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Aussies hit with "hidden fees" for using common payment method

<p>Millions of Aussies have copped up to $1 billion in "hidden fees" for choosing to use one common payment method. </p> <p>Many are unaware about the secret extra charges that come with using the tap-and-go payment method, as millions of customers use it as the preferred way to pay and go. </p> <p>However, according to financial counsellor Scott Pape, also known as The Barefoot Investor, while tapping your card may be easier, it might not be great for your bank account.</p> <p>“What most people don’t know is that, when they tap, their bank generally defaults that payment through Visa or MasterCard, who pays them a fee — instead of defaulting that payment through the much cheaper bank-owned EFTPOS,” Pape said in his column for the <em><a href="https://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/business/barefoot-investor/the-common-smartphone-app-thats-ripping-you-off/news-story/0b71afa29c86faf2b938c44f93bbc8d6?amp" target="_blank" rel="noopener" data-link-type="article-inline">Daily Telegraph</a></em>.</p> <p>While some businesses choose to absorb the cost, others pass it on to the customer as a surcharge, as Pape says, “Talk about a rort.”</p> <p>According to the Royal Bank of Australia (RBA), Visa and Mastercard are generally more expensive for merchants than the EFTPOS network.</p> <p>Payments through EFTPOS are generally about 0.3 per cent of the transaction value, while Debit Mastercard and Visa Debit may cost many some people about 0.5 per cent.</p> <p>Mastercard and Visa credit could cost customers more than 0.75 per cent of the transaction, while American Express card payments are even more, charging merchants 1 to 1.5 per cent.</p> <p>Thankfully, according to Pape, there are ways to avoid paying the extra fees. </p> <p>If your bank card is attached to your smartphone, you can change the default payment setting.</p> <p>“On an iPhone, open ‘Settings’, go to ‘Wallet & Apple Pay’, then tap your debit card,” Pape said.</p> <p>“Then look for ‘Payment Option’. It will generally have ‘MasterCard’ or ‘Visa’ preselected, but instead you should select ‘EFTPOS SAV’.”</p> <p>This is not allowed on all cards, however, and those who use Android will need to check with their bank if a possible solution exists.</p> <div> </div> <p>The other way to avoid paying the surcharges is to just start inserting or swiping your card again.</p> <p>“I know it’s annoying, but if you swipe and insert your card you can choose ‘cheque’ or ‘savings’ and it’ll go through the EFTPOS system, which at the bigger retailers means you’ll be less likely to be charged,” Pape said.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock </em></p>

Money & Banking

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The hidden risks of buy now, pay later: What shoppers need to know

<div class="theconversation-article-body"><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/vivek-astvansh-1318943">Vivek Astvansh</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/mcgill-university-827">McGill University</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/chandan-kumar-behera-1479139">Chandan Kumar Behera</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/indian-institute-of-management-lucknow-6023">Indian Institute of Management Lucknow</a> </em><iframe style="width: 100%; height: 100px; border: none; position: relative; z-index: 1;" src="https://narrations.ad-auris.com/widget/the-conversation-canada/the-hidden-risks-of-buy-now-pay-later-what-shoppers-need-to-know" width="100%" height="400"></iframe></p> <p><a href="https://www.canada.ca/en/financial-consumer-agency/services/loans/buy-now-pay-later.html">Buy now, pay later</a> is a relatively new form of financial technology that allows consumers to purchase an item immediately and repay the balance at a later time in instalments.</p> <p>Unlike applying for a credit card, buy now, pay later <a href="https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=4591446">doesn’t require a credit check</a>. Instead, <a href="https://doi.org/10.1108/EJM-11-2021-0923">these programs use algorithms</a> to perform <a href="https://www.investopedia.com/terms/s/soft-inquiry.asp">“soft” credit checks</a> to determine <a href="https://theconversation.com/if-it-looks-like-debt-lets-treat-it-like-debt-buy-now-pay-later-schemes-need-firmer-regulation-in-nz-211820">a shopper’s eligibility</a>.</p> <p>This means buy now, pay later loans target <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2022/jan/27/buy-now-pay-later-schemes-entice-consumers-spend-more">low-income, tech-savvy</a> <a href="https://www.cnbc.com/2022/10/27/gen-z-and-millennials-prefer-buy-now-pay-later-services.html">millennials and Gen Z shoppers</a> in an effort to <a href="https://libertystreeteconomics.newyorkfed.org/2023/09/who-uses-buy-now-pay-later/">supposedly improve financial inclusion</a> for these groups.</p> <p>However, the newness of buy now, pay later programs means existing <a href="https://doi.org/10.1111/acfi.13100">consumer credit laws don’t cover it</a>. This lack of regulation puts shoppers at financial risk of accumulating higher levels of debt.</p> <h2>Credit cards versus buy now, pay later</h2> <p>There are three key differences between credit cards and buy now, pay later loans. First, while buy now, pay later loans are a line of credit like credit cards are, <a href="https://www.cnbc.com/2022/05/04/klarna-to-report-buy-now-pay-later-data-to-uk-credit-bureaus.html">they don’t impact credit reports</a>. Because of this, shoppers might be less cautious when using buy now, pay later services.</p> <p>Credit cards typically have annual interest rates ranging from <a href="https://www.bankrate.com/finance/credit-cards/what-is-credit-card-apr/#credit-card-apr-vs-credit-card-interest">15 to 26 per cent</a>. While most buy now, pay later loans have no interest, longer term loans have <a href="https://www.cbsnews.com/news/buy-now-pay-later-loans-interest-rate-fees-tips-what-to-know/">annual interest rates of about 37 per cent</a>.</p> <p>Shoppers are <a href="https://hbswk.hbs.edu/item/buy-now-pay-later-how-retails-hot-feature-hurts-lower-income-shoppers">at risk of overusing buy now, pay later programs</a> and accumulating more debt than they can manage. In addition, formal lenders, such as banks, currently have no way of knowing what buy now, pay later debt a person is carrying. The lender, therefore, likely incurs more risk than they are aware of.</p> <p>Second, credit cards typically provide <a href="https://doi.org/10.1080/1369118X.2022.2161830">an interest-free period</a>, after which <a href="https://doi.org/10.1177/03128962211032448">borrowers must pay interest</a>. In contrast, buy now, pay later users typically don’t have interest fees, but can incur <a href="https://doi.org/10.1108/IJBM-07-2022-0324">late fees for missed or late payments</a>.</p> <p>Falling behind on payment terms <a href="https://www.forbes.com/sites/andriacheng/2020/12/16/why-retailers-are-embracing-buy-now-pay-later-service-this-holiday-season/">can result in charges</a> that exceed <a href="https://stateline.org/2022/02/02/regulators-scrutinize-buy-now-pay-later-plans/">typical credit card interest rates</a>, causing more harm than interest payments. Low-income buy now, pay later users are <a href="https://hbswk.hbs.edu/item/buy-now-pay-later-how-retails-hot-feature-hurts-lower-income-shoppers">particularly vulnerable</a> to <a href="https://www.consumerfinance.gov/data-research/research-reports/consumer-use-of-buy-now-pay-later-insights-from-the-cfpb-making-ends-meet-survey/">using overdrafts to cover their buy now, pay later payments</a>.</p> <p>Third, people typically have just a few credit cards, making it easier to keep track of payments. Buy now, pay later users, on the other hand, usually engage with multiple buy now, pay later lenders through retailers. As a result, it’s difficult for them to keep track of all the buy now, pay later lenders and retailers they made purchases from.</p> <h2>What are the Canadian governments doing?</h2> <p>Canada classifies buy now, pay later as an unsecured instalment loan, which means lenders are subject to laws at the federal and provincial levels.</p> <p>Under federal law, there is an <a href="https://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1711291/000171129122000011/curo-20211231.htm">annual interest rate cap of 60 per cent</a>. Provincial laws require buy now, pay later lenders to disclose the cost of credit and extend consumer protection rights to buy now, pay later shoppers.</p> <p>At the provincial level, <a href="https://www.canada.ca/en/financial-consumer-agency/services/loans/buy-now-pay-later.html">specific laws come into play</a>. Manitoba, Alberta, Québec, and Ontario have passed laws that require lenders to be licensed before they offer these products and be subject to regulatory oversight.</p> <p>These laws regulate high-cost credit products that have annual rates of 32 per cent or higher. This means buy now, pay later services <em>should</em> fall under this category. However, I found no evidence of buy now, pay later lenders being licensed in Canada. This means either lenders are not aware they fall under these laws, or no one is enforcing them.</p> <p>This ambiguity over whether or not buy now, pay later lenders are subject to regulatory oversight could be a hindrance for banks like the <a href="https://financialpost.com/fp-finance/fintech/why-higher-interest-rates-threaten-the-buy-now-pay-later-bubble">Bank of Nova Scotia and the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce</a>, as it deters them from entering the buy now, pay later market despite its profitability.</p> <h2>Questions to ask before using buy now, pay later</h2> <p>Before signing up for a buy now, pay later loan, shoppers should consider the following six questions.</p> <p><strong>1. Payment structure.</strong> How much of the invoice amount needs to be paid upfront? The norm is typically 25 per cent. What is the number of remaining instalments? The answer to this is usually four. Lastly, what is the frequency of instalments? The norm is biweekly.</p> <p><strong>2. Sensitive information.</strong> Does the lender require you to provide information about your chequing account? This is sensitive information to give away and puts you at risk of data breaches. Most buy now, pay later lenders withdraw instalment amounts from chequing accounts or debit cards, potentially exposing shoppers to greater risks than credit cards.</p> <p><strong>3. Interest charges</strong> Does the buy now, pay later lender charge interest on instalment payments? The norm is no.</p> <p><strong>4. Late fees</strong> How much is the late fee, when does it apply and what is the maximum amount of the late fee? Typically, late fees don’t exceed $8 or one-quarter of the invoice amount. Late fees usually kick in if your scheduled payment remains unpaid after 10 days.</p> <p><strong>5. Data responsibility.</strong> Who is responsible for your data? Whether it’s the retailer, the buy now, pay later lender or a company whose cloud storage the provider may be using, you should know. In general, the buy now, pay later lender holds this responsibility.</p> <p><strong>6. Licensing.</strong> Is the buy now, pay later lender licensed to sell the loan? Usually, the <a href="https://dfpi.ca.gov/wp-content/uploads/sites/337/2020/03/afterpay-settlement.pdf">answer to this question is no</a>.</p> <h2>Buy now, pay later regulation</h2> <p>Two sets of laws and regulations should be implemented to address some of these issues. The first set of regulations focuses on how buy now, pay later lenders interact with consumers. These lenders should clearly communicate <a href="https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=4359956">all terms and conditions of their loans</a>, including late charges, interest charges and payment schedules, on their platforms to ensure shoppers are fully informed of their financial obligations.</p> <p>The Financial Conduct Authority in the United Kingdom recently issued guidelines allowing buy now, pay later lenders to <a href="https://www.ft.com/content/ca428bc8-65c3-49ed-8ba6-0d6f206098aa">terminate, suspend or restrict access to shopper accounts</a> for any reason without notice. Effective September 2024, New Zealand will require buy now, pay later lenders to <a href="https://theconversation.com/if-it-looks-like-debt-lets-treat-it-like-debt-buy-now-pay-later-schemes-need-firmer-regulation-in-nz-211820">check a shopper’s credit</a> before providing them a buy now, pay later loan.</p> <p>The second set of regulations defines the scope and boundaries of buy now, pay later lenders. On Dec. 9, 2022, California became the first American state to <a href="https://dfpi.ca.gov/2022/12/09/buy-now-pay-later-protect-yourself-before-you-check-out/">classify buy now, pay later as a loan</a>. Such classifications allowed California regulators to <a href="https://stateline.org/2022/02/02/regulators-scrutinize-buy-now-pay-later-plans/">question lenders about their transparency in disclosing the terms of their offerings</a>.</p> <p>The hope is that these laws and regulations will facilitate microlending and not impede the existence of buy now, pay later services, but rather make it safer and more secure for both lenders and users.<!-- 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/215421/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/vivek-astvansh-1318943"><em>Vivek Astvansh</em></a><em>, Associate Professor of Quantitative Marketing and Analytics, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/mcgill-university-827">McGill University</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/chandan-kumar-behera-1479139">Chandan Kumar Behera</a>, PhD Student in Marketing, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/indian-institute-of-management-lucknow-6023">Indian Institute of Management Lucknow</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/the-hidden-risks-of-buy-now-pay-later-what-shoppers-need-to-know-215421">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

Money & Banking

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Amazing money-saving hack hidden in Coles and Woolies Christmas shopping bags

<p>Woolworths and Coles have released specially designed paper bags ahead of the Christmas period, with many praising their multi-purpose usage. </p> <p>The 25 cent bags feature a Christmas design, and are meant to be cut open and reused as wrapping paper for Christmas presents. </p> <p>Shoppers have been sharing their delight at the discovery on social media, with many praising the supermarket giants for encouraging recycling. </p> <p>A member of the North Shore Mums Facebook group shared the revelation, writing, "PSA: the Christmas woolies bags are designed to be cut open and used as wrapping paper."</p> <p>Both Coles and Woolworths bags include cutting lines to help those planning to use them as wrapping this festive season.</p> <p>They added an edit to the post explaining the bags could also be cut into squares around the decorations and used as gift tags.</p> <p>Other alternatives to pricey wrapping paper include tea towels, paper that has been decorated by children in the family or making the most out of reusable gift bags which can be collected and saved for the next occasion.</p> <p>With many families anxious of excess spending during the festive period in the face of the ongoing cost of living crisis, the reusable bags are set to be a welcome hack for those trying to be money conscious this Christmas. </p> <p><em>Image credits: 9Honey</em></p> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 16px 0px 20px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: 'Proxima Nova', system-ui, -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Fira Sans', 'Droid Sans', 'Helvetica Neue'; font-size: 18px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 28px; vertical-align: baseline; caret-color: #333333; color: #333333;"><span style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: inherit; font-size: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-variant-caps: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span></p>

Money & Banking

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Homesick for ourselves – the hidden grief of ageing

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/carol-lefevre-1341823">Carol Lefevre</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-adelaide-1119">University of Adelaide</a></em></p> <p>Anyone parenting young children will be familiar with the phrase “there’ll be tears before bedtime”. But in a quieter, more private way, the expression seems perfectly pitched to describe the largely hidden grief of ageing.</p> <p>Not the sharp grief that follows a bereavement (though bereavements do accumulate with the years), but a more elusive emotion. One that is, perhaps, closest to the bone-gnawing sorrow of homesickness.</p> <p>Sarah Manguso <a href="https://www.panmacmillan.com.au/9781509883295/">evokes</a> this sense of having travelled further from our younger selves than we could ever have imagined: "Sometimes I feel a twinge, a memory of youthful promise, and wonder how I got here, of all the places I could have got to."</p> <p>Historically, the phenomenon of homesickness was identified in 1688 by the Swiss medical student <a href="https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2013/08/when-nostalgia-was-a-disease/278648/">Johannes Hofer</a>, who named it nostalgia from the Greek <em>nostos</em>, meaning homecoming, and <em>algos</em>, meaning an ache, pain, grief and distress.</p> <p>It was the disease of soldiers, sailors, convicts and slaves. And it was particularly associated with soldiers of the Swiss army, who served as mercenaries and among whom it was said that a well-known milking song could bring on a fatal longing. (So singing or playing that song was made punishable by death.) Bagpipes stirred the same debilitating nostalgia in Scottish soldiers.</p> <p>Deaths from homesickness were recorded, but the only effective treatment was to send the afflicted person back to wherever they belonged.</p> <p>The nostalgia associated with old age, if it occurs, appears incurable, since there can be no possibility of a return to an irrecoverable youth. But as with homesickness, how badly those afflicted suffer seems to depend on how they manage their relationship with the past.</p> <h2>The phantom was me</h2> <p>American writer Cheryl Strayed <a href="https://cherylstrayed.substack.com/p/what-you-know-changes">describes</a> deciding to transcribe her old journals. On reading one of them from cover to cover, she is left feeling:</p> <p>"kind of sick for the rest of the day, as if I’d been visited by a phantom who both buoyed and scared the bejesus out of me. And the weirdest of all is that phantom was me! Did I even know her anymore? Where did the woman who’d written those words go? How did she become me?"</p> <p>I’ve experienced a similar rush of bafflement and grief upon opening a letter I’d written some time before I turned 50. My mother had saved it and returned it to me 20 years later. Within its pages I found a younger, more energetic and vibrant self. The realisation this woman who inhabited the letter so vividly was no longer available to me came with a jolt of emotion that felt like a bereavement.</p> <p>I was so knocked off-kilter by this ghost-like encounter that the letter (along with others I had been planning to transcribe) had to be set aside for a day when I might be able to muster the necessary courage and detachment. Whether that day ever comes will depend, I suppose, on how I navigate my own relationship with time, and on reaching a calm acceptance of the distance travelled.</p> <p>Disbelief at the distance between the young self and the old self is one of the factors in this late-life grieving. At its root, perhaps, is an internalised ageism: innate, or else massaged into us by the culture we spring from.</p> <p>In a series of recent conversations with people over 70, I encouraged them to tell their stories and to reflect on the effects of time on their lives. Childhood sometimes emerged as a place they were pleased to have left behind – and occasionally, as a place to be held close.</p> <p>Trevor emigrated alone to Australia when he was just 18. I asked him how often now, at 75, he thinks about his childhood. “Do you have a sense of who you were back then, and is that person still part of who you are?”</p> <p>“I think about my childhood quite a lot, especially putting some distance between where I was then and where I am now,” he told me. “I didn’t have a really happy upbringing, and coming to Australia was a way of getting away from home and experiencing a new culture.”</p> <p>In response to the same question, Jo, at 84, led me to a framed photograph, enlarged to poster-size, which has hung on the wall of both his homes. It shows him aged three, in a garden – a radiant child wearing a plain white shirt and dark shorts, arms out-flung as if to embrace the natural world. He bursts with exuberance, curiosity, and joy.</p> <p>"I relate to that as an idea, as a concept of my life. I want to maintain that freshness, that child-like freshness. You’ve got no responsibilities; every day is a new day. You’re looking at things in a different light, you’re aware of everything around you. That’s what I wanted to maintain, that feeling through my life – I’m talking age-wise. My concept of my ageing is there in that photograph.“</p> <p>While older voices are often absent in the media, and in fiction they are too often presented as stereotypes, in conversation what arises can both surprise and inspire.</p> <h2>‘How can I be old?’</h2> <p>As I approached my own 70th birthday, I realised I was about to cross a border. Once I was on the other side, I would be old – no question. Yet the word "old”, especially when coupled with the word “woman”, is carefully avoided in our culture. Old is a country no one wants to visit.</p> <p><a href="https://www.penguin.com.au/books/metamorphosis-9780241514771">Penelope Lively’s</a> novella-length story Metamorphosis, or the Elephant’s Foot, written when Lively was in her mid-eighties, explores this evolution from youth to old age through the character of Harriet Mayfield. As a nine-year-old, Harriet is reprimanded by her mother for not behaving well on a visit to her great-grandmother.</p> <p>“She’s old,” says Harriet. “I don’t like old.”</p> <p>When her mother points out that one day Harriet, too, will be old, like her great-grandmother, Harriet laughs.</p> <p>“No, I won’t. You’re just being silly,” says Harriet “how can I be old? I’m me.”</p> <p>Towards the end of the story, Harriet is 82 and must somehow accept that she is “in the departure lounge. Check-in was a very long time ago.” With her equally elderly husband, Charles, Harriet ponders what they can do with the time remaining. Charles decides “it’s a question of resources. What do we have that could be used – exploited?” Harriet replies, “Experience. That’s it. A whole bank of experience.”</p> <p>“And experience is versatile stuff. Comes in all shapes and sizes. Personal. Collective. Well, then?”</p> <p>If distance travelled is a factor in late-life grief, so too is a sense of paths not taken: of a younger self, or selves, that never found expression.</p> <p>In Jessica Au’s recent, much-awarded novella <a href="https://giramondopublishing.com/books/jessica-au-cold-enough-for-snow/">Cold Enough For Snow</a>, there is a scene where the narrator explains to her mother the existence, in some old paintings, of a <a href="https://www.britannica.com/art/pentimento-oil-painting">pentimento</a> – an earlier image of something the artist had decided to paint over. “Sometimes, these were as small as an object, or a colour that had been changed, but other times, they could be as significant as a whole figure.”</p> <figure class="align-right zoomable"><figcaption></figcaption></figure> <p>Art historians, using X-rays and infrared reflectography, have identified pentimenti in many famous paintings, from the adjusted placement of a controversial off-the-shoulder strap in <a href="https://www.virtualartacademy.com/madame-x/">John Singer Sargent</a>’s Portrait of Madam X, to the painted-over figure of a woman nursing a child in Picasso’s <a href="https://www.pablopicasso.org/old-guitarist.jsp">The Old Guitarist</a>, and a man with a bow-tie concealed beneath the brushwork of his work <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Blue_Room_(Picasso)">The Blue Room</a>.</p> <p>Singer Seargent’s adjustment was his response to an outcry at the perceived indecency of Madame X’s lowered shoulder strap, which both the public and art critics of the time declared to be indecent. By contrast, the model’s icy pallor caused only a ripple of interest.</p> <p>Picasso’s hidden figures <a href="https://www.singulart.com/en/blog/2019/10/29/pablo-picassos-blue-period-and-the-old-guitarist/">are assumed</a> to be the outcome of a shortage of canvas during his <a href="https://www.pablopicasso.org/blue-period.jsp">Blue Period</a>, but shortages aside, the word pentimento, which derives from the Italian verb <em>pentirsi</em>, meaning “to repent”, brings to these lost figures a sense of regret that resonates with the feeling in old age of having lost the younger self, or of carrying traces, deeply buried, of other lives one might have lived.</p> <p>In Cold Enough for Snow, Au’s narrator remarks of her mother that,</p> <p>"Perhaps, over time, she found the past harder and harder to evoke, especially with no-one to remember it with."</p> <p>The mother’s situation references another source of grief: that of the person who becomes the last of their friends and family still standing.</p> <p>In childhood games of this nature there would be a prize for the survivor. But for those who reach an extreme old age, having lost parents, siblings and contemporaries who knew them when they were young, even the presence of children and grandchildren may not entirely erase this “last man standing” loneliness. There is, too, the darkness of a projected future where there is no one still living who remembers us.</p> <p>In Jessica Au’s book the narrator occasionally speaks of the past as “a time that didn’t really exist at all”. And yet in my recent conversations with people in their seventies and above, every one of them admits to feeling a vivid sense of the past, and of the continuing presence of a younger self. As one of them wistfully remarked: “Sometimes she even seeps through.”</p> <h2>Memory and detail</h2> <p>Perhaps part of the problem is the mass of ordinary detail that disappears from memory on any given day. Life is made up of so many small moments that it’s impossible to hold onto them all – and if we did it might even be damaging.</p> <p>Imagine someone casually asking how your day had been, and responding with the tsunami of detail those hours actually contained.</p> <p>After opening your eyes at first light, you’d describe your shower, your breakfast, and how you slipped your keys into your handbag as you left the house; in the street you’d passed two women with a pram, a child with a small white dog on a lead, and an elderly man with a walking stick. And so on.</p> <p>If our minds swarmed with the trivia of daily life, more important events might be forgotten, and possibly the neural overload would even make us ill. Yet with the realisation of the loss of these minutes and hours arises the anxiety that in time, the things we do want to remember will slither away from us into the dark.</p> <p>I imagine this fear is what compels people to fill social media with photographs of their breakfasts, and of their relentless selfie-taking. It is surely the impulse behind keeping a journal.</p> <p>The anxiety of losing even the passing moments in a day afflicts the author of <a href="https://www.panmacmillan.com.au/9781509883295/">Ongoingness: The End of a Diary</a>. In it, the American writer Sara Manguso describes her compulsive need to document and hold onto her life. “I didn’t want to lose anything. That was my main problem.”</p> <p>After 25 years of paying attention to the smallest moments, Manguso’s diary is 800,000 words long. “The diary was my defense against waking up at the end of my life and realizing I’d missed it.” But despite her continuous effort,</p> <p>"I knew I couldn’t replicate my whole life in language. I knew that most of it would follow my body into oblivion."</p> <p>Is it possible that women experience grief around ageing earlier, and more emphatically than men? After all, by the age of 50, the bodies of even those women who remain fit send the implacable signal that things have changed.</p> <p>In Alice Munro’s story Bardon Bus, from her collection <a href="https://www.penguin.com.au/books/the-moons-of-jupiter-9780099458364">The Moons of Jupiter</a>, the female narrator endures dinner in the company of a rather malicious man, Dennis, who explains that women are.</p> <p>"forced to live in the world of loss and death! Oh, I know, there’s face-lifting, but how does that really help? The uterus dries up. The vagina dries up."</p> <p>Dennis compares the opportunities open to men as opposed to those available to women.</p> <p>"Specifically, with ageing. Look at you. Think of the way your life would be, if you were a man. The choices you would have. I mean sexual choices. You could start all over. Men do."</p> <p>When the narrator responds cheerfully that she might resist starting over, even if it were possible, Dennis is quick to retort:</p> <p>"That’s it, that’s just it, though, you don’t get the opportunity! You’re a woman and life only goes in one direction for a woman."</p> <p>In another story in the same collection, Labor Day Dinner, Roberta is in the bedroom dressing for an evening out when her lover George comes in and cruelly remarks: “Your armpits are flabby.” Roberta says she will wear something with sleeves, but in her head she hears the,</p> <p>"harsh satisfaction in his voice. The satisfaction of airing disgust. He is disgusted by her aging body. That could have been foreseen."</p> <p>Roberta thinks bitterly that she has always sought to remedy the least sign of deterioration.</p> <p>"Flabby armpits – how can you exercise the armpits? What is to be done? Now the payment is due, and what for? For vanity. Hardly even for that. Just for having those pleasing surfaces once, and letting them speak for you; just for allowing an arrangement of hair and shoulders and breasts to have its effect. You don’t stop in time, don’t know what to do instead; you lay yourself open to humiliation. So thinks Roberta, with self-pity […] She must get away, live alone, wear sleeves."</p> <p>As with most emotions that arise around our ageing, it can usually be traced back to a fraught relationship with time. French philosopher and Nobel Prize winner <a href="https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/bergson/">Henri Bergson</a> <a href="https://www.gutenberg.org/files/56852/56852-h/56852-h.htm">says</a>: “Sorrow begins by being nothing more than a facing towards the past.”</p> <p>For Roberta, as for many of us, it was a past in which we relied on those “pleasing surfaces”, perhaps even took them for granted, until they no longer produced the desired effect.</p> <p>But the truth is that our bodies are capable of more severe betrayals than mere flabby armpits. In time they may cause us to be exposed in skimpy, front-opening or back-opening hospital gowns under the all-seeing eye of the CT scanner; they may deliver us into the skilled, ruthless hands of a surgeon. Our very blood may speak of things we will not wish to hear.</p> <h2>Glimpsing our mortality in middle age</h2> <p>Middle age is sometimes referred to as The Age of Grief. It’s when we first glimpse our own mortality; we feel youth slipping away into the past, and the young people in our lives begin to assert their independence.</p> <p>We have our mid-life crises then. We join gyms, and take up running; we speak for the first time of “bucket lists” – the term itself an attempt to diminish the sting of time’s depredations. None of this will save us from the real Age of Grief, which comes later and hits harder because it is largely hidden. And we’ll be expected to endure it in silence.</p> <p>In my conversations with people aged 70 and older, grief has surfaced from causes other than what might be called “cosmetic” changes. Following a severe stroke, 80-year-old Philippa describes the pain of having had to make the decision to relinquish her home and move into residential care.</p> <p>"It’s when you lose your garden, which you’ve loved, and you’ve got to walk away from that. I’ve got photos of the house, and I look at them and think, oh, I just love the way I did that room, decorated it, things like that. But change happens."</p> <p>“Somehow change always comes with loss, as well as bringing something new,” I said. “Yes,” she replied, “I just had to say to myself: you can’t worry about it, and you can’t change it. That sounds hard, but it’s my way of dealing with it.”</p> <p>Tucked away in residential care homes, largely invisible to those of us lucky enough to still inhabit the outside world, elderly people like Philippa are quietly raising resilience to the level of an art form.</p> <p>In her poem, <a href="https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/47536/one-art">One Art</a>, the Canadian poet Elizabeth Bishop advises losing something every day.</p> <blockquote> <p>Accept the fluster<br />of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.<br />Lose something every day.<br />The art of losing isn’t hard to master.</p> </blockquote> <p>Bishop goes on to list other lost items – her mother’s watch, the next-to-last of three loved houses, lovely cities, two rivers, even a continent. While the losses elderly people commonly accumulate are less grand, they are no less devastating.</p> <p>One by one, they will relinquish driver’s licenses. For many there will be the loss of the family home and their belongings, save for whatever will fit into a care home’s single room. Perhaps they have already given up the freedom of walking without the aid of a stick, or walker. There may be the dietary restrictions imposed by conditions such as diabetes, and the invisible disabilities of diminished hearing and eyesight.</p> <p>A failing memory, one would think, must be the final straw. And yet, what seems to be the actual final straw is the situation, reported time and again, where an old person feels “unseen”, or “looked through”, and for indefensible reasons finds themself being “missed” in favour of someone younger. It might, for example, be a moment when they are ignored as they patiently wait their turn at a shop counter.</p> <p>In my conversation with Philippa, she remarked that old people are often looked through when they are part of a group, or when they are waiting to be served. “I have seen it happen to other older people, as if they don’t exist. I have called out assistants who have done that to other people.”</p> <p>Surely the least we can do, as fortunate beings of fewer years, is to acknowledge the old people among us. To make them feel seen, and of equal value.</p> <h2>‘Age pride’ and destigmatising ‘old’</h2> <p><a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7246680/">Ageism, Healthy Life Expectancy and Population Ageing: How Are They Related</a> is a recent survey conducted with more than 83,000 participants from 57 countries. It found that ageism negatively impacts the health of older adults. In the United States, people with a negative attitude towards ageing live 7.5 fewer years than their more positive counterparts.</p> <p>In Australia, the National Ageing Research Institute has developed an <a href="https://www.nari.net.au/age-positive-language-guide">Age-Positive Language Guide</a> as part of its strategy to combat ageism.</p> <p>Examples of poor descriptive language include terms such as “old person”, “the elderly”, and even “seniors”. That last term appears on a card Australians receive shortly after turning 60, which enables them to receive various discounts and concessions. Instead, we are encouraged to use “older person”, or “older people”. But this is just another form of age-masking that fools no one.</p> <p>It would be better to throw the institute’s energy into destigmatising the word “old”. What, after all, is wrong with being old, and saying so?</p> <p>To begin the process of reclaiming this word from the pejorative territory it currently occupies, old people need to start claiming their years with pride. If other marginalised social groups can do it, why can’t old people? Some activists working against ageism are beginning to mention <a href="https://www.nextavenue.org/how-to-swap-ageism-for-age-pride/">“age pride”</a>.</p> <p>If we become homesick for who we once were as we age, we might remind ourselves of the meaning of <em>nostos</em> and consider old age as a kind of homecoming.</p> <h2>Narrative identity</h2> <p>The body we travel in is a vehicle for all the iterations of the self, and the position we currently inhabit is part of an ongoing creative process: the evolving story of the self. From the 1980s, psychologists, philosophers and social theorists have been calling it <a href="https://psycnet.apa.org/record/2011-21882-005">narrative identity</a>.</p> <p>The process of piecing together a narrative identity begins in late adolescence and evolves across our entire lives. Like opening a Russian doll, from whose hollow shell other dolls emerge, at our centre is a solid core composed of traits and values. It’s also composed of the narrative identity we have put together from all our days – including those we cannot now remember – and from all the selves we have ever been. Perhaps even from the selves we might have been, but chose instead to paint over.</p> <p>In Metamorphosis, or the Elephant’s Foot, Harriet Mayfield tells her husband, “At this point in life. We are who we are – the outcome of various other incarnations.”</p> <p>We know our lives, and the lives of others, through fragments. Fragments are all we have. They’re all we’ll ever have. We live in moments, not always in chronological order. But narrative identity helps us make meaning of life. And the vantage point of old age offers the longest view.</p> <p>The story of the self carries us from the deep past to the present moment. And old age sets us the great life challenge of maintaining balance in the present, while managing the remembered past – with all its joys and griefs – and the joys and griefs of the imagined future.<!-- 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/202754/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/carol-lefevre-1341823"><em>Carol Lefevre</em></a><em>, Visiting Research Fellow, Department of English and Creative Writing, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-adelaide-1119">University of Adelaide</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/friday-essay-homesick-for-ourselves-the-hidden-grief-of-ageing-202754">original article</a>.</em></p>

Beauty & Style

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The hidden dangers of household products

<p>The materials, fabrics and fragrances contained inside our homes are host to thousands of chemicals that may pose a threat to human health.</p> <p>Healthy home expert Nicole Bijlsma says there simply aren’t enough regulations to ensure the products and materials in our homes are safe for consumers.</p> <p>“We have this incredible, unregulated, chemical onslaught in our household products, personal care products, building materials and cleaning products which is why the burden of chemicals is increasing with each generation,” Bijlsma says.</p> <p>“Just because it’s on the supermarket shelf doesn’t mean it’s been tested.”</p> <p>The largely unregulated cleaning product industry is often placed under scrutiny in the fight against chemicals but Bijsma says this issue extends to all areas of the home.</p> <p>“What happens is we wait for the disease to occur in the general population before we look back and realise [the harm]…It’s a stupid system; it doesn’t protect consumers and it certainly does not protect the most vulnerable in our society– our children and the unborn fetus.”</p> <p>Only through thorough research can consumers determine where their products are being sourced, under what conditions they’ve been made and the impact they may have on health. Even then there are gaps.</p> <p>Imported items are not under the same regulations as those made in New Zealand.</p> <p>“A lot of the products, especially furnishings, you can’t load with formaldehyde but if you import them from Asia as most people do, they’re going to be loaded with chemicals…Bijlsma says. </p> <p>Bijlsma advises going back to basics when selecting materials and products, reducing the chemical load, choosing natural fibres and buying home made.</p> <p>“The big problem is most chemicals in building materials and household products have never been tested for their impact on human health,” Bijlsma says.</p> <p>Creating a healthy home is of the utmost importance to homeowner Irena Bukhshtaber, who has recently extended her  home to be 100 per cent sustainable and hypoallergenic.</p> <p>“Because our industry standards are so high, usually it’s a local product too…Watch out for imports, from floorboards to air-conditioning, as there’s no way to guarantee what they say on the label unless the seller can guarantee provenance or knows the company.”</p> <p>Despite the time-consuming research process (three years) of renovating the home to a healthy standard Bukhshtaber says the outcome has been worth the effort.</p> <p>“How difficult is it to live with sick or tired family members? How hard is it to live your values? If the outcome is positive then it’s not difficult, but it is time consuming and does require you to spend time researching, calling and discussing with suppliers.”</p> <p>To keep her costs down when renovating, Bukhshtaber advises determining the elements of a home that matter most to you, whether this be using recycled materials, limited chemicals, high-quality design, ethical manufacturing or buying New Zealand made.</p> <p>“None of these things are mutually exclusive but you do need a hierarchy in mind as no one has unlimited budget,” Bukhshtaber says.</p> <p><em>Written by Amelia Barnes. First appeared on</em> <a href="http://www.domain.com.au/" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em><strong>Domain.com.au.</strong></em></span></a></p> <p><em>Images: Getty</em></p> <p> </p>

Home Hints & Tips

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5 TV shows with hidden meanings in their names

<p>Sometimes you’ll hear a TV title and think that it sounds cool, but not really pause to think about what it means. Sure, creators could go the more obvious route and call a show what it’s about (some excellent shows with such monikers include <em>Desperate Housewives, CSI, Boston Legal</em>, and <em>Friends</em>), but where’s the fun in that? We like a title that needs a little digging to uncover a new layer of meaning to the show you’re currently binging. Here are some of our favourites.</p> <p><strong>1.<em> Mad Men</em></strong></p> <p>If you weren’t paying attention to <em>Mad Men</em>’s pilot, (and it seems as though many of us weren’t), “Mad Men” are the advertising men working on Madison Avenue. Throw those words together and what do you get? I’ll wait.</p> <p><strong>2. <em>Black Mirror</em></strong></p> <p>If you haven’t yet experienced this eerie anthology series about the myriad potential dark futures humans face because of our obsession with and dependence upon technology, you should add it to your list. In 2014, the show’s creator, Charlie Brooker, explained to the UK’s Channel 4 that “black mirror” refers to how any kind of screen looks once it’s been turned off. Try it now – pick up your phone without pressing any buttons. Can you see your face staring back at you from a dark, reflected world?</p> <p><strong>3. <em>Grey’s Anatomy</em></strong></p> <p>This is one of those punny titles that plays on the lead character’s name, but it works so deliciously that I’m willing to let it slide. Lead character Meredith Grey has her life and inner workings on display for the whole world to see each week, but what you might not realise is that <em>Gray’s Anatomy</em> is a popular medical textbook published over 150 years ago.</p> <p><strong>4. <em>Breaking Bad</em></strong></p> <p>This one is a little obscure, and many people never gave it a second thought – so wrapped up were they in the spectacular downward spiral of Walter White. “Breaking bad” is a <a href="https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Break%20Bad" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>colloquial term</strong></span></a> that means you challenge conventions, skirt the edges of the law, or defy authority. Pretty much sums up all of Walt, right?</p> <p><strong>5. <em>The Wire</em></strong></p> <p>This subversive, subtle classic is so engrossing that it’s easy to skip straight past the simple name without giving it a second thought, so you might not notice that these aren’t the typical police you’re used to seeing on television. These cops use tactical methods to get their work done – usually surveillance and <em>wire taps.</em></p> <p><em>Image credit: Instagram / Shutterstock</em></p>

TV

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Hidden jokes in your favourite TV shows

<p>Creating a television show has to be one of the most stressful jobs in Hollywood. Not only do you have to come up with compelling characters, plots, and stick them in the perfect setting, you also have to manage things like budgets, actor availability, and notes from networks. But even though the schedule is always tight, and despite the ever-present threat of cancellation, TV writers, designers, and cast members often find ways to insert hidden references and inside jokes for the most eagle-eyed viewers. Colloquially known as “Easter eggs”, these gags are hard to spot unless you know what you’re looking for. So, we’ve assembled a list of some of our favourites so you can keep an eye out next time you’re bingeing.</p> <p><strong>1. <em>The West Wing</em></strong></p> <p>Fans of Aaron Sorkin’s beloved <em>West Wing</em> will no doubt remember the episode when CJ is gifted a goldfish by reporter and admirer Danny. The goldfish bowl (and its inhabitant) became a feature of CJ’s desk throughout the entire series, and would often feature a deep-sea decoration pertaining to the episode’s theme. Christmas trees, Presidential podiums, and ballot boxes all featured as decorations over the years.</p> <p><strong>2.<em> Arrested Development</em></strong></p> <p>Fans of this hysterical family comedy will no doubt remember the fateful episode when Buster Bluth loses his arm to a runaway seal. If you go back and watch the second season again, you’ll notice visual gags aplenty that foreshadow poor Buster’s fate. Perhaps the boldest is when Buster sits on a bench, obscuring the perfect amount of letters so that all viewers can see are the words “arm off”.</p> <p><strong>3. <em>Community</em></strong></p> <p>With a cult following to rival any, <em>Community</em> packed its laughs anywhere they could. The show’s creators played a long game with a gag to summon the titular character from Tim Burton’s 1988<em> Beetlejuice</em>. According to the film’s lore, Beetlejuice can be summoned by saying his name three times. Characters said “Beetlejuice” once in season one, again in season two, and for a third time in season three. When Annie says his name for the third time, Beetlejuice himself can be clearly seen walking in a hallway outside. Gold.</p> <p><strong>4. <em>Battlestar Galactica</em></strong></p> <p>Fans of Joss Whedon’s beloved, short-lived space western <em>Firefly</em> will be delighted to know that the space ship featured in the series (a “Firefly” class named Serenity) had a cameo in the 2003 <em>Battlestar Galactica</em> miniseries. Blink and you’ll miss this one. Pause it at the right moment and marvel in the glory. Shiny.</p> <p><em>Image credit: Shutterstock</em></p>

TV

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1 in 4 households struggle to pay power bills. Here are 5 ways to tackle hidden energy poverty

<p><a href="https://energyconsumersaustralia.com.au/news/how-increases-in-energy-prices-are-impacting-consumers#:%7E:text=Energy%2520affordability%2520is%2520not%2520just,in%2520the%2520past%252012%2520months.">One in four Australian households</a> are finding it hard to pay their gas and electricity bills. As winter looms, <a href="https://www.aer.gov.au/news-release/default-market-offer-2023%25E2%2580%259324-draft-determination">energy price rises</a> will make it even harder. Cold homes and disconnections resulting from energy poverty threaten people’s health and wellbeing.</p> <p><a href="https://www.acoss.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2023/03/ACOSS-cost-of-living-report2-March-2023_web_FINAL.pdf">Income support for welfare recipients</a> and retrofitting homes to make them more thermally efficient – by adding insulation, for example – can ease the burden. And when homes are not too cold or hot, <a href="https://theconversation.com/fuel-poverty-makes-you-sick-so-why-has-nothing-changed-since-i-was-a-child-living-in-a-cold-home-201787">people’s health benefits</a>. This in turn <a href="https://apo.org.au/node/319556">eases pressure on the public health system</a>.</p> <p>However, many people are missing out on assistance as programs often do not recognise their difficulties. Their energy vulnerability is hidden.</p> <h2>What forms does hidden energy poverty take?</h2> <p><a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2214629623000737">Our newly published study</a> has revealed six aspects of hidden energy vulnerability. These are:</p> <ol> <li> <p>underconsumption – households limit or turn off cooling, heating and/or lights to avoid disconnections</p> </li> <li> <p>incidental masking – other welfare support, such as rent relief, masks difficulties in paying energy bills</p> </li> <li> <p>some households disguise energy poverty by using public facilities such as showers or pooling money for bills between families</p> </li> <li> <p>some people conceal their hardship due to pride or fear of legal consequences, such as losing custody of children if food cannot be refrigerated because the power has been cut off</p> </li> <li> <p>poor understanding of energy efficiency and the health risks of cold or hot homes adds to the problem</p> </li> <li> <p>eligibility criteria for energy assistance programs may exclude some vulnerable households. For example, people with income just above the welfare threshold are missing out on energy concessions. Energy retailer hardship programs also ignore people who have voluntarily disconnected due to financial hardship.</p> </li> </ol> <h2>5 ways to help these households</h2> <p>Our studies suggest trusted intermediaries such as people working in health, energy and social services can play a vital role in identifying and supporting such households.</p> <p>First, energy efficiency and hardship initiatives may be <a href="https://www.rmit.edu.au/about/schools-colleges/property-construction-and-project-management/research/research-centres-and-groups/sustainable-building-innovation-laboratory/projects/care-at-home-system-improvements">integrated into the My Aged Care in-home care system</a>. Energy poverty risk identification, response and referral could be built into the national service’s assessment form. This could leverage existing client screening processes.</p> <p>The system’s front-line staff could connect at-risk householders with energy counsellors. These counsellors could help people access better energy contracts, concessions, home retrofits and appliance upgrade programs.</p> <p>A new Commonwealth “energy supplement” could help pay for essential energy-related home modifications. This would help avoid My Aged Care funds being diverted from immediate healthcare needs.</p> <p>Second, general practitioners and other health professionals could help identify energy vulnerability among patients with medical conditions of concern. They could also provide letters of support emphasising renters’ health-based need for air conditioners or heaters.</p> <p>Third, energy providers could use household energy data to identify those that seem to be under-consuming or are often disconnected. They could also identify those that are not on “best offer” deals. They could be proactive in checking struggling householders’ eligibility for ongoing energy concessions and one-off debt relief grants offered by states and territories.</p> <p>Energy providers could also make it easier for social housing providers to ensure concessions for tenants renew automatically.</p> <p>Fourth, local councils could use their data to identify at-risk householders. They might include those with a disability parking permit, discounted council rates or in arrears, on the social housing waiting list, Meals on Wheels clients and social housing tenants. Maternal and child health nurses and home and community care workers making home visits could call attention to cold or hot homes.</p> <p>Councils could employ in-house energy counsellors to provide assistance and energy literacy training. Council home maintenance teams could develop bulk-buying, insulation and neighbourhood retrofit programs.</p> <p>Strategies to reduce vulnerability to energy poverty should be part of municipal public health and wellbeing plans. Under these strategies, net-zero-carbon funds set up by states and local councils to reduce emissions could finance targeted housing retrofits.</p> <p>We also suggest setting up a central helpline to improve access to energy assistance via local referrals.</p> <p>Fifth, residential energy-efficiency programs could become more person-centric. For example, we already have <a href="https://www.homescorecard.gov.au/">Residential Efficiency Scorecard</a> audits to assess the thermal quality of a home. These audits could also explore whether concessions and better energy deals are available to the household.</p> <h2>Building capacity at all levels</h2> <p><a href="https://cur.org.au/cms/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/tackling-hidden-energy-final.pdf">Capacity-building strategies</a> are needed at all levels – individual, community and government – to overcome the <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2214629623000737">challenges</a> of reducing energy poverty. Current obstacles include the competing priorities of service providers, lack of time and resources, and <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S2214629622003553">poor co-ordination between siloed</a> programs and services.</p> <p>Access to essential energy services should be part of state and local governments’ strategic health plans. Housing, energy and health departments could work together to include housing retrofits in preventive health programs.</p> <p>A comprehensive approach is needed to overcome hidden energy poverty. It must include public education, integrated services and well-funded energy-efficiency programs. Regulatory reforms and ongoing funding are both needed to improve the availability of energy-efficient, affordable homes for tenants.</p> <p>Our suggested strategies start with improving the skills and knowledge of trusted intermediaries. Doctors, social workers, housing officers, community nurses and volunteers can play a central role. Using these front-line professionals to help identify and act on energy poverty offers a novel, cost-effective and targeted solution.</p> <p><em>This article originally appeared on <a href="https://theconversation.com/1-in-4-households-struggle-to-pay-power-bills-here-are-5-ways-to-tackle-hidden-energy-poverty-204672" target="_blank" rel="noopener">The Conversation</a>.</em></p> <p><em>Images: Getty</em></p>

Home Hints & Tips

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Hidden gems to see in Australia

<p dir="ltr">If you want to experience Australia in all its glory, then you need to check out these three stunning locations - which just happen to be some of the country’s best-kept secret destinations. </p> <p dir="ltr" role="presentation"><strong>1. The Whites Beach, Byron Bay, NSW</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">Byron Bay is a tourist hotspot, but the town’s Whites Beach is a hidden treasure. Getting there alone is an adventure in itself. You’ll have to drive through a road inside a rainforest and walk to the shoreline once you see a path filled with trees.</p> <p dir="ltr">Once you reach the shoreline you’ll be greeted with crystal clear water, white sand, and if you’re lucky enough, you might even see a dolphin! </p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>2. The Wilpena Pound, Flinders Ranges, SA</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">The Wilpena Pound is abundant with wildlife and covers 50 hectares of land. You’re likely to see some kangaroos, and eagles flying above. It’s a beautiful nature walk and if you go in far enough you can catch a glimpse of incredible Aboriginal rock art and unbelievable geological formations. </p> <p dir="ltr">It has a campground that makes for the perfect base to settle down as you venture off into the breathtaking wilderness.</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>3. Baird Bay Ocean Eco Experience, Bird Bay, SA</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">Head to Baird Bay Ocean for the once-of-a-lifetime opportunity that is swimming with sea lions! These cheeky little creatures will follow you, and even sometimes mock you.</p> <p dir="ltr">If sea lions take a liking to you, they’ll happily introduce you to their babies. If you’re especially fortunate, you could run into some bottlenose dolphins.</p> <p dir="ltr">Head to these locations for an unforgettable experience, but don't tell your friends!</p> <p><span id="docs-internal-guid-4cd351a4-7fff-73b8-bc00-34b0aaa5d32e"></span></p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credit: Getty/Instagram</em></p>

Domestic Travel

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Body of missing woman hidden inside wheelie bin

<p dir="ltr">The search for the remains of Queensland woman Lesley Trotter continues after police find “strong evidence” that her body was put in a wheelie bin near her home before being collected by a rubbish truck.</p> <p dir="ltr">The 78-year-old had been missing since March 27, sparking alarm when her family members reported that she was not home and had left her mobile phone and wallet behind.</p> <p dir="ltr">Detective Superintendent Andrew Massingham told reporters on Tuesday that the body, believed to be Trotter’s, was placed in the general waste bin on Maryvale St on March 28.</p> <p dir="ltr">“It was evident at that time that the person we believe is Ms Trotter was deceased,” he said.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Due to the positioning of the body, I can’t rule out foul play at this stage.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Massingham did not elaborate on the extent of her injuries or how police knew about the positioning of Trotter’s body, given that they are still searching for her remains.</p> <p dir="ltr">Massingham also revealed that the bin was collected by a rubbish truck scheduled for that morning, which was then taken to Nudgee Waste Transfer Station, where the rubbish was dropped into a pit.</p> <p dir="ltr">“An additional 22 trucks also visited the site on that Tuesday,” he said.</p> <p dir="ltr">“The loads from each of those trucks was compressed and then was taken away from the facility in six B-double semi-trailers.”</p> <p dir="ltr">He added that the rubbish was then taken to dump sites in Rochedale and Swanbank, which are now being quarantined.</p> <p dir="ltr">Massingham said that police currently have no suspects, despite having conducted interviews over the weekend.</p> <p dir="ltr">They are also planning an extensive search this week to recover Trotter’s remains, with detectives expecting it to be a “difficult operation”.</p> <p dir="ltr">Massingham added that once Trotter’s body is recovered, they will forensically examine it to “try find any piece of evidence” which will help them determine her cause of death.</p> <p dir="ltr">Forensic samples- reportedly including blood- were collected from Trotter’s unit complex and a neighbouring unit complex, although Massingham said that the relevance of these samples “are not yet clear and may be unrelated to this matter”.</p> <p dir="ltr">“This is obviously a disturbing development,” Massingham said, adding that Trotter’s family members have been informed.</p> <p dir="ltr">“This is traumatic to them. I think this is confronting for them, the nature ... would be concerning for any family, particularly a lady of that age ... looking forward to the next chapter of her life.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Police were investigating a possible link between Trotter’s disappearance and her recycling habits, after it was revealed that her neighbours had complained about her taking rubbish out of wheelie bins and leaving it on the ground.</p> <p dir="ltr">However, Massingham has stressed that this was only “one aspect” of the investigation.</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Images: Queensland Police, 7News</em></p>

News

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5 hidden sugar bombs you should be aware of

<p>It seems like a pretty easy rule to follow – when you’re doing your weekly shop, if an item is packaged, it's likely laden with sugar. We all know that the sweet stuff is absolutely everywhere and that food companies use clever little tricks to disguise this from us when it comes to food labels. So, if you're not careful, sneaky foods packed with sugar will make their way into your home. Here we bring you some tips on how to arm yourself with the knowledge to avoid an accidental sugar binge.</p> <p><strong>Fruit yoghurt</strong></p> <p>It seems innocent enough, but fruit yogurt can be one of the biggest sugar bombs at the supermarket. Have you ever noticed how this popular morning snack feels like it would be more appropriately placed as a dessert option, well that’s because they are loaded with sugar. Opt for natural yoghurt and add cinnamon or berries to naturally sweeten.</p> <p><strong>Pasta sauce</strong></p> <p>Never mind the shortcomings of refined white pasta, it's the sauce that should be of concern. Pasta sauce alone can carry up to 12 grams of sugar for every half cup.</p> <p><strong>Agave</strong></p> <p>Despite it being sold in health food stores and renowned as a healthy alternative to sugar, it doesn’t change the fact that agave is pretty much just sugar dressed up in a healthier looking outfit. As it's 85 per cent fructose, it may be worse for you than cane sugar, which is all sucrose. What does this mean? Well, fructose is metabolised almost exclusively by your liver, which is hard work, and we’re still learning about the way different forms of sugar affect our health.</p> <p><strong>Dried fruit</strong></p> <p>Given it’s fruit it’s not surprising that most people count dried fruits amongst healthy food options, however, in some cases it might as well be like eating lollies. Just one-third of a cup can have 24 grams of sugar.</p> <p><strong>Granola bars</strong></p> <p>A convenient snack that is easy to carry in your bag to enjoy on the run? Yes. But the health factor of these bars depends on the ingredients. Most varieties aren't only made of wholegrain oats. In fact, one bar can pack as much as 12 grams (or much more) of sugar, so be sure to read the label before adding these to your shopping trolly.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p>

Food & Wine

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Surprising hidden meaning behind Australia Post logo revealed

<p>A researcher and engineer has shared the history of the Australia Post logo, leaving Aussies everywhere shocked. </p> <p>Julian O'Shea revealed the inspiration behind the postal service's logo in a video posted to his popular TikTok account, which has since gone viral. </p> <p>Mr O'Shea has dedicated his social media channels to educating people on the history behind designs, buildings and cities.</p> <p>He explained that the Australia Post logo was established to look like the post horn that was used by guards of mail coaches throughout Europe in the 18th and 19th centuries.</p> <p>"Ever wondered what's going on with the Australia Post logo?" Mr O'Shea says in his video as he stands in front of a post box.</p> <p style="font-size: 16px; box-sizing: inherit; margin: 0px 0px 5px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; vertical-align: baseline; caret-color: #323338; color: #323338; font-family: Figtree, Roboto, Rubik, 'Noto Kufi Arabic', 'Noto Sans JP', sans-serif; outline: none !important;">"Now clearly the P is trying to represent P for post, but what is this thing all about?" he continues, pointing at the white half-circle design on the right of the logo.</p> <div class="embed" style="font-size: 16px; box-sizing: inherit; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; vertical-align: baseline; outline: none !important;"><iframe class="embedly-embed" style="box-sizing: inherit; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border-width: 0px; vertical-align: baseline; width: 617px; max-width: 100%; outline: none !important;" title="tiktok embed" src="https://cdn.embedly.com/widgets/media.html?src=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.tiktok.com%2Fembed%2Fv2%2F7193652087022963969&amp;display_name=tiktok&amp;url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.tiktok.com%2F%40julianoshea%2Fvideo%2F7193652087022963969%3Fembed_source%3D121331973%252C120811592%252C120810756%253Bnull%253Bembed_name%26refer%3Dembed%26referer_url%3Dwww.dailymail.co.uk%252Fnews%252Farticle-11699725%252FAustralia-Post-logo-history-revealed-viral-TikTok-shocking-customers-mail-service.html%26referer_video_id%3D7193652087022963969&amp;image=https%3A%2F%2Fp16-sign-sg.tiktokcdn.com%2Fobj%2Ftos-alisg-p-0037%2FoofR1DwnAGfFPgB8buPGGCAWQPpIHUg1fesGdA%3Fx-expires%3D1675328400%26x-signature%3DaHhgP0gMHHN48wWlEwaUCjUnUXM%253D&amp;key=59e3ae3acaa649a5a98672932445e203&amp;type=text%2Fhtml&amp;schema=tiktok" width="340" height="700" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></div> <p style="font-size: 16px; box-sizing: inherit; margin: 0px 0px 5px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; vertical-align: baseline; caret-color: #323338; color: #323338; font-family: Figtree, Roboto, Rubik, 'Noto Kufi Arabic', 'Noto Sans JP', sans-serif; outline: none !important;">"This shape is based on the postal horn and this was an actual instrument that would be blown to let people know that the mailman was here to come down and bring down your packages."</p> <p>He also revealed that a similar design has been used for national postal services in countries such as Argentina, Germany and Iceland. </p> <p>"So you might think letters and mail are out of date, but the logos they use are even more so," the online educator added.</p> <p>The original Australia Post logo was designed in 1975 by Pieter Huveneers, a renowned graphic designer from the Netherlands.</p> <p>Mr O'Shea's video was flooded with comments from Aussies who were shocked to learn the meaning behind the iconic symbol. </p> <p>"Ok this is something they should teach us in Primary school," wrote one viewer.</p> <p>Another said, "I've always thought it was a P inside an O that was just kinda stylised."</p> <p>"I always assumed it was a keyhole," added a third.</p> <p>"I've learnt something today! Cheers," said another. </p> <p><em>Image credits: TikTok / Shutterstock</em></p>

Money & Banking

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The hidden health benefits of spices

<p>Spices have a lot more to offer than just adding flavour to your dishes. Many spices have hidden health benefits that you might not be aware of. Add these spices to your diet to aid in anything from digestion to brain function.</p> <p><strong>Turmeric –</strong> Found in many mustards and cheeses, turmeric has been known to work as a pain reliever and possesses anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. There is also evidence to suggest that it benefits Alzheimer’s, arthritis, and cancer.</p> <p><strong>Saffron –</strong> Saffron contains vitamin C, calcium, magnesium, and potassium. It can be used to treat coughs, insomnia, cancer, gas, depression, Alzheimer’s, heartburn, PMS, and dry skin, to name a few.</p> <p><strong>Cumin –</strong> A staple in curries, cumin is a great source of iron and helps aid brain function.</p> <p><strong>Cayenne pepper –</strong> Hot and spicy, cayenne pepper helps to stimulate your metabolism and aids in circulation and digestion.</p> <p><strong>Ginger –</strong> As well as adding a kick of flavour to your green smoothies ginger helps treat upset stomachs, bloating, and gas. It also helps sooth sore throats, arthritis, colds, and motion sickness. Is there anything it doesn’t do? </p> <p><strong>Cinnamon –</strong> An antioxidant that contains iron and calcium, cinnamon has been known to reduce inflammation, reduce blood sugar levels, calm nausea, and aid in the body’s burning of fat.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock</em></p>

Body

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New coin featuring Queen Elizabeth II carries hidden detail

<p>The final design for the coin featuring Queen Elizabeth’s profile has been released by the Royal Australian Mint.</p> <p>Since taking the throne in 1953, six portraits of the Queen have appeared on Australian coins and next year the late monarch will feature for the last time.</p> <p>The new design was unveiled this week, after her death in September, and will include her familiar profile but with a notable difference.</p> <p>Featuring British engraver Jody Clark’s portrait of Queen Elizabeth II, the memorial coin’s notable addition will include the Queen’s 70 years of reign and will read "Elizabeth II 1952-2022".</p> <p>Australian coin expert Joel Kandiah says this will be the first time this detail has appeared on an Australian coin. The change will only be for the collectable coin, and not for normally circulated coins.</p> <p>“Any new circulation coins minted next year will be dated 2022 until the King Charles III effigy is introduced,” he told 7News.</p> <p>The coin has been called Queen Elizabeth II Memorial Obverse and will be released in January 2023.</p> <p>Existing coins bearing the Queen’s profile will remain in circulation and continue to be legal tender forever.</p> <p>In the coming months, the Australian Government will announce details of the transition to the profile of King Charles III for all Australian coins.</p> <p>Assistant Minister for Competition, Charities and Treasury Andrew Leigh said: “This final series of collectable coins will serve as a lasting tribute to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, and a reminder for all Australians of her 70 years of service to Australia and the Commonwealth".</p> <p><em>Image: Royal Australian Mint</em></p>

Money & Banking

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Dog found hidden in carry-on bag at airport security

<p>A US Transportation and Security Agency (TSA) officer has discovered a small dog stashed in a traveller's carry-on luggage. </p> <p>The animal was found in a backpack when going through the X-ray machine at the Dane County <a title="Airport " href="https://www.9news.com.au/airport" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Airport</a> in Wisconsin. </p> <p>TSA told a local news outlet that the passenger was unaware of the screening protocol and did not tell security officers about her dog.</p> <p>After an officer explained the proper process and confirmed she disclosed she was travelling with a pet to the airline, she proceeded to her gate to board her flight. </p> <p>TSA Great Lakes confirmed that the woman's error was an accident on social media, while alerting people to the proper flying rules. </p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">Video: Here’s the proper way to travel with your pet. Note: This is a <a href="https://twitter.com/TSA?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@TSA</a> PreCheck passenger traveling with a cat. If you think your pet will attempt an escape, ask to speak with a supervisor before removing the animal. Alternative screening options may be available. (2/2) <a href="https://t.co/NL2jNjni2l">pic.twitter.com/NL2jNjni2l</a></p> <p>— TSA_GreatLakes (@TSA_GreatLakes) <a href="https://twitter.com/TSA_GreatLakes/status/1600210121136537600?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">December 6, 2022</a></p></blockquote> <p>"A dog was accidentally sent through the X-ray @MSN_Airport this week," it tweeted.</p> <p>"When travelling with any animal, notify your airline and know their rules."</p> <p>"At the checkpoint, remove your pet from the bag and send all items, including the empty carrier, to be screened in the machine."</p> <p>It then uploaded a video showing "the proper way" to travel with pets.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Twitter</em></p>

Travel Trouble

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Hidden message in JLo’s engagement ring

<p dir="ltr">Jennifer Lopez has shared a heartwarming detail that her husband Ben Affleck did to her engagement ring.</p> <p dir="ltr">The two lovebirds finally <a href="https://oversixty.com.au/lifestyle/relationships/jlo-and-ben-affleck-finally-tie-the-knot-20-years-later" target="_blank" rel="noopener">tied the knot in an intimate ceremony</a> in Vegas on July 17, just three months after being engaged (for the second time).</p> <p dir="ltr">Affleck first proposed to Lopez, now known as Mrs Jennifer Lynn Affleck, 20 years ago.</p> <p dir="ltr">Now the singer has kept her fans entertained revealing that her engagement ring has a secret message from her husband.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Not.going.anywhere,” the words on her ring read.</p> <p dir="ltr">"That's how he would sign his emails when we started talking again. Like 'Don't worry, I'm not going anywhere,'" Lopez told host Zane Lowe during the interview.</p> <p dir="ltr">The 53-year-old recently revealed that she has decided to take her <a href="https://oversixty.com.au/lifestyle/relationships/jlo-defends-taking-ben-affleck-s-surname" target="_blank" rel="noopener">husband’s last name</a> and that it wouldn’t make much of a difference.</p> <p dir="ltr">“People are still going to call me Jennifer Lopez. But my legal name will be Mrs Affleck because we’re joined together. We’re husband and wife. I’m proud of that,” she told Vogue for the December issue.</p> <p dir="ltr">“I don’t think that’s a problem... it’s not traditional. It doesn’t have any romance to it. It feels like it’s a power move, you know what I mean?</p> <p dir="ltr">“I’m very much in control of my own life and destiny and feel empowered as a woman and as a person. I can understand that people have their feelings about it, and that’s okay, too.</p> <p dir="ltr">“But if you want to know how I feel about it, I just feel like it’s romantic. It still carries tradition and romance to me, and maybe I’m just that kind of girl.”</p> <p dir="ltr">The pair married in a stunning wedding where JLo wore <a href="https://oversixty.com.au/lifestyle/beauty-style/finally-jlo-shares-pics-of-her-three-stunning-wedding-dresses" target="_blank" rel="noopener">three wedding dresses</a>, where each dress cost around $1 million.</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Images: Instagram</em></p>

Relationships

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New discovery: really good violins make hidden, subtle sounds

<p>What makes a good violin sound so good? According to new research, <a href="https://dx.doi.org/10.1121/10.0014600" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">published</a> in <em>The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America</em>, at least part of the reason is extremely subtle extra notes the best instruments sounds out.</p> <p>When two musical notes are played, listeners can sometimes hear “combination tones”: an additional, subjective note that comes from the way the <a href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/health/body-and-mind/explainer-cochlear-implants-function/" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">cochlea</a> processes the two sound waves in the inner ear.</p> <p>Some musical instruments can also make combination tones themselves: called “objective combination tones.” These subtle notes are produced in the instrument, rather than the ear.</p> <p>Not all instruments can make these objective combination tones – but this new research shows the surprising news that violins can.</p> <p>“Up to now, the combination tones generated by the violin were considered too small to be heard, and therefore, of no importance in music,” says study co-author Giovanni Cecchi, of the Università di Firenze, Italy.</p> <p>“Our results change this view by showing that combination tones generated by violins of good quality can be easily heard, affecting the perception of the intervals.”</p> <p>The researchers got a professional violinist to stand in the centre of a musical auditorium and play a series of <em>dyads</em>: two notes played simultaneously.</p> <p>The violinist played dyads on five different violins, all of different ages and qualities, and the researchers recorded the tones.</p> <p>Each violin produced combination tones in all of the dyads. The strongest of these notes was at a slightly lower tone than those of the dyads.</p> <p>Each instrument made the combination tones at different volumes (or amplitude), depending on the instrument’s air resonance.</p> <p>“We found that combination tones were much stronger and clearly audible in good violins,” says Cecchi.</p> <p>“The strongest one was found in an old Italian violin, made in Bologna in 1700 by the famous luthier, Carlo Annibale Tononi.</p> <p>“Combination tones were instead negligibly small in violins of poor quality.”</p> <p>Next, the researchers are investigating more violins to see which part of the instrument causes these objective combination tones.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em><!-- Start of tracking content syndication. Please do not remove this section as it allows us to keep track of republished articles --> <img id="cosmos-post-tracker" style="opacity: 0; height: 1px!important; width: 1px!important; border: 0!important; position: absolute!important; z-index: -1!important;" src="https://syndication.cosmosmagazine.com/?id=221273&amp;title=New+discovery%3A+really+good+violins+make+hidden%2C+subtle+sounds" width="1" height="1" /> <!-- End of tracking content syndication --></em></p> <div id="contributors"> <p><em>This article was originally published on <a href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/science/combination-tones-violins/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">cosmosmagazine.com</a> and was written by Ellen Phiddian. </em></p> </div>

Music

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7th century gold coins found hidden in wall

<p dir="ltr">A collection of coins have been found concealed in a wall at a nature reserve in what has been described as an "extremely significant archaeological find".</p> <p dir="ltr">During an excavation at the Hermon Stream (Banias) in Israel, archaeologists found 44 gold coins dating back to the 7th century.</p> <p dir="ltr">Weighing in at about 170g, experts estimate that the hoard was hidden during the Muslim conquest in 635 CE.</p> <p dir="ltr">They say the discovery sheds light on this significant moment in history which saw the end of the Byzantine rule in the area.</p> <p dir="ltr">"We can imagine the owner concealing his fortune in the threat of war, hoping to return one day to retrieve his property," Yoav Lerer, the director of the excavation, told the <em><a href="https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-63122180" target="_blank" rel="noopener">BBC</a></em>.</p> <p><span id="docs-internal-guid-e2de019e-7fff-f560-1b33-b05e0737cf0b"></span></p> <p dir="ltr">"In retrospect, we know that he was less fortunate."</p> <p dir="ltr"><img src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/2022/10/ancient-coins1.jpg" alt="" width="1280" height="720" /></p> <p dir="ltr">Numismatic (currency) expert Dr Gabriela Bijovsky of the Israel Antiquities Authority said some of the coins were minted by Emperor Phocas (602-610 CE), while the majority were of his successor, Emperor Heraclius, with the latest coins the latter minted dating back to 635 CE.</p> <p dir="ltr">Eli Escusido, the director of the Israel Antiquities Authority, said it was a significant find and that the public could soon see the coins for themselves.</p> <p dir="ltr">"The coin hoard is an extremely significant archaeological find as it dates back to an important transitional period in the history of the city of Banias and the entire region of the Levant," he said.</p> <p dir="ltr">"The Israel Antiquities Authority, together with the National Parks Authority, will work together to exhibit the treasure to the public."</p> <p dir="ltr">Along with the coins, Israeli authorities said the excavation also uncovered remains of buildings and bronze coins, as well as water channels and pipes.</p> <p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-1fc84529-7fff-21de-638e-0c0babadf54e"></span></p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Images: Israel Antiquities Authority (Facebook)</em></p>

Money & Banking

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5 hidden beaches in Australia to try in spring

<p>Don’t fight it out with the crowds at Bondi. Escape to your own secret slice of sand with one of these five hidden beaches in Australia to try in spring.</p> <p><strong>1. Sunshine Beach, Queensland</strong></p> <p>Noosa (just up the coast) gets all the publicity, but Sunshine Beach is definitely our pick. This sleepy seaside town on the Sunshine Coast has a long strip of sand fronting directly onto the Pacific Ocean. The waves can be a little rough, especially if the wind is blowing, but it’s so quiet that there’s a good chance you’ll be the only swimmer there. Don’t miss a post-swim beer at the surf club, set right over the dunes.</p> <p><strong>2. Store Beach, New South Wales</strong></p> <p>Head to Manly on a spring day and you’ll find it packed with locals and tourists alike. So hire a kayak and paddle around to Store Beach, surrounded by the lush bushland of the Sydney Harbour National Park. It's a world away from the hubbub of Manly and feels like a private little enclave for those in the know. Just make sure you pack your own supplies, including drinking water, because there’s nowhere to stock up. And keep an eye out for fairy penguins – the beach is a known breeding ground.</p> <p><strong>3. Gnarabup Beach, Western Australia</strong></p> <p>This white sand wonder is a well-kept secret among the locals from Margaret River. Just a 10-minute drive from the town, its calm turquoise waters are protected by an offshore reef so it’s a great option for families or those looking for a quiet paddle. If you’re looking for seclusion, steer clear of the popular boat ramp and head north for more than a kilometer of untouched sand where the only footprints you’ll see will be your own.</p> <p><strong>4. Godfreys Beach, Tasmania</strong></p> <p>You don’t automatically think of beaches when you think of Tasmania, our coldest state, yet Godfreys is something special. Set just outside the town of Stanley in the state’s northwest, Godfreys Beach is a kilometre of squeaky clean sand surrounded by some of the cleanest air in the world. Its east facing aspect protects the beach from much of the wild weather that can batter the Tasmanian coast, though it still has its rough days. The town itself is just as charming, stocked with colonial buildings and cute B&amp;Bs.</p> <p><strong>5. Memory Cove, South Australia</strong></p> <p>Part of the Lincoln National Park on the tip of the Eyre Peninsula, Memory Cove is one of the finest beaches in the state. Rough and rugged, it’s a secluded beach with stunning scenery that you can only access with a four-wheel drive. One of the best bits is that you can camp right on the beach and with no more than 15 vehicles allowed at any one time, you’ll have a five-star experience for less than $40 per night. The fishing is excellent – so bring your gear – and keep an eye out for dolphins and sea lions.</p> <p>Have you been to any of these hidden beaches? Are there any that you think we should add to the list? Let us know in the comments below.</p> <p><em>Image: Getty</em></p>

Domestic Travel

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