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Father remembered for "instinctive act of bravery" before train tragedy

<p>A family outing has ended in tragedy when a pram carrying twin girls rolled onto the train tracks at Carlton railway station in Sydney.</p> <p>CCTV footage showed the family heading off on their outing just several minutes before tragedy struck.</p> <p>They were walking down the footpath, with the father holding the pram and the mother pulling a trolley bag, before waiting to cross the road to the train station. </p> <p> The parents had arrived on the platform via an elevator and taken their hands off the pram for a "very, very short period of time" when it began to roll, according to NSW Police Superintendent Paul Dunstan. </p> <p>The 40-year-old father is being remembered for his bravery, after he jumped onto the tracks to try and save his twin daughters.</p> <p>Horrified witnesses also tried to flag the train down, but unfortunately it was too late. Emergency services were called to the station at around 12:25 pm.</p> <p>The father and one of the two-year-old girls were killed, and the girls' mother who witnessed the accident unfold was left "incredibly traumatised" according to the Superintendent.</p> <p>Dunstan told reporters several hours after the tragedy that responding officers could hear crying from underneath the train.</p> <p>“Police climbed under the train and rescued one of the children, who was thankfully unharmed, and reunited her with the mother," Dunstan said.</p> <p>“Sadly, the other child, a two-year-old female, and her father who attempted to save the child, have passed away as a result of this incident.”</p> <p>“Whether it’s a gust of wind ... we’re not quite sure. But it appears that the pram has instantly started to roll in the direction of the train lines.”</p> <p>The father has been praised for his "brave and heroic" act. </p> <p>“He’s gone into parent mode and tried to save his two young daughters that have fallen onto the tracks and in doing so it’s cost his life, but it’s an incredibly brave and heroic act,” Dunstan said.</p> <p>The other daughter, who had survived, had fallen between the tracks and was "lucky" to have escaped injury, Dunstan added.</p> <p>The train was heading from Cronulla to the City and wasn't due to stop at Carlton.</p> <p>A police investigation is underway and the National Rail Safety Regulator had also been informed.</p> <p>Premier Chris Minns described the incident as a “terrible, terrible tragedy”.</p> <p>“This is a very confronting and sad day for the St George community,” he said.</p> <p>“I hope over time they can gain some small solace knowing that the father died from an extraordinary, instinctive act of bravery.</p> <p>“That’s not going to bring him or his little daughter back. But it shouldn’t go unremarked upon in the face of a terrible, terrible accident, he gave his own life to try and save his children.”</p> <p><em>Images: Channel 9</em></p>

Caring

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Want the health benefits of strength training but not keen on the gym? Try ‘exercise snacking’

<div class="theconversation-article-body"><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/justin-keogh-129041">Justin Keogh</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/bond-university-863">Bond University</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/jackson-fyfe-134774">Jackson Fyfe</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/deakin-university-757">Deakin University</a></em></p> <p>The science is clear: <a href="https://cdnsciencepub.com/doi/full/10.1139/apnm-2020-0245">resistance training</a> is crucial to ageing well. Lifting weights (or doing bodyweight exercises like lunges, squats or push-ups) can help you live independently for longer, make your bones stronger, reduce your risk of diseases such as diabetes, and may even improve your <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28919335/">sleep and mental health</a>.</p> <p>But not everyone loves the gym. Perhaps you feel you’re not a “gym person” and never will be, or you’re too old to start. Being a gym-goer can be expensive and time-consuming, and some people report feeling <a href="https://www.reddit.com/r/StartingStrength/comments/j3hq32/unwelcome_feeling_at_the_gym/">unwelcome</a> or <a href="https://www.quora.com/I-feel-awkward-and-I-want-to-start-a-gym-but-could-not-What-should-I-do">awkward</a> at the gym.</p> <p>The good news is you don’t need the gym, or lots of free time, to get the health benefits resistance training can offer.</p> <p>You can try “exercise snacking” instead.</p> <h2>What is exercise snacking?</h2> <p>Exercise snacking involves doing multiple shorter bouts (as little as 20 seconds) of exercise throughout the day – often with minimal or no equipment. It’s OK to have <a href="https://doi.org/10.1007/s40279-021-01605-8">several hours of rest</a> between.</p> <p>You could do simple bodyweight exercises such as:</p> <ul> <li> <p>chair sit-to-stand (squats)</p> </li> <li> <p>lunges</p> </li> <li> <p>box step-ups</p> </li> <li> <p>calf raises</p> </li> <li> <p>push-ups.</p> </li> </ul> <p>Exercise snacking like this can help improve muscle mass, strength and physical function.</p> <p>It’s OK to hold onto a nearby object for balance, if you need. And doing these exercises regularly will also improve your balance. That, in turn, reduces your risk of falls and fractures.</p> <h2>OK I have done all those, now what?</h2> <p>Great! You can also try using resistance bands or dumbbells to do the previously mentioned five exercises as well as some of the following exercises:</p> <ul> <li> <p><a href="https://youtu.be/IP4wM2JpDdQ?si=1B1GyV_FY5rcArW8&amp;t=6">seated rows</a></p> </li> <li> <p><a href="https://youtu.be/G6GIffCaJCQ?si=RxXZtzMqQ0DGxF3k&amp;t=48">chest</a> and <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TUnnz5i4Mnw&amp;t=5s">shoulder presses</a></p> </li> <li> <p><a href="https://youtu.be/z0omicIkYu4?si=8WffT3ij12SNTqEs">bicep curls</a></p> </li> <li> <p><a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5wXVnxBgLHo">knee extensions</a></p> </li> <li> <p><a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LtTcXXgeRYo">leg curls</a>.</p> </li> </ul> <p>When using resistance bands, make sure you hold them tightly and that they’re securely attached to an immovable object.</p> <p>Exercise snacking works well when you pair it with an activity you do often throughout the day. Perhaps you could:</p> <ul> <li> <p>do a few extra squats every time you get up from a bed or chair</p> </li> <li> <p>do some lunges during a TV ad break</p> </li> <li> <p>chuck in a few half squats while you’re waiting for your kettle to boil</p> </li> <li> <p>do a couple of elevated push-ups (where you support your body with your hands on a chair or a bench while doing the push-up) before tucking into lunch</p> </li> <li> <p>sneak in a couple of calf raises while you’re brushing your teeth.</p> </li> </ul> <h2>What does the evidence say about exercise snacking?</h2> <p>One <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31687210/">study</a> had older adults without a history of resistance training do exercise snacks at home twice per day for four weeks.</p> <p>Each session involved five simple bodyweight exercises (chair sit-to-stand, seated knee extension, standing knee bends, marching on the spot, and standing calf raises). The participants did each exercise continuously for one minute, with a one-minute break between exercises.</p> <p>These short and simple exercise sessions, which lasted just nine minutes, were enough to improve a person’s ability to stand up from a chair by 31% after four weeks (compared to a control group who didn’t exercise). Leg power and thigh muscle size improved, too.</p> <p>Research involving one of us (Jackson Fyfe) has also <a href="https://bmcgeriatr.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12877-022-03207-z">shown</a> older adults found “exercise snacking” feasible and enjoyable when done at home either once, twice, or three times per day for four weeks.</p> <p>Exercise snacking may be a more sustainable approach to improve muscle health in those who don’t want to – or can’t – lift heavier weights in a gym.</p> <h2>A little can yield a lot</h2> <p>We know from other research that the more you exercise, the more likely it is you will <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0167268119302586">keep exercising in future</a>.</p> <p>Very brief resistance training, albeit with heavier weights, may be more <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29975122/">enjoyable</a> than traditional approaches where people aim to do many, many sets.</p> <p>We also know brief-and-frequent exercise sessions can break up <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26378942/">periods</a> of sedentary behaviour (which usually means sitting too much). Too much sitting increases your risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes, whereas exercise snacking can help keep your <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/36921112/">blood sugar levels steady</a>.</p> <p>Of course, longer-term studies are needed. But the evidence we do have suggests exercise snacking really helps.</p> <h2>Why does any of this matter?</h2> <p>As you age, you lose strength and mass in the muscles you use to walk, or stand up. Everyday tasks can become a struggle.</p> <p>All this <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/36907247/">contributes</a> to disability, hospitalisation, chronic disease, and reliance on community and residential aged care support.</p> <p>By preserving your muscle mass and strength, you can:</p> <ul> <li> <p>reduce joint pain</p> </li> <li> <p>get on with activities you enjoy</p> </li> <li> <p>live independently in your own home</p> </li> <li> <p>delay or even eliminate the need for expensive health care or residential aged care.</p> </li> </ul> <h2>What if I walk a lot – is that enough?</h2> <p>Walking may maintain some level of lower body muscle mass, but it won’t preserve your <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/38190393/">upper body muscles</a>.</p> <p>If you find it difficult to get out of a chair, or can only walk short distances without getting out of breath, resistance training is the best way to regain some of the independence and function you’ve lost.</p> <p>It’s even more important for women, as muscle mass and strength are typically lower in older women than men. And if you’ve been diagnosed with osteoporosis, which is more common in older women than men, resistance exercise snacking at home can improve your balance, strength, and bone mineral density. All of this reduces the risk of falls and fractures.</p> <p>You don’t need <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/37171517/">heavy weights</a> or fancy equipment to benefit from resistance training.</p> <p>So, will you start exercise snacking today?<!-- 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/232374/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/justin-keogh-129041">Justin Keogh</a>, Associate Dean of Research, Faculty of Health Sciences and Medicine, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/bond-university-863">Bond University</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/jackson-fyfe-134774">Jackson Fyfe</a>, Senior Lecturer, Strength and Conditioning Sciences, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/deakin-university-757">Deakin University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock </em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/want-the-health-benefits-of-strength-training-but-not-keen-on-the-gym-try-exercise-snacking-232374">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

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Escaped race horse shocks commuters at suburban train station

<p>An escaped race horse has been spotted at a suburban Sydney train station, bamboozling confused commuters. </p> <p>CCTV footage captured the moment a retired racehorse wandered into Warwick Farm train station around midnight on Friday, as confused commuters hid from the animal. </p> <p>Sydney Trains CEO Matt Longland said they were alerted to the unexpected passenger, and notified train drivers to keep a look out for a passenger that was "horsing around".</p> <p>“Thankfully we were able to warn our train drivers to take extra care to look out for animals on the tracks” Longland said.</p> <p>“A train stopped at the station, (but) didn’t open its doors.”</p> <blockquote class="instagram-media" 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);" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/reel/C5mXYfHSINA/?utm_source=ig_embed&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> <div style="padding: 12.5% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; margin-bottom: 14px; align-items: center;"> <div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(0px) translateY(7px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; height: 12.5px; transform: rotate(-45deg) translateX(3px) translateY(1px); width: 12.5px; flex-grow: 0; margin-right: 14px; margin-left: 2px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(9px) translateY(-18px);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: 8px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 20px; width: 20px;"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 2px solid transparent; border-left: 6px solid #f4f4f4; border-bottom: 2px solid transparent; transform: translateX(16px) translateY(-4px) rotate(30deg);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: auto;"> <div style="width: 0px; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-right: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(16px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; flex-grow: 0; height: 12px; width: 16px; transform: translateY(-4px);"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-left: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(-4px) translateX(8px);"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center; margin-bottom: 24px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 224px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 144px;"> </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;" href="https://www.instagram.com/reel/C5mXYfHSINA/?utm_source=ig_embed&utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by 7NEWS Australia (@7newsaustralia)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p>After pacing the platform for almost 30 minutes, the horse was reunited with its owner, top Australian horse racing trainer Annabel Neasham.</p> <p>“Unfortunately, we had an intruder break-in to one of our stables,” Neasham said. “In the meantime, he managed to let our stable pony out.”</p> <p>“(Our) horse is back at home, none the wiser, not even a scratch on him.”</p> <p>Stable hand Keith Morrison said it was “highly unusual” that the horse ended up on the platform and left him with unanswered questions.</p> <p>“I still want to know how it got up the stairs and onto the platform — it didn’t use the lift!”</p> <p>Langland said Sydney Trains were giving the horse, now affectionately nicknamed “Mr Red” by train staff, a “stern warning” for “failing to tap-on at the station”.</p> <p>"It's not every day you see a horse on the platform, but that's what we saw at Warwick Farm," NSW Transport Minister Jo Haylen said.</p> <p>She said the horse was a well-behaved passenger, adding, "It kept its hooves behind the yellow line, which is a good thing."</p> <p><em>Image credits: 7News </em></p>

Family & Pets

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Dr Chris Brown recalls embarrassing moment on crowded train

<p>Dr Chris Brown tends to attract attention wherever he goes with his 6'5 height and beautiful blond hair - but he got more than he wanted on his recent trip to Japan. </p> <p>Appearing on the morning radio show<em> Triple M’s Mick and MG in the Morning Show, </em>he<em> </em>recalled an embarrassing incident that he would rather forget. </p> <p>“It may not surprise you to learn that I do tend to stand out a little bit on the streets of Tokyo,” he began, to the amusement of radio host Mick Molloy.</p> <p>“Um, six foot five, blond hair, and on the subway especially.</p> <p>“But, I don’t know if you know, in Japan you can buy beers absolutely anywhere — vending machines on the streets, in the subway when you’re just queueing for a train, and so I got involved in this.</p> <p>“I bought a can of Asahi, nice Japanese beer, and was carrying it in my bag, just over my shoulder.”</p> <p>As he got into the crowded train and made his way, the TV vet shared that started to feel a “cold trickle” down his leg. </p> <p>“I realised very quickly that the beer I’d bought had exploded in my bag,” he said.</p> <p>“And I now have a rapidly growing wet patch across my groin, running from my bag to my groin and down my leg, and a highly suspicious amber fluid going across a crowded train carriage,” he continued, making everyone in the studio laugh. </p> <p>“If I couldn’t stand out any more, I found a way.”</p> <p>He added that nobody said a word because Japanese people are so polite, but he did say there was “endless gazing," because they thought he wet himself. </p> <p>“They’re connecting the dots from the trickle along the carriage back up my leg and up to my very wet body,” he added. </p> <p>“Oh wow, oh well I hope you were filming that,” Mick Molloy chuckled.</p> <p>“By the way, that’s how I leave the station every day, on a train, with a wet patch, talking to myself,” he quipped.</p> <p>“Well, I tell you what, if you want to clear some space, it’s a great way to do it, let me tell you,” the TV vet laughed. </p> <p><em>Images: Mick &amp; MG in the morning</em></p>

International Travel

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Resistance (exercise) is far from futile: The unheralded benefits of weight training

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/stuart-phillips-428766">Stuart Phillips</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/mcmaster-university-930">McMaster University</a> </em></p> <p>Everyone can agree that exercise is healthy. Among its many benefits, exercise improves heart and brain function, aids in controlling weight, slows the effects of aging and helps lower the risks of several chronic <a href="https://doi.org/10.1101%2Fcshperspect.a029694">diseases</a>.</p> <p>For too long, though, one way of keeping fit, aerobic exercise, has been perceived as superior to the other, resistance training, for promoting health when, in fact, they are equally valuable, and both can get us to the same goal of overall physical fitness.</p> <p>Aerobic exercise such as running, swimming and cycling is popular because it provides great benefits and with ample <a href="https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001335">scientific evidence</a> to back that up.</p> <p>What has been far less influential to date is that resistance training — whether that’s with dumbbells, weightlifting machines or good old push-ups, lunges and dips — works about as well as aerobic exercise in all the critical areas, including cardiovascular health.</p> <p>Resistance training provides another benefit: building strength and developing power, which become increasingly important as a <a href="https://doi.org/10.1007/s12603-021-1665-8">person ages</a>.</p> <figure><iframe src="https://player.vimeo.com/video/843867756" width="500" height="281" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe><figcaption><span class="caption">Video about different forms of resistance training explores how all are effective at building strength.</span></figcaption></figure> <p>Building and maintaining muscle strength keeps us springing out of our chairs, maintaining our balance and posture and firing our metabolism, as my colleagues and I explain in a paper recently <a href="https://doi.org/10.1249/FIT.0000000000000916">published</a> by the American College of Sports Medicine.</p> <p>So, if aerobic exercise and resistance training offer roughly equal benefits, how did we end up with so many runners and cyclists compared to weightlifters?</p> <p>It was a combination of timing, marketing and stereotyping.</p> <h2>The rise of aerobics</h2> <p>The preference for aerobic exercise dates back to landmark research from the <a href="https://www.cooperinstitute.org/research/ccls">Cooper Centre Longitudinal Study</a>, which played a pivotal role in establishing the effectiveness of aerobics — Dr. Ken Cooper invented or at least popularized the word with his book <a href="https://www.cooperaerobics.com/About/Aerobics.aspx"><em>Aerobics</em></a>, spurring desk-bound Baby Boomers to take up exercise for its own sake.</p> <p>Meanwhile, resistance training languished, <a href="https://www.cnet.com/health/fitness/does-lifting-weights-make-women-bulky/">especially among women</a>, due to the misguided notion that weightlifting was only for men who aspired to be hyper-muscular. <a href="https://www.britannica.com/biography/Charles-Atlas">Charles Atlas</a>, anyone?</p> <p>Cultural influences solidified the dominance of aerobic exercise in the fitness landscape. In 1977, Jim Fixx made running and jogging popular with <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Complete_Book_of_Running"><em>The Complete Book of Running</em></a>. In the 1980s, Jane Fonda’s <a href="https://www.janefonda.com/shop/fitness-videos/jane-fondas-complete-workout/"><em>Complete Workout</em></a> and exercise shows such as <em><a href="https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0268895/">Aerobicize</a></em> and the <em><a href="https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0299431/">20 Minute Workout</a></em> helped solidify the idea that exercise was about raising one’s heart rate.</p> <p>The very word “aerobic,” previously confined to the lexicon of science and medicine, entered popular culture about the same time as leg warmers, tracksuits and sweatbands. It made sense to many that breathing hard and sweating from prolonged, vigorous movement was the best way to benefit from exercising.</p> <p>All the while, resistance training was waiting for its turn in the spotlight.</p> <h2>Recognizing the value of resistance</h2> <p>If aerobics has been the hare, resistance training has been the tortoise. Weight training is now coming up alongside and preparing to overtake its speedy rival, as athletes and everyday people alike recognize the value that was always there.</p> <p>Even in high-level sports training, weightlifting did not become common until the last 20 years. Today, it strengthens the bodies and lengthens the careers of soccer stars, tennis players, golfers <a href="https://doi.org/10.1007/s40279-016-0486-0">and many more</a>.</p> <p>Rising popular interest in resistance training owes a debt to <a href="https://www.livestrong.com/article/545200-the-fall-of-fitness/">CrossFit</a>, which, despite its controversies, has helped break down stereotypes and introduced more people, particularly women, to the practice of lifting weights.</p> <p>It’s important to recognize that resistance training does not invariably lead to bulking up, nor does it demand lifting heavy weights. As our team’s research has shown, lifting lighter weights to the point of failure in multiple sets provides <a href="https://journals.physiology.org/doi/full/10.1152/japplphysiol.00154.2016">equal benefits</a>.</p> <h2>Strength and ageing</h2> <p>The merits of resistance training extend beyond improving muscle strength. It addresses a critical aspect often overlooked in traditional aerobic training: the ability to exert force quickly, or what’s called power. As people age, activities of daily living such as standing up, sitting down and climbing stairs demand <a href="https://doi.org/10.1186/s11556-022-00297-x">strength and power</a> more than cardiovascular endurance.</p> <p>In this way, resistance training can be vital to maintaining overall functionality and independence.</p> <h2>Redefining the fitness narrative</h2> <p>The main idea is not to pit resistance training against aerobic exercise but to recognize that they complement each other. Engaging in both forms of exercise is better than relying on one alone. The <a href="https://doi.org/10.1161/CIR.0000000000001189">American Heart Association</a> recently stated that “…resistance training is a safe and effective approach for improving cardiovascular health in adults with and without cardiovascular disease.”</p> <p>Adopting a nuanced perspective is essential, especially when we guide <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.arr.2021.101368">older individuals</a> who may associate exercise primarily with walking and not realize the limitations imposed by neglecting strength and power training.</p> <p>Resistance training is not a one-size-fits-all endeavour. It encompasses a <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jshs.2023.06.005">spectrum of activities</a> tailored to individual capabilities.</p> <p>It’s time to redefine the narrative around fitness to make more room for resistance training. It’s not necessary to treat it as a replacement for aerobic exercise but to see it as a vital component of a holistic approach to <a href="https://doi.org/10.1249/ESM.0000000000000001">health and longevity</a>.</p> <p>By shedding stereotypes, demystifying the process and promoting inclusivity, resistance training can become more accessible and appealing to a broader audience, ultimately leading to a new way to perceive and prioritize the benefits of this form of training for <a href="https://doi.org/10.1136/bjsports-2021-105061">health and fitness</a>.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/220269/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/stuart-phillips-428766"><em>Stuart Phillips</em></a><em>, Professor, Kinesiology, Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Skeletal Muscle Health, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/mcmaster-university-930">McMaster University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/resistance-exercise-is-far-from-futile-the-unheralded-benefits-of-weight-training-220269">original article</a>.</em></p>

Body

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Steep physical decline with age is not inevitable – here’s how strength training can change the trajectory

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/zachary-gillen-1251178">Zachary Gillen</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/mississippi-state-university-1970">Mississippi State University</a></em></p> <p>Raise your hand if you regularly find yourself walking up a flight of stairs. What about carrying heavy bags of groceries? How about picking up your child or grandchild? Most of us would raise our hands to doing at least one of those weekly, or even daily.</p> <p>As people age, it can become more and more difficult to perform some physical tasks, even those that are normal activities of daily living. However, prioritizing physical fitness and health as you get older can help you go through your normal day-to-day routine without feeling physically exhausted at the end of the day.</p> <p>It can also help you continue to have special memories with your family and loved ones that you might not have been able to have if you weren’t physically active. For example, I ran two half-marathons with my dad when he was in his 60s!</p> <p>I am an exercise physiologist who studies how people can <a href="https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=gn8ZiLMAAAAJ&amp;hl=en">use resistance training to improve human performance</a>, whether it be in sports and other recreational settings, in everyday life, or both. I am also a certified strength and conditioning specialist. My career has given me the opportunity to design exercise programs for kids, college athletes and elderly adults.</p> <p>Staying physically active as you get older doesn’t need to include running a half-marathon or trying to be a bodybuilder; it could be as simple as trying to get through the day without feeling winded after you go up a flight of stairs. Although our muscles naturally get weaker as we age, there are ways we can combat that to help improve quality of life as we get older.</p> <h2>Muscle loss and chronic disease</h2> <p>One of the most important parts of exercise programming, no matter who I am working with, is proper resistance training to build muscle strength. Some amount of age-related loss of muscle function is normal and inevitable. But by incorporating resistance training that is appropriate and safe at any ability level, you can slow down the rate of decline and even prevent some loss of muscle function.</p> <p>The medical term for a condition that involves <a href="https://doi.org/10.1093/ageing/afy169">age-related loss of muscle function and mass is sarcopenia</a>. Sarcopenia can begin as early as age 40, but it tends to be <a href="https://doi.org/10.1097/01.mco.0000134362.76653.b2">more common in adults age 60 and older</a>. Sarcopenia is associated with a number of health issues such as <a href="https://doi.org/10.1093/gerona/glx245">increased risk of falling</a>, <a href="https://doi.org/10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.123.064071">cardiovascular disease</a> and <a href="https://doi.org/10.3390/nu13103519">metabolic disease</a>, among others.</p> <p>In one of our team’s previous studies, we saw that otherwise healthy individuals with sarcopenia had issues <a href="https://doi.org/10.1002/jcsm.12932">delivering vital nutrients to muscle</a>. This could lead to greater likelihood of various diseases, such as Type 2 diabetes, and slow down recovery from exercise.</p> <p>Recent estimates suggest that sarcopenia affects <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.metabol.2023.155533">10% to 16% of the elderly population worldwide</a>. But even if a person doesn’t have clinically diagnosed sarcopenia, they may still have some of the underlying symptoms that, if not dealt with, could lead to sarcopenia.</p> <h2>Strength training is key</h2> <p>So the question is, what can be done to reverse this decline?</p> <p>Recent evidence suggests that one of the key factors leading to sarcopenia is <a href="https://doi.org/10.1093/gerona/glx245">low muscle strength</a>. In other words, combating or reversing sarcopenia, or both, may be best done with a proper resistance-training program that <a href="https://doi.org/10.1186/s12877-021-02642-8">prioritizes improving strength</a>. In fact, the decline in muscle strength seems to <a href="https://doi.org/10.3945/ajcn.2009.28047">occur at a much faster rate</a> than the decline in muscle size, underscoring the importance of proper strength training as people age.</p> <figure class="align-center zoomable"><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/552839/original/file-20231009-26-epspie.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/552839/original/file-20231009-26-epspie.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" sizes="(min-width: 1466px) 754px, (max-width: 599px) 100vw, (min-width: 600px) 600px, 237px" srcset="https://images.theconversation.com/files/552839/original/file-20231009-26-epspie.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=638&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 600w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/552839/original/file-20231009-26-epspie.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=638&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1200w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/552839/original/file-20231009-26-epspie.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=638&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 1800w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/552839/original/file-20231009-26-epspie.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=802&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 754w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/552839/original/file-20231009-26-epspie.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=802&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1508w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/552839/original/file-20231009-26-epspie.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=802&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 2262w" alt="Chart showing the general pattern for changes in muscle strength and size across stage of life." /></a><figcaption><span class="caption">Typical age-related changes in muscle strength and size with and without strength training.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Zachary Gillen</span></span></figcaption></figure> <p>Continuing to regularly strength train with moderate to heavy weights has been shown to be not only effective at combating the symptoms of sarcopenia but also <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jamda.2018.09.011">very safe when done properly</a>. The best way to make sure you are strength training properly is to seek out guidance from a qualified individual such as a personal trainer or strength and conditioning specialist.</p> <p>Despite the clear benefits of strength training, it’s been shown that only about 13% of Americans age 50 and older do some form of <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17572957/">strength training at least twice a week</a>.</p> <h2>Finding what works for you</h2> <p>So how does a person properly strength train as they age?</p> <p>The National Strength and Conditioning Association, a leading organization in advancing strength and conditioning around the world, states that for older adults, <a href="https://doi.org/10.1519/JSC.0000000000003230">two to three days per week of strength training</a> can be incredibly helpful for maintaining healthy muscle and bone and combating a number of chronic conditions.</p> <p>The organization recommends that these workouts involve one to two exercises involving multiple joints per major muscle group, with six to 12 repetitions per set. These are done at an intensity of 50% to 85% of what’s known as one-repetition maximum – the most weight you could handle for a single repetition – with the exception of body weight exercises that use one’s own body weight as the resistance, such as pushups.</p> <p>I would also recommend resting for about two to three minutes between sets, or even up to five minutes if the set was challenging. For older adults, particularly those age 60 and older, the National Strength and Conditioning Association guidelines suggest that a program like this be performed two to three days per week, with 24 to 48 hours between sessions.</p> <p><iframe id="sGvo5" class="tc-infographic-datawrapper" style="border: none;" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/sGvo5/3/" width="100%" height="400px" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <h2>Making life’s tasks lighter</h2> <p>The guidelines above are only one example out of many options, but they provide a framework that you can use to build your own program. However, I would highly recommend seeking out a professional in the field to give specific exercise programming advice that can be tailored to your own needs and goals as you age.</p> <p>Following such a program would give your muscles an excellent stimulus to enhance strength, while also allowing enough recovery, a very important consideration as people age. You might think it looks like a huge time commitment, but an exercise routine like this can be done in less than an hour. This means that in less than three hours of strength training per week you can help improve your muscle health and reduce the risk of getting sarcopenia and associated health issues.</p> <p>It’s also important to note that there is no one right way to do resistance training, and it needn’t involve traditional weight equipment. Group classes like Pilates and yoga or those that involve circuit training and work with resistance bands can all produce similar results. The key is to get out and exercise regularly, whatever that entails.<!-- 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/213131/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/zachary-gillen-1251178">Zachary Gillen</a>, Assistant Professor of Exercise Physiology, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/mississippi-state-university-1970">Mississippi State University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/steep-physical-decline-with-age-is-not-inevitable-heres-how-strength-training-can-change-the-trajectory-213131">original article</a>.</em></p>

Caring

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"He backflipped on his backflip!": Kamahl's "train wreck" Project interview

<p>Australian singer Kamahl has spectacularly reversed his position on the Voice to Parliament for the second time, just two days after <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/entertainment/music/two-massive-music-icons-join-the-yes-campaign" target="_blank" rel="noopener">publicly announcing his support</a>.</p> <p>The 88-year-old initially stated on social media that he would vote "YES" in the upcoming referendum scheduled for October 14. He attributed this change of heart to a meeting with Indigenous comedian Dane Simpson and constitutional lawyer Eddie Synot.</p> <p>However, in a surprising turn of events, Kamahl later appeared on live television during an interview on The Project and announced that he would be voting "NO" on the issue. This unexpected shift in stance left both the hosts and viewers perplexed, with one viewer describing the interview as a "train wreck".</p> <p>During the interview, Kamahl expressed concerns that the proposed Voice to Parliament could potentially exacerbate racial divisions. He argued that it might segregate one racial group from the rest of the country. He acknowledged his earlier statement of support, apologised for any inconsistency, and urged people to disregard his previous position.</p> <p>“If you do the Voice this way, it becomes a racist issue. You’re putting a whole race of people separate from the rest of the country,” he said. “I apologise, call me a hypocrite or uninformed but I am informed now. Whatever I said before now, wipe it out, but start all over again and forgive me.”</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">What a train wreck of an interview.</p> <p>— Sue Roberts (@sueroberts7) <a href="https://twitter.com/sueroberts7/status/1705911143590756439?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">September 24, 2023</a></p></blockquote> <p>Kamahl also raised the issue of government spending, claiming that the Indigenous community received $40 billion annually. When pressed for the source of this figure, he sparred with host Hamish Macdonald, who fact-checked the statement. Macdonald pointed out that the $40 billion figure was not accurate and clarified that the National Indigenous Australians agency's budget for 2022-23 was $4.5 billion, not $30 billion as Kamahl initially stated.</p> <p>Despite admitting the error in the figure, Kamahl maintained his decision to vote "NO".</p> <p>Before publicly declaring his support for the Voice to Parliament, Kamahl mentioned that he had spent sleepless nights weighing the pros and cons of the issue.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">Wow! He backflipped on his backflip on live TV.</p> <p>— Rex Goulevitch (@goulevitch) <a href="https://twitter.com/goulevitch/status/1705878944766181694?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">September 24, 2023</a></p></blockquote> <p>After the interview concluded, The Project panel, who had anticipated Kamahl discussing his "YES" vote decision, appeared taken aback and momentarily speechless. Viewers on social media reacted strongly to the interview, with one labelling it a "train wreck" and others suggesting that Kamahl had manipulated the program's discussion.</p> <p>Following the airing of The Project episode, entertainment reporter Peter Ford said during a 3AW radio interview that he had been giving Kamahl advice all week over how best to interact with the media on this topic.</p> <p>“It was a pre-recorded interview and he was not happy with the way it was cut,” Ford said. He also went on to explain that he had repeatedly implored <span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">Kamahl to steer clear of the Voice debate in public, but that his advice was ignored “every single time”.</span></p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">This interview was not live.<br />Kamahl believes it was heavily edited to make him look foolish. He wants a public apology from Hamish Mc Donald. <a href="https://t.co/OXaLiQWxVR">https://t.co/OXaLiQWxVR</a></p> <p>— Peter Ford (@mrpford) <a href="https://twitter.com/mrpford/status/1706082373933383900?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">September 24, 2023</a></p></blockquote> <p>According to Ford, Kamahl was not happy with the exchange with Project host Macdonald, and that he “wants an apology for making him look like a fool”.</p> <p><em>Images: The Project</em></p>

TV

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"You ought to be ashamed": Aussie tourist causing strife in Japan

<p>Sydney-sider Turan William Salis has been slammed after a TikTok of him entering the "women's only" train carriage in Japan went viral. </p> <p>The video, which racked up over 2.3 million views, showed the 20-year-old unashamedly entering the strict female-only carriages on a Tokyo metro. </p> <p>“You guys, did you know in Japan they have women-only carriages?” he said, before entering the carriage. </p> <p>“It is like Saudi Arabia in here. I am the women-inspector, checking there is only women on this carriage.</p> <p>“Yep yep, there is only women here. Cool. No men. I don’t see a single man in sight.</p> <p>“Check complete, it really is a women-only carriage guys, wow.”</p> <p>Salis was met by confused and furious stares from female passengers who were sitting in the carriage. </p> <p>“This women-only carriage is the last thing I would expect to be seeing in such a free country like Japan, reminds me of something I would see in a country with strict segregation rules," he captioned the clip. </p> <p>“Japan was the last place I expected to be seeing strict male-female segregation in public.”</p> <p>The reason why Japan has female-only carriages is to protect women from sexual harassment and help them feel safe while taking public transportation. </p> <p>A<span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">ccording to Japanese National Police Agency and the Ministry of Justice</span>, the number of indecent assaults in train carriages nationwide in Japan ranges from 300 to 500 each year, with indecent sexual behaviour – such as groping, unwanted touching and intimidation – a major issue on trains, especially during peak hours.</p> <p><span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">Over half of female passengers on the trains in Japan had, at one point in their lives, been groped on trains around Tokyo according to a 2005 investigation. </span></p> <p>Female-only carriages have become a permanent fixture since the early 2000s and are common feature around the country because of this.</p> <p>Thousands of people across the world have slammed Salis. </p> <p>“You should get out of Japan, you disrespectful piece of s**t,” commented one person.</p> <p>“They have these carriages to protect them from weirdos like you,” another said.</p> <p>“This is such a disgrace. You ought to be ashamed.” </p> <p>One Japanese man even created a response video about Salis' clip, slamming him for invading a safe space for women. </p> <p>“You knew that that was the women-only passenger car, which means you can’t go in, men cannot enter. But you didn’t care. You broke the rules, you invaded a safe space for women," he said. </p> <p>“Do you know why we have those? That’s because there are so many creepy men in Japan, who try to go behind the women, try to take pictures under their skirts.</p> <p>“There has been a lot of physical harassment as well. It has been a very serious issue.</p> <p>“That is why they had to take these measures. But you dare to call it segregation.</p> <p>“You don’t know anything about my country. You go there, and you don’t have any intention to respect our culture and rules.</p> <p>“It’s incredibly disrespectful, I can’t believe this kind of behaviour. If you have no intention of respecting us, then leave my country.</p> <p>“We are not there so that you can make TikTok and YouTube videos, so that you can be famous.”</p> <p>This is not an isolated incident for Salis, who has been on holiday in Japan since mid-August.</p> <p>The tourist previously landed himself in a strife after walking around without a shirt on, which is socially unacceptable in Japan. </p> <p>In another video, Salis filmed himself picking up dogs - who were distressed by his actions - despite getting yelled at because there are strict rules to not pick up the animals at the dog cafe. </p> <p><em>Images: TikTok</em></p>

Travel Trouble

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Tips to train your pet at any age

<p><strong><em>Dr Katrina Warren is a veterinarian and one Australia’s most loved and trusted pet experts. She is the PAW by Blackmores ambassador.</em></strong></p> <p>Dogs are often an integral part of our family, a loving and loyal companion throughout the years. We educate ourselves with a plethora of media when bringing home and raising other members of our family with love and care, why not pay the same attention to our furry family members as advised by one Australia’s most loved and trusted pet experts, Dr Katrina Warren.</p> <p><strong>Bringing baby home: Puppy</strong></p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;">A guide to vaccinations</span></p> <p>Just like human babies, puppies need vaccinations to protect them from the many infectious diseases out there. They need a series of vaccinations to protect them against Parvovirus, Distemper, Hepatitis and Canine Cough. Your puppy will need to receive these injections by a veterinarian and should have received their first vaccination prior to coming to you – ask the breeder for the vaccination certificate. Vaccination costs for your pup may seem steep, but consider the veterinary bills for treating your dog if it develops one of these illnesses – it could easily run into the thousands.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Dental care </span></p> <p>To keep your dog’s teeth and gums healthy, it is important to include some hard food in their diet. You can offer raw chicken necks and wings from 12-14 weeks of age. Brushing is also a great idea - it may seem like a novelty, but dogs have just as many dental problems as humans, which can cause pain (not to mention terrible breath!) in the long run. Train your puppy from a very young age to let you brush its teeth, to make it a normal part of their routine. Be sure to use specific dog toothpaste, as human toothpaste can be irritating to a dog’s digestive tract.</p> <p><strong>Teenage angst: Adolescence</strong></p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Chewing</span></p> <p>Dogs are curious by nature and will chew almost anything they can get their mouths on, especially while they’re puppies and are teething. This is great if it’s a dog toy or a tasty bone, but not so great if it’s your new pair of expensive running shoes or the leg of a couch. Although chewing usually subsides within a year, it can become a bad habit if it’s not managed early on.</p> <p>If you have a young dog, puppy-proof your place by moving easily chewable items such as plants or electrical cables so they’re not easily accessible. Try not to leave your puppy unsupervised in areas like your garden or living room - there’s no point in getting angry at the puppy for an action that is natural for them, which happened because they weren’t being supervised.</p> <p><strong>Young at heart: Mature Dog</strong></p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Barking </span></p> <p>Firstly, find out what your dog is barking at. As dogs usually bark the most right after their owners leave home for the day, give your dog something to do every time you leave the house, like a chew toy stuffed with food. </p> <p>Dogs left outside are exposed to many more disturbances than indoor dogs and their barks are more easily heard by the neighbourhood.  Ideally leave your dog inside preferably in a room away from the street with a radio or TV playing to mask the sound of outside noise. Reward your dog often for quiet behaviour – if he starts barking, use a word like ‘quiet’ and reward only once your dog stops barking.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Jumping on people</span></p> <p>When he was little, everyone was probably entranced by the cute little puppy who jumped up at them, laughing and wagging his teeny tail. Now he's a bigger dog, no-one wants his dirty paw marks all over their clothes. But his behaviour is not his fault, because your loving attention has trained him to think that jumping up is a fun and rewarding thing to do.</p> <p>Now you have to do the opposite from what you did when he was little. Instead of making eye contact and touching him when he jumps up, do the opposite. Turn around and stand still completely ignoring him. Wait until he has all four feet on the ground and then give him a little treat. Keep on doing this, and it will take many, many times, and he will eventually learn that he only gets a treat and your attention when he is sitting. As before, there is no point in shouting and pushing, because to a dog this is still attention and will only confuse him about what you want him to do.</p> <p><em>This is an excerpt from PAW by Blackmores eBook: <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong><a href="http://pawbyblackmores.uberflip.com/i/714306-20-things-no-one-tells-you-about-raising-a-healthy-dog" target="_blank" rel="noopener">20 things no one tells you about raising a healthy dog</a></strong></span> - a go-to-guide for pet owners to help through the different ages and stages of raising a healthy dog.</em></p> <p><em>Images: Getty</em></p>

Family & Pets

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“It's a train wreck sometimes”: Molly Meldrum health update

<p dir="ltr">Australian singer-songwriter guitarist Russell Morris has shared an update on his friend, Molly Meldrum, on the <em>Ben Fordham Live! </em>radio show.</p> <p dir="ltr">Morris was chatting to host Ben Fordham when conversation turned to Meldrum, with Fordham asking how the 80 year old was doing after footage leaked of him <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/health/mind/molly-meldrum-moons-crowd-again">exposing himself on stage at a Rod Stewart concert</a> in Melbourne in March.</p> <p dir="ltr">“He’s doing okay,” the 74-year-old ARIA Hall of Fame guitarist said. “He’s not young anymore, he’s 80 years old, and I guess I’ll be doing worse things than that by the time I’m 80. I haven’t got too far to go.” </p> <p dir="ltr">“So, yeah, it just happens,” he added, before going on to explain that his friend just wanted to live his life, and that that was part of the problem. </p> <p dir="ltr">“He doesn’t want someone to put him in a home or something,” Morris revealed, “so he just decides to go out.”</p> <p dir="ltr">According to Morris, “if you’re with him and you’re a carer or something, and you’re in awe of him”, and he declares that he’s going on stage, that telling him “no, no, no, no, I don’t think you should” won’t have any effect. </p> <p dir="ltr">He’d tell them to get away from them, Morris explained, “he pushes and they all back off.”</p> <p dir="ltr">However, as Morris went on to put it, “he just does what he wants to do. And consequently, it’s a train wreck sometimes. </p> <p dir="ltr">“And I do love him, he’s a fantastic guy. I owe him a lot.” </p> <p dir="ltr">At the time of the incident, Meldrum’s assistant Alan Evers-Buckland had informed 9Honey that he was shaken to see the footage circulating, and was “just really upset and shocked. </p> <p dir="ltr">“He’s really sorry, that’s it.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Evers-Buckley went on to express that Meldrum needed all of the love and support he could get from his fans, his family, and his friends in the wake of what had transpired. </p> <p dir="ltr">Meldrum has not made his own public comments on the matter, though fans have been assured that the former music critic is receiving the care he needs. </p> <p dir="ltr">And as his friend, Paige McGinley, told Sydney Morning Herald, the star had “a coordinated and dedicated support system in place” to help him during the difficult time. </p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Images: Getty</em></p>

Caring

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How habit stacking trains your brain to make good habits last

<p><strong>Forming new habits</strong></p> <p>Forming new habits – even those you’re excited about – can be just as tricky as breaking habits. Adding more things to our daily to-do list can feel overwhelming, but with a little time-management ingenuity, making good habits stick can help us learn how to be happy, how to set goals and even how to be productive. Clueless about how to start with that? A behavioural trick called habit stacking can give you a major assist.</p> <p>The concept of habit stacking is akin to constructing a solid house: build a new habit on top of a strong, existing part of your daily routine. That way, it’s piggybacking on an old habit that’s already a no-brainer, so you’re far more likely to adopt the new habit going forward. “Habits are automated behaviours you don’t have to think about,” says clinical psychologist, Dr Pauline Wallin. “For example, there are several steps involved in tying your shoelaces, but you don’t consciously think about these during the process. Once your fingers grab the laces, it’s an automated process.”</p> <p>Why not make all your to-dos as effortless as tying your shoes? There’s really no downside to habit stacking. It turns chores into habits you don’t have to think about all that much. So here’s how you can make that happen.</p> <p><strong>What is habit stacking?</strong></p> <p>The term habit stacking was first used by author S.J. Scott in his book Habit Stacking, and it’s taken off like a rocket. “Habit stacking involves adding small routines to habits that are already established,” says Wallin. “With intentional practise, the established habit becomes a trigger for the new habit you want to adopt.”</p> <p>That new behaviour will eventually become a trigger for the next habit, allowing you to build on the progress you’ve already made.</p> <p><strong>How does habit stacking work?</strong></p> <p>At its core, habit stacking is simply pairing a small, new habit (say meditating for a few minutes) with one that’s already established (boiling water for your morning cup of tea). The more we practise doing it, the more automatic it becomes. It may take a little bit of adjusting to get used to it at first, but be intentional about how you go about stacking habits.</p> <p>“Adding a new behaviour to an established habit is not automatic at first but gradually becomes automatic as it is repeatedly paired with the longer-established habit, such that the earlier habit becomes a cue for the newer habit,” says Wallin.</p> <p>Eventually, you may not feel like you even need habit trackers anymore – you’ll be getting things done without even thinking about them. Here’s more about how habit stacking works to help you quickly adopt new behaviours.</p> <p><strong>It uses existing neural networks to make new habits stick </strong></p> <p>Everything we do and think draws on neural networks, which are how our brains organise information to communicate our thoughts and behaviours. Habits have many deep and redundant neural paths, so we can perform a habit even while our attention is elsewhere.</p> <p>“Your brain builds new neurons to support the behaviours we practise daily,” says clinical psychologist Bonnie Carpenter. “The more you practise a habit, the stronger the connections can become. If you don’t practise a habit, the connections will not be as strong.”</p> <p>So when you tap into the power of the habits you already have, the newer habits already have a framework to follow.</p> <p><strong>It turns an existing habit into a cue for the next one</strong></p> <p>We all have many behaviours that we’ve practised for years, just like tying our shoelaces. “If you attach a new behaviour to the old ones, it’s much more likely that you will make the new behaviour part of your routine,” says Carpenter. “You are teaching yourself and planning the path to behaviours in the future.”</p> <p>Eventually, you’ll take for granted those habits you couldn’t make stick.</p> <p><strong>It'll help you procrastinate less</strong></p> <p>You know you need to adopt a good-for-you habit, but you just don’t know how or where to start. And let’s be honest: you really can’t find the motivation for it. (Join the club.)</p> <p>That’s exactly when habit stacking works well. When you tie the dreaded thing you keep putting off to a strong, automatic habit, it’s suddenly possible to get ‘er done. “After a while, it becomes natural,” says Carpenter. Wasting time putting off what you don’t want to do will quickly be a thing of your past.</p> <p><strong>What is an example of habit stacking?</strong></p> <p>Different people have different habits they want to adopt, but these examples can get the wheels turning in your head about the ways habit stacking can help you streamline your life and become more productive. For each, we’ve included your established habit, then the new habit you can stack on top of it.</p> <p>When you turn off your work computer for the day or when you take a break from work,  tidy up your desk for five minutes.</p> <p>After you grab something to wear out of your overstuffed closet, put another clothing item into a bag to be donated to charity.</p> <p>When you finish dinner, immediately put your plates and silverware in the dishwasher so the kitchen sink is always empty.</p> <p>Once you’re done brushing your teeth, hydrate with a full glass of water.</p> <p>While your morning coffee is brewing, sweep the floor, open the mail or wash the dishes in your sink.</p> <p>When your car pulls out of work at the end of the day, phone your mother (you know she wishes you’d call more often!).</p> <p><strong>What are habit-stacking strategies?</strong></p> <p>How exactly you want to tackle this is entirely up to you, and that’s one of the best parts of the habit-stacking concept: it can and should be customised. Our experts suggest these ideas to get you started.</p> <p><em><strong>1. Find the right habits to pair</strong></em></p> <p>It probably makes the most sense to connect the old habit with the new one that’s in a similar vein, but that isn’t entirely necessary. For example, if you want to fit in more exercise, start a new habit of walking for five minutes every time you put on a pair of sneakers.</p> <p>But according to clinical psychologist, Dr Linda Sapadin, what matters most is that the new habit is specific, not that the habits are cousins. Maybe putting on your sneakers isn’t tied to exercise; instead, it might make more sense for you to take out the garbage whenever you lace up your tennis shoes.</p> <p>If the pairing makes sense to you, that’s all that matters. In other words, you do you.</p> <p>Timing matters too: “It’s also very helpful to decide when you are most likely to have a positive experience with habit stacking,” Sapadin says.</p> <p>If your aim is to practise gratitude by filling out a gratitude journal daily, it doesn’t make sense to tie this new habit to your morning shower. You won’t be writing under the spray of water, after all. Instead, you might stack the gratitude journalling habit on top of putting on your pyjamas.</p> <p>“Look at the habits you have daily, and look for the place where you might easily insert the new behaviour,” says Carpenter.</p> <p><em><strong>2. Don't use an emotionally laden habit as a cue</strong></em></p> <p>Certain ingrained routines are not the right triggers for new habits. If you wake up in the morning, hop on the scale and feel bad about yourself, for example, your am weigh-in is absolutely not the right cue for another habit. “If you pair a new habit with one that is emotionally triggering, you will unwittingly train the new habit to trigger similar emotions,” says Wallin.</p> <p><em><strong>3. Stack the habits for good </strong></em></p> <p>Most of us have already engaged in habit stacking for our bad habits, such as procrastinating on work. Let’s say you sit down at your desk to work, but you are reluctant to get started (usually due to some degree of anxiety). “To distract yourself from anxiety, you form a habit of scrolling through your social media feed for a few minutes,” says Wallin. Now you’re not working, and you’re not doing anything else terribly productive either.</p> <p>This pattern can continue to suck your time, which is the opposite effect of what habit stacking should be. “Next, suppose that, while scrolling through your social media, you see an ad for an item that you’ve been shopping for recently,” says Wallin. “What luck! You click to purchase it immediately. For the next few days, when you sit down to work, you check your social media and then look for other bargain offers. Now you are stacking another habit onto the sequence.”</p> <p>As you can guess, this type of habit stacking is easy, says Wallin. “But the sequence is counter-productive because it interferes with getting work done,” she says.</p> <p>If, instead, you want to mirror the morning habits of highly organised people, stack a productive task on top of another one. In time, you will become the naturally productive person you’ve always wanted to be.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article originally appeared on <a href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/culture/how-habit-stacking-trains-your-brain-to-make-good-habits-last?pages=1" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Reader's Digest</a>. </em></p>

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Century-old typo at Melbourne train stop finally fixed

<p>One of Melbourne’s oldest public spelling errors will be fixed after almost a century.<br />In 1937, the suburb of "Glen Huntly" was incorrectly written as a one-word sign at the train station and has remained that way ever since.</p> <p>The southeast suburb is finally getting an updated sign, as two level crossing removals are about to take place.</p> <p>“That’s a historical spelling error ... It’s taken us nearly a century to fix that,” Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said at a press conference.</p> <p>“But the local historical society and others who have an eye for detail will be very pleased to see us remedying that error.”</p> <p>Glen Huntly was named after a ship that arrived in Port Phillip all the way back in 1940, but there has been confusion surrounding the spelling ever since.</p> <p>Some local businesses in the suburb still have the spelling as 'Glenhuntly' and the name of the railway station has been changed three times.</p> <p>The stop was called ‘Glen Huntly Road’ when it was opened in 1881, before being changed to ‘Glen Huntly’ in 1882 and then ‘Glenhuntly’ in 1937.</p> <p>Andrews unveiled the new train station signage with the correct spelling as works to remove the level crossings and upgrades to the station commence.</p> <p>Those congested level crossings are at Neerim and Glen Huntly roads with expected closures in the area from May 5 until mid-July.</p> <p>Buses will be replacing trains on the Frankston line between Caulfield and Moorabbin during this time.<br />The new, typo-free Glen Huntly train station will open in August 2023.</p> <p><em>Image credit: Facebook</em></p>

Travel Trouble

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11 easiest dogs to train that make obedient pets

<h2>Most trainable dogs</h2> <p>Dogs are some of our most beloved animal companions. But not all breeds are the easiest dogs to train, and if they’re not well-behaved, they can be a huge source of stress. Without learning the basics, dogs can have all sorts of unwanted behaviours, like barking, pulling on the leash, destroying items in the house, and not socialising well with people or other animals. This sadly contributes to many pets being surrendered to animal shelters when their owners are no longer able to cope.<br />Proper training is essential for any pet, whether they’re going to be family companions, service dogs, emotional support dogs, or guard dogs. “Your dog needs to know basic obedience,” says dog trainer, Courtney Briggs. “‘Sit,’ ‘stay,’ ‘come,’ ‘off,’ and ‘down’ are all crucial skills you’ll need to have mastered before bringing your dog into unfamiliar environments with unfamiliar humans and activities.”<br />If you’re thinking of bringing a new pet into your life, first consider which breeds are the easiest dogs to train. Both instinct and intelligence play a role in how trainable an animal is. Certain breeds have been bred for hundreds of years to do specific activities, like herding, and it’s challenging to stop a dog from doing what it’s instinctually supposed to do. But with regular training, any pup – from the smartest dog breeds to slower learners – can learn the basics. So find a dog trainer and enrol your furry friends in obedience school when they’re young.<br />With positive reinforcement and consistency, your new puppies will become obedient, happy members of the family. And remember: regardless of breed, training a pup takes time, consistency, and patience, says Rob R. Jackson, co-founder and CEO of Healthy Paws Foundation and Healthy Paws Pet Insurance. Treats don’t hurt either.</p> <h2>Border collie</h2> <p>Bred to be bright and energetic, border collies take their name from the border region of Scotland, where the breed was developed, and the Scottish word for sheepdog: collie. These agile, intelligent dogs are practically athletes when it comes to herding and are no doubt smarter than you think. So impressive are the pups that, the story goes, onlookers at one of the first sheepdog trials, held in Wales in 1873 were amazed by the breed’s ability to follow hand signals and whistles to gather sheep into pens.</p> <p>Keep in mind that border collies need a lot of dedicated time, attention, and activities. It’s worth the effort, though; collies are one of the most loyal dog breeds out there. Jackson recommends focusing on potty training, commands like “sit” and “stay,” and socialising to help your pup get used to new people, animals, and situations.</p> <h2>German shepherd</h2> <p>Guide dogs for the blind, service dogs, watchdogs, and herding dogs all have one thing in common: they’re often German shepherds. These are some of the easiest dogs to train for work and family life, says animal behaviourist, Dr Mary Burch. No wonder they’re one of the most popular breeds. Because they have a strong protective instinct, it’s important to train them early, so they don’t perceive a threat where there isn’t one.</p> <p>“Pet parents should work to train their dog in short bursts of time – about five to ten minutes – a few times a day,” Jackson says. “Marathon sessions aren’t good for puppies, as their attention spans are too short. Plus, puppies’ growing bodies need lots of rest and sleep, so give them regular breaks. Training before mealtimes and offering treats can be productive, too, as food is a big motivator.” Some researchers say male and female dogs differ when it comes to training, with males being harder dogs to train.</p> <h2>Papillon</h2> <p>With its small stature and lightweight body, this breed is also called the Continental Toy Spaniel. These pups are as well known for their perky, fringed, butterfly-shaped ears (‘papillon’ is French for ‘butterfly’) as they are their personality. Papillons are “intelligent, self-assured, playful, affectionate, and happy,” says Burch. They’re also excellent at learning tricks and obedience work, making them one of the best dogs for first-time owners. While these tiny pups may seem fragile, they’re go-getters that love to exercise and play. You can train papillon puppies to do almost anything, and these lively, popular pets thrive on mental stimulation and work. Try training them to do fun tricks or participate in dog sports, such as agility courses with hurdles to jump and poles to weave through.</p> <h2>Labrador</h2> <p>The ever-popular Labrador retrievers are eager-to-please and some of the easiest dogs to train. Lab pups have personality and then some; they’re friendly, sociable, and playful. Still, you’ll have to stay vigilant with younger doggos. “It’s important to remember that puppies are curious by nature and can easily get into all sorts of mischief, such as swallowing things they shouldn’t,” Jackson says. That kind of behaviour is more than just annoying – it can be life-threatening. You’ll want to train your dogs to “leave it,” or ignore something you don’t want them to pick up.</p> <h2>Golden retriever</h2> <p>Considered sporting dogs, golden retrievers are happy, friendly, and intelligent. Their stellar obedience makes them some of the best-behaved dogs and easiest dogs to train. They also make great service and therapy dogs, Burch says. And they’re one of <a href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/food-home-garden/pets/15-best-dogs-for-seniors" target="_blank" rel="noopener">the best dogs for seniors</a>. Originally bred to fetch downed waterfowl for hunters, they’ve since evolved into wonderful family dogs. Because they’re loving and want to please, they respond well to verbal praise and playtime.</p> <p>“Positive reinforcement, sometimes known as reward-based training or force-free dog training, is widely recognised as the most effective and humane form of dog training,” says Jackson, who suggests training with snacks or treats, affectionate ear scratches, and belly rubs. “It improves the bond between parent and pet while reinforcing the desired behaviour.”</p> <h2>Border terrier</h2> <p>Happy, affectionate border terriers like to work, which bodes well for obedience training. “They’re good-tempered, affectionate, and easy to train,” Burch says. If your pup takes to training happily, “it’s something to be celebrated,” says Jackson. “This means your training is effective and your puppy is having fun and enjoying pleasing you.”</p> <p>It’s totally fine if your goal is simply to have your pup walk on a leash without pulling or heel off-leash, Jackson adds. Just know that any type of training will take effort on your part. “A lot of progress in training depends on the time a pet parent puts into working with their pup, which is why many pet parents are reminded that getting a puppy is hard work,” he says. “In the end, it’s always worth it – for both parties involved.”</p> <h2>Poodle </h2> <p>A sweet, lively breed that comes in a variety of sizes, the poodle is the national dog of France. But get this: they’re not actually French dogs, they were originally bred in Germany as waterfowl-hunting dogs; the name poodle comes from the German word ‘pudel,’ which means ‘to splash in the water.’</p> <p>Curly hair might make poodles the most stylish pups outside the Westminster Dog Show, but they’re also some of the smartest, part of the reason they’re among the easiest dogs to train. With a high level of intelligence, athletic nature, and innate desire to be a companion, the poodle is a very fast learner that loves the challenge of not only training but also learning new tricks and games. They need frequent mental and physical stimulation, though, so give your poodle plenty of toys and games, such as puzzle feeding bowls.</p> <h2>Doberman pinscher</h2> <p>The statuesque Doberman pinscher is renowned for being one of the easiest dogs to train, which is why they’re frequently used for military and police work. Despite reputations as protective and fearsome guard dogs, these German dogs were actually bred as companion animals, making them great pets for families (yes, even kids). They’re known for being loyal, brave, trustworthy, and intelligent, and while they need plenty of enrichment and exercise, they’re also happy with a cuddle on the couch.</p> <p>Due to their large size, consistent training from a young age is key, ensuring they learn how to sit, stay, and walk nicely on a leash without pulling. “The key tool for keeping your dog calm is teaching them to have great owner focus,” explains Briggs. “Owner focus does not mean forcing the dog to pay attention to us humans. It means rewarding the dog for checking in with us, no matter the situation.”</p> <h2>Corgi</h2> <p>Both the Pembroke Welsh corgi and Cardigan Welsh corgi make for obedient, loving pets. Even Queen Elizabeth II was a fan of corgis, having owned at least 30 throughout her lifetime. You don’t need to live in a palace to enjoy a corgi, though. They’re also one of the <a href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/pets/13-best-apartment-dogs" target="_blank" rel="noopener">best apartment dogs</a> – they’re perfectly pint-size and love looking out the window and watching the world.</p> <p>The breed is intelligent and quick-witted, with an innate nature to herd and work. As such, they’re receptive to training. Combine that with their fearless nature, and it’s no surprise corgis are always interested in trying new things or learning games. Although they can be strong-willed, regular training and exposure to plenty of new environments and settings will help your pup become obedient, well-adjusted, and good with kids. Just be sure you’re able to give your corgi plenty of exercise.</p> <div> </div> <h2>Shetland sheepdog</h2> <p>The iconic Shetland sheepdog, or sheltie, is a beautiful animal and one of the most popular medium dog breeds. It’s a herding breed originally from Scotland’s Shetland Islands, and with a love for people, it makes a wonderful family dog. When it comes to training, the sheltie enjoys a challenge and also loves to please, landing it on the list of most-trainable dogs. Its intelligent nature and knack for agility and athletics make it a prime candidate for agility courses and doggy tricks. Indeed, many sheltie owners go above and beyond basic obedience training.</p> <p>These dogs are energetic and eager, so they’ll do best with a big yard or plenty of long walks. They’re also kind, playful, and loving, remaining loyal throughout life. They’re known for being very sensitive, so teach your puppy the foundations by being gentle and giving lots of positive reinforcement. They may be one of the easiest dogs to train, but the key to success is calmness. “The most important factor in maintaining calm in your dog is for you to remain calm,” says Briggs. “Emotions run down the leash, so whatever you’re feeling can be sensed by your dog.”</p> <h2>Mixed-breed dog</h2> <p>When you’re looking for the easiest dogs to own, don’t rule out a shelter dog. Plenty of perfectly well-behaved pups still wind up in shelters. And for those who need a few lessons in manners, many shelters have training programs to get dogs ready for adoption. You may find a lovable purebred or mixed-breed dog who’s eager to please and ready to make a loving, obedient addition to your family.</p> <p><em><span style="color: #444444; font-family: Raleway, sans-serif, 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, Arial; font-size: 16px; background-color: #ffffff;">Image credit: Shutterstock</span></em></p> <p><em><span style="color: #444444; font-family: Raleway, sans-serif, 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, Arial; font-size: 16px; background-color: #ffffff;">This article originally appeared on <a href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/food-home-garden/pets/11-easiest-dogs-to-train-that-make-obedient-pets?pages=2" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Reader's Digest</a>. </span></em></p>

Family & Pets

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Rod Stewart's ultimate surprise for like-minded hobbyists

<p>Rod Stewart has paid a surprise visit to a local business in Sydney's west, mingling with like-minded hobbyists. </p> <p>On Wednesday night, the 78-year-old rockstar took to the stage of Sydney's Qudos Bank Arena in front of 21,000 adoring fans, performing his classic hits in a signature leopard print jacket. </p> <p>But just hours before, he stopped in at Woodpecker Model Railways, a model train store located in Pendle Hill, in search of model trains to add to his vast collection.</p> <p>"Look who casually walked into our shop," the business shared on their Facebook page, alongside a photo of staff members smiling with the rock legend.</p> <p><iframe style="border: none; overflow: hidden;" src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fwoodpeckermodelrailways%2Fposts%2Fpfbid0Nfb2LeEtR5yXAcfCiBW8g4GVLqncdVbNz9AKJnZVwFzB345DUXMDt3C6ZvcGpReyl&amp;show_text=true&amp;width=500" width="500" height="504" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></p> <p>"That's amazing!!!" one follower wrote on Facebook.</p> <p>"WOW how awesome !! Lucky you !!I think I would be in total admiration [and] shock if Rod walked into a shop I owned or was in lol," another said.</p> <p>"A very accomplished modeller..... sings a bit as well....." another wrote.</p> <p>Rod Stewart has long been known as a <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/property/real-estate/rod-stewart-s-hidden-track-inside-his-beverly-hills-home" target="_blank" rel="noopener">keen model train builder</a>, revealing in a 2019 interview with Railway Modeller magazine that he had been working on a giant and intricate model of a United States city at home for the previous 23 years.</p> <p>Following his admission in the interview, BBC Radio 2's Jeremy Vine suggested Stewart did not build the model himself, to which Stewart rebutted as he called into Vine's show to set the record straight himself.</p> <p>"I would say 90 per cent of it I built myself," Stewart insisted to Vine. "The only thing I wasn't very good at and still am not is the electricals, so I had someone else do that."</p> <p>"A lot of people laugh at it being a silly hobby, but it's a wonderful hobby," he said.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Facebook</em></p>

Music

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Mandatory sensitivity training for Kyle Sandilands

<p> KIIS FM have been led to employ a second censor to monitor the talkshow and will provide sensitivity training to Kyle Sandilands after a breach in decency standards during a segment about the Paralympics.</p> <p>The ruling was given by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) regarding two episodes of the breakfast talkshow in September 2021.</p> <p>In one of the segments, the radio giant referred to the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics as “horrific” as well as dubbing it the “Special Olympics”.</p> <p>“Have you been watching the Special Olympics [sic], it is horrific some of the things,” Sandilands told his co-host Jackie ‘O’ Henderson.</p> <p>“Some poor bloke ran for the high jump and then veered right ’cause he was blind and landed on his a**e on the ground,” he continued.</p> <p>Sandilands claimed to respect “the spirit of the contest” on-air but added, “Listen, you can be nice to the handicapped, but you don’t have to compare them to the non-handicapped.”</p> <p>In its defence, KIIS FM highlighted that its audience was used to Kyle’s “low-level coarse language that is ordinarily reserved for private conversation”.</p> <p>“Mr Sandilands is well-known for his turn of phrase, colourful vernacular and blunt manner,” stated the defence.</p> <p>“The audience somewhat ‘self-selects’ so that those that choose to listen are not offended by this manner. Our expectation is that regular Kyle &amp; Jackie listeners would not have been offended by the Paralympics segment.”</p> <p>ACMA, however, found in its report that the segment would have been offensive to more than just the athletes but the broader community as well.</p> <p>“Mr Sandilands’ comments were insensitive and hurtful toward the athletes as well as being offensive to the average moderate person in the broader community, including the regular audience of the program, who would have been aware of the potential impact of these comments, not only on the Paralympians that were being described in this manner, but on the wider group of people in Australia with disabilities,” ACMA said.</p> <p>It also saw another breach when Sandilands threatened a <em>news.com.au</em> journalist over an article that criticised him, which led to him saying on air that said reporter should “expect a visit from me”.</p> <p>According to ACMA, the remarks “offended against generally accepted standards of decency”.</p> <p>KIIS FM will now be required to maintain two censors and sensitivity training will be provided to both hosts, producers and other relevant staff.</p> <p>It has also agreed to review its controls to prevent further breaches.</p> <p><em>Image credit: Getty</em></p>

Legal

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“You’ve got another thing coming”: Adelaide private school teacher loses it on the train

<p>Police are investigating after an Adelaide private school teacher was filmed yelling and allegedly shoving a teenage boy on a train. The man has since been stood down from his role.</p> <p>The incident occurred at about 3:40 pm on Saturday on a train travelling between Lynton and Eden Hills Railway Stations, with footage of the alleged assault being uploaded to social media.</p> <p>The footage shows the St John’s Grammar School teacher standing in the aisle of the train, yelling at a group of teenage boys sitting down with their mountain bikes.</p> <p>“Boys, if you think I’m not going to kick you off at the next station you’ve got another thing coming,” he yells.</p> <p>“I’m not f***ing around with you kids,” he says in another video.</p> <p>One of the videos cuts to slow-motion footage, showing the teacher appearing to shove one of the teenagers with the words “Moments before disaster” on the screen.</p> <p>On Wednesday, a South Australian police spokesman told <a href="http://news.com.au/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">news.com.au</a> that the incident was still under investigation.</p> <p>“A man allegedly assaulted a teenage boy and was verbally abusive towards him,” the spokesperson said.</p> <p><a href="https://7news.com.au/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">7News </a>has said that the footage didn’t capture the entire incident.</p> <p>Police have urged anyone with information about the incident to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.</p> <p>St John’s Grammar School confirmed it was aware of the altercation and the man appearing in the footage was a “longstanding” teacher of the school.</p> <p>“The teacher has been stood down indefinitely until further notice while the school conducts an initial investigation,” the school said in a statement.</p> <p>The school claims the incident did not directly involve any students from St John’s Grammar School.</p> <p>On Monday afternoon, a letter was sent to all parents of students at the school informing them of the incident.</p> <p>St John’s Grammar School is an Anglican early learning, primary and secondary school in the Adelaide Hills, costing just under $19,000 per year for students in years 10 to 12.</p> <p><em>Image credit: TikTok</em></p>

News

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Disabled woman dragged off train by police

<p dir="ltr">A disabled woman has been dragged off a train by police officers and station security in Adelaide, as horrified commuters captured the incident on video.</p> <p dir="ltr">On Saturday evening, travellers filmed the altercation between the woman, who uses a wheelchair, and police officers, as the officers were seen dragging the woman off the Adelaide Metro service and onto the platform.</p> <p dir="ltr">“She’s disabled and you’re going to drag her like that?” a witness is heard asking.</p> <p dir="ltr">The woman was moved to a bench on the platform, and is seen pushing the officers away when they try to talk to her.</p> <p dir="ltr">The officer then appears to push her back before he holds her down on the bench.</p> <p dir="ltr">In a statement, SA Police told NCA NewsWire that uniformed patrols were called to the Adelaide Railway Station following reports of a disturbance on the train.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Two people on the train were smoking and forcing the train doors open, they were asked to leave by security however refused to get off,” the spokesperson said.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Police attended and the pair still refused to get off the train and continued to act in a disorderly manner.”</p> <p dir="ltr">“A police officer attempted to push the wheelchair off the train; however the suspect stood up and pushed the officer in the chest.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Police said the 47-year-old disabled woman was issued with an adult caution for failing to comply with directions to leave a vehicle and resisting arrest.</p> <p dir="ltr">Despite public outcry of inappropriate behaviour on the video, SA Police say the actions of the officer were appropriate.</p> <p dir="ltr">“The police officer's body-worn footage has been reviewed and we believe their actions were both appropriate and reasonable in response to this incident.”</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: 7News</em></p>

Travel Trouble

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Southampton to Shanghai by train – one climate change researcher’s quest to avoid flying

<p>Academics travel a lot. Whether for fieldwork or conferences, we’re often <a href="https://theconversation.com/university-sector-must-tackle-air-travel-emissions-118929">encouraged</a> to do it. Often internationally, invariably by aeroplane. But while globetrotting might make us feel important, a recent <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0959652619311862">study</a> suggests there’s no connection between academic air-miles and career advancement.</p> <p>With the obvious realities of the climate crisis, and with air travel being the <a href="https://theconversation.com/its-time-to-wake-up-to-the-devastating-impact-flying-has-on-the-environment-70953">single quickest</a> way an average person can contribute to climate change, some academics are trying to stay on the ground whenever possible. Within a broader <a href="https://www.flightfree.co.uk/">campaign</a> to encourage people to go “flight-free”, there’s a community of <a href="https://academicflyingblog.wordpress.com/">academics</a> challenging the reliance on flying that’s typically sat uneasily at the heart of their careers.</p> <p>I’m a member of that community. I pledged not to fly in 2019 and 2020, and then won a fellowship to study Chinese attitudes to sustainability which required me to go to China for fieldwork. Suddenly, the consequences of my pledge became very real.</p> <figure class="align-center "><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/285327/original/file-20190723-110154-1grcjbv.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&q=45&auto=format&w=754&fit=clip" sizes="(min-width: 1466px) 754px, (max-width: 599px) 100vw, (min-width: 600px) 600px, 237px" srcset="https://images.theconversation.com/files/285327/original/file-20190723-110154-1grcjbv.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&q=45&auto=format&w=600&h=388&fit=crop&dpr=1 600w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/285327/original/file-20190723-110154-1grcjbv.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&q=30&auto=format&w=600&h=388&fit=crop&dpr=2 1200w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/285327/original/file-20190723-110154-1grcjbv.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&q=15&auto=format&w=600&h=388&fit=crop&dpr=3 1800w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/285327/original/file-20190723-110154-1grcjbv.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&q=45&auto=format&w=754&h=488&fit=crop&dpr=1 754w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/285327/original/file-20190723-110154-1grcjbv.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&q=30&auto=format&w=754&h=488&fit=crop&dpr=2 1508w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/285327/original/file-20190723-110154-1grcjbv.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&q=15&auto=format&w=754&h=488&fit=crop&dpr=3 2262w" alt="" /><figcaption><span class="caption">Not only do planes release a lot of CO₂ during flight, the white ‘contrails’ they leave behind warm the atmosphere further.</span> <span class="attribution"><a class="source" href="https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/passenger-airplanes-on-air-busy-traffic-1089042554?src=lgi_phsJCpzeLwXItWfMbw-1-17&studio=1">FotoHelin/Shutterstock</a></span></figcaption></figure> <p><strong>Life on the rails</strong></p> <p>When I told my managers that I intended to get to China by train, I was met with a mixture of responses. Some thought I was mad, some admired my principles, some thought I was an awkward bugger. Maybe they were all right. In any case, what I was doing had certainly created more work for myself.</p> <p>I began trying to convince senior staff to release funds from my research budget to arrange visas, and thinking through the nitty-gritty of a trip across Europe, Russia and a big chunk of China itself. The cost of the trains was over £2,000, dwarfing the £700 I could pay for a London to Beijing return flight. Time-wise, the train trip took just under two weeks each way. But in terms of carbon emissions my trip was a steal, contributing <a href="https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/greenhouse-gas-reporting-conversion-factors-2019">just 10%</a> of the emissions of the equivalent flights.</p> <p>The cost, complexity and discomfort of such a long solo trip did occasionally make me wonder if it wouldn’t just be easier to fly (answer: it would). But I was determined to honour my pledge and show other academics – by my own extreme example – that it is possible to do international work without flights.</p> <figure class="align-center "><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/285316/original/file-20190723-110175-szuvp8.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&q=45&auto=format&w=754&fit=clip" sizes="(min-width: 1466px) 754px, (max-width: 599px) 100vw, (min-width: 600px) 600px, 237px" srcset="https://images.theconversation.com/files/285316/original/file-20190723-110175-szuvp8.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&q=45&auto=format&w=600&h=450&fit=crop&dpr=1 600w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/285316/original/file-20190723-110175-szuvp8.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&q=30&auto=format&w=600&h=450&fit=crop&dpr=2 1200w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/285316/original/file-20190723-110175-szuvp8.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&q=15&auto=format&w=600&h=450&fit=crop&dpr=3 1800w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/285316/original/file-20190723-110175-szuvp8.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&q=45&auto=format&w=754&h=566&fit=crop&dpr=1 754w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/285316/original/file-20190723-110175-szuvp8.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&q=30&auto=format&w=754&h=566&fit=crop&dpr=2 1508w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/285316/original/file-20190723-110175-szuvp8.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&q=15&auto=format&w=754&h=566&fit=crop&dpr=3 2262w" alt="" /><figcaption><span class="caption">The author meets a train guard in Siberia.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Roger Tyers</span>, <span class="license">Author provided</span></span></figcaption></figure> <p>Considering it involved 21 train connections, my journey went surprisingly smoothly. I took a series of “short” trips from Southampton, changing in London, Brussels, Cologne, Berlin and then onto my first sleeper train from Warsaw to Kiev (avoiding Belarus which would have required another visa).</p> <p>My first experience on the Kiev-bound, Soviet-style sleeper train was something of a shock. Unsure of the etiquette when sharing a tiny cabin with two or three others with limited English, I soon learned that body language, Google translate and sharing food breaks the ice. Luckily, my no-flying trip was a recurring source of conversation, fascination and bafflement for many of my fellow travellers.</p> <p>After one night in Kiev, I took another overnight train to Moscow. Russia was something of a test – on my return journey I travelled 2,600 miles between Irkutsk and Moscow, spending 90 hours on a single train. Had this not been a work trip, I would have gladly stopped more often. Making friends with fellow passengers – mainly Russians on work trips or family visits, or European and Chinese tourists doing the bucket list Trans-Siberian route – certainly helped pass the time. The Siberian scenery – millions of trees on a seemingly endless loop – became somewhat repetitive, but the monotony afforded me time to read, write, plan and contemplate.</p> <p>The most spectacular journey was the Trans-Mongolian section, passing the edge of Lake Baikal, the world’s largest lake rimmed with snow-capped mountains, over the green steppes of northern Mongolia, across the Gobi desert, and finally through the mountainous valleys encircling Beijing. It’s hard not to be awed and inspired that these train lines exist in such remote parts of our planet.</p> <figure class="align-center zoomable"><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/285302/original/file-20190723-110154-qqgn2n.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&rect=0%2C0%2C1003%2C1003&q=45&auto=format&w=1000&fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/285302/original/file-20190723-110154-qqgn2n.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&rect=0%2C0%2C1003%2C1003&q=45&auto=format&w=754&fit=clip" sizes="(min-width: 1466px) 754px, (max-width: 599px) 100vw, (min-width: 600px) 600px, 237px" srcset="https://images.theconversation.com/files/285302/original/file-20190723-110154-qqgn2n.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&q=45&auto=format&w=600&h=600&fit=crop&dpr=1 600w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/285302/original/file-20190723-110154-qqgn2n.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&q=30&auto=format&w=600&h=600&fit=crop&dpr=2 1200w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/285302/original/file-20190723-110154-qqgn2n.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&q=15&auto=format&w=600&h=600&fit=crop&dpr=3 1800w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/285302/original/file-20190723-110154-qqgn2n.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&q=45&auto=format&w=754&h=754&fit=crop&dpr=1 754w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/285302/original/file-20190723-110154-qqgn2n.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&q=30&auto=format&w=754&h=754&fit=crop&dpr=2 1508w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/285302/original/file-20190723-110154-qqgn2n.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&q=15&auto=format&w=754&h=754&fit=crop&dpr=3 2262w" alt="" /></a><figcaption><span class="caption">The track stretches for miles across the Mongolian plains.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Roger Tyers</span>, <span class="license">Author provided</span></span></figcaption></figure> <p><strong>Calling at Beijing</strong></p> <p>China now has more high-speed railways than the rest of the world combined, and they do it in style. Beijing to Shanghai, a trip covering 1,300km, takes less than four and a half hours, with a solid internet connection throughout and the most legroom I enjoyed on any of my trips. The downer is that China’s electrified trains will, <a href="https://theconversation.com/china-wrestles-with-insecure-gas-supplies-but-stays-strong-on-longer-term-plan-for-renewables-117445">like most of their electricity</a>, be powered by coal. But on the upside, these trains are likely to take passengers off domestic flights – a lesson for Europe and the US.</p> <p>I enjoyed using them to visit my other field sites in Hangzhou and Ningbo before finally retracing my steps back, over 6,000 miles to the UK, clutching a load of new data, a heap of memories, and a sore back. The focus group data I collected in China, with members of their urban middle classes, has enforced my view that both ‘bottom-up’ social and cultural pressure, as well as “top-down” infrastructure and fiscal policy will be required in any country facing up the complex challenges of climate change.</p> <figure class="align-center "><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/285360/original/file-20190723-110162-1jhj505.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&q=45&auto=format&w=754&fit=clip" sizes="(min-width: 1466px) 754px, (max-width: 599px) 100vw, (min-width: 600px) 600px, 237px" srcset="https://images.theconversation.com/files/285360/original/file-20190723-110162-1jhj505.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&q=45&auto=format&w=600&h=600&fit=crop&dpr=1 600w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/285360/original/file-20190723-110162-1jhj505.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&q=30&auto=format&w=600&h=600&fit=crop&dpr=2 1200w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/285360/original/file-20190723-110162-1jhj505.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&q=15&auto=format&w=600&h=600&fit=crop&dpr=3 1800w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/285360/original/file-20190723-110162-1jhj505.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&q=45&auto=format&w=754&h=754&fit=crop&dpr=1 754w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/285360/original/file-20190723-110162-1jhj505.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&q=30&auto=format&w=754&h=754&fit=crop&dpr=2 1508w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/285360/original/file-20190723-110162-1jhj505.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&q=15&auto=format&w=754&h=754&fit=crop&dpr=3 2262w" alt="" /><figcaption><span class="caption">The author at the end of his outward journey in Tiananmen Square.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Roger Tyers</span>, <span class="license">Author provided</span></span></figcaption></figure> <p>I admit that my story is somewhat privileged – not everyone can take the train to China for work, and I doubt I’ll make a habit of it. Much depends on geography too. The UK is relatively well connected by surface transport options like rail, but many still fly - the UK has the <a href="https://www.iata.org/pressroom/pr/Pages/2018-10-24-02.aspx">third largest</a> air passenger market, behind only the US and China.</p> <p>The bigger policy goal is to make train tickets less expensive relative to flights. In the meantime, academics can play a leadership role, both individually and <a href="https://theconversation.com/researchers-set-an-example-fly-less-111046">institutionally</a>. Universities could consider publishing records of staff flights, building low-carbon travel modes into grant proposals by default, and making videoconferencing facilities fantastic.</p> <p>Recent <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0959652619311862">research</a> has shown, unsurprisingly, that climate researchers are taken more seriously if they practise what they preach. If we can lead by example in reducing our own flying carbon footprints while still conducting great research, then others – students, policymakers and other professionals – are far more likely to take notice.</p> <p><em>Writen by Roger Tyers. Republished with permission from <a href="https://theconversation.com/southampton-to-shanghai-by-train-one-climate-change-researchers-quest-to-avoid-flying-120015" target="_blank" rel="noopener">The Conversation</a>.</em></p> <p><em>Image: Getty Images</em></p>

International Travel

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The Galactica AI model was trained on scientific knowledge – but it spat out alarmingly plausible nonsense

<p>Earlier this month, Meta announced new AI software called <a href="https://galactica.org/">Galactica</a>: “a large language model that can store, combine and reason about scientific knowledge”.</p> <p><a href="https://paperswithcode.com/paper/galactica-a-large-language-model-for-science-1">Launched</a> with a public online demo, Galactica lasted only three days before going the way of other AI snafus like Microsoft’s <a href="https://www.theverge.com/2016/3/24/11297050/tay-microsoft-chatbot-racist">infamous racist chatbot</a>.</p> <p>The online demo was disabled (though the <a href="https://github.com/paperswithcode/galai">code for the model is still available</a> for anyone to use), and Meta’s outspoken chief AI scientist <a href="https://twitter.com/ylecun/status/1595353002222682112">complained</a> about the negative public response.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">Galactica demo is off line for now.<br />It's no longer possible to have some fun by casually misusing it.<br />Happy? <a href="https://t.co/K56r2LpvFD">https://t.co/K56r2LpvFD</a></p> <p>— Yann LeCun (@ylecun) <a href="https://twitter.com/ylecun/status/1593293058174500865?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">November 17, 2022</a></p></blockquote> <p>So what was Galactica all about, and what went wrong?</p> <p><strong>What’s special about Galactica?</strong></p> <p>Galactica is a language model, a type of AI trained to respond to natural language by repeatedly playing a <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2022/04/15/magazine/ai-language.html">fill-the-blank word-guessing game</a>.</p> <p>Most modern language models learn from text scraped from the internet. Galactica also used text from scientific papers uploaded to the (Meta-affiliated) website <a href="https://paperswithcode.com/">PapersWithCode</a>. The designers highlighted specialised scientific information like citations, maths, code, chemical structures, and the working-out steps for solving scientific problems.</p> <p>The <a href="https://galactica.org/static/paper.pdf">preprint paper</a> associated with the project (which is yet to undergo peer review) makes some impressive claims. Galactica apparently outperforms other models at problems like reciting famous equations (“<em>Q: What is Albert Einstein’s famous mass-energy equivalence formula? A: E=mc²</em>”), or predicting the products of chemical reactions (“<em>Q: When sulfuric acid reacts with sodium chloride, what does it produce? A: NaHSO₄ + HCl</em>”).</p> <p>However, once Galactica was opened up for public experimentation, a deluge of criticism followed. Not only did Galactica reproduce many of the problems of bias and toxicity we have seen in other language models, it also specialised in producing authoritative-sounding scientific nonsense.</p> <p><strong>Authoritative, but subtly wrong bullshit generator</strong></p> <p>Galactica’s press release promoted its ability to explain technical scientific papers using general language. However, users quickly noticed that, while the explanations it generates sound authoritative, they are often subtly incorrect, biased, or just plain wrong.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">I entered "Estimating realistic 3D human avatars in clothing from a single image or video". In this case, it made up a fictitious paper and associated GitHub repo. The author is a real person (<a href="https://twitter.com/AlbertPumarola?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@AlbertPumarola</a>) but the reference is bogus. (2/9) <a href="https://t.co/N4i0BX27Yf">pic.twitter.com/N4i0BX27Yf</a></p> <p>— Michael Black (@Michael_J_Black) <a href="https://twitter.com/Michael_J_Black/status/1593133727257092097?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">November 17, 2022</a></p></blockquote> <p>We also asked Galactica to explain technical concepts from our own fields of research. We found it would use all the right buzzwords, but get the actual details wrong – for example, mixing up the details of related but different algorithms.</p> <p>In practice, Galactica was enabling the generation of misinformation – and this is dangerous precisely because it deploys the tone and structure of authoritative scientific information. If a user already needs to be a subject matter expert in order to check the accuracy of Galactica’s “summaries”, then it has no use as an explanatory tool.</p> <p>At best, it could provide a fancy autocomplete for people who are already fully competent in the area they’re writing about. At worst, it risks further eroding public trust in scientific research.</p> <p><strong>A galaxy of deep (science) fakes</strong></p> <p>Galactica could make it easier for bad actors to mass-produce fake, fraudulent or plagiarised scientific papers. This is to say nothing of exacerbating <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2022/nov/28/ai-students-essays-cheat-teachers-plagiarism-tech">existing concerns</a> about students using AI systems for plagiarism.</p> <p>Fake scientific papers are <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-021-00733-5">nothing new</a>. However, peer reviewers at academic journals and conferences are already time-poor, and this could make it harder than ever to weed out fake science.</p> <p><strong>Underlying bias and toxicity</strong></p> <p>Other critics reported that Galactica, like other language models trained on data from the internet, has a tendency to spit out <a href="https://twitter.com/mrgreene1977/status/1593649978789941249">toxic hate speech</a> while unreflectively censoring politically inflected queries. This reflects the biases lurking in the model’s training data, and Meta’s apparent failure to apply appropriate checks around the responsible AI research.</p> <p>The risks associated with large language models are well understood. Indeed, an <a href="https://dl.acm.org/doi/10.1145/3442188.3445922">influential paper</a> highlighting these risks prompted Google to <a href="https://www.wired.com/story/google-timnit-gebru-ai-what-really-happened/">fire one of the paper’s authors</a> in 2020, and eventually disband its AI ethics team altogether.</p> <p>Machine-learning systems infamously exacerbate existing societal biases, and Galactica is no exception. For instance, Galactica can recommend possible citations for scientific concepts by mimicking existing citation patterns (“<em>Q: Is there any research on the effect of climate change on the great barrier reef? A: Try the paper ‘<a href="https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-018-0041-2">Global warming transforms coral reef assemblages</a>’ by Hughes, et al. in Nature 556 (2018)</em>”).</p> <p>For better or worse, citations are the currency of science – and by reproducing existing citation trends in its recommendations, Galactica risks reinforcing existing patterns of inequality and disadvantage. (Galactica’s developers acknowledge this risk in their paper.)</p> <p>Citation bias is already a well-known issue in academic fields ranging from <a href="https://doi.org/10.1080/14680777.2018.1447395">feminist</a> <a href="https://doi.org/10.1093/joc/jqy003">scholarship</a> to <a href="https://doi.org/10.1038/s41567-022-01770-1">physics</a>. However, tools like Galactica could make the problem worse unless they are used with careful guardrails in place.</p> <p>A more subtle problem is that the scientific articles on which Galactica is trained are already biased towards certainty and positive results. (This leads to the so-called “<a href="https://theconversation.com/science-is-in-a-reproducibility-crisis-how-do-we-resolve-it-16998">replication crisis</a>” and “<a href="https://theconversation.com/how-we-edit-science-part-2-significance-testing-p-hacking-and-peer-review-74547">p-hacking</a>”, where scientists cherry-pick data and analysis techniques to make results appear significant.)</p> <p>Galactica takes this bias towards certainty, combines it with wrong answers and delivers responses with supreme overconfidence: hardly a recipe for trustworthiness in a scientific information service.</p> <p>These problems are dramatically heightened when Galactica tries to deal with contentious or harmful social issues, as the screenshot below shows.</p> <figure class="align-center zoomable"><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/498098/original/file-20221129-17547-nwq8p.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/498098/original/file-20221129-17547-nwq8p.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" sizes="(min-width: 1466px) 754px, (max-width: 599px) 100vw, (min-width: 600px) 600px, 237px" srcset="https://images.theconversation.com/files/498098/original/file-20221129-17547-nwq8p.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=347&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 600w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/498098/original/file-20221129-17547-nwq8p.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=347&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1200w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/498098/original/file-20221129-17547-nwq8p.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=347&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 1800w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/498098/original/file-20221129-17547-nwq8p.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=436&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 754w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/498098/original/file-20221129-17547-nwq8p.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=436&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1508w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/498098/original/file-20221129-17547-nwq8p.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=436&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 2262w" alt="Screenshots of papers generated by Galactica on 'The benefits of antisemitism' and 'The benefits of eating crushed glass'." /></a><figcaption><span class="caption">Galactica readily generates toxic and nonsensical content dressed up in the measured and authoritative language of science.</span> <span class="attribution"><a class="source" href="https://twitter.com/mrgreene1977/status/1593687024963182592/photo/1">Tristan Greene / Galactica</a></span></figcaption></figure> <p><strong>Here we go again</strong></p> <p>Calls for AI research organisations to take the ethical dimensions of their work more seriously are now coming from <a href="https://nap.nationalacademies.org/catalog/26507/fostering-responsible-computing-research-foundations-and-practices">key research bodies</a> such as the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine. Some AI research organisations, like OpenAI, are being <a href="https://github.com/openai/dalle-2-preview/blob/main/system-card.md">more conscientious</a> (though still imperfect).</p> <p>Meta <a href="https://www.engadget.com/meta-responsible-innovation-team-disbanded-194852979.html">dissolved its Responsible Innovation team</a> earlier this year. The team was tasked with addressing “potential harms to society” caused by the company’s products. They might have helped the company avoid this clumsy misstep.<!-- 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/195445/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 Aaron J. Snoswell </em><em>and Jean Burgess</em><em>. Republished with permission from <a href="https://theconversation.com/the-galactica-ai-model-was-trained-on-scientific-knowledge-but-it-spat-out-alarmingly-plausible-nonsense-195445" target="_blank" rel="noopener">The Conversation</a>.</em></p> <p><em>Image: Getty Images</em></p>

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Australia is investigating whether ex-defence personnel provided military training to China. Would it matter if they did?

<p>Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Defence Richard Marles <a href="https://www.minister.defence.gov.au/statements/2022-11-09/statement-efforts-recruit-former-adf-pilots" target="_blank" rel="noopener">announced</a> he had directed the Department of Defence to investigate reports “that ex-Australian Defence Force personnel may have been approached to provide military related training to China”.</p> <p>This announcement comes just weeks after the British Ministry of Defence <a href="https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/top-guns-for-hire-british-pilots-training-chinese-military-slammed-as-morally-repugnant-20221019-p5bqvx.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener">revealed</a> around 30 of their former military pilots had been delivering flight training services to members of China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) through a company based in South Africa.</p> <p>Marles has <a href="https://www.minister.defence.gov.au/transcripts/2022-11-09/press-conference-parliament-house" target="_blank" rel="noopener">committed</a> to conducting a</p> <blockquote> <p>detailed examination [of] the policies and procedures that apply to our former Defence personnel, and particularly those who come into possession of our nation’s secrets.</p> </blockquote> <p>He explained there’s a “clear and unambiguous” obligation on current and former Commonwealth officials to “maintain [government] secrets beyond their employment with, or their engagement with, the Commonwealth”.</p> <p>Australia’s highly trained defence personnel are a huge asset to us, as much as our cutting-edge physical assets and technologies. As far as possible, we should ensure these assets are protected. There should also be clear guidelines around how and when privileged information can be employed.</p> <h2>Impending investigation</h2> <p>According to Britain’s Minister for Armed Forces and Veterans James Heappey, their authorities had <a href="https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/top-guns-for-hire-british-pilots-training-chinese-military-slammed-as-morally-repugnant-20221019-p5bqvx.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener">been aware of the situation for several years</a>. None of the pilots had broken existing British law.</p> <p>The BBC <a href="https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-63293582" target="_blank" rel="noopener">reported</a> the British government issued this “<a href="https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2022/oct/18/uk-officials-threat-alert-china-attempts-to-recruit-raf-pilots" target="_blank" rel="noopener">threat alert</a>” to deter other would-be trainers from taking up similar offers. There’s also an updated National Security Bill currently before the House of Commons, which seeks to “create additional tools” to address security challenges like this one.</p> <p>By comparison, it’s unclear whether any ex-Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel took up Chinese offers to train the PLA, or whether such an action would be considered a violation of the secrecy of information provisions of the Australian Criminal Code.</p> <p>Marles <a href="https://www.minister.defence.gov.au/transcripts/2022-11-09/press-conference-parliament-house" target="_blank" rel="noopener">explained</a> the Counter Foreign Interference Taskforce is “currently investigating a number of cases” identified by the department’s initial inquiries.</p> <p>This investigation will also seek to determine whether current policies and procedures are fit for purpose when it comes to former defence personnel and the protection of official secrets.</p> <p>Taking such measures has bipartisan support. Opposition Leader Peter Dutton <a href="https://www.skynews.com.au/australia-news/politics/peter-dutton-calls-on-albanese-government-to-tighten-up-laws-to-prevent-adf-personnel-spreading-australian-secrets/news-story/37ee6dc4c585922f7abf98edcc51b7b6" target="_blank" rel="noopener">has indicated</a> “if there is a hole in the legislation now, the Coalition will support a change which will tighten it up”. He added that Australia “can’t allow our secrets and our methodologies to be handed over to another country, and particularly not China under President Xi”.</p> <h2>Exposing our tactics</h2> <p>Dutton’s comments highlight an important distinction: while the training of PLA (or any foreign) pilots by ex-ADF personnel may not necessarily constitute a disclosure of official secrets, it still risks exposing the ways in which the ADF is trained to fight to a potential adversary – what are referred to as its tactics, techniques and procedures.</p> <p>There are many exchange personnel from overseas embedded in the ADF (and vice versa). But given the sensitivities involved, these positions are typically restricted to close partners such as the United States, United Kingdom, New Zealand or Canada. One of the benefits of close cooperation between militaries is that they can then operate more effectively alongside each other in the event of a conflict.</p> <p>But if ex-ADF personnel train the armed forces of potential adversaries, those opponents may be able to use this knowledge to better develop methods of their own to erode Australia’s military advantages.</p> <p>Professor <a href="https://twitter.com/alessionaval/status/1582232133086892032" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Alessio Patalano</a> of King’s College London points out that</p> <blockquote> <p>skilled personnel are valued capabilities and this know-how is a national security resource, and for the same reason a potential vulnerability.</p> </blockquote> <p>He further <a href="https://twitter.com/alessionaval/status/1582230651834548224" target="_blank" rel="noopener">explained</a> the “reverse engineering of professional skills” has a long historical tradition. That is, personnel undergoing this training would improve their skills, but could also work backwards from the instruction they receive to draw further insights into how the other state might operate in the event of war.</p> <p>For example, in the so-called “<a href="https://www.usni.org/magazines/naval-history-magazine/2019/december/jump-starting-japanese-naval-aviation" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Sempill Mission</a>” of British aviators to Japan in the 1920s, British personnel provided detailed instruction to their Japanese counterparts on how to conduct and train for aircraft carrier operations – at the time a brand new and rapidly emerging form of naval warfare. This training mission contributed significantly to the Imperial Japanese Navy’s prowess in aircraft carrier operations displayed in 1941.</p> <p>While foreign governments and intelligence services are always looking for opportunities to obtain classified information about Australia and its partners, the converse is also true.</p> <p>The Daily Express <a href="https://www.express.co.uk/news/world/1686465/RAF-news-china-uk-nato-raf-pilots-british-security-agencies" target="_blank" rel="noopener">claimed</a> British intelligence services used their knowledge of these recent activities as an opportunity for some pilots to obtain information on the current state of the PLA.</p> <p>The pilots allegedly had first-hand experience flying China’s frontline combat aircraft, and relayed the information to British authorities on their return.</p> <h2>Protecting our assets</h2> <p>Nevertheless, despite the “clear and unambiguous” obligation for former Commonwealth officials “to maintain [Australia’s] secrets”, ex-ADF personnel have been engaged in training foreign militaries for many years. In an interview with the ABC, former Secretary of Defence Dennis Richardson noted his <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-11-09/ex-defence-secretary-dennis-richardson-adf-members-china/101635972" target="_blank" rel="noopener">surprise</a> “at some of the positions that some former ADF officers have occupied in other countries” and expressed his hope the government’s review “goes beyond China”.</p> <p>The most prominent of these figures is <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-01-14/former-australian-soldiers-caught-up-in-yemen-civil-war/7087566" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Major General (Ret’d) Mike Hindmarsh</a>, a former Commander of Australia’s Special Operations Command who was subsequently appointed as the Commander of the United Arab Emirates’ Presidential Guard.</p> <p>Australia already has <a href="https://www.defence.gov.au/business-industry/export/controls/export-controls/export" target="_blank" rel="noopener">export control</a> regulations, which limits the physical export and intangible transfer of controlled military and dual-use goods and technologies. Also, stringent <a href="https://www.afr.com/work-and-careers/education/o-neil-alters-ministerial-sign-off-for-postgrad-students-20220630-p5axwq" target="_blank" rel="noopener">limitations</a> on international students undertaking postgraduate research in Australia on critical technologies were legislated in the last Parliament. However, these measures aren’t being currently being implemented until the government can more clearly define the relevant list of critical technologies.</p> <p><strong>This article originally appeared on <a href="https://theconversation.com/australia-is-investigating-whether-ex-defence-personnel-provided-military-training-to-china-would-it-matter-if-they-did-194252" target="_blank" rel="noopener">The Conversation</a>.</strong></p>

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