Every Star Wars fan felt it this morning. A disturbance in The Force. Probably the biggest since Darth Vader blew up Alderaan in Episode IV.
Disney announced they were taking over Lucasfilm, the company that created the original six-movie Star Wars series and a universe of follow-up books and comics…
And they’re planning a seventh film in the saga for 2015.
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One of the first pictures to infest social media as Sandy the Frankenstorm hit was this one – the Statue of Liberty with a big old wave smashing into her.
It’s fake, of course, a screenshot from apocalyptic climate change epic the Day After Tomorrow. That film has, for years, spurred on discussions about climate change and whether Earth will freeze over or whether it’s all a bunch of alarmist nonsense.
Meanwhile, all the sensible people in the real world are somewhere in between, where the real science is happening.
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About a third of our health suffering is self-induced; it’s what we eat, drink, smoke and how we exercise. The Australian Health Survey from the Bureau of Statistics reveals a new gap which few have noted; the bush health gap.
Outer regional and remote Australians are 50% more likely to smoke, 28% more likely to drink dangerously and 20% more likely to binge. Thankfully, today’s ABS data shows that nationwide, smoking and drinking rates falling but the news isn’t so good on obesity.
Since the last health survey in 2007, Australia’s overweight and obesity rate climbed from 61% to over 63%. That represents each and every year, an additional 110,000 overweight Australians for our health system to manage. What is more disturbing how much worse the situation is in the bush. Urban obesity rates are 25% compared to 35% in remote areas. Add the overweight to bush obesity numbers and total ticks over 70%.
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Natural disasters can be horrific and Australians have suffered our fair share over the years. Australians generally have a big heart when it comes to large scale calamities and are often the first to reach into their pockets following disasters locally and around the world.
However the cold political reality is that a hurricane like the one battering the US East Coast is often the saviour political operators within the ranks of the incumbent party secretly hope for.
It’s not some cynical commenter’s view but rather a historical political fact. Times of civil upheaval on a local, national and often global level generally favour the incumbent.
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Did you notice the date? It’s Hallowe’en again, and the usual signs are out. It’s fascinated me for some years how Australians take this festival, and I finally had to put it out there - Hallowe’en seems to create more Grinches than goblins, ghouls or headless horsemen in this country. I wonder why. There seems no reason for it at all.
Last week I was in a nameless large department store in an unfashionable part of my home town, and saw a fairly half-hearted display of decorations, pumpkin-shaped loot sacks, childrens’ outfits and so on near the entrance. Goody, said I, just what I’m after, and proceeded to lay in a supply of scary trimmings.
As I was choosing Jack-o-Lantern-emblazoned battery lights and witches hats, a small boy and his father walked past, perhaps on their way to buy toiletries or stationery or motor oil. “Look, Dad, Hallowe’en,” said the nipper. The very typical Australian father (yes, a little tubby and sloppily dressed) didn’t break stride. He was on a mission to get whatever it was. “We don’t have Hallowe’en in Australia,” I heard as they disappeared.
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The Gillard government’s much-touted Australia in the Asian Century report is packed full of eye-popping statistics about the rise of Asia. Did you know, for example, that 80 million people played football in Asia in 2006 and that by 2020, this is expected to reach 380 million?
China is already the world’s biggest buyer of Rolls Royce cars. In the first decade of the 21st century, the number of cars per 100 urban households in China jumped from less than one to more than 18. There are now 80 computers per 100 households in China, up from eight. There are 60 microwave ovens, up from 16. And a whopping 200 mobiles, up from 16.
Are you excited about the Asian Century yet? Wait, there’s more.
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Thank god for the international horses. Some say they’ve ruined a great Australian institution. Fact is, they’ve saved it.
Last year, just one Australian horse finished in the top 10 in the Melbourne Cup. Its name was Niwot and it came eighth. The next Australian horse was Precedence in 11th spot, then The Verminator, in 13th. Between them, those three horses have since won just two of their 30 starts.
Clearly, our best local stayers are not world-beaters. They’re barely swift enough to be egg-beaters. This year’s local crop looks even weaker. Without the internationals, the 2012 Melbourne Cup would resemble a staying race at the bush picnic races.
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Despite a recent surge in the polls, Labor has a shrinking and ageing membership base and is in need of some rehabilitation.
And typical in a case of poor health, there are plenty of well-meaning spectators hovering around, googling treatment options and offering up advice.
“Just join up with the Greens” is a good one. After all, they have progressive policies. And isn’t it crazy for parties of the left to squabble in the face of the serious threat on the right?
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Housekeeping first. The winner of yesterday’s caption competition (regarding the Melbourne water spout) was Jim with his obvious but deliciously rude caption “Meh…this government blows harder.” Jim, you win glory.
In other news, today is hump day so here are a couple of humpback whales to help you feel humpier.
Heck, feel free to write a funny caption for this one too. What else is busting your hump today?
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Welcome to the modern world of TV news and our incredibly up-to-date coverage of this really big and terrible storm bearing down upon America’s north east coast.
This storm is so massive and awesomely destructive that we are reporting directly from the really exposed, dangerous bits of the flooded coastline with only our colourful jackets to protect us.
Never mind that our presence makes a mockery of evacuation orders for ordinary citizens. Never mind that our soggy reporters in the field can’t actually hear the news anchor, or that they could be swept away by the storm surge, or instantly sliced like crinkle cut chips by a piece of flying debris.
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