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I can’t afford olive oil. What else can I use?

<div class="theconversation-article-body"> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/lauren-ball-14718">Lauren Ball</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-queensland-805">The University of Queensland</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/emily-burch-438717">Emily Burch</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/southern-cross-university-1160">Southern Cross University</a></em></p> <p>If you buy your olive oil in bulk, you’ve likely been in for a shock in recent weeks. Major supermarkets have been selling olive oil for up to A$65 for a four-litre tin, and up to $26 for a 750 millilitre bottle.</p> <p>We’ve been hearing about the health benefits of olive oil for years. And many of us are adding it to salads, or baking and frying with it.</p> <p>But during a cost-of-living crisis, these high prices can put olive oil out of reach.</p> <p>Let’s take a look at why olive oil is in demand, why it’s so expensive right now, and what to do until prices come down.</p> <h2>Remind me, why is olive oil so good for you?</h2> <p>Including olive oil in your diet can reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes and improve heart health through more favourable <a href="https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/12/6/1548">blood pressure</a>, <a href="https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/7/9/5356">inflammation</a> and <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0939475319302662">cholesterol levels</a>.</p> <p>This is largely because olive oil is high in <a href="https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/4/12/1989">monounsaturated fatty acids</a> and <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8300823/">polyphenols</a> (antioxidants).</p> <p>Some researchers have suggested you can get these benefits from consuming up to <a href="https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnut.2022.1041203/full">20 grams a day</a>. That’s equivalent to about five teaspoons of olive oil.</p> <h2>Why is olive oil so expensive right now?</h2> <p>A European heatwave and drought have <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/rural/2024-04-27/olive-oil-alternatives-what-you-can-use-in-cooking/103761718">limited</a> Spanish and Italian producers’ ability to supply olive oil to international markets, including Australia.</p> <p>This has been coupled with an unusually cold and short growing season for Australian <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/rural/2023-08-02/record-olive-oil-price-set-to-increase-again/102675452">olive oil suppliers</a>.</p> <p>The lower-than-usual production and supply of olive oil, together with heightened demand from shoppers, means prices have gone up.</p> <h2>How can I make my olive oil go further?</h2> <p>Many households buy olive oil in large quantities because it is cheaper per litre. So, if you have some still in stock, you can make it go further by:</p> <ul> <li> <p><strong>storing it correctly</strong> – make sure the lid is on tightly and it’s kept in a cool, dark place, such as a pantry or cabinet. If stored this way, olive oil can typically last <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6218649/">12–18 months</a></p> </li> <li> <p><strong>using a spray</strong> – sprays distribute oil more evenly than pourers, using less olive oil overall. You could buy a spray bottle to fill from a large tin, as needed</p> </li> <li> <p><strong>straining or freezing it</strong> – if you have leftover olive oil after frying, strain it and reuse it for other fried dishes. You could also freeze this used oil in an airtight container, then thaw and fry with it later, without affecting the oil’s <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00217-022-04078-9">taste and other characteristics</a>. But for dressings, only use fresh oil.</p> </li> </ul> <h2>I’ve run out of olive oil. What else can I use?</h2> <p>Here are some healthy and cheaper alternatives to olive oil:</p> <ul> <li> <p><strong>canola oil</strong> is a good alternative for frying. It’s relatively <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/agricultural-and-biological-sciences/canola-oil">low</a> in saturated fat so is generally considered healthy. Like olive oil, it is high in <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23731447/">healthy monounsaturated fats</a>. Cost? Up to $6 for a 750mL bottle (home brand is about half the price)</p> </li> <li> <p><strong>sunflower oil</strong> is a great alternative to use on salads or for frying. It has a mild flavour that does not overwhelm other ingredients. Some <a href="https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/british-journal-of-nutrition/article/conjugated-linoleic-acid-versus-higholeic-acid-sunflower-oil-effects-on-energy-metabolism-glucose-tolerance-blood-lipids-appetite-and-body-composition-in-regularly-exercising-individuals/6C035B5C6E9FD7C9D6D7F806ADA56983">studies</a> suggest using sunflower oil may help reduce your risk of heart disease by lowering LDL (bad) cholesterol and raising HDL (good) cholesterol. Cost? Up to $6.50 for a 750mL bottle (again, home brand is about half the price)</p> </li> <li> <p><strong>sesame oil</strong> has a nutty flavour. It’s good for Asian dressings, and frying. Light sesame oil is typically used as a neutral cooking oil, while the toasted type is used to flavour sauces. Sesame oil is <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ptr.6428">high in</a> antioxidants and has some anti-inflammatory properties. Sesame oil is generally sold in smaller bottles than canola or sunflower oil. Cost? Up to $5 for a 150mL bottle.</p> </li> </ul> <h2>How can I use less oil, generally?</h2> <p>Using less oil in your cooking could keep your meals healthy. Here are some alternatives and cooking techniques:</p> <ul> <li> <p><strong>use alternatives for baking</strong> – unless you are making an olive oil cake, if your recipe calls for a large quantity of oil, try using an alternative such as apple sauce, Greek yoghurt or mashed banana</p> </li> <li> <p><strong>use non-stick cookware</strong> – using high-quality, non-stick pots and pans reduces the need for oil when cooking, or means you don’t need oil at all</p> </li> <li> <p><strong>steam instead</strong> – steam vegetables, fish and poultry to retain nutrients and moisture without adding oil</p> </li> <li> <p><strong>bake or roast</strong> – potatoes, vegetables or chicken can be baked or roasted rather than fried. You can still achieve crispy textures without needing excessive oil</p> </li> <li> <p><strong>grill</strong> – the natural fats in meat and vegetables can help keep ingredients moist, without using oil</p> </li> <li> <p><strong>use stock</strong> – instead of sautéing vegetables in oil, try using vegetable broth or stock to add flavour</p> </li> <li> <p><strong>try vinegar or citrus</strong> – use vinegar or citrus juice (such as lemon or lime) to add flavour to salads, marinades and sauces without relying on oil</p> </li> <li> <p><strong>use natural moisture</strong> – use the natural moisture in ingredients such as tomatoes, onions and mushrooms to cook dishes without adding extra oil. They release moisture as they cook, helping to prevent sticking.<!-- 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/228788/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> </li> </ul> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/lauren-ball-14718">Lauren Ball</a>, Professor of Community Health and Wellbeing, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-queensland-805">The University of Queensland</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/emily-burch-438717">Emily Burch</a>, Accredited Practising Dietitian and Lecturer, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/southern-cross-university-1160">Southern Cross 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/i-cant-afford-olive-oil-what-else-can-i-use-228788">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

Food & Wine

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Doctor beats cancer using his own treatment

<p>Australian doctor Richard Scolyer has been declared cancer free, thanks to a first-of-its-kind treatment he helped to develop.</p> <p>The 56-year-old professor, who has been recognised around for the world for his pioneering melanoma research, was diagnosed with aglioblastoma, a terminal kind of brain tumour, after suffering a seizure last June.</p> <p>After receiving his devastating diagnosis, the doctor agreed to be a "guinea pig" to undergo a world-first cancer treatment that he had a hand in developing. </p> <p>Now the world-leading pathologist and Australian of the Year has given a remarkable update, stating he is cancer free.</p> <p>“I had brain #MRI scan last Thursday looking for recurrent #glioblastoma (&/or treatment complications). I found out yesterday that there is still no sign of recurrence. I couldn’t be happier!!!!!” the professor shared on X, formerly known as Twitter.</p> <p>Before Dr Scolyer was diagnosed with cancer, he was fit and active, and had been hiking mountains in Poland with his wife.</p> <p>“I felt normal. I didn’t have any symptoms at all,” he told <em>A Current Affair</em> earlier this year.</p> <p>Just days after, he suffered a devastating seizure, and when he returned to Australia, underwent a series of tests which resulted in a diagnosis with glioblastoma – an aggressive and terminal form of brain cancer that would give him a average of 14 months to live. </p> <p>Teaming up with his friend and medical oncologist Georgina Long, Scolyer decided to undergo the new treatment, which came with a long list of risks. </p> <p>“No one knew what it was going to do, people were nervous because it could actually cause my life to end more quickly. But when you’re faced with certain death, it’s a no-brainer for me,” said Professor Scolyer, who also hoped the treatment would make a difference for other cancer patients.</p> <p>Dr Scolyer also underwent surgery to remove as much of his tumour as possible, and in April, he updated his social media followers to share that10 months after his diagnosis, his tumour had not returned. </p> <p>Speaking to ABC’s <em>Australian Story</em> at the time, Professor Scolyer said he was “blown away” by the results.</p> <p>“This is not what I expected. The average time to recurrence for the nasty type of brain cancer I’ve got is six months. So, to be out this far is amazing,” he said. </p> <p><em>Image credits: Instagram</em></p>

Caring

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15,000 squares, 500 hours, 19 months: how I used embroidery to make sense of Australia’s catastrophic fires

<div class="theconversation-article-body"><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/tracey-clement-1518268">Tracey Clement</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/australian-catholic-university-747">Australian Catholic University</a></em></p> <p>I slip the needle through a small loop of black thread, pull it tight and snip. Done. I have just tied off the very last stitch on an embroidered scroll that has taken me more than 500 hours across 19 months to complete.</p> <p>All of my artwork is extremely labour-intensive. But I have to admit, this is a bit excessive, even for me. It’s not surprising that I have been asked more than once “why not just outsource the labour?” and even “what is the point?”</p> <p>I always sigh and think enviously of plumbers. I am 100% sure hardworking tradies are never asked to justify the point of <em>their</em> work.</p> <p>Why do I work so hard? There is no one easy answer, it’s different every time. The labour intensity of my processes adds time into the equation and this both carries meaning and can change the meaning of the work as it goes on (and on and on). I always learn something unexpected.</p> <figure class="align-center zoomable"><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/590597/original/file-20240426-17-sg7esy.jpg?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/590597/original/file-20240426-17-sg7esy.jpg?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" sizes="(min-width: 1466px) 754px, (max-width: 599px) 100vw, (min-width: 600px) 600px, 237px" srcset="https://images.theconversation.com/files/590597/original/file-20240426-17-sg7esy.jpg?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=800&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 600w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/590597/original/file-20240426-17-sg7esy.jpg?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=800&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1200w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/590597/original/file-20240426-17-sg7esy.jpg?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=800&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 1800w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/590597/original/file-20240426-17-sg7esy.jpg?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=1005&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 754w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/590597/original/file-20240426-17-sg7esy.jpg?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=1005&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1508w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/590597/original/file-20240426-17-sg7esy.jpg?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=1005&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 2262w" alt="A finger points to a knot on the back of a messy abstract embroidery done in black, red, orange and yellow" /></a><figcaption><span class="caption">The last stitch!</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Tracey Clement</span></span></figcaption></figure> <p>I put my little scissors down and, before busting out the bubbles, I snap a picture for Instagram because #selfpromotion, but also because this is news, albeit of a very slow-breaking kind. This is what I’ve learned after stitching for seemingly endless hours: while no news may be good news, “slow news” is even better.</p> <p>My embroidered scroll is titled Impossible Numbers. It started as my attempt to memorialise <a href="https://wwf.org.au/what-we-do/australian-bushfires/in-depth-australian-bushfires">the estimated 3,000,000,000 non-human lives lost</a> in the devastating bushfires of 2019–20, a number impossible to actually comprehend.</p> <h2>Doomscrolling an emergency</h2> <p>During that long and awful summer Sydney was often shrouded in an eerie orange haze. You could smell smoke. Ash fell. But, like many Australians, I experienced the worst of it by <a href="https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/doomscrolling">doomscrolling</a> fast news.</p> <p>I was both horrified and fascinated by images of fires so huge and hot they generated their own weather, by pictures of houses reduced to smoking skeletal outlines that somehow remained standing, by headlines comparing the fires to <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2019/dec/31/mallacoota-fire-mayhem-armageddon-bushfires-rage-victoria-east-gippsland">armageddon</a> and <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2020/oct/30/australia-must-prepare-for-future-shaped-by-extreme-climate-bushfire-royal-commission-report-warns">the apocalypse</a>.</p> <p>This hyperbolic language implies we are locked in a war of good versus evil. Even headlines in the vein of “Firefighters battle blazes” pit us (people) against them (the forces of nature). And in the heat of the moment the language of war feels right. <a href="https://traceyclement.com/2020/04/21/apocalypse-now">I’ve succumbed to it myself</a>. But it is dangerous. This language reinforces the idea we can dominate nature; it frames the fires as a conflict that we can end by winning.</p> <figure class="align-center zoomable"><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/590572/original/file-20240426-21-7mbf5w.JPG?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/590572/original/file-20240426-21-7mbf5w.JPG?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" sizes="(min-width: 1466px) 754px, (max-width: 599px) 100vw, (min-width: 600px) 600px, 237px" srcset="https://images.theconversation.com/files/590572/original/file-20240426-21-7mbf5w.JPG?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=1432&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 600w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/590572/original/file-20240426-21-7mbf5w.JPG?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=1432&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1200w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/590572/original/file-20240426-21-7mbf5w.JPG?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=1432&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 1800w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/590572/original/file-20240426-21-7mbf5w.JPG?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=1800&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 754w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/590572/original/file-20240426-21-7mbf5w.JPG?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=1800&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1508w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/590572/original/file-20240426-21-7mbf5w.JPG?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=1800&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 2262w" alt="A hand holds a phone taking a picture of a long abstract embroidery in black, red, orange and yellow." /></a><figcaption><span class="caption">Viewing the world through the phone.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Tracey Clement</span></span></figcaption></figure> <p>I will admit watching a goat-toting woman <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-01-03/scott-morrison-got-bushfire-welcome-he-deserved-says-liberal-mp/11838476">berate a sitting prime minister</a> left me with a short-lived, but mildly satisfying, feeling of shared righteous indignation. But mostly doomscrolling just fuelled my sorrow and left me feeling impotent as, inevitably, the fast news cycled on to the next crisis (and the next, and the next).</p> <h2>Slowing it down</h2> <p>In October 2022, I finally stopped trying to process the bushfires, and all their terrifying implications, through the fast-news language of war. I picked up a needle instead.</p> <p>Of course 3,000,000,000 stitches would be too many, even for me, so I decided to stitch a grid of some 15,000 squares, which I filled with innumerable stitches – a nod to the endless stream of pixels that usually deliver our news.</p> <p>I started wanting to honour the 3 billion dead, that impossible number, but after months of stitching I realised I was “writing” a kind of slow-news story. It may sound ridiculous, but this tactic has been used before. The <a href="https://www.bayeuxmuseum.com/en/the-bayeux-tapestry">Bayeux Tapestry</a> is a slow-news story that documents the Norman conquest of England through embroidery. It took years to stitch, and some 950 years later it is still in circulation.</p> <p>As an alternative to doomscrolling easily digestible fast-news stories of good triumphing (or not) over evil, I have created an actual fabric scroll which depicts a stylised firestorm building in intensity until it becomes all-consuming.</p> <figure class="align-center zoomable"><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/590574/original/file-20240426-16-lk14qm.jpg?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/590574/original/file-20240426-16-lk14qm.jpg?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" sizes="(min-width: 1466px) 754px, (max-width: 599px) 100vw, (min-width: 600px) 600px, 237px" srcset="https://images.theconversation.com/files/590574/original/file-20240426-16-lk14qm.jpg?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=799&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 600w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/590574/original/file-20240426-16-lk14qm.jpg?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=799&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1200w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/590574/original/file-20240426-16-lk14qm.jpg?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=799&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 1800w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/590574/original/file-20240426-16-lk14qm.jpg?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=1004&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 754w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/590574/original/file-20240426-16-lk14qm.jpg?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=1004&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1508w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/590574/original/file-20240426-16-lk14qm.jpg?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=1004&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 2262w" alt="A middle-aged white woman peeks out from behind a very long abstract embroidery in black, red, orange and yellow." /></a><figcaption><span class="caption">The artist with Impossible Numbers.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Tracey Clement</span></span></figcaption></figure> <p>Despite mimicking pixels, Impossible Numbers is resolutely handmade. It is too messy, too crude, to be anything else. It is bleedingly obvious (and there was blood) the will of a person is inextricably stitched into this image of devastating fire. Human labour is literally entangled in this artwork; it shows us as part of the picture, part of nature. And this is good news</p> <p>Impossible Numbers doesn’t have a victorious ending, or any ending at all. The scroll is not fully unrolled. There is no end in sight: the story isn’t over, it’s ongoing.</p> <p>In this way it points to the future; a future in which we are not fighting nature. And this is good news too.</p> <p>If you don’t have a spare 500 hours to process the news into slow news, don’t worry. By the time I finally tied my last knot, I found I had transformed my fear and rage into something tangible, something both magnificent and beautiful (if I do say so myself), no longer about me.</p> <p>It is now a slow-news story that is no longer about a particular event; something everyone can share. This is why I do the work.</p> <p><em>Impossible Numbers is on display as part of <a href="https://www.casulapowerhouse.com/prizes/the-blake-art-prize">The Blake Prize</a> at the Casula Powerhouse, Sydney, until July 7.</em></p> <hr /> <p><em>This article is part of <a href="https://theconversation.com/au/topics/making-art-work-126611">Making Art Work</a>, our series on what inspires artists and the process of their work.<!-- 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/227907/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 --></em></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/tracey-clement-1518268">Tracey Clement</a>, Lecturer in Visual Art and McGlade Gallery Director, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/australian-catholic-university-747">Australian Catholic University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Instagram </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/15-000-squares-500-hours-19-months-how-i-used-embroidery-to-make-sense-of-australias-catastrophic-fires-227907">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

Art

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Everything you need to know about tipping in the US

<p>There are few social customs in the US more confusing to travellers than tipping.</p> <p>To most Americans, gratuities are normal, like adding sales tax at the register. To foreign visitors, though, the very idea can induce anxiety or panic.</p> <p>We're notoriously poor tippers. Partly this is accidental ignorance, but partly it is self-righteous rejection of an institution many of us see as unfair. I once had a meal in New York with a woman from Brisbane who refused to tip "on principle." I nodded in agreement ... and then tipped for both of us.</p> <p>The truth is, federal minimum wage for adults in the US is just US$7.25 an hour. In industries where tipping is routine, employers are legally allowed to pay wages as low as US$2.13 an hour.</p> <p>So while travellers may stage a quiet rebellion, refusing to tip, the bereaved party is never going to be the restaurant owners (who earns their profit through the itemised bill), but the poor waiters.</p> <p>Until the US government raises minimum wages to Australian levels (something that will probably never happen), tipping is here to stay. Which means travellers need to accept it, then learn the rules.</p> <p>First rule: After clearing immigration get your hands on a stack of "singles" (US$1 bills). You're going to need them.</p> <p><strong>Getting around</strong></p> <p>In theory, tips should only go to people who are helpful; the more helpful, the more bountiful their reward. In reality, tips are par for the course, and to "stiff" somebody is tantamount to slapping them in the face.</p> <p>If a airport porter helps you with your bags, give them US$1-2 per bag. If they meet you at the gate with a wheelchair, give them US$3-5. </p> <p>For most travellers, the first real test comes with transports away from the airport. If you're lucky enough to have a hotel worker collect you from Arrivals, give them US$10-15 for the effort.</p> <p>If you take a taxi, a little more thought will be required. Many taxis now have seat-back displays that offer "default tipping" amounts at the end of a journey: in New York, 20, 25, and 30 per cent. You should only really tip 30 per cent if the taxi turns out to be the Batmobile, getting you to your destination in record time. Even 20 per cent can sometimes feels a little high. Tipping is subjective: I often manually override the default, leaving 15-20 per cent, or a few extra dollars if I'm paying in cash.</p> <p>If you hire a car and take advantage of valet (all but mandatory in Los Angeles), be prepared to tip the worker US$3-5 upon pick-up, depending on how ritzy the establishment is. A quick rule of thumb: more ritz equals more tip. </p> <p><strong>Hotels</strong></p> <p>If you arrive at the hotel and somebody opens the door for you, that's on the house. If they carry your bags, that is not on the house. Give them US$2-3 a bag.</p> <p>If the hotel has a concierge, their friendliness isn't contingent on your generosity. But if they perform a service for you - book a trip, hire a car, charter a private jet to the Bahamas - acknowledge this effort with US$10-20 at the end of your stay, presented with a handshake.</p> <p>One case where tipping can have a direct impact on the quality of service you receive is housekeeping. Each morning, leave US$2-5 on your pillow with a thank you note. This ensures different cleaners get their due, and it also means cleaners will be extra diligent for the rest of your stay. If you think this is a little rich, keep in mind that these people are picking up your dirty towels, so spare change for a cup of coffee is the least you can do.  </p> <p>One point of confusion with hotel tipping is the in-room dining. Some hotels include a default tip on their dining bills; some include a "service charge," which goes to the hotel, and should not be treated as a tip. If there's no obvious tip included on the bill, slip the server 15-20 per cent when they knock on your door.</p> <p><strong>Dining and drinking</strong></p> <p>Nobody can force you to tip in a restaurant, though they can try to counteract your miserliness by stating on the menu that tips are automatically added to the final charge. This is increasingly common in areas catering to large numbers of foreign travellers; it's also pretty standard when your table has more than six people. </p> <p>If tips have been added by the time you come to hand over your card, no further gratuity is needed. If no tip has been included, you might need to leave some money on the table. How much exactly depends on what kind of table it is.</p> <p>If it is a fast food table, no tip. If it is a table at a restaurant ranging from modest diner to upmarket eatery, 15-20 per cent for the waiter is standard (err on the high side in major cities like New York and San Francisco). If you leave less than 15 per cent, staff will assume you weren't happy with their service.</p> <p>If you leave two pennies on top of the bill - a code - they will know you were very unhappy, and feel bad even as they silently loathe you for being a Scrooge. It is almost never okay to withhold a tip; if you're considering doing that, you should also be considering complaining to the manager.  </p> <p>If it is a very fancy restaurant, perhaps one with Michelin stars, prepare to hand over 25 per cent of the bill (before tax) to the waiter, who will divide it up among his or her support staff. You should also tip the sommelier if they suggest wine, and perhaps the maitre'd, if they gave you a fabulous table.     </p> <p>Always, without exception, tip a bartender a dollar for every drink; bigger tips can mean stronger second cocktails in my experience.</p> <p>As for coffee shops, despite the increasing prevalence of tip jars, and "suggested tips" when paying with a card, this is cheekiness and should only be taken seriously if the barista goes out of their way, like the man who once drew Darth Vader in my cappuccino crema.</p> <p><strong>Everything else</strong></p> <p>This guide covers the most common situations a traveller will have to contend when in the US, though the list is not exhaustive.</p> <p>For example, do you tip a massage therapist? Yes, 10-20 per cent. A hairdresser? Same. Tour guide or hiking leader? 15-20 per cent of the total charge, depending on their performance.</p> <p>That Elvis impersonator who officiated your wedding in a Las Vegas chapel? Same.</p> <p>Tip anyone, in fact, that provides you with a service: 15 per cent is a good default to keep in mind.</p> <p>Just remember, nobody is affronted by the offer of a gratuity, so you shouldn't feel bashful about giving one.</p> <p><em>Written by Lance Richardson. First appeared on <a href="http://Stuff.co.nz" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Stuff.co.nz</span></strong></a>.</em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock</em></p>

International Travel

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A tax on sugary drinks can make us healthier. It’s time for Australia to introduce one

<div class="theconversation-article-body"><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/peter-breadon-1348098">Peter Breadon</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/grattan-institute-1168">Grattan Institute</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/jessica-geraghty-1530733">Jessica Geraghty</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/grattan-institute-1168"><em>Grattan Institute</em></a></em></p> <p>Sugary drinks cause weight gain and <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41574-021-00627-6">increase the risk</a> of a range of diseases, including diabetes.</p> <p>The <a href="https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamanetworkopen/fullarticle/2792842">evidence shows</a> that well-designed taxes can reduce sugary drink sales, cause people to choose healthier options and get manufacturers to reduce the sugar in their drinks. And although these taxes haven’t been around long, there are already signs that they are making people healthier.</p> <p>It’s time for Australia to catch up to the rest of the world and introduce a tax on sugary drinks. As our new Grattan Institute <a href="https://grattan.edu.au/report/sickly-sweet/">report</a> shows, doing so could mean the average Australian drinks almost 700 grams less sugar each year.</p> <h2>Sugary drinks are making us sick</h2> <p>The share of adults in Australia who are obese has tripled since 1980, from <a href="https://theconversation.com/mapping-australias-collective-weight-gain-7816">10%</a> to more than <a href="https://www.abs.gov.au/statistics/health/health-conditions-and-risks/waist-circumference-and-bmi/latest-release">30%</a>, and diabetes is our <a href="https://www.diabetesaustralia.com.au/about-diabetes/diabetes-in-australia/">fastest-growing</a> chronic condition. The costs for the health system and economy are measured in the billions of dollars each year. But the biggest costs are borne by individuals and their families in the form of illness, suffering and early death.</p> <p>Sugary drinks are a big part of the problem. The more of them we drink, the greater our risk of <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41574-021-00627-6">gaining weight</a>, <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2963518/">developing type 2 diabetes</a>, and suffering <a href="https://academic.oup.com/eurpub/article/31/1/122/5896049?login=false">poor oral health</a>.</p> <p>These drinks have no real nutrients, but they do have a lot of sugar. The average Australian consumes <a href="https://www.abs.gov.au/statistics/health/health-conditions-and-risks/apparent-consumption-selected-foodstuffs-australia/latest-release">1.3</a> times the maximum recommended amount of sugar each day. Sugary drinks are responsible for more than one-quarter of our daily sugar intake, more than any other major type of food.</p> <p>You might be shocked by how much sugar you’re drinking. Many 375ml cans of soft drink contain eight to 12 teaspoons of sugar, nearly the entire daily recommended limit for an adult. Many 600ml bottles blow our entire daily sugar budget, and then some.</p> <p>The picture is even worse for disadvantaged Australians, who are more likely to have <a href="https://www.abs.gov.au/statistics/health/health-conditions-and-risks/diabetes/latest-release">diabetes</a> and <a href="https://www.abs.gov.au/statistics/health/health-conditions-and-risks/waist-circumference-and-bmi/latest-release">obesity</a>, and who also consume the most sugary drinks.</p> <h2>Sugary drink taxes work</h2> <p>Fortunately, there’s a proven way to reduce the damage sugary drinks cause.</p> <p>More than <a href="https://ssbtax.worldbank.org/">100 countries</a> have a sugary drinks tax, covering most of the world’s population. <a href="https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamanetworkopen/fullarticle/2792842">Research</a> shows these taxes lead to higher prices and fewer purchases.</p> <p>Some taxes are specifically designed to encourage manufacturers to change their recipes and cut the sugar in their drinks. Under these “tiered taxes”, there is no tax on drinks with a small amount of sugar, but the tax steps up two or three times as the amount of sugar rises. That gives manufacturers a strong incentive to add less sugar, so they reduce their exposure to the tax or avoid paying it altogether.</p> <p>This is the best result from a sugary drinks tax. It means drinks get healthier, while the tax is kept to a minimum.</p> <p>In countries with tiered taxes, manufacturers have slashed the sugar in their drinks. In the United Kingdom, the share of products above the tax threshold <a href="https://journals.plos.org/plosmedicine/article?id=10.1371/journal.pmed.1003025">decreased dramatically</a>. In 2015, more than half (52%) of products in the UK were above the tax threshold of 5 grams of sugar per 100ml. Four years later, when the tax was in place, that share had plunged to 15%. The number of products with the most sugar – more than 8 grams per 100ml – declined the most, falling from 38% to just 7%.</p> <p>The Australian drinks market today looks similar to the UK’s before the tax was introduced.</p> <p>Health benefits take longer to appear, but there are already promising signs that the taxes are working. Obesity among primary school-age girls has fallen in <a href="https://journals.plos.org/plosmedicine/article?id=10.1371/journal.pmed.1004160">the UK</a> and <a href="https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamapediatrics/fullarticle/2786784">Mexico</a>.</p> <p>Oral health has also improved, with studies reporting fewer children going to hospital to get their teeth removed in <a href="https://nutrition.bmj.com/content/6/2/243">the UK</a>, and reduced dental decay <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33853058/">in Mexico</a> and <a href="https://www.ajpmonline.org/article/S0749-3797(23)00069-7/abstract">Philadelphia</a>.</p> <p>One <a href="https://www.ajpmonline.org/article/S0749-3797(23)00158-7/fulltext">study from the United States</a> found big reductions in gestational diabetes in cities with a sugary drinks tax.</p> <h2>The tax Australia should introduce</h2> <p>Like successful taxes overseas, Australia should introduce a sugary drink tax that targets drinks with the most sugar:</p> <ul> <li>drinks with 8 grams or more of sugar per 100ml should face a $0.60 per litre tax</li> <li>drinks with 5–8 grams should be taxed at $0.40 per litre</li> <li>drinks with less than 5 grams of sugar should be tax-free.</li> </ul> <p>This means a 250ml Coke, which has nearly 11 grams of sugar per 100ml, would cost $0.15 more. But of course consumers could avoid the tax by choosing a sugar-free soft drink, or a bottle of water.</p> <p>Grattan Institute <a href="https://grattan.edu.au/report/sickly-sweet/">modelling</a> shows that under this tiered tax, Australians would drink about 275 million litres fewer sugary drinks each year, or the volume of 110 Olympic swimming pools.</p> <p>The tax is about health, but government budgets also benefit. If it was introduced today, it would raise about half a billion dollars in the first year.</p> <p>Vested interests such as the beverages industry have fiercely resisted sugary drink taxes around the world, issuing disingenuous warnings about the risks to poor people, the sugar industry and drinks manufacturers.</p> <p>But our new report shows sugary drink taxes have been introduced smoothly overseas, and none of these concerns should hold Australia back.</p> <p>We certainly can’t rely on industry pledges to voluntarily reduce sugar. They have been <a href="https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/public-health-nutrition/article/trends-in-sugar-content-of-nonalcoholic-beverages-in-australia-between-2015-and-2019-during-the-operation-of-a-voluntary-industry-pledge-to-reduce-sugar-content/EE662DE7552670ED532F6650C9D56939">weak</a> and misleading, and <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2024/apr/10/sugar-increase-in-fanta-and-sprite-prompts-calls-for-new-tax-on-australia-food-and-drinks-industry">failed to stick</a>.</p> <p>It will take many policies and interventions to turn back the tide of obesity and chronic disease in Australia, but a sugary drinks tax should be part of the solution. It’s a policy that works, it’s easy to implement, and most Australians <a href="https://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/9/6/e027962">support it</a>.</p> <p>The federal government should show it’s serious about tackling Australia’s biggest health problems and take this small step towards a healthier future.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/228906/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/peter-breadon-1348098">Peter Breadon</a>, Program Director, Health and Aged Care, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/grattan-institute-1168">Grattan Institute</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/jessica-geraghty-1530733">Jessica Geraghty</a>, Senior Associate, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/grattan-institute-1168">Grattan Institute</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/a-tax-on-sugary-drinks-can-make-us-healthier-its-time-for-australia-to-introduce-one-228906">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

Food & Wine

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"A Duck-Filled Platypus?!": Wheel of Fortune contestant's $10k mistake

<p>A Wheel of Fortune contestant has made a hilarious mistake that cost her  US$7250 ($10,900) with viewers blasting her on social media for not knowing the painfully obvious answer. </p> <p>During an episode of the American game show this week, Floridian contestant Kimberly Wright failed to complete the puzzle when she picked the wrong letter, according to <em>Fox News</em>. </p> <p>The puzzle board read “D U _ _ – _ _ L L E D PLATYPUS,” and Wright chose to spin the wheel which landed on the Express wedge. </p> <p>“I’m going to call an F,” she said, which elicited groans from audiences in the studio. </p> <p>Wright believed that the answer was “duck-filled platypus”, when it was “duck-billed platypus" an animal native to Australia, and many fans were in disbelief over her "painful" mistake. </p> <p>“I have never been more enraged watching wheel of fortune,” one fan wrote in response to a clip of the viral moment. </p> <p>“Oh my, that was painful. F?? She thought the platypus was filled? with what exactly?” another tweeted. </p> <p>“F***** brutal,” a third agreed. </p> <p>“Where did this lady think an F was going to go in this puzzle?" a fourth asked, while another wrote: “wheel of fortune puzzle was clearly duck-billed platypus and the lady asked for an F she’s like reverse autocorrect.”</p> <p>“A Duck-Filled Platypus!?” another chimed in. </p> <p>“Oh, I hope Red isn’t on social media. She gonna get blasted for missing that puzzle,” wrote another viewer. </p> <p><em>Image: News.com.au/ Wheel of Fortune</em></p>

TV

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“Is that Snoop Dog?!”: Man caught with fake passenger in carpool lane

<p>A US motorist has been handed a traffic infringement after police found him using a dummy to drive in the carpool lane. </p> <p>Not only did his hilarious attempt to bypass morning traffic with the fake passenger whose goatee was "just a little too sharp" get him fined, he helped authorities answer the common question: “If I have a mannequin in the passenger seat, does that count as a second occupant in the vehicle? </p> <p>"The answer is simple… NO."</p> <p>According to an Instagram post shared by the California Highway Patrol Santa Fe Spring, authorities stopped the unnamed driver for crossing a double line when they noticed the plastic passenger. </p> <p>"Officer Kaplan made an enforcement stop on this vehicle for crossing solid double lines only to realise the driver was the only occupant in the vehicle with their plastic friend," they wrote. </p> <p>The mannequin in question had a human-like mask, sported a hoodie and sunglasses, and was seated upright with his seatbelt buckled in just like any other passenger. </p> <p>And he would've gotten away with it too if it weren't for the fake facial hair. </p> <p>"The goatee was sharp … just a little too sharp," they shared. </p> <p>"We've gotta give it to them, the appearance is next-level modelling but at the end of the day ... plastic is plastic." </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-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/C6K7Thkr2CO/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="14"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"> </div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <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/p/C6K7Thkr2CO/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by CHP Santa Fe Springs (@chp_santa_fe_springs)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p>The driver was issued with a number of citations for carpool violations, but many online commenters shared their amusement at the light-hearted nature of the traffic violation. </p> <p>"Is that snoop dog?!" wrote one commenter. </p> <p>"Leave Stevie wonder alone," joked another. </p> <p>"I really don’t see a problem here because most people are fake and have lots of plastic on them anyways," quipped a third. </p> <p><em>Image: Instagram</em></p> <p> </p>

Legal

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"Stop killing us": Carrie Bickmore's emotional on-air plea

<p>Carrie Bickmore has shared her emotional plea to the Australian government to put a stop to violence against women, with a powerful letter that she read on air during her radio show <em>Carrie &amp; Tommy</em>. </p> <p>She asked co-host Tommy Little to read out the letter she had written about the issue, in hopes that "it might mean more people will listen or it might just give a different perspective on what it feels like to be a woman in this country at the moment." </p> <p>Little said he would happily stand by her side and began to read the letter to listeners. </p> <p>“It’s taken me days to work out what to say about the crisis that our country is in at the moment," the letter began.</p> <p>"Not because I don’t have things to say about the abhorrent amount of women dying every week in our country at the hands of a man, because I no longer know what to say because it feels like we are yelling into the abyss. </p> <p>"We are exhausted."</p> <p>She then shared the collective experience women share where they have to  watch their every move from where to run to what clothes to wear in order to feel safe in the community, while being on constant guard from men that may pose a threat. </p> <p>“No, not all men are monsters, but we live in fear of the ones that are,</p> <p>“We change our behaviour to account for the bad ones, not the good ones because the risk is too high for us not to.</p> <p>“To the good men out there, do something more. Just not killing us is not enough. Do something.”</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-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/reel/C6a0vDBSnlm/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="14"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"> </div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <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/C6a0vDBSnlm/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by Carrie and Tommy (@carrietommyshow)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p>Bickmore then pointed out that if men were killed by terrorists or a ground of male cyclists were run down on the road in Australia, “laws would be drawn up overnight to stop it from happening again”, but she said that nothing has been done to help women in equally violent situations. </p> <p>“What we are asking for is not too much. We are simply asking to have the same basic right as you. The right to live, to be safe,’” her co-star read out while holding back tears. </p> <p>“‘To the men who want control, the men who can’t handle rejection, the men who think the law doesn’t apply to them, to the men who think they can intimidate, manipulate, coerce, to the men who can’t regulate their emotions, can’t act with respect, your time is up.’</p> <p>“To the PM, do something. We shouldn’t have to march to draw attention to his issue. You know what the issue is. Please do something more and now.</p> <p>"Governments stop building another freeway for a moment. Build a safer future for our daughters.</p> <p>"This is not political, this is not a matter of opinion. The facts speaks for themselves. Every four days a woman in Australia is violently killed.’”</p> <p>She then urged for increased funding for safe houses, frontline centres and support services, and pleaded for the government to listen.</p> <p>“If you think women are becoming shrill, think again. If you think we are being dramatic, think again. If you think we are sensationalising the issue, think again.</p> <p>"We are scared and we are asking, pleading for help. Do something and stop killing us.”</p> <p>Bickmore's plea comes just days after thousands of people attended rallies across Australia over the weekend calling out the government for their lack of action when it comes to violence against women. </p> <p><em>Image: Carrie &amp; Tommy/ news.com.au</em></p>

Caring

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Stamp duty is holding us back from moving homes – we’ve worked out how much

<div class="theconversation-article-body"><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/nick-garvin-1453835">Nick Garvin</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/macquarie-university-1174">Macquarie University</a></em></p> <p>If just one state of Australia, New South Wales, scrapped its stamp duty on real-estate transactions, about 100,000 more Australians would move homes each year, according to our <a href="https://e61.in/wp-content/uploads/2024/02/Stamp-duty-effects-on-purchases-and-moves.pdf">best estimates</a>.</p> <p>Stamp duty is an unquestioned part of buying a home in Australia – you put your details in an online mortgage calculator, and stamp duty is automatically deducted from the amount you have to contribute.</p> <p>It’s easy to overlook how much more affordable a home would be without it.</p> <p>That means it’s also easy to overlook how much more Australians would buy and move if stamp duty wasn’t there.</p> <p>The 2010 Henry Tax Review found stamp duty was <a href="https://treasury.gov.au/sites/default/files/2019-10/afts_final_report_part_2_vol_1_consolidated.pdf">inequitable</a>. It taxes most the people who most need to or want to move.</p> <p>The review reported: "Ideally, there would be no role for any stamp duties, including conveyancing stamp duties, in a modern Australian tax system. Recognising the revenue needs of the States, the removal of stamp duty should be achieved through a switch to more efficient taxes, such as those levied on broad consumption or land bases."</p> <p>But does stamp duty actually stop anyone moving? It’s a claim more often made than assessed, which is what our team at the <a href="https://e61.in/wp-content/uploads/2024/02/Stamp-duty-effects-on-purchases-and-moves.pdf">e61 Institute</a> set out to do.</p> <p>We used real-estate transaction data and a natural experiment.</p> <h2>What happened when Queensland hiked stamp duty</h2> <p>In 2011, Queensland hiked stamp duty for most buyers by removing some concessions for owner-occupiers at short notice.</p> <p>For owner-occupiers it increased stamp duty by about one percentage point, lifting the average rate from 1.26% of the purchase price to 2.27%.</p> <p>What we found gives us the best estimate to date of what stamp duty does to home purchases.</p> <p>A one percentage point increase in stamp duty causes the number of home purchases to decline by 7.2%.</p> <p>The number of moves (changes of address) falls by about as much.</p> <p>The effect appears to be indiscriminate. Purchases of houses fell about as much as purchases of apartments, and purchases in cities fell about as much as purchases in regions.</p> <p>Moves between suburbs and moves interstate dropped by similar rates.</p> <p>With NSW stamp duty currently averaging about <a href="https://conveyancing.com.au/need-to-know/stamp-duty-nsw">3.5%</a> of the purchase price, our estimates suggest there would be about 25% more purchases and moves by home owners if it were scrapped completely. That’s 100,000 moves.</p> <p>Victoria’s higher rate of stamp duty, about <a href="https://www.sro.vic.gov.au/rates-taxes-duties-and-levies/general-land-transfer-duty-property-current-rates">4.2%</a>, means if it was scrapped there would be about 30% more purchases. That’s another 90,000 moves.</p> <h2>Even low headline rates have big effects</h2> <p>The big effect from small-looking headline rates ought not to be surprising.</p> <p>When someone buys a home, they typically front up much less cash than the purchase price. While stamp duty seems low as a percentage of the purchase price, it is high as a percentage of the cash the buyer needs to find.</p> <p>Here’s an example. If stamp duty is 4% of the purchase price, and a purchaser pays $800,000 for a property with a mortgage deposit of $160,000, the $32,000 stamp duty adds 20%, not 4%, to what’s needed.</p> <p>If the deposit takes five years to save, stamp duty makes it six.</p> <p>A similar thing happens when an owner-occupier changes address. If the buyer sells a fully owned home for $700,000 and buys a new home for $800,000, the upgrade ought to cost them $100,000. A 4% stamp duty lifts that to $132,000.</p> <p>Averaged across all Australian cities, stamp duty costs about <a href="https://e61.in/wp-content/uploads/2024/02/Stepped-on-by-Stamp-Duty.pdf">five months</a> of after-tax earnings. In Sydney and Melbourne, it’s six.</p> <h2>Stamp duty has bracket creep</h2> <p>This cost has steadily climbed from around <a href="https://e61.in/wp-content/uploads/2024/02/Stepped-on-by-Stamp-Duty.pdf">six weeks</a> of total earnings in the 1990s. It has happened because home prices have climbed faster than incomes and because stamp duty has brackets, meaning more buyers have been pushed into higher ones.</p> <p>Replacing the stamp duty revenue that states have come to rely on would not be easy, but a switch would almost certainly help the economy function better.</p> <p>The more that people are able to move, the more they will move to jobs to which they are better suited, boosting productivity.</p> <p>The more that people downsize when they want to, the more housing will be made available for others.</p> <p>Our findings suggest the costs are far from trivial, making a switch away from stamp duty worthwhile, even if it is disruptive and takes time.<!-- 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/225773/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/nick-garvin-1453835">Nick Garvin</a>, Adjunct Fellow, Department of Economics, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/macquarie-university-1174">Macquarie 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/stamp-duty-is-holding-us-back-from-moving-homes-weve-worked-out-how-much-225773">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

Money & Banking

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Drugs like Ozempic won’t ‘cure’ obesity but they might make us more fat-phobic

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/emma-beckett-22673">Emma Beckett</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/unsw-sydney-1414">UNSW Sydney</a></em></p> <p>Many have <a href="https://www.economist.com/leaders/2023/03/02/new-drugs-could-spell-an-end-to-the-worlds-obesity-epidemic">declared</a> drugs like Ozempic could “end obesity” by reducing the appetite and waistlines of millions of people around the world.</p> <p>When we look past the hype, this isn’t just untrue – it can also be harmful. The focus on weight, as opposed to health, is a feature of <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0277539521001217">diet culture</a>. This frames the pursuit of thinness as more important than other aspects of physical and cultural wellbeing.</p> <p>The Ozempic buzz isn’t just rooted in health and medicine but plays into ideas of <a href="https://butterfly.org.au/weight-bias-fatphobia-diet-culture/#:%7E:text=Weight%20bias%2C%20sometimes%20also%20called,or%20being%20around%20fat%20people.">fat stigma and fat phobia</a>. This can perpetuate fears of fatness and fat people, and the behaviours that <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1186/S12916-018-1116-5">harm people who live in larger bodies</a>.</p> <h2>Not the first ‘miracle’ weight-loss drug</h2> <p>This isn’t the first time we have heard that weight-loss drugs will change the world. Ozempic and <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK551568/">its family</a> of GLP-1-mimicking drugs are the <a href="https://theconversation.com/ozempic-is-in-the-spotlight-but-its-just-the-latest-in-a-long-and-strange-history-of-weight-loss-drugs-209324">latest in a long line of weight loss drugs</a>. Each looked promising at the time. But none have lived up to the hype in the long term. Some have even been withdrawn from sale due to <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5126837/">severe side effects</a>.</p> <p>Science does improve <a href="https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanmic/article/PIIS2666-5247(20)30028-8/fulltext">incrementally</a>, but diet culture also keeps us on a cycle of hope for the next <a href="https://sahrc.org/2022/04/diet-culture-a-brief-history/">miracle cure</a>. So drugs like Ozempic might not deliver the results individuals expect, continuing the cycle of hope and shame.</p> <h2>Ozempic doesn’t work the same for everyone</h2> <p>When we talk about the results of studies using Ozempic, we often <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3719041/">focus on the average</a> (also known as the mean) results or the maximum (or peak) results. So, studies might <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9486455/">show</a> those using the drug lost an average of 10.9% of their body weight, but some lost more than 20% and others less than 5%</p> <p>What we don’t talk about as much is that responses are variable. Some people are “<a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2212877820301769">non-responders</a>”. This means not everyone loses as much weight as the average, and some don’t lose weight at all. For some people, the side-effects will outweigh the benefits.</p> <p>When people are on drugs like Ozempic, their blood sugar is better controlled by enhancing the release of insulin and reducing the levels of another hormone called glucagon.</p> <p>But there is greater variability in the amount of <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2212877820301769#bib88">weight lost</a> than the variability in blood sugar control. It isn’t clear why, but is likely due to differences in genetics and lifestyles, and weight being more complex to regulate.</p> <h2>Treatment needs to be ongoing. What will this mean?</h2> <p>When weight-loss drugs do work, they are only effective while they’re being taken. This means that to keep the weight off people need to keep taking them long term. <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9542252/">One study found</a> an average weight loss of more than 17% after a year on Ozempic became an average net weight loss of 5.6% more than two years after stopping treatment.</p> <p>Short-term side effects of drugs like Ozempic include dizziness, nausea, vomiting and other gastrointestinal upsets. But because these are new drugs, we simply don’t have data to tell us if side effects will increase as people take them for longer periods.</p> <p>Nor do we know if <a href="https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/why-weight-loss-drugs-stop-working-how-to-break-past-ozempic-plateau#:%7E:text=A%20lifetime%20commitment%20to%20Ozempic&amp;text=By%20these%20standards%2C%20such%20drugs,long%2Dterm%20risk%20is%20unknown.">effectiveness will be reduced</a> in the long term. This is called <a href="https://www.cancer.gov/publications/dictionaries/cancer-terms/def/drug-tolerance#:%7E:text=A%20condition%20that%20occurs%20when,or%20different%20medicine%20is%20needed.">drug tolerance</a> and is documented for other long-term treatments such as antidepressants and chemotherapies.</p> <h2>Biology is only part of the story</h2> <p>For some people, using GLP-1-mimicking drugs like Ozempic will be validating and empowering. They will feel like their biology has been “normalised” in the same way that blood pressure or cholesterol medication can return people to the “normal” range of measures.</p> <p>But biologically, obesity <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7202176/#:%7E:text=Obesity%20behaves%20as%20complex%20polygenic,about%2080%25%20(3).">isn’t solely about GLP-1 activity</a> with <a href="https://www.worldobesity.org/what-we-do/our-policy-priorities/the-roots-of-obesity">many other</a> hormones, physical activity, and even our gut microbes involved.</p> <p>Overall, <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK278977/">obesity is complex and multifaceted</a>. Obesity isn’t just driven by personal biology and choice; it has social, cultural, political, environmental and economic determinants.</p> <h2>A weight-centred approach misses the rest of the story</h2> <p>The weight-centred approach <a href="https://butterfly.org.au/body-image/health-not-weight/#:%7E:text=Health%20and%20wellbeing%20are%20multi,on%20their%20size%20or%20appearance.">suggests that leading with thinness means health will follow</a>. But changing appetite is only part of the story when it comes to health.</p> <p>Obesity often <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2667368123000335#:%7E:text=Obesity%20related%20malnutrition%20can%20also,%5D%2C%20%5B7%5D%5D.">co-exists with malnutrition</a>. We try to separate the effects in research using statistics, but focusing on the benefits of weight-loss drugs without addressing the underlying malnutrition means we aren’t likely to see the <a href="https://www.wsj.com/articles/ozempic-diet-exercise-healthy-43eee86c">improved health outcomes in everyone who loses weight</a>.</p> <h2>Obesity isn’t an issue detached from people</h2> <p>Even when it is well-intentioned, the rhetoric around the joy of “ending the obesity epidemic” can <a href="https://theconversation.com/ozempic-the-miracle-drug-and-the-harmful-idea-of-a-future-without-fat-211661">harm people</a>. Obesity doesn’t occur in isolation. It is people who are obese. And the celebration and hype of these weight-loss drugs can reinforce harmful fat stigma.</p> <p>The framing of these drugs as a “cure” exacerbates the binary view of thin versus fat, and healthy versus unhealthy. These are not binary outcomes that are good or bad. Weight and health exist on a spectrum.</p> <p>Ironically, while fat people are told they need to lose weight for their health, they are also <a href="https://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/nsw/ozempic-shame-why-users-are-embarrassed-to-admit-using-weight-loss-wonder-drug/news-story/ee52a819c69459afe6576d25988f9bd6">shamed for “cheating” or taking shortcuts</a> by using medication.</p> <h2>Drugs are tools, not silver bullets</h2> <p>The creation of these drugs is a start, but they remain expensive, and the hype has been followed by <a href="https://www.tga.gov.au/safety/shortages/information-about-major-medicine-shortages/about-ozempic-semaglutide-shortage-2022-and-2023#:%7E:text=Consumer%20Medicine%20Information%20.-,Why%20the%20Ozempic%20shortage%20happened,label%20prescribing%20for%20weight%20loss.">shortages</a>. Ultimately, complex challenges aren’t addressed with simple solutions. This is particularly true when people are involved, and even more so when there isn’t even an agreement on what the challenge is.</p> <p>Many organisations and individuals see obesity is a disease and believe this framing helps people to seek treatment.</p> <p>Others think it’s unnecessary to attach medical labels to body types and <a href="https://www.forbes.com/sites/geoffreykabat/2013/07/09/why-labeling-obesity-as-a-disease-is-a-big-mistake/?sh=5ca95cc2103b">argue</a> it confuses risk factors (things that are linked to increased risk of illness) with illness itself.</p> <p>Regardless, two things will always remain true. Drugs can only ever be tools, and those tools need to be applied in a context. To use these tools ethically, we need to remain mindful of who this application harms along the way.</p> <hr /> <p><em>Read the other articles in The Conversation’s <a href="https://theconversation.com/au/topics/ozempic-series-154673">Ozempic series</a> here.<!-- 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/219309/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 --></em></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/emma-beckett-22673">Emma Beckett</a>, Adjunct Senior Lecturer, Nutrition, Dietetics &amp; Food Innovation - School of Health Sciences, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/unsw-sydney-1414">UNSW Sydney</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/drugs-like-ozempic-wont-cure-obesity-but-they-might-make-us-more-fat-phobic-219309">original article</a>.</em></p>

Body

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Hero shopkeeper uses shoelace to help deliver baby in carpark

<p>A Cheap as Chips discount store worker in Logan has been praised as a hero after helping a couple deliver their baby in the carpark behind a 7-Eleven service station. </p> <p>Sharyn Daley thought it was just another day at work on Friday, when a man ran into her store asking for a towel because his partner had gone into labour.</p> <p>She quickly sprung into action and helped with a successful delivery before paramedics arrived. </p> <p>“(All I could think of was) just survival. Someone needed help. So, you just rush and do what you can and instincts take over,” she told  <em>Sunrise</em> hosts Nat Barr and Matt Shirvington. </p> <p>“Dad was in shock. I sort of asked him to get the little toddler out of the back seat and occupy her — she was panicking.</p> <p>“But after he got his toddler out, I could concentrate on mum and telling her baby is OK."</p> <p>Daley added that when the baby boy came out he was somewhat discoloured — so, she began squeezing his arm and rubbing his head.</p> <p>“Mum was very quiet. She introduced herself. I introduced myself. And she just kept saying, ‘is baby OK, Is baby OK?’ I said ‘Yes, I’m patting him hard and stimulating him to get more oxygen in. That’s all’.”</p> <p>She then grabbed a shoelace to tie off his umbilical cord and used her sock to grab the placenta. </p> <p>Paramedics arrived shortly after.</p> <p>Daley, who is a mother-of-three and a grandmother to one, said that she had previously helped deliver puppies, which may have helped her. </p> <p>“I think it may have (helped) a bit — with tying off the cord — and things like that. (But) keeping mum and bub and dad calm. That was my first priority,” she said.</p> <p>She also added that she wanted to help the young family get started. </p> <p>“I would love to speak to them,” Daley said.</p> <p>“Courtesy of Cheap as Chips where I work. We have a cot, a change table, a mattress and a beautiful big hamper for them to help them get started,” she said.</p> <p><em>Image: Seven</em></p>

Family & Pets

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Politicians slam Albanese's "hypocritical" private jet use

<p>Anthony Albanese has been urged to consider his carbon footprint after his controversial usage of a private jet. </p> <p>A group of independent MPs have asked the Prime Minister to offset his carbon usage after it was revealed that he and two other ministers chartered two private planes to attend the same clean energy event in the NSW Hunter Valley. </p> <p>Albanese was joined by Climate Change and Energy Minister Chris Bowen and Industry and Science Minister Ed Husic to fly to the region from Canberra on Thursday to announce a $1bn to support Australian manufacturing in solar technology.</p> <p>Teal MP Zali Steggall urged the leaders to offset their carbon emissions from the short journey when it was revealed that the three men flew separately in two separate Royal Australian Air Force jets.</p> <p>“I certainly hope they were offsetting the emissions of those two jets with companies, like Green fleet and other places like that where you can offset the emissions of your travel,” Ms Stegall told <em>Sunrise</em>. </p> <p>“I certainly hope and I call on the Minister for Climate Change to do that. Look, as a lowly independent, we don’t get the luxuries of flying in the ADF jets.”</p> <p>Private jets have a dramatically higher carbon footprint per passenger than commercial planes, with the average private jet emitting two tonnes of carbon an hour.</p> <p>Mr Bowen defended the use of the planes, saying the use of two private jets was a decision made by the airforce for safety reasons.</p> <p>“The Prime Minister has a large jet available to him and that would normally be what we take,” he said on Monday.</p> <p>“The runway at Scone wasn’t strong enough to take a large jet so the air force … decided for two jets.”</p> <p>Opposition transport spokeswoman Bridget McKenzie said the government should consider “jet pooling” and should make a conscious effort to cut down on the harmful use of private jets, which emit more carbon per passenger than commercial planes.</p> <p>“I fail to see why these guys, when they’re leaving from the same place on the same day, within 30 minutes of each other, couldn’t have either shared the plane or indeed, some of them, if they couldn’t all fit, use the commercial options that were available to them to fly direct from Canberra to Newcastle to make the announcement,” Senator McKenzie said. </p> <p>“It’s quite incredible.”</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p>

Travel Trouble

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Who will look after us in our final years? A pay rise alone won’t solve aged-care workforce shortages

<p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/stephen-duckett-10730">Stephen Duckett</a>, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-melbourne-722">The University of Melbourne</a></em></p> <p>Aged-care workers will receive a significant pay increase after the Fair Work Commission <a href="https://www.fwc.gov.au/documents/decisionssigned/pdf/2024fwcfb150.pdf">ruled</a> they deserved substantial wage rises of up to 28%. The federal government <a href="https://ministers.dewr.gov.au/burke/fair-work-decision-aged-care">has committed to</a> the increases, but is yet to announce when they will start.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">Tens of thousands of aged care workers will receive a major pay rise after the Fair Work Commission recommended the increase. <a href="https://t.co/NeNt1Gvxd9">https://t.co/NeNt1Gvxd9</a></p> <p>— SBS News (@SBSNews) <a href="https://twitter.com/SBSNews/status/1768557710537068889?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">March 15, 2024</a></p></blockquote> <p>But while wage rises for aged-care workers are welcome, this measure alone will not fix all workforce problems in the sector. The number of people over 80 is expected to <a href="https://treasury.gov.au/sites/default/files/2023-08/p2023-435150.pdf">triple over the next 40 years</a>, driving an increase in the number of aged care workers needed.</p> <h2>How did we get here?</h2> <p>The Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety, which delivered its <a href="https://www.royalcommission.gov.au/aged-care/final-report">final report</a> in March 2021, identified a litany of tragic failures in the regulation and delivery of aged care.</p> <p>The former Liberal government was dragged reluctantly to accept that a total revamp of the aged-care system was needed. But its <a href="https://www.health.gov.au/ministers/the-hon-greg-hunt-mp/media/respect-care-and-dignity-aged-care-royal-commission-452-million-immediate-response-as-government-commits-to-historic-reform-to-deliver-respect-and-care-for-senior-australians#:%7E:text=Minister%20for%20Senior%20Australians%20and,%2C%20dementia%2C%20food%20and%20nutrition.">weak response</a> left the heavy lifting to the incoming Labor government.</p> <p>The current government’s response started well, with a <a href="https://theconversation.com/anthony-albanese-offers-2-5-billion-plan-to-fix-crisis-in-aged-care-180419">significant injection of funding</a> and a promising regulatory response. But it too has failed to pursue a visionary response to the problems identified by the Royal Commission.</p> <p>Action was needed on four fronts:</p> <ul> <li>ensuring enough staff to provide care</li> <li>building a functioning regulatory system to encourage good care and weed out bad providers</li> <li>designing and introducing a fair payment system to distribute funds to providers and</li> <li>implementing a financing system to pay for it all and achieve intergenerational equity.</li> </ul> <p>A government taskforce which proposed a <a href="https://theconversation.com/what-will-aged-care-look-like-for-the-next-generation-more-of-the-same-but-higher-out-of-pocket-costs-225551">timid response to the fourth challenge</a> – an equitable financing system – was released at the start of last week.</p> <p>Consultation closed on a <a href="https://media.opan.org.au/uploads/2024/03/240308_Aged-Care-Act-Exposure-Draft-Joint-Submission_FINAL.pdf">very poorly designed new regulatory regime</a> the week before.</p> <p>But the big news came at end of the week when the Fair Work Commission handed down a further <a href="https://www.fwc.gov.au/documents/decisionssigned/pdf/2024fwcfb150.pdf">determination</a> on what aged-care workers should be paid, confirming and going beyond a previous <a href="https://www.fwc.gov.au/documents/sites/work-value-aged-care/decisions-statements/2022fwcfb200.pdf">interim determination</a>.</p> <h2>What did the Fair Work Commission find?</h2> <p>Essentially, the commission determined that work in industries with a high proportion of women workers has been traditionally undervalued in wage-setting. This had consequences for both care workers in the aged-care industry (nurses and <a href="https://training.gov.au/Training/Details/CHC33021">Certificate III-qualified</a> personal-care workers) and indirect care workers (cleaners, food services assistants).</p> <p>Aged-care staff will now get significant pay increases – 18–28% increase for personal care workers employed under the Aged Care Award, inclusive of the increase awarded in the interim decision.</p> <figure class="align-center "><figcaption></figcaption>Indirect care workers were awarded a general increase of 3%. Laundry hands, cleaners and food services assistants will receive a further 3.96% <a href="https://www.fwc.gov.au/documents/decision-summaries/2024fwcfb150-summary.pdf">on the grounds</a> they “interact with residents significantly more regularly than other indirect care employees”.</figure> <p>The final increases for registered and enrolled nurses will be determined in the next few months.</p> <h2>How has the sector responded?</h2> <p>There has been no push-back from employer groups or conservative politicians. This suggests the uplift is accepted as fair by all concerned.</p> <p>The interim increases of up to 15% probably facilitated this acceptance, with the <a href="https://theconversation.com/what-does-the-budget-mean-for-medicare-medicines-aged-care-and-first-nations-health-192842">recognition of the community</a> that care workers should be paid more than fast food workers.</p> <p>There was <a href="https://www.accpa.asn.au/media-releases/accpa-welcomes-further-aged-care-wage-rises">no criticism from aged-care providers</a> either. This is probably because they are facing difficulty in recruiting staff at current wage rates. And because government payments to providers reflect the <a href="https://www.ihacpa.gov.au/">actual cost of aged care</a>, increased payments will automatically flow to providers.</p> <p>When the increases will flow has yet to be determined. The government is due to give its recommendations for staging implementation by mid-April.</p> <h2>Is the workforce problem fixed?</h2> <p>An increase in wages is necessary, but alone is not sufficient to solve workforce shortages.</p> <p>The health- and social-care workforce is <a href="https://www.jobsandskills.gov.au/data/employment-projections">predicted</a> to grow faster than any other sector over the next decade. The “care economy” will <a href="https://theconversation.com/care-economy-to-balloon-in-an-australia-of-40-5-million-intergenerational-report-211876">grow</a> from around 8% to around 15% of GDP over the next 40 years.</p> <p>This means a greater proportion of school-leavers will need to be attracted to the aged-care sector. Aged care will also need to attract and retrain workers displaced from industries in decline and attract suitably skilled migrants and refugees with appropriate language skills.</p> <p>The <a href="https://theconversation.com/demand-driven-funding-for-universities-is-frozen-what-does-this-mean-and-should-the-policy-be-restored-116060">caps on university and college enrolments</a> imposed by the previous government, coupled with weak student demand for places in key professions (such as nursing), has meant workforce shortages will continue for a few more years, despite the allure of increased wages.</p> <p>A significant increase in intakes into university and vocational education college courses preparing students for health and social care is still required. Better pay will help to increase student demand, but funding to expand place numbers will ensure there are enough qualified staff for the aged-care system of the future. <!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/225898/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/stephen-duckett-10730">Stephen Duckett</a>, Honorary Enterprise Professor, School of Population and Global Health, and Department of General Practice and Primary Care, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-melbourne-722">The University of Melbourne</a></em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/who-will-look-after-us-in-our-final-years-a-pay-rise-alone-wont-solve-aged-care-workforce-shortages-225898">original article</a>.</em></p> <p><em>Image: Getty</em></p>

Retirement Income

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Bunnings has toppled Woolworths as Australia’s most ‘trusted’ brand – what makes us trust a brand in the first place?

<p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/louise-grimmer-212082">Louise Grimmer</a>, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-tasmania-888">University of Tasmania</a></em></p> <p>Think of some of the world’s biggest brands: Nike, McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, Apple. With what do you associate them? Are they positive associations? Now consider, do you trust them?</p> <p>Brand trust is a measure of how customers <em>feel</em> about a brand in terms of how well the brand delivers on its promises. Trust is an important measure for any organisation, large or small.</p> <p>Whether or not customers trust a brand can be the difference between choosing that brand’s products or services over another.</p> <p>In Australia, Woolworths <a href="https://www.roymorgan.com/findings/9472-risk-monitor-quartely-update-december-2023">held the title</a> of our most trusted brand for three and a half years. But recent cost-of-living pressures have put supermarkets in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons.</p> <p>Roy Morgan Research’s <a href="https://www.roymorgan.com/findings/9472-risk-monitor-quartely-update-december-2023">most recent trust rankings</a> show Woolworths has slipped to number two, handing its crown to hardware behemoth Bunnings.</p> <p>It’s clear that trust is fragile and can be quickly squandered when brands lose touch with those they serve.</p> <p>So what makes us trust a brand in the first place? And why do we trust some more than others?</p> <h2>What makes us trust a brand?</h2> <p>According to customer experience management firm Qualtrics, <a href="https://www.qualtrics.com/au/experience-management/brand/brand-trust/">brand trust</a> is</p> <blockquote> <p>the confidence that customers have in a brand’s ability to deliver on what it promises. As a brand consistently meets the expectations it has set in the minds of customers, trust in that brand grows.</p> </blockquote> <p>There are many ways to go about measuring brand trust. A typical first step is to ask lots of people what they think, collating their general opinions on product quality and the brand’s customer service experience.</p> <p>This can be strengthened with more quantifiable elements, including:</p> <ul> <li>online ratings and reviews</li> <li>social media “sentiment” (positive, negative or neutral)</li> <li>corporate social responsibility activities</li> <li>philanthropic efforts</li> <li>customer data security and privacy.</li> </ul> <p>Some surveys go even deeper, asking respondents to consider a brand’s vision and mission, its approaches to sustainability and worker standards, and how honest its advertising appears.</p> <h2>Is this a real and useful metric?</h2> <p>The qualitative methodology used by <a href="https://www.roymorgan.com/findings/9472-risk-monitor-quartely-update-december-2023">Roy Morgan</a> to determine what Australian consumers think about 1,000 brands has been administered over two decades, so the data can be reliably compared across time.</p> <p>On measures of both trust and distrust, it asks respondents which brands they trust and why. This approach is useful because it tells us which elements factor into brand trust judgements.</p> <p><a href="https://roymorgan-cms-prod.s3.ap-southeast-2.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2024/03/07035120/9472-Risk-Monitor-Quartely-Update-December-2023-1-1.pdf">Customer responses</a> about the survey’s most recent winner, Bunnings, show that customer service, product range, value-for-money pricing and generous returns policies are the key drivers of strong trust in its brand.</p> <p>Here are some examples:</p> <blockquote> <p>Great customer service. Love their welcoming staff. Whether it’s nuts and bolts or a new toilet seat, they have it all, value for money.</p> <p>Great products and price and have a no quibble refund policy.</p> <p>Great stock range, help is there if you need it and it is my go-to for my gardening and tool needs. Really convenient trading hours, and their return policy is good.</p> </blockquote> <p>In addition to trust, there are three other metrics commonly used to assess brand performance:</p> <ul> <li> <p><strong>brand equity</strong> – the commercial or social value of consumer perceptions of a brand</p> </li> <li> <p><strong>brand loyalty</strong> – consumer willingness to consistently choose one brand over others regardless of price or competitor’s efforts</p> </li> <li> <p><strong>brand affinity</strong> – the emotional connection and common values between a brand and its customers.</p> </li> </ul> <p>However, trust is becoming a disproportionately important metric as consumers demand that companies provide <a href="https://www.forbes.com/sites/bernhardschroeder/2020/01/16/from-the-traditional-to-the-outrageous-four-brands-that-use-honest-transparency-to-build-loyal-customers-with-non-traditional-marketing-and-branding/?sh=6689f81320a1">increased transparency</a> and exhibit greater care for their customers, not just their shareholders.</p> <h2>Why do Australians trust retailers so much?</h2> <p>Of Australia’s top ten most trusted brands, seven are retailers – Bunnings, Woolworths, Aldi, Coles, Kmart, Myer and Big W.</p> <figure class="align-center zoomable"><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/582082/original/file-20240314-28-h0xdf4.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/582082/original/file-20240314-28-h0xdf4.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" sizes="(min-width: 1466px) 754px, (max-width: 599px) 100vw, (min-width: 600px) 600px, 237px" srcset="https://images.theconversation.com/files/582082/original/file-20240314-28-h0xdf4.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=279&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 600w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/582082/original/file-20240314-28-h0xdf4.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=279&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1200w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/582082/original/file-20240314-28-h0xdf4.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=279&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 1800w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/582082/original/file-20240314-28-h0xdf4.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=350&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 754w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/582082/original/file-20240314-28-h0xdf4.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=350&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1508w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/582082/original/file-20240314-28-h0xdf4.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=350&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 2262w" alt="table shows that Bunnings is now Australia's most trusted brand, and Optus the least trusted brand." /></a><figcaption><span class="caption">The latest changes to Australia’s most trusted and most distrusted brand rankings.</span> <span class="attribution"><a class="source" href="https://www.roymorgan.com/findings/9472-risk-monitor-quartely-update-december-2023">Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia)</a></span></figcaption></figure> <p>This <a href="https://www.fastcompany.com/90901331/america-most-trusted-brands-companies-report-2023-morning-consult">stands in contrast</a> with the United States, where the most trusted brands are predominantly from the healthcare sector.</p> <p>So why do retail brands dominate our trust rankings?</p> <p>They certainly aren’t small local businesses. Our retail sector is <a href="https://www.afr.com/companies/retail/in-the-shopping-trolley-war-the-supermarkets-have-to-give-20240122-p5ez4k">highly concentrated</a>, dominated by a few giant retail brands.</p> <p>We have only two major department stores (David Jones and Myer), three major discount department stores (Big W, Target and Kmart) and a <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2024-02-23/a-history-of-the-duopoly-coles-woolworths/103494070">supermarket “duopoly”</a> (Coles and Woolworths).</p> <p>It’s most likely then that these brands have been enjoying leftover goodwill from the pandemic.</p> <p>As Australia closed down to tackle COVID-19, the retail sector, and in particular the grocery sector, was credited with enabling customers to <a href="https://www.smh.com.au/business/companies/inside-story-how-woolworths-and-coles-joined-forces-to-avert-covid-19-disaster-20200611-p551lk.html">safely access</a> food and household goods.</p> <p>Compared with many other countries, we did not see a predominance of empty shelves across Australia. Retailers in this country stepped up – implementing or improving their online shopping capabilities and ensuring physical stores followed health guidelines and protocols.</p> <p>Now, with the pandemic behind us and in an environment of high inflation, the <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2024-02-20/woolworths-coles-supermarket-tactics-grocery-four-corners/103405054">big two supermarkets</a> face <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2024/feb/20/do-coles-woolworths-specials-actually-offer-savings-choice-survey-supermarket-price-gouging-inquiry">growing distrust</a> and a <a href="https://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate/Supermarket_Prices/SupermarketPrices">public inquiry</a>.</p> <h2>Lessons from the losers</h2> <p>After <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/business/2023/nov/20/optus-scandals-network-outage-cyberattack-ceo-resignation-kelly-bayer-rosmarin">two high profile disasters</a>, Optus finds itself the most distrusted brand in Australia.</p> <p>Its companions in the “most distrusted” group include social media brands Meta (Facebook), TikTok and X.</p> <p>Qantas, Medibank Private, Newscorp, Nestle and Amazon also made the top 10.</p> <p>The main reason consumers distrust brands is for a perceived failure to live up to their promises and responsibilities.</p> <p>For example, <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2023/09/18/amazon-working-conditions-safety-osha-doj/">worker conditions at multinational firm Amazon</a> are seen by some consumers as a reflection of questionable business practices.</p> <p>Other brands may have earned a reputation for failing to deliver the basics, like when chronic <a href="https://www.afr.com/companies/transport/compensating-travellers-for-cancelled-flights-long-overdue-20240212-p5f45c">flight delays and cancellations</a> plagued many Qantas customers.</p> <h2>Lessons from the winners</h2> <p>On the flip side, consumers have rewarded budget-friendly retailers with increased trust in the most recent rankings.</p> <p>Aldi, Kmart and Bunnings have improved their standing as trusted brands, no doubt in part because they have helped many Australian consumers deal with tight household budgets.</p> <p>As discretionary consumer spending continues to tighten, we may see a more permanent consumer shopping <a href="https://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/retail/rise-of-the-value-shopper-as-budgets-are-crunched-a-threat-and-opportunity-for-retailers/news-story/9b7a355cfb3866ec60d2ee42b7cbd567">shift towards value for money</a> brands and discounters.</p> <p>Trust is a fragile thing to maintain once earned. As we move through 2024, Australian companies must pay close attention to their most important asset – strong relationships with those they serve.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/225578/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/louise-grimmer-212082">Louise Grimmer</a>, Senior Lecturer in Retail Marketing, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-tasmania-888">University of Tasmania</a></em></p> <p>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/bunnings-has-toppled-woolworths-as-australias-most-trusted-brand-what-makes-us-trust-a-brand-in-the-first-place-225578">original article</a>.</p>

Money & Banking

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Leap of imagination: how February 29 reminds us of our mysterious relationship with time and space

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/emily-ohara-874665">Emily O'Hara</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/auckland-university-of-technology-1137">Auckland University of Technology</a></em></p> <p>If you find it intriguing that February 28 will be followed this week by February 29, rather than March 1 as it usually is, spare a thought for those alive in 1582. Back then, Thursday October 4 was followed by Friday October 15.</p> <p>Ten whole days were snatched from the present when Pope Gregory XIII issued a papal bull to “restore” the calendar from discrepancies that had crept into the Julian calendar, introduced by Julius Caesar in 45 BCE.</p> <p>The new Gregorian calendar returned the northern hemisphere’s vernal equinox to its “proper” place, around March 21. (The equinox is when the Earth’s axis is tilted neither toward nor away from the sun, and is used to determine the date of Easter.)</p> <p>The Julian calendar had observed a leap year every four years, but this meant time had drifted out of alignment with the dates of celestial events and astronomical seasons.</p> <p>In the Gregorian calendar, leap days were added only to years that were a multiple of four – like 2024 – with an exception for years that were evenly divisible by 100, but not 400 – like 1700.</p> <p>Simply put, leap days exist because it doesn’t take a neat 365 days for Earth to orbit the Sun. It takes 365.2422 days. Tracking the movement of celestial objects through space in an orderly pattern doesn’t quite work, which is why we have February – time’s great mop.</p> <h2>Time and space</h2> <p>This is just part of the history of how February – the shortest month, and originally the last month in the Roman calendar – came to have the job of absorbing those inconsistencies in the temporal calculations of the world’s most commonly used calendar.</p> <p>There is plenty of <a href="https://theconversation.com/leap-day-fixing-the-faults-in-our-stars-54032">science</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/explainer-the-science-behind-leap-years-and-how-they-work-54788">maths</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/how-a-seasonal-snarl-up-in-the-mid-1500s-gave-us-our-strange-rules-for-leap-years-132659">astrophysics</a> explaining the relationship between time and the planet we live on. But I like to think leap years and days offer something even more interesting to consider: why do we have calendars anyway?</p> <p>And what have they got to do with how we understand the wonder and strangeness of our existence in the universe? Because calendars tell a story, not just about time, but also about space.</p> <p>Our reckoning of time on Earth is through our spatial relationship to the Sun, Moon and stars. Time, and its place in our lives, sits somewhere between the scientific, the celestial and the spiritual.</p> <p>It is <a href="https://shop.whitechapelgallery.org/products/time">notoriously slippery, subjective and experiential</a>. It is also marked, tracked and determined in myriad ways across different cultures, from tropical to solar to <a href="https://www.stuff.co.nz/pou-tiaki/300062097/matariki-and-the-maramataka-the-mori-lunar-calendar">lunar</a> calendars.</p> <p>It is the Sun that measures a day and gives us our first reference point for understanding time. But it is the <a href="https://librarysearch.aut.ac.nz/vufind/Record/1145999?sid=25214690">Moon</a>, as a major celestial body, that extends our perception of time. By stretching a span of one day into something longer, it offers us a chance for philosophical reflection.</p> <p>The Sun (or its effect at least) is either present or not present. The Moon, however, goes through phases of transformation. It appears and disappears, changing shape and hinting that one night is not exactly like the one before or after.</p> <p>The Moon also has a distinct rhythm that can be tracked and understood as a pattern, giving us another sense of duration. Time is just that – overlapping durations: instants, seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, years, decades, lifetimes, centuries, ages.</p> <h2>The elusive Moon</h2> <p>It is almost impossible to imagine how time might feel in the absence of all the tools and gadgets we use to track, control and corral it. But it’s also hard to know what we might do in the absence of time as a unit of productivity – a measurable, dispensable resource.</p> <p>The closest we might come is simply to imagine what life might feel like in the absence of the Moon. Each day would rise and fall, in a rhythm of its own, but without visible reference to anything else. Just endless shifts from light to dark.</p> <p>Nights would be almost completely dark without the light of the Moon. Only stars at a much further distance would puncture the inky sky. The world around us would change – trees would grow, mammals would age and die, land masses would shift and change – but all would happen in an endless cycle of sunrise to sunset.</p> <p>The light from the Sun takes <a href="https://www.skyatnightmagazine.com/space-science/how-take-light-from-sun-reach-earth">eight minutes</a> to reach Earth, so the sunlight we see is always eight minutes in the past.</p> <p>I remember sitting outside when I first learned this, and wondering what the temporal delay might be between me and other objects: a plum tree, trees at the end of the street, hills in the distance, light on the horizon when looking out over the ocean, stars in the night sky.</p> <p>Moonlight, for reference, takes about <a href="https://www.pbs.org/seeinginthedark/astronomy-topics/light-as-a-cosmic-time-machine.html">1.3 seconds</a> to get to Earth. Light always travels at the same speed, it is entirely constant. The differing duration between how long it takes for sunlight or moonlight to reach the Earth is determined by the space in between.</p> <p>Time on the other hand, is anything but constant. There are countless ways we characterise it. The mere fact we have so many calendars and ways of describing perceptual time hints at our inability to pin it down.</p> <p>Calendars give us the impression we can, and have, made time predictable and understandable. Leap years, days and seconds serve as a periodic reminder that we haven’t.<!-- 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/224503/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/emily-ohara-874665"><em>Emily O'Hara</em></a><em>, Senior Lecturer, Spatial Design + Temporary Practices, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/auckland-university-of-technology-1137">Auckland University of Technology</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/leap-of-imagination-how-february-29-reminds-us-of-our-mysterious-relationship-with-time-and-space-224503">original article</a>.</em></p>

Technology

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The US just returned to the Moon after more than 50 years. How big a deal is it, really?

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/david-flannery-3906">David Flannery</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/queensland-university-of-technology-847">Queensland University of Technology</a></em></p> <p>In the few short years since the COVID pandemic changed our world, China, Japan and India have all successfully landed on the Moon.</p> <p>Many more robotic missions have flown past the Moon, entered lunar orbit, or crashed into it in the past five years. This includes <a href="https://www.planetary.org/space-missions/kplo">spacecraft developed by South Korea</a>, <a href="https://english.alarabiya.net/News/gulf/2023/04/27/Dubai-s-ruler-announces-new-moon-mission-after-UAE-s-Rashid-Rover-lunar-crash-">the United Arab Emirates</a>, and an <a href="https://www.spaceil.com/">Israeli not-for-profit organisation</a>.</p> <p>Late last week, the American company <a href="https://www.intuitivemachines.com/">Intuitive Machines</a>, in collaboration with NASA, celebrated “America’s return to the Moon” with a successful landing of its Odysseus spacecraft.</p> <p>Recent <a href="https://theconversation.com/change-5-china-launches-sample-return-mission-to-the-moon-is-it-winning-the-new-space-race-150665">Chinese-built sample return missions</a> are far more complex than this project. And didn’t NASA ferry a dozen humans to the Moon back when microwaves were cutting-edge technology? So what is different about this mission developed by a US company?</p> <h2>Back to the Moon</h2> <p>The recent Odysseus landing stands out for two reasons. For starters, this is the first time a US-built spacecraft has landed – not crashed – on the Moon for over 50 years.</p> <p>Secondly, and far more significantly, this is the first time a private company has pulled off a successful delivery of cargo to the Moon’s surface.</p> <p>NASA has lately focused on destinations beyond the Earth–Moon system, including Mars. But with its <a href="https://www.nasa.gov/commercial-lunar-payload-services/">Commercial Lunar Payload Services</a> (CLPS) program, it has also funded US private industry to develop Moon landing concepts, hoping to reduce the delivery costs of lunar payloads and allow NASA engineers to focus on other challenges.</p> <p>Working with NASA, Intuitive Machines selected a <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malapert_(crater)">landing site</a> about 300 kilometres from the lunar south pole. Among other challenges, landing here requires entering a polar orbit around the Moon, which consumes additional fuel.</p> <p>At this latitude, the land is heavily cratered and dotted with long shadows. This makes it challenging for autonomous landing systems to find a safe spot for a touchdown.</p> <p>NASA spent about US$118 million (A$180 million) to land six scientific <a href="https://www.esa.int/Enabling_Support/Space_Engineering_Technology/About_Payload_Systems">payloads</a> on Odysseus. This is relatively cheap. Using low-cost lunar landers, NASA will have an efficient way to test new space hardware that may then be flown on other Moon missions or farther afield.</p> <h2>Ten minutes of silence</h2> <p>One of the technology tests on the Odysseus lander, NASA’s <a href="https://www.nasa.gov/directorates/stmd/impact-story-navigation-doppler-lidar/">Navigation Doppler Lidar experiment</a> or NDL, appears to have proved crucial to the lander’s success.</p> <p>As the lander neared the surface, the company realised its navigation systems had a problem. NASA’s NDL experiment is serendipitously designed to test precision landing techniques for future missions. It seems that at the last second, engineers bodged together a solution that involved feeding necessary data from NDL to the lander.</p> <p>Ten minutes of silence followed before a <a href="https://twitter.com/Int_Machines/status/1760838333851148442">weak signal was detected</a> from Odysseus. Applause thundered through the mission control room. NASA’s administrator released a video congratulating everyone for returning America to the Moon.</p> <p>It has since become clear the lander is not oriented perfectly upright. The solar panels are generating sufficient power and the team is slowly receiving the first images from the surface.</p> <p>However, it’s likely Odysseus <a href="https://www.universetoday.com/165864/odysseus-moon-lander-is-tipped-over-but-still-sending-data/">partially toppled over</a> upon landing. Fortunately, at the time of writing, it seems most of the science payload may yet be deployed as it’s on the side of the lander facing upwards. The unlucky payload element facing downwards <a href="https://edition.cnn.com/2024/02/23/world/odysseus-lunar-landing-sideways-scn/index.html">is a privately contributed artwork</a> connected <a href="https://edition.cnn.com/2024/02/22/style/jeff-koons-moon-phases-odysseus-landing/index.html">to NFTs</a>.</p> <p>The lander is now likely to survive for at least a week before the Sun sets on the landing site and a dark, frigid lunar night turns it into another museum piece of human technology frozen in the lunar <a href="https://www.britannica.com/science/regolith">regolith</a>.</p> <h2>Win some, lose some</h2> <p>NASA’s commercial approach to stimulating low-cost payload services all but guarantees some failures. But eventually NASA hopes that several commercial launch and landing providers will emerge from the program, along with a few learning experiences.</p> <p>The know-how accumulated at organisations operating hardware in space is at least as important as the development of the hardware itself.</p> <p>The market for commercial lunar payloads remains unclear. Possibly, once the novelty wears off and brands are no longer able to generate buzz by, for example, <a href="https://www.columbia.com/omni-heat-infinity/moon-mission/">sending a piece of outdoor clothing to the Moon</a>, this source of funding may dwindle.</p> <p>However, just as today, civil space agencies and taxpayers will continue to fund space exploration to address shared science goals.</p> <p> </p> <p>Ideally, commercial providers will offer NASA an efficient method for testing key technologies needed for its schedule of upcoming scientific robotic missions, as well as <a href="https://www.nasa.gov/specials/artemis/">human spaceflight in the Artemis program</a>. Australia would also have the opportunity to test hardware at a reduced price.</p> <p>It’s worth noting that US budgetary issues, <a href="https://spacenews.com/nasa-warns-of-very-problematic-space-technology-budget-cuts/">funding cuts</a> and <a href="https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/jpl-workforce-update">subsequent lay-offs</a> do threaten these ambitions.</p> <p>Meanwhile, in Australia, we may have nothing to launch anyway. We continue to spend less <a href="https://www.aph.gov.au/About_Parliament/Parliamentary_departments/Parliamentary_Library/Budget/reviews/2023-24/ScienceResearch">than the OECD average on scientific research</a>, and only a few Australian universities – who traditionally lead such efforts – <a href="https://business.gov.au/grants-and-programs/moon-to-mars-initiative-demonstrator-mission-grants/grant-recipients">have received funding</a> provided by the Australian Space Agency.</p> <p>If we do support planetary science and space exploration in the future, Australians will need to decide if we want to allocate our limited resources, competing with NASA and US private industry, to supply launch, landing and robotic services to the global space industry.</p> <p>Alternatively, we could leverage these lower-cost payload providers to develop our own scientific space program, and locally developed space technologies associated with benefits to the knowledge economy, education and national security.<!-- 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/224276/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/david-flannery-3906"><em>David Flannery</em></a><em>, Planetary Scientist, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/queensland-university-of-technology-847">Queensland University of Technology</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Intuitive Machines</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/the-us-just-returned-to-the-moon-after-more-than-50-years-how-big-a-deal-is-it-really-224276">original article</a>.</em></p>

International Travel

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What ‘psychological warfare’ tactics do scammers use, and how can you protect yourself?

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/mike-johnstone-106590">Mike Johnstone</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/edith-cowan-university-720">Edith Cowan University</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/georgia-psaroulis-1513050">Georgia Psaroulis</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/edith-cowan-university-720">Edith Cowan University</a></em></p> <p>Not a day goes by without a headline <a href="https://www.vice.com/en/article/qjvaym/people-share-worst-scam-stories">about a victim being scammed</a> and losing money. We are constantly warned about new scams and staying safe from cybercriminals. Scamwatch has <a href="https://www.scamwatch.gov.au/research-and-resources/tools-resources/online-resources/spot-the-scam-signs">no shortage of resources</a>, too.</p> <p>So why are people still getting scammed, and sometimes spectacularly so?</p> <p>Scammers use sophisticated psychological techniques. They exploit our deepest human vulnerabilities and bypass rational thought to tap into our emotional responses.</p> <p>This “<a href="https://www.thecut.com/article/amazon-scam-call-ftc-arrest-warrants.html">psychological warfare</a>” coerces victims into making impulsive decisions. Sometimes scammers spread their methods around many potential victims to see who is vulnerable. Other times, criminals focus on a specific person.</p> <p>Let’s unpack some of these psychological techniques, and how you can defend against them.</p> <h2>1. Random phone calls</h2> <p>Scammers start with small requests to establish a sense of commitment. After agreeing to these minor requests, we are more likely to comply with larger demands, driven by a desire to act consistently.</p> <p>The call won’t come from a number in your contacts or one you recognise, but the scammer may pretend to be someone you’ve engaged to work on your house, or perhaps one of your children using a friend’s phone to call you.</p> <p>If it is a scammer, maybe keeping you on the phone for a long time gives them an opportunity to find out things about you or people you know. They can use this info either immediately or at a later date.</p> <h2>2. Creating a sense of urgency</h2> <p>Scammers fabricate scenarios that require immediate action, like claiming a bank account is at risk of closure or an offer is about to expire. This tactic aims to prevent victims from assessing the situation logically or seeking advice, pressuring them into rushed decisions.</p> <p>The scammer creates an artificial situation in which you are frightened into doing something you wouldn’t ordinarily do. Scam calls <a href="https://theconversation.com/we-have-filed-a-case-under-your-name-beware-of-tax-scams-theyll-be-everywhere-this-eofy-162171">alleging to be from the Australian Tax Office</a> (ATO) are a great example. You have a debt to pay (apparently) and things will go badly if you don’t pay <em>right now</em>.</p> <p>Scammers play on your emotions to provoke reactions that cloud judgement. They may threaten legal trouble to instil fear, promise high investment returns to exploit greed, or share fabricated distressing stories to elicit sympathy and financial assistance.</p> <h2>3. Building rapport with casual talk</h2> <p>Through extended conversation, scammers build a psychological commitment to their scheme. No one gets very far by just demanding your password, but it’s natural to be friendly with people who are friendly towards us.</p> <p>After staying on the line for long periods of time, the victim also becomes cognitively fatigued. This not only makes the victim more open to suggestions, but also isolates them from friends or family who might recognise and counteract the scam.</p> <h2>4. Help me to help you</h2> <p>In this case, the scammer creates a situation where they help you to solve a real or imaginary problem (that they actually created). They work their “IT magic” and the problem goes away.</p> <p>Later, they ask you for something you wouldn’t normally do, and you do it because of the “social debt”: they helped you first.</p> <p>For example, a hacker might attack a corporate network, causing it to slow down. Then they call you, pretending to be from your organisation, perhaps as a recent hire not yet on the company’s contact list. They “help” you by turning off the attack, leaving you suitably grateful.</p> <p>Perhaps a week later, they call again and ask for sensitive information, such as the CEO’s password. You <em>know</em> company policy is to not divulge it, but the scammer will ask if you remember them (of course you do) and come up with an excuse for why they really need this password.</p> <p>The balance of the social debt says you will help them.</p> <h2>5. Appealing to authority</h2> <p>By posing as line managers, officials from government agencies, banks, or other authoritative bodies, scammers exploit our natural tendency to obey authority.</p> <p>Such scams operate at varying levels of sophistication. The simple version: your manager messages you with an <em>urgent</em> request to purchase some gift cards and send through their numbers.</p> <p>The complex version: your manager calls and asks to urgently transfer a large sum of money to an account you don’t recognise. You do this because <a href="https://www.wsj.com/articles/fraudsters-use-ai-to-mimic-ceos-voice-in-unusual-cybercrime-case-11567157402">it sounds exactly</a> like your manager on the phone – but the scammer <a href="https://www.forbes.com/sites/thomasbrewster/2021/10/14/huge-bank-fraud-uses-deep-fake-voice-tech-to-steal-millions/?sh=1329b80e7559">is using a voice deepfake</a>. In a recent major case in Hong Kong, such a scam even involved a <a href="https://edition.cnn.com/2024/02/04/asia/deepfake-cfo-scam-hong-kong-intl-hnk/index.html">deepfake video call</a>.</p> <p>This is deeply challenging because artificial intelligence tools, such as Microsoft’s VALL-E, can create <a href="https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2023/01/microsofts-new-ai-can-simulate-anyones-voice-with-3-seconds-of-audio/">a voice deepfake</a> using just three seconds of sampled audio from a real person.</p> <h2>How can you defend against a scam?</h2> <p>First and foremost, <strong>verify identity</strong>. Find another way to contact the person to verify who they are. For example, you can call a generic number for the business and ask to be connected.</p> <p>In the face of rampant voice deepfakes, it can be helpful to <strong>agree on a “safe word” with your family members</strong>. If they call from an unrecognised number and you don’t hear the safe word just hang up.</p> <p>Watch out for <strong>pressure tactics</strong>. If the conversation is moving too fast, remember that someone else’s problem is not yours to solve. Stop and run the problem past a colleague or family member for a sanity check. A legitimate business will have no problem with you doing this.</p> <p>Lastly, if you are not sure about even the slightest detail, the simplest thing is to hang up or not respond. If you really owe a tax debt, the ATO will write to you.<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/223959/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /></p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/mike-johnstone-106590"><em>Mike Johnstone</em></a><em>, Security Researcher, Associate Professor in Resilient Systems, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/edith-cowan-university-720">Edith Cowan University</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/georgia-psaroulis-1513050">Georgia Psaroulis</a>, Postdoctoral research fellow, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/edith-cowan-university-720">Edith Cowan University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/what-psychological-warfare-tactics-do-scammers-use-and-how-can-you-protect-yourself-223959">original article</a>.</em></p>

Money & Banking

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Anger, sadness, boredom, anxiety – emotions that feel bad can be useful

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/heather-lench-1349234">Heather Lench</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/texas-aandm-university-1672">Texas A&amp;M University</a></em></p> <p>Remember the sadness that came with the last time you failed miserably at something? Or the last time you were so anxious about an upcoming event that you couldn’t concentrate for days?</p> <p>These types of emotions are unpleasant to experience and can even feel overwhelming. People often try to avoid them, suppress them or ignore them. In fact, in psychology experiments, people will <a href="https://doi.org/10.1007/s10902-012-9394-7">pay money to not feel many negative emotions</a>. But recent research is revealing that emotions can be useful, and even negative emotions can bring benefits.</p> <p><a href="https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=fzHtrJIAAAAJ&amp;hl=en&amp;oi=ao">In my</a> <a href="https://emotionsciencelab.com">emotion science lab</a> at Texas A&amp;M University, we study how emotions like anger and boredom affect people, and we explore ways that these feelings can be beneficial. We share the results so people can learn how to use their emotions to build the lives they want.</p> <p>Our studies and many others have shown that emotions aren’t uniformly good or bad for people. Instead, different emotions can result in better outcomes in particular types of situations. Emotions seem to function like a Swiss army knife – different emotional tools are helpful in specific situations.</p> <h2>Sadness can help you recover from a failure</h2> <p>Sadness occurs when people perceive that they’ve lost a goal or a desired outcome, and there’s nothing they can do to improve the situation. It could be getting creamed in a game or failing a class or work project, or it can be losing a relationship with a family member. Once evoked, sadness is associated with what psychologists call a deactivation state of doing little, without much behavior or <a href="https://dictionary.apa.org/arousal">physical arousal</a>. Sadness also brings <a href="https://doi.org/10.1111/ap.12232">thinking that is more detailed and analytical</a>. It makes you stop <a href="https://doi.org/10.1177/0963721412474458">and think</a>.</p> <p>The benefit of the stopping and thinking that comes with sadness is that it <a href="https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-77619-4_4">helps people recover from failure</a>. When you fail, that typically means the situation you’re in is not conducive to success. Instead of just charging ahead in this type of scenario, sadness prompts people to step back and <a href="https://doi.org/10.1037/a0016242">evaluate what is happening</a>.</p> <p>When people are sad, they process information in a deliberative, analytical way and want to avoid risk. This mode comes with <a href="https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-3514.75.2.318">more accurate memory</a>, <a href="https://doi.org/10.1080/02699939108411048">judgment that is less influenced</a> <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jesp.2004.11.005">by irrelevant assumptions or information</a>, and <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jesp.2008.04.010">better detection of other people lying</a>. These cognitive changes can encourage people to understand past failures and possibly prevent future ones.</p> <p>Sadness can function differently when there’s the possibility that the failure could be avoided if other people help. In these situations, people tend to <a href="https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1469-8986.1994.tb01049.x">cry and can experience</a> <a href="https://doi.org/10.1007/s10286-018-0526-y">increased physiological arousal</a>, such as quicker heart and breathing rates. Expressing sadness, through tears or verbally, has the benefit of <a href="https://doi.org/10.1177/147470491301100114">potentially recruiting other people to help you</a> achieve your goals. This behavior appears to start in infants, with <a href="https://doi.org/10.2307/1127506">tears and cries signaling caregivers to help</a>.</p> <h2>Anger prepares you to overcome an obstacle</h2> <p>Anger occurs when people perceive they’re losing a goal or desired outcome, but that they could improve the situation by removing something that’s in their way. The obstacle could be an injustice committed by another person, or it could be a computer that repeatedly crashes while you’re trying to get work done. Once evoked, <a href="https://doi.org/10.1037/a0024244">anger is associated with a “readiness for action,”</a> and your <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/S0191-8869(02)00313-6">thinking focuses on the obstacle</a>.</p> <p>The benefit of being prepared for action and focused on what’s in your way is that it motivates you to overcome what’s standing between you and your goal. <a href="https://doi.org/10.1177/1754073913512003">When people are angry</a>, they <a href="https://doi.org/10.1002/ejsp.2420240104">process information and make judgments rapidly</a>, want to take action, and are <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biopsycho.2010.03.010">physiologically aroused</a>. In experiments, <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2010.04.017">anger actually increases the force of people’s kicks</a>, which can be helpful in physical encounters. Anger results in better outcomes in situations that involve challenges to goals, including confrontational games, <a href="https://doi.org/10.1037/pspa0000350">tricky puzzles</a>, video games with obstacles, and responding quickly on tasks.</p> <p>Expressing anger, facially or verbally, has the benefit of <a href="http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/pspp0000292">prompting other people to clear the way</a>. People are <a href="https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-3514.86.1.57">more likely to concede in negotiations</a> and <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jesp.2012.12.015">give in on issues</a> when their adversary looks or says they are angry.</p> <h2>Anxiety helps you prepare for danger</h2> <p>Anxiety occurs when people <a href="https://doi.org/10.1177/070674371105601202">perceive a potential threat</a>. This could be giving a speech to a large audience where failure would put your self-esteem on the line, or it could be a physical threat to yourself or loved ones. Once evoked, anxiety is associated with being prepared to respond to danger, including increased physical arousal and <a href="https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9280.2006.01701.x">attention to threats and risk</a>.</p> <p>Being prepared for danger means that if trouble brews, you can respond quickly to prevent or avoid it. When anxious, people detect threats rapidly, have fast reaction times and <a href="https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9280.2006.01701.x">are on heightened alert</a>. The eye-widening that often comes with fear and anxiety even <a href="https://doi.org/10.1038/nn.2138">gives people a wider field of vision</a> and improves threat detection.</p> <p>Anxiety prepares the body for action, which improves performance on a number of tasks that involve motivation and attention. It motivates people to prepare for upcoming events, such as devoting time to study for an exam. Anxiety also prompts protective behavior, which can help prevent the potential threat from becoming a reality.</p> <h2>Boredom can jolt you out of a rut</h2> <p>There is less research on boredom than many other emotions, so it is not as well understood. Researchers debate <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tics.2023.02.002">what it is</a> and <a href="https://doi.org/10.3390/bs3030459">what it does</a>.</p> <p>Boredom appears to occur when someone’s current situation is <a href="https://doi.org/10.3390/bs3030459">not causing any other emotional response</a>. There are three situations <a href="https://doi.org/10.1007/s11031-011-9234-9">where this lack can occur</a>: when emotions fade, such as the happiness of a new car fading to neutral; when people don’t care about anything in their current situation, such as being at a large party where nothing interesting is happening; or when people have no goals. Boredom does not necessarily set in just because nothing is happening – someone with a goal of relaxation might feel quite content sitting quietly with no stimulation.</p> <p>Psychology researchers think that the benefit of boredom in situations where people are not responding emotionally is that it <a href="http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/emo0000433">prompts making a change</a>. If nothing in your current situation is worth responding to, the <a href="https://doi.org/10.1002/jocb.154">aversive experience of boredom can motivate you</a> to seek new situations or change the way you’re thinking. Boredom has been related to more risk seeking, a desire for novelty, and creative thinking. It seems to function like an emotional stick, nudging people out of their current situation to explore and create.</p> <h2>Using the toolkit of emotion</h2> <p>People want to be happy. But research is finding that a satisfying and productive life includes a <a href="http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/pspp0000292">mix of positive and negative emotions</a>. Negative emotions, even though they feel bad to experience, can motivate and prepare people for failure, challenges, threats and exploration.</p> <p>Pleasant or not, your emotions can help guide you toward better outcomes. Maybe understanding how they prepare you to handle various situations will help you feel better about feeling bad.<!-- 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/217654/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/heather-lench-1349234">Heather Lench</a>, Professor of Psychological and Brain Sciences, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/texas-aandm-university-1672">Texas A&amp;M 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/anger-sadness-boredom-anxiety-emotions-that-feel-bad-can-be-useful-217654">original article</a>.</em></p>

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Parents busted for making their healthy child use a wheelchair to claim benefits

<p>A cruel mother and father have been jailed for over six years for forcing their healthy child to use a wheelchair in order to claim benefit payments. </p> <p>In 2012, Louise Law and her ex-husband Martin forced their then seven-year-old daughter into the wheelchair, as a ploy to gain a mobility car and disability allowance payments despite their being nothing wrong with her. </p> <p>The parents carried on with the scam for four years while they "fabricated illnesses and exaggerated symptoms" to teachers and NHS workers, all while raking in the extensive payments. </p> <p>The crown court in East Yorkshire, England, heard that the child suffered "gratuitous degradation" at being forced to use the wheelchair, as they were bullied at school and deprived of an ordinary childhood. </p> <p>In court, Louise Law admitted an offence of child cruelty, however she changed her plea on the day of a scheduled trial and was jailed for six years and nine months.</p> <p>Martin Law, now split from his wife, is now a long-term resident of a care home and was ruled unfit to enter a plea - although a jury convicted him of child cruelty, and was made subject of a guardianship order.</p> <p>Passing sentence, Judge Kate Rayfield told Mrs Law, "She missed out on so much of her childhood because of what you put her through."</p> <p>"Despite all of her tests revealing nothing wrong, you continued to subject her to appointments and investigations. You did the talking yourselves, telling the doctors lies."</p> <p>"This was a scam... You were telling her to report symptoms that she never said that she had."</p> <p>When the child reached the age of 18 in 2022, she was interviewed by police as she said the faux medical treatment from her parents began when she was six years old. </p> <p>A few initial medical appointments progressed to around 30 hospital appointments, including overnight stays.</p> <p>Prosecutor Louise Reevell told the court, "Her parents made her think that she could not walk properly. She would go to school in a wheelchair but she didn't really need it."</p> <p>Despite medical professionals proving that the child did not need the extensive medical treatment, her parents still claimed that the illnesses and symptoms of their daughter were genuine.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p>

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Eating leafy greens could be better for oral health than using mouthwash

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/mia-cousins-burleigh-1201153">Mia Cousins Burleigh</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-the-west-of-scotland-1385">University of the West of Scotland</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/siobhan-paula-moran-1506183">Siobhan Paula Moran</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-the-west-of-scotland-1385">University of the West of Scotland</a></em></p> <p>Over half the adult population in the <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26052472">UK and US</a> have gum disease. Typical treatments include <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-61912-4">mouthwash</a> and in severe cases, <a href="https://www.magonlinelibrary.com/doi/abs/10.12968/vetn.2017.8.10.542">antibiotics</a>. These treatments have side effects, such as dry mouth, the development of <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30967854/">antimicrobial resistance</a> and increased <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-61912-4">blood pressure</a>.</p> <p>But research has indicated that a molecule called <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-69931-x">nitrate</a>, which is found in leafy green vegetables, has fewer side effects and offers greater benefits for oral health. And it could be used as a natural alternative for treating oral disease.</p> <p>Inadequate brushing and flossing leads to the build up of <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-69931-x">dental plaque</a>, a sticky layer of bacteria, on the surface of teeth and gums. Plaque causes tooth decay and gum disease. Sugary and acidic foods, dry mouth, and smoking can also contribute to bad breath, tooth decay, and gum infections.</p> <p>The two main types of gum disease are gingivitis and periodontitis. <a href="https://www.spandidos-publications.com/10.3892/etm.2019.8381">Gingivitis</a> causes redness, swelling and bleeding of the gums. <a href="https://www.spandidos-publications.com/10.3892/etm.2019.8381">Periodontitis</a> is a more advanced form of gum disease, causing damage to the soft tissues and bones supporting the teeth.</p> <p>Periodontal disease can therefore, lead to tooth loss and, when bacteria from the mouth enter the bloodstream, can also contribute to the development of <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/bdjteam2015163">systemic disorders</a> such as cardiovascular disease, dementia, diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis.</p> <h2>Leafy greens may be the secret</h2> <p>Leafy greens and root vegetables are bursting with <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2666149723000312">vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants</a> – and it’s no secret that a diet consisting of these vegetables is crucial for maintaining a healthy weight, boosting the immune system, and preventing <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/2048004016661435">heart disease, cancer and diabetes.</a> The multiple health benefits of leafy greens are partly because spinach, lettuce and beetroots are brimming with <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-69931-x">nitrate</a>, which can be reduced to nitric oxide by nitrate-reducing bacteria inside the mouth.</p> <figure><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/7zrRlMGeBes?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" width="440" height="260" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe><figcaption><span class="caption">Popeye knew a thing or two about the health benefits of eating leafy greens. Boomerang Official, 2017.</span></figcaption></figure> <p>Nitric oxide is known to <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0006295222004191">lower blood pressure</a> and improve <a href="https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0243755#:%7E:text=Nitrate%2Drich%20beetroot%20juice%20offsets,healthy%20male%20runners%20%7C%20PLOS%20ONE">exercise performance</a>. However, in the mouth, it helps to prevent the overgrowth of bad bacteria and reduces <a href="https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0243755#:%7E:text=Nitrate%2Drich%20beetroot%20juice%20offsets,healthy%20male%20runners%20%7C%20PLOS%20ONE">oral acidity</a>, both of which can cause gum disease and tooth decay.</p> <p>As part of our research on nitrate and oral health, <a href="https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0243755#:%7E:text=Nitrate%2Drich%20beetroot%20juice%20offsets,healthy%20male%20runners%20%7C%20PLOS%20ONE">we studied competitive athletes</a>. <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9839431/">Athletes are prone to gum disease</a> due to high intake of carbohydrates – which can cause inflammation of the gum tissues – stress, and dry mouth from breathing hard during training.</p> <p>Our study showed that beetroot juice (containing approximately 12 <a href="https://www.nursingtimes.net/students/an-easy-guide-to-mmols-09-02-2012/">millimole</a> of nitrate) protected their teeth from acidic sports drinks and carbohydrate gels during exercise – suggesting that nitrate could be used as a prebiotic by athletes to reduce the risk of tooth decay.</p> <p>Nitrate offers a lot of promise as an oral health <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-69931-x">prebiotic</a>. Good oral hygiene and a nitrate rich diet could be the key to a healthier body, a vibrant smile and disease-free gums. This is good news for those most at risk of oral health deterioration such as <a href="https://www.news-medical.net/health/Periodontitis-and-Pregnancy.aspx">pregnant women</a>, and <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8771712/">the elderly</a>.</p> <p>In the UK, antiseptic mouthwashes containing <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-61912-4">chlorhexidine</a> are commonly used to treat dental plaque and gum disease. Unfortunately, these mouthwashes are a blunderbuss approach to oral health, as they indiscriminately remove both good and bad bacteria and increase oral acidity, which can cause disease.</p> <p>Worryingly, early research also indicates that chlorhexidine may contribute to <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30967854/">antimicrobial resistance</a>. Resistance occurs when bacteria and fungi survive the effects of one or more <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4768623/">antimicrobial drugs</a> due to repeated exposure to these treatments. Antimicrobial resistance is a <a href="https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(21)02724-0/fulltext">global health concern</a>, predicted to cause 10 million deaths yearly by the year 2050.</p> <p>In contrast, dietary nitrate is more targeted. Nitrate eliminates disease-associated bacteria, reduces oral acidity and creates a balanced <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2944498/">oral microbiome</a>. The oral microbiome refers to all the microorganisms in the mouth. Nitrate offers exciting potential as an <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-69931-x">oral health prebiotic</a>, which can be used to prevent disease onset or limit disease progression.</p> <h2>How many leafy greens for pearly whites?</h2> <p>So how much should we consume daily? As a rule of thumb, a generous helping of spinach, kale or beetroot at mealtimes contains about 6-10 mmol of nitrate and offers immediate health benefits.</p> <p>Work we have done with our collaborators has shown that treating <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-69931-x">plaque samples</a> from periodontal disease patients with 6.5 mmol of nitrate increased healthy bacteria levels and reduced acidity.</p> <p>For example, consuming <a href="https://aap.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/JPER.20-0778">lettuce juice</a> for two weeks reduced gum inflammation and increased healthy bacteria levels in patients with gum disease.</p> <p>Growing evidence suggests that nitrate is a cornerstone of oral health. Crunching on a portion of vegetables at mealtimes can help to prevent or treat oral disease and keeps the mouth fresh and healthy.<!-- 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/221181/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/mia-cousins-burleigh-1201153"><em>Mia Cousins Burleigh</em></a><em>, Lecturer, School of Health and Life Sciences, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-the-west-of-scotland-1385">University of the West of Scotland</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/siobhan-paula-moran-1506183">Siobhan Paula Moran</a>, PhD candidate, School of Health and Life Sciences, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-the-west-of-scotland-1385">University of the West of Scotland</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/eating-leafy-greens-could-be-better-for-oral-health-than-using-mouthwash-221181">original article</a>.</em></p>

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