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It’s New Year’s Day! Didn’t we just have one?

New Years are sneaky little things: you just don’t see them coming.

I tend to think that the Aboriginal concept of “time” might be on the money. To them, time is circular and travels like a boomerang. “White man’s” concept of time – they say – is linear, in that it travels like a spear.

I reckon our First Australians got it right, because these New Year’s Days keep whizzing on past.

And here we are at another one.

If we reflect back on 2017 what do we see?

Above anything, we see a year where the disconnect between the political set and mainstream Australians grew larger by the day, and because of it so did inequality.

It is reflected in the growing number of homeless people, the gap between the rich and poor, countless Australians living below the poverty line, the rise of extremism in our country, our disregard of people in need, our ignorance to the suffering of the First Australians, turning our backs towards victims of domestic violence, tightening our borders to people desperate to seek a better life here, continued ignorance of the perils the planet faces, and on it goes.

It’s fair to say in that regards 2017 wasn’t much different to 2016. Slightly worse, sadly.

We cannot let 2018 be just another reflection of 2017. Or perhaps it would be more correct to say; we cannot let our leaders make 2018 just another reflection of 2017.

If we don’t get the opportunity to change our governments, we still have the opportunity to change our national psyche. Small steps, as they say.

We’d all like to take big steps, but we’ve seen how hard that is. Nonetheless, we will never stop trying. Not here at The AIMN. Not here with the tenacious, gutsy group of writers we have. Not here with the fabulous group of commenters and readers who demand less inequality.

At times it must feel that we’re losing the battle. But we’re not. We’re only just getting started!

To all those who have come with us this far – and who will march in solidarity with us again in 2018 – may you have a happy, healthy, and prosperous New Year.

Michael and Carol.


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  1. Freethinker

    Thank you Michael and Carol for the excellent work and dedication of both of you to keep this excellent source of information not only going but getting better and better with time.
    Thank you as well to give me the opportunity to contribute on it and more important to enrich my knowledge.
    My best wishes for both of you and your love ones for an awesome 2018 with happiness and good health.

  2. Michael Taylor

    Thank you, Freethinker. This site is enriched by your presence. Carol and I have the utmost respect for your dedication.

    By the way, I will get around to responding to your email. It has been chaotic the last couple of weeks but hopefully I’ll catch up with everything soon.

  3. corvus boreus

    Michael Taylor,
    Happy new year to you and Carol, with sincere thanks for all that you do and provide for myself and so many others.

    The only difference I would have with your article is a quibble over a word.
    I think the divide between politics and the populace is widening over more than just increasing ‘inequality’ (social/financial disparity), but is also exacerbated by a public perception of growing inequity (lack of fairness and justice).
    As people struggle to meet rising costs on stagnant wages, it is bad enough to see the filthy-rich getting filthy-richer and the power-mongerers mongering more powers, but seeing them flagrantly flout and flaunt rules and laws to do so often makes ordinary folks turn off in helpless disgust.

  4. Ricardo29

    Adding my best wishes for 2018 and thanks for maintaining the site, not to mention your own colourful contributions, and for the opportunity to comment. My feeling is that of powerlessness. The sense that, when I get a chance to make a change it is with only one vote and there are so many votes that are cast in ignorance or under the influence of malign and deliberate misinformation. Pessimistic, I know but when your alternative to a wicked government is an Opposition which is too willing to acquiesce to someof the worst excesses, like the attacks on our privacy and freedoms in the name of nebulous, or inflated, concerns about terrorism. Even given the way Michaelia Cash and the LNP politicise our forces of law and order there is too much willingness to go along with the creeping inroads into our rights and freedoms. Too much self interest, not enough public interest. The light on the horizon? The knowledge that under Turnbull the LNP WILL continue to self destruct, now with even greater help from Baanaby’s stupidity which means John Lord’s tip-off an election this year might give us a chance to dispatch them to the dustbin of history.

  5. Miriam English

    Gosh Michael… haven’t spoken since last year!
    Okay, that was yesterday, but still, it sounds cool. 🙂

    I think time depends very much on context.

    If you’re a kid it drags along, with a day seeming long, a week excruciating, a year unimaginably long, with time fading into a fog beyond some days into the future.

    When you’re nearing the other end of your lifespan days flit past in minutes, years are never long enough, and the future feels all too concrete.

    In my case changes don’t happen quickly enough because I have a horrible feeling of time running out too quickly — I want to see big changes before I disappear.

    For cold-blooded creatures time varies with the temperature. When I want to photograph something like a bull-ant I put it in the fridge for a little while to slow it down, then when I take it out, its slower movements give me a better chance to frame a good image.

    Smaller warm-blooded animals experience time much more quickly than we do, especially birds (they run at a higher temperature than mammals). Next time you see a small bird, watch it fly through some shrubbery, avoiding branches at unbelievably high speed. Watch a willy wagtail catching insects on the wing.

    Mechanical devices have no concept of time, but time still affects them, and it does so evenly, which is why we build our clocks from them. Grandfather clocks rely upon a swinging pendulum. Smaller clocks use a little spring-loaded disk that rotates back and forth as a pendulum. Electronic clocks are basically computers, so use a tiny piece of quartz precisely machined to bend back and forth like a violin string, but at a speed of millions of times a second.

    As mentioned earlier, a refrigerator slows time for organic things that are incapable of maintaining their heat. This is why a fridge or a freezer can slow time for food.

    If we travel at extremely high speeds (or is it accelerations? I’m never quite sure, not being a physicist) then time slows due to relativistic effects, as Einstein showed. This becomes problematic if we send people to other star systems that are many light years away. Even here on Earth we have to take it into account for our GPS satellites.

    We use motion over distance to measure time, and we know that motion itself affects the passage of time. The Earth is spinning on its axis, one rotation per day, but it’s also flying through space, orbiting its Sun, 940 million kilometers each year. And the Sun and our whole solar system is orbiting the Milky Way Galaxy, so that we’re not moving linearly, but in a corkscrew motion, but it isn’t a nice, even corkscrew because our planet’s orbital motion isn’t at right angles to our motion around the galaxy — we’re making a kind of flattened corkscrew motion, like a long spring that’s been trod on. And it’s not even that simple because our solar system isn’t travelling in a simple circle around the galaxy, but apparently bobs above and below the galactic plane as it goes around. Add to that, the attraction between our galaxy and our closest neighbor, the Andromeda galaxy moving us closer together, and the local supercluster of about 100,000 galaxies that we call Laniakea are all being drawn towards a mysterious place called “The Great Attractor”. The upshot is that as far as I can figure, we seem to be moving toward the constellation Leo at about about a thousand kilometers every second. What does that do to time for us? I have no idea, but I expect other parts of the universe out to the observable limit of about 46.6 billion light years tick at a much faster or slower rate than we do.

  6. Vikingduk

    To all at AIMN, both writers and commenters, thank you all, the amount of relevant information this site provides is brilliant, amazing and really effing good. As they say in the classics, go hard or go home.

    Fair sailing and smooth seas to you all as we watch on as this rotten to the core farce called politics continues its decay as we watch Mother Nature bight harder and harder, yes, interesting times.

    Prost all.

  7. Joseph Carli

    Michael and Carol…thanks for the memories…as they say…and I have to promote the concept that blogs such as these are slowly being stitched onto the combined social media quilt and creating a connectivity of exchange of news and views that reach so many in seconds…and no longer are we reliant on a biased MSM and its filters…social media is as big a “disruption” (god..I hate that word!) as the invention of the printing press…for like those days of information control being in the hands of the instructors of the scribes, today we of the working classes have the freedom from restricted access to media and can dictate our gripes and outrage to the big, wide world in any vernacular or idiosyncratic slander we desire and the educated middle-class grammar police can go and take a leap!…The unrestricted imagination of “The Mob” is coming and now WE control the language and we will be heard!…..Let the party begin!!

  8. Michael Taylor

    Thank you, cb. Much appreciated.

    I had a whole year to prepare for that post. On Xmas Day I thought to myself that I ought to get a start on it. Last night I eventually put something together.

    This morning I threw it out and started again.

    So after all that time … I ended up racing through it in two minutes flat at the very last minute.

    “Plan ahead” was lost on me. ☹️

  9. Florence nee Fedup

    Thank you both, Michael & Carol. See PM out today with attacks on Victoria. Beefing up the false stories of black gangs. Starting off New Year is a sour, desperate manner.

  10. Miriam English

    Gee… reading other people’s comments makes me look very Aspergery. 🙂

    I could have mentioned the ancient Romans. They (and probably others around that time) divided the day into a set number of hours, but those hours weren’t like our hours; they didn’t have a standard length, but were defined as a fraction of the time between sunrise and sunset. So that the sun always rose and set at the same times, winter and summer. The hour grew longer in the day and shorter in the night during summer and shorter in the day and longer in the night during winter. One nice side-effect of this was that they never had any use for such silliness as “daylight saving”. But it would have made it hell to organise real-time communications between people at different latitudes. Lucky they didn’t have the internet.

    Mind you, we have our own utterly unnecessary way of scrambling times with our idiotic “daylight saving”. That was originally brought in during one of the world wars (the second one, I think) in order to save electricity. But it was found to have the reverse effect and wasted electricity because people had to get up earlier in the dark.

    Daylight saving is loved by politicians (it makes them look like they’re doing something) but it causes havoc wherever it is used. At the changeover to and from daylight saving, there is always a rash of road accidents and industrial accidents because of how it screws with people’s sleep. Trying to schedule meetings with people in different places around the world becomes a nightmare, as I found out when it fell to me to organise the meetings of the Virtual Reality Association many years back. Trying to figure out which places would be in or out of daylight saving on top of different timezones was a real headache. Hardly anybody knew about UTC (often called universal time code, but it is a French acronym meaning something like universal time coordinate), but because it is set at Greenwich in England (without daylight saving) the Yanks often don’t like it. Their own time is a mess because there are so many timezones in USA. It is in Australia too, with poor old South Australia not even a whole number of hours out of sync with the rest of us, and some states going in for the daylight saving lunacy while others maintain some sanity.

  11. Miriam English

    Thanks Carol and Michael, for a place where I can find out what is happening in the world outside my walls. It saves me stepping out there. 🙂

    I hope 2018 is a better one for us all, but worse for the thorns in our sides: crooked big corporations, warmongers, organised religion, extremist conservative politicians… and the doomsters.

  12. Kaye Lee

    And so we begin another year in the fight for truth and justice.

    We tend to concentrate on the things we want to change, the things we must change, but we should also remember the things that make us happy. There is much joy and goodness and beauty and love in the world and our knowledge is galloping forward.

    When we get frustrated at our seeming inability to make the world a perfect place, think of these things….

    Perfection is a destination we can never reach. All we can do is encourage each other to keep moving along the road. We can aim for personal improvement because the ripple effect of kindness can be felt around the world. A tsunami is made up of individual drops moving in the same direction.

    Every person DOES make a difference.

    Happy New Year to all.

    You do not walk alone

  13. Jack Russell

    All hail Aspergery, and the windmills of your mind, Miriam.

    Like a circle in a spiral
    Like a wheel within a wheel
    Never ending or beginning
    On an ever spinning reel …

    Happiest new year to all!

  14. Lynette Henderson

    Thank You Michael and Carol. I look forward to reading and sharing the with my like minded friends. Your hard work is apreciated.

  15. Judy

    Thank you Michael and Carol (and your amazing team of dedicated writers) We need more people like you to expose the truth and counteract the lies we are fed by our so-called leaders. I look forward to reading this year’s articles and hopefully by small steps we will see changes for the better.

  16. Miriam English

    aaaa… would that be Harquebus under an alias? Yes, I was joking about the stepping outside.

  17. diannaart

    Thank you Michael for your rousing New Year’s, um, rousiness. Especially liked the musings on the non-linear race of time, we have much to learn from First Nation people.

    Miriam your expansion on Michael’s consideration of time – did not appear at all the Aspy to me, rather an interesting exploration. Being energy deficient, I spend a lot of time musing about time. I rather like the idea of time as liquid, that it fits in anywhere, anyway and any form in the past, present and future.

    To all AIMers, may the calendar year of 2018 be kind.

  18. Jon Chesterson

    Yes they do seem to be coming round circular, almost like groundhog day. Brave new world but… less wise, less happy.
    Shadows of the Setting Sun

    The bells ring our term is over,
    what has long since passed is done,
    old skins crack and none the wiser,
    shadows of the setting sun…

  19. Miriam English

    Jon Chesterton, “less wise, less happy”

    I’d dispute that. I see much more wisdom and happiness, more morality and generosity of heart today than when I was young. Sure we get jerks like Tony Abbott, Malcolm Roberts, and Donald Trump, but go back some decades and those kinds of politicians were unremarkable. (Menzies was an utter arsehole. And Bjelke Peterson — ugh!)

    The fact that we are horrified by the likes of Abbott today is a good thing. They look so mortifying precisely because we expect people to be better now. And mostly they don’t disappoint… well, except for conservative politicians.

  20. Miriam English

    Found it! I was looking for it before when I commented earlier about time and movement, and couldn’t remember where it was, but I kept searching while doing other things and found it, at last. This is a lovely short video on where we are. It kinda makes all our troubles seem trivial

    Laniakea: Our home supercluster

  21. Kronomex

    I couldn’t figure out where to put this so if it’s in the wrong place I apologise.

    I see this more as a bullying tactic rather than anything genuine.

    I also believe that a majority of Israelis find this sort of behaviour by a minority of their own people uncomfortable and not conducive to help to bring any sort of peace to their own country let alone the Middle East as a whole. Then again, as I’ve said before, there are fanatics and rabid nationalists in every religion and country and as long as they hold sway peace of any sort is a long way off.

  22. diannaart


    Thanks for the video. Wish more of our world leaders would take a peek – and consider our place in the universe – hardly the centre of anything and on a far flung arm of the Milky Way AND, apparently, making a break from that!

    Every time I have had a wonderful cosmic experience such as looking at the mountains on the moon through a fairly high powered telescope or every time there’s an eclipse or just sitting out bush staring up, I feel both incredibly expansive and very, very small. Adds to my belief in not wasting any time, certainly not on the petty or vexatious.

    Also (while I have not mentioned this to my family) I want my ashes (or more environmental manner of reduced my body to powder) blasted off this planet – too impatient to wait for Earth’s inevitable subsuming into the universal matter. Hmmmm, the more I think about it, the more selfish I understand this desire to be. Maybe I should just have a tree planted over my remains and be of some use until my atoms are released into the cosmos.


  23. corvus boreus

    On stars, trees,and the disposal of human remains.

    Last year I attended a camp-out job at an isolated site in the upper reaches of a river valley, with major escarpments to the south, west and north. The nearest other humans were in farmhouses at least 10km downstream.
    At night, with the glow of our campfire as the only competing illumination, our slice of starscape was incredible.
    The term ‘milky way’ makes a lot more sense when the night sky is viewed without ‘light pollution’, a broad painted swathe, all shimmers and glimmers between the multitudes of visible stars.
    I would add that even in that splendid isolation, on earth amidst trees surrounded by stars, human society made its presence known by the endless procession of commercial aircraft passing across our view.
    For funereal arrangements, I would definitely prefer the biological efficiency of being devoured by invertebrates, microbes and mycorrhizae then digested by vegetation to being blasted into the atmosphere on a plume of burning fuel.

    “Trees eat us all in the end,
    so plant one for me when I’m gone,
    then if you hear that I’ve died,
    you can tell them they’ve lied;
    I’m just shading out somebody’s lawn”
    Charlie Mgee

    Ps, Miriam, I second the thanks of diannart for linking to that fascinating piece on our place in the verse.

  24. diannaart


    I concur and will take the scenic route into the universe.


  25. Miriam English

    Thanks for the video corvus. I didn’t realise Bill Mollison had died. Bummer.

    Dianna and corvus, here is one of my all-time favorite speeches by one of my favorite people, Carl Sagan:

    The Pale Blue Dot

    From that page:

    Pale Blue Dot is a photograph of planet Earth taken on February 14, 1990, by the Voyager 1 space probe from a record distance of about 6 billion kilometers (3.7 billion miles, 40.5 AU), as part of the Family Portrait series of images of the Solar System.

    In the photograph, Earth’s apparent size is less than a pixel; the planet appears as a tiny dot against the vastness of space, among bands of sunlight scattered by the camera’s optics.

    Voyager 1, which had completed its primary mission and was leaving the Solar System, was commanded by NASA to turn its camera around and take one last photograph of Earth across a great expanse of space, at the request of astronomer and author Carl Sagan.

    Another of my favorites is this piece from his book “The Pale Blue Dot”

    We humans are capable of greatness

    And yet another is “Wanderers”, an inspiring piece of 3D modelling done by brilliant computer artist Erik Wernquist, built from actual data and images from NASA. (He got the scale of the people on Mars wrong though.) This riveting video of work is set to another of Carl Sagan’s speeches.

    Wanderers by Erik Wernquist

  26. wam

    HHPNY to you pair.

    Your news keeps me roughly sane but the thought that every vegetarian has ingested molecules from dinosaurs, every loonie has molecules from hitler and you two have some Da Vinci keeps the thoughts circulating.

    Dear Michael,
    I wish I was smart enough to have seen the boomerang concept in my teaching of time and maths.

    We were gifted an apple 11A(????40 years ago before I lost it mentally and retired to the corro) and it had a little image animal??? that drew what you told it to we were inputting y=mx+c and we had fun but I failed to capitalise on the rush to set up the mac at every homework.
    I did realise that you cannot teach those from whom you wont learn but was unable to get any teacher to engage in such a conversation they were too busy with other initiatives like bi-lingual where the teacher remains monolingual. How insulting and wasteful is that?
    ps my old school has gone through the publis system, the godly and now attached to a rich private system, Another 24 years of failure till it becomes attached to an Aboriginal political system but no agreement from the system?

  27. corvus boreus

    Thank you for posting the Karl Sagan links.
    Watching ‘Cosmos’ as a juvenile instilled in me an almost ‘man-crush’ admiration towards Dr Sagan, who impressed me not only with his intelligence and reason, but by both his calm compassion and sheer bleeding optimism.

    I forgot to mention, thanks for the helpful reminder not to devote precious time to the ‘petty and vexatious’.


  28. wam

    just a lazy man’s return to the Taylor’s ‘have a happy and prosperous new year’.
    I would like to follow diannaart, however my brain flick’s the ‘petty’ forward on receipt of a range of word cues, usually at most inconvenient times. But, in my dotage, I have become, hopefully, more tiresome rather than vexatious?

    Although your poem from charlie turned on my molecule thought and that may be vexing to vegans and the loonies???

  29. corvus boreus

    Mirian English,
    It isn’t Sagan level, but I found this little pop-science piece on Earthly time and motion to be quite uselessly informative;

    yeh, wotev.

  30. Miriam English

    corvus, Cool! Thanks. I’ve watched a lot of VSauce videos. He’s always interesting. I hadn’t seen that one, and I learned a number of things. (Best feeling ever!)

  31. corvus boreus

    I like to learn and discover stuff too.
    As I learned that I was Laniakean by birth, I also discovered my bias against beings from Perseus Pisces.
    When it comes to bigotry, I think big.

  32. corvus boreus

    Ps As well as making an effort to know our place, I also think we should try to ‘know our ‘selves’.
    This one is a quick cartoon magnifying mirror into some of the many others that make up the me.(aka the ‘human microbiome’)

    And a slightly wordier, nerdier expansion;

  33. Miriam English

    corvus, “Laniakean by birth” heheheh 😀
    I like that one. I might steal it. 🙂

    I love SciShow. I hadn’t seen that one. I’ve been doing so many things I have a lot to catch up on.

    Both those addresses you posted are the same.

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