Placeholder Content Image

Anti-cellulite products are big business – but here’s what the science says

<div class="theconversation-article-body"><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/rebecca-shepherd-423135">Rebecca Shepherd</a>, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-bristol-1211">University of Bristol</a></em></p> <p>Although <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/jocd.14815">90% of women have cellulite</a>, we’re yet to see it represented as a normal anatomical characteristic in popular culture. In Greta Gerwig’s 2023 Hollywood blockbuster, for instance, Stereotypical Barbie, played by Margot Robbie, develops dimples on her upper thigh as part of her existential crisis – along with other human faults such as halitosis, flat feet and irrepressible thoughts of death.</p> <p>When Stereotypical Barbie asks doll sage Weird Barbie what the dimples are, she explains: “That’s cellulite. That’s going to spread everywhere. Then you’re going to start getting sad and mushy and complicated.” Barbie’s perfect smooth plastic perfection is marred.</p> <p>Despite its prevalence, then, cellulite has been constructed as a flaw in need of correction. Consumers, it seems, agree, especially when fed a diet of the <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/21604851.2021.1913827">photoshop smoothed skin</a> of models, social media influencers – and Hollywood stars.</p> <figure><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/rmThigh1i8s?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" width="440" height="260" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe><figcaption><span class="caption">“NO!” Barbie shouts when Weird Barbie tells her she has cellulite.</span></figcaption></figure> <p>Cellulite’s usually found in areas that have greater amounts of subcutaneous fat, when fat deposits push through the connective tissue beneath the skin, leading to a lumpy appearance. It is common, <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0738081X1300076X?via%3Dihub">usually painless</a> and harmless.</p> <p>The human skin is the <a href="https://theconversation.com/the-skin-is-a-very-important-and-our-largest-organ-what-does-it-do-91515">body’s largest organ</a>, made up of three layers. At the surface, the epidermis acts as our first line of defence against the environment. This outermost, impermeable layer is made up of cells that are constantly renewed and shed, protecting our body from external elements.</p> <p>Beneath the epidermis lies the dermis, a robust layer containing fibroblasts, the cells responsible for producing essential proteins such as collagen and elastin. These proteins provide structure and elasticity, contributing to the skin’s strength and flexibility.</p> <p>Deeper still is the hypodermis, also known as the subcutaneous layer. This layer is rich in adipose tissue – mostly made up of fat, which plays a crucial role in cushioning and insulating the body, as well as storing fat that can be used when needed. Beneath these three layers of skin, there is muscle. Running from the muscle to the dermis are <a href="https://journals.lww.com/amjdermatopathology/fulltext/2000/02000/cellulite__from_standing_fat_herniation_to.7.aspx">bands of connective tissue</a>, that holds the adipose tissue in “pockets”.</p> <p>Cellulite does not affect health, although some people report that it affects their <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/07853890.2018.1561731">self-esteem and body image</a> but that’s more to do with the social pressure on women to be physically perfect – or spend money, time and energy trying to be as close to perfect as possible.</p> <p>Cellulite, then, has become big business for the beauty industry. In the lead up to summer especially, companies will promote <a href="https://www.asa.org.uk/advice-online/weight-control-cellulite.html">all manner of products</a> from creams and serums to gadgets and pills, all aimed at creating perfectly smooth limbs. The most popular question seems to be, “Do these treatments work?” but as an anatomist I think the more pressing question is, “Why are healthy women’s bodies considered something to treat, cure or correct?”</p> <p>The beauty and wellness industry has long capitalised on societal standards of beauty. The idea that cellulite is undesirable and <a href="https://journals.lww.com/dermatologicsurgery/abstract/1978/03000/So_Called_Cellulite.9.aspx">should be corrected</a> has been perpetuated since Vogue magazine was the <a href="https://archive.vogue.com/article/1968/4/cellulite-the-new-word-for-fat-you-couldnt-lose-before">first English language magazine</a> to use the term “cellulite”, introducing the concept to thousands of women. This marketing strategy taps into the insecurities of consumers, particularly women, and promotes an endless pursuit of “perfection” for bodies that have normal anatomical variation.</p> <p>By framing cellulite as a condition that needs treatment, companies can sell a wide range of products and services, bolstered by celebrity endorsements, which lend credibility and aspirational value to pseudo-medical “smoothing” products. However, there is limited scientific evidence supporting the effectiveness of these supplements in treating cellulite. In fact, the <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1524-4725.1978.tb00416.x">first scientific paper</a> on cellulite, published in 1978, referred to it as “so called cellulite: the invented disease”.</p> <p>Recent product launches include, <a href="https://lemmelive.com/en-gb/products/lemme-smooth-capsules?variant=45597048111318">Lemme Smooth</a>, Kourtney Kardashian-Barker’s latest addition to her vitamin and supplement range. The product’s promotional materials claim that the capsule “visibly reduces cellulite in 28 days”. But what does the science tell us?</p> <p>Supplements like Lemme Smooth claim to improve skin texture and reduce cellulite from within. Kardashian-Barker’s supplement contains a mixture of <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10298-015-0977-4">french cantaloupe melon</a>, hyaluronic acid, chromium and vitamin C among other ingredients. The body’s ability to absorb and utilise these ingredients in a way that would impact cellulite is still a subject of debate.</p> <p>There is evidence that <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4110621/#:%7E:text=In%20a%20randomized%2C%20double%2Dblind,in%20part%2C%20to%20the%20skin.">ingested hyaluronic acid</a> can migrate into the skin, stimulating the production of collagens within the dermis – and vitamin C has been shown to <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-72704-1">thicken the surface layer</a> of the skin. However, the lack of standardisation in testing for the use of these ingredients in the treatment of cellulite means it’s still not clear if they will have a <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1467-2494.2006.00318.x">significant effect</a>.</p> <p>Other products marketed to reduce the appearance of cellulite include topical creams and lotions, containing ingredients like <a href="https://karger.com/books/book/763/chapter-abstract/5600478/Specific-Use-Cosmeceuticals-for-Body-Skin-Texture?redirectedFrom=fulltext">caffeine, retinol, and herbal extracts</a>. Cosmetic products are not able to penetrate the epidermis enough to significantly affect the underlying fat deposits and connective tissue.</p> <p>Some invasive treatments, such as <a href="https://www.aad.org/public/cosmetic/fat-removal/cellulite-treatments-what-really-works">laser therapy, subcision, and acoustic wave therapy</a> can offer more promising results. These procedures work by breaking down the connective tissue bands that cause dimpling and stimulating collagen production in the dermis to improve skin elasticity. While these methods <a href="https://www.aad.org/public/cosmetic/fat-removal/cellulite-treatments-what-really-works">may be more effective</a>, they are often expensive, require multiple sessions to achieve results – and aren’t without risk.</p> <p>Maintaining a healthy diet, drinking lots of water, and regular physical activity can help improve the overall appearance of the skin and reduce the visibility of cellulite. Losing weight and strengthening the muscles in the legs, buttocks and abdomen may make cellulite less noticeable, but it won’t make it <a href="https://jndc-chemistryarticles.info/ijn/article/318">disappear altogether</a>.</p> <p>The bottom line, though, is that cellulite does not need to be treated. It’s a normal anatomical variation that’s been transformed into a condition driving a lucrative market for cures <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s40257-015-0129-5">that don’t exist</a>.</p> <p>My top expert advice in the run up to summer? Be wary of claims from cosmetic companies and save your money.</p> <hr /> <p><em>The Conversation has approached the Lemme Live brand for comment.</em><!-- 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/232318/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/rebecca-shepherd-423135">Rebecca Shepherd</a>, Senior Lecturer in Human Anatomy, School of Anatomy, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-bristol-1211">University of Bristol</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/anti-cellulite-products-are-big-business-but-heres-what-the-science-says-232318">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

Body

Placeholder Content Image

Woman’s “selfish” business class upgrade divides the internet

<p dir="ltr">A woman has divided the internet after telling how she snagged an upgrade on her way home from a holiday, leaving her partner and his child in economy. </p> <p dir="ltr">The 30-year-old woman shared the story of how she landed the controversial upgrade, but explained to her social media followers that there is more to the story than meets the eye. </p> <p dir="ltr">She began by explaining that she had booked a 10-day holiday with her partner, who she called Matt, who she had been dating for one year. </p> <p dir="ltr">The couple wanted to spend some time together, but were joined by Matt’s younger son, who she called Alex, from his previous relationship. </p> <p dir="ltr">“Every now and then I would look after Alex when Matt was at work — we don’t live together but they stay at mine every now and then,” the woman explained.</p> <p dir="ltr">Due to family circumstances, Alex had to join the couple on holiday, as she explained, “The flights were over eight hours long and I have booked the tickets for all of us.”  </p> <p dir="ltr">During the flight to their destination, and throughout their whole holiday, the woman explained that she spent most of the time looking after Alex while Matt had “the time of his life”. </p> <p dir="ltr">While the couple were on holiday, the woman discovered that Matt had been unfaithful, and had been cheating on her through most of their relationship. </p> <p dir="ltr">“Some things came to my attention — he was still seeing his ex — which resulted in us breaking up at the end of our stay,” she said.</p> <p dir="ltr">On the flight back home, the three were sitting together when a flight attendant approached her ex, asking if he wanted an upgrade to business class, but before he could respond, the woman interjected.</p> <p dir="ltr">“I mentioned it was me who bought the tickets and used my own account to pay for them, so an upgrade should go to me,” she said.</p> <p dir="ltr">“The flight attendant was trying to argue at first, as she assumed Alex was my child.”</p> <p dir="ltr">“But I told her that’s not the case, and ended up having an upgrade so I can relax after spending all this time looking after Alex.”</p> <p dir="ltr">When they landed, Matt made comments the woman had been “an a**hole” and “selfish”, while some passengers made similar comments. </p> <p dir="ltr">The woman shared the story to Reddit, asking social media users if she was in the wrong by taking the upgrade and was met with mixed responses. </p> <p dir="ltr">One person said, “Damn that sucks... paying for a flight, in a breakup, taking care of a child on YOUR vacation. You by no means are the a******, hell the audacity of the ex is unbelievable. It just p***es me off so much that I can’t even begin to imagine your frustration.” </p> <p dir="ltr">Another added, “I bet it was nice to put some space between you and your brand new ex with such a long flight, too. What was he going to do, take the upgrade and leave his young kid with the woman who he just broke up with? There’s no world in which that makes any kind of sense.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Others suggested the biggest culprit in the situation was actually the flight attendant.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Why would it be ok to leave the mum with the kid but not the dad? Why did they not first offer it to the person who bought the tickets as that’s where the priority should’ve been?” one said.</p> <p dir="ltr">Meanwhile, one person pointed out: “Let this be a lesson."</p> <p dir="ltr">“Never take care of someone’s kid your whole holiday and let them have the time of their lives. You should have let him handle everything concerning his kid except some play time. I would be fuming.”</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: Shutterstock</em></p>

Travel Trouble

Placeholder Content Image

"You've been bumped": Vietnam vet slams Qantas for booting him from business class

<p dir="ltr">Qantas has come under fire for booting a Vietnam war veteran from his paid seat in business class so that a young Qantas "tech" – later revealed to be a pilot – could travel in the luxury seat in his place.</p> <p dir="ltr">Stephen Jones, 78, and his wife were travelling home to Adelaide after a holiday in Christchurch. Their flight was passing through Melbourne on its way to their home in Adelaide, and the pair were enjoying coffee in the Melbourne airport lounge – just 30 minutes before they were set to continue their journey – when they were given the bad news by Qantas staff.</p> <p dir="ltr">"I went up to the desk and the Qantas employee there said, 'I've got some bad news for you, you've been bumped'," Mr Jones told Melbourne’s <em><a href="https://www.3aw.com.au/vietnam-war-veteran-booted-from-business-class-for-younger-qantas-employee/">3AW</a></em> radio program with Ross & Russ. </p> <p dir="ltr">"It didn't register at first," continued Mr Jones. "I wasn't quite sure what 'bumped' meant... I said, 'What?', and she said, 'Yes, I'll have to re-issue your ticket for economy class. We have a tech who's flying to Adelaide and his contract states that he must fly Business Class."</p> <p dir="ltr">Mr Jones then explained that while he retreated to his economy seat, the Qantas employee was seated next to his wife up in business class, and that "he wouldn't even look at her".</p> <p dir="ltr">Mr Jones went on to explain that, after filing a letter of complaint, he was offered 5000 Frequent Flyer points in return for the downgrade and an apology.</p> <p dir="ltr">Mr Jones, who served in Vietnam in a combat unit in the 1960s, claimed he turned down the offer of 5000 points, saying, “I don’t think anything is going to change until there’s ramifications for Qantas, or costs for Qantas when they upset their customers.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Justin Lawrence, Partner at Henderson Ball Lawyers, later told the 3AW radio show hosts that there’s little customers can do about such a move by the airline and said it was “standard operating procedure”.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Unfortunately, their terms of carriage allow them to do this sort of thing – this happens so often they’ve actually got a term for it, buckle up, they call this 'involuntary downgrading,'” he said.</p> <p dir="ltr">“They’ll overprescribe business class or first class, they will need to bump someone out, and they’ll do it almost immediately prior to the flight – not just Qantas, they all do it."</p> <p dir="ltr">“Any time you go to a travel agent or online to Qantas to buy a seat, and we think we’re buying a seat in a particular class, there are no guarantees that when that plane takes off, you’ll be sitting in that class.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Mr Jones said he understood that Qantas pilots were entitled to rest comfortably on their way to another flight, but the ordeal was “unsettling and made me a little irritable”.</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p>

Travel Trouble

Placeholder Content Image

Kochie and Karl team up for a new business venture

<p>David Koch and Karl Stefanovic has reportedly put their differences aside after a long-running rivalry, as they contemplate embarking on a new business venture together. </p> <p>After hosting rival morning television shows for decades, Kochie and Karl have squashed their beef with each other after Kochie retired from <em>Sunrise</em> earlier this year after 21 years on the air. </p> <p>Kochie chatted candidly on a recent episode of the <em>Something to Talk About</em> podcast, sharing details of his complicated relationships with Karl.</p> <p>He said despite running in similar circles due to the nature of their careers, they were never close friends. </p> <p>However, after Kochie left <em>Sunrise</em>, the pair caught up for a lunch date, and were joined by Kochie's old co-host Nat Barr. </p> <p>"Would you believe the two weeks after finishing on <em>Sunrise</em>, Karl and I and Nat had lunch together?" he said. </p> <p>"I’ve come across Karl a number of times at different functions – really nice bloke, incredibly respectful, didn’t know him much at all."</p> <p>But, it appears the two have now hit it off, as they are contemplating starting a podcast together. </p> <p>Kochie continued, "So we had lunch together and he’s talking about wanting to do a podcast together, funnily enough, so something might come of it."</p> <p>The 67-year-old was the the longest-serving breakfast TV anchor in Australian history when he left <em>Sunrise</em> two months ago. </p> <p>He was replaced by former professional sprinter Matt 'Shirvo' Shirvington, who had been filling in for Kochie for several years.</p> <p>Karl has been the host of the <em>Today</em> show for 14 years, beginning his hosting journey alongside Tracy Grimshaw in 2005. </p> <p><em>Image credits: Today / Sunrise </em></p>

TV

Placeholder Content Image

Hero tradie’s daring move saves toddler who wandered onto busy street

<p>In an awe-inspiring act of bravery that will leave you breathless, shocking <a href="https://au.news.yahoo.com/tradie-scary-move-save-child-095600259.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener">dash cam footage</a> has captured a heart-pounding moment that will forever be etched in the annals of heroism. </p> <p>Laurie Owens, a true guardian angel who fearlessly soared into action on the Salisbury Highway in Adelaide, embarked on a heart-stopping mission to save a young child's life, giving no thought to his own safety or that of his vehicle</p> <p>It was just another day for working tradie Laurie Owens as he navigated the bustling roadways. But with eagle eyes and a heart tuned to protect, Laurie spotted a young boy, still adorned in his nappy, wandering innocently into the treacherous path of oncoming vehicles on a busy highway.</p> <p>In a surge of adrenalin-fuelled heroism, Owens sprang into action as – u<span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">ndeterred by the imminent danger, he gallantly mounted the median strip and fearlessly directed his own vehicle into the path of the charging traffic, all in an effort to shield the toddler from harm's way. </span></p> <p><span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">His words echo with undying determination: "I'd rather take the damage of a car running into me because I'm safe rather than the child be killed because what protection do they have?" he told 9News. </span></p> <p>In a dazzling display of divine intervention, the unsuspecting little boy, named Aaryan, instinctively turned and bolted towards the safety of his family driveway, under the watchful gaze of Owens.</p> <p>Owens then gathered the child in his arms, poised to reunite him with his worried parents, who confirmed that Aaryan was indeed their precious child. The driveway gates had been left ajar, allowing the child, who grapples with autism, to embark on an unplanned adventure onto the perilous road.</p> <p>In the tearful aftermath, Aaryan's mother, overwhelmed with gratitude, expressed her deepest appreciation, declaring, "Thank you, I'm really grateful that [he] saved my child."</p> <p>For Owens, the humble champion of this heart-stopping saga, the joy of knowing that the little boy made it home safely was an immeasurable reward. Bursting with pride, he triumphantly proclaimed, "I've saved a kid's life. He's got a future now!"</p> <p><em>Images: 9 News</em></p>

Travel Trouble

Placeholder Content Image

"Too busy marching": Debate rages over fiery Anzac Day post

<p>A man has shared a controversial claim on Twitter about Australia’s relationship to Anzac Day, sparking a fiery debate.</p> <p>Australians and New Zealanders gathered to commemorate the 108th anniversary of the landing of Anzac troops at Gallipoli in World War I on April 25th. Services were held all over both countries to mark the day of remembrance.</p> <p>On May 34th, Brad Turner, who says he is a former Navy submariner and AFP officer, took to Twitter to argue that the values of the annual celebration were “no longer reflected” by Australia.</p> <p>He notably called out Australia’s confrontation with China on behalf of the US.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">Australia is a society that dutifully gets up early every April 25 to gather, Mach & remember our Dead. Speeches are made, politicians speak of sacrifice & honour whilst possessing or embodying neither. That same society that holds paramount ideals of egalitarianism, mateship &… <a href="https://t.co/sbHHbRiYAF">pic.twitter.com/sbHHbRiYAF</a></p> <p>— Brad Turner (@tur14865416) <a href="https://twitter.com/tur14865416/status/1650394428841037826?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">April 24, 2023</a></p></blockquote> <p>“Australia is a society that dutifully gets up early every April 25 to gather, march and remember our dead,” he wrote in the post, which has been viewed more than 20,000 times.</p> <p>“Speeches are made, politicians speak of sacrifice and honour whilst possessing or embodying neither. That same society that holds paramount ideals of egalitarianism, mateship and sacrifice is forgotten on the other 364 days of the year.</p> <p>“On those days Australia marches right past veteran suicides, war crimes, illegal wars and widespread inequality and corruption. Is it really a day of remembrance? Or is it theatrics so society can pretend they care about victims of war or our conduct as a country with an aim to feel better about apathy and inaction as a nation towards these things.</p> <p>“We don’t notice any of these things because we are too busy marching. But this time it’s headlong into another pointless American war with China. The things we celebrate about our nation on Anzac Day are sadly no longer reflected in Australia’s actions. They have not been in some time.”</p> <p>Several people online took the same stance as Mr Turner.</p> <p>“I don’t like Anzac Day. It overlooks our follies in joining Britain and US wars. WWII was noble. The rest were con jobs to enrich the industrialists. Our people have all these solemn events only to assuage their ‘je ne c’est quoi’ because they don’t feel any guilt but should,” one wrote.</p> <p>“Our politicians spend more on memorial monuments and museums that they can put their name on a plaque on the wall than they do for the actual veterans who are suffering from PTSD or other ‘souvenirs’ they have brought back from their tours,” another said.</p> <p>“Flag waving patriotism has taken over Anzac Day. We are one step away from parades of military hardware while the populace salute. What should be a reflection on the horrors of war has become it‘s celebration. John Howard did this,” a third added.</p> <p>“Listening to the Labor government yesterday follow in the footsteps of the Coalition, justifying spending billions antagonising China at America’s request is not the ‘lest we forget’ I think about,” a fourth wrote.</p> <p>Others fired back and said Anzac Day was still important.</p> <p>“Mate … it’s about remembering the sacrifice and loss of our mates … lest we forget,” one wrote, adding, “I don’t worry about [politicians] anymore grandstanding on the day. It’s our day not theirs to remember our mates.”</p> <p>Another wrote, “It is tradition. It separates the fluff of ordinary living to reflect on sacrifice not only of the dead, of lives unlived, of the unfathomable grief but also of the living dealing with the trauma and moral injury of tooth and claw war. It is not a celebration which distracts.”</p> <p>“I understand this perspective, but at the same time I ask myself — is there any harm in this form national reflection? I agree there have been some military follies following the absolute necessity of WWII, but would add that there is no guarantee that the next engagement is such,” a third wrote.</p> <p><em>Image credit: Shutterstock</em></p>

News

Placeholder Content Image

Just 25% of businesses are insured against cyber attacks. Here’s why

<p>In the past financial year, the Australian Cyber Security Centre received <a href="https://www.cyber.gov.au/acsc/view-all-content/reports-and-statistics/acsc-annual-cyber-threat-report-july-2021-june-2022" target="_blank" rel="noopener">76,000 cyber-crime reports</a> – on average, one every seven minutes. The year before, it was a report every eight minutes. The year before that, every ten minutes.</p> <p>The growth of cyber crime means it is now arguably the <a href="https://www.aon.com/2021-global-risk-management-survey/index.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener">top risk facing any business</a> with an online presence. One successful cyber attack is all it takes to ruin an organisation’s reputation and bottom line. The estimated cost to the Australian economy in <a href="https://www.unsw.adfa.edu.au/newsroom/news/cybercrime-estimated-42-billion-cost-australian-economy" target="_blank" rel="noopener">2021 was $42 billion</a>.</p> <p>To protect itself (and its customers), a business has three main options. It can limit the amount of sensitive data it stores. It can take greater care to protect the data it does store. And it can insure itself against the consequences of a cyber attack.</p> <p>Cyber-insurance is a broad term for insurance policies that address losses as a result of a computer-based attack or malfunction of a firm’s information technology systems. This can include costs associated with business interruptions, responding to the incident and paying relevant fines and penalties.</p> <p>The global cyber-insurance market is now worth an estimated US$9 billion (A$13.9 billion). It is tipped to grow to <a href="https://www.munichre.com/content/dam/munichre/contentlounge/website-pieces/documents/MunichRe-Topics-Cyber-Whitepaper-2022.pdf/_jcr_content/renditions/original./MunichRe-Topics-Cyber-Whitepaper-2022.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener">US$22 billion by 2025</a>.</p> <p>But a big part of this growth reflects escalating premium costs – in Australia they increased more <a href="https://www.insurancebusinessmag.com/au/news/cyber/whats-driving-up-cyber-insurance-premiums-in-australia-417542.aspx" target="_blank" rel="noopener">than 80% in 2021</a> – rather than more business taking up insurance.</p> <p>So coverage rates are growing slowly, with about 75% of all businesses in Australia having no cyber-insurance, according to 2021 figures from the <a href="https://insurancecouncil.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2022/03/Cyber-Insurance_March2022-final.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Insurance Council of Australia</a>.</p> <p><strong>Challenges in pricing cyber-insurance</strong></p> <p>With cyber-insurance still in its infancy, insurers face significant complexities in quantifying cyber risk pricing premiums accordingly – high enough for the insurers not to lose money, but as competitive as possible to encourage greater uptake.</p> <p>A 2018 assessment of the cyber-insurance market by the <a href="https://www.cisa.gov/sites/default/files/publications/20_0210_cisa_oce_cyber_insurance_market_assessment.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener">US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency</a> identified three major challenges: lack of data, methodological limitations, and lack of information sharing.</p> <p>Lack of historical loss data means insurers are hampered in accurately predicting risks and costs.</p> <p>Because of the relative newness of cyber crime, many insurers use risk-assessment methodologies derived from more established insurance markets <a href="https://www.rand.org/pubs/external_publications/EP67850.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener">such as for car, house and contents</a>. These markets, however, are not analogous to cyber crime.</p> <p>Companies may be hesitant to disclose information about cyber incidents, unless required to do so. Insurance carriers are reluctant to share data pertaining to damage and claims.</p> <p>This makes it hard to create effective risk models that can calculate and predict the likelihood and cost of future incidents.</p> <p><strong>So what needs to be done?</strong></p> <p>Deakin University’s <a href="https://cybercentre.org.au/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Centre for Cyber Security Research and Innovation</a> has been working with insurance companies to understand what must be done to improve premium and risks models pertaining to cyber insurance.</p> <p>Here is what we have found so far.</p> <p>First, greater transparency is needed around cyber-related incidents and insurance to help remedy the lack of data and information sharing.</p> <p>The federal government has taken two steps in the right direction on this.</p> <p>One is the <a href="https://www.accc.gov.au/focus-areas/consumer-data-right-cdr-0" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Consumer Data Right</a>, which provides guidelines on how service providers must share data about customers. This came into effect in mid-2021.</p> <p>The other is the government’s proposal to amend <a href="https://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Bills_Legislation/Bills_Search_Results/Result?bId=r6940" target="_blank" rel="noopener">privacy legislation</a> to increase penalties for breaches and give the Privacy Commissioner new powers.</p> <p>Second, insurers must find better ways to measure the financial value and worth of the data that organisations hold.</p> <p>The primary asset covered by cyber insurance is the data itself. But there is no concrete measure of how that data is worth.</p> <p>The recent Optus and Medibank Private data breaches provide clear examples. The Optus event affected millions more people than the Medibank Private hack, but the Medibank Private data includes <a href="https://www.afr.com/technology/privacy-fallout-from-medibank-hack-will-be-widespread-20221023-p5bs75" target="_blank" rel="noopener">sensitive medical data</a> that, in principle, is worth far more than data regarding just your personal identity.</p> <p>Without an accurate way to measure the financial value of data, it is difficult to determine the appropriate premium costs and coverage.</p> <p>Cyber insurance is a new, specialised market with significant uncertainty. Given the ever-increasing risks to individuals, organisations and society, it is imperative that insurers develop robust and reliable risk-based models as soon as possible.</p> <p>This will require a consolidated effort between cyber-security experts, accountants and actuaries, insurance professionals and policymakers.<!-- 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/193533/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>Writen by Jongkil Jay Jeong and Robin Doss. Republished with permission from <a href="https://theconversation.com/just-25-of-businesses-are-insured-against-cyber-attacks-heres-why-193533" target="_blank" rel="noopener">The Conversation</a>.</em></p> <p><em>Image: Getty Images</em></p>

Money & Banking

Placeholder Content Image

Locals rally after 12-year-old has business shut down

<p dir="ltr">A 12-year-old boy has gained the support of his local community after his snack-selling business was shut down by council.</p> <p dir="ltr">Jesse Lane was earning some tidy profits from selling cold drinks, insect repellent, dog treats and sunscreen in a tent on the Bondi to Coogee walk in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs.</p> <p dir="ltr">Despite his success, the venture was shut down after two locals complained that he shouldn’t be making profits on public land.</p> <p dir="ltr">The complaints came after Randwick Council rejected Jesse’s trading application because he didn’t have insurance.</p> <p dir="ltr">But even when he acquired insurance months later, the application was rejected again.</p> <p dir="ltr">With his tent stall facing a forced closure, locals have rallied around Jesse.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Jessie is the hard-working kid who sets up and sells a number of things for hot and thirsty walkers and their pets,” one person shared on Facebook.</p> <p dir="ltr">“The world needs more kids to drive to work hard for themselves and not sit around and play video games all day.</p> <p dir="ltr">“His parents must be so proud of him and people should mind their business, if the kid wants to make money and work on his weekends good on him.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Susan Ley, the deputy leader of the Liberal party, chimed in to support the youngster, saying he should be commended for “having a go”.</p> <p dir="ltr">“We won’t have the small businesses and entrepreneurs of tomorrow if we don’t back them today,” she said.</p> <p dir="ltr">“This is a foolish decision @RandwickCouncil and it should be reversed.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Local community (equals) happy, 12-year-old kid having a go … what’s the problem?”</p> <p dir="ltr">In August, <em>Yahoo News</em> reported that Randwick Council confirmed that there had been a “number” of complaints about Jesse’s business.</p> <p dir="ltr">"He was initially selling drinks but has expanded to include a range of products including sunscreen, insect repellent and dog treats," a council spokesperson told <em>2GB </em>radio.</p> <p dir="ltr">“While we admire the innovation and entrepreneurial spirit of the young man, there are restrictions on commercial operations in public parks.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Council received a number of complaints from people concerned about the precedent of commercialisation of the park as well as concern about the safety and welfare of a young boy trading and handling money in a public place.”</p> <p dir="ltr">“Council has carefully considered the application. Unfortunately, it has determined that the activity is not consistent with the primary use of the land and it is not in the public interest for a proliferation of these types of activity along the length of the coastline.”</p> <p><span id="docs-internal-guid-4600703a-7fff-8fd5-8584-58c705a63219"></span></p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image: 7News</em></p>

Money & Banking

Placeholder Content Image

9 tips for starting a business

<p>Always dreamed of starting a business? Well, there’s no better time than the present. Here’s nine tips to help get you started.</p> <p>Whether you’d like to take your passion for sewing, cooking or helping others further, or if you wouldn’t mind a bit of extra money in retirement, starting a business can not only keep your mind and body active, but you’ll be benefiting the wider community.</p> <p>The new wave of entrepreneurialism isn’t young Richard Branson types, its people in their 50s and 60s who have skills in a range of trades or activities and the time to invest in getting a business off the ground.</p> <p>Dr Alex Maritz, associate professor of entrepreneurship at Swinburne University of Technology, says senior entrepreneurship is a significant phenomenon across the globe. “Sixty is the new 50. People aged 50-65 have a higher rate of entrepreneurial activity than those aged 20-34, so what are you waiting for?” he says. “This is the fastest growing segment of entrepreneurship across the globe.”</p> <p>If you think you have what it takes to start your own business, here’s a few of Dr Maritz’s tips for getting started.</p> <p><strong>1. Make a profit from your passion</strong></p> <p>A hobby to supplement your income is always first prize. Your mature skills and social aptitude drive your motivation, skills and, more importantly, the opportunity to achieve. Risk and reward are always a trade-off, but better so when you do something you enjoy doing.</p> <p><strong>2. Surround yourself with likeminded people</strong></p> <p>Network with other seniorpreneurs who are also starting new ventures. Just think of all those combined skills and professional services you may obtain at mates’ rates. Even sports clubs for seniors are fantastic networking opportunities. Positive environments promote proactivity, innovation and calculated risk-taking. Network with niche organisations such as Seniors Australia.</p> <p><strong>3. Work anywhere you want</strong></p> <p>Starting a business no longer necessarily requires a brick and mortar office or storefront. If you do require an office, share space at incubators and networks. Flexibility is the name of the game. Virtual offices are the domain of entrepreneurs.</p> <p><strong>4. As you grow seek help from part-timers</strong></p> <p>Manage your resource cost and remember, the best human resource is usually shared. And it’s not always physical, many services are offered and procured online. Do not overcommit by hiring permanent staff. Fixed costs are dead weight!</p> <p><strong>5. Get creative if you need funding</strong></p> <p>Friends and family are always a great option to top up the finances to start your business. Other options include grants, contests and crowd funding. Suppliers may well provide valuable credit terms. Use your own credit history to secure additional funds.</p> <p><strong>6. Top up your skills</strong></p> <p>Upskill your entrepreneurship education and training (classes and online). This may sound cumbersome, but enhancing your business acumen pays dividends. If you go to classes, it’s a valuable networking opportunity as well. Most providers also offer online modules.</p> <p><strong>7. Get savvy online</strong></p> <p>Remember, 97 per cent of consumers search the internet for goods and services. A website and blog go a long way to enhancing your referrals, customer retention and related sales. Even if your business is not online, a virtual presence is essential.</p> <p><strong>8. Working on the go with your mobile</strong></p> <p>Similar to making your workspace fit your lifestyle, your mobile device (smartphone) is your new mobile office. Real time communication necessitates real time response; not just a by-product of your office environment.</p> <p><strong>9. Spread the word with social media</strong></p> <p>Hand in hand with digital and internet technology, this is an ideal entrepreneurial marketing avenue open for start-ups. Scan the many online tutorials to assist in this regard.</p> <p>If you’d like to share your thoughts, get resources and connect with likeminded people, take a look at SeniorPreneurs.org. Co-founded by Dr Maritz, it’s a social community of people over 50 who have a passion for business start-ups.</p> <p><em>Image: Getty</em></p>

Money & Banking

Placeholder Content Image

“Kia Ora NZ!”: First cruise ship returns to New Zealand

<p dir="ltr">After more than two years, the first cruise ship has returned to New Zealand’s shores, sailing into Auckland’s Waitemata Harbour on Friday.</p> <p dir="ltr">The P&amp;O Cruises flagship <em>Pacific Explorer</em>, decked out with a banner reading, “Kia ora NZ”, was carrying passengers on a 12-night round-trip cruise from Sydney to New Zealand and Fiji, who were greeted with a traditional Māori welcome before heading ashore for locally-run tours.</p> <p dir="ltr">Multiple Kiwi businesses welcomed the return of cruising to New Zealand and hope it will bring a boost to the local economy and their business.</p> <p dir="ltr">David Lee, who owns five eateries in the shopping and hospitality precinct in Auckland City, said the return of cruising has brought him hope after the lockdowns during the COVID-19 pandemic wreaked havoc when he opened in March 2020.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Without tourists, it was really hard to keep our restaurants afloat,” he said in a statement. “Our projected revenue amounted to less than half of what it should have been - we hung on by the skin of our teeth.</p> <p dir="ltr">“The return of cruise ships and the tourists they bring has given me hope for our business. I can’t wait to see the city abuzz with tourists and energy again.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Clinton Farley, the general manager of The Hotel Britomart, a boutique hotel in downtown Auckland, said the return of tourists through cruising isn’t just welcome financially, but also from a community aspect.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Along with our industry peers, we are extremely excited to see the maritime border reopening and tourists returning – they are such an important part of the fabric within our community,” Mr Farley said.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Tourists are crucial not just to the hotel but also to the wider Britomart precinct and the New Zealand economy. The return of cruise is a big part of our reopening to the world, and we are thrilled to see downtown Auckland coming back to life.”</p> <p dir="ltr">P&amp;O Cruises Australia and Carnival Australia president Marguerite Fitzgerald thanked the Ardern government for enabling the cruising industry to return following the pandemic, </p> <p dir="ltr">“<em>Pacific Explorer</em>’s arrival in Tāmaki Makaurau, Auckland today is a signal that cruise tourism is poised to make a significant contribution to the restoration of the tourism economy,” Ms Fitzgerald said. </p> <p dir="ltr">“We are looking forward to our ships also being able to return to beautiful destinations in New Caledonia and Vanuatu and to the progressive return to New Zealand ports of ships from our other cruise lines as the tourism sector continues to rebuild.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Ms Fitzgerald added that they were already planning for the <em>Pacific Explorer</em> to return to Tāmaki Makaurau, Auckland, in 2023 for the ship’s first home-ported cruise in three years.</p> <p dir="ltr">“This is an exciting day for P&amp;O and an exciting day for cruising and we thank New Zealand for today’s warm welcome,” she said.</p> <p><span id="docs-internal-guid-6ef01876-7fff-913a-4d2c-c7fb74120603"></span></p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image: P&amp;O Cruises (Supplied)</em></p>

Cruising

Placeholder Content Image

"Stop slapping him!": Carriage horse collapses in busy street

<p dir="ltr">The horrifying moment a carriage horse breaks down in the middle of a busy New York City street has angered animal activists.</p> <p dir="ltr">Heartbreaking footage shows the horse's knees buckling, possibly due to the weight of the carriage it's been pulling all day in the heat, when it fell to the ground. </p> <p dir="ltr">The driver could be seen shouting multiple times at the horse, known as Ryder, to “get up” and slapping it to get up. </p> <p dir="ltr">“What if I slapped you around like that, bro?” one person can be heard saying. </p> <p dir="ltr">“Stop slapping him,” another woman called out.</p> <p dir="ltr">“I’m trying to get him up, alright,” the driver said, as he once again whipped the horse with the reins.</p> <p dir="ltr">The driver then removed the carriage with the help of an onlooker as police arrived and sprayed Ryder with water. </p> <p dir="ltr">Ryder then attempted to get up several times but failed until an adrenaline shot was administered.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">BREAKING: This horse COLLAPSED while pulling a carriage in NYC, likely from heat exhaustion, and has been down for over an hour.</p> <p>Horses don’t belong in big cities where they’re put in constant danger because of cars, humans, weather, and more. <a href="https://t.co/vXBVRJRjPB">pic.twitter.com/vXBVRJRjPB</a></p> <p>— PETA (@peta) <a href="https://twitter.com/peta/status/1557504250359361537?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">August 10, 2022</a></p></blockquote> <p dir="ltr">After an hour or so, the horse was back on its feet and was taken to an unknown location to be looked at. </p> <p dir="ltr">Tony Utano, President of Transport Workers Union Local 100 slammed those who attacked the driver for jumping to conclusions saying the horse, Ryder, was suffering from EPM. </p> <p dir="ltr">“We thank everyone for their concern about Ryder, one of the beloved Central Park carriage horses,” he said. </p> <p dir="ltr">“The veterinarian believes Ryder has EPM, a neurological disease caused by possum droppings. </p> <p dir="ltr">“This is another example why people shouldn't rush to judgement about our horses or the blue-collar men and women who choose to work with them and care for them.”</p> <p dir="ltr">However, this did not stop animal rights group PETA from calling out the practice, which constantly puts horses in danger.</p> <p dir="ltr">“This horse COLLAPSED while pulling a carriage in NYC, likely from heat exhaustion, and has been down for over an hour,” PETA wrote.  </p> <p dir="ltr">“Horses don’t belong in big cities where they’re put in constant danger because of cars, humans, weather, and more.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Many other supporters have called for the ban of carriage horses to be replaced with electric vehicles. </p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Images: Twitter</em></p>

Family & Pets

Placeholder Content Image

The downside of digital transformation: why organisations must allow for those who can’t or won’t move online

<p>We hear the phrase “digital transformation” a lot these days. It’s often used to describe the process of replacing functions and services that were once done face-to-face by human beings with online interactions that are faster, more convenient and <a href="https://www.mckinsey.com/%7E/media/mckinsey/industries/public%20and%20social%20sector/our%20insights/transforming%20government%20through%20digitization/digital-by-default-a-guide-to-transforming-government-final.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener">“empower” the user</a>.</p> <p>But does digital transformation really deliver on those promises? Or does the seemingly relentless digitalisation of life actually reinforce existing social divides and inequities?</p> <p>Take banking, for example. Where customers once made transactions with tellers at local branches, now they’re encouraged to do it all online. As branches close it leaves many, <a href="https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/123302983/asb-set-to-close-another-23-branches-as-customers-move-online" target="_blank" rel="noopener">especially older people</a>, struggling with what was once an easy, everyday task.</p> <p>Or consider the now common call centre experience involving an electronic voice, menu options, <a href="https://theconversation.com/sorry-i-dont-understand-that-the-trouble-with-chatbots-and-how-to-use-them-better-171665" target="_blank" rel="noopener">chatbots</a> and a “user journey” aimed at pushing customers online.</p> <p>As organisations and government agencies in Aotearoa New Zealand and elsewhere grapple with the call to become more “digital”, we have been examining the consequences for those who find the process difficult or marginalising.</p> <p>Since 2021 we’ve been working with the <a href="https://www.cab.org.nz/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Citizens Advice Bureau</a> (CAB) and talking with public and private sector organisations that use digital channels to deliver services. Our findings suggest there is much still to be done to find the right balance between the digital and non-digital.</p> <p><strong>The ‘problematic’ non-user</strong></p> <p>The dominant view now suggests the pursuit of a digitally enabled society will allow everyone to lead a “frictionless” life. As the government’s own policy document, <a href="https://www.digital.govt.nz/dmsdocument/193%7Etowards-a-digital-strategy-for-aotearoa/html" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Towards a Digital Strategy for Aotearoa</a>, states:</p> <blockquote> <p>Digital tools and services can enable us to learn new skills, transact with ease, and to receive health and well-being support at a time that suits us and without the need to travel from our homes.</p> </blockquote> <p>Of course, we’re already experiencing this new world. Many public and private services increasingly are available digitally <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/public-leaders-network/2014/jan/07/new-zealand-uk-digital-revolution" target="_blank" rel="noopener">by default</a>. Non-digital alternatives are becoming restricted or even disappearing.</p> <p>There are two underlying assumptions to the view that everyone can or should interact digitally.</p> <p>First, it implies that those who can’t access digital services (or prefer non-digital options) are problematic or deficient in some way – and that this can be overcome simply through greater provision of technology, training or “nudging” non-users to get on board.</p> <p>Second, it assumes digital inclusion – through increasing the provision of digital services – will automatically increase social inclusion.</p> <p>Neither assumption is necessarily true.</p> <p><strong>‘Digital enforcement’</strong></p> <p>The CAB (which has mainly face-to-face branches throughout New Zealand) has documented a significant increase in the number of people who struggle to access government services because the digital channel was the default or only option.</p> <p>The bureau argues that <a href="https://inclusioncampaign.cab.org.nz/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">access to public services is a human right</a> and, by implication, the move to digital public services that aren’t universally accessible deprives some people of that right.</p> <p>In earlier research, we refer to this form of deprivation as “<a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/isj.12306" target="_blank" rel="noopener">digital enforcement</a>” – defined as a process of dispossession that reduces choices for individuals.</p> <p>Through our current research we find the reality of a digitally enabled society is, in fact, far from perfect and frictionless. Our preliminary findings point to the need to better understand the outcomes of digital transformation at a more nuanced, individual level.</p> <p>Reasons vary as to why a significant number of people find accessing and navigating online services difficult. And it’s often an intersection of multiple causes related to finance, education, culture, language, trust or well-being.</p> <p>Even when given access to digital technology and skills, the complexity of many online requirements and the chaotic life situations some people experience limit their ability to engage with digital services in a productive and meaningful way.</p> <p><strong>The human factor</strong></p> <p>The resulting sense of disenfranchisement and loss of control is regrettable, but it isn’t inevitable. Some organisations are now looking for alternatives to a single-minded focus on transferring services online.</p> <p>They’re not completely removing call centre or client support staff, but instead using digital technology to improve <a href="https://deloitte.wsj.com/articles/at-contact-energy-digital-powers-human-centric-cx-01643821371" target="_blank" rel="noopener">human-centred service delivery</a>.</p> <p>Other organisations are considering partnerships with intermediaries who can work with individuals who find engaging with digital services difficult. The Ministry of Health, for example, is supporting a community-based Māori health and social services provider to establish a <a href="https://www.health.govt.nz/our-work/digital-health/digital-enablement/digital-enablement-stories/digital-health-hub-supports-taranaki-whanau-access-services-closer-home" target="_blank" rel="noopener">digital health hub</a> to improve local access to health care.</p> <p>Our research is continuing, but we can already see evidence – from the CAB itself and other large organisations – of the benefits of moving away from an uncritical focus on digital transformation.</p> <p>By doing so, the goal is to move beyond a divide between those who are digitally included and excluded, and instead to encourage social inclusion in the digital age. That way, organisations can still move forward technologically – but not at the <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2022/jun/23/the-guardian-view-on-digital-exclusion-online-must-not-be-the-only-option">expense of the humans</a> they serve.<!-- 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/186905/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/angsana-a-techatassanasoontorn-1292067" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Angsana A. Techatassanasoontorn</a>, Associate Professor of Information Systems, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/auckland-university-of-technology-1137" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Auckland University of Technology</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/antonio-diaz-andrade-1361842" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Antonio Diaz Andrade</a>, Professor of Business Information Systems, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/auckland-university-of-technology-1137" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Auckland University of Technology</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/bill-doolin-1361879" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Bill Doolin</a>, Professor of Technology and Organisation, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/auckland-university-of-technology-1137" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Auckland University of Technology</a>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/harminder-singh-1361833" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Harminder Singh</a>, Associate Professor of Business Information Systems, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/auckland-university-of-technology-1137" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Auckland University of Technology</a></em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com" target="_blank" rel="noopener">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/the-downside-of-digital-transformation-why-organisations-must-allow-for-those-who-cant-or-wont-move-online-186905" target="_blank" rel="noopener">original article</a>.</em></p> <p><em>Image: Getty Images</em></p>

Technology

Placeholder Content Image

Is it legal for businesses to slap on a holiday surcharge?

<p dir="ltr">It’s almost expected that when you walk into a cafe or shop on a public holiday or long weekend there is a sign indicating a certain surcharge on all bills. </p> <p dir="ltr">Have you ever wondered if it's legal? Can shop owners do this on normal weekends? </p> <p dir="ltr">With the cost of living increasing and just recently the minimum wage rising – which will no doubt be passed on immediately to consumers – the last thing anyone wants to be hit with is an unnecessary surcharge. </p> <p dir="ltr">But the surcharge on bills is in fact legal as long – as the customer is aware beforehand. </p> <p dir="ltr">So! That little sign you see at the till of the expected surcharge is your due notice that the extra levy will be in effect. </p> <p dir="ltr">Being open on public holidays and weekends costs business a lot more due to the penalties that apply and it's up to the business on how they want to tackle that extra cost. </p> <p dir="ltr">The surcharge could be placed on the overall bill, or on all items on the menu. Otherwise, the business can just decide to cop the surcharge themselves and not put it on the customer. </p> <p dir="ltr">Regardless, it is always up to the business to decide how much they charge and whether or not prices change, as long as the customer is made aware. </p> <p dir="ltr">The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has also made it illegal for businesses to hide those surcharges. </p> <p dir="ltr">"Restaurants, cafes and bistros that charge a surcharge on certain days do not need to provide you a separate menu or price list or have a separate price column with the surcharge included," the watchdog says. </p> <p dir="ltr">"However, the menu must include the words 'a surcharge of [percentage] applies on [the specified day or days]' and these words must be displayed at least as prominently as the most prominent price on the menu."</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image: Nine News</em></p>

Money & Banking

Placeholder Content Image

Want to cut your chance of catching COVID on a plane? Wear a mask and avoid business class

<p>A Florida court recently <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-04-19/florida-judge-voids-us-mask-mandate-for-planes-other-travel/100998116">overturned mask mandates</a> on planes in the United States, saying the directive was unlawful. That decision is now <a href="https://www.9news.com.au/world/covid19-masks-on-us-flights-justice-department-appeals-easing-of-rules/a960d39c-dff4-4198-935c-c5b5c5b40551">under appeal</a>.</p> <p>Before that, Australian comedian Celeste Barber <a href="https://twitter.com/djokaymegamixer/status/1514836909620572162">told her social media followers</a> a passenger sitting next to her on a recent flight took off her mask to sneeze.</p> <p>So wearing masks on planes to limit the spread of COVID is clearly a hot-button issue.</p> <p>As we return to the skies more than two years into the pandemic, what is the risk of catching COVID on a plane? And does it really matter where on the plane you are?</p> <h2>So many variables</h2> <p>It’s impossible to give a precise answer about your risk of catching COVID on a plane as there are so many variables.</p> <p>For instance, not all countries and <a href="https://twitter.com/British_Airways/status/1503729049050353665">airlines</a> require passengers to wear masks or <a href="https://www.nationalworld.com/lifestyle/travel/where-can-i-travel-without-a-vaccine-countries-that-allow-unvaccinated-passengers-and-entry-requirements-3528913">be vaccinated</a>.</p> <p>Some countries and airlines require a negative COVID test within a certain timeframe before flying, others have <a href="https://www.homeaffairs.gov.au/covid19/vaccinated-travellers/temporary-visa-holders/leaving-australia">scrapped that requirement</a> entirely. </p> <p>Then there are different rules that may apply if you’re flying domestically or internationally, or <a href="https://www.health.gov.au/health-alerts/covid-19/international-travel/proof-of-vaccination">leaving or entering</a> a country.</p> <p>That’s before we start talking about the virus itself. We know more recent variants have emerged (Omicron and the sub-variant BA.2, for example), that are <a href="https://aci.health.nsw.gov.au/covid-19/critical-intelligence-unit/sars-cov-2-variants">much more easily transmitted</a> than the original virus or the Delta variant. We don’t know how transmissible future variants or sub-variants will be.</p> <p>So we can only talk in general terms about the risk of catching COVID on a plane. All up, your risk <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1477893921001745">is very low</a>, but the measures airlines put in place help achieve that. You can also reduce your personal risk further in a number of ways.</p> <h2>Air flow and HEPA filters</h2> <p>Air flow is designed to largely <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1477893920304117">travel vertically</a>, from the ceiling to the floor, to reduce the potential spread of contaminated air through the plane. </p> <p>The height of the seats acts as a <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8013760/">partial barrier</a> to air movement from rows in front and behind you. </p> <p>Cabin air is also replaced <a href="https://cdn1.sph.harvard.edu/wp-content/uploads/sites/2443/2020/10/HSPH-APHI-Phase-One-Report.pdf">every two to three minutes</a> with a half-half mix of recycled and fresh air.</p> <p>To see <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7588538/">how this works in real life</a>, researchers looked at how the virus spread on a long-haul flight when an infected person (the index case) sat in business class. </p> <p>Twelve of 16 people who were infected on the plane sat within a few rows of this person; another was a flight attendant. This suggests limited spread of contaminated air through the rest of the plane.</p> <p>Recycled air is also filtered through high-efficiency particulate air (or HEPA) filters. These remove <a href="https://cdn1.sph.harvard.edu/wp-content/uploads/sites/2443/2020/10/HSPH-APHI-Phase-One-Report.pdf">more than 99%</a> of viral particles, further reducing the risk of droplet or airborne transmission.</p> <h2>Masks</h2> <p>Well fitted masks or respirators (worn properly) can reduce your risk of contracting COVID on a flight. That’s why many airlines say wearing a mask is a condition of flying.</p> <p>For example, <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/ina.12979">modelling</a> of several known transmission events on planes demonstrates an advantage if both the infected person and others around them wear masks.</p> <h2>Vaccination</h2> <p>Some countries, such as Australia, require entering travellers to be <a href="https://www.health.gov.au/health-alerts/covid-19/international-travel/proof-of-vaccination">fully vaccinated</a>. This <a href="https://www.thelancet.com/journals/laninf/article/PIIS1473-3099(21)00648-4/fulltext">lowers the risk</a> of someone becoming sick with COVID.</p> <h2>Pre-flight COVID testing</h2> <p>Not all flights require a negative COVID test before boarding. For those that do, the time frame before a flight varies, as does the type of test required. </p> <p>However, we know tests do not detect every single COVID case. A range of factors can influence test sensitivity (ability to detect COVID). These include the type and <a href="https://www.tga.gov.au/covid-19-rapid-antigen-self-tests-are-approved-australia">brand</a> of test you take, whether you have <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8761676/">symptoms</a>, your <a href="https://ebm.bmj.com/content/early/2022/01/04/bmjebm-2021-111828">age</a>, and the <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8761676/">viral variant</a>.</p> <p>You can also still test negative two days before a flight and catch COVID in the meantime.</p> <h2>Sanitisation</h2> <p>Airlines may do additional cleaning of high-touch areas, and overnight disinfection, to reduce the spread of COVID through touching contaminated surfaces. </p> <p>However, the risk of transmission by this route is <a href="https://cdn1.sph.harvard.edu/wp-content/uploads/sites/2443/2020/10/HSPH-APHI-Phase-One-Report.pdf">low</a> compared to the risk of catching COVID through breathing in infectious droplets and aerosols.</p> <h2>When and where are you most at risk?</h2> <p><strong>The closer you are to the infected person</strong></p> <p>Most transmission occurs within <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1477893920304117">two to three rows</a> of an infected person. If you sit next to someone who is coughing or has other symptoms you might ask to <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7665738/">move seats</a> if spare seats are available. </p> <p><a href="https://cdn1.sph.harvard.edu/wp-content/uploads/sites/2443/2020/10/HSPH-APHI-Phase-One-Report.pdf">Distance</a> yourself from others if you can, particularly when getting on and off the plane. </p> <p>You might also avoid sitting close to the toilets as passengers will hang about in the aisles waiting to use them, particularly on long flights.</p> <p><strong>The longer the flight</strong></p> <p>The risk increases with long- versus <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33650201/">short- or medium-haul</a>flights. During long-haul flights passengers are also more likely to <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/ina.12979">recline their seats</a>. This somewhat reduces the <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8013760/">protection upright seats</a> provide in reducing air movement between rows. </p> <p><strong>If you or others are not wearing a mask or wearing it properly</strong></p> <p>You can breathe infectious particles in and out via your nose as well as your mouth, so don’t wear your mask under your chin or nose.</p> <p>The risk also increases when everyone takes off their masks during food service. You might choose not to eat or drink on short flights to avoid this. Alternatively you might bring a snack to eat before food service begins, or <a href="https://cdn1.sph.harvard.edu/wp-content/uploads/sites/2443/2020/10/HSPH-APHI-Phase-One-Report.pdf">eat after</a> those around you. </p> <p><strong>If you contaminate your food or your face</strong></p> <p>You can catch COVID through touching your food or face with contaminated fingers. Sanitise your hands regularly and <a href="https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/document/9176589">train yourself</a> to not touch your face.</p> <p>If you are in business class</p> <p>Based on limited reports, the transmission risk appears higher in business class. This is possibly because of <a href="https://globalizationandhealth.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12992-021-00749-6">more interruptions to mask wearing</a> due to greater service of food and drinks.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article originally appeared in <a href="https://theconversation.com/want-to-cut-your-chance-of-catching-covid-on-a-plane-wear-a-mask-and-avoid-business-class-180333" target="_blank" rel="noopener">The Conversation</a>.</em></p> <div style="caret-color: #000000; color: #000000; font-style: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; font-weight: normal; letter-spacing: normal; orphans: auto; text-align: start; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: auto; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-size-adjust: auto; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; text-decoration: none; --tw-translate-x: 0; --tw-translate-y: 0; --tw-rotate: 0; --tw-skew-x: 0; --tw-skew-y: 0; --tw-scale-x: 1; --tw-scale-y: 1; --tw-scroll-snap-strictness: proximity; --tw-ring-offset-width: 0px; --tw-ring-offset-color: #fff; --tw-ring-color: rgba(51,168,204,0.5); --tw-ring-offset-shadow: 0 0 #0000; --tw-ring-shadow: 0 0 #0000; --tw-shadow: 0 0 #0000; --tw-shadow-colored: 0 0 #0000; background-color: transparent; border: 0px; font-size: 18px; margin: 0px; outline: 0px; padding: 0px; vertical-align: baseline;" data-react-class="Tweet" data-react-props="{&quot;tweetId&quot;:&quot;1514836909620572162&quot;}"> <div style="--tw-translate-x: 0; --tw-translate-y: 0; --tw-rotate: 0; --tw-skew-x: 0; --tw-skew-y: 0; --tw-scale-x: 1; --tw-scale-y: 1; --tw-scroll-snap-strictness: proximity; --tw-ring-offset-width: 0px; --tw-ring-offset-color: #fff; --tw-ring-color: rgba(51,168,204,0.5); --tw-ring-offset-shadow: 0 0 #0000; --tw-ring-shadow: 0 0 #0000; --tw-shadow: 0 0 #0000; --tw-shadow-colored: 0 0 #0000; background-color: transparent; border: 0px; font-size: 18px; margin: 0px; outline: 0px; padding: 0px; vertical-align: baseline; caret-color: #000000; color: #000000; font-family: 'Libre Baskerville', Georgia, Times, 'Times New Roman', serif; font-style: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; font-weight: normal; letter-spacing: normal; text-align: start; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; text-decoration: none;"> <div style="--tw-translate-x: 0; --tw-translate-y: 0; --tw-rotate: 0; --tw-skew-x: 0; --tw-skew-y: 0; --tw-scale-x: 1; --tw-scale-y: 1; --tw-scroll-snap-strictness: proximity; --tw-ring-offset-width: 0px; --tw-ring-offset-color: #fff; --tw-ring-color: rgba(51,168,204,0.5); --tw-ring-offset-shadow: 0 0 #0000; --tw-ring-shadow: 0 0 #0000; --tw-shadow: 0 0 #0000; --tw-shadow-colored: 0 0 #0000; background-color: transparent; border: 0px; font-size: 18px; margin: 0px; outline: 0px; padding: 0px; vertical-align: baseline;"> </div> </div> </div> <p style="caret-color: #000000; color: #000000; font-style: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; font-weight: normal; letter-spacing: normal; orphans: auto; text-align: start; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: auto; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-size-adjust: auto; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; text-decoration: none; --tw-translate-x: 0; --tw-translate-y: 0; --tw-rotate: 0; --tw-skew-x: 0; --tw-skew-y: 0; --tw-scale-x: 1; --tw-scale-y: 1; --tw-scroll-snap-strictness: proximity; --tw-ring-offset-width: 0px; --tw-ring-offset-color: #fff; --tw-ring-color: rgba(51,168,204,0.5); --tw-ring-offset-shadow: 0 0 #0000; --tw-ring-shadow: 0 0 #0000; --tw-shadow: 0 0 #0000; --tw-shadow-colored: 0 0 #0000; background-color: transparent; border: 0px; font-size: 18px; margin: 0px 0px 18px; outline: 0px; padding: 0px; vertical-align: baseline;"> </p>

International Travel

Placeholder Content Image

Fire management in Australia has reached a crossroads and ‘business as usual’ won’t cut it

<p>The current wet conditions delivered by <a href="http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/enso/">La Niña</a> may have caused widespread flooding, but they’ve also provided a reprieve from the threat of bushfires in southeastern Australia. This is an ideal time to consider how we prepare for the next bushfire season.</p> <p>Dry conditions will eventually return, as will fire. So, two years on from the catastrophic Black Summer fires, is Australia better equipped for a future of extreme fire seasons?</p> <p>In our recent <a href="https://doi.org/10.3390/fire4040097">synthesis</a> on the Black Summer fires, we argue climate change is exceeding the capacity of our ecological and social systems to adapt. The paper is based on a series of <a href="https://www.bushfirehub.org/publications/?work_package_filter=all-work-packages&amp;category_filter=nsw_bushfire_inquiry_2020">reports</a> we, and other experts from the NSW Bushfire Risk Management Research Hub, were commissioned to produce for the NSW government’s bushfire inquiry.</p> <p>Fire management in Australia has reached a crossroads, and “business as usual” won’t cut it. In this era of mega-fires, diverse strategies are urgently needed so we can safely live with fire.</p> <p><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/440578/original/file-20220113-13-xa4qd3.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="firefighter holds head while lying down" /> <span class="caption">In the age of mega fires, new strategies are needed.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">David Mariuz</span></span></p> <h2>Does prescribed burning work?</h2> <p>Various government inquiries following the Black Summer fires of 2019-20 produced wide-ranging recommendations for how to prepare and respond to bushfires. Similar inquiries have been held since 1939 after previous bushfires.</p> <p>Typically, <a href="https://doi.org/10.1080/00049158.2005.10674950">these inquiries</a> led to major changes to policy and funding. But almost universally, this was followed by a gradual complacency and failure to put policies into practice.</p> <p>If any fire season can provide the catalyst for sustained changes to fire management, it is Black Summer. So, what have we learnt from that disaster and are we now better prepared?</p> <p>To answer the first question, we turn to our <a href="https://www.bushfirehub.org/nsw-bushfire-inquiry-2020/">analyses</a> for the <a href="https://www.nsw.gov.au/nsw-government/projects-and-initiatives/nsw-bushfire-inquiry#toc-published-submissions">NSW Bushfire Inquiry</a>.</p> <p>Following the Black Summer fires, debate emerged about whether hazard reduction burning by fire authorities ahead of the fire season had been sufficient, or whether excessive “fuel loads” – such as dead leaves, bark and shrubs – had been allowed to accumulate.</p> <p>We found no evidence the fires were driven by above-average fuel loads stemming from a lack of planned burning. In fact, hazard reduction burns conducted in the years leading up to the Black Summer fires effectively reduced the probability of high severity fire, and reduced the number of houses destroyed by fire.</p> <p><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/440583/original/file-20220113-19-8i5dnj.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="remains of homes destroyed by fire" /> <span class="caption">Prescribed burning reduced the numbers of homes affected by fire.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">James Gourley/AAP</span></span></p> <p>Instead, we found the fires were primarily driven by record-breaking fuel dryness and extreme weather conditions. These conditions were due to natural climate variability, but made worse by <a href="https://doi.org/10.1038/s43247-020-00065-8">climate change</a>. Most fires were sparked by lightning, and very few were thought to be the result of arson.</p> <p>These extreme weather conditions meant the effectiveness of prescribed burns was reduced – particularly when an area had not burned for more than five years.</p> <p>All this means that hazard reduction burning in NSW is generally effective, however in the face of worsening climate change new policy responses are needed.</p> <h2>Diverse and unexpected impacts</h2> <p>As the Black Summer fires raged, loss of life and property most commonly occurred in regional areas while metropolitan areas were heavily affected by smoke. Smoke exposure from the disaster led to an estimated <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41893-020-00610-5">429 deaths</a>.</p> <p>Socially disadvantaged and Indigenous populations were disproportionately affected by the fires, including by loss of income, homes and infrastructure, as well as <a href="https://theconversation.com/strength-from-perpetual-grief-how-aboriginal-people-experience-the-bushfire-crisis-129448">emotional trauma</a>. Our <a href="https://www.bushfirehub.org/resources/demographic-characteristics-nsw-inquiry-impacts-on-people-and-property-report/">analyses</a> found 38% of fire-affected areas were among the most disadvantaged, while just 10% were among the least disadvantaged.</p> <p>We also found some areas with relatively large <a href="https://theconversation.com/1-in-10-children-affected-by-bushfires-is-indigenous-weve-been-ignoring-them-for-too-long-135212">Indigenous populations</a> were fire-affected. For example, four fire-affected areas had Indigenous populations greater than 20% including the Grafton, Eurobodalla Hinterland, Armidale and Kempsey regions.</p> <p><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/440370/original/file-20220112-17-wxfm5.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="Two maps illustrating (a) the index of relative social disadvantage, and (b) the proportion of affected population that was Indigenous (2016 Census)" /> <span class="caption">Demographic characteristics of fire-affected communities in NSW.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">https://doi.org/10.3390/fire4040097</span></span></p> <p>The Black Summer fires burnt an <a href="https://doi.org/10.1038/s41558-020-0716-1">unprecedentedly large area</a> – half of all wet sclerophyll forests and over a third of rainforest vegetation types in <a href="https://doi.org/10.3390/fire4040097">NSW</a>.</p> <p>Importantly, for <a href="https://doi.org/10.1111/ddi.13265">257 plant species</a>, the historical intervals between fires across their range were likely too short to allow effective regeneration. Similarly, many vegetation communities were left vulnerable to too-frequent fire, which may result in biodiversity decline, particularly as the climate changes.</p> <p><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/440585/original/file-20220113-27-yqcxil.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="green shoot sprouting from burnt trunk" /> <span class="caption">Not all plant species can regenerate after too-frequent fire.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Darren England/AAP</span></span></p> <h2>Looking to the future</h2> <p>So following Black Summer, how do we ensure Australia is better equipped for a future of extreme fire seasons?</p> <p>As a first step, we must act on both the knowledge gained from government inquiries into the disaster, and the recommendations handed down. Importantly, long-term funding commitments are required to support bushfire management, research and innovation.</p> <p>Governments have already increased investment in fire-suppression resources such as <a href="https://www.news.com.au/technology/environment/new-weapon-to-fight-aussie-bushfires-kicks-off-service-in-wa/news-story/fa66e567e336164723cae8b98bb3ba8d">water-bombing aircraft</a>. There’s also been increased investment in fire management such as <a href="https://www.rfs.nsw.gov.au/news-and-media/ministerial-media-releases/further-$268.2-million-responding-to-nsw-bushfire-inquiry-recommendations">improving fire trails</a> and employing additional hazard reduction crews, as well as <a href="https://www.minister.industry.gov.au/ministers/porter/media-releases/world-class-natural-hazards-research-centre">new allocations</a> for research funding.</p> <p>But alongside this, we also need investment in community-led solutions and involvement in bushfire planning and operations. This includes strong engagement between fire authorities and residents in developing strategies for hazard reduction burning, and providing greater support for people to manage fuels on private land. Support should also be available to people who decide to relocate away from high bushfire risk areas.</p> <p>The Black Summer fires led to significant interest in a revival of Indigenous <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-06-26/cultural-burning-to-protect-from-catastrophic-bushfires/100241046">cultural burning</a> – a practice that brings multiple benefits to people and environment. However, non-Indigenous land managers should not treat cultural burning as simply another hazard reduction technique, but part of a broader practice of Aboriginal-led cultural land management.</p> <p><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/440593/original/file-20220113-21-fo43aj.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="three figures in smoke-filled forest" /> <span class="caption">Indigenous burning is part of a broader practice of Aboriginal-led land management.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Josh Whittaker</span></span></p> <p>This requires structural and procedural changes in non-Indigenous land management, as well as secure, adequate and ongoing funding opportunities. Greater engagement and partnership with Aboriginal communities at all levels of fire and land management is also needed.</p> <p>Under climate change, living with fire will require a multitude of new solutions and approaches. If we want to be prepared for the next major fire season, we must keep planning and investing in fire management and research – even during wet years such as this one.</p> <hr /> <p><em>Ross Bradstock, Owen Price, David Bowman, Vanessa Cavanagh, David Keith, Matthias Boer, Hamish Clarke, Trent Penman, Josh Whittaker and many others contributed to the research upon which this article is based.</em><!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/174696/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><span><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/rachael-helene-nolan-179005">Rachael Helene Nolan</a>, Senior research fellow, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/western-sydney-university-1092">Western Sydney University</a></em>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/grant-williamson-109967">Grant Williamson</a>, Research Fellow in Environmental Science, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-tasmania-888">University of Tasmania</a></em>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/katharine-haynes-4467">Katharine Haynes</a>, Honorary Senior Research Fellow, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-wollongong-711">University of Wollongong</a></em>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/mark-ooi-1218431">Mark Ooi</a>, Senior Research Fellow, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/unsw-1414">UNSW</a></em></span></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/fire-management-in-australia-has-reached-a-crossroads-and-business-as-usual-wont-cut-it-174696">original article</a>.</p> <p><em>Image: <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Darren England/AAP</span></span></em></p>

Home Hints & Tips

Placeholder Content Image

“That’s hot”: Aussie mum’s $500 investment becomes a $10 million business

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Last year, Aussie brand Custom Neon received a voice message on Instagram from celebrity Paris Hilton, telling the signage brand she loved their products and would be keen to work with them.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">But, co-founder Jess Munday said nothing ever came of it.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">A year later, the star’s lavish four-day wedding included Kim Kardashian, Demi Lovato, Nicole Richie and custom items from the Geelong-based business.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“She asked us to create neon signs for her wedding and it was an awesome opportunity,” Ms Munday told </span><em><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.news.com.au/finance/small-business/geelongs-custom-neon-finds-fans-in-paris-hilton-and-elon-musk/news-story/808941847d2bd4f0355f3fbf8eec1668" target="_blank"><span style="font-weight: 400;">news.com.au</span></a></em><span style="font-weight: 400;">.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“She had her wedding over three or four days I think and day two was a carnival themed party and in the party it had one of our neon signs - the biggest one, which said, ‘That’s hot’.”</span></p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/CWPq__GveP5/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="14"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/CWPq__GveP5/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">A post shared by Custom Neon® (@customneon)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">But the mum-of-two said it hasn’t been the brand’s only brush with celebrity fans.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Elon Musk, the billionaire founder of Tesla, posted a neon sign with the phrase ‘cyberviking’ on Twitter - a nod to cryptocurrency dogecoin that quickly went viral.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“That tweet went viral and we said that looks like one of our signs and we checked our records and it was created by us,” Ms Munday said. “He got it delivered to a place in California, which is very exciting.”</span></p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr">How much is that Doge in the window? <a href="https://t.co/bxTkWOr50V">pic.twitter.com/bxTkWOr50V</a></p> — Elon Musk (@elonmusk) <a href="https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/1395328697436033032?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">May 20, 2021</a></blockquote> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Initially, Ms Munday started Custom Neon as a side hustle with her husband in 2018, while the couple were expecting their first child.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“We were decorating my son’s nursery and my husband wanted to get a neon sign with the baby’s name and we looked around and couldn’t find one that was affordable and the process wasn’t easy to get a custom-made design,” she recalled.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“He had seen it on Pinterest and he thought it was cool that you could get your son’s name and at the time having a baby and revealing the name is a big deal, so there was excitement of the baby coming and wanting something cool for the nursery.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The couple then found a supplier to make the sign, as well as a few for their upcoming wedding. Soon, they were renting out their wedding signs via Instagram, and began fielding inquiries for custom pieces from up to 20 businesses and individuals each week.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Their $500 investment in their first few signs has since grown into a $10 million business in just three years, with Ms Munday saying the business is on track for a turnover of $18 million by the end of the 2021-22 financial year.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">She said Custom Neon has been a “whirlwind” journey and a far cry from her job in HR prior to taking maternity leave.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">During the last three years, the 32-year-old said there have been some interesting requests for signs, including people asking for pictures of themselves or their pet dogs as neon signs.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Their signs have also made appearances on </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Block</span><span style="font-weight: 400;">, as well as inside a range of restaurants, bars and other businesses around the world.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Though business from events dried up during the pandemic, Ms Munday said 70 percent of their orders now come from business signage, and that 60 percent of orders come from the US.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“It’s such a huge part now and such a large country so there is much opportunity for growth,” she added.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“We are planning to expand further into the US and set up our own manufacturing there in the next year. We also just secured an office in LA and have five people starting.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">With such rapid growth already, this small business looks like it will have a bright, neon-lit future.</span></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Images: Jess Munday (Facebook) / @customneon (Instagram)</span></em></p>

Money & Banking

Placeholder Content Image

Big-business greenwash or a climate saviour? Carbon offsets raise tricky moral questions

<p>Massive protests unfolded in Glasgow outside the United Nations climate summit <a href="https://eandt.theiet.org/content/articles/2021/11/net-zero-is-not-zero-carbon-offsetting-focus-at-cop26-under-criticism/">last week</a>, with some activists <a href="https://www.independent.co.uk/tv/cop26/cop26-indigenous-carbon-protests-video-v417423df">denouncing</a> a proposal to expand the use of a controversial climate action measure to meet net-zero targets: carbon offsetting.</p> <p>Offsetting <a href="https://theconversation.com/we-cant-stabilise-the-climate-without-carbon-offsets-so-how-do-we-make-them-work-169355">refers to</a> reducing emissions or removing carbon dioxide (CO₂) from the atmosphere in one place to balance emissions made in another. So far, more than 130 countries have committed to the net zero by 2050 goal, but none is proposing to be completely emissions free by that date – all are relying on forms of offsetting.</p> <p>The use of offsets in meeting climate obligations has been <a href="https://www.greenpeace.org/international/press-release/50429/offsets-taskforce-hit-protests-cop26/">rejected by climate activists</a> as a “scam”. Swedish climate campaigner <a href="https://twitter.com/GretaThunberg/status/1455904676227002375?s=20">Greta Thunberg</a>, joining the protesters, claimed relying on buying offsets to cut emissions would give polluters “a free pass to keep polluting”.</p> <p>Others, however, argue offsetting has a legitimate role to play in our transition to a low-carbon future. A <a href="https://grattan.edu.au/report/towards-net-zero-practical-policies-to-offset-carbon-emissions/">recent report</a> by Australia’s Grattan Institute, for example, claimed that done <a href="https://theconversation.com/we-cant-stabilise-the-climate-without-carbon-offsets-so-how-do-we-make-them-work-169355">with integrity</a>, carbon offsets will be crucial to reaching net zero in sectors such as agriculture and aviation, for which full elimination of emissions is infeasible.</p> <p>So who’s in the right? We think the answer depends on the kind of offsetting that is being employed. Some forms of offsetting can be a legitimate way of helping to reach net zero, while others are morally dubious.</p> <h2>Climate change as a moral issue</h2> <p>The debate over offsetting is part of a key agenda item for COP26 – establishing the rules for global carbon trading, <a href="https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/as-cop26-climate-summit-continues-attention-turns-to-carbon-markets/">known as Article 6</a> of the Paris Agreement. The trading scheme will allow countries to purchase emissions reductions from overseas to count towards their own climate action.</p> <p>To examine carbon offsetting in a moral context, we should first remember what makes our contributions to CO₂ emissions morally problematic.</p> <p><iframe width="440" height="260" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/pHLVDlb6rCU?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe> </p> <p>The emissions from human activity increase the risks of <a href="https://www.ipcc.ch/report/ar3/wg2/chapter-1-overview-of-impacts-adaptation-and-vulnerability-to-climate-change/">climate change-related harms</a> such as dangerous weather events – storms, fires, floods, heatwaves, and droughts – and the prevalence of serious diseases and malnutrition.</p> <p>The more we humans emit, the more we contribute to global warming, and the greater the risks of harm to the most vulnerable people. Climate change is a moral issue because of the question this invites on behalf of those people:</p> <blockquote> <p>Why are you adding to global warming, when it risks harming us severely?</p> </blockquote> <p>Not having a good answer to that question is what makes our contribution to climate change seriously wrong.</p> <h2>The two ways to offset emissions</h2> <p>The moral case in favour of offsetting is it gives us an answer to that question. If we can match our emissions with a corresponding amount of offsetting, then can’t we say we’re making no net addition to global warming, and therefore imposing no risk of harm on anyone?</p> <p>Well, that depends on what kind of offsetting we’re doing. Offsetting comes in two forms, which are morally quite different.</p> <p>The first kind of offsetting involves removing CO₂ from the atmosphere. Planting trees or other vegetation is one way of doing this, provided the CO₂ that’s removed does not then re-enter the atmosphere later, for example as a result of deforestation.</p> <p>Another way would be through the development of <a href="https://eciu.net/analysis/briefings/net-zero/negative-emissions-why-what-how">negative emissions technologies</a>, which envisage ways to extract CO₂ from the atmosphere and store it permanently.</p> <p>The second form is offsetting by paying for emissions reduction. This involves ensuring someone else puts less CO₂ into the atmosphere than they otherwise would have. For example, one company might pay another company to reduce its emissions, with the first claiming this reduction as an offset against its own emissions.</p> <p>Australia’s Clean Energy Regulator issues <a href="http://www.cleanenergyregulator.gov.au/OSR/ANREU/types-of-emissions-units/australian-carbon-credit-units">Australian Carbon Credit Units</a> for “eligible offsets projects”. These include for projects of offsetting by emissions reduction.</p> <p>The regulator certifies that a company, for example, installing more efficient technology “deliver abatement that is additional to what would occur in the absence of the project”. Another company whose activities send CO₂ into the atmosphere, such as a coal-fired power station, can then buy these credits to offset its emissions.</p> <h2>So what’s the problem?</h2> <p>There is a crucial difference between these <a href="https://www.offsetguide.org/understanding-carbon-offsets/what-is-a-carbon-offset/">two forms of offsetting</a>. When you offset in the first way – taking as much CO₂ out of the atmosphere as you put in – you can indeed say you’re not adding to global warming.</p> <p>That’s not to say even this form of offsetting is problem-free. It’s crucial such offsets are properly validated and are part of a transition plan to cleaner energy generation compatible with everyone reaching net zero together. Tree-planting cannot be a complete solution, because we could simply <a href="https://theconversation.com/there-arent-enough-trees-in-the-world-to-offset-societys-carbon-emissions-and-there-never-will-be-158181">run out of places</a> to plant them.</p> <p>But when you offset in the second way, you cannot say you’re not adding to global warming at all. What you’re doing is paying someone else not to add to global warming, while adding to it yourself.</p> <p>The difference between the two forms of offsetting is like the difference between a mining company releasing mercury into the groundwater while simultaneously cleaning the water to restore the mercury concentration to safe levels, and a mining company paying another not to release mercury into the groundwater and then doing so itself.</p> <p>The first can be a legitimate way of negating the risk you impose. The second is a way of imposing risk in someone else’s stead.</p> <p>Let’s use a few simple analogies to illustrate this further. In morality and law, we cannot justify injuring someone by claiming we had previously paid someone who was about to injure that same person not to do so.</p> <p>The same is true when it comes to the imposition of risk. If I take a high speed joyride through a heavily populated area, I cannot claim I pose no risk on people nearby simply because I had earlier paid my neighbour not to take a joyride along the same route.</p> <p>Had I not induced my neighbour not to take the joyride, he would’ve had to answer for the risk he imposed. When I do so in his place, I am the one who must answer for that risk.</p> <p>In our desperate attempt to stop the world warming beyond the internationally agreed limit of 1.5℃, we need to encourage whatever reduces the climate impacts of human activity. If selling carbon credits is an effective way to achieve this, we should do it, creating incentives for emissions reductions as well as emissions removals.</p> <p>What we cannot do is claim that inducing others to reduce emissions gives us a moral license to emit in their place.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/171295/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><span><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/christian-barry-14000">Christian Barry</a>, Professor of Philosophy at the ANU, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/australian-national-university-877">Australian National University</a></em> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/garrett-cullity-1287732">Garrett Cullity</a>, Professor, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/australian-national-university-877">Australian National University</a></em></span></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/big-business-greenwash-or-a-climate-saviour-carbon-offsets-raise-tricky-moral-questions-171295">original article</a>.</p> <p><em>Image: EPA/Robert Perry</em></p>

International Travel

Our Partners