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How would a switch to nuclear affect electricity prices for households and industry?

<div class="theconversation-article-body"><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/roger-dargaville-1832">Roger Dargaville</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/monash-university-1065">Monash University</a></em></p> <p>Peter Dutton has announced that under a Coalition government, seven nuclear power stations would be built around the country over the next 15 years.</p> <p>Experts have declared nuclear power would be <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2024-06-20/power-prices-wont-fall-with-nuclear/103998172">expensive</a> and <a href="https://www.afr.com/politics/federal/nuclear-to-cost-17b-and-take-until-2040-to-build-csiro-20240521-p5jfaj#:%7E:text=Nuclear%20could%20cost%20up%20to,until%202040%20to%20build%3A%20CSIRO&amp;text=Peter%20Dutton's%20nuclear%20energy%20plans,operational%20until%20at%20least%202040.">slow to build</a>.</p> <p>But what might happen to energy prices if the Coalition were to win government and implement this plan?</p> <h2>How might we estimate the cost of nuclear?</h2> <p>By 2035, 50–60% of the existing coal-fired fleet will very likely <a href="https://aemo.com.au/-/media/files/stakeholder_consultation/consultations/nem-consultations/2023/draft-2024-isp-consultation/draft-2024-isp.pdf">have been retired</a>, including Vales Point B, Gladstone, Yallourn, Bayswater and Eraring – all of which will have passed 50 years old.</p> <p>These five generators contribute just over 10 gigawatts of capacity. It’s probably not a coincidence that the seven nuclear plants proposed by Dutton would also contribute roughly 10 gigawatts in total if built.</p> <p>Neither my team at Monash University nor the Australian Energy Market Operator has run modelling scenarios to delve into the details of what might happen to electricity prices under a high-uptake nuclear scenario such as the one proposed by the Coalition. That said, we can make some broad assumptions based on a metric known as the “levelised cost of electricity”.</p> <p>This value takes into account:</p> <ul> <li> <p>how much it costs to build a particular technology</p> </li> <li> <p>how long it takes to build</p> </li> <li> <p>the cost to operate the plant</p> </li> <li> <p>its lifetime</p> </li> <li> <p>and very importantly, its capacity factor.</p> </li> </ul> <p>Capacity factor is how much electricity a technology produces in real life, compared with its theoretical maximum output.</p> <p>For example, a nuclear power station would likely run at 90–95% of its full capacity. A solar farm, on the other hand, will run at just 20–25% of its maximum, primarily because it’s night for half of the time, and cloudy some of the time.</p> <p>CSIRO recently published its <a href="https://www.csiro.au/en/research/technology-space/energy/gencost">GenCost</a> report, which outlines the current and projected build and operational costs for a range of energy technologies.</p> <p>It reports that large-scale nuclear generated electricity would cost between A$155 and $252 per megawatt-hour, falling to between $136 and $226 per megawatt-hour by 2040.</p> <p>The report bases these costs on recent projects in South Korea, but doesn’t consider some other cases where costs have blown out dramatically.</p> <p>The most obvious case is that of <a href="https://www.edf.fr/en/the-edf-group/dedicated-sections/journalists/all-press-releases/hinkley-point-c-update-1">Hinkley Point C nuclear plant</a> in the United Kingdom. This <a href="https://www.reuters.com/business/energy/edfs-nuclear-project-britain-pushed-back-2029-may-cost-up-34-bln-2024-01-23/">3.2GW</a> plant, which is being built by French company EDF, was recently <a href="https://www.edf.fr/en/the-edf-group/dedicated-sections/journalists/all-press-releases/hinkley-point-c-update-1">reported</a> to be now costing around £34 billion (about A$65 billion). That’s about A$20,000 per kilowatt.</p> <p>CSIRO’s GenCost report assumed a value of $8,655 per kilowatt for nuclear, so the true levelised cost of electricity of nuclear power in Australia may end up being twice as expensive as CSIRO has calculated.</p> <hr /> <p><iframe id="Aryx7" class="tc-infographic-datawrapper" style="border: none;" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/Aryx7/4/" width="100%" height="400px" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <hr /> <h2>Other factors play a role, too</h2> <p>Another factor not accounted for in the GenCost assumptions is that Australia does not have a nuclear industry. Virtually all the niche expertise would need to be imported.</p> <p>And very large infrastructure projects have a nasty habit of <a href="https://www.cis.org.au/publication/bungles-blowouts-and-boondoggles-why-australias-infrastructure-projects-cost-more-than-they-should/">blowing out in cost</a> – think of Snowy 2.0, Sydney’s light rail project, and the West Gate Tunnel in Victoria.</p> <p>Reasons include higher local wages, regulations and standards plus aversion from lenders to risk that increases cost of capital. These factors would not bode well for nuclear.</p> <p>In CSIRO’s GenCost report, the levelised cost of electricity produced from coal is $100–200 per megawatt-hour, and for gas it’s $120–160 per megawatt-hour. Solar and wind energy work out to be approximately $60 and $90 per megawatt-hour, respectively. But it’s not a fair comparison, as wind and solar are not “dispatchable” but are dependent on the availability of the resource.</p> <p>When you combine the cost of a mix of wind and solar energy and storage, along with the cost of getting the renewable energy into the grid, renewables end up costing $100–120 per megawatt-hour, similar to coal.</p> <p>If we were to have a nuclear-based system (supplemented by gas to meet the higher demands in the mornings and evenings), the costs would likely be much higher – potentially as much as three to four times if cost blowouts similar to Hinkley Point C were to occur (assuming costs were passed on to electricity consumers. Otherwise, taxpayers in general would bear the burden. Either way, it’s more or less the same people).</p> <h2>But what about the impact on your household energy bill?</h2> <p>Well, here the news is marginally better.</p> <p>Typical retail tariffs are 25-30 cents per kilowatt-hour, which is $250–300 per megawatt-hour. The largest component of your energy bill is not the cost of generation of the electricity; rather, it’s the cost of getting the power from the power stations to your home or business.</p> <p>In very approximate terms, this is made up of the market average costs of generation, transmission and distribution, as well as retailer margin and other minor costs.</p> <p>The transmission and distribution costs will not be significantly different under the nuclear scenario compared with the current system. And the additional transmission costs associated with the more distributed nature of renewables (meaning these renewable projects are all over the country) is included in the estimate.</p> <p>According to my back-of-the-envelope calculations, your retail tariff under the nuclear scenario could be 40–50c per kilowatt-hour.</p> <p>But if you are a large energy consumer such as an aluminium smelter, you pay considerably less per kilowatt-hour as you don’t incur the same network or retailer costs (but the cost of generating electricity in the first place makes up a much bigger proportion of the total cost).</p> <p>So if the cost of electricity generation soars, this hypothetical aluminium smelter’s energy costs will soar too.</p> <p>This would be a severe cost burden on Australian industry that has traditionally relied on cheap electricity (although it’s been a while since electricity could be described as cheap).</p> <h2>A likely increase in energy costs</h2> <p>In summary, in a free market, it is very unlikely nuclear could be competitive.</p> <p>But if a future Coalition government were to bring nuclear into the mix, energy costs for residential and especially industrial customers would very likely increase.<!-- 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/232913/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/roger-dargaville-1832">Roger Dargaville</a>, Director Monash Energy Institute, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/monash-university-1065">Monash 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/how-would-a-switch-to-nuclear-affect-electricity-prices-for-households-and-industry-232913">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

Money & Banking

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End of the line for P&O: why is Australia such a tough market for the cruise ship industry?

<div class="theconversation-article-body"><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/freya-higgins-desbiolles-181651">Freya Higgins-Desbiolles</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-south-australia-1180">University of South Australia</a></em></p> <p>Miami-based cruise operator Carnival Corporation has <a href="https://www.carnivalaustralia.com/media-releases/2024/june/media-release.aspx">announced</a> it will retire its P&amp;O Cruises Australia brand in March 2025.</p> <p>The decision marks the end of the line for an iconic cruise brand in Australia and the Pacific, after <a href="https://www.pocruises.com.au/about/history">nearly a century</a> of operations.</p> <p>Parent company Carnival has been on a campaign of international growth through acquisitions and mergers since at least 1989. P&amp;O Cruises Australia was bought by the company in 2003.</p> <p>Many Australians might remember the brand’s iconic television advertisements from the 1980s and ‘90s that encouraged them to escape the rat race.</p> <figure><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/curt8yAwPpY?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" width="440" height="260" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe><figcaption><span class="caption">P&amp;O’s memorable advertisements from the 1980s and 1990s encouraged Australians to escape the rat race.</span></figcaption></figure> <p>But the reality of cruising’s international consolidation leaves little room for such nostalgia and national brand attachment.</p> <p>Still, cruising is a big part of Australia’s tourism sector, and cruises are a large source of inbound visitors. The Australian Cruise Association estimates the industry’s <a href="https://www.australiancruiseassociation.com/sites/default/files/documents/2023-10/CLIA_ACA_CruiseEIA_Infographic.pdf">total economic contribution</a> is as high as A$5.63 billion.</p> <p>Australians are hungry for cruise ship experiences. They make up the <a href="https://www.cruising.org.au/Tenant/C0000003/2020%20Awards%20Sponsors/2023%20Australia%20Source%20Market%20Infographic_Final%20V3.pdf">fourth largest</a> source market for passengers, at 1.25 million last year.</p> <h2>Australia is a tough place to make a profit</h2> <p>A <a href="https://cruising.org/en/news-and-research/press-room/2024/april/state-of-the-cruise-industry-report">recent report</a> by Cruise Lines International Association painted a picture of a thriving industry. New, bigger ships are being rolled out to meet a growing market of both new and loyal cruise enthusiasts.</p> <p>So why are operators struggling here? P&amp;O hasn’t been the only brand facing difficulties down under.</p> <figure class="align-right "><figcaption></figcaption></figure> <p>P&amp;O’s sister line Cunard recently announced it will <a href="https://www.cruisehive.com/iconic-cruise-line-will-stop-homeporting-in-australia/114867">stop basing itself</a> in Australia from 2026, and Virgin Voyages’ Resilient Lady has <a href="https://www.smh.com.au/traveller/travel-news/branson-s-virgin-voyages-scraps-next-summer-s-australian-cruises-20240227-p5f83q.html">cancelled plans</a> for a second sailing season here next summer.</p> <p>Carnival <a href="https://www.carnivalaustralia.com/media-releases/2024/june/media-release.aspx">said</a> its decision on P&amp;O Australia came down to the region’s “significantly higher operating and regulatory costs” and small population. The company said it had been forced to change its operating approach to achieve “efficiencies”.</p> <p>The cruise sector was hit hard by the pandemic. In early 2020, Carnival reported a staggering single quarter net loss of <a href="https://www.reuters.com/article/idUSL4N2DV2XV/">US$4.4 billion</a>. The company also suffered reputational damage following a <a href="https://www.bbc.com/news/business-67215595">high-profile COVID outbreak</a> on its Ruby Princess cruise ship.</p> <p>The international cruise market is heavily concentrated. Almost <a href="https://cruisemarketwatch.com/market-share/">80%</a> of the passenger market is shared by three big companies: Carnival, Royal Caribbean International and Norwegian cruise lines.</p> <p>Australia’s high operating costs and relatively small market make it tough for big cruise companies to achieve the profitability they expect. Carnival’s Cunard Line attributed its decision to <a href="https://www.canberratimes.com.au/story/8440670/carnival-cruise-lines-shun-victoria-over-fee-hike/">move out</a> of Melbourne to a 15% hike in port fees.</p> <p>As these companies have sought to strengthen their competitive advantage, acquiring smaller players has been a popular strategy.</p> <p>This mass tourism model can deliver relatively cheap holidays for passengers. But it often also sacrifices well-loved smaller cruise operations that are more connected to local histories and cultures.</p> <p>There is also the tyranny of distance for Australia, and increasing geopolitical risks affecting cruising.</p> <p>The Australasian region faces stiff competition as a cruise destination from alternatives such as the Caribbean and the Mediterranean, which are close to large markets. Virgin Voyages said its cancellation of the 2024–25 sailing schedule was due to major safety concerns in the Red Sea.</p> <h2>What does its future hold?</h2> <p>Reassuringly, customers with P&amp;O bookings for the remainder of 2024 will not be affected. Next year, the brand’s Pacific Encounter and Pacific Adventure ships will continue to sail, but under new branding for Carnival Cruise Line. Pacific Explorer will be retired from service.</p> <p>In Australia, the mass tourism model of the big cruise operators is no doubt here to stay. But there could be further cuts to the range of destination ports offered as the industry prioritises profits.</p> <p>In the longer term, however, a crucial question concerns the future of ports around Australia that have been enticed into engaging with the cruise industry. Many government tourism authorities have been keen to expand the sector.</p> <p>As a result, access to some smaller ports has been negotiated and there has been a push to build new facilities in New South Wales, the biggest market.</p> <p>This has received <a href="https://www.nsw.gov.au/media-releases/government-acts-to-protect-yarra-bay-from-cruise-ship-terminal">pushback</a> from some parts of the community who argue the economic benefits don’t outweigh the cultural and ecological cost.</p> <p>In the future, there could be a more sustainable solution for Australian cruising in smaller expedition-like formats. These have been particularly successful in locations such as the Kimberley in Western Australia.</p> <p>Local communities at small-ship destinations may find this model of cruising more acceptable, given its lower passenger numbers and smaller environmental impact.<!-- 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/231607/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/freya-higgins-desbiolles-181651">Freya Higgins-Desbiolles</a>, Adjunct Senior Lecturer in Tourism Management/ Adjunct Associate Professor, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-south-australia-1180">University of South Australia</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/end-of-the-line-for-pando-why-is-australia-such-a-tough-market-for-the-cruise-ship-industry-231607">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

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Yes, adults can develop food allergies. Here are 4 types you need to know about

<div class="theconversation-article-body"><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/clare-collins-7316">Clare Collins</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-newcastle-1060">University of Newcastle</a></em></p> <p>If you didn’t have food allergies as a child, is it possible to develop them as an adult? The short answer is yes. But the reasons why are much more complicated.</p> <p>Preschoolers are about <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25316115/">four times more likely to have a food allergy</a> than adults and are more likely to grow out of it as they get older.</p> <p>It’s hard to get accurate figures on adult food allergy prevalence. The Australian National Allergy Council reports <a href="https://nationalallergycouncil.org.au/about-us/our-strategy">one in 50 adults</a> have food allergies. But a US survey suggested as many as <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30646188/">one in ten adults</a> were allergic to at least one food, with some developing allergies in adulthood.</p> <h2>What is a food allergy</h2> <p><a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/36509408/">Food allergies</a> are immune reactions involving <a href="https://www.aaaai.org/tools-for-the-public/allergy,-asthma-immunology-glossary/immunoglobulin-e-(ige)-defined">immunoglobulin E (IgE)</a> – an antibody that’s central to triggering allergic responses. These are known as “IgE-mediated food allergies”.</p> <p>Food allergy symptoms that are <em>not</em> mediated by IgE are usually delayed reactions and called <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25316115/">food intolerances or hypersensitivity</a>.</p> <p>Food allergy symptoms can include hives, swelling, difficulty swallowing, vomiting, throat or chest tightening, trouble breathing, chest pain, rapid heart rate, dizziness, low blood pressure or <a href="https://www.allergy.org.au/hp/papers/acute-management-of-anaphylaxis-guidelines?highlight=WyJhbmFwaHlsYXhpcyJd">anaphylaxis</a>.</p> <p>IgE-mediated food allergies can be life threatening, so all adults need an <a href="https://allergyfacts.org.au/allergy-management/newly-diagnosed/action-plan-essentials">action management plan</a> developed in consultation with their medical team.</p> <p>Here are four IgE-mediated food allergies that can occur in adults – from relatively common ones to rare allergies you’ve probably never heard of.</p> <h2>1. Single food allergies</h2> <p>The most <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30646188/">common IgE-mediated food allergies</a> in adults in a US survey were to:</p> <ul> <li>shellfish (2.9%)</li> <li>cow’s milk (1.9%)</li> <li>peanut (1.8%)</li> <li>tree nuts (1.2%)</li> <li>fin fish (0.9%) like barramundi, snapper, salmon, cod and perch.</li> </ul> <p>In these adults, about 45% reported reacting to multiple foods.</p> <p>This compares to <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25316115/">most common childhood food allergies</a>: cow’s milk, egg, peanut and soy.</p> <p>Overall, adult food allergy prevalence appears to be increasing. Compared to <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/14657884/">older surveys published in 2003</a> and <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15241360/">2004</a>, peanut allergy prevalence has increased about three-fold (from 0.6%), while tree nuts and fin fish roughly doubled (from 0.5% each), with shellfish similar (2.5%).</p> <p>While new <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/38214821/">adult-onset food allergies are increasing</a>, childhood-onset food allergies are also more likely to be retained into adulthood. Possible reasons for both <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/38214821/">include</a> low vitamin D status, lack of immune system challenges due to being overly “clean”, heightened sensitisation due to allergen avoidance, and more frequent antibiotic use.</p> <h2>2. Tick-meat allergy</h2> <p>Tick-meat allergy, also called α-Gal syndrome or mammalian meat allergy, is an allergic reaction to galactose-alpha-1,3-galactose, or α-Gal for short.</p> <p><a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33529984/">Australian immunologists first reported</a> links between α-Gal syndrome and tick bites in 2009, with cases also reported in the United States, Japan, Europe and South Africa. The <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/38318181/">US Centers for Disease Control estimates</a> about 450,000 Americans <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/72/wr/mm7230a2.htm">could be affected</a>.</p> <p>The α-Gal contains a carbohydrate molecule that is bound to a <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/38318181/">protein</a> molecule in <a href="https://alphagalinformation.org/what-is-a-mammal/">mammals</a>.</p> <p>The IgE-mediated allergy is triggered after repeated bites from ticks or <a href="https://www.insectshield.com/pages/chiggers">chigger mites</a> that have bitten those mammals. When tick saliva crosses into your body through the bite, antibodies to α-Gal are produced.</p> <p>When you subsequently eat foods that contain α-Gal, the allergy is triggered. These triggering foods include meat (lamb, beef, pork, rabbit, kangaroo), dairy products (yoghurt, cheese, ice-cream, cream), <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gelatin">animal-origin gelatin</a> added to gummy foods (jelly, lollies, marshmallow), prescription medications and over-the counter supplements containing gelatin (<a href="https://www.drugs.com/inactive/gelatin-57.html">some antibiotics, vitamins and other supplements</a>).</p> <p>Tick-meat allergy reactions can be hard to recognise because they’re usually delayed, and they can be severe and include anaphylaxis. Allergy <a href="https://www.allergy.org.au/patients/food-allergy/mammalian-meat-tick-faq">organisations produce management guidelines</a>, so always discuss management with your doctor.</p> <h2>3. Fruit-pollen allergy</h2> <p>Fruit-pollen allergy, called pollen food allergy syndrome, is an <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/38002141/">IgE-mediated allergic reaction</a>.</p> <p>In susceptible adults, pollen in the air provokes the production of IgE antibodies to antigens in the pollen, but these antigens are similar to ones found in some fruits, vegetables and herbs. The problem is that <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/38002141/">eating those plants</a> triggers an allergic reaction.</p> <p>The <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/38002141/">most allergenic tree pollens</a> are from birch, cypress, Japanese cedar, <a href="https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/latex-allergy">latex</a>, grass, and ragweed. Their pollen can cross-react with <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/38002141/">fruit and vegetables</a>, including kiwi, banana, mango, avocado, grapes, celery, carrot and potato, and some herbs such as caraway, coriander, fennel, pepper and paprika.</p> <p>Fruit-pollen allergy is not common. Prevalence <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/38002141/">estimates are between 0.03% and 8%</a> depending on the country, but it can be life-threatening. Reactions range from itching or tingling of lips, mouth, tongue and throat, called <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20306812/">oral allergy syndrome</a>, to mild <a href="https://www.allergy.org.au/patients/skin-allergy/urticaria-hives">hives</a>, to anaphylaxis.</p> <h2>4. Food-dependent, exercise-induced food allergy</h2> <p>During heavy exercise, the stomach produces less acid than usual and gut permeability increases, meaning that small molecules in your gut are more likely to escape across the membrane into your blood. These include food molecules that trigger an IgE reaction.</p> <p>If the person already has IgE antibodies to the foods eaten before exercise, then the risk of triggering food allergy reactions is increased. This allergy is called <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/37893663/">food-dependent exercise-induced allergy</a>, with symptoms ranging from hives and swelling, to difficulty breathing and anaphylaxis.</p> <p><a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30601082/">Common trigger foods include</a> wheat, seafood, meat, poultry, egg, milk, nuts, grapes, celery and other foods, which could have been eaten many hours before exercising.</p> <p>To complicate things even further, allergic <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33181008/">reactions can</a> occur at lower levels of trigger-food exposure, and be more severe if the person is simultaneously taking non-steroidal inflammatory medications like aspirin, drinking alcohol or is sleep-deprived.</p> <p>Food-dependent exercise-induced allergy is extremely rare. Surveys have estimated prevalence as between <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1555415517300259">one to 17 cases per 1,000 people worldwide</a> with the highest prevalence between the teenage years to age 35. Those affected often have other allergic conditions such as hay fever, asthma, allergic conjunctivitis and dermatitis.</p> <h2>Allergies are a growing burden</h2> <p>The <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/36509408/">burden on physical health, psychological health</a> and health costs due to food allergy is increasing. In the US, this <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/38393624/">financial burden was estimated as $24 billion per year</a>.</p> <p>Adult food allergy needs to be taken seriously and those with severe symptoms should wear a medical information bracelet or chain and carry an <a href="https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/how-to-use-an-adrenaline-autoinjector-epipen-anapen">adrenaline auto-injector pen</a>. Concerningly, surveys suggest only <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30646188/">about one in four adults</a> with food allergy have an adrenaline pen.</p> <p>If you have an IgE-mediated food allergy, discuss your management plan with your doctor. You can also find more information at <a href="https://allergyfacts.org.au/">Allergy and Anaphylaxis Australia</a>.<!-- 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/223342/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/clare-collins-7316"><em>Clare Collins</em></a><em>, Laureate Professor in Nutrition and Dietetics, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-newcastle-1060">University of Newcastle</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/yes-adults-can-develop-food-allergies-here-are-4-types-you-need-to-know-about-223342">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

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Rough seas or smooth sailing? The cruise industry is booming despite environmental concerns

<div class="theconversation-article-body"><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/frederic-dimanche-836528">Frédéric Dimanche</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/toronto-metropolitan-university-1607">Toronto Metropolitan University</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/kelley-a-mcclinchey-1287281">Kelley A. McClinchey</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/wilfrid-laurier-university-1817">Wilfrid Laurier University</a></em></p> <p>Cruise ship season is officially underway in British Columbia. The season kicked off with the arrival of Norwegian Bliss on April 3 — the <a href="https://www.cheknews.ca/first-cruise-ship-of-the-season-to-arrive-in-victoria-in-less-than-2-weeks-1196426/">first of 318 ships</a> that are scheduled to dock in Victoria this year. Victoria saw a record 970,000 passengers arrive in 2023, with more expected in 2024.</p> <p>The cruise industry <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.trip.2021.100391">was badly hit</a> by the <a href="https://financialpost.com/financial-times/the-2020s-were-meant-to-be-a-boom-decade-for-cruises-then-covid-19-hit-them-like-a-tidal-wave">suspension of cruise operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic</a> in 2020. Fuelled by heavy consumer demand and industry innovation, cruising has made a comeback. It is now one of the fastest-growing sectors, rebounding even faster than international tourism.</p> <p>While many predicted <a href="https://www.cnbc.com/2020/04/05/carnivals-struggle-to-survive-the-coronavirus-as-outbreak-wipes-out-the-cruise-industry.html">a difficult recovery</a>, a <a href="https://cruising.org/en">recent industry report shows a remarkable post-pandemic rebound</a>. Two million more people went on cruises in 2023 versus 2019, with demand predicted to top 35 million in 2024.</p> <p>But environmental issues plague the sector’s revival. Are they an indication of rough seas ahead? Or will a responsive industry mean smooth sailing?</p> <p>Cruising has long been criticized <a href="https://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/their-purpose-is-to-be-fun-but-theres-a-dark-side-to-cruising-the-seas/dzxivdoos">for being Janus-faced</a>: on the surface, cruises are convenient, exciting holidays with reputed economic benefits. But lurking underneath are its <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tourman.2017.11.002">negative environmental and social impacts</a>.</p> <h2>Unprecedented growth</h2> <p>Newly constructed mega-ships are part of the industry’s unprecedented growth. Royal Caribbean’s Icon of the Seas is the <a href="https://www.cruisehive.com/top-10-biggest-cruise-ships-in-the-world/66448">largest cruise ship in the world</a>, with 18 decks, 5,600 passengers and 2,350 crew.</p> <p>MSC World Europa with 6,700 passengers and 2,100 crew, P&amp;O Arvia with 5,200 passengers and 1,800 crew, and Costa Smeralda with 6,600 passengers and 1,500 crew also claim mega-ship status.</p> <p>Those sailing to and from Alaska via Victoria will be some of the <a href="https://hakaimagazine.com/features/cruise-ship-invasion/">estimated 700,000 passengers departing Seattle</a> on massive ships three sport fields in length.</p> <p>Baby boomers represent less than 25 per cent of cruise clientele. Gen X, <a href="https://www.thenewdaily.com.au/life/2024/01/15/cruise-millennials-gen-z">Millennials and Gen Z</a> have more interest than ever in cruising, with these younger markets being targeted as the future of cruise passengers.</p> <p>The Cruise Lines International Association asserts that <a href="https://cruising.org/-/media/clia-media/research/2024/2024-state-of-the-cruise-industry-report_041424_web.ashx">82 per cent of those who have cruised will cruise again</a>. To entice first-timers and meet the needs of repeat cruisers, companies are offering new itineraries and onboard activities, from <a href="https://www.timescolonist.com/business/royal-caribbean-quantum-cruise-ship-1st-at-sea-bumper-cars-skydiving-observation-capsule-4585987">simulated skydiving and bumper cars</a> to <a href="https://nationalpost.com/travel/cruise-ship-offers-pickleball-on-the-high-seas">pickleball</a> and lawn bowling.</p> <p>Solo cruise travel is also on the rise, and <a href="https://www.cruisetradenews.com/demand-for-multi-generational-cruise-holidays-on-the-up-data-finds/">multi-generational family cruise travel</a> is flourishing, explaining the extensive variety of cabin classes, activities and restaurants available on newly constructed and retrofitted ships.</p> <p>However, only a few cruise ports are large enough to dock mega ships. Cruise lines are responding by offering off-beat experiences and catering more to the distinct desires of travellers.</p> <p>In doing so, there is a <a href="https://www.positivelyosceola.com/2024s-top-cruise-trends-embracing-smaller-ships-solo-adventures-and-luxury-suites/">move towards smaller vessels and luxury liners</a>, river cruises and <a href="https://www.travelweek.ca/news/cruise/expedition-cruising-what-is-it-and-how-do-you-sell-it/">expedition cruising</a>. Leveraging lesser-known ports that can only be accessed via compact luxury ships <a href="https://www.cntraveler.com/story/small-cruise-ships-are-more-sustainble-and-on-the-rise">offers more mission-driven, catered experiences</a> for the eco-minded traveller.</p> <h2>Cruising and environmental costs</h2> <p>Cruise ship visitors are known to negatively impact Marine World Heritage sites. While most sites regulate ballast water and wastewater discharge, there are <a href="https://doi.org/10.3390/su12020611">concerns about ship air emissions and wildlife interactions</a>.</p> <p>Cruise ship journeys along Canada’s west coast, for example, <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/jul/09/us-cruise-ships-using-canada-as-toilet-bowl-for-polluted-waste-alaska-british-columbia">are leaving behind a trail of toxic waste</a>. <a href="https://foe.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/04/Comparison_of_CO2_Emissions_v2.pdf">A study by environmental organization Friends of the Earth</a> concluded that a cruise tourist generates eight times more carbon emissions per day than a land tourist in Seattle.</p> <p>Also, a rise in expedition cruising means more negative impacts (long-haul flights to farther ports, less destination management in fragile ecosystems, <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2024/03/03/briefing/last-chance-tourism.html">last chance tourism</a>) and a rise in carbon dioxide emissions.</p> <p>Toxic air pollutants from cruise ships around ports are higher than pre-pandemic levels, <a href="https://www.transportenvironment.org/discover/europes-luxury-cruise-ships-emit-as-much-toxic-sulphur-as-1bn-cars-study/">leaving Europe’s port cities “choking on air pollution</a>.” Last year, Europe’s 218 cruise ships emitted as much sulphur oxides as one billion cars — a high number, considering the introduction of the <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/S2542-5196(20)30002-4">International Maritime Organization’s sulphur cap in 2020</a>.</p> <h2>Rough seas ahead or smooth sailing?</h2> <p>Royal Caribbean said its Icon of the Seas is designed to <a href="https://www.reuters.com/business/environment/worlds-largest-cruise-ship-sets-sail-bringing-concerns-about-methane-emissions-2024-01-27/">operate 24 per cent more efficiently than the international standard</a> for new ships. International Maritime Organization regulations <a href="https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2024-01-22/royal-caribbean-s-icon-of-the-seas-highlights-climate-impact-of-cruises">must be 30 per cent more energy-efficient</a> than those built in 2014.</p> <p>But despite the industry using liquefied natural gas instead of heavy fuel oil and electric shore power to turn off diesel engines when docking, industry critics still claim <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2024/jan/26/icon-of-the-seas-largest-cruise-ship-human-lasagne-climate-fuel-lng-greenwashing">the cruise sector is greenwashing</a>. As a result, some cities like Amsterdam, Barcelona and Venice are <a href="https://www.forbes.com/sites/maryroeloffs/2023/07/21/war-on-cruise-ships-amsterdam-latest-port-to-limit-or-ban-cruise-liners">limiting or banning cruise ships</a>.</p> <p>Environmental critiques remain strong, especially for <a href="https://dergipark.org.tr/en/pub/ijegeo/issue/65449/957262">polar expeditions</a>. The industry must respond and <a href="https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-031-01949-4_131">increase sustainability efforts</a>, but their measures remain reactive (i.e., merely meeting international regulations) rather than proactive. In addition, by sailing their ships under <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/05/13/real-problem-with-cruise-industry/">flags of convenience</a>, cruise companies evade taxes and demonstrate an unwillingness to abide by a nation’s environmental, health and labour regulations.</p> <p>In any case, environmental concerns are escalating along with the industry. <a href="https://www.nationalgeographic.com/travel/article/cruising-green-eco-operators-make-waves">Travel agents and industry figures are aware of these impacts</a> and should help promote cruise lines that demonstrate a commitment to sustainable practices.</p> <p>Local residents need to expect more from port authorities and local governments in order <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.annals.2024.103732">to cope with cruise tourism</a>. Cruise consumers should recognize the environmental costs of cruising, and demand accountability and transparency from cruise lines.<!-- 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/228181/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/frederic-dimanche-836528"><em>Frédéric Dimanche</em></a><em>, Professor and Director, Ted Rogers School of Hospitality and Tourism Management, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/toronto-metropolitan-university-1607">Toronto Metropolitan University</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/kelley-a-mcclinchey-1287281">Kelley A. McClinchey</a>, Teaching Faculty, Geography and Environmental Studies, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/wilfrid-laurier-university-1817">Wilfrid Laurier 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/rough-seas-or-smooth-sailing-the-cruise-industry-is-booming-despite-environmental-concerns-228181">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

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Are young people smarter than older adults? My research shows cognitive differences between generations are diminishing

<div class="theconversation-article-body"><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/stephen-badham-1531316">Stephen Badham</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/nottingham-trent-university-1338">Nottingham Trent University</a></em></p> <p>We often assume young people are smarter, or at least quicker, than older people. For example, we’ve all heard that scientists, and even more so mathematicians, <a href="https://www.forbes.com/sites/nextavenue/2014/08/07/who-says-scientists-peak-by-age-50/">carry out their most important work</a> when they’re comparatively young.</p> <p>But my new research, <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S027322972400008X#:%7E:text=Highlights&amp;text=Three%20review%20studies%20measure%20secular,%2C%20education%2C%20and%20overall%20health.">published in Developmental Review</a>, suggests that cognitive differences between the old and young are tapering off over time. This is hugely important as stereotypes about the intelligence of people in their sixties or older may be holding them back – in the workplace and beyond.</p> <p>Cognitive ageing is often measured by comparing young adults, aged 18-30, to older adults, aged 65 and over. There are a variety of tasks that older adults do not perform well on compared to young adults, such as memory, spatial ability and speed of processing, which often form the basis of <a href="https://theconversation.com/the-iq-test-wars-why-screening-for-intelligence-is-still-so-controversial-81428">IQ tests</a>. That said, there are a few tasks that older people do better at than younger people, such as reading comprehension and vocabulary.</p> <p>Declines in cognition are driven by a process called <a href="https://www.nature.com/collections/cbjacdabdf">cognitive ageing</a>, which happens to everyone. Surprisingly, age-related cognitive deficits start very early in adulthood, and declines in cognition have been measured as dropping in adults as young as just 25.</p> <p>Often, it is only when people reach older age that these effects add up to a noticeable amount. Common complaints consist of walking into a room and forgetting why you entered, as well as difficulty remembering names and struggling to drive in the dark.</p> <h2>The trouble with comparison</h2> <p>Sometimes, comparing young adults to older adults can be misleading though. The two generations were brought up in different times, with different levels of education, healthcare and nutrition. They also lead different daily lives, with some older people having lived though a world war while the youngest generation is growing up with the internet.</p> <p>Most of these factors favour the younger generation, and this can explain a proportion of their advantage in cognitive tasks.</p> <p>Indeed, much existing research shows that <a href="https://theconversation.com/iq-tests-are-humans-getting-smarter-158837">IQ has been improving</a> globally throughout the 20th century. This means that later-born generations are more cognitively able than those born earlier. This is even found when both generations are tested in the same way at the same age.</p> <p>Currently, there is growing evidence that <a href="https://www.pnas.org/doi/10.1073/pnas.1718793115">increases in IQ are levelling off,</a> such that, in the most recent couple of decades, young adults are no more cognitively able than young adults born shortly beforehand.</p> <p>Together, these factors may underlie the current result, namely that cognitive differences between young and older adults are diminishing over time.</p> <h2>New results</h2> <p>My research began when my team started getting strange results in our lab. We found that often the age differences we were getting between young and older adults was smaller or absent, compared to prior research from early 2000s.</p> <p>This prompted me to start looking at trends in age differences across the psychological literature in this area. I uncovered a variety of data that compared young and older adults from the 1960s up to the current day. I plotted this data against year of publication, and found that age deficits have been getting smaller over the last six decades.</p> <p>Next, I assessed if the average increases in cognitive ability over time seen across all individuals was a result that also applied to older adults specifically. Many large databases exist where groups of individuals are recruited every few years to take part in the same tests. I analysed studies using these data sets to look at older adults.</p> <p>I found that, just like younger people, older adults were indeed becoming more cognitively able with each cohort. But if differences are disappearing, does that mean younger people’s improvements in cognitive ability have slowed down or that older people’s have increased?</p> <p>I analysed data from my own laboratory that I had gathered over a seven-year period to find out. Here, I was able to dissociate the performance of the young from the performance of the older. I found that each cohort of young adults was performing to a similar extent across this seven-year period, but that older adults were showing improvements in both processing speed and vocabulary scores.</p> <figure class="align-center "><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/591482/original/file-20240501-24-esxcic.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&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/591482/original/file-20240501-24-esxcic.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=333&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 600w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/591482/original/file-20240501-24-esxcic.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=333&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1200w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/591482/original/file-20240501-24-esxcic.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=333&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 1800w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/591482/original/file-20240501-24-esxcic.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=418&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 754w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/591482/original/file-20240501-24-esxcic.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=418&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1508w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/591482/original/file-20240501-24-esxcic.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=418&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 2262w" alt="The figure shows data for a speed-based task where higher scores represent better performance." /><figcaption><span class="caption">The figure shows data for a speed-based task where higher scores represent better performance.</span> <span class="attribution"><a class="license" href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/">CC BY-SA</a></span></figcaption></figure> <p>I believe the older adults of today are benefiting from many of the factors previously most applicable to young adults. For example, the number of children who went to school <a href="https://education-uk.org/history/chapter12.html">increased significantly</a> in the 1960s – with the system being more similar to what it is today than what it was at the start of the 20th century.</p> <p>This is being reflected in that cohort’s increased scores today, now they are older adults. At the same time, young adults have hit a ceiling and are no longer improving as much with each cohort.</p> <p>It is not entirely clear why the young generations have stopped improving so much. Some research has <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.intell.2016.10.002">explored maternal age, mental health and even evolutionary trends</a>. I favour the opinion that there is just a natural ceiling – a limit to how much factors such as education, nutrition and health can improve cognitive performance.</p> <p>These data have important implications for research into dementia. For example, it is possible that a modern older adult in the early stages of dementia might pass a dementia test that was designed 20 or 30 years ago for the general population at that time.</p> <p>Therefore, as older adults are performing better in general than previous generations, it may be necessary to revise definitions of dementia that depend on an individuals’ expected level of ability.</p> <p>Ultimately, we need to rethink what it means to become older. And there’s finally some good news. Ultimately, we can expect to be more cognitively able than our grandparents were when we reach their 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/229132/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/stephen-badham-1531316">Stephen Badham</a>, Professor of Psychology, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/nottingham-trent-university-1338">Nottingham Trent 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/are-young-people-smarter-than-older-adults-my-research-shows-cognitive-differences-between-generations-are-diminishing-229132">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

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Why are adults without kids hooked on Bluey? And should we still be calling it a ‘kids’ show’?

<div class="theconversation-article-body"> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/jessica-balanzategui-814024">Jessica Balanzategui</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/rmit-university-1063">RMIT University</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/djoymi-baker-1269345">Djoymi Baker</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/rmit-university-1063">RMIT University</a></em></p> <p>“Bluey mania” shows no sign of abating. Bluey’s season finale, The Sign, was the <a href="https://tvtonight.com.au/2024/04/the-sign-breaks-abc-iview-records.html">most viewed ABC program</a> of all time on iView.</p> <p>A “hidden” follow-up episode, aptly named The Surprise, created a storm of <a href="https://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-13338251/Bluey-fans-wild-mystery-ending-surprise-episode-meaning.html">headlines</a> around the world, many of which <a href="https://mashable.com/article/bluey-surprise-baby-who-is-the-father">have a decidedly adult tone</a>.</p> <p>As highlighted in social media fan communities <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/arts-entertainment/2023/02/08/bluey-adult-fandom-tiktok/">and</a> <a href="https://gizmodo.com/bluey-disney-plus-bbc-australian-animation-adult-fans-1850426890">articles</a>, the show has struck a chord with adults, many of whom aren’t parents. What do they get from a show that is ostensibly “for kids”?</p> <h2>Parents love Bluey (sometimes more than kids)</h2> <p>Our <a href="https://www.infrastructure.gov.au/sites/default/files/documents/pfpp--australian-children%27s-television-cultures-actc.pdf">research</a> with <a href="https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&amp;rct=j&amp;q=&amp;esrc=s&amp;source=web&amp;cd=&amp;cad=rja&amp;uact=8&amp;ved=2ahUKEwiDjeXNluuFAxW2bmwGHf2aDvoQFnoECA8QAQ&amp;url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.aph.gov.au%2FDocumentStore.ashx%3Fid%3Dec6900b5-42b0-4c3d-b200-5c05ae895fec%26subId%3D751969&amp;usg=AOvVaw2BpyYjP_6i62kXdJqyrplx&amp;cshid=1714522763110954&amp;opi=89978449">children aged 7-9</a> and their parents provides evidence of how enraptured adults are by Bluey. Our findings also suggest it’s the parents who often drive household Bluey obsessions.</p> <p>As one mum told us: "If we could tell the Australian TV gods something that we’d like to have on Australian TV, it would be more Bluey, don’t get rid of Bluey. […] Bluey is loved by mums a lot."</p> <p>Another explained how the show provided learning for parents: "It’s the gentle parenting, kindness, empathy for the children, the humour […] And helping kids [and] families work through real life situations with kindness and compassion."</p> <p>When one eight-year-old and his mum told us about their favourite shows, the following exchange took place:</p> <blockquote> <p><strong>Mum:</strong>: What about Bluey? <br /><strong>Son</strong>: I sometimes [watch it]… <br /><strong>Mum</strong>: You don’t want to say. He doesn’t want to say he watches Bluey. Bluey’s fantastic. <br /><strong>Son</strong>: I sometimes- <br /><strong>Mum</strong>: He wants to be a big boy. […] Everyone in this room probably loves Bluey. It’s not just for kids. <br /><strong>Son</strong>: Enough about that.</p> </blockquote> <p>Beyond families, Bluey has also attracted teen and adult fans without kids – in part thanks to a <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/arts-entertainment/2023/02/08/bluey-adult-fandom-tiktok/">vibrant TikTok community</a> (aka <a href="https://www.tiktok.com/search?lang=en&amp;q=blueytok&amp;t=1714526488575">#blueytok</a>). While some commentary suggests this adult fandom <a href="https://slate.com/culture/2024/04/bluey-the-sign-episode-ending-parents-adults-kids-disney-plus.html">is “weird”</a>, Bluey is only the latest in a long line of “children’s” shows with a passionate adult fanbase.</p> <h2>Shifting barriers in television</h2> <p>The distinction between “children’s” and “adult” television has long been crucial to our cultural understandings of what separates a child from an adult.</p> <p>In the 1950s, <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/1749602020911359">academics were concerned</a> children were watching TV content that was too mature for them, turning them into “adultised children”, and that adults watching kids’ shows were becoming “infantile adults”.</p> <p>The industry took note. In 1957, a reduction in children’s TV production in the United States made space for so-called “kidult” shows designed for both age groups.</p> <p>Since then, the boundaries between children’s and adult television have continually shifted. In television’s early days, science fiction was associated with child audiences (which is why many initially assumed Star Trek was <a href="https://www.bloomsbury.com/au/to-boldly-go-9781838609733/">a kids’ show</a>).</p> <p>These boundaries were also influenced by television scheduling. Warner Bros’ early animation shorts were initially all-ages theatrical releases, but in 1960 were packaged into the Bugs Bunny Show – pitched for kids and aired on Saturday mornings. As a result, by 1967 animation was considered <a href="https://web.mit.edu/sp.778/www/Documents/From_Saturday_morning_to_---elevision_cartoons.pdf">kids’ fare</a>.</p> <p>The boundaries shifted again in the 1980s as adult Japanese anime such as Akira (1988) became popular in the West.</p> <p>In 1989, The Simpsons debuted on TV. Our research reveals even today there is confusion regarding the show’s suitability for young children. Some of our seven-to-nine-year-old participants described secretly watching it without their parents’ knowledge.</p> <h2>Childhood healing</h2> <p>Bluey’s adult appeal is credited to the show’s playful <a href="https://www.forbes.com/sites/paultassi/2024/04/14/disneys-giant-new-bluey-episode-the-sign-is-making-parents-cry/?sh=3c4a664f6234">yet emotionally complex</a> content. One reason adults tune into today’s kids’ TV is because it’s far more diverse than the shows they could access growing up.</p> <p>Take 19-year-old Bluey fan <a href="https://www.wired.com/story/bluey-internet-fandom/">Darby Rose</a>, who points to an episode in which a Jack Russell terrier has ADHD. “As a neurodivergent person myself, this representation makes me ecstatic,” Rose says. This is also true of many teen programs, with the queer-friendly high-school romance Heartstopper attracting a large <a href="https://time.com/6301556/heartstopper-netflix-season-2-fans/">adult following</a>.</p> <p>It’s not just <a href="https://theconversation.com/beyond-bluey-why-adults-love-re-watching-australian-kids-tv-from-their-childhoods-169727">childhood nostalgia</a> that drives adults to kids’ shows (although <a href="https://www.reddit.com/r/bluey/comments/x1xgf9/what_trips_down_memory_lane_and_nostalgia_does/">this is one aspect</a>). Watching kids’ shows can be self-affirming for adults who missed out on seeing their identity onscreen growing up. Some adult fans <a href="https://www.huffpost.com/entry/bluey-adults_n_65e774c1e4b0f9d26cac99a7">even say</a> Bluey has helped them heal childhood wounds.</p> <h2>Children’s television meets adult fan cultures</h2> <p>Watching “adult” television enables kids to feel more grown-up. Conversely, adults can watch children’s television to embrace aspects of their personality they feel social pressure to repress.</p> <p>The latter is often the case for “Bronies” (a portmanteau for “bro” and “pony”): adult male fans of the animated kids’ show My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic (2010-20). The community has attracted much <a href="https://www.mirror.co.uk/tv/tv-previews/military-men-obsessed-little-pony-6498303">controversy</a>. But <a href="https://researchportal.tuni.fi/en/publications/its-ok-to-be-joyful-my-little-pony-and-brony-masculinity">research</a> has found the reasons behind being a Brony aren’t suspicious or bizarre, but are empowering in unexpected ways.</p> <p>As Bronies themselves have explained, the fandom allows them to rethink what masculinity means to them, with the support of other fans online and at events such as <a href="https://www.npr.org/2019/08/14/750595032/the-friends-we-made-along-the-way-after-9-years-bronycon-calls-it-quits">BronyCon</a>.</p> <p>Why can’t “manliness” include watching a cute show about ponies with friendship at its heart?</p> <h2>The changing nature of children’s television</h2> <p>The rise of streaming has led to yet another shift. On-demand viewing means freedom from the constraints of TV scheduling, which historically set the terms for “child” and “adult” viewing.</p> <p>As <a href="https://www.routledge.com/Netflix-Dark-Fantastic-Genres-and-Intergenerational-Viewing-Family-Watch-Together-TV/Baker-Balanzategui-Sandars/p/book/9781032121895">our book details</a>, Netflix has invested in the expansion of cultural expectations around what makes “child-appropriate” television.</p> <p>Netflix’s mega hit Stranger Things deliberately pushes at these boundaries to attract a wide audience, from children and teens, to families, to adults without kids. As co-creator <a href="https://www.empireonline.com/movies/features/stranger-things-duffer-brothers-share-secrets-hit-show/">Matt Duffer explains</a>, the aim was to get children hooked on the show, and then later in the season “scare the shit out of them. Then the parents can get mad.”</p> <p>Parents certainly aren’t mad about their children getting hooked on Bluey. They may even be the secret to its global success: to keep the children watching, get the <em>adults</em> hooked.<!-- 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/228610/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/jessica-balanzategui-814024"><em>Jessica Balanzategui</em></a><em>, Senior Lecturer in Media, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/rmit-university-1063">RMIT University</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/djoymi-baker-1269345">Djoymi Baker</a>, Lecturer in Media and Cinema Studies, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/rmit-university-1063">RMIT University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: ABC</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/why-are-adults-without-kids-hooked-on-bluey-and-should-we-still-be-calling-it-a-kids-show-228610">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

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COVID is surging in Australia – and only 1 in 5 older adults are up to date with their boosters

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/adrian-esterman-1022994">Adrian Esterman</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-south-australia-1180">University of South Australia</a></em></p> <p>Do you have family members or friends sick with a respiratory infection? If so, there’s a good chance it’s COVID, caused by the JN.1 variant currently circulating in Australia.</p> <p>In particular, New South Wales is reportedly experiencing its <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2024-01-09/nsw-sydney-covid-variant-virus-pandemic-hospitalisations/103298610">highest levels</a> of COVID infections in a year, while Victoria is said to be facing a “<a href="https://www.9news.com.au/national/victoria-in-midst-of-double-wave-of-covid19--as-jn1-triggers-infections-surge/4dada2cb-7d56-436a-9490-cad1d908a29a">double wave</a>” after a surge late last year.</p> <p>But nearly four years into the pandemic, data collection is less comprehensive than it was, and of course, fewer people are testing. So what do we know about the extent of this wave? And importantly, are we adequately protected?</p> <h2>Difficulties with data</h2> <p>Tracking COVID numbers was easier in the first half of last year, when each state and territory provided a weekly update, giving us data on case notifications, hospitalisations, ICU numbers and deaths.</p> <p>In the second half of the year some states and territories switched to less frequent reporting while others stopped their regular updates. As a result, different jurisdictions now report at different intervals and provide varying statistics.</p> <p>For example, <a href="https://www.health.vic.gov.au/infectious-diseases/victorian-covid-19-surveillance-report">Victoria</a> still provides weekly reports, while NSW publishes <a href="https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/Infectious/covid-19/Documents/respiratory-surveillance-20240106.pdf">fortnightly updates</a>.</p> <p>While each offer different metrics, we can gather – particularly from data on hospitalisations – that both states are experiencing a wave. We’re also seeing high levels of COVID <a href="https://www.health.vic.gov.au/infectious-diseases/victorian-covid-19-surveillance-report">in wastewater</a>.</p> <p>Meanwhile, <a href="https://health.nt.gov.au/covid-19/data">Northern Territory Health</a> simply tell you to go to the Australian government’s Department of Health website for COVID data. This houses the only national COVID <a href="https://www.health.gov.au/topics/covid-19/reporting?language=und">data collection</a>. Unfortunately, it’s not up to date, difficult to use, and, depending on the statistic, often provides no state and territory breakdowns.</p> <p>Actual case notifications are provided on a separate <a href="https://nindss.health.gov.au/pbi-dashboard/">website</a>, although given the lack of testing, these are likely to be highly inaccurate.</p> <p>The <a href="https://www.health.gov.au/topics/covid-19/reporting?language=und">Department of Health website</a> does provide some other data that gives us clues as to what’s happening. For example, as of one month ago, there were 317 active outbreaks of COVID in aged care homes. This figure has been generally rising since September.</p> <p>Monthly prescriptions for antivirals on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme were increasing rapidly in November, but we are not given more recent data on this.</p> <p>It’s also difficult to obtain information about currently circulating strains. Data expert Mike Honey provides a regularly updated <a href="https://github.com/Mike-Honey/covid-19-genomes?tab=readme-ov-file#readme">snapshot</a> for Australia based on data from GISAID (the Global Initiative on Sharing All Influenza Data) that shows JN.1 rising in prevalence and accounting for about 40% of samples two weeks ago. The proportion is presumably higher now.</p> <h2>What’s happening elsewhere?</h2> <p>Many other countries are currently going through a COVID wave, probably driven to a large extent by JN.1. These include <a href="https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/506301/covid-19-complacency-waning-immunity-contribute-to-fifth-wave-epidemiologist">New Zealand</a>, <a href="https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/facemasks-mandatory-spain-hospitals-b2475563.html">Spain, Greece</a> and the United States.</p> <p>According to cardiologist and scientist Eric Topol, the US is currently experiencing its <a href="https://www.latimes.com/opinion/story/2024-01-04/covid-2024-flu-virus-vaccine">second biggest wave</a> since the start of the pandemic, linked to JN.1.</p> <h2>Are vaccines still effective?</h2> <p>It’s expected the current COVID vaccines, which target the omicron variant XBB.1.5, are still <a href="https://www.gavi.org/vaccineswork/seven-things-you-need-know-about-jn1-covid-19-variant">effective</a> at reducing hospitalisations and deaths from JN.1 (also an omicron offshoot).</p> <p>The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) updated their <a href="https://www.health.gov.au/news/atagi-update-on-the-covid-19-vaccination-program">advice</a> on booster shots in September last year. They recommended adults aged over 75 should receive an additional COVID vaccine dose in 2023 if six months had passed since their last dose.</p> <p>They also suggest all adults aged 65 to 74 (plus adults of any age who are severely immunocompromised) should consider getting an updated booster. They say younger people or older adults who are not severely immunocompromised and have already had a dose in 2023 don’t need further doses.</p> <p>This advice is very confusing. For example, although ATAGI does not recommend additional booster shots for younger age groups, does this mean they’re not allowed to have one?</p> <p>In any case, as of <a href="https://www.health.gov.au/resources/publications/covid-19-vaccine-rollout-update-8-december-2023?language=en">December 6</a>, only 19% of people aged 65 and over had received a booster shot in the last six months. For those aged 75 and over, this figure is 23%. Where is the messaging to these at-risk groups explaining why updating their boosters is so important?</p> <h2>Should we be concerned by this wave?</h2> <p>That depends on who we mean by “we”. For those who are vulnerable, absolutely. Mainly because so few have received an updated booster shot and very few people, including the elderly, are wearing masks.</p> <p>For the majority of people, a COVID infection is unlikely to be serious. The biggest concern for younger people is the risk of long COVID, which research suggests <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41591-022-02051-3">increases</a> with each reinfection.</p> <h2>What should we expect in 2024?</h2> <p>It’s highly likely we will see repeated waves of infections over the next 12 months and beyond, mainly caused by waning immunity from previous infection, vaccination or both, and new subvariants.</p> <p>Unless a new subvariant causes more severe disease (and at this stage, there’s no evidence JN.1 does), we should be able to manage quite well, without our hospitals becoming overwhelmed. However, we should be doing more to protect our vulnerable population. Having only one in five older people up to date with a booster and more than 300 outbreaks in aged care homes is not acceptable.</p> <p>For those who are vulnerable, the usual advice applies. Make sure you’re up to date with your booster shots, wear a P2/N95 mask when out and about, and if you do get infected, take antivirals as soon as possible.<!-- 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/220839/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/adrian-esterman-1022994"><em>Adrian Esterman</em></a><em>, Professor of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, <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/covid-is-surging-in-australia-and-only-1-in-5-older-adults-are-up-to-date-with-their-boosters-220839">original article</a>.</em></p>

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1 in 4 adults think smacking is necessary to ‘properly raise’ kids. But attitudes are changing

<p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/divna-haslam-893417">D<em>ivna Haslam</em></a><em>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/queensland-university-of-technology-847">Queensland University of Technology</a></em></p> <p>“Do you want a smack?!” This has been a common refrain from many parents across history. Right along with “just wait till your father gets home”. Somehow parents thought this threat of violence would magically improve their child’s behaviour.</p> <p>The United Nations <a href="https://www.right-to-education.org/sites/right-to-education.org/files/resource-attachments/CRC_1989.pdf">Convention on the Rights of the Child</a> considers smacking and all types of physical punishment, however mild, a violation of child rights. It’s banned in <a href="https://endcorporalpunishment.org/countdown/">65 countries</a>.</p> <p>Yet it remains <a href="https://aifs.gov.au/resources/resource-sheets/physical-punishment-legislation#:%7E:text=Physical%20punishment%20by%20a%20parent%20towards%20a%20child%20remains%20lawful,'">legal</a> in Australia for parents to use “reasonable force” for discipline. Children are the only group of people it remains legal to hit.</p> <p>Our <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/epdf/10.1002/ajs4.301">new research</a> found one in four Australians still think physical punishment is necessary to “properly raise” children. And half of parents (across all age groups) reported smacking their children.</p> <p>But attitudes are slowly changing, with newer generations of parents less likely to smack their kids than previous ones.</p> <h2>What is physical punishment?</h2> <p><a href="https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt1njkrb">Physical</a> or “corporal” punishment is the use of physical force to cause pain, but not injury, to discipline a child for misbehaviour. It’s distinct from physical abuse which is more extreme and not used to correct behaviour.</p> <p>Physical punishment is <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ajs4.276#:%7E:text=Corporal%20punishment%20(CP)%20is%20the,and%20Christian%20missionaries%20during%20colonisation.">the most common type</a> of violence against children. It usually involves smacking, but also includes things like pinching, slapping, or using an implement such as wooden spoon, cane or belt.</p> <p>Smacking doesn’t actually work and makes behaviour <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0956797617729816?casa_token=YHpEf1m4GiwAAAAA%3A8VRH5_z9fufHJiFGpWVYAk0kuTZCCRB-zneATDatqfLomERAhcyyIES30hMPdIIQ-E-IHOTekiC0Zg&amp;journalCode=pssa">worse over time</a>. And it’s <a href="https://psycnet.apa.org/doiLanding?doi=10.1037%2Ffam0000191">associated with</a> children internalising problems, increased child aggression, poor parent-child relationships, poorer metal heath and more.</p> <p>In contrast, there are a lot of non-violent parenting strategies that <a href="https://theconversation.com/research-shows-its-harmful-to-smack-your-child-so-what-should-parents-do-instead-186739">do work</a>.</p> <h2>Assessing the state of smacking in Australia</h2> <p>We conducted the first <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/epdf/10.1002/ajs4.301">study</a> to comprehensively assess the state of smacking and physical punishment in Australia. We wanted to determine if smacking was still common and how many Australians believed we need to smack our kids.</p> <p>We interviewed more than 8,500 Australians aged 16 to 65 years. Our sample was representative of the national population so we can be confident the findings represent the thoughts and experiences of Australians as a nation.</p> <p>Using such a large age range allowed us to compare people across different age groups to determine if changes are occurring.</p> <h2>What we found</h2> <p>Overall, six in ten (62.5%) Australians between 16–65 years had experienced four or more instances of smacking or physical punishment in childhood. Men were slightly more likely to be physically punished than women (66.3% v 59.1%).</p> <p>Young people, aged 16–24, reported slightly lower rates (58.4%) than older people suggesting a slight decline over time. But these rates remain unacceptably high.</p> <p>Overall, one in two (53.7%) Australian parents reported using some type of physical punishment, mostly about once a month.</p> <p>However, older parents reported on this retrospectively (what they did while raising children) and there were clear age differences:</p> <ul> <li>64.2% of parents aged over 65 years had used physical punishment</li> <li>32.8% of parents 25–34 years had used it</li> <li>14.4% of parents under 24 had used it.</li> </ul> <p>So younger generations of parents are substantially less likely to use physical punishment.</p> <p><iframe id="3dcJw" class="tc-infographic-datawrapper" style="border: none;" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/3dcJw/2/" width="100%" height="400px" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <p>Concerningly, one-quarter (26.4%) of all Australians still believe physical punishment is necessary to properly raise children. But the vast majority (73.6%) do not.</p> <p>And generational change is occurring. Some 37.9% of Australians older than 65 believe physical punishment is necessary compared to 22.9% of those aged 35–44 years, and only 14.8% of people under age 24.</p> <p><iframe id="NT51y" class="tc-infographic-datawrapper" style="border: none;" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/NT51y/3/" width="100%" height="400px" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <p>Socioeconomically disadvantaged people are 2.3 times more likely to believe physical punishment is necessary than those with no disadvantage.</p> <p>Parents who had been physically disciplined when they were children were both more likely to believe it is needed and more likely to use it with their own children. This indicates this form of violence is transmitted across generations.</p> <h2>Time for change</h2> <p>Law reform works best when changes in community attitudes and behaviours are already occurring. So it’s encouraging that younger people are much less likely to believe physical punishment is necessary and are much less likely to use it. This suggests Australians may be open to prohibiting this common form of violence.</p> <p>All states and territories should immediately enact legal reform to prohibit corporal punishment and protect the rights of Australian children. This should be paired with public health and education campaigns about what parents can do instead.</p> <p>If you are a parent looking for effective non-violent parenting strategies the <a href="https://www.health.gov.au/ministers/the-hon-greg-hunt-mp/media/406-million-to-support-the-mental-health-and-wellbeing-of-aussie-kids">government</a> has also made the <a href="https://www.triplep-parenting.net.au/qld-en/free-parenting-courses/triple-p-online-under-12/?gad_source=1&amp;gclid=Cj0KCQiAgqGrBhDtARIsAM5s0_mmMmbY3khwvp306pGOijqntKzYh6dDI5lQYszLgl6_BOGnuk8HMeEaAn_vEALw_wcB">Triple P Positive Parenting Program</a> available for free. This online program provides practical strategies parents can use to encourage positive behaviour and calm, alternative discipline techniques that can be used to instead of smacking.</p> <p>A number of other evidence-based programs, such as <a href="https://tuningintokids.org.au/">Tuning Into Kids</a>, Parents Under Pressure and <a href="https://www.pcit.org/pcit-in-australia.html">Parent Child Interaction Therapy</a>, are also available.</p> <p>Australia has an opportunity to capitalise on naturally occurring societal changes. We can interrupt this cycle of violence and give more Australians a childhood free of violence. <!-- 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/218837/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/divna-haslam-893417"><em>Divna Haslam</em></a><em>, Senior Research Fellow, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/queensland-university-of-technology-847">Queensland University of Technology</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/1-in-4-adults-think-smacking-is-necessary-to-properly-raise-kids-but-attitudes-are-changing-218837">original article</a>.</em></p>

Caring

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5 financial lessons you should impart to your adult children

<p>Ultimately, we want our kids to live long, happy, healthy lives. </p> <p>Financial security is central to achieving this dream. So it may be time to have a chat about matters of money and ensure they are well set up for a prosperous future!</p> <p>While there are many important things to instil in future generations, the five below are perhaps the most crucial current-day issues for your adult children to master.</p> <ol> <li><strong>Avoid BNPL</strong></li> </ol> <p>Buy now, pay later (BNPL) schemes have taken off in popularity in recent years, allowing shoppers to purchase and use goods straight away yet pay for them over time in instalments. Sound too good to be true? Indeed.</p> <p>Most schemes attach hefty penalties and interest for missed or late repayments – much the same as credit cards. The debt quickly balloons, and can become unsustainable.</p> <p>The best approach to instil in your children is to always live within their means.</p> <ol start="2"> <li><strong>Avoid sexually transmitted debt</strong></li> </ol> <p>Joint finances, loans, credit cards, utilities, subscriptions, vehicles, businesses, property… all of these and more are shared liabilities. </p> <p>Even if a partner is the one who racks up the debts, your child is equally responsible for repaying them. This is what I call sexually transmitted debt.</p> <p>It could be inadvertent (such as having a partner who, despite their best intentions, is simply bad with money); hidden (like gambling addiction), deliberate (financial abuse), lose their job, have an accident, get seriously unwell.</p> <p>Either way, sexually transmitted debts can create long-term and even life-long problems, regardless of whether the relationship that created those debts survives: repayment struggles, credit constraints, bankruptcy, legal woes.</p> <p>When it comes to money, your children (and yourself) need to think with their head, not their heart.</p> <ol start="3"> <li><strong>Start investing </strong></li> </ol> <p>The number one thing financial advisers hear most is “I wish I started years ago”.</p> <p>Investments typically grow over time. The more time you allow, the bigger their value.</p> <p>Younger adults have big demands on their hip pocket. However, even starting with small investments allows compound growth to work its magic.</p> <p>Plus, given the housing affordability constraints facing younger generations, investments that can be sold or leveraged could better help them onto the housing ladder in future.</p> <p>Superannuation is another investment to pay attention to from a young age: managing investments, ensuring they are in a cost-effective fund, and avoiding mistakes – like consolidating funds without getting advice, which can inadvertently see them consolidate into a poorer performing fund or cancel attached insurances that had preferential terms.</p> <ol start="4"> <li><strong>Get a will</strong></li> </ol> <p>While young people may feel invincible, untimely deaths or disablement claims sadly can and do happen. And often unexpectedly: land transport accidents and accidental poisoning, together with suicide, make up <a href="https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/life-expectancy-deaths/deaths-in-australia/contents/leading-causes-of-death">the biggest causes of death for under 44s</a> in Australia.</p> <p>Not having a will and a nominated executor complicates matters for grieving family and can delay all-important access to finances. How would your child’s partner and kids (if they have them) survive if their super, insurances and other payouts are delayed through probate? </p> <p>Remember to point out that superannuation (and other structures like companies and trusts) are treated separately from a will, and so need beneficiaries nominated within them.</p> <p>Younger people are also less likely to have discussed their final wishes with loved ones – funeral arrangements, burial vs cremation, organ donation, inheritances etc. This is where a separate statement of wishes can be useful.</p> <ol start="5"> <li><strong>Get insured</strong></li> </ol> <p>Insurances – save perhaps vehicle and house/contents – are rarely on the minds of younger people. But they should be.</p> <p>That is because many insurances are cheaper and offer better coverage when people are younger and free of any health complications. That includes private health, life and permanent disability, and income protection cover. </p> <p>Other insurances, like asset protection, can also be more lucrative to lock-in early. Just think about how the Ts and Cs on insurances have changed (become more restrictive) since you were their age!</p> <p>So encourage your adult children to scrutinise their insurance coverage. (And keep them away from drugs and smoking to stay healthier for longer!)</p> <p><em><strong>Helen Baker is a licensed Australian financial adviser and author of the new book, On Your Own Two Feet: The Essential Guide to Financial Independence for all Women (Ventura Press, $32.99). Helen is among the 1% of financial planners who hold a master’s degree in the field. Proceeds from book sales are donated to charities supporting disadvantaged women and children. Find out more at <a href="http://www.onyourowntwofeet.com.au">www.onyourowntwofeet.com.au</a> </strong></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p>

Money & Banking

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1 in 6 older adults fall victim to impersonation scams

<p>More older adults are likely to fall victim to scams than are currently recognised according to new US research. The problems are global. </p> <div class="copy"> <p>A research team from Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, US, says older Americans who aren’t cognitively impeded, are also at risk.  </p> <p>In their study <a href="https://10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2023.35319" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">published</a> today in <em>JAMA Network Open</em>, the group reports on a behavioural experiment where they targeted 644 adults aged 64-104 in Rush’s Memory and Aging Project – a local scheme that draws on participants from metropolitan Chicago to participate in research – with a pitch mimicking a real-world impersonation scam. </p> <p>The study’s fictitious ‘US Retirement Protection Task Force’ pitched itself to participants as a government social security initiative.  </p> <p>This USRPTF told participants via either post, email or a telephone call there’d been irregular activity on their Medicare or social security file and the inquiry was a routine account security check. As part of this, the fake agency asked participants to call a telephone hotline or login to a provided website to provide their details.  </p> <p>Over two-thirds of the study failed to respond to any attempts to obtain information by the phoney scheme.  </p> <p>The remainder were evenly split by either responding to requests for contact, but expressing scepticism at the authenticity of the USRPTF, or by responding and engaging with the request for information.  </p> <p>Those who were engaged with the request for information, but expressed doubts, were also those with the highest cognitive performance, and lowest proportion of dementia. They were also the most financially literate participants, while those who provided their details had the lowest literacy. </p> <p>Those who provided details were also found to have the lowest scam awareness of all participants.  </p> <p>Among this group, 1 in 10 willingly provided personal information and 1 in 5 provided details of their social security number.  </p> <p>“If extrapolated to a population level, these numbers are astounding and suggest that a very large number of older adults are at risk of victimisation,” the authors say. </p> <p>They also note that, given the use of a fictitious US government organisation name, the number of people vulnerable to well-organised scams is likely much higher.  </p> <p>Last year, the US National Council on Aging reported 92,371 older Americans were defrauded of a total of US$1.7 billion. Most were victims of government department impersonation, sweepstakes and robocall scams. Often such scams will simply demand payment while ‘spoofing’ the phone number of a government agency to add the veil of legitimacy. </p> <p>It’s a similar story around the world. This year, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission found Australians lost a record $3.1 billion last year, mostly via phone scams. Australians over 65 years of age accounted for a quarter of losses and reports.  </p> <p>The UK’s Action Fraud initiative found Britons lost about ₤2.35 billion in the 2020/21 financial year, with those aged 50-69 most susceptible to falling victim.  </p> <div> <p align="center"><noscript data-spai="1">&amp;lt;img decoding="async" class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-198773" src="https://cdn.shortpixel.ai/spai/q_lossy+ret_img+to_auto/cosmosmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/09/Issue-100-embed.jpg" data-spai-egr="1" alt="Subscribe to our quarterly print magazine" width="600" height="154" title="1 in 6 older adults fall victim to impersonation scams 2"&amp;gt;</noscript></p> </div> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em><a href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/people/society/1-in-6-older-adults-fall-victim-to-impersonation-scams/">This article</a> was originally published on <a href="https://cosmosmagazine.com">Cosmos Magazine</a> and was written by <a href="null">Cosmos</a>. </em></p> </div>

Legal

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2023 Australian Book Industry Awards winners announced

<p>The winners of the 2023 Australian Book Industry Awards (ABIA) have been revealed, while a whole host of titles taking home their well-deserved accolades from an impressive shortlist of 70. </p> <p>Categories included Book of the Year for Social Impact, International Book, Literary Fiction, New Writer, General Non-Fiction, Biography, Children’s Picture Book, and more - to the delight of booklovers all across the nation. </p> <p>There was an ‘overall’ winner from the big night, too, with Nagi Maehashi’s <em>RecipeTin Eats: Dinner </em>taking home the Book of the Year award. </p> <p>Nagi took to social media to celebrate her win, in the wake of her self-proclaimed “worst acceptance speech of the year”, to thank everyone and express her enthusiastic gratitude for all of the support for her work. And, of course, to thank her four-legged best friend and ‘co-author’, Dozer the dog. </p> <p>She wasn’t the only one with a smile on her face on the big night, however, with her fellow given plenty of reason to rejoice right along with her. </p> <p>And so, in no particular order, here are all the winners from the 2023 ABIAs! </p> <p><strong>ABIA Book of the Year &amp; Illustrated Book of the Year:</strong> <em>RecipeTin Eats: Dinner</em>, Nagi Maehashi</p> <p>“150 dinner recipes. Fail-proof. Delicious. Addictive. The food you want to cook, eat and share, night after night.</p> <p>"Through her phenomenally popular online food site, RecipeTin Eats, Nagi Maehashi talks to millions of people a year who tell her about the food they love.</p> <p>"Now, in her first cookbook, Nagi brings us the ultimate curation of new and favourite RecipeTin Eats recipes - from comfort food (yes, cheese galore), to fast and easy food for weeknights, Mexican favourites, hearty dinner salads, Asian soups and noodles, and special treats for festive occasions.”</p> <p><strong>General Fiction Book of the Year: </strong><em>Dirt Town</em>, Hayley Scrivenor</p> <p>“On a sweltering Friday afternoon in Durton, best friends Ronnie and Esther leave school together. Esther never makes it home.</p> <p>“Ronnie's going to find her, she has a plan. Lewis will help. Their friend can't be gone, Ronnie won't believe it.</p> <p>“Detective Sergeant Sarah Michaels can believe it. She has seen what people are capable of. She knows more than anyone how, in a moment of weakness, a person can be driven to do something they never thought possible.</p> <p>“Lewis can believe it too. But he can't reveal what he saw that afternoon at the creek without exposing his own secret.</p> <p>“Five days later, Esther's buried body is discovered.”</p> <p><strong>Literary Fiction Book of the Year:</strong> <em>Horse</em>, Geraldine Brooks</p> <p>“A discarded painting in a roadside clean-up, forgotten bones in a research archive, and Lexington, the greatest racehorse in US history. From these strands of fact, Geraldine Brooks weaves a sweeping story of spirit, obsession and injustice across American history …</p> <p>“With the moral complexity of March and a multi-stranded narrative reminiscent of People of the Book, this enthralling novel is a gripping reckoning with the legacy of enslavement and racism in America. <em>Horse</em> is the latest masterpiece from a writer with a prodigious talent for bringing the past to life.”</p> <p><strong>General Non-fiction Book of the Year: </strong><em>Bulldozed</em>, Niki Savva</p> <p>“Between 2013 and 2022, Tony Abbott begat Malcolm Turnbull, who begat Scott Morrison. For nine long years, Australia was governed by a succession of Coalition governments rocked by instability and bloodletting, and consumed with prosecuting climate and culture wars while neglecting policy.</p> <p>“By the end, among his detractors — and there were plenty — Morrison was seen as the worst prime minister since Billy McMahon …</p> <p>“Niki Savva, Australia’s renowned political commentator, author, and columnist, was there for all of it … Now she lays out the final unravelling of the Coalition at the hands of a resurgent Labor and the so-called teal independents that culminated in the historic 2022 election. With her typical access to key players, and her riveting accounts of what went on behind the scenes, <em>Bulldozed</em> is the unique final volume of an unputdownable and impeccably sourced political trilogy.”</p> <p><strong>Biography Book of the Year: </strong><em>My Dream Time</em>, Ash Barty </p> <p>“<em>My Dream Time</em> is about finding the path to being the best I could be, not just as an athlete but as a person, and to consider the way those identities overlap and compete. We all have a professional and a personal self. How do you conquer nerves and anxiety? How do you deal with defeat, or pain? What drives you to succeed – and what happens when you do? The answers tell me so much, about bitter disappointments and also dreams realised – from injuries and obscurity and self-doubt to winning Wimbledon and ranking number 1 in the world.</p> <p>“My story is about the power and joy of doing that thing you love and seeing where it can take you, about the importance of purpose – and perspective – in our lives.”</p> <p><strong>Social impact Book of the Year: </strong><em>The Boy from Boomerang Crescent</em>, Eddie Betts</p> <p>“How does a self-described ‘skinny Aboriginal kid’ overcome a legacy of family tragedy to become an AFL legend? One thing’s for sure: it’s not easy. But then, there’s always been something special about Eddie Betts …</p> <p>“Sometimes funny, sometimes tragic and always honest – often laceratingly so – <em>The Boy from Boomerang Crescent</em> is the inspirational life story of a champion, in his own words. Whether he’s narrating one of his trademark gravity-defying goals from the pocket, the discrimination he’s faced as an Aboriginal person or the birth of his first child, Betts’s voice – intelligent, soulful, unpretentious – rings through on every page.</p> <p>“The very human story behind the plaudits is one that will surprise, move and inspire.”</p> <p><strong>Book of the Year for Older Children (ages 13+): </strong><em>Blood Traitor</em>, Lynette Noni</p> <p>“Kiva thought she knew what she wanted - revenge. But feelings change, people change … everything has changed.</p> <p>“After what happened at the palace, Kiva is desperate to know if her friends and family are safe, and whether those she wronged can ever forgive her. But with the kingdoms closer to the brink of war than they’ve ever been, and Kiva far away from the conflict, more is at stake than her own broken heart.</p> <p>“A fresh start will mean a perilous quest, forcing mortal enemies and uneasy allies together in a race against the clock to save not just Evalon, but all of Wenderall. With her loyalties now set, Kiva can no longer just survive - she must fight for what she believes in. For who she believes in. But with danger coming from every side, and the lives of everyone she loves at risk, does she have what it takes to stand, or will she fall?”</p> <p><strong>Book of the Year for Younger Children (ages 7–12): </strong><em>Runt</em>, Craig Silvey (illustrated by Sara Acton)</p> <p>“Annie Shearer lives in the country town of Upson Downs with her best friend, an adopted stray dog called Runt. The two share a very special bond.</p> <p>“After years evading capture, Runt is remarkably fast and agile, perfect for herding runaway sheep. But when a greedy local landowner puts her family's home at risk, Annie directs Runt's extraordinary talents towards a different pursuit - winning the Agility Course Grand Championship at the lucrative Krumpets Dog Show in London.</p> <p>“However, there is a curious catch: Runt will only obey Annie's commands if nobody else is watching.</p> <p>“With all eyes on them, Annie and Runt must beat the odds and the fastest dogs in the world to save her farm.</p> <p>“<em>Runt</em> is a heart-warming and hilarious tale of kindness, friendship, hurdles, hoops, tunnels, see-saws, being yourself and bringing out the best in others.”</p> <p><strong>Children’s Picture Book of the Year (ages 0–6): </strong><em>What to Say When You Don’t Know What to Say</em>, Davina Bell &amp; Hilary Jean Tapper</p> <p>“A warm and whimsical guide to negotiating life's little moments and big emotions with empathy, kindness and words from the heart.”</p> <p><strong>International Book of the Year: </strong><em>Lessons in Chemistry</em>, Bonnie Garmus</p> <p>“Chemist Elizabeth Zott is not your average woman. In fact, Elizabeth Zott would be the first to point out that there is no such thing.</p> <p>“But it's the early 1960s and her all-male team at Hastings Research Institute take a very unscientific view of equality. Forced to resign, she reluctantly signs on as the host of a cooking show, Supper at Six. But her revolutionary approach to cooking, fuelled by scientific and rational commentary, grabs the attention of a nation.</p> <p>“Soon, a legion of overlooked housewives find themselves daring to change the status quo. One molecule at a time.”</p> <p><strong>Small Publishers’ Adult Book of the Year: </strong><em>The Dreaming Path</em>, Paul Callaghan</p> <p>“The Dreaming Path has always been there, but in the modern-day world, it can be hard to find. There are so many demands on us – family, health, bills, a mortgage, a career – that it can be hard to remember what’s most important: you.</p> <p>“It’s time to reconnect with your story.</p> <p>“Through conversations, exercises, Dreamtime stories and key messages, Paul Callaghan and Uncle Paul Gordon will sit you around the fire and share knowledge that reveals the power of Aboriginal spirituality as a profound source of contentment and wellbeing for anyone willing to listen.</p> <p>"This ancient wisdom is just as relevant today as it ever was.”</p> <p><strong>Small Publishers’ Children’s Book of the Year:</strong> <em>Off to the Market</em>, Alice Oehr</p> <p>“Sunday is market day. We are looking for pumpkin, apples, eggs, and bread. What else will we find? Where did it come from? And what will we make with it?</p> <p>“Learn all about produce in this delightful child’s tour of a food market, full of fun facts, delicious new discoveries, and charming characters.</p> <p>“A loving ode to the people who bring food to our table and connection to our community, from acclaimed artist Alice Oehr.”</p> <p><strong>Audiobook of the Year: </strong><em>The Whitewash</em> (Siang Lu, Wavesound) </p> <p>“Siang Lu's searing debut is a black comedy about the whitewashing of the Asian film industry, told in the form of an oral documentary. It sounded like a good idea at the time - a Hollywood spy thriller, starring, for the first time in history, an Asian male lead. With an estimated $350 million production budget and up-and-coming Hong Kong actor JK Jr, who, let's be honest, is not the sharpest tool in the shed, but probably the hottest, Brood Empire was basically a sure thing. Until it wasn't …</p> <p>“<em>The Whitewash</em> is the definitive oral history of the whole sordid mess. Unofficial. Unasked for. Only intermittently fact-checked, and featuring a fool's gallery of actors, producers, directors, film historians and scummy click-bait journalists, to answer the question of how it all went so horribly, horribly wrong.”</p> <p><strong>The Matt Richell Award for New Writer of the Year: </strong><em>WAKE</em>, Shelley Burr</p> <p>“Evelyn simply vanished …Mina McCreery's life has been defined by the intense and ongoing public interest in her sister's case. Now a reclusive adult, Mina lives alone on her family's sunbaked, destocked sheep farm. The million-dollar reward her mother established to solve the disappearance has never been paid out.</p> <p>“Enter Lane Holland, a private investigator who dropped out of the police academy to earn a living cracking cold cases. Lane has his eye on the unclaimed money, but he also has darker motivations.</p> <p>“<em>WAKE</em> is a powerful, unsparing story of how trauma ripples outward when people's private tragedies become public property, and how it's never too late for the truth to set things right.”</p> <p><em>Images: Instagram</em></p>

Books

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Are bigger super funds better? Actually no, despite what the industry is doing

<p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/geoff-warren-3657">G<em>eoff Warren</em></a><em>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/australian-national-university-877">Australian National University</a></em></p> <p>Australia’s superannuation funds are getting bigger – and fewer. There were <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2021/aug/29/australian-superannuation-mergers-cut-number-of-funds-by-half-in-a-decade">close to 400</a> funds in 2010. With mergers, it’s now <a href="https://www.investordaily.com.au/superannuation/53144-are-mega-funds-poised-to-dominate-the-super-industry">closer to 120</a>. By 2025, according to industry executives surveyed last year, there will be <a href="https://www.investordaily.com.au/superannuation/50971-rise-of-mega-funds-set-to-intensify-erasing-100-funds-by-2025">fewer than 50</a>.</p> <p>The portfolios of the two biggest super funds, AustralianSuper and Australian Retirement Trust, are bigger than even the federal government’s Future Fund Management Agency, which oversees the A$194 billion <a href="https://yearinreviewfy22.futurefund.gov.au/performance-results.html">Future Fund</a> and several other funds worth a total $242 billion.</p> <hr /> <p><iframe id="0wOBb" class="tc-infographic-datawrapper" style="border: none;" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/0wOBb/5/" width="100%" height="400px" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>Underpinning this consolidation is the idea that larger scale is beneficial for superannuation fund members. But that’s not necessarily true. A bigger fund is no guarantee of better returns.</p> <p>I’ve examined the issue of fund scale with Scott Lawrence, an investment manager with 35 year’s industry experience. Together we’ve written <a href="https://theconexusinstitute.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2023/03/Does-Size-Benefit-Super-Fund-Members-24-March-2023.pdf">a report</a> for the Conexus Institute, an independent research centre focused on superannuation issues.</p> <p>Our conclusion: funds, large and small alike, succeed or fail depending on how well they formulate and execute their strategies.</p> <h2>Managing assets in-house</h2> <p>The first potential benefit of bigger size is that funds can manage assets using their own dedicated investment professionals, rather than outsourcing everything to external investment managers to invest on their behalf.</p> <p>For example, UniSuper (the higher education industry fund) manages <a href="https://www.unisuper.com.au/investments/how-we-invest/investment-managers">70% of assets in-house</a>. AustralianSuper, with more than double UniSuper’s assets, manages <a href="https://www.australiansuper.com/-/media/australian-super/files/about-us/annual-reports/2022-annual-report.pdf">53% of assets</a> in-house.</p> <p>This can be cheaper than paying fees as a percentage of assets to these external providers. It offers more control as the super fund can decide the assets in which they invest, rather than leaving the decision to someone else.</p> <p>But fund members will only benefit if the internal team makes investment decisions that are as good as the service they are replacing. For this reason, there is no reliable correlation between performance and degree of in-house management.</p> <h2>Investing in big-ticket items</h2> <p>The second potential benefit is it becomes more possible to become successful direct investors in “big ticket” assets such as infrastructure and property, instead of just focusing on shares and other assets traded on stock exchanges.</p> <p>For example, AustralianSuper owns <a href="https://www.australiansuper.com/-/media/australian-super/files/about-us/media-releases/australiansuper-increases-investment-in-westconnex.pdf">20.5% of WestConnex</a>, Australia’s biggest infracture project, having contributed $4.2 billion to the consortium that is building the mostly underground toll-road system linking western Sydney motorways.</p> <p>Opportunities like this are easier to access by large funds, and can help to diversify their portfolios.</p> <p>But such direct investment is costlier than buying shares and bonds. This limits the potential for fee reductions.</p> <p>For members to benefit, these investments must deliver attractive returns. This requires a fund developing capability in what are specialised markets. Size alone won’t deliver on its own.</p> <h2>Economies of scale and scope</h2> <p>The third potential benefit is that size brings economies of scale and scope.</p> <p>Scale can reduce fees, by spreading the fund’s fixed costs over a larger member base.</p> <p>Our review of the research literature confirms there are solid reasons to expect administration costs to reduce with size, as well as in-house management reducing investment costs.</p> <hr /> <p><iframe id="26cxr" class="tc-infographic-datawrapper" style="border: none;" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/26cxr/3/" width="100%" height="400px" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>Economies of scope involve an organisation being able to improve or increase services, say by investing in better systems and more staff.</p> <p>But investing in better systems also brings potential pitfalls. Big visionary projects tend to run over time and over budget, and sometimes fail.</p> <p>An example is the disastrous attempts of five industry funds (AustralianSuper, Cbus Super, HESTA, Hostplus and MTAA Super) to develop a shared administration platform, called Superpartners. It was meant to cost $70 million, but development costs blew out to $250 million before <a href="https://www.investmentmagazine.com.au/2016/12/link-group-completes-superpartners-integration/">they gave up</a>.</p> <h2>Size brings its own challenges</h2> <p>Large funds also face some unique challenges. Because they have more money to invest, they have more work to do in finding sufficient attractive assets to buy.</p> <p>The risk is they need to accept some assets offering low returns to do so. They can also outgrow some market segments, such as owning shares in smaller companies.</p> <p>Large organisations are typically more complex, more bureaucratic and less flexible. They can find it difficult to coordinate staff to work towards a common purpose. These elements may create dysfunction if not managed.</p> <p>This may explain why, despite the potential increased scope of their offerings, surveys suggest large funds tend to deliver <a href="https://www.investmentmagazine.com.au/2022/08/members-willing-to-pay-for-better-service-post-retirement/">less personalised service</a>.</p> <p>So the idea “bigger is better” is not necessarily true. Large size is not an automatic win. Whether the advantages outweigh the disadvantages and challenges ultimately depends on fund trustees and management doing their jobs well so that members benefit.<!-- 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/203417/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/geoff-warren-3657">Geoff Warren</a>, Associate Professor, College of Business and Economics, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/australian-national-university-877">Australian National 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/are-bigger-super-funds-better-actually-no-despite-what-the-industry-is-doing-203417">original article</a>.</em></p>

Retirement Income

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3 sales tactics rife in the real estate industry, and why they work

<p>Buying a home is likely to be the biggest financial transaction you will ever make, and you’re at a distinct disadvantage. You’re an amateur up against professionals – real estate agents – versed in psychological tricks to get you excited about owning a property and paying more than you planned.</p> <p>These tricks start with comparatively simple things such as making rooms look bigger in adverts by using a wide-angle photography. They extend all the way to the point of sale. </p> <p>None of these tactics necessarily involve outright lying – there are laws against false and misleading conduct. But they are manipulative, exploiting the fact that humans are emotional beings with many “cognitive biases” – a perception of reality that is more emotional ratther than rational.</p> <p>The three most common tactics come down to manipulating your confidence in your own decisions. Close to <a href="https://www.worldscientific.com/doi/abs/10.1142/S0217590816500156">80 studies</a> suggest overconfidence is one of the most significant cognitive biases influencing behaviour in the real estate market.</p> <h2>1. Underquote, entice the bargain hunters</h2> <p>You see a property in your price range that’s everything you want. You call the agent, inspect the property, then prepare for the auction. It sells for $200,000 more. </p> <p>Underquoting involves deliberately advertising a property significantly lower than its likely sales price. While the prevalence of the practice is disputed, with industry representatives saying most agents do the right thing, <a href="https://www.theage.com.au/property/news/new-3-8-million-crackdown-on-underquoting-by-victorian-real-estate-agents-20220914-p5bhzq.html">anecdotal evidence</a>points to underquoting being very common. </p> <p>Underquoting is effective because it attracts more interested buyers and increases the number and intensity of bidding. It exploits two of the most ubiquitous cognitive biases – herd behaviour and irrational exuberance. </p> <p>More interest doesn’t just increase competition. A real estate agent will communicate that interest to us, confirming our desire in the property is justified. </p> <p>This tendency to “follow the herd” and imitate others, as US economist Robert Shiller noted in an influential <a href="https://www.jstor.org/stable/2117915">1995 paper</a>, is built on the assumption others have information that justifies their actions. </p> <p>This helps explain pretty much every stockmarket bubble since <a href="https://theconversation.com/tulip-mania-the-classic-story-of-a-dutch-financial-bubble-is-mostly-wrong-91413">tulipmania in the 17th century</a>, including the <a href="https://lsecentralbanking.medium.com/how-did-herd-behaviour-contribute-to-the-global-financial-crisis-3b0024a4755e">Global Financial Crisis of 2007-8</a> and <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1544612318303647">speculation on cryptocurrency</a>. We are emotionally swayed by the decisions of others, assuming their decisions are rational, even when they are not. This is fertile ground for our own decisions to be manipulated.</p> <h2>2. Hide reality, inflate expectations</h2> <p>Real estate agents will generally favour auctions to extract the <a href="https://www.domain.com.au/news/selling-at-auction-in-melbourne-earns-vendors-tens-of-thousands-in-extra-cash-1072565/">maximum sales price</a>, for the reasons outlined above and the prospect of <a href="https://www.researchgate.net/publication/220505543_Understanding_auction_fever_A_framework_for_emotional_bidding">auction fever</a> – when carefully decided limits are forgotten in the thrill of the moment. </p> <p>But that’s not always the case. In a soft market with few buyers, agents may instead opt for a private sale, sometimes called a “<a href="https://attwoodmarshall.com.au/the-silent-auction/">silent auction</a>”. The goal here is to cause you to overestimate the degree of competition and thus make a bigger offer.</p> <p>An agent might assist this perception by instead supplying you with information from previous public auctions of similar properties more favourable to their preferred narrative.</p> <p>The value of hiding information also explains why you may come across so many sold listings with <a href="https://www.smh.com.au/property/news/should-you-be-able-to-know-how-much-your-neighbours-sold-their-house-for-20220223-p59z2t.html">labels</a> such as “price not disclosed” or “price withheld.” The reason for this may well be that the property sold for less than hoped.</p> <p>Hiding information the agent doesn’t want you to think about depends principally on exploiting our cognitive bias towards <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/psychology/overconfidence">overconfidence</a> – assuming we are smarter, more knowledgeable or better skilled than we actually are.</p> <p>In lieu of that negative information, you are more likely to focus on the available information – particularly if it suits what you want to believe.</p> <h2>3. Talk up nominal gains</h2> <p>You may have heard the <a href="https://www.smh.com.au/property/news/do-house-prices-really-double-every-10-years-20211203-p59eif.html">old saying</a> that property values double every 10 years. Stressing what a property is likely to be worth in a decade <a href="https://www.realestate.com.au/news/suburbs-you-shouldve-bought-a-home-in-10-years-ago-and-how-much-your-area-has-grown/">based on what it was worth a decade ago</a> can be a powerful motivator to bid more.</p> <p>As Robert Shiller noted in his 2013 book <a href="https://press.princeton.edu/books/paperback/9780691156323/the-subprime-solution">The Subprime Solution</a> (about the property-buying mania that led to the Global Financial Crisis), homes are such significant investments that we tend to recall their prices from the distant past (unlike, say, like a loaf of bread or bottle of milk).</p> <p>This tendency results in an unconscious focus on nominal values rather than <a href="https://www.fool.com/investing/general/2012/04/12/the-illusion-of-housing-as-a-great-investment.aspx">real (inflation-adjusted) values</a>. This cognitive bias is known as the <a href="https://www.emerald.com/insight/content/doi/10.1108/14635789810212931/full/html">money illusion</a>, a mental miscalculation that may increase your willingness to pay more for the property. </p> <h2>In conclusion…</h2> <p>There’s a case for laws to <a href="https://www.realestate.com.au/news/push-to-end-home-sale-price-confusion-in-victorian-property-industry-review/">increase transparency</a> and the accuracy of information available in the real estate market. </p> <p>But in the meantime, if you’re buying a home, it’s wise to acknowledge your limitations. Do your homework, seek out independent advice and even consider hiring a professional advocate with the knowledge and experience to balance emotional and rational thoughts.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article originally appeared on <a href="https://theconversation.com/3-sales-tactics-rife-in-the-real-estate-industry-and-why-they-work-202960" target="_blank" rel="noopener">The Conversation</a>. </em></p>

Real Estate

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Teenagers who have positive relationships with their parents tend to have better outcomes as adults

<p><span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">Parenting teenagers can be challenging, but a new study shows that those efforts ultimately pay off.</span></p> <div class="copy"> <p>When teenagers report higher levels of “parental warmth”,” communication” and time spent together, they are more likely to experience significantly higher general health, optimism and romantic relationships in early adulthood. </p> <p>That’s according to a paper by US paediatricians and social workers <a href="https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamanetworkopen/fullarticle/2802677" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">published</a> in <em>JAMA Network.</em></p> <p>“The overall pattern of these results suggests strong relationships between adolescents and their mothers and fathers leads to better health and well-being in young adulthood,” <a href="https://www.chop.edu/news/chop-researchers-find-strong-adolescent-parent-relationships-lead-better-long-term-health" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">said the paper’s lead author</a>, Dr Carol Ford from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.</p> <p>“Efforts to strengthen parent-adolescent relationships may have important long-term health benefits.”</p> <p>Using data from the US National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health, the study followed a cohort of more than 15,000 adolescents aged 12-17 years in 1994-95 through to young adulthood (24-32 years) in 2008-09.</p> <p>The researchers found positive teen-parent relationships were also associated with lower levels of stress, depressive symptoms, nicotine dependence and substance abuse in young adults.</p> <p>The data was gathered by asking secondary-school-aged participants a series of detailed questions about their relationships with each parent, including topics such as warmth, communication, time together, academic expectations, discipline, relationship satisfaction. </p> <p>The aim of the study was to better understand the significance of parent-adolescent relationships for adult health. The study looked at the characteristics of mother-teenager and father-teenager relationships and tried to define what a “warm” relationship is, and what “communication” means.</p> <p>The researchers followed up with the participants once they reached adulthood, to ask about health, mental health, sexual behaviour, substance use and injury.</p> <p>“Adolescents’ perception of parental warmth had the most consistent favourable associations with adult outcomes across domains,” the researchers found.<span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;"> </span></p> <p><img id="cosmos-post-tracker" style="opacity: 0; height: 1px!important; width: 1px!important; border: 0!important; position: absolute!important; z-index: -1!important;" src="https://syndication.cosmosmagazine.com/?id=240457&amp;title=Teenagers+who+have+positive+relationships+with+their+parents+tend+to+have+better+outcomes+as+adults" width="1" height="1" data-spai-target="src" data-spai-orig="" data-spai-exclude="nocdn" /> <!-- End of tracking content syndication --></div> <div id="contributors"> <p><em>This article was originally published on <a href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/health/teenagers-positive-relationships-with-parents-benefits/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">cosmosmagazine.com</a> and was written by Petra Stock. </em></p> <p><em><br />Images: Getty</em></p> </div>

Relationships

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Molly Meldrum at 80: how the ‘artfully incoherent’ presenter changed Australian music – and Australian music journalism

<p>Ian Alexander “Molly” Meldrum is 80 on January 29 2023.</p> <p>The Australian music industry would not be where it is today without his work as a talent scout, DJ, record producer, journalist, broadcaster and professional fan.</p> <p>His legacy has been acknowledged by the ARIAs, APRA, the Logies, an Order of Australia and even a <a href="https://theconversation.com/how-will-molly-help-us-remember-australian-culture-54117">mini-series</a>.</p> <p>Just a couple of weeks ago, Meldrum made headlines again for an appearance at Elton John’s farewell concert in Melbourne when he <a href="https://themusic.com.au/news/molly-meldrum-bares-his-bum-at-elton-john-concert/oL24srW0t7Y/14-01-23">“mooned” the crowd</a> in a playful display of rock and roll rebellion. He later <a href="https://www.nme.com/en_au/news/music/molly-meldrum-apologises-for-mooning-audiences-at-elton-johns-melbourne-concert-3381156">apologised</a> to the audience and old friend Elton, keen to make sure no one else was blamed.</p> <p>It was an irreverence typical of Meldrum’s long career. But his legacy is not just in the musical acts he supported. It is also in the taste makers who followed in his footsteps.</p> <h2>‘Artfully incoherent’</h2> <p>A journalist at pioneering music magazine Go-Set, a presenter and record producer, Meldrum became a household name with the ABC TV music show Countdown (1974-87). Countdown was a weekly touchstone for the industry and fans, promoting local acts alongside the best in the world.</p> <p>Meldrum’s approach to interviewing and commentary is legendary. ABC historian Ken Inglis called his interviewing style “artfully incoherent”.</p> <p>Importantly, his charm put artists and fans at ease.</p> <p>Meldrum is not a slick player, but a fan. This fandom is felt so deeply that, at times, he became overwhelmed.</p> <p>One of Meldrum’s most famous interviews was in 1977 when the then Prince Of Wales appeared on Countdown to launch a charity record and event. The presenter became increasingly flustered.</p> <p>Even now, watching back, it’s hard not to side with Meldrum rather than his famous guest. Pomp, ceremony and hierarchy really didn’t make sense in this rock and pop oasis.</p> <p>In another interview, Meldrum spoke to David Bowie on a tennis court. Both men casually talked and smoked (it was the ‘70s!), talking seriously about the work but not much else.</p> <p>As Meldrum handed Bowie a tennis racket to demonstrate how the iconic track, <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vkLE1Gno724">Fame</a> (with John Lennon) was born, the Starman was given space to be hilariously human.</p> <p>When meeting a sedate Stevie Nicks, Meldrum met her on her level.</p> <p>Nicks told Meldrum she was only happy “sometimes”, and rather than probing, he just listened. When Meldrum asked about the dog Nicks had in her lap, she opened up, "I got her way before I had any money, I didn’t have near enough money to buy her […] She’s one of the things I’ve had to give up for Fleetwood Mac, because you’re not home."</p> <p>Meldrum approached this, and all his guests, with humanity. This is how his insights into the reality of rock royalty are effortlessly uncovered.</p> <h2>New taste makers</h2> <p>A country boy who came to the city, Meldrum studied music and the growing local industry much more attentively than his law degree. He passionately supported (and continues to support) Australian popular music – and Australian music fans.</p> <p>He speaks a love language for music that musicians and fans share, and a language which has continued in other presenters.</p> <p>Following in Meldrum’s footsteps we have seen distinct critical voices like Myf Warhurst, Julia Zemiro and Zan Rowe.</p> <p>Each of these women have approached the music industry with charm like Meldrum, but also their own perspectives: Zemiro with a love of international influence; Warhurst with pop as a language to connect us to the everyday; Rowe with a way to connect audiences and musicians through conversations about their own processes and passions.</p> <p>Our best music critics, and musicians, have embraced an unapologetic energy Meldrum made acceptable.</p> <p>Meldrum is also a pioneer in the LGBTQ+ community, weathering the storms of prejudice during his early career. Today, members of the media and musical community have greater protection from the prejudice common when his career began.</p> <h2>The music, of course, the music</h2> <p>The Australian music industry would not be what it is had Molly Meldrum gone on to be a lawyer.</p> <p>Through the pages of Go-Set and on Countdown he worked to promote new talent, believing in and developing acts like AC/DC, Split Enz, Paul Kelly, Do Re Mi, Australian Crawl and Kylie Minogue before the rest of the industry knew what to do with them.</p> <p>He did the same for international artists. ABBA, Elton John, KISS, Madonna and many other now mega-names were first presented to Australian audiences via Meldrum’s wonderful ear.</p> <p>Today, Australian music encompasses pop, dance, electro and hip hop, and artists from all walks of life. Meldrum’s willingness to listen has contributed to this, and he encouraged others to do the same.</p> <p>Meldrum remains revered not just for nostalgia but as an example of what putting energy into the local scene can achieve.</p> <p>Most importantly, Meldrum continues to be a music fan. He loves the mainstream, the place where the majority of the audience also resides. He has never bought into the idea of a “guilty” pleasure – if it works, it works, no music snobbery here.</p> <p>His catch-cry – “do yourself a favour” – really does sum up the importance of music. It is not a luxury, but something to really keep us going.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article originally appeared on <a href="https://theconversation.com/molly-meldrum-at-80-how-the-artfully-incoherent-presenter-changed-australian-music-and-australian-music-journalism-196793" target="_blank" rel="noopener">The Conversation</a>. </em></p>

Music

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5 basic principles to follow when giving adult children money

<p>The link between money and relationships is undeniable. Money issues can break couples apart, destroy relationships between siblings and cause tension between parents and adult children.</p> <p>Parents have an important role in ensuring their children are not only financially literate but are able to make sound financial decisions and act responsibly with their money.</p> <p>There is big difference between financial literacy and financial capability. This means parents have a continuing role to guide their children past childhood so they not only understand money concepts but know how to put them into practice as they face major decisions and events in their adult life.</p> <p>However, different attitudes towards money and expectations about parental responsibilities can cause serious issues for both parents and adult children.</p> <p>To what extent should parents interfere with or criticise their children's financial decisions and behaviour? Is it reasonable for adult children to expect financial assistance from their parents at times of need? At what point should parents expect their children to be self-sufficient?</p> <p>Every parent wants to see their children succeed but there are different philosophies about how best to help children get ahead in life. Some parents feel the best way to help their children is to give them a hand through gifts of money or interest-free loans. Others think it is only by children pulling themselves up by their own bootstraps that they will learn how to be successful. These deep philosophical differences can be problematic when one parent has a different view from the other and when children have expectations of parents which are not aligned with their parents' philosophy.</p> <p>Parents give money to their children because it makes them feel as though they are being better parents. It is good to give to others, especially your own family, but there are dangers involved. Giving too much or too often can lead to financial dependency, lack of responsibility, repeated poor financial behaviour, enablement of problem behaviours such as addictions or over-spending, delayed retirement or increased financial risk for parents, and resentment from siblings if one child is seen to be receiving more assistance than the others.</p> <p>There are some basic principles which will help decide how and when to support adult children:</p> <p><strong>Decide how much you can afford to give</strong></p> <p>Every financial decision has long-term consequences. The more you give to your children, the less you will have later on to pay off your mortgage or save for retirement. Make sure you are financially secure before helping others, or financial strife will simply transfer from them to you.</p> <p><strong>Set clear expectations</strong></p> <p>Have conversations with your children about what you are prepared to help them with and to what extent. If you are providing ongoing support, set a time limit for how long this will continue. Expect your children to make a contribution rather than giving them all of what they need.</p> <p><strong>Act like a banker</strong></p> <p>If your adult children went to the bank to borrow money they would need to fully disclose their assets, debts, income and expenses so the bank could decide whether to lend or not. You need to do the same. Make sure you understand why your children are in the situation they are in and what behaviours they need to change to avoid being in the same situation again. If you expect money to be repaid, you need to know how likely it is that this will happen.</p> <p><strong>Get legal advice for large sums</strong></p> <p>It may be necessary to have written loan agreements for large sums to avoid disputes later. If your adult child has a partner, you will need to consider what might happen to a loan or gift to your child in the event that the relationship ends as it may become relationship property.</p> <p><strong>Consider your other children</strong></p> <p>Be upfront with your other children about what help you are giving and why. Sibling rivalry is natural, and children can feel deeply hurt by being treated unequally unless they understand the reasons. Equality can be achieved in the long run by making adjustments to how your estate is divided, taking into account prior assistance.</p> <p>It is good to help your adult children but in many cases, teaching them how to make better financial choices is more beneficial than handing out money.</p> <p>Do you agree with this advice?</p> <p><em>Written by Liz Koh. Republished with permission of <a rel="noopener" href="http://www.stuff.co.nz/" target="_blank"><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Stuff.co.nz</span></strong></a>.</em></p>

Retirement Income

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Puttin’ on the Ritz and improving well-being with older adults through virtual music theatre

<p>Digital programming and virtual interactions, initially considered to be stop-gap measures during the first few waves of the pandemic, may now be an important part of supporting many people’s health and well-being — including the well-being of older adults.</p> <p>During the COVID-19 pandemic, group musical activities moved online, prompting a wave of <a href="https://ericwhitacre.com/the-virtual-choir">virtual choir</a> experiments and <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5rzZ2F18MwI">virtual orchestra</a> offerings.</p> <p>These and other online communities weren’t limited to students. A <a href="https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/pub/45-28-0001/2021001/article/00027-eng.htm">Statistics Canada survey</a> found that more than half of Canadians between the ages of 64 and 74 increased their participation in online activities during the pandemic by connecting with family and friends through video conferencing, or accessing entertainment online.</p> <p>Virtual opportunities in the <a href="https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0252956">performing arts are ripe with potential</a> for older adults to foster skills and creativity, and to improve well-being.</p> <h2>Social connection</h2> <figure><figcaption> </figcaption>Going digital serves many purposes, the most important of which may be social connection.  Since <a href="https://doi.org/10.1080/23748834.2020.1788770">connecting with others</a> remains important for older adults, this can be achieved through, or in addition to, virtual leisure or entertainment opportunities.</figure> <p>Our research has revealed that <a href="https://storage.googleapis.com/wzukusers/user-20563976/documents/598184972c66407e9334c5df1b37bb91/Renihan%2C%20Brook%2C%20Draisey-Collishaw.pdf">virtual music theatre — music theatre online — allows for a more accessible and a less exclusive way to engage with this art form</a> with many benefits for participants.</p> <h2>Online performing arts</h2> <p>The performing arts allow performers and audiences to feel, be creative in community, express themselves and communicate or play through song, movement or storytelling.</p> <p>Benefits associated with participation in the arts include <a href="https://apps.who.int/iris/handle/10665/329834">improved mood and well-being</a> and sense of <a href="https://www.pbs.org/parents/thrive/turn-to-the-arts-to-boost-self-esteem">belonging</a>.</p> <p>Research has also documented associations between seniors’ participation in the arts and improved <a href="https://doi.org/10.1159/000499402">mobility</a> and <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.archger.2018.02.012">vocal health</a>.</p> <p>Before the pandemic erupted, we had started leading a program, <a href="http://www.riseshinesing.ca/">Rise, Shine, Sing!</a>, that created opportunities for local citizens typically excluded from the creation of music theatre due to age, ability and access. The program was mostly attended by older adults, some with Parkinson’s Disease or other chronic conditions.</p> <figure><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/59MTQnoi2hU?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" width="440" height="260" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe><figcaption><span class="caption">A trailer for the ‘Rise, Shine, Sing!’ program.</span></figcaption></figure> <p>We held three weekly face-to-face sessions from the end of February 2020, until mid-March, and then moved the program online (via Zoom) for 12 sessions from April until June 2020. The program continues to be offered, with many participants indicating a preference to continue virtually.</p> <p>Somewhat to our surprise, when the program moved online, the fact that participants could only hear the facilitator and themselves singing was not a deterrent to participating. Participants enjoyed singing, dancing and creating characters using costumes and props based on cues and feedback from facilitators.</p> <h2>Paradigm shift for music theatre</h2> <p>Virtual music theatre presents a serious paradigm shift for the genre. Most of the time when people think of music theatre, they think of live bodies moving in perfect synchrony <a href="https://www.americantheatre.org/2022/02/04/what-can-be-said-with-and-about-broadway-dance/">to choreographed movement</a>, and voices singing in perfect harmony while performers are physically present together.</p> <p>Researchers have examined how group singing and movement fosters togetherness, <a href="https://doi.org/10.1057/s41599-020-00549-0">community</a> and <a href="https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2014.01096">social bonding</a>.</p> <p>Music theatre has made strides to become more inclusive over the course of the 21st century. <a href="https://www.deafwest.org/">Los-Angeles based Deaf West Theatre</a>, for example, creates works of music theatre that can be experienced and performed by members of the Deaf and hearing communities.</p> <figure><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/k08lV8GO43w?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" width="440" height="260" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe><figcaption><span class="caption">ASL version of ‘We Don’t Talk About Bruno,’ from Disney’s ‘Encanto’ with Deaf West.</span></figcaption></figure> <p>A multitude of new works, stagings and casting practices are highlighting and supporting the experiences of marginalized groups, by <a href="https://www.blackoperaalliance.org/">diversifying</a> and <a href="https://doi.org/10.3390/arts9020069">queering</a> the field, for example.</p> <p>Such works offer resistance and new stories to an industry that has traditionally been ableist, white and ageist.</p> <p>But despite a healthy <a href="https://global.oup.com/academic/product/beyond-broadway-9780190639525?cc=ca&amp;lang=en&amp;">community music theatre scene</a> in North America, most opportunities still leave out many people due to issues related to social anxiety, experience, mobility, family life and/or finances.</p> <h2>Music theatre meets universal design</h2> <p>We drew on the intersection of <a href="https://muse.jhu.edu/article/629960/pdf">music theatre performance</a> and <a href="https://www.cast.org/impact/universal-design-for-learning-udl">universal design for learning</a> to develop a model where success could look different from person to person.</p> <p>In terms of the movement, participants could synchronize with the facilitator and/or other members of the group. They were equally welcome and encouraged to customize or adapt their movements to suit their own needs and interests.</p> <p>We embraced dancing from both a seated and standing position, to explore different levels and to accommodate different mobility capabilities. Participants controlled how much they shared by deciding how visible they wanted to be on camera.</p> <h2>Classics and newer numbers</h2> <p>We drew on musical classics or standards from <a href="https://www.britannica.com/topic/Singin-in-the-Rain-film-1952"><em>Singin’ in the Rain</em></a>, the <em>Sound of Music</em>, <a href="https://www.thestar.com/entertainment/stage/2022/08/23/joseph-and-the-amazing-technicolor-dreamcoat-coming-to-toronto-as-a-test-run-for-possible-broadway-revival.html"><em>Joseph and The Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat</em></a> — as well as newer numbers from <em>Wicked</em> and other popular songs.</p> <figure class="align-left zoomable"><figcaption></figcaption></figure> <p>We also <a href="http://www.riseshinesing.ca/glow.html">co-created our own songs</a> by combining our shared memories or inspirations through image, lyrics and movements to explore themes of joy and resilience in difficult times.</p> <p>While the program was led virtually, before sessions, leaders dropped off or mailed prop boxes to all participants. These were filled with costumes including small scarves and ribbons that could be used for choreography.</p> <h2>Promise of virtual musical theatre</h2> <p>Virtual music theatre has shown incredible promise, even in the short time we have been exploring it. Digital connections reframe being together at the same time and in the same space. This adds new unexpected dimensions to <a href="https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1749-6632.2012.06530.x">making music in a group</a>.</p> <p>First, goals and expectations of uniformity are replaced with goals of individual empowerment and creative exploration.</p> <p>Second, participants remain committed to the community and group endeavour, but are also free to tailor and adapt the ways they engage with the material and with one another. If group members invite friends or family in other cities to participate virtually, as some in our group did, the virtual community also expands in meaningful ways.</p> <p>Finally, participants can also adjust their personal comfort by sharing as much or little of themselves with the group without feeling like they are letting the group down.</p> <h2>Our hybrid future</h2> <p>The pandemic catalyzed the need for virtual interaction. While we know that <a href="https://doi.org/10.1093/occmed/kqab041">Zoom fatigue</a> is pervasive, virtual opportunities for music theatre participation and creation offer a new paradigm of artistic experience.</p> <p>These opportunities also offer striking promise for bringing performers some of the <a href="https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2019.00778">same benefits</a> as in-person music theatre experiences.</p> <p>In some cases, they also facilitate new access to music in community, and allow participants to engage with the art form and one another in ways that support personal agency and independence, while also maintaining social connection and interactivity. <a href="https://www.lyrics.com/lyric/6358131/George+Gershwin/I+Got+Rhythm">Who could ask for anything more</a>?<!-- 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/188690/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/julia-brook-1064153">Julia Brook</a>, Director and Associate Professor, DAN School of Drama and Music, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/queens-university-ontario-1154">Queen's University, Ontario</a></em> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/colleen-renihan-1044307">Colleen Renihan</a>, Associate Professor and Queen's National Scholar in Music Theatre and Opera, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/queens-university-ontario-1154">Queen's University, Ontario</a></em></p> <p>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/puttin-on-the-ritz-and-improving-well-being-with-older-adults-through-virtual-music-theatre-188690">original article</a>.</p>

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Short shift: Fashion week research on how the ’60s and ’70s rocked Australia’s clothing industry

<div class="copy"> <p>It was the dress that shocked a nation and signalled an industrial revolution.</p> <p>When sixties model Jean Shrimpton attended the 1965 Melbourne Cup dressed in a simple white shift hemmed well above the knee – with no gloves or stockings – the outfit immediately sparked scandal.</p> <p>The moment encapsulates a series of cultural, social, economic and technological shifts underway in Australia which led to the unravelling of the local clothing manufacturing industry.</p> <p>It was this iconic photo, depicting nonchalant Shrimpton on the lawns of Flemington Racecourse, which inspired Pauline Hastings PhD research at Monash University into the history of Australia’s textiles and clothing industry from the 1960s on.</p> <p>Hastings is <a href="https://mfw.melbourne.vic.gov.au/event/miniskirts-the-unravelling-rag-trade/" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">presenting her research</a> as part of Melbourne Fashion Week.</p> <p>A lesser-known detail about ‘that dress’: Shrimpton was sponsored to attend Derby Day by industrial chemical and fossil fuel company Du Pont, to promote the company’s new synthetic fabric, Orlon. </p> <p>Cheap, mostly imported synthetic fabrics (made from fossil fuels) were one of several factors contributing to a major shift in Australian clothing manufacturing and consumption, Hastings says.</p> <p>Hastings says, there is a clear thread linking the rise of synthetic fabrics like Orlon, Dacron, Rayon (… anything ending with an ‘on’), which had a throwaway quality to them, and today’s <a href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/earth/sustainability/fast-fashion-part-one/" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">fast fashion addiction</a>. Australia is the second largest consumer of textiles globally, buying on average <a href="https://www.monash.edu/msdi/news-and-events/news/articles/2022/urgent-call-to-reduce-australias-sizeable-fashion-footprint-and-its-impact-on-planetary-and-human-health" target="_blank" rel="noopener">56 new items of clothing </a>per person, per year.</p> <p>Post war immigration and the rise of the ‘baby boomers’ led to a greater emphasis on youth culture and individualism. </p> <p>This, together with the rise of advertising and mass marketing helped drive a cultural shift away from the ‘make do and mend’ era where fabrics and clothing were often unpicked and re-sewn into new garments. </p> <p>Hastings says the removal and reduction of tariff protections was another contributing factor to the demise of local manufacturing.</p> <p>Before the post-war era, “everyday clothes weren’t imported. They were manufactured here … made for local consumption,” she says.</p> <p>“Imports on mass were kept out by tariff protection. So, very high tariffs on anything important [which] meant that if they did come in, imports were sort of priced considerably higher in the marketplace than our local product. And our local product was not overly cheap from what I can gather, because it was pretty,  labor intensive and Australian wages at the time were quite high.”</p> <p>Interwoven, these different factors – the commodification of youth culture, the reduction in tariff protections by the Whitlam government, and the rise of new synthetic fabrics – all contributed to the demise of Australia’s local clothing manufacturing industry.</p> <p>Today, 97% of Australia’s clothing is imported.</p> <p>By sharing her research, Hastings says, she hopes we can learn from history.</p> <p>“It’s how culturally we can shift. Because, we did a major shift from the post war era of what I call ‘thrift and making do.’ We did a major shift then to a sort of a ‘purchase everything we can possibly see throwaway society’ when it comes to fashion, in a couple of decades.” </p> <p>She says, history shows, if we really wanted to, we could learn again, to value things, recycle, upcycle and cultivate a culture of sustainability.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em><!-- Start of tracking content syndication. Please do not remove this section as it allows us to keep track of republished articles --> <img id="cosmos-post-tracker" style="opacity: 0; height: 1px!important; width: 1px!important; border: 0!important; position: absolute!important; z-index: -1!important;" src="https://syndication.cosmosmagazine.com/?id=217818&amp;title=Short+shift%3A+Fashion+week+research+on+how+the+%26%238217%3B60s+and+%26%238217%3B70s+rocked+Australia%26%238217%3Bs+clothing+industry" width="1" height="1" /> <!-- End of tracking content syndication --></em></div> <div id="contributors"> <p><em>This article was originally published on <a href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/people/how-the-60s-rocked-australian-fashion/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">cosmosmagazine.com</a> and was written by Petra Stock. </em></p> </div>

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Ads are coming to Netflix soon – here’s what we can expect and what that means for the streaming industry

<p>Ads are coming to Netflix, perhaps even sooner than anticipated.</p> <p>The Wall Street Journal has <a href="https://www.wsj.com/articles/netflix-seeking-top-dollar-for-brands-to-advertise-on-its-service-11661980078" target="_blank" rel="noopener">reported</a> that Netflix has moved up the launch of their ad-supported subscription tier to November. The Sydney Morning Herald, meanwhile, is <a href="https://www.smh.com.au/business/companies/netflix-with-ads-is-coming-this-year-here-s-what-we-know-20220902-p5bezy.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener">reporting</a> that Australia is amongst the first countries likely to experience ads on Netflix later this year.</p> <p>Netflix first announced they would introduce a new, lower-priced, subscription tier to be supported by advertising in April. This was an about-face from a company that had built an advertising free, on-demand television empire. Indeed, it was only in 2020 <a href="https://bgr.com/entertainment/netflix-ads-why-no-commercials-cheap-tier/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">that Netflix CEO Reed Hastings ruled out advertising</a> on the platform, saying “you know, advertising looks easy until you get in it.”</p> <p>The change of heart followed Netflix’s 2022 first quarter earnings report which saw a <a href="https://theconversation.com/in-a-market-swamped-with-streaming-services-netflixs-massive-loss-of-subscribers-is-a-big-deal-181780" target="_blank" rel="noopener">subscriber loss</a> for the first time in over a decade. The addition of ads to the platform is a clear sign of the emerging period of experimentation across the streaming landscape.</p> <h2>How will it work?</h2> <p>It’s important to note that not every Netflix subscription tier will carry advertising. The current plan is there will be one newly introduced and cheaper subscription tier supported by advertising, targeting in the US market around USD $7-9 a month as the price point. This will represent a discount from the current cheapest plan of US $9.99 (AUD $10.99) a month. These prices will be adapted to the different currency markets Netflix operate across and the existing price points in those markets.</p> <p>By bringing a hybrid advertising/subscription tier, Netflix is adopting a business model already present on other streamers like Hulu. Netflix is keeping this a hybrid tier, meaning while the new tier will be cheaper, it will not be free, like ad-supported streaming available on Peacock.</p> <p>Advertising presents complex new technological and business challenges for Netflix, which has not worked in this market before. To enter this new market, Netflix announced advertising would be <a href="https://about.netflix.com/en/news/netflix-partners-with-microsoft" target="_blank" rel="noopener">delivered through a partnership with Microsoft</a>.</p> <p>Partnering with Microsoft allayed some fears around Netflix entering a new media market and gives Netflix access to Microsoft’s extensive advertising delivery infrastructure.</p> <p>Netflix has announced that original movie programming may stay free of ads for a limited period upon release, and that both original and some licensed childrens’ content will remain free of ads.</p> <p>As well as staying away from children’s advertising, which in Australia is highly regulated by government and industry codes, Netflix is also avoiding any advertising buyers in cryptocurrency, political advertising, and gambling.</p> <p>Advertising will run around 4 minutes per hour of content - for context Australian commercial free-to-air TV networks are limited on their primary channels to 13 minutes per hour and 15 minutes per hour on multi-channels between 6am and midnight.</p> <p>Netflix will also have limits on the number of times a single ad can appear for a user and there is expectation that ads for movie content will be delivered in a pre-roll format, not interrupting the feature.</p> <h2>Advertising in the streaming sector</h2> <p>Netflix is not the only subscription service to announce advertising as part of new pricing strategies. Earlier this year <a href="https://www.nbcnews.com/business/consumer/disney-raises-streaming-prices-services-post-big-operating-loss-rcna42600" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Disney announced a highly successful quarter</a> from a subscriber uptake perspective, growing by 15 million subscribers, however streaming-induced losses were $300 million greater than estimated.</p> <p>Disney also announced that an ad-supported Disney+ subscription option will become available in December. <a href="https://www.wsj.com/articles/disney-price-increase-shows-limits-of-subscriber-growth-push-11660256118" target="_blank" rel="noopener">The Wall Street Journal reported that</a> the December timeline given by Disney is what drove Netflix to bring forward their ad plans.</p> <p>TV consumers are historically well accustomed to advertising in television - in Australia, commercial free-to-air networks Seven, Nine, and Ten carry advertising, public broadcaster SBS carries a limited amount of advertising, and even pay-TV provider Foxtel is supported by both subscription fees and advertising. Advertising itself is not new to audiences, but it has not been present on a number of premium streaming platforms like Netflix before.</p> <p>Streaming platforms like Netflix and Disney+ are seeking ways to both reach new audiences and to maximise their revenues from each user. There is a belief amongst top executives that providing a cheaper ad-supported tier will tap into the market of audiences who both do not mind advertising and see current subscription prices as too high.</p> <p>There is also evidence from other streaming platforms, such as Hulu and Discovery+, that have offered ad-supported subscription tiers, that these tiers can generate greater average revenue per user <a href="https://baremetrics.com/academy/average-revenue-per-user-arpu" target="_blank" rel="noopener">(ARPU)</a> than higher priced subscription-only tiers.</p> <p>The ARPU is a metric used in the streaming industry that looks at how much money a company makes from each subscriber after deducting business costs. Having higher revenues from a subscriber can be driven by increasing subscription prices, driving subscribers to more expensive subscription tiers, reducing business costs, or by adding additional revenue streams like advertising.</p> <p>In 2021, <a href="https://www.nexttv.com/news/david-zaslav-says-discovery-gets-more-revenue-per-sub-dtc-than-with-cable" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Discovery CEO David Zaslav noted</a> that Discovery+ was generating more revenue per subscriber from their cheaper ad-supported tier than their more expensive subscription-only tier thanks to the advertising revenue. Zaslav commented that advertisers were keen to reach an audience that was largely not accessible through other television means.</p> <p>With this in mind, Netflix and Disney are betting that their ad-supported tiers can perform similarly and increase the revenue they can generate per subscriber.</p> <h2>Experimentation across the streaming sector</h2> <p>Experimentation around established business strategies is ruling the current streaming landscape.</p> <p>HBO Max, under newly merged corporate parent Warner Bros. Discovery, is now switching to licensing content in select markets rather than streaming on its own platform. With the airing of The Lord of the Rings prequel <a href="https://theconversation.com/the-new-lord-of-the-rings-prequel-the-rings-of-power-is-set-in-the-second-age-of-middle-earth-heres-what-that-means-175333" target="_blank" rel="noopener">The Rings of Power</a>, Amazon Prime Video is discovering whether its experiment with the most expensive television production ever at US $715 million (AUD $1.05 billion) will pay off with audiences.</p> <p>There is experimentation across the streaming industry in licensing strategies, spectacle television, pricing models and beyond. The results of this experimentation will take time. But what the arrival of advertising on Netflix signals is that established strategy no longer rules the streaming landscape.</p> <p><strong>This article originally appeared on <a href="https://theconversation.com/ads-are-coming-to-netflix-soon-heres-what-we-can-expect-and-what-that-means-for-the-streaming-industry-190236" target="_blank" rel="noopener">The Conversation</a>.</strong></p> <p><em>Image: Shutterstock</em></p>

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