p>

Travel Trouble

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Does hosting the Olympics, the World Cup or other major sports events really pay off?

<div class="theconversation-article-body"><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/ivan-savin-678930">Ivan Savin</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/escp-business-school-813">ESCP Business School</a></em></p> <p>After a long battle, <a href="https://www.france24.com/en/europe/20240213-paris-booksellers-stay-olympics-macron-bouquiniste-france">Paris’s beloved <em>bouquinistes</em> will be staying put</a> this summer. The decision, announced on 13 February by the French government, came after considerable public backlash to the police prefecture’s original plan to move part of the iconic Seine booksellers elsewhere for the inauguration of the Olympics Games on 26 July.</p> <p>Meanwhile, less than six months away from the event, Parisians continue to grumble over a <a href="https://www.ouest-france.fr/jeux-olympiques/cest-aberrant-ce-maire-vient-dapprendre-que-sa-ville-accueillera-les-jeux-de-paris-ab1fa968-cfd1-11ee-89c0-6cefac77e04a">lack of consultations</a> with locals, warnings of <a href="https://www.rfi.fr/en/france/20231130-paris-vehicle-traffic-to-be-heavily-restricted-during-2024-olympic-games">gridlocked traffic</a>, closed metro stations, extensive video surveillance and other grievances. So for host countries, what was the point of the Olympics, again?</p> <p>In academia, the debate about the potential positive and negative effects of large-scale sporting events is ongoing. Although these events are often associated with substantial economic losses, the long-term benefits are the main argument in favour of hosting them. These include the development of material and soft infrastructure such as hotels, restaurants or parks. Big games can also help put the host region on the map as an attractive place for sports and cultural events, and inspire a better entrepreneurial climate.</p> <h2>The pros and the cons of big sporting events?</h2> <p>The cost of these benefits, as the Parisians have realised, is steep. Host countries appear to suffer from increased tax burdens, low returns on public investments, high construction costs, and onerous running cost of facilities after the event. Communities can also be blighted by noise, pollution, and damage to the environment, while increased criminal activity and potential conflicts between locals and visitors can take a toll on their quality of life. As a result, in the recent past several major cities, including Rome and Hamburg, <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/6-cities-that-rejected-the-olympics/a-46289852">withdrew their bids to host the games</a>.</p> <p>A common feature of the economics of large-scale sporting events is that our expectations of them are more optimistic than what we make of them once they have taken place. Typically, expenditure tends to tip over the original budget, while the revenue-side indicators (such as the number of visitors) are rarely achieved.</p> <p>When analysing the effect of hosting large-scale sporting events on tourist visits, it is important to take into consideration both the positive and negative components of the overall effect. While positive effects may be associated with visitors, negative effects may arise when “regular” tourists refuse to visit the location due to the event. This might be because of overloaded infrastructure, sharp increases in accommodation costs, and inconveniences associated with overcrowding or raucous or/and violent visitors. On top of that, reports of poverty or crime in the global media can actually undermine the location’s attractiveness.</p> <h2>When big sporting events crowd out regular tourists</h2> <p>In an <a href="https://doi.org/10.1177/1527002523120639">article published in the <em>Journal of Sports Economics</em></a> with Igor Drapkin and Ilya Zverev, I assess the effects of hosting large-scale sporting events, such as Winter and Summer Olympics plus FIFA World Cups, on international tourist visits. We utilise a comprehensive dataset on flow of tourists covering the world’s largest destination and origin countries between 1995 and 2019. As a first step, we built an econometric model that effectively predicts the flow of tourists between any pair of countries in our data. Subsequently we compared the predicted tourist inflow in a hypothetical scenario where no large-scale sporting event would have taken place with the actual figures. If the actual figures exceed the predicted ones, we consider the event to have a net positive impact. Otherwise, we consider that it had a “crowding out” effect on “regular” tourists. While conducting this analysis, we distinguished between short-term (i.e., focusing just on the year of the event) and mid-term (year of the event plus three subsequent years).</p> <p>Our results show that the effects of large-scale sporting events vary a lot across host countries: The World Cup in Japan and South Korea 2002 and South Africa 2010 were associated with a distinct increase in tourist arrivals, whereas all other World Cups were either neutral or negative. Among the Summer Olympics, China in 2008 is the only case with a significant positive effect on tourist inflows. The effects of the other four events (Australia 2000, Greece 2004, Great Britain 2012, and Brazil 2016) were found to be negative in the short- and medium-term. As for the Winter Olympics, the only positive case is Russia in 2014. The remaining five events had a negative impact except the one-year neutral effect for Japan 1998.</p> <p>Following large-scale sporting events, host countries are therefore typically less visited by tourists. Out of the 18 hosting countries studied, 11 saw tourist numbers decline over four years, and three did not experience a significant change.</p> <h2>The case for cautious optimism</h2> <p>Our research indicates that the positive effect of hosting large-scale sporting events on tourist inflows is, at best, moderate. While many tourists are attracted by FIFA World Cups and Olympic games, the crowding-out effect of “regular” tourists is strong and often underestimated. This implies that tourists visiting for an event like the Olympics typically dissuade those who would have come for other reasons. Thus, efforts to attract new visitors should be accompanied by efforts to retain the already existing ones.</p> <p>Large-scale sporting events should be considered as part of a long-term policy for promoting a territory to tourists rather than a standalone solution. Revealingly, our results indicate that it is easier to get a net increase in tourist inflows in countries that are less frequent destinations for tourists – for example, those in Asia or Africa. By contrast, the United States and Europe, both of which are traditionally popular with tourists, have no single case of a net positive effect. Put differently, the large-scale sporting events in Asia and Africa helped promote their host countries as tourist destinations, making the case for the initial investment. In the US and Europe, however, those in the last few decades brought little return, at least in terms of tourist inflow.<!-- 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;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/222118/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 href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/ivan-savin-678930">Ivan Savin</a>, Associate professor of quantitative analytics, research fellow at ICTA-UAB, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/escp-business-school-813">ESCP Business School</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/does-hosting-the-olympics-the-world-cup-or-other-major-sports-events-really-pay-off-222118">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

Travel Tips

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Teen with Down Syndrome sets new world record

<p>A 19-year-old teen with Down Syndrome has conquered the London Marathon and became a Guinness World Record after just five months of training. </p> <p>Lloyd Martin from Cardiff completed the 42.1 km course across the capital with his mother cheering him on. </p> <p>Guinness World Record has awarded him the certificate for becoming the youngest person in his learning disability category to finish a marathon. </p> <p>"I'm so excited to run London. I love being fit and healthy and I want to make my family and friends proud," the teenager said. </p> <p>Mum Ceri Hooper also told the<em> BBC</em> how proud she was of her son's accomplishment. </p> <p>"In Lloyd's words, it's achieving his dream," she said. </p> <p>"Really anything is possible if you put your mind to it. With a bit of work, you can achieve it."</p> <p>Recalling the experience, the proud mum said: "He ran continuously for 14 miles which is the longest he's ever run before." </p> <p>Although Lloyd walked for a bit after his 14-mile-long streak, the crowd cheered him on every step of the way, and despite the challenge the mother-and-son duo had "a ball". </p> <p>The pair were at a loss for words when he finally crossed the finish line and they both "burst into tears." </p> <p>Lloyd is also now the third Welsh Special Olympics athlete to compete in the London Marathon. </p> <p>Prior to completing the world-famous marathon, Lloyed had completed an astonishing 30 Parkruns. </p> <p>Until last Christmas the teenager had never run further than three miles, but his mother was determined to get him marathon-ready. </p> <p>Ceri, who has taken on the London Marathon four times, created a specialised training regime for her son which included weekly runs. </p> <p>Lloyd managed to secure a spot in the marathon thanks to the help of the Special Olympics GB, where he is also a footballer and a gymnast. </p> <p><em>Images: Facebook/ Twitter</em></p>

Caring

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World's most expensive house up for sale

<p>A French chateau, once owned by a member of the Rothschild family and, later on, the King of Morocco, has gone up for sale with a £363 million (AU$699) price tag. </p> <p>Chateau d’Armainvilliers located at Seine-et-Marne, 48km east of the Eiffel Tower, is the world's most expensive home. </p> <p>Built upon the foundations of a 12th century castle, the sprawling mansion boasts 1,000 hectares of land, 100 rooms across 2,500 square metres of living space, a private lake, and plenty of sequoia trees - the largest trees in the world. </p> <p>Ignace Meuwissen, a self-acclaimed "real estate advisor to the global elite" described the property as a display of "opulence and grandeur".</p> <p>"It is the most expensive castle in France and perhaps in the world. The price of €425million is justified by the property itself but also by the 1,000 hectare land which offers numerous possibilities," he told Paris Match magazine. </p> <p>"An investor could build thousands of apartments there if he wanted."</p> <p>The chateau was first bought by the Rothschild banking empird in the late 19th century, before King Hassan II of Morocco bought it in the 1980s. </p> <p>He then made the chateau more fit for a king, adding a hammam spa, a beauty and hairdressing salon, and a fully-equipped medical and dental facility.</p> <p>The Moroccan King  also added a basement level, which has a network of tunnels, kitchens, cold rooms, storage spaces and staff quarters.</p> <p>The lucky owner will also find Moroccan mosaics and wall tiles decorating the home, and for any avid equestrians, the home also has a stable big enough for 50 horses. </p> <p>However, some luxury property agents have expressed their doubts on whether the property would sell with its nine-figure sum, with one saying it was an "unrealistic" price tag. </p> <p>"It doesn’t make sense, it’s absurd Properties of this type could sell for 20-25 million, or even 30 million if we really fall in love with them. I’m not even sure that Vaux-le-Vicomte (a Baroque French château), which has no marketing plans, would sell at this price," one agent told French real estate publication <em>Le Figaro Immobilier</em>.</p> <p>Others were unsure whether the changes made by the King in the 1980s would suit modern tastes. </p> <p><em>Images: Whisper Auctions</em></p>

Real Estate

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The most boring tourist attractions in the world revealed

<p>Nobody wants waste their time and energy visiting a boring attraction while travelling, so a new study has analysed 66.7 million Google reviews and compiled a list of the top 100 most boring attractions across the globe so you can enjoy a holiday free from the mundane. </p> <p>The study conducted by Solitaired, was based on 3,290 popular tourist attractions worldwide spanning 384 cities across 71 different countries. </p> <p>A boredom score was calculated for each site, based on 11 keywords indicative of tiresome, lifeless and boring impressions. </p> <p>At the top of the list was Branson Scenic Railway in Missouri, with a boredom score of five out of five. The heritage railroad departs from an old depot in downtown Branson and travels through part of the Ozark Mountains on a 40-mile round trip. </p> <p>While some praised the beautiful foliage, others were unimpressed by the views "limited to trees on both sides of the train." </p> <p>Illuminarium Atlanta, in Georgia U.S. came in second place, with a boredom score of 4.5, with one reviewer saying that it was "cool for about the first 15 minutes" and "after that… just boring." </p> <p>In third place is Tennessee's Jurassic Jungle Boat Ride, an indoor attraction that takes visitors through a river passing artificial cave sets, waterfalls and mechanical dinosaurs, which scored 3.7 on the boredom scale. </p> <p>Australia's least interesting attraction, which came in 16th on the list and scored 2.5 on the boredom scale, is the WA Museum Boola Bardip in Perth, which tells stories of WA through interactive exhibits. </p> <p>This is followed by the Legoland Discovery Centre in Melbourne, which ranked 24th on the list and had a score of 2.3</p> <p>The Museum of Sydney came in 32nd place, with a score of 2.2, while the Museum of Transport and Technology in Auckland, New Zealand came in 54th place with a score of 2.1. </p> <p>Check out the full list <a href="https://www.dailymail.co.uk/travel/article-13310853/Most-boring-attractions-world-Shrek-Adventure-London.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener">here</a>. </p> <p><em>Image: Getty</em></p> <p> </p>

International Travel

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The world reacts to OJ Simpson's death

<p>The news of OJ Simpson's passing at the age of 76 brings a mixture of emotions for those who remember the electrifying running back, the celebrated athlete, and the central figure in one of the most infamous trials of the 20th century.</p> <p>Simpson, who passed away in Las Vegas, had been battling prostate cancer. His family announced the news <span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">in a statement on Twitter (X)</span><span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">: “On April 10th, our father, Orenthal James Simpson, succumbed to his battle with cancer. </span>He was surrounded by his children and grandchildren. During this time of transition, his family asks that you please respect their wishes for privacy and grace. – The Simpson Family.”</p> <p>In 2023 Simpson said on X that he had been diagnosed with a type of cancer and in February he said he was undergoing chemotherapy for prostate cancer.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">On April 10th, our father, Orenthal James Simpson, succumbed to his battle with cancer.</p> <p>He was surrounded by his children and grandchildren. </p> <p>During this time of transition, his family asks that you please respect their wishes for privacy and grace.</p> <p>-The Simpson Family</p> <p>— O.J. Simpson (@TheRealOJ32) <a href="https://twitter.com/TheRealOJ32/status/1778430029350707380?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">April 11, 2024</a></p></blockquote> <p>Simpson's life was a narrative of triumph and tragedy, marked by soaring highs on the football field and plummeting lows in the court of public opinion.</p> <p>Born in 1947, Simpson overcame early health struggles to become a football sensation at the University of Southern California, where he captured the prestigious Heisman Trophy as college football's top player. His prowess on the gridiron led to a record-setting career in the NFL with the Buffalo Bills and the San Francisco 49ers, cementing his status as one of the era's most beloved and iconic athletes.</p> <p>Off the field, Simpson's charm and charisma propelled him into the realms of sportscasting, advertising, and Hollywood, where he starred in films like the <em>Naked Gun</em> series. His magnetic personality endeared him to fans and advertisers alike, making him a household name beyond the realm of sports.</p> <p>However, Simpson's life took a dark turn on June 12, 1994, when the bodies of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ronald Goldman, were discovered in a brutal scene outside Brown's Los Angeles home. What followed was a media frenzy and one of the most sensational trials in American history.</p> <p>In a trial that captivated the nation, Simpson stood accused of the double murder, a crime that shook the foundations of celebrity culture and racial dynamics in America. The prosecution painted a picture of a jealous ex-husband driven to violence, while the defence argued that Simpson was framed by a corrupt and racist police force.</p> <p>The trial's climax came with the now-iconic moment when Simpson struggled to put on a pair of blood-stained gloves found at the crime scene, leading defence attorney Johnnie Cochran to famously declare, "If it doesn't fit, you must acquit."</p> <p>Despite overwhelming evidence presented by the prosecution, Simpson was acquitted by a predominantly black jury, sparking debates about race, justice and the power of celebrity.</p> <p>While Simpson walked free from the criminal trial, he faced a different fate in civil court. The families of Brown and Goldman pursued a wrongful death lawsuit against him, resulting in a verdict that found Simpson liable for the deaths and ordered him to pay millions in damages. The civil trial, with its lower burden of proof, delivered a measure of closure to the victims' families but left a stain on Simpson's legacy that would endure.</p> <p>Simpson's legal troubles didn't end there. In 2008, he was convicted of armed robbery and kidnapping in a separate incident in Las Vegas, stemming from an attempt to reclaim sports memorabilia he believed was rightfully his. The irony of a man once celebrated for his athletic prowess now facing the consequences of his actions was not lost on the public.</p> <p>Despite his legal battles and personal demons, Simpson remained a polarising figure until the end. His life story was revisited in documentaries and TV dramas, serving as a cautionary tale of fame, wealth and the consequences of one's choices.</p> <p>Reactions to Simpson's passing have been varied. Fred Goldman, the father of Ronald Goldman, who was murdered alongside Nicole Brown Simpson in 1994, expressed his sentiments succinctly, stating, "It’s no great loss to the world. It’s a further reminder of Ron’s being gone.<span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">" </span></p> <p>Similarly, Caitlyn Jenner, with personal ties to the case through her ex-wife Kris Jenner's previous marriage to Robert Kardashian, offered a terse "Good riddance" on Twitter, highlighting the deep-seated emotions surrounding Simpson's life and deeds.</p> <p>Gloria Allred, who represented Nicole Brown Simpson's family during the infamous trial, took a broader perspective, pointing out that Simpson's death serves as a reminder of the failures of the justice system, particularly in cases involving gender violence. “Simpson’s death reminds us that the legal system even 30 years later is still failing battered women," she said to TMZ, "and that the power of celebrity men to avoid true justice for the harm that they inflict on their wives or significant others is still a major obstacle to the right of women to be free of the gender violence to which they are still subjected."</p> <p>Legendary basketballer Magic Johnson took a different approach, extending his prayers to Simpson's surviving children and grandchildren: "Cookie and I are praying for O.J. Simpson’s children Arnelle, Aaren, Justin, Jason, and Sydney and his grandchildren following his passing. I know this is a difficult time🙏🏾".</p> <p><em>Images: Getty</em></p>

Caring

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People in the world’s ‘blue zones’ live longer – their diet could hold the key to why

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/justin-roberts-1176632">Justin Roberts</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/anglia-ruskin-university-1887">Anglia Ruskin University</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/joseph-lillis-1505087">Joseph Lillis</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/anglia-ruskin-university-1887">Anglia Ruskin University</a>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/mark-cortnage-438941">Mark Cortnage</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/anglia-ruskin-university-1887">Anglia Ruskin University</a></em></p> <p>Ageing is an inevitable part of life, which may explain our <a href="https://time.com/4672969/why-do-people-want-to-live-so-long/">strong fascination</a> with the <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2726954">quest for longevity</a>. The allure of <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26566891/">eternal youth</a> drives a <a href="https://www.alliedmarketresearch.com/longevity-and-anti-senescence-therapy-market-A14010">multi-billion pound industry</a> ranging from anti-ageing products, supplements and <a href="https://www.everydayhealth.com/diet-nutrition/longevity-diet">diets</a> for those hoping to extend their lifespan.</p> <p>f you look back to the turn of the 20th century, average life expectancy in the UK was around 46 years. Today, it’s closer to <a href="https://population.un.org/wpp/">82 years</a>. We are in fact <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27706136/">living longer than ever before</a>, possibly due to medical advancements and improved <a href="https://www.health.org.uk/publications/reports/mortality-and-life-expectancy-trends-in-the-uk">living and working conditions</a>.</p> <p>But living longer has also come at a price. We’re now seeing higher rates of <a href="https://www.who.int/data/gho/data/themes/mortality-and-global-health-estimates/ghe-leading-causes-of-death">chronic and degenerative diseases</a> – with heart disease consistently topping the list. So while we’re fascinated by what may help us live longer, maybe we should be more interested in being healthier for longer. Improving our “<a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4632858/">healthy life expectancy</a>” remains a global challenge.</p> <p>Interestingly, certain locations around the world have been discovered where there are a high proportion of centenarians who display remarkable physical and mental health. The <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15489066/">AKEA study of Sardinia, Italy</a>, as example, identified a “blue zone” (named because it was marked with blue pen), where there was a higher number of locals living in the central-eastern mountainous areas who had reached their 100th birthday compared with the wider Sardinian community.</p> <p>This longevity hotspot has since been expanded, and now includes several other areas around the world which also have greater numbers of longer-living, healthy people. Alongside Sardinia, these blue zones are now <a href="https://www.netflix.com/gb/title/81214929">popularly recognised</a> as: Ikaria, Greece; Okinawa, Japan; Nicoya, Costa Rica; and Loma Linda, California.</p> <p>Other than their long lifespans, people living in these zones also appear to share certain other commonalities, which centre around being <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3874460">part of a community</a>, having a <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4224996/">life purpose</a>, eating <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33514872/">nutritious, healthy foods</a>, keeping <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41398-021-01735-7">stress levels</a> low and undertaking purposeful daily <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30202288/">exercise or physical tasks</a>.</p> <p>Their longevity could also relate to their <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/9010380/">environment</a>, being mostly rural (or less polluted), or because of <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22253498/">specific longevity genes</a>.</p> <p>However, studies indicate genetics may only account for <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/8786073">around 20-25% of longevity</a> – meaning a person’s lifespan is a complex interaction between lifestyle and genetic factors, which contribute to a long and healthy life.</p> <h2>Is the secret in our diet?</h2> <p>When it comes to diet, each blue zone has its own approach – so one specific food or nutrient does not explain the remarkable longevity observed. But interestingly, a diet rich in <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3662288">plant foods</a> (such as locally-grown vegetables, fruits and legumes) does appear to be reasonably consistent across these zones.</p> <p>For instance, the Seventh-day Adventists of Loma Linda are <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10641813/">predominately vegetarian</a>. For centenarians in Okinawa, <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20234038/">high intakes of flavonoids</a> (a chemical compound typically found in plants) from purple sweet potatoes, soy and vegetables, have been linked with <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11710359/">better cardiovascular health</a> – including lower cholesterol levels and lower incidences of stroke and heart disease.</p> <p>In Nicoya, consumption of locally produced rice and beans has been associated with <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34444746/">longer telomere length</a>. Telomeres are the structural part at the end of our chromosomes which protect our genetic material. Our telomeres get shorter each time a cell divides – so get progressively shorter as we age.</p> <p>Certain <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21102320/">lifestyle factors</a> (such as smoking and poor diet) can also shorten telomere length. It’s thought that telomere length acts as a <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31728493/">biomarker of ageing</a> – so having longer telomeres could, in part, be linked with longevity.</p> <p>But a plant-based diet isn’t the only secret. In Sardinia, for example, meat and fish is consumed in moderation in addition to locally grown vegetables and <a href="https://journalofethnicfoods.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s42779-022-00152-5">traditional foods</a> such as acorn breads, pane carasau (a sourdough flatbread), honey and soft cheeses.</p> <p>Also observed in several blue zone areas is the inclusion of <a href="https://www.jacc.org/doi/10.1016/j.jacc.2021.10.041">olive oil</a>, <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33669360/">wine</a> (in moderation – around 1-2 glasses a day), as well as <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3830687/">tea</a>. All of these contain powerful antioxidants which may help <a href="https://ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC10049696/">protect our cells</a> from damage <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6273542/">as we age</a>.</p> <p>Perhaps then, it’s a combination of the protective effects of various nutrients in the diets of these centenarians, which explains their exceptional longevity.</p> <p>Another striking observation from these longevity hot spots is that meals are typically <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7232892">freshly prepared at home</a>. Traditional blue zone diets also don’t appear to contain <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6538973/">ultra-processed foods</a>, fast foods or sugary drinks which may <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32330232/">accelerate ageing</a>. So maybe it’s just as important to consider what these longer-living populations are not doing, as much as what they are doing.</p> <p>There also appears to be a pattern of eating until 80% full (in other words partial <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9036399/">caloric reduction</a>. This could be important in also supporting how our cells deal with damage as we age, which could mean a longer life.</p> <p>Many of the factors making up these blue zone diets – primarily plant-based and natural whole foods – are associated with <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/35706591/">lower risk of chronic diseases</a> such as <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28728684/">heart disease</a> and <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/37589638/">cancer</a>. Not only could such diets contribute to a <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/37836577/">longer, healthier life</a>, but could support a more <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33397404/">diverse gut microbiome</a>, which is also associated with healthy ageing.</p> <p>Perhaps then we can learn something from these remarkable centenarians. While diet is only one part of the bigger picture when it comes to longevity, it’s an area we can do something about. In fact, it might just be at the heart of improving not only the quality of our health, but the quality of how we age.<!-- 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;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/221463/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 href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/justin-roberts-1176632">Justin Roberts</a>, Professor of Nutritional Physiology, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/anglia-ruskin-university-1887">Anglia Ruskin University</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/joseph-lillis-1505087">Joseph Lillis</a>, PhD Candidate in Nutritional Physiology, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/anglia-ruskin-university-1887">Anglia Ruskin University</a>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/mark-cortnage-438941">Mark Cortnage</a>, Senior Lecturer in Public Health and Nutrition, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/anglia-ruskin-university-1887">Anglia Ruskin University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/people-in-the-worlds-blue-zones-live-longer-their-diet-could-hold-the-key-to-why-221463">original article</a>.</em></p>

Food & Wine

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The world's most promiscuous countries revealed

<p>An analysis of the world's sexual habits has revealed the top 10 most promiscuous countries in the world and Turkey came in first. </p> <p>The average Turk has slept with more than 14 people according to the World Population Review, with Australia coming in a close second with the average Aussie having slept with more than 13 people, according to the <em>New York Post</em>. </p> <p>“The average number of sexual partners can vary significantly from country to country, as cultural norms can have a significant impact on the number of people someone has sex with,” the website declared. </p> <p>Their figures were based on a compilation of “datasets from multiple third party sources.”</p> <p>Turkey's top spot may be surprising to some, with most residents being muslim and the country is widely conceived to have traditional views when it comes sex and relationships. </p> <p>New Zealand came in at third, with a similar number to Australia,  followed by Iceland and South Africa. </p> <p>Countries thought to have more liberal views on sex, such as Brazil and France, were lower down the list, with the average Brazilian sleeping with nine people putting them in 25th place, while France clocked in 29th position. </p> <p>The United States clocked in 13th place, with Americans sleeping with an average of 10.7 people. </p> <p><strong>Here's the Top 10 most promiscuous countries:</strong></p> <p>1. Turkey (14.5 people)</p> <p>2. Australia (13.3)</p> <p>3. New Zealand (13.2)</p> <p>4. Iceland (13.0)</p> <p>5. South Africa (12.5)</p> <p>6. Finland (12.4)</p> <p>7. Norway (12.1)</p> <p>8. Italy (11.8)</p> <p>9. Sweden (11.8)</p> <p>10. Switzerland (11.1)</p> <p><em>Image: Getty</em></p> <p> </p>

International Travel

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Think $5.50 is too much for a flat white? Actually it’s too cheap, and our world-famous cafes are paying the price

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/emma-felton-143029">Emma Felton</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-south-australia-1180">University of South Australia</a></em></p> <p>Even in a stubborn cost-of-living crisis, it seems there’s one luxury most Australians <a href="https://www.comparethemarket.com.au/news/what-australians-wont-give-up-cost-of-living-crisis-report/">won’t sacrifice</a> – their daily cup of coffee.</p> <p>Coffee sales have largely <a href="https://www.statista.com/statistics/866543/australia-domestic-consumption-of-coffee/">remained stable</a>, even as financial pressures have bitten over the past few years.</p> <p>So too have prices. Though many of us became upset when prices began to creep up last year, they’ve since largely settled in the range between $4.00 and $5.50 for a basic drink.</p> <p>But this could soon have to change. By international standards, Australian coffee prices are low.</p> <p>No one wants to pay more for essentials, least of all right now. But our independent cafes are struggling.</p> <p>By not valuing coffee properly, we risk losing the <a href="https://bizcup.com.au/australian-coffee-culture/">internationally renowned</a> coffee culture we’ve worked so hard to create, and the phenomenal quality of cup we enjoy.</p> <h2>Coffee is relatively cheap in Australia</h2> <p>Our recent survey of Australian capital cities found the average price of a small takeaway flat white at speciality venues is A$4.78.</p> <p>But in <a href="https://pabloandrustys.com.au/blogs/drinkbettercoffee/global-coffee-prices">some international capitals</a>, it’s almost double this, even after adjusting for local <a href="https://www.investopedia.com/updates/purchasing-power-parity-ppp/">purchasing power parity</a>.</p> <p><iframe id="gaplH" class="tc-infographic-datawrapper" style="border: none;" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/gaplH/" width="100%" height="400px" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <p>In London, a small flat white costs about A$6.96. Singapore, A$8.42. In Athens, as much as A$9.95.</p> <h2>The cafe business is getting harder</h2> <p>Over the past few decades, coffee prices haven’t kept pace with input costs. In the early 2000s, after wages, food costs, utilities and rent, many cafes <a href="https://www.coffeecommune.com.au/blog-why-are-cafes-so-expensive/">earned healthy profit margins</a> as high as 20%.</p> <p>The <a href="https://www.ibisworld.com/au/industry/cafes-coffee-shops/2015/">most recent data from IBISWorld</a> show that while Australian cafe net profits have recovered from a drop in 2020, at 7.6%, they remain much lower than the Australian <a href="https://www.money.com.au/research/australian-business-statistics">average business profit margin of 13.3%</a>.</p> <p>For an independent owner operating a cafe with the <a href="https://www.ibisworld.com/au/industry/cafes-coffee-shops/2015/">average turnover of A$300,000</a>, this would amount to a meagre A$22,800 annual net profit after all the bills are paid.</p> <h2>What goes into a cup?</h2> <p>Just looking at the cost of raw inputs – milk, beans, a cup and a lid – might make the margin seem lucrative. But they don’t paint the whole picture.</p> <figure class="align-center "><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/584949/original/file-20240328-24-rlngpk.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" sizes="(min-width: 1466px) 754px, (max-width: 599px) 100vw, (min-width: 600px) 600px, 237px" srcset="https://images.theconversation.com/files/584949/original/file-20240328-24-rlngpk.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=600&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 600w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/584949/original/file-20240328-24-rlngpk.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=600&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1200w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/584949/original/file-20240328-24-rlngpk.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=600&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 1800w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/584949/original/file-20240328-24-rlngpk.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=754&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 754w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/584949/original/file-20240328-24-rlngpk.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=754&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1508w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/584949/original/file-20240328-24-rlngpk.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=754&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 2262w" alt="A takeaway coffee cup showing the price inputs, with wages and operation costs making up over 65% of the cost of a coffee" /><figcaption><span class="caption">Chart: The Conversation.</span> <span class="attribution"><a class="source" href="https://pabloandrustys.com.au/blogs/drinkbettercoffee/whats-in-the-cost-of-coffee">Data: Pablo and Rusty's Coffee Roasters</a>, <a class="license" href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/">CC BY-SA</a></span></figcaption></figure> <p>Over the past few years, renting the building, keeping the lights on and paying staff have all become <a href="https://www.reuters.com/business/ground-down-australia-coffee-shops-an-early-inflation-casualty-2023-07-10/">much bigger factors</a> in the equation for coffee shop owners, and many of these pressures aren’t easing.</p> <p><strong>1. Green coffee price</strong></p> <p>Increasingly <a href="https://www.aa.com.tr/en/environment/brewing-crisis-how-climate-change-is-reshaping-coffee-production/3113886">subject to the effects</a> of climate change, the baseline commodity price of green (unroasted) coffee is <a href="https://perfectdailygrind.com/2024/02/demand-for-robusta-prices-record-high/">going up</a>.</p> <p>Arabica – the higher quality bean you’re most likely drinking at specialty cafes – is a more expensive raw product. Despite levelling off from post-pandemic highs, its price is still trending up. In 2018, it <a href="https://www.statista.com/statistics/675807/average-prices-arabica-and-robusta-coffee-worldwide/">sold</a> for US$2.93 per kilogram, which is projected to increase to US$4.38 dollars in 2025.</p> <p>Robusta coffee is cheaper, and is the type <a href="https://www.lavazza.com.au/en/coffee-secrets/difference-type-arabica-robusta-coffee">typically used to make instant coffee</a>. But serious drought in Vietnam has just pushed the price of robusta to an <a href="https://www.barchart.com/story/news/25094367/coffee-rallies-with-robusta-at-a-record-high-on-shrinking-coffee-output-in-vietnam">all-time high</a>, putting pressure on the cost of coffee more broadly.</p> <p><strong>2. Milk prices</strong></p> <p>The price of fresh milk has risen by <a href="https://cdn-prod.dairyaustralia.com.au/-/media/project/dairy-australia-sites/national-home/resources/reports/situation-and-outlook/situation-and-outlook-report-march-2024.pdf?rev=b0222df4b01b40d0ae36cf8ac7b01bc0">more than 20%</a> over the past two years, and remains at a peak. This has put sustained cost pressure on the production of our <a href="https://gitnux.org/australian-coffee-consumption-statistics/#:%7E:text=Coffee%20is%20a%20beloved%20beverage,approximately%206%20billion%20cups%20annually.">most popular drink orders</a>: cappuccinos and flat whites.</p> <p><strong>3. Wages and utilities</strong></p> <p>Over the past year, Australian wages have grown at their <a href="https://ministers.treasury.gov.au/ministers/jim-chalmers-2022/media-releases/real-wages-growth-back">fastest rate</a> since 2009, which is welcome news for cafe staff, but tough on operators in a sector with low margins.</p> <p>Electricity prices remain elevated after significant inflation, but could <a href="https://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/heres-how-much-your-energy-bills-might-go-down-by-and-when/k8g00jheg">begin to fall mid-year</a>.</p> <h2>Specialty vs. commodity coffee: why price expectations create an industry divide</h2> <p>One of the key factors keeping prices low in Australia is consumer expectation.</p> <p>For many people coffee is a fundamental part of everyday life, a marker of livability. Unlike wine or other alcohol, coffee is not considered a luxury or even a treat, where one might expect to pay a little more, or reduce consumption when times are economically tough. We anchor on familiar prices.</p> <p><iframe id="oDbah" class="tc-infographic-datawrapper" style="border: none;" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/oDbah/" width="100%" height="400px" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <p>Because of this, it really hurts cafe owners to put their prices up. In touch with their customer base almost every day, they’re acutely aware of how much inflation can hurt.</p> <p>But in Australia, a huge proportion of coffee companies are also passionate about creating a world-class product by only using “<a href="https://medium.com/@samandsunrise/why-is-specialty-coffee-so-expensive-6cf298935e4b#:%7E:text=Specialty%20Shops%20Feature%20High%20Grade%20Coffees&amp;text=Their%20coffees%20are%20hand%2Dpicked,even%20on%20the%20same%20tree.">specialty coffee</a>”. Ranked at least 80 on a quality scale, specialty beans cost significant more than commodity grade, but their production offers better working conditions for farmers and encourages more sustainable growing practices.</p> <p>Although not commensurate with the wine industry, there are similarities. Single origin, high quality beans are often sourced from one farm and demand higher prices than commodity grade coffee, where cheaper sourced beans are often combined in a blend.</p> <p>Running a specialty cafe can also mean roasting your own beans, which requires a big investment in expertise and equipment.</p> <p>It’s an obvious example of doing the right thing by your suppliers and customers. But specialty cafes face much higher operating costs, and when they’re next to a commodity-grade competitor, customers are typically unwillingly to pay the difference.</p> <h2>Approach price rises with curiosity, not defensiveness</h2> <p>When cafe owners put up their prices, we often rush to accuse them of selfishness or profiteering. But they’re often just trying to survive.</p> <p>Given the quality of our coffee and its global reputation, it shouldn’t surprise us if we’re soon asked to pay a little bit more for our daily brew.</p> <p>If we are, we should afford the people who create one of our most important “<a href="https://theconversation.com/how-cafes-bars-gyms-barbershops-and-other-third-places-create-our-social-fabric-135530">third spaces</a>” kindness and curiosity as to why. <!-- 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;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/226015/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><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/emma-felton-143029"><em>Emma Felton</em></a><em>, Adjunct Senior Researcher, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-south-australia-1180">University of South Australia</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/think-5-50-is-too-much-for-a-flat-white-actually-its-too-cheap-and-our-world-famous-cafes-are-paying-the-price-226015">original article</a>.</em></p>

Money & Banking

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On a climate rollercoaster: how Australia’s environment fared in the world’s hottest year

<p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/albert-van-dijk-25318">Albert Van Dijk</a>, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/australian-national-university-877">Australian National University</a></em>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/shoshana-rapley-711675">Shoshana Rapley</a>, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/australian-national-university-877">Australian National University</a></em>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/tayla-lawrie-1517759">Tayla Lawrie</a>, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-queensland-805">The University of Queensland</a></em></p> <p>Global climate <a href="https://wmo.int/media/news/wmo-confirms-2023-smashes-global-temperature-record">records were shattered</a> in 2023, from air and sea temperatures to sea-level rise and sea-ice extent. Scores of countries recorded their hottest year and numerous weather disasters occurred as climate change reared its head.</p> <p>How did Australia’s environment fare against this onslaught? In short, 2023 was a year of opposites.</p> <p>For the past nine years, we have trawled through huge volumes of data collected by satellites, measurement stations and surveys by individuals and agencies. We include data on global change, oceans, people, weather, water, soils, vegetation, fire and biodiversity.</p> <p>Each year, we analyse those data, summarising them in an <a href="https://bit.ly/ausenv2023">annual report</a> that includes an overall Environmental Condition Score and <a href="https://ausenv.online/aer/scorecards/">regional scorecards</a>. These scores provide a relative measure of conditions for agriculture and ecosystems. Scores declined across the country, except in the Northern Territory, but were still relatively good.</p> <p>However, the updated <a href="https://tsx.org.au/">Threatened Species Index</a> shows the abundance of listed bird, mammal and plant species has continued to decline at a rate of about 3% a year since the turn of the century.</p> <figure class="align-center zoomable"><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/581821/original/file-20240314-22-p8uskx.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/581821/original/file-20240314-22-p8uskx.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" sizes="(min-width: 1466px) 754px, (max-width: 599px) 100vw, (min-width: 600px) 600px, 237px" srcset="https://images.theconversation.com/files/581821/original/file-20240314-22-p8uskx.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=357&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 600w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/581821/original/file-20240314-22-p8uskx.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=357&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1200w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/581821/original/file-20240314-22-p8uskx.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=357&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 1800w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/581821/original/file-20240314-22-p8uskx.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=448&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 754w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/581821/original/file-20240314-22-p8uskx.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=448&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1508w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/581821/original/file-20240314-22-p8uskx.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=448&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 2262w" alt="" /></a><figcaption><span class="caption">Environmental condition indicators for 2023, showing the changes from 2000–2022 average values. Such differences can be part of a long-term trend or within normal variability.</span> <span class="attribution"><a class="source" href="https://www.wenfo.org/aer/wp-content/uploads/2024/03/2023_Australias_Environment_Report-1.pdf">Australia's Environment 2023 Report.</a></span></figcaption></figure> <h2>Riding a climate rollercoaster in 2023</h2> <p>Worldwide, <a href="https://theconversation.com/how-2023s-record-heat-worsened-droughts-floods-and-bushfires-around-the-world-220836">77 countries broke temperature records</a>. Australia was not one of them. Our annual average temperature was 0.53°C below the horror year 2019. Temperatures in the seas around us were below the records of 2022.</p> <p>Even so, 2023 was among Australia’s eight warmest years in both cases. All eight came after 2005.</p> <p>However, those numbers are averaged over the year. Dig a bit deeper and it becomes clear 2023 was a climate rollercoaster.</p> <p>The year started as wet as the previous year ended, but dry and unseasonably warm weather set in from May to October. Soils and wetlands across much of the country started drying rapidly. In the eastern states, the fire season started as early as August.</p> <p>Nonetheless, there was generally still enough water to support good vegetation growth throughout the unusually warm and sunny winter months.</p> <p>Fears of a severe fire season were not realised as El Niño’s influence waned in November and rainfall returned, in part due to the warm oceans. Combined with relatively high temperatures, it made for a hot and humid summer. A tropical cyclone and several severe storms caused flooding in Queensland and Victoria in December.</p> <p>As always, there were regional differences. Northern Australia experienced the best rainfall and growth conditions in several years. This contributed to more grass fires than average during the dry season. On the other hand, the rain did not return to Western Australia and Tasmania, which ended the year dry.</p> <h2>So how did scores change?</h2> <p>Every year we calculate an Environmental Condition Score that combines weather, water and vegetation data.</p> <p>The national score was 7.5 (out of 10). That was 1.2 points lower than for 2022, but still the second-highest score since 2011.</p> <p>Scores declined across the country except for the Northern Territory, which chalked up a score of 8.8 thanks to a strong monsoon season. With signs of drought developing in parts of Western Australia, it had the lowest score of 5.5.</p> <p>The Environmental Condition Score reflects environmental conditions, but does not measure the long-term health of natural ecosystems and biodiversity.</p> <p>Firstly, it relates only to the land and not our oceans. Marine heatwaves damaged ecosystems along the eastern coast. Surveys in the first half of 2023 suggested the recovery of the Great Barrier Reef plateaued.</p> <p>However, a cyclone and rising ocean temperatures occurred later in the year. In early 2024, <a href="https://theconversation.com/the-great-barrier-reefs-latest-bout-of-bleaching-is-the-fifth-in-eight-summers-the-corals-now-have-almost-no-reprieve-225348">another mass coral bleaching event</a> developed.</p> <p>Secondly, the score does not capture important processes affecting our many threatened species. Among the greatest dangers are invasive pests and diseases, habitat destruction and damage from severe weather events such as heatwaves and megafires.</p> <h2>Threatened species’ declines continued</h2> <p>The <a href="https://tsx.org.au/">Threatened Species Index</a> captures data from long-term threatened species monitoring. The index is updated annually with a three-year lag, largely due to delays in data processing and sharing. This means the 2023 index includes data up to 2020.</p> <p>The index showed an unrelenting decline of about 3% in the abundance of Australia’s threatened bird, mammal and plant species each year. This amounts to an overall decline of 61% from 2000 to 2020.</p> <figure class="align-center zoomable"><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/581823/original/file-20240314-16-yi6tr0.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/581823/original/file-20240314-16-yi6tr0.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" sizes="(min-width: 1466px) 754px, (max-width: 599px) 100vw, (min-width: 600px) 600px, 237px" srcset="https://images.theconversation.com/files/581823/original/file-20240314-16-yi6tr0.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=350&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 600w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/581823/original/file-20240314-16-yi6tr0.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=350&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1200w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/581823/original/file-20240314-16-yi6tr0.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=350&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 1800w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/581823/original/file-20240314-16-yi6tr0.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=440&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 754w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/581823/original/file-20240314-16-yi6tr0.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=440&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1508w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/581823/original/file-20240314-16-yi6tr0.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=440&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 2262w" alt="Line graph of Threatened Species Index" /></a><figcaption><span class="caption">Threatened Species Index showing the abundance of different categories of species listed under the EPBC Act relative to 2000.</span> <span class="attribution"><a class="source" href="https://www.wenfo.org/aer/wp-content/uploads/2024/03/2023_Australias_Environment_Report-1.pdf">Australia's Environment 2023 Report</a></span></figcaption></figure> <p>The index for birds in 2023 revealed declines were most severe for terrestrial birds (62%), followed by migratory shorebirds (47%) and marine birds (24%).</p> <p>A record 130 species were added to Australia’s <a href="https://www.dcceew.gov.au/environment/biodiversity/threatened/nominations">threatened species lists</a> in 2023. That’s many more than the annual average of 29 species over previous years. The 2019–2020 <a href="https://theconversation.com/200-experts-dissected-the-black-summer-bushfires-in-unprecedented-detail-here-are-6-lessons-to-heed-198989">Black Summer bushfires</a> had direct impacts on half the newly listed species.</p> <h2>Population boom adds to pressures</h2> <p>Australia’s population passed <a href="https://www.abs.gov.au/statistics/people/population/population-clock-pyramid">27 million</a> in 2023, a stunning increase of 8 million, or 41%, since 2000. Those extra people all needed living space, food, electricity and transport.</p> <p>Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions <a href="https://www.dcceew.gov.au/climate-change/publications/australias-emissions-projections-2023">have risen by 18% since 2000</a>. Despite small declines in the previous four years, emissions increased again in 2023, mostly due to air travel rebounding after COVID-19.</p> <p>Our emissions per person are the <a href="https://edgar.jrc.ec.europa.eu/report_2023">tenth-highest in the world</a> and more than three times those of the average global citizen. The main reasons are our coal-fired power stations, <a href="https://theconversation.com/australian-passenger-vehicle-emission-rates-are-50-higher-than-the-rest-of-the-world-and-its-getting-worse-222398">inefficient road vehicles</a> and <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2024/mar/11/how-many-cattle-are-there-in-australia-we-may-be-out-by-10-million">large cattle herd</a>.</p> <p>Nonetheless, there are reasons to be optimistic. Many other countries have dramatically <a href="https://ourworldindata.org/co2-gdp-decoupling">reduced emissions without compromising economic growth</a> or quality of life. All we have to do is to finally follow their lead.</p> <p>Our governments have an obvious role to play, but we can do a lot as individuals. We can even save money, by switching to renewable energy and electric vehicles and by eating less beef.</p> <p>Changing our behaviour will not stop climate change in its tracks, but will slow it down over the next decades and ultimately reverse it. We cannot reverse or even stop all damage to our environment, but we can certainly do much better.<!-- 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;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/225268/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><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/albert-van-dijk-25318">Albert Van Dijk</a>, Professor, Water and Landscape Dynamics, Fenner School of Environment &amp; Society, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/australian-national-university-877">Australian National University</a></em>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/shoshana-rapley-711675">Shoshana Rapley</a>, Research Assistant, Fenner School of Environment &amp; Society, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/australian-national-university-877">Australian National University</a></em>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/tayla-lawrie-1517759">Tayla Lawrie</a>, Project Manager, Threatened Species Index, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-queensland-805">The University of Queensland</a></em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/on-a-climate-rollercoaster-how-australias-environment-fared-in-the-worlds-hottest-year-225268">original article</a>.</em></p> <p><em>Image: Dean Ingwerson | NSW.gov.au</em></p>

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Aussie street crowned "world's coolest"

<p>Global media company <em>Time Out</em> have released their official list of the world's coolest streets, with one busy street in Melbourne's inner north coming in first place. </p> <p>What makes a street cool? Well, according to the publication, each street's food offerings, drink options, cultural delights, nightlife and overall sense of community are the main factors that were taken into consideration when they made their list. </p> <p>To create the 2024 lineup, the publication had their global team of local expert editors and contributors each make a case for the coolest street in their city. </p> <p>Melbourne's High Street claimed the top spot local Time Out Melbourne editor Leah Glynn praising the road's "epic restaurants, hidden bars, live music venues and boutique shops". </p> <p>Glynn said that the street’s “bona fide cool status” comes down to one thing - “its unique, something-for-everyone local businesses”.</p> <p>The street itself is easily accessible from the CBD via the 86 tram line and criss-crosses the suburbs of Northcote, Thornbury and Preston. </p> <p>Hollywood Rd, one of the oldest streets in Hong Kong came in second. Pre-dating LA's famous entertainment district, the street itself is home to incredible restaurants including Michelin-starred Tate Dining Room.</p> <p>It's also home to the Man Mo Temple and the Mid-Levels Escalators, the world's longest outdoor covered escalator system.</p> <p>East Eleventh in Austin came in third, as it "encapsulates the city's spirit" for packing so many venues in a short quarter-mile. </p> <p>One other Australian street made it into the list of the top 30 coolest streets and that street is Sydney’s Foster St, which came in 23rd. </p> <p>“Along with neighbouring Campbell St, it’s part of the inner city precinct known as the Hollywood Quarter,” <em>Time Out</em> said. </p> <p>“Despite the dazzling name, the quarter brings low-key cool vibes, and is bordered by Central, Thai Town, and cool suburbs Surry Hills and Darlinghurst.”</p> <p><strong>Here is Time Out's Top 10 coolest streets: </strong></p> <ol> <li>High St, Melbourne</li> <li>Hollywood Rd, Hong Kong</li> <li>East Eleventh, Austin</li> <li>Guatemala St, Buenos Aires</li> <li>Commercial Dr, Vancouver</li> <li>Jalan Petaling, Kuala Lumpur</li> <li>Rua da Boavista, Lisbon</li> <li>Arnaldo Quintela, Rio de Janiero</li> <li>Chazawa-dori, Tokyo</li> <li>Consell de Cent, Barcelona</li> </ol> <p><em>Images: </em><em>South China Morning Post via Getty Images</em></p>

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