The weblog of Steven Clark Thu, 21 May 2020 03:59:47 +0000 en-US hourly 1 The Secret to Human Success is Multiculturalism Thu, 21 May 2020 03:28:11 +0000 Back in the day, when I was an under-educated dipshit with right wing leanings, I would repeat a popular right wing mantra that multiculturalism has never worked. And I never questioned the logic, regardless that it came to me third hand in the way a cult tells itself a story of identity. I was a proud white man. The story fit my conclusions. White men were special. I hate to inform anybody of this one… but we’re not special at all. We’ve just had 200 years of might is right especially if it’s white.

So I thought writing an article about this mantra might be interesting… at least for those under-educated non-thinking right wing bigots who repeat that ignorant statement. Because it turns out that multiculturalism is what brought us out of the caves and into this crazy era of the Space Age homo sapien. Not DNA diversity, not bigger brains… the sharing of culture.

DNA Diversity is not the Secret of our Success

One group of people would have you believe that our genetic diversity is the reason for the homo sapien success story. Bollocks. Although we have this diversity of appearance that we as homo sapiens recognise in the finer details of faces … there is vastly more genetic difference between chimpanzees living on one side of a river to the other than there is between human beings around the planet.

幸运飞艇滚雪球计算器In simple English, homo sapiens are more alike around the World than chimpanzees that live locally. So, no, genetic diversity didn’t make us this successful. In fact, there was a point in our early history where one father can be linked to all males. All males on this planet are related. At a point where human beings on the planet were reduced to approximately one thousand survivors of a cataclysmic event.

Brain Size is not the Secret to our Success

I’ve bought into this one in the past because ignorance has a way of manifesting in plain sight. The biggest brain on the planet is the 8kg brain of the sperm whale… an elephant’s brain is around 5kg… and a bottle nosed dolphin has a brain bigger than a homo sapien at 1.5-1.7kg. Homo sapien brains weigh from 1.3-1.5kg.

It’s quite clear there are no evolutionary brain sized arguments for why sperm whale and elephants have not joined the space race. We’re quite unremarkable when you look at the brain size argument. And that’s where we come to culture.

Cultural Diversity & Multiculturalism made us Super Animals

What we do really well is culture. We aren’t that smart as individuals, but we share. We share between our families, our countrymen and our competitors. Civilisations constantly fed off the inventions and philosophies of neighbouring states and built upon those foundations.

If you think of how every culture invented a boat for different reasons. The boats we have now are a confluence of all that thought through all those iterations. One person takes what is known and adds onto that an iteration of improvement. We’re never satisfied. Then we share that improvement and another person has that next improvement to the design of boats.

Or food, or housing… or science. Where would we be without the number Zero, first recorded in Mesopatamia in 3 BC and Mayan culture in 4 AD? Zero reached Europe in the 1100s. Without zero there is no calculus and all these marvelous modern inventions that rely on zero would never have happened.

Consider how slow and backward an insular singular-culture civilisation would really pan out. You wouldn’t learn anything from your competitors… you wouldn’t learn to cook better food, make better boats, wage better wars, do better science.

My Passing Message to Opponents of Multiculturalism

This appears to be pretty obvious to me, but we don’t have greater genetic diversity or bigger brains… we share. We share culturally. This cultural diversity is what made Britain a great power, for example – the Vikings, the Normans, the Scots, the Welsh and the Irish… trade with Europe and Africa and being a melting pot of ideas. English itself is a trading language derived from German and finally coloured by Shakespeare to be the fitting descriptive juggernaut in today’s World. The real languages of Britain are Gaelic, Scots, Irish, Manx, Angloromani, Shelta, Cornish and Welsh.

I get tired of seeing the ignorance on banners and tshirts that somehow getting rid of The Other幸运飞艇滚雪球计算器 is going to make us better, stronger and smarter people. Diversity and multiculturalism are exactly how the human ape made it into space! A better sword, paper, glass… the building blocks of where we are today. No other animal on our planet has even made a first step along that road of discovery & invention. We’re smart across our species, but not very smart as individuals. Our capacity is magnified through this unique ability to share with strangers.

We share. We share across cultures. There isn’t another species on this planet that shares on the level that we share. And that, my friends, multiculturalism… is why we are the dominant species on this insignificant rock called Earth.

Surviving in the Age of Anti-Reality & the Rights of Internet Truthers Mon, 20 Apr 2020 00:51:16 +0000 幸运飞艇滚雪球计算器In some ways I’m an easy going guy in my middle age. The angry youth evolved into a very well educated version of the earlier self that I bet not a single soul from my distant past would recognise. I have a couple of University degrees, industry IT qualifications, and I’m reasonably well (and broadly) read. But I miss ignorance; if only because traversing through this modern information landscape is a loathsome chore. Better to be ignorant and ‘one of them’, than knowledgable.

To understand me you only really need to know the things that are core to my nature. Science. Language. Reason.

Being wrong is better than believing you are right. Being right is better than being wrong, of course. Not knowing the difference between where right and wrong are (the black box) makes me cringe inside, begging answers. And, if I say something that happens to be wrong, show me. It’s a due courtesy that facts should pass between human beings, rather than misinformation.

Misinformation is a pollution of our species. Why ever did we educate the masses only to reach this apex of ignorance and superstition?

Which begs the question: In this age of information highways and cloud based academia, how do so many people not get the facts correct? Or even know how to test the difference between truth and fiction?

For example, when it comes to any question of science at this point in time the very first step should be to visit Google Scholar. Peer reviewed academic papers available at your fingertips. There is simply no excuse. Rather, the thought bandwagons of popular media and Youtube personality weighs supreme in the mind of great swathes of society. Real science and research are often vilified. People no longer seem to understand what science is or how it works towards increasing understanding; the Scientific Method. So they consult the orb of the Internet. Populist pundits. Pseudo-scientists. Truthers and medicine men, all.

In my lifetime I have seen the world move from a respect for science to a position of anti-science. Anti-vaxers, 5G conspiracists, the science denialism of people in the face of global warming. Here are some facts… there is no evidence that wind farms will give you cancer, or mobile phones, or microwaves (the last 2 being non-ionising radiation). Fluoride is a benefit to society. Eat food, mostly vegetables, not too much. The truth is out there.

幸运飞艇滚雪球计算器The entire landscape of misinformation can just seriously get on a rocket into the sun and leave the rest of us here in the land of common sense. There are 2nd Amendment defenders in the United States protesting to be allowed to ignore a pandemic, for fuck sake. It makes me wonder where peak ignorance will be reached. Thermonuclear cultism? The President of the United States appears to be running a Jim Jones cult. But he “has all the best words”, he says. Oh, my fucking overeducated brain hurts.

幸运飞艇滚雪球计算器It’s fine to think I’m full of shit. But you have to understand where I’m coming from with this aversion to self-indulgent psuedo-intelligent populist bullshit that blankets our society. You, all of us, are sitting on this incredible rock spinning around a minor sun in the backwoods of forever. We fly around in metal tubes defying gravity; we communicate globally at little to no expense; at least one fifth of us are living the life that none of our ancestors have ever experienced, or few imagined. What an incredible time to be thinking.

But we’re not thinking. We’re watching crap and repeating crap and allowing crap to come out of other people simply because everyone has a right to promote the crap they’re thinking. Even when we have the simple free tools to correct these errors. People choose Infowars over investigative journalism. The World slowly moves away from democracy because we’ve bloodied it’s name with the untruths and injustices so badly there isn’t remaining faith in real truth and freedom. Parroting misinformation and flippant conspiracies is not freedom. It’s just stupid.

As a society, as a generalisation of who we are as a people, we no longer understand what science is about or where it should be taking us. As a society we’ve become the educated ignorant. The undeserving. The abundance of food and resources has fogged our brains. I’ve argued with professors at the University over their global warming denialism, for example. In business school. How does that even happen?

幸运飞艇滚雪球计算器Therefore, I raise a metaphorical glass to the Internet infrastructure upon which the World Wide Web promised to make us all smarter and better human beings. My survival pack is a basement of beer and no desire to be an old man in a rocking chair to witness the debacle of human potential devolve into idiocy. The idiots, my friends, are actually winning. Have won. Are at the helm. Reaming our arses with “alternate facts”. I raise a glass to that… our intellectual Titanic.

Graduation Day from the MBA program in 2010

Eugene Von Bruenchenhein & Evelyn Kalka (Marie) Tue, 10 Mar 2020 02:03:41 +0000 One of the most beautiful bodies of work a photographer can make is the one where his wife is his muse. I just adore the Harry Callahan photographs of his wife and muse Eleanor made over 50 years and the work of Alfred Steiglitz around Georgia O’Keeffe. There is a long tradition of artist and muse; wife as muse. This is where I approach the gorgeous photographs of Eugene Von Bruenchenhein (1910-1983) and Marie.

The man was an interesting self-taught American outsider artist from Wisconsin spanning over 40 years of creativity across the genres of poetry, more than a thousand post-apocalyptic landscape paintings, drawings, hundreds of sculptures幸运飞艇滚雪球计算器 made of chicken bones, ceramic and cement and thousands of intimate photographs of his wife and muse, Marie.

幸运飞艇滚雪球计算器Evelyn Kalka met Eugene Von Bruenchenhein in 1939. She was 19 years old, he was 29 years old. They married three years later. Marie was a name apparently taken on by Evelyn in honour of Eugene’s favourite aunt. In their small bungalow they created an artistic reality that was overshadowed by real poverty. Inside their bungalow he created art that wasn’t recognised until after his death. This art included the thousands of photographs of his wife, Marie.

That’s exactly what I love about the wife as muse work of Eugene Von Bruenchenhein and how it played a part in the larger stage of his private reality of personal creativity inside that bungalow.

At some point he began posing Marie in jewels and costumes, semi-nude or stripped down to her panties, often set against patterned-fabric backdrops, to shoot his own black-and-white girlie pix. He processed his film in a darkroom in the couple’s bathroom; sometimes Marie hand-tinted the prints that showed her looking past the camera or sometimes staring directly but absently into its inquisitive lens.Edward M. Gomez, An Artist Couple’s Domestic Gesamtkunstwerk

I guess what I’m saying is that there are erotic pictures and there are erotic pictures. Some are for the sake of stimulation or fantasy. Others are about shape, form, texture, lighting… or worship of femininity. Some are exploitative. Others, in contrast, are empowering nude photographs. Context, in my opinion, is everything. These are pictures of bodies. But when the context is the obsession and love for another human being in the form of a wife as muse I just find them extremely compelling beyond the beauty of the photographs themselves. And as human beings, we’re driven by story so it shouldn’t surprise anybody that this type of story is important to us.

It’s only recently that I’ve discovered the work of this creative powerhouse and the story of Marie. It rivals the work and story behind the photographs of Carlo Mollino, for example… or Monsieur X幸运飞艇滚雪球计算器. Were his pictures of Marie meant for private viewing? Or had they been all along destined in his undiscovered artistic landscape to be a phenomenal work to be revealed after his eventual death? It appears creativity drove the artist; perhaps he’d have been perfectly happy to have them overlooked, having served their purpose.

If one were to be the sort of person to leave an artistic legacy behind I couldn’t think of anything grander than the collaboration between this loving couple. The book Eugene Von Bruenchenhein – King of Lesser Lands edited by Phillip March Jones would be a worthy addition to any photography book collection.




Eugene von Bruenchenhein self portrait

The Importance of Competitive Advantage Fri, 14 Feb 2020 00:47:50 +0000 幸运飞艇滚雪球计算器As an otherwise idle MBA (Master of Business Administration) there are a lot of times where I hear business plans and see business ventures that make me wonder whether the people involved actually understand the idea of going into business. Most businesses fail. But most businesses fail because they don’t have a business plan or a marketing plan. And I’d add that they need to keep these as Live Documents (continually amended in real time to reflect the changing business environment).

幸运飞艇滚雪球计算器Boring stuff, I know. Who really wants to spend all that time and effort running a business with paperwork. Live documents, phooey. I hear you. My answer… well, a business that wants to compete, survive and prosper. Otherwise, you’re correct… what a waste of energy.

One step in that direction for a business is to sit down and seriously ask yourself what your product/service offers customers. I mean, what does it really offer them above your competitors? What is your Competitive Advantage? Why you and your product/service, instead of your competitor?

幸运飞艇滚雪球计算器As an ad-hoc example, you’re opening a coffee shop in a small town. You should have an idea of the pie of money you’ll be trying to compete for a share of from your competitors; you seriously don’t think opening a new coffee shop in a crowded market is going to invent new customers out of thin air. No. You intend to steal your customers from the existing market. By being better.

幸运飞艇滚雪球计算器So first you have to figure out with brutal honesty what advantage to customers you offer; who exactly you are chasing as a target market; and who your competition would be in real terms. By competition it means anyone your target market could go to instead of you. Not just for coffee, either; I mean anyone who could serve their needs at the time. You need to be able to concisely say those three things in a single statement – your business advantage to customers, your target market and your real market competitors.

幸运飞艇滚雪球计算器Of course, at this point you’re wondering how your business might gain this competitive advantage? Because, after all, nailing this question of competitive advantage also means you can charge a premium price and increase profit margins.

  1. Cost leadership – provide better value by driving down consumer costs
  2. Differentiation – better service, higher quality, faster delivery, more features, innovation, personalisation, building relationships
  3. Focus – know your target market and how to meet their specific needs better than competitors

As a word of caution… cost leadership is about keeping consumer costs down; but don’t actively compete on cost unless it’s a last resort. It can lead to a race to the bottom (price war). Wherever possible try to compete on differentation which offers potentially higher rewards.

幸运飞艇滚雪球计算器It feeds back into this idea of keeping Live Documents (business and marketing plans) that evolve with changes in the business environment. Where you watch your competitors come and go and adjust your strategies over time to maintain a competitive advantage. Find a niche, serve it well. Make it very difficult for somebody to come and out-serve your target market.

Yes, I know it’s all boring business stuff but a hell of a lot of people out there are actually in business. And so it should matter to you that your competitors may be pursuing this strategy against your business. In fact, if you have trouble articulating that sentence – what you offer to exactly what target market and against what competition, then maybe you should reconsider your new business venture.

幸运飞艇滚雪球计算器Sometimes a business plan or a simple exercise like this can also show you what businesses are not so wise to embark on if you want to succeed over the long term. And it surely beats the crap shoot of flying blind in the hope that your idea flies on it’s own.




Eugene von Bruenchenhein self portrait

Three Almost Random Vernacular Photographs Fri, 10 Jan 2020 07:40:48 +0000 幸运飞艇滚雪球计算器I’ve always been an admirer of vernacular photography. That being defined as travel and vacation photos, family snapshots, photos of friends, class portraits, identification photographs, and photo-booth images. Photography by the people and for the people, you might say. And, as I’ve aged, the power of this genre of photography has done nothing but be further enhanced by my own stories over time. After all, 90 percent of what we see in a photograph is what we bring to it as the viewer.

The first example (below) is a 1970s photograph of someone I knew rather well in an on/off roundabout villainous manner. On one occasion, totally randomly, on the day I was discharged from the Royal Australian Navy I sat on the plane beside this guy. He just had this way of popping up in my youth. Robert Jeffries died in, if I remember correctly, late 1993 along with someone else I knew quite well back in the day… so he’s long left the earth. Therefore I won’t talk about his villainy. That can rest.

Needless to say this photograph of Rob with a girl named Sylvia Skell (also deceased) is taken on the foreshore of the area of Northern Tasmanian coastline where I grew from a child to an adult. Within this vernacular photograph I can smell and feel the wind (drunken and sober); I have layered memories of these people across time; it’s much like Rebecca Solnit described in River of Shadows as the capture of space and time in a two dimensional frame. For me, at least, this is a powerful photograph.

幸运飞艇滚雪球计算器The second photograph is a 1926 vernacular snapshot of a local guy named John Scott in 1926 with two of his friends at Christmas. They’re obviously enjoying a Summer’s day in his Austin Seven outside the Low Head shop. The country shop near the house that I grew up in and the shop where so many adventures of my youth began and ended. Again, I bring a lot of that to the photograph as the viewer.

The third photograph is a young guy named Graeme Payne on the last day of our High School year on the fence near the entrance to George Town High School. Graeme was a friend and fellow member of the George Town Boxing Club. The photograph was made by Allan Mills, another friend. Allan’s father was Des Mills, our boxing trainer. The textured invocations of a photograph can resound through space and time as much as the photograph is a time machine.

As I said in the beginning, vernacular photography is by the people for the people. Imagine how much things have changed for the average person since the introduction of photography. You can see your grandparents. People don’t just disappear anymore. Jethro and Sylvia are there, in the time machine. Captured in two dimensional record. And in earlier times the only people who had their faces remembered were the rich – the painted portrait.

I think we forget how amazing and unusual in human history these things around us might be. The camera. The aeroplane. The television and Internet. Warm beds, hygeine. Medicine. We live in the age of magic things. Complexities are abstracted away so that we can drive on highways and fly across continents. We can capture the images of our friends and families throughout their lives with our time machines, called cameras.

So, yes, I’m a big fan of vernacular photography. It’s given us an ongoing picture of the wider World that never existed in the minds of ordinary folk like ourselves. We live in the age of magic.

2020 Won’t be the Year we Fix Everything Wed, 01 Jan 2020 22:16:40 +0000 I know people seem to think the catastrophic fires in Australa, the depleting habitat, weather changes and all that shit are going to make a huge difference this decade. I’m sorry, but I don’t have that faith in human beings. We’re going to ride this pony to the end and then some. Most people just want to buy stuff. It’s as simple as that.

How’s that for a negative New Year’s post? And I mean it. Nobody wants to stop having all their stuff. And for as little as possible. Meanwhile, governments fed by lobby groups and companies are getting away with murder and will continue to do so while they all guffaw about the infinite riches of a never-ending consumption driven global economy.

幸运飞艇滚雪球计算器Probably the biggest thing we could do to stop things at this point would be to shut down the Internet. And ban shipping containers. Those two things (computing & standardised form-factor distribution) have been the drivers behind the post-1970s phase of globalisation that sees more business done in a day than was achieved in a single year of the 1960s.

The great driver of our problems, after all… is consumption.

幸运飞艇滚雪球计算器Hmmm… another thing we could try to overcome is our exceptionalism. As a species. As nations. This idea that we’re above the animals and that God is looking over us. We’re a Doomsday Cult. And, having been raised in the Cult, we’re unable to see the major road out of the disaster is to NO LONGER be in the Cult. To buy out of consumerism. To redefine what a corporation is, can do and can be held responsible for committing as a limited person under Law.

Hey, I’m like all the rest of you. I love my booze and coffee and I have a wardrobe of shirts. I have about 35 shirts on coat hangers in my wardrobe (bought second hand as castaways). I use international shipping. I go on holidays. I’m a mass consumer. But I have no children. And it’s the next Century that’s going to see this shit really hit the fan with the human species – billions of people fighting for less water on less land with bigger badder guns behind them.

幸运飞艇滚雪球计算器So, holy fuck… I’m glad that I got to live in the most privileged few generations of human history. We consumed the resources that stood idle for millenia. BAM. Polluted the oceans that ran clean and protein rich for the same amount of forever. And, we trained our young to not only believe it’s their turn to eat at the trough of mass consumerism… we’ve let them inherit our exceptionalism.

I mean, how fucking crazy is it to look in at a Cult and see that kind of behaviour?!

If for one second you think you’re the individual who is going to buy out of consumerism on any meaningful level then you are the extreme rare bird. Your nation certainly won’t… you’re global competitors certainly won’t stop. And there’s no planet B, as they say. At least, not for the 99.99% of us who aren’t billionaire miners, industrialists and politically connected.

幸运飞艇滚雪球计算器And I can’t say that our species doesn’t deserve what’s coming. We do. Enjoy the 2020s in style, I say. Pour me another rum. The fires will be worse next year, as will the storms and droughts. And the year after and the one after that. Look at our consumerism in action. It’s our World, not the Cult’s World. And certainly not some errant petty God’s World.

self portrait

Radical Brewing (Book Review) Mon, 18 Nov 2019 03:21:44 +0000 Radical Brewing by Randy Mosher

The full title of this book is Radical Brewing: Recipes, Tales & World-Altering Meditations in a Glass by Randy Mosher. That’s quite a mouthful of both title and subject if you’re looking for some reasonably heavy reading on the subject of your favourite pastime – making and consuming beer. This book starts on a very basic level discussing the nature of beer and it’s history, but rapidly progresses into and beyond where you might be comfortable as a brewer. The short review of this one would be that you should buy it, put it on your office shelf and refer to it often. It’s full of good information about … beer.

Think of this one as a lifetime worth of brewing tips from Mosher’s vast experience brewing, teaching, authoring, speaking and consulting about brewing beer. This book also has 90 recipes that range from the most basic brews right into the realms of what made you even think of making that? If you can think of a spice, fruit, adjunct sugar or grain, then it’s pretty well going to be covered in one of the recipes Mosher throws into these pages. And if it isn’t in the book, you can certainly take radical brewing ideas and see if you can make that new exciting idea a reality.

Recipe design, ingredients, brewing process, fermentation conditions (yeast choice, temperature, PH, hop additions and tinctures), flavour balance and conflict. The simple reality of making all grain beer is that it’s an ongoing chemistry experiment. Anybody can make beer, but making great beer is extremely challenging.

Three or four of those recipes will hopefully make it into my fermenters over the next twelve months, too. And what I’ve mostly taken away from Mosher’s work is to not be afraid of the unknown. Do it, taste it… repeat and improve as necessary. There really are no rules in making beer. Well, beyond the basics of any chemistry experiment that can go well or fail. Because once you do have your processes as a brewer nailed then you can venture along a broad path of making things that can be quite unusual. Beers you could never buy commercially.

This is one of those books that pull at your brain in a million little ways when you try to get to sleep at night. I probably read this over a couple of months in digestible pieces. It’s not a big fat weekend meal, so much as a great coffee table book for brewers to read and re-read along our own journeys.

幸运飞艇滚雪球计算器I’m not going to pseudo-babble my way around the art and creativity of brewing beer… but this one is probably my favourite brewing book, to date. And, no, there are no rules in brewing. Follow your tongue.

The National Clamour to Build more Prison Beds Tue, 29 Oct 2019 00:47:43 +0000 The current conversation around the proposed (or inevitable) new Tasmanian prison to be built at Westbury has one hell of an elephant in the room – Australians demand more people to be held in custody (with and without conviction) for longer periods of time and with ever greater security investment. That is (a) expensive, and (b) spiralling. In short, some town has to get that new prison and it looks like Westbury.

The Rising Tide of Incarceration Rates in Australia

幸运飞艇滚雪球计算器Three snapshots from the Australian Bureau of Statistics tell the story of incarceration rates. There has been a dramatic rise in the number of prisoners, both sentenced and on remand. That means overcrowding and then ultimately beds. Beds requires a greater investment in prison infrastructure and ongoing costs of running those institutions. You can see where this goes.

Snapshot 2000

There has been a 32% increase in the adult imprisonment rate, from 112 to 148 prisoners per 100,000 adult population, during the 10 years from 1990 to 2000, according to figures released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

The increase in the adult imprisonment rate between 1999 and 2000 was 2%. Australia’s prisoner population has increased by 52% since 1990 to reach 21,714 people as at 30 June 2000 (the increase between 1999 and 2000 was less than 1%).Australian Bureau of Statistics

If you read that correctly. In the decade from 1990-2000 the prison population in Australia increased by 52%. It later says that 17% of the total prisoner population was on remand (neither tried or convicted of their offences).

Snapshot 2008

At 30 June 2008 there were 27,615 prisoners幸运飞艇滚雪球计算器 (sentenced and unsentenced) in Australian prisons, an increase of 1% (391 prisoners) since 30 June 2007. This represented an imprisonment rate of 169 prisoners per 100,000 adult population. The median aggregate sentence length for all prisoners was three years.

Unsentenced prisoners comprised 23% (6,340) of the total prisoner population, an increase of 4% (244 prisoners) from 30 June 2007.Australian Bureau of Statistics

Snapshot 2019

In the June quarter 2019, the average daily number of prisoners in Australia was 43,306 compared with 43,320 in the March quarter 2019.Australian Bureau of Statistics

幸运飞艇滚雪球计算器If you are following, those three snapshots explain that over 19 years the number of prisoners in Australia has risen from 21,000 human beings to a whopping (and growing) 43,000 human beings.

Take into Account a Rising Population & Other Variables

In 2000 the population in Australia was 19.15 million. In 2008 the population was 21.25 million. The 2019 population of Australia is 25.2 million. If you want to point to the rising population rate of Australia to explain the greater incarceration rate then you need to look again. That is not why our prisons are getting fuller.

Better policing doesn’t explain it, either. Yes, more people are being caught for crime for which they would have earlier not been caught. Including historical cases. But that’s not filling our prison systems all by itself. The homicide rate continues to decline, as does the armed robbery rate. The great increase is for illicit drug offences and sexual assault and related offences (63% of the national increase in prison population). But, still, that’s only about bums going in the door and a large proportion fall under the War on Drugs.

幸运飞艇滚雪球计算器You might also notice on that previous linked-to page that the proportion of unsentenced prisoners in custody is rising in relation to sentenced prisoners. If prison populations are rising and the proportion of unsentenced to sentenced prisoners is increasing then we have another problem – we’re locking up more and more people without trial or conviction. Most likely, the poor who can’t make bail. Courts are remanding prisoners into custody at a rate faster than the rate of sentenced prisoners within the prison system.

And then we have the Perfect Storm

幸运飞艇滚雪球计算器We have a kind of perfect storm for prisons at the moment. Underpinning the problem was a removal of nearly all remissions for good behaviour during the 1990s. Previously, most prisoners with longer sentences were being released years before their court sentence end date. In most cases this was automatic. Australians, finding this counter-intuitive and egged-on by media and political lobbying, demanded longer sentences. Ignoring, of course, the fact that sentencing courts were aware of remissions and sentenced accordingly. So, Australia, every prisoner who does not leave early with remissions continues to occupy a bed for those months or years.

Then we demanded that parole be more difficult to achieve. Rather than having the common sense to see that parole is an assisted living avenue for prisoners likely to reoffend (a rehabilitative role of Justice) that addresses recidivism to some degree, parole was relegated to replace in many ways the good behaviour remissions system. So bad prisoners no longer get paroled. Which is an extremely naive idea. These prisoners are also remaining in custody taking up a bed.

And we have impacts on prison populations from a national housing crisis. If you are released from prison into homelessness, the clothes on your back and a dole cheque the day you hit the streets (with half a dole check the following fortnight) directly feed into the recidivism rate. If your sentence is longer, you cannot be paroled into homelessness. Again, more beds where prisoners languish.

I’d also add into that mixing pot the very real impact on recidivism resulting from mandatory police checks on most jobs (and nowadays rental contracts) that lock an awful lot of otherwise free people into poverty cycles and homelessness. If 43,000 people are currently in Australian prisons AND about 50,000 face court every year, and all those people accumulate over decades into unemployability (that we pay Centrelink to police)… you are going to need new prisons. That’s poverty 101.

幸运飞艇滚雪球计算器And, back to Westbury and that new prison they don’t want, someone is going to wake up more often as time goes on with another new prison outside their town. Yes, it’s employment for the win. Yes, it’s going to devalue your assets for the lose. But you demanded it. Over and over. Publicly and privately. Until we change how we look at and view crime and prisons there will be more new prisons.

The Jiggler Siphon from (Product Review) Thu, 10 Oct 2019 00:08:16 +0000 I’ve been around the block enough to have known better about the promises of the Jiggler Siphon from And I’m sure in the lizard brain at the back of my head there was a screaming question about the design. That being said, 20+ litres of perfectly good Dusseldorf Altbier had to be poured onto the garden as a direct result of the Jiggler Siphon. Not a good result for a homebrewer’s $50 purchase. In short, I’d suggest it’s not fit for the purposes advertised on their website. Don’t buy it.

The Jiggler Siphon in a Nutshell

The Jiggler Siphon is an extremely high quality 304 stainless steel tube used for racking booze from a fermenter into a bottling bucket or keg. It’s BPA free, robust and, stated on their web page, sold for the purpose of “siphoning out of a carboy, demijohn or bucket or FermZilla.”

The business end of the racking siphon is an efficient mechanism that can be broken into five small parts for easy cleaning – two pieces of tubular casing, an o-ring, a spring and a small glass marble. The idea is that putting the cane together with this assembly allows you to shake the wand a few times to start the siphon. The action of the marble against the spring begins the pumping action.

幸运飞艇滚雪球计算器The advertisement also promises this will last for a lifetime. Well, that’s if you don’t lose, break or wear out that o-ring, the spring or the marble, I guess.

The Bottling Day where the Jiggler Ruined my Altbier

幸运飞艇滚雪球计算器The Dussuldorf Altbier spent two-to-three weeks fermenting and another four weeks at 1-2 Celcius in the lagering fridge. It was a well made beer by any standard.

Having never used the Jiggler Siphon it hadn’t occurred to me how strong this flow through the base of the siphon wand would become. So, at first, I was pleasantly astonished at the flow rate of super clean lagered beer filling into the bottling bucket. Although it was difficult keeping the heavy tool confidently still in the beer. This, in itself, proved to be a critical distraction.

Then, at around the 15 litre mark and a good six inches above the trub, suddenly a huge rush of trub spewed into the bottling bucket. The beer was done. You might as well have thrown a handful of flour into the bucket at that point. I’ve been racking mead, cider, wine and beer for a decade. Nothing has been so rubbish at racking the bottom quarter of a fermenter as the Jiggler Siphon.

The Design Issues that need to be Addressed

The Jiggler Siphon is a good idea. The mechanism has been around for some time when it comes to siphoning petrol. However, should understand enough about racking canes to be aware of the inherent flaws in this one. So I won’t bag on about it except to suggest:

  1. Direct suction in the downward direction of the yeast is catastrophic – at force, it is inevitable that the beer will be contaminated by trub. Racking siphons usually have a cap that redirects flow to be from the upward direction. A good cane can be sat almost directly on the trub and still maintain reasonable clarity of the siphoned liquid;
  2. The Jiggler Siphon is hand held – obviously, other canes exist that clip to the side of a fermenter or carboy for stability and control… this product needs such a clip; and
  3. The team need to use it on their own beer to ensure it is fit for purpose before selling it to the public. Simple.

幸运飞艇滚雪球计算器Note: the one major unfixable flaw of this design is the jiggler action: the ball vibrates constantly at a high velocity during the siphoning process. Usually, a racking siphon, once activated, is a gravity fed system with no mechanical ambient internal activity. That alone is enough to say it would not be a great choice for siphoning beer because it increases oxidation more than other siphons.

Customer Response from was Unsatisfactory

In contrast to another supplier that I regularly use… basically told me that I shouldn’t be racking beer into a bucket. I won’t go into the rest of their kegging advice幸运飞艇滚雪球计算器, but I had the feeling I was being dismissed and upsold while being told my design criticisms would be looked into.

Their website advertisement for this product states:

Forget about fermenter taps and use a siphon. Threaded fermenter taps are hard to clean and sanitise so having a fermenter without a tap is often the best choice, and to get the beverage out of the fermenter without a tap this siphon is the natural

What the Jiggler Siphon is not Suitable to Achieve

幸运飞艇滚雪球计算器So, the question becomes whether or not the Jiggler Siphon in the current form is fit for the purposes advertised on that page? The answer is clearly no. If you stick that siphon into a carboy and shake as described you will either leave 1/4 of the beer unsiphoned OR get huge amounts of trub contamination. I would not consider leaving 5 litres of beer out of 20 litres on top of the trub to be a satisfactory outcome.

Yes, I use a 30 litre plastic fermenter… a common home brewer’s piece of kit. Racking from a Fermzilla or similar fermenter with a dome base might be another story. I don’t have one, so good luck if it works for you in that environment.

幸运飞艇滚雪球计算器The Jiggler Siphon cost me $50 delivered, about $50 of beer resources to produce the altbier, and my brew day to bottling day effort. As I said, 20+ litres of beer went to the garden. Ruined. And, yes, I should have known better.

What it would be good for is siphoning from the kettle to the fermenter on brew day. But that’s a much smaller market. I won’t buy any products from into the future because they sold me crap and acted like it was a flippant complaint. No, the product is NOT fit for purpose, end of story. Don’t buy one if you’re tempted by that video. Note that it’s a video of them siphoning clean water, not an entire batch of beer off a yeast cake. Buyer beware on this one… they won’t want to know you if you have a complaint.

Advice on being in the Business of Making Beer Mon, 07 Oct 2019 02:18:00 +0000 In a recent Facebook post on a local independent craft brewery website there was content about a certain beer style that I really love. A style they produce and sell in bottles. So I commented and asked for information about where to buy their bottles. Two weeks later you can still hear the crickets.

Yes, it made my expensive fancy MBA sigh. Businesses often disappoint me for getting the easy things completely wrong.

The sad truth, whatever the product or service, is that running a business is entirely unlike what the business does for a living. Being a great beer maker doesn’t mean you’re a great business person. It doesn’t make you a financial wizard, a marketing magician or a strategy guru. You make great beer. Nothing more, nothing less.

幸运飞艇滚雪球计算器And in a fair and just universe that would be enough. Right? You make the greatest beer of anybody and the people come to pay you for the privilege of imbibing the nectar from your fermentation tanks.

Only, it’s a not a fair and just universe. You need to consider the benefit of maintaining live and effective strategic business plans and business marketing documents. How are you going to get a slice of that pie? How are you going to compete? How are your competitors achieving their goals? In the words of a lecturer I had at business school… “imagine the people have your money in their pockets – how do you convince them to give it back?”

This is why I find it so disappointing to see a local independent craft brewery fall over on the simplest level of customer communication. If you don’t want to interact… don’t go onto social media. In fact, if your business had a codified e-marketing strategy you would be reading a line in there that says something like “all interactions on social media must be responded to within 24 hours”. This is an important document because it dictates the procedures required for achieving your SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, timely) goals in marketing your products.

One trouble with small business is they pretty much never feel like they’re broken until the doors are being closed on them. If you don’t have these plans and measurable goals – if you don’t have good management – then you can’t see the cliff coming because that lack of research will leave you blind. Or, at least, heavily blinkered and hobbled by ignorance.

幸运飞艇滚雪球计算器You would think that people investing so much expense and effort into a highly competitive (and not entirely lucrative) space would really want to be on their toes when it comes to fighting for a share of that pie.

I’d suggest this local independent craft brewery stop thinking about beer as fine art. It’s fundamentally a business. Make good beer… but don’t forget for a minute why you moved from home brewer to pro-brewer and how that affects things like paying your rent and putting food on the table at home. You’re in business.