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"It loses its value": Calls for the Last Post to be canned from Anzac Day footy

<p>A radio host has called for the Last Post to be canned from the majority of Anzac Day football games, saying it has lost its meaning over the years, leaving people with "bugle fatigue". </p> <p>An Anzac Day AFL match has taken place every year at the MCG on Anzac Day since 1995, with Collingwood and Essendon going head to head year after year.</p> <p>It was the brainchild of then Essendon coach Kevin Sheedy who had also served in the Australian Army during his playing days for Richmond.</p> <p>The game started as a one off-match, which quickly snowballed into an entire round of games, while the NRL also joined in and created their own Anzac Day matches.</p> <p>Traditionally, each game starts with a ceremony of recognition of our veterans and a performance of the Last Post. before the game kicks off. </p> <p>The addition of the several extra games, all which begin with the Last Post, prompted radio host Greg 'Marto' Martin from Brisbane's <em>Triple M Breakfast with Marto, Margaux & Dan</em> to call for The Last Post to be scrapped from all matches, except the annual fixture between Essendon and Collingwood. </p> <p>"Football has now turned [The Last Post] into a gimmick," he said.</p> <p>"Back in 1995 when Kevin Sheedy, the coach of Essendon, he said, 'Let's have an Anzac Day clash at the MCG,' I reckon it's the most… spine tingling three minutes or so." </p> <p>"97,000 at the MCG… not one person yelling out while that's being played and, the honour that they give to all serving soldiers and returned soldiers is quite extraordinary."</p> <p>"But now what's happened, as football always does, and I'm not just talking AFL I'm talking rugby league as well, they've taken a wonderful thing and they've gone, 'Oh that's good —'"</p> <p>Margaux interrupted saying: "How can we capitalise!"</p> <p>Marto continued, "So what's going to happen this week in all eight games of the AFL and all eight games of the rugby league… every single one of them will play this [The Last Post] and you'll get ANZAC - you'll get bugle fatigue."</p> <p>"We have to stop it somewhere."</p> <p>Margaux said, "It gets saturated, so it loses its value. They all think they are doing the right thing, but all they are doing is turning it into a mockery."</p> <p>The AFL has confirmed that all nine matches across round seven will hold special Anzac observance ceremonies ahead of each game, with AFL General Manager Commercial Peta Webster saying, "Anzac Day is one of our country's most important national occasions so I'd encourage all fans attending matches throughout the round to arrive early to soak up the atmosphere and pre-match formalities that will no doubt be another moving tribute to the sacrifices of our past and present service men and women."</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p>

Travel Trouble

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50 years on, Advance Australia Fair no longer reflects the values of many. What could replace it?

<p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/wendy-hargreaves-1373285">Wendy Hargreaves</a>, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-southern-queensland-1069">University of Southern Queensland</a></em></p> <p>On April 8 1974, Prime Minister Gough Whitlam announced to parliament the nation’s new national anthem: <a href="https://www.pmc.gov.au/honours-and-symbols/australian-national-symbols/australian-national-anthem">Advance Australia Fair</a>.</p> <p>Australia was growing up. We could stop saving “<a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/God_Save_the_King">our gracious Queen</a>” and rejoice in being “young” and “girt”.</p> <p>Finding a new anthem hadn’t been easy. There were unsuccessful <a href="https://www.naa.gov.au/help-your-research/fact-sheets/australias-national-anthem">songwriting competitions</a> and an unconvincing opinion poll. Finally, we landed on rebooting an Australian favourite from 1878.</p> <p>After Whitlam’s announcement, Australians argued, state officials declined the change and the next government reinstated the British anthem in part. It took another ten years, another poll and an official proclamation in 1984 to adopt the new anthem uniformly and get on with looking grown-up.</p> <p>Advance Australia Fair was never the ideal answer to “what shall we sing?”. The original lyrics ignored First Nations people and overlooked women. Like a grunting teenager, it both answered the question and left a lot out.</p> <p>On its 50th anniversary, it’s time to consider whether we got it right. Advance Australia Fair may have helped Australia transition through the 1970s, but in 2024, has it outstayed its welcome?</p> <h2>How do you pick a national anthem?</h2> <p>A national anthem is a government-authorised song performed at official occasions and celebrations. It unifies people and reinforces national identity. Often, governments nominate a tune by searching through historical patriotic songs to find a <a href="https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/golden-oldie">golden oldie</a> with known public appeal.</p> <p>For example, the lyrics of the Japanese anthem <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kimigayo">Kimigayo</a> came from pre-10th-century poetry. Germany’s anthem <a href="https://www.britannica.com/topic/Deutschlandlied">Deutschlandlied</a> adopted a 1797 melody from renowned composer <a href="https://www.britannica.com/biography/Joseph-Haydn">Joseph Haydn</a>. An enduring song or text offers star quality, proven popularity and the prestige of age.</p> <p>In the 1970s, Australia’s attempt at finding a golden oldie was flawed. In that era, many believed Australia’s birth occurred at the arrival of explorer <a href="https://www.britannica.com/biography/James-Cook">James Cook</a> in 1770. Hence, we narrowed our search to hymns, marches and fanfares from our colonial history for possible anthems.</p> <p>With 2020s hindsight (pun intended), <a href="https://theconversation.com/our-national-anthem-is-non-inclusive-indigenous-australians-shouldnt-have-to-sing-it-118177">expecting First Nations</a> people to sing Advance Australia Fair was hypocritical. We wanted to raise Australia’s visibility internationally, yet the custodians of the lands and waterways were unseen by our country’s eyes. We championed “history’s page” with a 19th-century song that participated in racial discrimination.</p> <h2>Changing anthems</h2> <p>With a half-century on the scoreboard, are we locked in to singing Advance Australia Fair forever? No.</p> <p>Anthems can change. Just ask <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Morrison_(jazz_musician)">James Morrison</a>. In 2003, the Australian trumpeter played the Spanish national anthem beautifully at the <a href="https://www.daviscup.com/en/home.aspx">Davis Cup</a> tennis final. Unfortunately, he <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2003-11-28/spanish-angry-over-anthem-mix-up/1516684">played the old anthem</a> that heralded civil war.</p> <p>Morrison’s accidental performance incited a fist-shaking dignitary and an enraged Spanish team who temporarily refused to play. Morrison did, however, to his embarrassment, later receive some excited fan mail from Spanish revolutionists.</p> <p>If we want to change our anthem, where could we begin? We could start by revisiting the golden-oldie approach with a more inclusive ear. Perhaps there’s a song from contemporary First Nations musicians we could consider, or a song from their enduring oral tradition that they deem appropriate (and grant permission to use).</p> <p>If we have learnt anything from Australian history, it’s that we must include and ask – not exclude and take.</p> <p>We could also consider Bruce Woodley and Dobe Newton’s 1987 song <a href="https://www.nfsa.gov.au/collection/curated/asset/101146-i-am-australian-various">I Am Australian</a>, which reached golden-oldie status last year when the <a href="https://www.nfsa.gov.au/slip-slop-slap-i-am-australian-join-sounds-australia">National Film and Sound Archive</a> added it to their registry. The lyrics show the acknowledgement and respect of First Nations people that our current anthem lacks. The line “we are one, but we are many” captures the inclusivity with diversity we now value.</p> <figure><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/KrLTe1_9zso?wmode=transparent&start=0" width="440" height="260" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></figure> <p>I Am Australian wouldn’t be a problem-free choice. Musically, the style is a “light rock” song, not a grand “hymn”, which could be a plus or minus depending on your view. Lyrically, romanticising convicted killer <a href="https://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/kelly-edward-ned-3933">Ned Kelly</a> is controversial, and mispronouncing “Australians” could be considered inauthentic (fair dinkum Aussies say “Au-strail-yins”, not “Au-stray-lee-uhns”).</p> <p>That said, Australians are quite experienced at patching holes in our anthem. Advance Australia Fair required many adjustments.</p> <p>If the golden-oldie approach fails again, how about composing a new anthem? We could adopt <a href="https://nationalanthems.info/ke.htm">Kenya’s approach</a> of commissioning an anthem, or could revive the good ol’ songwriting competition. Our past competitions weren’t fruitful, but surely our many talented musicians and poets today can meet the challenge.</p> <h2>It’s time to ask</h2> <p>Fifty years on, we acknowledge Advance Australia Fair as the anthem that moved our nation forward. That was the first and hardest step. Today, if Australians choose, we can retire the song gracefully and try again with a clearer voice.</p> <p>Changing our anthem begins with asking whether the current song really declares who we are. Have our values, our perspectives and our identity changed in half a century?</p> <p>Australia, it’s your song. Are you happy to sing Advance Australia Fair for another 50 years? <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/226737/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /></p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/wendy-hargreaves-1373285">Wendy Hargreaves</a>, Senior Learning Advisor, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-southern-queensland-1069">University of Southern Queensland</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/50-years-on-advance-australia-fair-no-longer-reflects-the-values-of-many-what-could-replace-it-226737">original article</a>.</em></p> <p><em>Images: Shutterstock | Wikimedia Commons</em></p>

Music

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Storytelling allows elders to transfer values and meaning to younger generations

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/mary-ann-mccoll-704728">Mary Ann McColl</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/queens-university-ontario-1154">Queen's University, Ontario</a></em></p> <p>If you spent time over the holidays with elderly relatives or friends, you may have heard many of the same stories repeated — perhaps stories you’d heard over the years, or even over the past few hours.</p> <p>Repeated storytelling can sometimes be unnerving for friends and families, raising concerns about a loved one’s potential cognitive decline, memory loss or perhaps even the onset of dementia.</p> <p><a href="https://tenstories.ca/">Our research</a> at Queen’s University suggests there is another way to think about repeated storytelling that makes it easier to listen and engage with the stories. We interviewed 20 middle-aged adults who felt they had heard the same stories over and over from their aging parent. We asked them to tell us those stories and we recorded and transcribed them.</p> <p>We used a <a href="https://doi.org/10.1108/14439881211248356">narrative inquiry approach</a> to discover that repeated storytelling is a key method for elders to communicate what they believe to be important to their children and loved ones. Narrative inquiry uses the text of stories as research data to explore how people create meaning in their lives.</p> <h2>Transmitting values</h2> <p>Based on nearly 200 collected stories, we found that there are approximately <a href="https://doi.org/10.1111/scs.13121">10 stories</a> that older parents repeatedly tell to their adult children.</p> <p>The hypothesis was that repeated storytelling was about inter-generational transmission of values. By exploring the themes of those repeated stories, we could uncover the meaning and messages elders were communicating to their loved ones.</p> <p>The ultimate purpose was to offer a new and more constructive way of thinking about stories that we’ve heard many times before, and that can be otherwise perceived as alarming.</p> <h2>Here’s what we have learned:</h2> <ol> <li> <p>There are typically just 10 stories that people tell repeatedly. While 10 is not a magic number, it does seem to be about the right number to capture the stories that are told over and over. Interviewees felt that a set of approximately 10 allowed them to do justice to their parent’s stories.</p> </li> <li> <p>Among our interviewees, a significant number of their parents’ stories – 87 per cent — took place when they were in their teens or twenties. A person’s second and third decades are a time when they make many of the decisions that shape the rest of their lives; a time when values are consolidated and the <a href="https://doi.org/10.1080/09658211.2013.863358">adult identity is formed</a></p> </li> <li> <p>What’s important about the 10 stories is not the factual details, but the lesson that was learned, or the value that was reinforced — values like loyalty toward friends, putting family first, maintaining a sense of humour even in hard times, getting an education, speaking up against injustice, and doing what’s right.</p> </li> <li> <p>Key themes in the stories reflected the significant events and prevailing values of the early to mid-20th century. Many of the stories revolved around the war, and both domestic and overseas experiences that were formative. Many of our interviewees heard stories about immigrating to Canada, starting out with very little, seeking a better life and working hard. Stories often reflected a more formal time when it was important to uphold standards, make a good impression, know one’s place and adhere to the rules.</p> </li> <li> <p>The stories elders tell appear to be curated for the individual receiving them. They would be different if told to another child, a spouse or a friend.</p> </li> </ol> <h2>Tips for listening</h2> <p>Our research offers some tips for listening to stories from elders:</p> <ul> <li> <p>Focus on just 10 stories. It can make the listening seem less overwhelming.</p> </li> <li> <p>Write them down. Writing challenges us to get the story straight.</p> </li> <li> <p>Notice your loved one’s role in the story, as the message is often contained in that role.</p> </li> <li> <p>Be attentive to feelings, sensations, tension and discomfort. These can be signals or clues to the meaning of a story.</p> </li> <li> <p>Finally, remember these stories are for you — selected and told in the context of your relationship with your loved one. As such, they are a gift from a loved one who is running out of time.</p> </li> </ul> <h2>The importance of receiving stories</h2> <p>Storytelling is an <a href="https://doi.org/10.1002/cad.20067">essential human process</a> and a universal experience associated with aging. Neuroscientists suggest that storytelling has practical survival value for individuals and communities, <a href="https://www.jonathangottschall.com/storytelling-animal">as well as social and psychological benefits</a>.</p> <p>It may be as powerful as medication or therapy for <a href="https://doi.org/10.1002/gps.1018">overcoming depression among elders</a>. Storytelling becomes especially important <a href="https://doi.org/10.1080/13607863.2017.1396581">when people become aware of their mortality</a> — when they are ill, suffering or facing death.</p> <p>People don’t necessarily tell the same stories over and over again because they’re losing cognitive function, but because the stories are important, and they feel we need to know them. Telling stories repeatedly isn’t about forgetfulness or dementia. It’s an effort to share what’s important.</p> <p>Our hope is that by better understanding elderly storytelling, caregivers may be able to listen in a different way to those repeated stories and understand the messages they contain. Those 10 stories can help us to know our loved one at a deeper level and assist our parent or grandparent with an important developmental task of old age.</p> <p>This research offers a constructive way for caregivers to hear the repeated stories told by their aging parents, and to offer their loved one the gift of knowing they have been seen and heard.<!-- 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/197766/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/mary-ann-mccoll-704728"><em>Mary Ann McColl</em></a><em>, Professor, School of Rehabilitation Therapy, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/queens-university-ontario-1154">Queen's University, Ontario</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/storytelling-allows-elders-to-transfer-values-and-meaning-to-younger-generations-197766">original article</a>.</em></p>

Mind

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Bees have appeared on coins for millennia, hinting at an age-old link between sweetness and value

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/adrian-dyer-387798">Adrian Dyer</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/monash-university-1065">Monash University</a></em></p> <p>In 2022, the Royal Australian Mint issued a $2 coin decorated with honeybees. Around 2,400 years earlier, a mint in the kingdom of Macedon had the same idea, creating a silver obol coin with a bee stamped on one side.</p> <p>Over the centuries between these two events, currency demonstrating a symbolic link between honey and money is surprisingly common.</p> <p>In a recent study in <a href="https://s3.ap-southeast-2.amazonaws.com/assets.mmxgroup.com.au/ACR/Bee+Article.pdf">Australian Coin Review</a>, I trace the bee through numismatic history – and suggest a scientific reason why our brains might naturally draw a connection between the melliferous insects and the abstract idea of value.</p> <figure class="align-center "><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/536400/original/file-20230709-15-2u5ywn.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" sizes="(min-width: 1466px) 754px, (max-width: 599px) 100vw, (min-width: 600px) 600px, 237px" srcset="https://images.theconversation.com/files/536400/original/file-20230709-15-2u5ywn.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=600&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 600w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/536400/original/file-20230709-15-2u5ywn.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=600&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1200w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/536400/original/file-20230709-15-2u5ywn.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=600&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 1800w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/536400/original/file-20230709-15-2u5ywn.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=754&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 754w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/536400/original/file-20230709-15-2u5ywn.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=754&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1508w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/536400/original/file-20230709-15-2u5ywn.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=754&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 2262w" alt="" /><figcaption><span class="caption">A Royal Australian Mint 2022 two-dollar coin representing 200 years since the introduction of the honeybee to Australia.</span></figcaption></figure> <h2>What is currency and why is it important?</h2> <p>Money is a store of value, and can act as a medium of exchange for goods or services. Currency is a physical manifestation of money, so coins are a durable representation of value.</p> <p>Coins have had central role in many communities to enable efficient trade since ancient times. Their durability makes them important time capsules.</p> <p>Ancient Malta was famous for its honey. The modern 3 Mils coin (<a href="https://en.numista.com/catalogue/pieces1775.html">1972-81</a>) celebrates this history with images of a bee and honeycomb. According to the information card issued with the coin set,</p> <blockquote> <p>A bee and honeycomb are shown on the 3 Mils coin, symbolising the fact that honey was used as currency in Ancient Malta.</p> </blockquote> <figure class="align-center "><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/536403/original/file-20230709-23-drk2lj.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" sizes="(min-width: 1466px) 754px, (max-width: 599px) 100vw, (min-width: 600px) 600px, 237px" srcset="https://images.theconversation.com/files/536403/original/file-20230709-23-drk2lj.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=582&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 600w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/536403/original/file-20230709-23-drk2lj.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=582&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1200w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/536403/original/file-20230709-23-drk2lj.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=582&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 1800w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/536403/original/file-20230709-23-drk2lj.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=732&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 754w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/536403/original/file-20230709-23-drk2lj.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=732&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1508w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/536403/original/file-20230709-23-drk2lj.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=732&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 2262w" alt="" /><figcaption><span class="caption">A circulating 3 Mils coin from Malta showing a honeybee on honeycomb.</span></figcaption></figure> <p>In ancient Greece, bees were used on some of the earliest coins made in Europe. A silver Greek obol coin minted in Macedon between 412 BCE and 350 BCE, now housed in the British Museum, shows a bee on one side of the coin.</p> <figure class="align-center "><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/536411/original/file-20230709-182252-v4evxr.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" sizes="(min-width: 1466px) 754px, (max-width: 599px) 100vw, (min-width: 600px) 600px, 237px" srcset="https://images.theconversation.com/files/536411/original/file-20230709-182252-v4evxr.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=293&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 600w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/536411/original/file-20230709-182252-v4evxr.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=293&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1200w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/536411/original/file-20230709-182252-v4evxr.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=293&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 1800w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/536411/original/file-20230709-182252-v4evxr.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=368&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 754w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/536411/original/file-20230709-182252-v4evxr.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=368&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1508w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/536411/original/file-20230709-182252-v4evxr.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=368&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 2262w" alt="" /><figcaption><span class="caption">An ancient obol from Macedon, dated between 412 BCE and 350 BCE, shows a bee one side.</span></figcaption></figure> <p>Bees also feature on coins minted elsewhere in the ancient Greek world, such as a bronze coin minted in Ephesus dated between 202 BCE and 133 BCE.</p> <figure class="align-center "><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/536407/original/file-20230709-27-a2jvo3.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" sizes="(min-width: 1466px) 754px, (max-width: 599px) 100vw, (min-width: 600px) 600px, 237px" srcset="https://images.theconversation.com/files/536407/original/file-20230709-27-a2jvo3.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=546&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 600w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/536407/original/file-20230709-27-a2jvo3.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=546&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1200w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/536407/original/file-20230709-27-a2jvo3.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=546&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 1800w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/536407/original/file-20230709-27-a2jvo3.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=686&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 754w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/536407/original/file-20230709-27-a2jvo3.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=686&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1508w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/536407/original/file-20230709-27-a2jvo3.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=686&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 2262w" alt="" /><figcaption><span class="caption">A bronze coin minted in Ephesus, dated between 202BCE and 133BCE, featuring a honeybee.</span></figcaption></figure> <p>The use of bees on ancient coins extended for many centuries including widely circulated bronze coins, and new varieties <a href="https://coinweek.com/bee-all-that-you-can-bee-honeybees-on-ancient-coins/">continue to be discovered</a>.</p> <h2>Why we might like bees on coins</h2> <p>Why have bees appeared so often on coins? One approach to this question comes from the field of neuro-aesthetics, which seeks to understand our tastes by understanding the basic brain processes that underpin aesthetic appreciation.</p> <p>From this perspective, it seems likely the sweet taste of honey – which indicates the large amount of sugar it delivers – promotes positive neural activity <a href="https://brill.com/view/journals/artp/10/1/article-p1_2.xml">associated with bees and honey</a>.</p> <p>Indeed, primatologist Jane Goodall once proposed that obtaining high-calorie nutrition from bee honey may have been <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0066185668800032">an important step</a> in the cognitive development of primates.</p> <p>Our brain may thus be pre-adapted to liking bees due to their association with the sweet taste of honey. Early usage of bees on coins may have been a functional illustration of the link between a known value (honey) and a new form of currency: coins as money.</p> <h2>The bee on modern coins</h2> <figure class="align-center "><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/536393/original/file-20230709-17-jywq3f.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" sizes="(min-width: 1466px) 754px, (max-width: 599px) 100vw, (min-width: 600px) 600px, 237px" srcset="https://images.theconversation.com/files/536393/original/file-20230709-17-jywq3f.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=588&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 600w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/536393/original/file-20230709-17-jywq3f.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=588&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1200w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/536393/original/file-20230709-17-jywq3f.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=588&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 1800w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/536393/original/file-20230709-17-jywq3f.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=738&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 754w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/536393/original/file-20230709-17-jywq3f.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=738&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1508w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/536393/original/file-20230709-17-jywq3f.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=738&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 2262w" alt="" /><figcaption><span class="caption">A 1920 Italian bronze ten-centesimi coin featuring featuring an Italian honeybee on a flower.</span></figcaption></figure> <p>The use of bees as a design feature has persisted from ancient to modern times. A honeybee visiting a flower is shown on a series of ten-centesimi bronze coins issued in Italy from <a href="https://en.numista.com/catalogue/pieces1960.html">1919 to 1937</a>.</p> <p>(As an aside, the world’s last stock of pure Italian honeybees is found in Australia, on Kangaroo Island, which was declared a sanctuary for Ligurian bees by an <a href="https://www.legislation.sa.gov.au/home/historical-numbered-as-made-acts/1885/0342-Lingurian-Bees-Act-No-342-of-48-and-49-Vic,-1885.pdf">act of parliament</a> in 1885.)</p> <figure class="align-center "><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/536416/original/file-20230709-15-60yst8.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" sizes="(min-width: 1466px) 754px, (max-width: 599px) 100vw, (min-width: 600px) 600px, 237px" srcset="https://images.theconversation.com/files/536416/original/file-20230709-15-60yst8.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=586&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 600w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/536416/original/file-20230709-15-60yst8.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=586&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1200w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/536416/original/file-20230709-15-60yst8.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=586&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 1800w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/536416/original/file-20230709-15-60yst8.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=737&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 754w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/536416/original/file-20230709-15-60yst8.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=737&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1508w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/536416/original/file-20230709-15-60yst8.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=737&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 2262w" alt="" /><figcaption><span class="caption">A coin from Tonga showing 20 honeybees emerging from a hive.</span></figcaption></figure> <p>More recently, a 20-seniti coin from the Pacific nation of Tonga shows 20 honeybees flying out of a hive. This coin was part of a series initiated by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations to promote sustainable agricultural and cultural development around the world.</p> <p>Bees are relevant here because their pollinating efforts contribute to about one-third of the food required to feed the world, with a value in excess of <a href="https://zenodo.org/record/2616458">US$200 billion per year</a>, and they are threatened by climate change and other environmental factors.</p> <h2>Bees on coins, today and tomorrow</h2> <p>Public awareness of bees and environmental sustainability may well be factors in the current interest in bee coins. The diversity of countries using bees as a design feature over the entire history of coins suggests people have valued the relationship with bees as essential to our own prosperity for a long time.</p> <p>In Australia, the 2022 honeybee $2 coin is part of a series developed by the <a href="https://www.ramint.gov.au/about-mint">Royal Australian Mint</a>. In 2019, the Perth Mint in Western Australia also released coins and stamps celebrating native bees.</p> <figure class="align-center "><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/536405/original/file-20230709-15-iditcb.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" sizes="(min-width: 1466px) 754px, (max-width: 599px) 100vw, (min-width: 600px) 600px, 237px" srcset="https://images.theconversation.com/files/536405/original/file-20230709-15-iditcb.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=373&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 600w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/536405/original/file-20230709-15-iditcb.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=373&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1200w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/536405/original/file-20230709-15-iditcb.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=373&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 1800w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/536405/original/file-20230709-15-iditcb.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=469&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 754w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/536405/original/file-20230709-15-iditcb.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=469&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1508w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/536405/original/file-20230709-15-iditcb.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=469&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 2262w" alt="" /><figcaption><span class="caption">Australian native bee coin and stamps released in 2019 by the Perth Mint.</span></figcaption></figure> <p>Despite the decline of cash, bee coins still appear to be going strong. The buzzing companions of human society are likely to be an important subject for coin design for as long as coins continue to be used.<!-- 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/208912/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/adrian-dyer-387798">Adrian Dyer</a>, Associate Professor, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/monash-university-1065">Monash University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Australian Royal Mint / NZ Post Collectables</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/bees-have-appeared-on-coins-for-millennia-hinting-at-an-age-old-link-between-sweetness-and-value-208912">original article</a>.</em></p>

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Antiques Roadshow guest floored by value of father’s gift

<p dir="ltr">For most people, finding out that their old items are worth a few hundred dollars is a treat enough, and maybe a few thousand if the antique is particularly special. </p> <p dir="ltr">But for one woman in the United Kingdom and her treasured brooches, that would have been small change. </p> <p dir="ltr">It was <em>Antiques Roadshow</em>’s expert Geoffrey Munn who broke the news after inspecting her pieces in Wales, assigning an impressive value to the 18th century collection. </p> <p dir="ltr">As the guest - and owner - explained, the two diamond brooches from her set had been gifted to her by her father. </p> <p dir="ltr">“[The smaller bow] on my wedding day. [The floral brooch] came a little bit later,” she said, “and [the ruby bow] was inherited from my grandmother.” </p> <p dir="ltr">She went on to share that her father had actually been involved in the antiques world, and so it was “something that I’ve grown up with.” </p> <p dir="ltr"><img src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/2023/05/AntiquesRoadshow_EMBED.jpg" alt="" width="1280" height="720" /></p> <p dir="ltr">Upon inspecting the items, Munn noted that they were in “perfect condition”, and that they seemed to be “18th century jewels of the finest pitch”. </p> <p dir="ltr">When it came to the smaller bow, he remarked that it was more than it appeared, being “a true lovers knot, because the harder it is pulled, the tighter it becomes. </p> <p dir="ltr">“And the diamonds are forever, so this little subliminal message for your wedding was perfectly well chosen.” </p> <p dir="ltr">According to Munn, the same could be said of the ruby bow, but that things were “more complicated” when it came to the floral brooch. </p> <p dir="ltr">After sharing that it was most likely a sort of dress ornament, he noted that “there may have been 20 or 30 of them, and they might have gone down the back of a woman of very high rank and huge wealth.</p> <p dir="ltr">“[In the 18th century], people didn’t simply recognise the sovereign because there was no photography and precious few portraits. So, when [they] entered the room, there had to be an enormous display of sumptuary.” </p> <p dir="ltr">He then theorised that the floral brooch could possibly have belonged to Russian royalty, and that he wanted to believe that was the case. </p> <p dir="ltr">“The Russian crown jewels were sold in London after the revolution to raise funds for the new regime,” he continued. “It’s just possible that this is a Russian crown jewel. Wouldn’t [that] be marvellous?” </p> <p dir="ltr">Munn dubbed the entire collection “marvellous things”, declaring that “they’re not showy. They’re utterly beautiful expressions of an era gone by and that’s what we’re looking for”, as well as announcing that the trio came in at a staggering value of approximately $62,000. </p> <p dir="ltr">The smaller bow came in at around $15,000, while the ruby brooch was valued at $18,800, and the ruby at $28,300.</p> <p dir="ltr">And while selling the set would have given the guest’s bank balance quite the boost, she had no intentions of parting with them any time soon. Instead, she intended for her daughters to inherit them. </p> <p dir="ltr">She enjoyed wearing the pieces, she said, but unfortunately, the bigger of the brooches were getting “difficult to wear nowadays … perhaps [they are] a bit more dated.” </p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Images: Antiques Roadshow / BBC</em></p>

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Backlash to new kids clothing line sees Target lose billions

<p dir="ltr">Target has lost billions in market valuation as its Pride-themed kids line continues to face backlash.</p> <p dir="ltr">Target shares were trading at $160.96 (A$246.18) a share, which means their market valuation was roughly around $74.3 billion (A$113 billion)</p> <p dir="ltr">The Minneapolis-based retailer’s stock value dropped drastically following the calls to boycott their “PRIDE” collection, at just $138.93 (A$212) a share as of Friday, which is a 14 per cent drop in value to around $64.2 billion (A$98 billion) , according to The New York Times.</p> <p dir="ltr">This roughly translates to a $10.1 billion (A$15 billion) loss in valuation.</p> <p dir="ltr">The plummet is the retailer's lowest stock price in nearly three years, and the last time any company’s stock plummeted this intensely was in 2022 after the stocks equalised during the pandemic.</p> <p dir="ltr">Target has since moved its Pride section away from the front of the store in some Southern states, following displays being knocked over by protesters, who also confronted the workers.</p> <p dir="ltr">They also said they would remove items from the collection but didn’t specify which ones.</p> <p dir="ltr">Some of the clothes receiving backlash were the rainbow-themed children’s clothing, and a “tuck-friendly” swimsuit for trans women, who have not yet had their gender-affirming surgeries, to conceal their genitalia.</p> <p dir="ltr">Target CEO Brian Cornell has defended the LBGTQ-friendly clothing line and has said that selling them was “the right thing for society.”</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Images: Getty</em></p>

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New $2 coin skyrockets in value to $1,200

<p>A coin expert has shared how a brand new $2 coin has soared in value just 10 days after its release.</p> <p>The accredited numismatist from Perth, Joel Kandiah, revealed the Royal Australian Mint’s latest Vietnam Silver $2 is now in high demand.</p> <p>Kandiah, known online as @TheHistoryOf_Money has attracted a large following on his Instagram and TikTok with his insights on the value of multiple coin and bank notes.</p> <p>Speaking to<em> 7News.com.au</em>, he said the coveted coin is selling for up to $1,200 online with an increase of 1,400 per cent on the retail value.</p> <p>Kandiah shared that the shocking price hike, “has never been witnessed before on the numismatic market”.</p> <p>He added that the Royal Australian Mint released two brand new Vietnam War commemorative $2 coins on April 6, 2023.</p> <p>The first coin was an uncirculated C mintmark that has a retail value of $15 and a mintage value of 80,000.</p> <p>The second coin was a silver version of that same coin, but was proof finished, meaning it had been struck multiple times and hand polished for a shiny, spot-free finish. That coin had a retail value of $80, and a lowly mintage of just 5,000.</p> <p>Both coins were initially in demand, however the silver $2 commemorative coin has seen a remarkable price increase.</p> <p>Kandiah said there were two reasons behind the massive interest in the silver coin.</p> <p>“The first reason for the hype of this coin is that it is the first silver version of a coloured two coin and will most likely the only version that will feature the Queen’s effigy,” he told <em>7News.com.au</em>.</p> <p>“It has a lower mintage than the most valuable coloured $2 coin, the Mars $2 coin from the 2018 Planetary Series collection, which is currently valued at around $4000.</p> <p>“The combination of these two factors have led to this price spiral which has never been witnessed before on the numismatic market.”</p> <p>Kandiah also revealed the release of the sought-after coin has stirred up a heated debate among coin collectors in Australia.</p> <p>“Within minutes of release, dealers across the country sold out of their allocations,” he explained.</p> <p>“Meanwhile, people were on the mint’s online store, call centre and in person in Canberra. Silver coins were completely sold out by the afternoon and the uncirculated coins were sold out by midnight.</p> <p>“People were waiting up to 16 hours in the Mint’s online queue system to try and get their hands on the coin.</p> <p>“Many collectors who were purchasing online had to compete with people from the ’sneaker bot’ community, who used sophisticated software to buy up new releases - only to release them on eBay at a significantly higher markup hours later.</p> <p>“By mid-afternoon, prices had gone up to $100 for the uncirculated coin and $300 for the silver coin.</p> <p>“Since then, the price of the uncirculated coin has fallen down to around $60 as ‘fear of missing out’ (FOMO) dies down.</p> <p>“However, the silver coin has continued to spike in price, which has now increased 15-fold to $1200 by April 16.”</p> <p>Kandiah said time will tell whether the silver coin will continue to increase in value.</p> <p>“Whether the value is due to FOMO, is too early to determine,” he told <em>7News.com.au</em>.</p> <p>“Once we find more people get hands on their orders from the Mint, it is likely that they will sell their coins to cash in on the price rise but the relative rarity of the coin could be a long-lasting factor in its valuation.</p> <p>“The coin collector market has changed considerably over the last few years and it is in a new space where the buying and selling are done with each other through Facebook groups and eBay rather than through dealers.</p> <p>“The democratisation and accessibility of this process has led to improved liquidity within the market and hence we will continue to see rapid fluctuations in the Australian coin collector market in the future.”</p> <p><em>Image credit: Instagram</em></p>

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The rich are pouring millions into life extension research – but does it have any ethical value?

<p>Sam Altman, the chief executive of OpenAI, <a href="https://www.technologyreview.com/2023/03/08/1069523/sam-altman-investment-180-million-retro-biosciences-longevity-death/">recently invested</a> US$180 million into Retro Biosciences – a company seeking to extend human lifespans by <a href="https://retro.bio/announcement/">ten healthy years</a>.</p> <p>One way it plans to achieve this is by “rejuvenating” blood. This idea is based on studies that found old mice <a href="https://www.science.org/content/article/young-blood-renews-old-mice">showed signs of reversed ageing</a> when given the blood of young mice.</p> <p>Altman isn’t the only Silicon Valley entrepreneur supporting life extension efforts. PayPal cofounder Peter Thiel, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and Google cofounder Larry Page have <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/science/2022/feb/17/if-they-could-turn-back-time-how-tech-billionaires-are-trying-to-reverse-the-ageing-process">poured millions</a> into projects that could profoundly affect how we live our lives.</p> <p>The first question raised is scientific: could these technologies work? On this front the jury is still out, and there are grounds for both <a href="https://newseu.cgtn.com/news/2021-01-14/How-close-are-we-to-radical-life-extension-and-is-it-a-good-idea--X03UFbnMWs/index.html">optimism</a> and scepticism.</p> <p>The second question is just as important: even if lifespan extension is feasible, would it be ethical?</p> <p>We explain why some common ethical arguments against lifespan extension aren’t as solid as they might seem – and put forth another, somewhat overlooked explanation for why trying to live forever might not be worth it.</p> <h2>Is it worth it if you still die anyway?</h2> <p>One might argue lifespan extension merely pushes back the inevitable: that we will die. However, the problem with this view is that any life saved will only be saved temporarily.</p> <p>A lifespan extension of ten years is akin to saving a drowning swimmer, only for them to die in a traffic accident ten years later. Although we might be sad about their eventual death, we’d still be glad we saved them.</p> <p>The same is true of conventional medicine. If a doctor cures my pneumonia, I will eventually die of something else, but that doesn’t mean the doctor or I will regret my being saved.</p> <p>It’s also worth taking a longer view of where lifespan extension research could lead us. In the <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC423155/">most optimistic scenarios</a> put forth by experts, even modest short-term gains could help people add centuries to their life, since the benefits of each intervention could cascade. For example, each extra year of life would increase the likelihood of surviving until the next big breakthrough.</p> <h2>Is it worth it if immortality could get boring?</h2> <p><a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0277953604004691">Many</a> <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0890406510000757">have argued</a> against lifespan extension on ethical grounds, saying they wouldn’t use these technologies. Why might somebody be opposed?</p> <p>One worry is that a very long life might be undesirable. Philosopher <a href="https://www.cambridge.org/core/books/abs/problems-of-the-self/makropulos-case-reflections-on-the-tedium-of-immortality/9180185912980E017EE675254B2F4169">Bernard Williams</a> said life is made valuable through the satisfaction of what he calls “categorical desires”: desires that give us reason to want to live.</p> <p>Williams expects these desires relate to major life projects, such as raising a child, or writing a novel. He worries that, given a long enough life, we will run out of such projects. If so, immortality would become tedious.</p> <p>It’s unclear whether Williams is right. <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/09672559.2012.713383">Some philosophers</a> point out human memories are fallible, and certain desires could resurface as we forget earlier experiences.</p> <p><a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10892-015-9203-8">Others</a> emphasise that our categorical desires evolve as our life experiences reshape our interests – and might continue to do so over the course of a very long life.</p> <p>In either case, our categorical desires, and hence our reason for living, would not be exhausted over a very long life.</p> <p>Even if immortality did get tedious, this wouldn’t count against modest lifespan extensions. Many would argue 80-something years isn’t enough time to explore one’s potential. Personally, we’d welcome another 20 or even 50 years to write a novel, or start a career as a DJ.</p> <h2>Is it worth it if poor people miss out?</h2> <p>Another worry regarding lifespan extension technologies is egalitarian.</p> <p>These technologies will be expensive; it seems unjust for Silicon Valley billionaires to celebrate their 150th birthdays while the rest of us mostly die in our 70s and 80s.</p> <p>This objection seems convincing. Most people welcome interventions that promote health equality, which is reflected in broader societal demands for universal healthcare.</p> <p>But there’s important nuance to consider here. Consider that universal healthcare systems promote equality by improving the situation of those who aren’t well off. On the other hand, preventing the development of lifespan extension technologies will worsen the situation of those who are well off.</p> <p>The ethical desirability of equality based on “<a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/1467-9329.00041">levelling down</a>” is unclear. The poorest Australians are <a href="https://theconversation.com/the-poorest-australians-are-twice-as-likely-to-die-before-age-75-as-the-richest-and-the-gap-is-widening-139201">twice as likely</a> to die before age 75 than the richest. Yet few people would argue we should stop developing technologies to improve the health of those aged over 75.</p> <p>Moreover, the price of lifespan extension technologies would eventually likely come down.</p> <h2>The real problem</h2> <p>However, we think there’s one serious ethical objection that applies to extreme cases of life extension. If humans routinely lived very long lives, this could reduce how adaptable our populations are, and lead to social stagnation.</p> <p>Even modest increases in life expectancy would radically increase population size. To avoid overpopulation, we’d need to <a href="https://theconversation.com/thinking-of-having-a-baby-as-the-planet-collapses-first-ask-yourself-5-big-ethical-questions-196388">reduce birth rates</a>, which would drastically slow generational turnover.</p> <p>As one of us (Chris) has explored in previous <a href="https://academic.oup.com/jmp/article/40/6/696/2747126">research</a>, this could be incredibly harmful to societal progress, because it may:</p> <ol> <li>increase our vulnerability to extinction threats</li> <li>jeopardise individual wellbeing, and</li> <li>impede moral advancement.</li> </ol> <p>Many fields benefit from a regular influx of young minds coming in and building on the work of predecessors.</p> <p>Even if the brains of older scientists remained sharp, their “confirmation bias” – a tendency to seek and interpret information in ways that confirm one’s prior beliefs – could slow the uptake of new scientific theories.</p> <p>Moral beliefs are also prone to <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10670-020-00252-1">confirmation bias</a>. In a world of extended lifespans, individuals whose moral views were set in their youth (perhaps more than 100 years ago) will remain in positions of power.</p> <p>It seems likely our society’s moral code is <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10677-015-9567-7">badly mistaken</a> in at least some respects. After all, we think past societies were catastrophically mistaken in theirs, such as when they endorsed slavery, or rendered homosexuality illegal.</p> <p>Slowing generational turnover could delay the point at which we recognise and fix our own moral catastrophes, especially those we can’t yet see.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article originally appeared on <a href="https://theconversation.com/the-rich-are-pouring-millions-into-life-extension-research-but-does-it-have-any-ethical-value-201774" target="_blank" rel="noopener">The Conversation</a>. </em></p>

Caring

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3 home improvement hacks to add value to your home

<p dir="ltr">As people all around the world feel the weight of the intensifying cost of living crisis, a new warning has come: the property market is in for a rough ride.</p> <p dir="ltr">Some anticipate that house prices may drop, which serves as bad news for anyone hoping to sell their house. But all hope is not lost, with experts chiming in to share their tips on adding some value back into your house, without breaking the bank in the process. </p> <p dir="ltr">As Matthew Shaw - head of sales at the UK’s Ultra LEDs - put it, “before you start thinking about putting your home up for sale, it’s worth having a look around and making some alterations to give you a better chance of selling for a great price.” </p> <p dir="ltr">And Ultra LEDs’ technical engineer Tom Cain had a few tips in mind to help guide hopeful homeowners as they set out on their improvement journey. </p> <ol> <li dir="ltr" aria-level="1"> <p dir="ltr" role="presentation">Redecorating </p> </li> </ol> <p dir="ltr">It might sound simple, but adding just a fresh coat of paint to a room can make all the difference. Neutral colours are best, as those viewing the property will be forced to consider the potential there - or as some would say, “a blank canvas”. </p> <p dir="ltr">Additionally, one can’t go amiss with a few feature items, to draw the eye to areas of note while making the room feel new and fresh - pot plants, throw pillows, and trinket dishes can act as a fabulous centrepiece. </p> <ol start="2"> <li dir="ltr" aria-level="1"> <p dir="ltr" role="presentation">Garden gurus </p> </li> </ol> <p dir="ltr">Gardens can serve as a place to rest, to play, to plant, and to admire. They’re often the thing people remember most about the homes they’re viewing - right after the kitchen - so it’s important to have the space in tiptop shape.</p> <p dir="ltr">“It should feel like an extension of the home rather than just a large piece of grass or concrete,” Tom said. “It’s essential, and doesn’t cost much at all, to clear out any clutter or rubbish, trim borders, mow the grass if you have any, and cut back any overgrown trees or bushes - particularly if they block any sunlight).”</p> <ol start="3"> <li dir="ltr" aria-level="1"> <p dir="ltr" role="presentation">Declutter</p> </li> </ol> <p dir="ltr">Not only will this help viewers to see the potential in your property, it’ll provide a fantastic clean-up opportunity in the meantime. Buyers want to be able to visualise themselves living there, as Tom put it. </p> <p dir="ltr">Areas that see a lot of traffic - the likes of living rooms and kitchens - should be kept clean and tidy, as potential buyers can be discouraged at the sight of piles of stuff lying around. </p> <p dir="ltr">Tom suggested also considering the layout and furniture in a space, as “it’s surprising how this can impact the size and feel of a room.” </p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Images: Shutterstock</em></p>

Home Hints & Tips

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How to increase the value of your home in one weekend

<p>Increasing the value of your property pre-sale doesn’t have to require a team of professionals.</p> <p>Just one weekend dedicated to cleaning, refreshing, tidying and upgrading can put you in great stead for sales success.</p> <p>We asked the experts to reveal the best value-adding DIY projects to suit a short time frame and shoestring budget.</p> <p><strong>1. Refresh an old paint job</strong></p> <p>There is no easier way to boost a property’s value than a new paint job, which can range from a one-room refresh, to an extensive repaint of the entire home.</p> <p>For homeowners low on budget and time, focus on painting the main living areas with Dulux’s Wash&amp;Wear to disguise mismatched old paint, cracks and imperfections.</p> <p>“It’s great for interiors, especially in the matt finish. Even if the colours don’t entirely match, you can get away with it,” says Andrea Lucena-Orr, colour planning and communications manager at Dulux Australia.</p> <p>In terms of colour, white remains popular for appealing to a broad base of buyers.</p> <p>If painting an older property, opt for warmer whites such as Dulux Natural White or Antique White U.S.A ® Contemporary homes are more suited to cooler whites, with a grey or beige base, such as Dulux Lexicon ® or White on White.</p> <p><strong>2. Create a feature wall</strong></p> <p>Painting a feature wall can be a valuable method for creating a point of difference on a minimal timeframe. This might be a dark single shade in the main bedroom or a bold dual-colour wall.</p> <p>“Feature walls, nooks and colour-blocking with tape are all ways to add interest,” says Lucena-Orr.</p> <p>When selecting colours for a feature wall, look for shades that will complement the room’s existing furniture and décor items.</p> <p>“Try using colours to highlight an artwork, a piece of furniture, or tie into the bed linen,” Lucena-Orr says.</p> <p><strong>3. Tidy the exterior</strong></p> <p>If there is one area of the home you should focus on before a sale, it’s the exterior.</p> <p>While some homes will benefit from an entire façade repaint, updating this area can be achieved in a few quick jobs.</p> <p>Start by removing any cobwebs, cleaning the walls and filling in visible cracks. For added aesthetic appeal, paint some pots and place them near the front door, or spray paint a bench seat for the front porch.</p> <p>Painting the front door a colour such as cobalt or teal blue is another powerful tool for creating colour memories and attracting interest.</p> <p>“A teal door will help buyers remember the house. Even if buyers don’t like it, it’s quick and easy for them to change,” Lucena-Orr says.</p> <p><strong>4. Install storage shelves</strong></p> <p>Installing open shelves in the kitchen, bathroom, laundry and study is a simple way to integrate more storage into a property, which never goes unappreciated.</p> <p>“Installing hooks, rails or racks to your doors will spruce things up without being too dramatic or involve any structural changes,” says Bunnings category manager – decorator, Sharyn Petrzela.</p> <p>“Pull-out baskets and base-mount slide-out baskets are also a great way to add storage and can be installed in a day.”</p> <p><strong>5. Outsource odd jobs</strong></p> <p>Selling a home is stressful and time consuming. If budget allows, don’t be afraid to outsource tasks where you can.</p> <p>Websites such as Airtasker make it affordable to hire individuals for even the smallest household jobs, from removing weeds, to assembling furniture, collecting hard rubbish and hanging pictures.</p> <p>You might just want someone to focus on cleaning those detailed areas of the home such as the skirting boards, architraves, light fittings and door handles.</p> <p><strong>6. Add the finishing touches</strong></p> <p>If you can’t afford a professional property stylist to decorate your home pre-sale, try these expert tips.</p> <p>“As a stylist, I think having decorative items (vases, candle holders and similar) that have a colour theme and style that is carried through the house gives a sense of flow that makes a house feel like a whole, instead of a series of different rooms,” says Sophie Kost, director and lead designer of My Beautiful Abode.</p> <p>Even small updates like replacing the feather inserts in your couch cushions can have a big impact on the feeling of a home.</p> <p>Remember to declutter surfaces and remove personal possessions in this process, as this allows buyers to better imagine themselves in the space.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p>

Home Hints & Tips

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Pink reveals how she teaches her daughter the value of hard work

<p>Pop sensation Pink is teaching her daughter an important lesson on the value of hard work.</p> <p>The singer, who is preparing for her new tour, has revealed her daughter, Willow, 11, is going to work alongside her.</p> <p>Pink spoke on the US morning show <em>Today</em>, saying, "Willow has a job on tour,” adding, “We just had to go over minimum wage and it’s different state to state.”</p> <p>She went on to reveal a cheeky exchange she and her daughter had.</p> <p>“I said it’s about $US22.50 ($A32.80) a show depending how long I go, if I run over. She goes, ‘I’ll take $US20 ($A29.20). It’s easier to do the math.’ I’m like ‘That’s not how you negotiate for yourself.’ I’m like, ‘You’ll take $US25 ($36.47), so it’s easier math.’”</p> <p>Although Pink has an estimated net worth of $200 million USD ($291 million AUD), she believes the value of hard work and knowing your worth should be a priority.</p> <p>Pink is also mum to Jameson, 6, with her husband, Carey Hart, and she teased that her son’s negotiating skills were not quite up to scratch either.</p> <p>“Jameson’s just like, ‘I want a lollipop!’” she joked.</p> <p>The pop sensation’s tour kicks off on June 7 in the UK, starting with her first US show in Cincinnati, Ohio, on July 26.</p> <p>Her 11-year-old will be working alongside her mum for the entire tour and is bound to learn many more important life lessons along the way.</p> <p><em>Image credit: Getty</em></p>

Family & Pets

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Eco-activist attacks on museum artwork ask us to figure out what we value

<p>In the last few weeks <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2022/10/23/arts/claude-monet-mashed-potatoes-climate-activists.html">climate change activists have perpetrated various acts</a> of reversible vandalism <a href="https://twitter.com/artnews/status/1585745905512169473">against famous works of art in public galleries</a>. </p> <p>In the latest incident on Oct. 27, two men entered <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/oct/27/girl-with-a-pearl-earring-vermeer-just-stop-oil-protest-mauritshuis-the-hague">the Mauritshuis gallery in the Hague</a>. After taking off their jackets to reveal t-shirts printed with anti-oil slogans, one proceeded to glue his head to <a href="https://www.reuters.com/business/environment/famed-girl-with-pearl-earring-painting-targeted-by-climate-activists-nos-2022-10-27/">glass overtop</a> <a href="https://www.mauritshuis.nl/en/our-collection/artworks/670-girl-with-a-pearl-earring/">Johannes Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring</a>, while the other bathed the head of his partner-in-crime with what appeared to be tinned tomatoes before gluing his own hand to the wall adjacent to the painting.</p> <p>This was just the latest in a series of similar art attacks that have peppered the news. </p> <p>The motivation of the eco-activists involved is to draw attention to the crisis of climate change, the role of big oil in hastening the deterioration of the environment and the necessity to save our planet.</p> <p>By attacking a famous and high-value cultural target like Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring — it <a href="https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0335119/">even starred in its own movie</a> — the protesters are asking us to examine our values.</p> <h2>Big oil protests</h2> <p>The first Vermeer painting to come to auction for almost 80 years <a href="https://www.cbc.ca/news/world/vermeer-fetches-record-price-1.506190">sold for almost $40 million in 2004</a>. Today a Vermeer (<a href="http://www.essentialvermeer.com/how_many_vermeers.html">there are not that many)</a> could easily be valued at twice that. Whether you like Vermeer or not, the monetary value of the targets under attack enhances the sheer audacity and shock value of the current art attacks.</p> <p>The eco-activists want to appear to desecrate something that people associate with value and with culture. Their point is that if we don’t have a planet, we’ll lose all the things in it that we seem to value more. </p> <p>As activist Phoebe Plummer of Just Stop Oil <a href="https://www.artnews.com/art-news/news/just-stop-oil-protestor-van-gogh-sunflowers-why-video-1234643678">told NPR after being involved in the attack on Van Gogh’s Sunflowers at London’s National Gallery</a>: “Since October, we have been engaging in disruptive acts all around London because right now what is missing to make this change is political will. So our action in particular <a href="https://www.npr.org/2022/11/01/1133041550/the-activist-who-threw-soup-on-a-van-gogh-explains-why-they-did-it">was a media-grabbing action to get people talking, not just about what we did, but why we did it</a>.”</p> <p>Note, the idea is disruption, not destruction. As acts designed for shock value, the activists did draw immediate public attention.</p> <h2>Attacking art</h2> <p>By staging their attacks in public galleries, where the majority of visitors carry cell phones, activists could be assured film and photos of the incidents would draw immediate attention. By sticking to non-corrosive substances and mitigating damage to the works under attack, they don’t draw the kind of public ire that wilful destruction would evoke. </p> <p>In recent news, attacking art as a form of public protest has largely been limited to public monuments outside the gallery space, like the <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2022/02/02/us/confederate-monuments-removed-2021-whose-heritage/index.html">destruction and removal of Confederate</a> or colonial statues. </p> <p>But it’s also true that works of museum art have come under attack before. Over the course of its history, <a href="https://www.theartnewspaper.com/2019/02/19/trimmed-splashed-and-slashed-the-anatomy-of-rembrandts-the-night-watch">Rembrandt’s Night Watch in the Rijksmuseum</a> in Amsterdam was stabbed in two separate incidents in 1911 and 1975; in 1990, it was sprayed with acid; but all of those attacks were ascribed to individuals with unclear and less clearly rational motives.</p> <p>I see a few issues at stake with assessing what these recent art attacks could mean.</p> <h2>1. How effective is the messaging?</h2> <p>The activists have been articulate about their objectives, but those objectives haven’t been <a href="https://twitter.com/BrydonRobert/status/1587587106997960705">obvious to everyone who sees</a> via social media, but doesn’t stick around to hear the explanation. When a broad <a href="https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/why-are-climate-activists-throwing-food-at-million-dollar-paintings-180981024/">range of media</a> <a href="https://time.com/6224760/climate-activists-throw-food-at-art/">outlets all</a> perceive <a href="https://www.forbes.com/sites/rebeccahughes/2022/08/05/why-are-climate-activists-gluing-themselves-to-art-in-italy/?sh=1e2e8a6a246a">the need to publish</a> editorials on why eco activists are targeting art, something is getting lost in translation.</p> <p>People see the endangerment of the works of art, but may ascribe that to the activists, not to the planetary erosion wrought by climate change. I don’t think everyone is getting the message.</p> <h2>2. Possible misplaced outrage</h2> <p>The incidents up until now have been pretty effective and harmless acts. But what if something is irreparably damaged? People will be outraged, but they’ll still be outraged about the art, not about the planet. </p> <p>And while there will be a call for stiff prison sentences, precedent suggests that’s an unlikely outcome. </p> <p>A man who damaged a Picasso valued at $26 million USD at the Tate Modern <a href="https://www.artnews.com/art-news/news/tate-modern-picasso-damaged-man-sentenced-1234569349">in London in 2020 was sentenced to 18 months in jail</a>.</p> <h2>3. Violation of public trust</h2> <p>The third effect is what I consider a violation of the public trust, and this gives me pause. Works of art, even the most famous ones, lead precarious lives of constant endangerment; war, weather, fire, floods. The protesters are destabilizing the idea that public galleries are “safe” spaces for works of art, held in public trust. </p> <p>As fari nzinga, inaugural curator of academic engagement and special projects at the <a href="https://www.speedmuseum.org/">Speed Art Museum</a> in Louisville, KY, pointed out in a 2016 paper: “The museum doesn’t serve the public trust simply by displaying art for its members, <a href="https://incluseum.com/2016/11/29/public-trust-and-art-museums">it does so by keeping and caring for the art on behalf of a greater community of members and non¬members alike</a>, preserving it for future generations to study and enjoy.” </p> <p>Right now these acts, no matter how well-intentioned, could lead to increased security and more limited access, making galleries prisons for art rather than places for people. </p> <p>At the same time, part of the activsts’ point is that economy that sustains <a href="https://grist.org/climate/can-art-museums-survive-without-oil-money/">big oil is entwined with arts infrastructure</a> and the art market.</p> <h2>The thing that saves us?</h2> <p>The pandemic taught us, I think, that art could be the thing we share that saves us; think of <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q734VN0N7hw">people during quarantine in Italy singing opera together from their balconies</a>. </p> <p>Eco-activists engaged in performance protests ask us to question our public institutions and make us accountable for what they, and we, value. Their climate activism is dedicated to our shared fate.</p> <p>If you’re willing to fight for the protection of art, maybe you’re willing to fight to protect the planet.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article originally appeared on <a href="https://theconversation.com/eco-activist-attacks-on-museum-artwork-ask-us-to-figure-out-what-we-value-193575" target="_blank" rel="noopener">The Conversation</a>. </em></p>

Art

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When’s the best time to use frequent flyer miles to book flights? Two economists crunched the numbers on maximizing their dollar value

<p>Traveling during major holidays like Thanksgiving can be expensive, since so many people want to see their friends and families, wherever they might be.</p> <p>It’s especially hard this year with <a href="https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/CPIAUCSL">inflation soaring</a> at the fastest pace since the early 1980s. Airline fares <a href="https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/CUSR0000SETG01#0">were up 43% in October</a> from a year earlier – only a <a href="https://www.bls.gov/news.release/cpi.t02.htm">handful of categories increased by more</a>.</p> <p>One way to ease the blow to your wallet or purse is by using frequent flyer miles. While there’s <a href="https://doi.org/10.1145/2733384">quite a bit</a> of research on when is the <a href="https://conservancy.umn.edu/handle/11299/215872">best time to use cash</a> to buy flights, <a href="https://www.bu.edu/questrom/profile/huseyin-karaca/">we wondered</a> – as travel lovers – if there’s an optimal time to use miles. So with the help of <a href="https://drive.google.com/file/d/1HikpvLqt_M8OfXrCXta4rm76Z_JreLJt/view">our research assistant</a>, we investigated this question, with a focus on flights over the Thanksgiving holiday.</p> <h2>Americans return to the skies</h2> <p>The day before Thanksgiving is one of the busiest days to travel in the U.S.</p> <p>Before the COVID-19 pandemic upended travel, the Transportation Security Administration <a href="https://www.tsa.gov/coronavirus/passenger-throughput">screened 2.6 million people</a> on Thanksgiving eve of 2019, just shy of the 2.9 million record. While the number plunged in 2020 as demand dropped, it picked up to 2.3 million last year and <a href="https://www.wsj.com/articles/this-thanksgiving-is-expected-to-be-one-of-the-busiest-for-travel-in-decades-11668532148">is expected to return</a> to pre-COVID-19 levels this year.</p> <p>The surge in demand, along with significantly higher jet fuel costs, are key factors in leading to more expensive air fares.</p> <p>To offset these higher costs, <a href="https://newsroom.wf.com/English/news-releases/news-release-details/2022/New-Study-Americans-Lean-Into-Credit-Card-Rewards-to-Offset-Rising-Costs--Including-Travel/default.aspx">many consumers</a> may turn to frequent flyer miles – whether accumulated from other travel or from credit cards – to avoid forking over so much cash.</p> <h2>Frequent flying 101</h2> <p><a href="https://doi.org/10.1080/10253866.2015.1096095">Frequent flyer mile programs started</a> in the late 1970s after the <a href="https://www.faa.gov/about/history/brief_history">federal government stopped regulating</a> airfares. Before the change, fares, routes and schedules for all domestic flights were set by the federal Civil Aeronautics Board.</p> <p>Besides slashing fares, <a href="https://abcnews.go.com/Travel/airline-frequent-flyer-miles-30-years/story?id=13616082">airlines reacted by creating frequent flyer programs</a>. Texas International Airlines, which ultimately merged with United, and Western Airlines, which later joined Delta, were among the first to institute frequent flyer programs.</p> <p>In a particular airline’s frequent flyer program, you earn miles when you fly with that airline. Many people get miles by using their credit cards as well. These accumulated miles can then be redeemed for free air travel.</p> <p>Frequent flyer programs were designed to <a href="https://doi.org/10.1108/02634509810199535">build customer loyalty</a>, as they provide a rebate to regular passengers. They are also <a href="https://hbr.org/1995/05/do-rewards-really-create-loyalty">meant to lock travelers</a> into a particular airline – since they have a strong incentive to only fly with that carrier.</p> <p>One downside is that many business flyers go out of their way to use their preferred airline, <a href="https://www.informs.org/About-INFORMS/News-Room/Press-Releases/Study-Finds-that-Frequent-Flyer-Programs-Increase-Cost-of-Business-Travel">which boosts their company’s travel costs</a>.</p> <p>And although airlines use frequent flyer programs to increase customer goodwill, they frequently <a href="https://www.thrillist.com/news/nation/united-airlines-loyalty-program-status-update">change the rules and rewards</a>, which often <a href="https://www.inc.com/jason-aten/delta-just-announced-a-change-that-will-make-people-very-mad-its-actually-a-brilliant-move.html">frustrates customers</a>.</p> <p><a href="https://doi.org/10.1145/2733384">Researchers have looked</a> at the <a href="https://conservancy.umn.edu/handle/11299/215872">optimal time to buy</a> airplane <a href="https://doi.org/10.1057/s41272-019-00193-7">tickets</a> with cash. In general, <a href="https://www.forbes.com/sites/suzannerowankelleher/2022/08/31/best-time-to-book-a-cheap-flight/?sh=23fdd1e72ebc">they have found prices</a> tend to dip anywhere from two months to three weeks before the travel dates. Prices are highest for those who want to book their flights very early, to lock it in, and last-minute travelers booking just before their departure dates.</p> <h2>How frequent flyer miles compare</h2> <p>To see when’s the best time to book with miles, we looked at <a href="https://www.oag.com/busiest-routes-right-now">one of the busiest routes in the U.S.</a> – New York (JFK) to Los Angeles (LAX). Each month, airlines have over a quarter of a million seats flying direct on that route. There are about 30 nonstop flights a day, run by <a href="https://www.aa.com/en-us/flights-from-new-york-to-los-angeles">three</a> <a href="https://www.delta.com/us/en/flight-deals/united-states-flights/flights-to-los-angeles">different</a> <a href="https://www.jetblue.com/destinations/los-angeles-california-flights">airlines</a>.</p> <p>Starting about three months before Thanksgiving, we collected weekly data from the online booking sites of these three airlines. We tracked the frequent flyer miles needed as well as the price for every coach flight scheduled to take place within one week of Thanksgiving.</p> <p>As miles are not interchangeable between airlines in general, we needed an alternative measure for more direct comparison between different airlines. So we calculated how much a frequent flyer mile is worth by dividing the number of frequent flyer miles needed by the ticket price. We then compared the dollar worth of 1,000 miles, depending on the airline, when the booking was made and the flight date.</p> <p><a href="http://businessmacroeconomics.com/">Economic theory</a> tells us that when there is lots of competition and the product is almost identical, competition should result in all businesses charging roughly the same price.</p> <p>That wasn’t what we found.</p> <p>In mid-October, Delta was asking 69,000 miles to fly the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. American Airlines was only asking 33,000 miles for roughly the same flight. This means if you have a <a href="https://www.cnbc.com/select/best-travel-credit-cards/">general travel rewards credit card</a> that lets you use miles on different airlines, it pays to shop around.</p> <p>Just because an airline has a high price in miles doesn’t mean the price will not come down. At the start of November, Delta wanted 69,000 miles to fly at dinnertime on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. A week later the airline cut the price to 53,000 miles. A week after that, it was down to 36,500 miles, a price drop of almost 50% in two weeks.</p> <p>While in general the earlier you book, the better, booking too early can cost you. We found the best time to spend your frequent flyer miles for Thanksgiving travel was to book during the first week of October, which was about eight weeks out. In early October, 1,000 frequent flyer miles were worth over $14 in airfare. The last week of October, about four weeks before Thanksgiving, those same miles were only worth shy of $12.</p> <h2>The best day to fly</h2> <p>As for what is the best day on which to travel to get the most from your miles, there are two answers. On the Monday before Thanksgiving, your miles are typically worth the most, on average $15 per 1,000 miles. This is in sharp contrast to $11 for the day before Thanksgiving. However, flying Thanksgiving Day itself had required the lowest average number of miles, about 27,000 miles.</p> <p>If you haven’t booked flights yet, you may be too late to find the best value in frequent flyer miles. However, while we are still gathering and analyzing data, these tips look like they will hold up for future holidays.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article originally appeared on <a href="https://theconversation.com/whens-the-best-time-to-use-frequent-flyer-miles-to-book-flights-two-economists-crunched-the-numbers-on-maximizing-their-dollar-value-194893" target="_blank" rel="noopener">The Conversation</a>. </em></p>

Travel Tips

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Art expert fired over gross underestimation of artefact

<p dir="ltr">A French art expert has been fired after grossly undervaluing a Chinese vase at 4,000 times less than its sale price.</p> <p dir="ltr">The vase in question, which was originally estimated at €2,000 ($3,119 AUD), sold for €9 million ($14,000,000 AUD) at French Osenat auction in Fontainebleau house in early October.</p> <p dir="ltr">The original estimate reflected the expert’s view that it was a 20th-century decorative piece, however buyers suspected that it might date back further to the 18th-century.</p> <p dir="ltr">Despite the date discrepancy, it is still unclear as to what drove the price so much higher. </p> <p dir="ltr">“The expert made a mistake. One person alone against 300 interested Chinese buyers cannot be right,” auction house president Jean-Pierre Osenat told T<a href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/oct/07/why-chinese-vase-valued-at-euros-2000-sold-for-euros-8m-france">he Guardian</a> last week. </p> <p dir="ltr">“He was working for us. He no longer works for us. It was, after all, a serious mistake.”</p> <p dir="ltr">The anonymous seller found the Chinese ‘Tianqiuping’ style vase while clearing out her mother’s estate. </p> <p dir="ltr">While the dragon and cloud motif is greatly sought after among Asian collectors, some believe to have spotted a stamp belonging to 18th-century Chinese emperor Qianlong on the vase.</p> <p dir="ltr">“We don’t know whether [the vase] is old or not or why it sold for such a price,” explained Cédric Laborde, the director of the auction house’s Asian arts department. </p> <p dir="ltr">“The valuation corresponded to what the expert thought. In China, copying something, like an 18th-century vase, is also an art.”</p> <p dir="ltr">The unnamed and now-fired expert is reportedly standing by his original valuation of the Chinese vase.</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: Getty Images / Osenat</em></p>

Art

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The value of a banana: understanding absurd and ephemeral artwork

<p>In September 2020, the Guggenheim Museum in New York acquired <a href="https://news.artnet.com/art-world/guggenheim-banana-cattelan-1909179">Maurizio Cattelan’s Comedian</a> by anonymous donation. The work – a banana duct-taped to a wall — was first shown and sold at the <a href="https://www.theartnewspaper.com/news/this-art-is-bananas-maurizio-cattelan-presents-first-new-work-for-an-art-fair-in-15-years#:%7E:text=The%20maverick%20Italian%20artist%20Maurizio,wall%20with%20grey%20duct%20tape.">Art Basel fair in Miami Beach</a> in the autumn of 2019 where it generated attention, derision and <a href="https://wwd.com/fashion-news/fashion-scoops/art-basel-2019-art-banana-memes-1203395572/">innumerable memes</a>. Social media was, for a brief time, overflowing with images of <a href="https://www.news18.com/news/buzz/people-are-coming-up-their-own-duct-tape-art-after-banana-in-art-basel-sells-for-rs-85-lakh-2416655.html">just about anything duct-taped to walls</a>: tamales, beer cans, cabbage, a <a href="https://knowyourmeme.com/photos/1668205-duct-tape-banana">durian</a> fruit, a sandal, someone’s cat. <a href="https://adage.com/article/digital/brands-are-trying-one-art-basel-banana/2221661">Companies quickly countered with online ads</a> where their products, from deodorants to French fries, were shown duct-taped to the wall with a modest price tag.</p> <p>Comedian reignited a set of questions that seem to flare up with some regularity: what makes something a high-priced artwork when another, seemingly identical, object is not? </p> <p>Since the work was shown at an art fair, it is relevant to consider what exactly is being bought when acquiring an artwork like Comedian. The original banana had to be replaced several times during the course of the fair, once after it was eaten as <a href="https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-50704136">a stunt by another artist</a>.</p> <p>The collectors who bought and subsequently donated the work to the Guggenheim did not receive an actual banana or a piece of duct tape. Instead, what they got was a document, a so-called certificate of authenticity that granted them the right to recreate the work and instructions of how to do so. <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2020/09/18/arts/design/banana-art-guggenheim.html">It stipulated</a>, among other things, that the banana should be hung 175cm above ground and that it should be replaced every seven to ten days.</p> <h2>A banana is a banana is a banana</h2> <p>Although the art world has accepted the idea of <a href="https://www.tate.org.uk/art/art-terms/r/readymade">ready-made</a> everyday objects as art, at least since the mid-20th century, Cattelan’s artwork invited a collective focus on the structure of evaluation of artworks. If anyone can tape anything to the wall — as many did — what is the point of a document granting the legal right to do the same?</p> <p>Let’s compare Comedian to another fruit-based artwork: Zoe Leonard’s <a href="https://www.philamuseum.org/collections/permanent/92277.html">Strange Fruit</a> (1992-1997), a large installation of fruit peels, carefully stitched together by the artist. It was made during the Aids crisis and functioned as a ritualised act of mourning and memorialising.</p> <p>After closely working with a conservator who developed a method of halting material decay at a particular point, <a href="http://contemporary.burlington.org.uk/journal/journal/intent-in-the-making-the-life-of-zoe-leonards-strange-fruit">Leonard decided</a> that it was more in line with the work’s idea to have it turn slowly into dust. In contrast to Comedian, replacing the fruit peels was not an option since the specific acts of stitching as mourning was key to the work’s meaning. The material manifestation of Leonard’s organic objects is far from stable – time passes and they change – but it is crucial that it is these precise pieces of fruit that undergo that transformation.</p> <p>Conceptual artists in the 1960s argued that an artwork’s identity is not to be found in its physical manifestation but in the artist’s idea. That idea can, but does not have to, take material form. </p> <p>Following that logic, the material object is a manifestation of an idea, and it is the idea that is bought and sold on the art market. When the object is reproducible or immaterial, the certificate of authenticity ensures the artwork’s identity as an artwork. Comedian is not dependent on a specific banana, any banana could be used without altering the meaning of the work. That, however, is very different from saying that any banana and piece of duct tape is an artwork by Maurizio Cattelan.</p> <h2>Poking fun at the market</h2> <p>Even though the <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2019/dec/06/maurizio-cattelan-banana-duct-tape-comedian-art-basel-miami">US$120,000 (£92,000) price tag for Comedian</a> was by contemporary art standards fairly moderate, it is obviously a huge mark-up for the act of combining two very cheap and readily available materials. </p> <p>The work’s title hints that it is aware of the comedic absurdity of its own evaluation on the art market. Also, the banana’s upward curve on the wall recalls a stylised smiling face, and the banana peel, as we know, is involved in the most basic of slapstick skits. </p> <p>Comedian was in fact not the first time Cattelan poked fun at the market, art dealers and their place within this system. In 1995, he made his dealer Emmanuel Perrotin (in whose booth at Art Basel Comedian was shown) <a href="https://www.frieze.com/article/maurizio-cattelan">dress up as a giant pink penis-shaped bunny</a> for the duration of his exhibition at Perrotin’s Paris gallery. The piece was called “Errotin le vrai lapin (Errotin the true rabbit). By making Perrotin wear a ridiculous and humiliating phallic costume while carrying out his day-to-day work as a commercial gallery owner, the spectacle of the art market came into sharp view.</p> <p>Comedian is not the only of Cattelan’s works that has drawn attention to the Guggenheim in recent years. In 2016, the artist installed the work <a href="https://www.guggenheim.org/exhibition/maurizio-cattelan-america">America</a> in one of the lavatories of the museum. The 18-karat gold toilet is a tongue-in-cheek commentary on the excesses of America’s rich; a piece of satirical participatory art that welcomes people to actually use it. It has reverberations of <a href="https://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/duchamp-fountain-t07573">Marcel Duchamp</a> and <a href="https://whitney.org/media/760">Sherrie Levine</a>’s lavatorial works. </p> <p>It <a href="https://www.vanityfair.com/style/2018/01/the-art-museum-that-offered-donald-trump-a-solid-gold-toilet">could have been President Trump</a>’s after he requested to borrow a Van Gogh from the Guggenheim but was offered America instead – he declined. It then was taken in by Blenheim Palace in Oxford in 2019 where art critic Jonathan Jones <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2019/sep/13/maurizio-cattelan-blenheim-palace-review-hitler-golden-toilet-blenheim-churchill">commented, "</a>How does it feel to urinate on gold? Much like peeing on porcelain. But here, among all the photos of young Winston, it also feels like pissing on British history."</p> <p>Soon after, <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/20/arts/design/gold-toilet-america.html#:%7E:text=14%2C%20a%20fully%2Dfunctioning%20toilet,the%20birthplace%20of%20Winston%20Churchill.&amp;text=The%20police%20may%20not%20know,palace%2C%20have%20plenty%20of%20theories.">it was stolen</a>. Its whereabouts remain unknown.</p> <p>Cattelan’s works — like other pieces — must be considered in relation to other artworks and the structures in which it operates. The questions they raise are relevant but in part unanswerable: are we to take Comedian seriously, or is it an elaborate joke? And if it is a joke, who is in on it and who, or what, is mocked?</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article originally appeared on <a href="https://theconversation.com/the-value-of-a-banana-understanding-absurd-and-ephemeral-artwork-147689" target="_blank" rel="noopener">The Conversation</a>. </em></p>

Art

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"This is the big one": Mars-themed coin rockets up in value

<p dir="auto">A set of unusual 2017 Australian coins has leapt in value and is now fetching upwards of $6,000 online – thanks in part to one very special element of the set, and of course to the recent passing of Queen Elizabeth II.</p> <p>The remarkable 10-piece Planetary Collection set, which was released to the public in 2017, shows each of the planets of our Solar System, and also includes Pluto and the Sun.</p> <p>Inside the intergalactic set, the 10 coins range from one cent to $5 and were originally sold for just $170 to savvy collectors - but it's one coin in particular that has rocketed the set's overall price: the Mars $2 coin.</p> <p><img src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/2022/09/big-marscoin.jpg" alt="" width="426" height="227" /></p> <p>Accounting for at least half of the set's overall $6000 value, Australian coin expert Joel Kandiah says that's why <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/finance/money-banking/why-the-value-of-these-coins-has-shot-through-the-roof" target="_blank" rel="noopener">demand for this coin has shot through the roof </a>and has been growing since 2020, when collectors were hunting for every single different version.</p> <p>However, the Mars $2 coin within the new set is the one that people are most eager to get their hands on.</p> <p>“People started buying up the entire sets because it's still relatively affordable. And that started pushing demand up for that coin specifically in a short space of time,” the social media personality said.</p> <p>Halfway through last year the sets were selling between $1,800 to $2,000.</p> <p>The 2012 Red Poppy and 2013 Purple coronation $2 coins are also spiking in value.</p> <p>The demand for the $2 coins has shot up even more after the death of Queen Elizabeth II.</p> <p>However, if you're hoping to discover one behind your couch cushions, you might be disappointed, as these box set coins were never intended to be used in general circulation. But if you DO know someone who made that wise $170 investment back in 2017, now is the time to tell them what they are sitting on!</p> <p><em>Image: Wynyardcoins.com.au</em></p>

Money & Banking

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Why the value of these coins has shot through the roof

<p>Aussies around the country will be racing to check their wallets in light of the revelation that the value of two rare $2 coins has exploded virtually overnight.</p> <p>Leading Australian coin expert Joel Kandiah has shared that two coins in particular have shot up in value following the Queen’s death. The Perth based teacher is an avid coin collector and has racked up a huge following on Instagram and TikTok with his page, The History of Money.</p> <p>In a recent video he shared the 2012 Red Poppy coin and the 2013 Purple Coronation coin are now worth a combined total of $550. The increase in demand for these rare $2 coins is of course all due to the Queen’s passing.</p> <p>“The market has been hot for these two $2 coins, which are the lowest minted coloured $2 coins in Australian history,” Mr Kandiah explained in the video.</p> <p>The 2013 Purple Coronation $2 coin has a slightly higher mintage of 995,000, but its value has also soared.</p> <p>If the coins are in mint condition they could go for an even higher price. A simple search on Ebay will reveal a number of Red Poppy coins selling in recent days for between $390 and $434, while the 50c coin released for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee initially sold for $12.50, but is now valued at $100.</p> <p>The 2019 “Effigies Over Time” collector set has also seen a huge spike in demand, with the price soaring from $50 two weeks ago to $250 in the current market.</p> <p>“I’ve been collecting for 27 years and I’ve never seen price rises like that ever,” Mr Kandiah said.</p> <p>According to Mr Kandiah, the 5c coin could also soon be taken out of circulation.</p> <p>The Royal Australian Mint disclosed that 5c coins currently cost 12c to make due to high metal prices. It also costs 24c to make a 10c coin and 48c to make a 20c.</p> <p>The cost is simply unfeasible for a coin everyone hates, Mr Kandiah said. The Queen’s death was the perfect time for authorities to reset a flawed system, according to the coin expert.</p> <p><em>Image: TikTok</em></p>

Money & Banking

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Ultra-processed foods: it’s not just their low nutritional value that’s a concern

<p>In countries such as the UK, US and Canada, ultra-processed foods now account for <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30744710/">50% or more</a> of calories consumed. This is concerning, given that these foods have been linked to a number of different health conditions, including a greater risk of <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33167080/">obesity</a> and various chronic diseases such as <a href="https://nutritionj.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12937-020-00604-1">cardiovascular disease</a> and <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/35896436/">dementia</a>.</p> <p>Ultra-processed foods are <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30744710/">concoctions of various industrial ingredients</a> (such as emulsifiers, thickeners and artificial flavours), amalgamated into food products by a series of manufacturing processes.</p> <p>Sugary drinks and many breakfast cereals are ultra-processed foods, as are more recent innovations, such as so-called <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2213453019301144,">“plant-based” burgers</a>, which are typically made of protein isolates and other chemicals to make the products palatable.</p> <p>The intense industrial processes used to produced ultra-processed foods destroy the <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/35067754/">natural structure</a> of the food ingredients and strip away many beneficial nutrients such as fibre, vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals.</p> <p>Many of us are well aware that ultra-processed foods are harmful for our health. But it’s been unclear if this is simply because these foods are of poor nutritional value. Now, two new studies have shown that poor nutrition may not be enough to explain their health risks. This suggests that other factors may be needed to fully explain their health risks.</p> <h2>The role of inflammation</h2> <p>The <a href="https://www.bmj.com/content/378/bmj-2022-070688">first study</a>, which looked at over 20,000 health Italian adults, found that participants who consumed the highest number of ultra-processed foods had an increased risk of dying prematurely from any cause. The <a href="https://www.bmj.com/content/378/bmj-2021-068921">second study</a>, which looked at over 50,000 US male health professionals, found high consumption of ultra-processed foods was associated with a greater risk of colon cancer.</p> <p>What’s most interesting about these studies is that the health risks from eating a diet high in ultra-processed foods remained even after they had accounted for the poor nutritional quality of their diets. This suggests that <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8747015/">other factors</a> contribute to the harms caused by ultra-processed foods.</p> <p>It also implies that getting the right nutrients elsewhere in the diet may not be enough to cancel out the risk of disease from consuming ultra-processed foods. Similarly, attempts by the food industry to improve the nutritional value of ultra-processed foods by adding a few more vitamins may be side-stepping a more fundamental problem with these foods.</p> <p>So what factors may explain why ultra-processed foods are so harmful to our health?</p> <p>The Italian study found that inflammatory markers – such as a higher white blood cell count – were higher in groups that ate the most ultra-processed foods. Our bodies may trigger an inflammatory response for any number of reasons – for example, if we catch a cold or get cut. The body responds by sending signals to our immune cells (such as white blood cells) to attack any invading pathogens (such as bacteria or viruses).</p> <p>Usually, our inflammatory response resolves quite quickly, but some people may develop chronic inflammation throughout their body. This can cause tissue damage, and is involved in many chronic diseases – such as <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25859884/">cancer</a> and <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28744020/">cardiovascular disease</a>.</p> <p>Many studies have found that poor diets can increase inflammation in the body, and that this is linked to <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28744020/">higher risk</a> of chronic diseases. Given that signs of inflammation were seen in participants of the Italian study who ate the most ultra-processed foods, this could suggest that inflammation may contribute to why ultra-processed foods increase disease risk. Some food additives common in ultra-processed foods (such as emulsifiers and artificial sweeteners) also increase inflammation in the gut by causing <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29899036/">changes to the gut microbiome</a>.</p> <figure class="align-center ">Some researchers have theorised that ultra-processed foods increase inflammation because they are recognised by the body as foreign – much like an invading bacteria. So the body mounts an inflammatory response, which has been dubbed “<a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24939238/">fast food fever</a>”. This increases inflammation throughout the body as a result.</figure> <p>Although the US colon cancer study did not establish if inflammation increased in the men consuming the most ultra-processed foods, inflammation is strongly linked with an <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27821485/">increased risk of colon cancer</a>.</p> <p>Research shows that other mechanisms – such as <a href="https://www.bmj.com/content/378/bmj-2022-070688">impaired kidney function</a> and <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19502515/">toxins in packaging</a> – may also explain why ultra-processed foods cause so many dangerous health problems.</p> <p>Since inflammatory responses are hard-wired in our bodies, the best way to prevent this from happening is by not eating ultra-processed foods at all. Some plant-based diets high in natural, unprocessed foods (such as the <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/36039924/">Mediterranean diet</a>) have also been shown to be anti-inflammatory. This may also explain why plant-based diets free from ultra-processed foods can help ward off <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26148921/">chronic diseases</a>. It’s currently not known to what extent an anti-inflammatory diet can help counteract the effects of ultra-processed foods.</p> <p>Simply reducing your intake of ultra-processed foods may be a challenge. Ultra-processed foods are designed to be hyper-palatable – and together with persuasive marketing, this can make resisting them an enormous challenge for <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33153827/">some people</a>.</p> <p>These foods are also not labelled as such on food packaging. The best way to identify them is by looking at their ingredients. Typically, things such as emulsifiers, thickeners, protein isolates and other industrial-sounding products are a sign it’s an ultra-processed food. But making meals from scratch using natural foods is the best way to avoid the harms of ultra-processed foods.<!-- 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/189918/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/richard-hoffman-221275">Richard Hoffman</a>, Associate lecturer, Nutritional Biochemistry, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-hertfordshire-799">University of Hertfordshire</a></em></p> <p>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a>. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/ultra-processed-foods-its-not-just-their-low-nutritional-value-thats-a-concern-189918">original article</a>.</p>

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