Explainer: what is forgetting?

If memory can be defined as “a past that becomes a part of me”, can forgetting be defined as “a past that is no longer a part of me”?

Smokers who have abstained for years may not consciously be able to recall the sensation brought forth by smoking, but can suddenly feel craving upon seeing a smoking-related cue – often a cigarette brand logo – and relapse into smoking again. Tobacco companies know this only too well.

This illustrates a past that may have been forgotten but is not gone.

via Explainer: what is forgetting?.

Trust the public: citizens can help save endangered species

The US Endangered Species Act, which became law in 1973, was one of the first major pieces of national legislation for the protection of biodiversity. It is still one of the most stringent. It has also been the focus of a great deal of controversy over the years, and there are ongoing proposals to amend the law.One of the more controversial aspects of this controversial law has been the process by which species are identified for protection under the ESA. Under the law, a citizen – any citizen – can submit a petition to the government to list a species under the Act.

via Trust the public: citizens can help save endangered species.

We need a treaty to help people displaced by climate change

Climate change will lead to significant human displacement. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and other groups warn that the effects – including rising sea levels, heavier floods, more frequent and severe storms, drought and desertification – will cause large-scale population movements. How can we help these displaced people? I believe an international treaty could be the answer.

via We need a treaty to help people displaced by climate change.

Censoring public health in Queensland – a dangerous precedent?

Beyond the recent publicity around cuts to health and other portfolios, something deeply disturbing – even sinister – is occurring in Queensland.The state government is implementing health policies on the run and cutting health jobs and services. This has happened before around the country and will eventually be turned around, albeit not before a deal of harm has been done.Even this week, there is news of yet more cuts to prevention programs. But more disturbing still, and a move that should send alarm bells ringing around the country, is the Queensland government’s decision to gag health organisations, health professionals and public debate on health issues.

via Censoring public health in Queensland – a dangerous precedent?.

Electricity and the power of choice – for whom?

Electricity prices are a hot topic. Prices have skyrocketed in recent years and politicians have finally realised that people are struggling to pay energy bills.

Power of Choice, an Australian Energy Market Commission report, focuses on measures to assist all consumers better manage their demand for electricity. It was requested by the Federal, State and Territory Ministers responsible for energy.

via Electricity and the power of choice – for whom?.

Gibbon song may be music to the ears of human language students

Gibbons and humans have more in common than might immediately seem apparent. Among many behavioural traits shared by our two species is singing. Not just that – the songs of gibbons have the potential to teach us about the origin of our own human capacities.A recent study in this field, published by Japanese researcher Takeshi Nishimura and colleagues in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology AJPA, enjoyed the mixed blessing of widespread publicity.

via Gibbon song may be music to the ears of human language students.

Our politics has entered a new phase of uncertainty

IT WAS one of Parliaments more jarring episodes. One moment, Tony Abbott was showing genuine empathy for a national leader who had endured more than a week of grief: losing her father, then attending three funerals of Australian soldiers killed in Afghanistan. The next, he was grilling her on how she intended to pay for the promises that have helped propel her remarkable, yet still very fragile, political recovery.Before question time on Wednesday, Julia Gillard broke down as she reflected on the soldiers funerals and the passing of her father. Abbott, who had also attended the funerals, responded with grace and humanity, welcoming Gillard back and paying tribute to her father. It is a remarkable parent who produces a Prime Minister of this country, he said.

via Our politics has entered a new phase of uncertainty.

Presidential Ratings Change: Advantage Obama | News & Analysis | The Rothenberg Political Report

We are moving six states in our presidential race ratings: Ohio, Virginia and Wisconsin from Toss-up to Lean Obama, and Michigan, New Mexico and Pennsylvania to Solid Obama. Deteriorating state poll numbers for Mitt Romney suggest that these states have moved a few points toward the president, and while Ohio, Virginia and Wisconsin are still broadly “in play,” Barack Obama now has a small but clear advantage over his GOP challenger in them.

via Presidential Ratings Change: Advantage Obama | News & Analysis | The Rothenberg Political Report.