Book review: The Slaughter, by Ethan Gutmann

Pity anyone who enters China’s penal system for any reason. Even “prisoners of conscience” – Uygurs, Tibetans, Christians and Falun Gong members – are systematically slaughtered inside, according to investigator Ethan Gutmann.. Read at the South China Morning Post

Book review: Saving the Market from Capitalism, by Massimo Amato and Luca Fantacci

Despite its liquid nature the fiscal system is set in its ways – and it needs to change, say Italian economists Massimo Amato and Luca Fantacci, who address some problems buoyed by liquidity. Read at the South China Morning Post.

Space junk expert charts fragments to avoid ‘Gravity’-style satellite wipeout

Australia is one of the world’s most space-reliant nations, with satellites delivering security and services to a far-flung population. The vital orbital devices are under threat, thanks to an estimated 300,000 space junk fragments that must be tracked – complex work with an epic precedent, according to the CEO of the Cooperative Research Centre for Space Environment Management, Dr Ben Greene. Read at the Sydney Morning Herald.

Book review: The Power of Noticing, by Max Bazerman

In 2001, four years before Hurricane Katrina hit North America’s Gulf Coast, science writer Eric Berger foretold the disaster with chilling accuracy.

“New Orleans is sinking. And its main buffer from a hurricane, the protective Mississippi River delta, is quickly eroding away, leaving the historic city perilously close to disaster..

Read at the South China Morning Post

Ten tips to lower your blood pressure

You know the routine: you walk into the examining room, perch on the table, and roll up your sleeve. Your healthcare practitioner inflates the cuff until it feels oppressively snug.

Read at the South China Morning Post.

Book review: The Collapse of Western Civilisation

Cast your mind forward to the year 2393. From that vantag, a fictional scholar representing an imagined future China – the Second People’s Republic – laments how the Enlightenment’s children ditched reason during the early 21st century.


Read at the South China Morning Post

Book review: Own Your Future

Chinese sage Lao Zi once said: “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” That borderline cliché has assumed new relevance, it seems. Read at the South China Morning Post..

Botanist Margaret Lowman urges children to muddy their boots

Unlike other botanists who plant their feet in the dirt, Dr Margaret Lowman  pursues high adventure. The so-called ‘‘mother of canopy research’’ has designed walkways and hot-air balloons for the purpose, becoming a legend in the process – another of her nicknames is the ‘‘Einstein of the treetops’’.

Read at the Sydney Morning Herald..

Book review: Carnival China: China in the Era of Hu Jintao and Xi Jinping

A 2009 public survey by the state-owned magazine Xiaokang revealed that local government officials were less trusted than prostitutes, writes China wonk Kerry Brown.


Read at the South China Morning Post..

The pleasure of making money for others

Always keen on running, “Forrest Gump-style”, fresh-faced, Top End fund-raiser Tony Burns has channelled his energy into a range of roles: professional tennis player, iron-man, ultra-marathoner, hotelier, even rock-paper-scissors champion after accepting a bar room invitation to try his hand in 2010.

Read at the Sydney Morning Herald..

Cyber criminals are out to get you

Cyber criminals deliberately target “silver surfer” seniors, according to research conducted by the security firm McAfee.

Worse, one in five silver surfers has fallen prey to online fraud, McAfee says.

The practice of ripping off seniors seems unforgivably mean. Here are some tips on how to detect and counter the increasingly sophisticated scams that can decimate your savings.


Read at the Sydney Morning Herald..

Love not lucre: avoid the gold-diggers

If you thought gold-digging was an exclusively female pursuit, think again.

Money has an aphrodisiac effect on men, according to dating site

Read at the Sydney Morning Herald..

Should you drink only when thirsty, or before thirst strikes?

Experts are divided on whether you should you drink water only when thirsty or before it happens. David Wilson sifts through the evidence Read at the South China Morning Post..

Book review: Capital: The Eruption of Delhi, by Rana Dasgupta

Welcome to Delhi, the Indian capital with a population of 16 million. In his third book, Commonwealth prize-winning observer Rana Dasgupta uses the mega-city as a vehicle for examining a key trend: the growth of the global elite.

Read at the South China Morning Post..

Book review: China’s Second Continent: How a Million Migrants Are Building a New Empire in Africa

Africa has entered a new age of Chinese imperialism, it is said. Prompted by that perception, foreign correspondent Howard French embarks on an epic trek across Africa. Read at the South China Morning Post..

Working around the croc

The first time he touched a crocodile at an English zoo at the age of 12, it felt like meeting a dinosaur: a Tyrannosaurus Rex, or even a dragon.

Back then, Dr Adam Britton saw crocodiles as fantastical creatures.

The encounter was surreal and thrilling, says Britton, who always wanted to work with crocs. Read at the Sydney Morning Herald..

The passionate conservationist

Eastern quolls have a good samaritan in their corner, writes David Wilson.

Blue Mountains ecologist Trevor Evans has won not one, not two, but 19 awards spanning fields from conservation to catering. The 56-year-old claims to hold eight licences, including a firearms licence and numerous wildlife licences.

Read at the Sydney Morning Herald..

Book review: The Army and Democracy, by Aqil Shah

Pakistan is on shaky terms with democracy. Read at the South China Morning Post..

Book review: Innovation the Nasa Way, by Rod Pyle

US space agency Nasa has been dubbed “an engine of innovation and inspiration”.  Read at the South China Morning Post..

Book review: A Sense of the Enemy, by Zachary Shore

More than 2,000 years ago, Chinese martial philosopher Sun Tzu – generally recognised as author of military treatise The Art of War - advised generals to “know thy enemy”. Read at the South China Morning Post..



Book review: Seventeen Contradictions and the End of Capitalism, by David Harvey

If you’re sick of capitalism, here’s some good news. The dogma that has become default could yet collapse in the face of growing popular loathing, according to David Harvey, a distinguished professor at the City University of New York, who highlights “episodic volcanic eruptions of popular anger”, in London (2011), Stockholm (2013), Istanbul (2013) and a hundred Brazilian cities (2013).


Read at the South China Morning Post..

Cloisters and clapsticks

An indigenous Oxford graduate is making her mark in health, writes David Wilson.

Kerrie Doyle has gone far – from the red dirt of West Queensland to snowy Oxford. Read at the Sydney Morning Herald..

Book review: Thanks for the Feedback by Douglas Stone and Sheila Heen

Douglas Stone and Sheila Heen have taught negotiation at Harvard Law School for two decades. Their line is that other consultants over-stress the art of giving feedback, neglecting how to receive it.

Read at the South China Morning Post..

Smart gadgets take to air

Forget conventional remotely piloted airborne drones – the future of zippy, unmanned flying machines may lie with projected Intelligent Autonomous Vehicles (IAVs). In theory, IAVs will be armed with the smarts to perform all kinds of whiz-bang missions off their own bat – just ask University of Newcastle robotics expert Professor Tristan Perez. Read at the Sydney Morning Herald..

‘Living lava lamps’ her career

Jellyfish may seem an icky field to research, but they are deeply entwined with the fate of the ocean. Just ask CSIRO scientist Dr Lisa-ann Gershwin, the director of the Australian Marine Stinger Advisory Services.

In her dramatic marine biology blockbuster, Stung!: On Jellyfish Blooms and the Future of the Ocean, Gershwin says the sea is becoming jellyfish soup, as rival marine animals die of plastic pollution, heat stress, carbon dioxide-driven acidification and overfishing. On the upside, she says, despite their image, jellyfish are captivating. Read at the Sydney Morning Herald..

Book review: The Locust Effect, by Gary Haugen, Victor Boutros

In 1885, a racist Seattle mayor appointed himself police chief and tasked 100 men to stage an attack on the Chinese community: cue an orgy of murder, looting, forced expulsion and arson.

Today, officially sanctioned civic violence of that intensity is hard to imagine, but it still happens. Read at the South China Morning Post..

Road to riches paved with good habits

So you want to be more than just rich in experience – seriously cashed-up? The obvious ploy is to play the lottery, but the odds of hitting the jackpot are one in 8 million, according to lottery strategist Gail Howard. What is more, with modern medicine, your wealthy parents just might outlive you. So you need an independent investment strategy anchored in canny habits. Here are some that should boost your wealth, if you muster the discipline to adopt them.

Read at the Sydney Morning Herald..


Book review: the truth about trust

If you claim to be totally trustworthy you are probably bending the truth. Just ask American psychologist David DeSteno.

Read at the South China Morning Post..

Have we reached a tipping point? Tipping: yes or no?

When did you last leave a tip? The outwardly saintly act is widely seen as unwelcome: an awkward American rite that shaves wages and oppresses consumers.

In the United States, whether you are dealing with a waiter or bellman, you must tip, according to financial analyst Jim Miller, who adds that tipping is growing more common globally. That makes tipping topical, he says, but he opposes the trend.

Read at the Sydney Morning Herald..

The truth about Ukraine

Gripping pictures of the second Ukraine revolution bid. Courtesy Ilya Varlamov.




Book review: The Tommy Koh Reader, by Tommy Koh

Professor Tommy Koh Thong-bee’s reputation is enough to make almost anyone feel comparatively inadequate. Described in the foreword of his new self-anthology as “an engaged citizen, and a man of goodwill, modesty and warm generosity”, Koh studied at two top universities: Harvard and Cambridge. Read at the South China Morning Post..

Book review: Perfecting Your Pitch, by Ronald Shapiro with Jeff Barker

Just browsing the everyday anguish addressed by this guide is unsettling. The sticky predicaments it thrusts in the spotlight range from family inheritance spats to sexual harassment and bereavement.. Read at the South China Morning Post..

Statins: the great risk debate

Feed the word “statins” to Google and the three suggestions that roll up are “statins side effects”, “statins and diabetes” and “statins and memory loss”. The search engine’s negative take on the drug designed to tame your cholesterol levels is mirrored by controversy about statins in the medical community. Read at the South China Morning Post..



Keyloggers stay one step ahead of the unguarded

The shadowy steps your fingers take when you key in a password could be exposed through one of the slyest crimes in the digital playbook: “keystroke logging”. Also called “keylogging”, this is the remote, criminal act of recording which computer keys you press, through malware (malicious software).

“Keystroke logging malware is one of the biggest threats to the economic well-being of us all,” says identity theft expert Steven Weisman, author of 50 Ways to Protect Your Identity in a Digital Age.

Read at the Sydney Morning Herald..

Book review: Smarter by Dan Hurley

Everyone has foggy “senior moments”: you sometimes mislay your mobile phone; you can’t remember a password. Read at the South China Morning Post..

Book review: Clearer Skies Over China

The mainland’s dire air quality has become a relentlessly disturbing news story.  Read at the South China Morning Post..

Rewind: album – The Gift by The Jam

This swansong from one of Britain’s most-loved bands was unleashed under peculiar circumstances.

Read at the South China Morning Post..


Release your inner Scrooge


Forget blandly generous Santa Claus for a second. Consider the enduring charm of popular culture’s stingiest character: the monstrous Ebenezer Scrooge.


Debuting in the 1843 Charles Dickens tale A Christmas Carol, Scrooge is a cold, greedy soul, who hates Christmas and jollity generally. Denying himself basic conveniences, Scrooge hoards his assets, embracing a lifestyle of poverty. Read at the Sydney Morning Herald..


Learn the seven signs of a bad bank

If there is one thing that riles Australians more than the taxman, it’s banks. Feisty forums, such as Whirlpool, Product Review and, document the resentment, with customers wasting no time making their feelings known.

Read at the Sydney Morning Herald..

Rewind film: Cape Fear, directed by J. Lee Thompson

Cape Fear surfaced two years after Alfred Hitchcock’s masterpiece of the macabre, Psycho, but the suspense drama was even edgier: it broke new boundaries by addressing then-taboo subjects. Read at the South China Morning Post..

Book review: Eternal Harvest, by Karen Coates and Jerry Redfern

“Laos is a land steeped in cliché: of gilt temples and golden Buddhas, shimmering rivers and dazzling sunsets,” journalist Karen Coates writes in her guide to the real Laos, grounded in a seven-year-plus investigation. Read at the South China Morning Post..

Houston: we have ideas

Aged just 23, whizz-kid Thomas Cooney has already racked up a singularly sparkling career highlight – the experience of working for the American space agency NASA. Read at the Sydney Morning Herald..

The Elements of Eloquence: How to Turn the Perfect English Phrase by Mark Forsyth

How well do you write? Anyone can learn to breathe life into their writing through studying rhetoric, linguist Mark Forsyth says in his new guide. Read at the South China Morning Post.

Jingling pockets could bring on a headache

Money, money, money – how much do you dwell on the stuff? Excessive desire for money robs people of their humanity, according to the famously frugal Pope, who recently suspended a ”bling bishop” for alleged lavish spending.

Read at the Sydney Morning Herald..

Man of Mars and opals

Geologist Patrice Rey was a school boy in southern France when Australia appeared to him on his black-and-white television. The show  a documentary about opal mining  captivated the humble son of a plumber and housewife. Read at the Sydney Morning Herald..

Book review: Does Capitalism Have a Future?

First, HSBC chief global economist Stephen King predicted the end of Western affluence in When the Money Runs Out. Now, channelling Great Recession anxiety, five social scientists address whether capitalism is over altogether.

Read at the South China Morning Post..

Grip strength training exercises

Grip strength has a host of applications, and a vice-like grip will boost your performance in everything from weightlifting to baseball to hockey – grip translates to dexterity and strength, the essentials of any sport.

Here are the best training techniques, exercises and workouts to increase grip strength. Read at the Adrenalist..

Ghost post: house-sitting a haunted home in Antigua

Here’s a post from two friends of mind who got more than they bargained for during a house-sitting stint. Frayed Passport reports.



Book: ‘Would You Kill the Fat Man?’ by David Edmonds

This provocatively titled tract opens with a burst of drama that proves philosophy can be exciting. Read at the South China Morning Post..

Tyler McQuarrie takes second place at 2013 Formula Drift

Tyler McQuarrie’s mantra for the 2013 Formula Drift was simple: wreck it or win it – an attitude that secured him second place in the competition. Read at the Adrenalist..


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