Australia Day and the “Too Difficult Basket” — A Proposal

For too long, we Australians have allowed an unsightly festering sore to blight the celebration of our nationhood. The day we Australians currently choose to celebrate as Australia Day has become known as “Invasion Day”. With good reason as well since the first settlers dispossessed the indigenous peoples of their land. Then disease carried by those settlers virtually wiped out the Gadigul people that lived there.

Skin in Both Sides of the Game

I believed myself a multi-generational, middle class, white Australian of British roots. Much like many of my fellow Australians when I was growing up in the Sutherland Shire in the ’60s and ’70s. I accepted and welcomed Australia Day on the 26th of January because it was the last holiday before the start of school or university.

Based upon a family history completed by my late Aunt I had believed that I had an indigenous great grandfather. Based upon this information, and because my Aunt’s family research had been reliable in every other way, I started identifying myself as being of indigenous heritage.

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Covid-19 Cases

Could Omicron’s “Sting in the Tail” Threaten Children?

a boy in white shirt holding green oxygen mask

Today Covid-19 cases were at record levels in all Australian States and Territories except for WA. For NSW, 11201 new cases were recorded today, demonstrating that the apparent levelling cases at around 6000, over the past few days, were an artefact of reduced collections and processing of results over the Christmas period. Indeed, there were likely more Covid-19 circulating over the holiday period than revealed by the published health data (especially in NSW).


Ever since the omicron variant started infecting students and young adults in Gauteng Province in South Africa, it has seemed to be too good to be true: a variant that is much more transmissible (so that it replaces the more dangerous delta variant) but of itself, produces mostly mild symptoms with fewer hospitalisations. Bur omicron is still Covid-19; it hasn’t magically transformed itself into some kind of more friendly disease.

Is this the sting in the tail of omicron?

Continue reading “Could Omicron’s “Sting in the Tail” Threaten Children?”

Covid-19 Cases

Record numbers of Covid-19 cases in Victoria, Queensland, South Australia and the ACT today. A Levelling of cases in NSW for the 2nd day in a row It’s still a holiday in Australia so cases numbers may be limited by testing centres and opening hours.

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What Happens After Omicron?

The sharp increase noted on Christmas Eve have stabilised somewhat in most States and Territories in Australia over the Christmas weekend though the increase observed increase on Boxing Day was a record for NSW since the pandemic began. The chart below shows the case numbers for Australia over the last month by State or Territory. Although most States showed modest increases these data may have been affected by long lines and more limited collections over the Christmas period. Indeed, many people have reported being turned away from getting tested at all.

Steep Increase in Covid-19 Omicron Cases

With days left before Christmas, there has been a vertical leap upwards in the cases of the Omicron variant: 5715 new cases in one day in New South West; 2005 new cases in Victoria; 484 in South Australia and 369 in Queensland. These are new cases and are recorded in one day. Now it’s important for me to add that a steep increase in base data is expected from overseas’s experience. There’s no reason for undue concern because of the evidence of milder symptoms for Omicron infections than for other variants of Covid-19, despite the sharp increase in transmissibility with Omicron.

The nearly vertical rise in case numbers can be seen from the chart below of cases versus the Month – Year of the pandemic (on the RHS of the chart).

Our Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, has been telling us for some weeks not to worry about case numbers because the nation has double-vaccination rates of near 90% or more. The Federal Government have been saying that

A Non-partisan View of the USA Elections 2020

In America, anyone can become president. That’s the problem. George Carlin

Vitriol and Cynicism

I don’t know why it was important to teach this in Australia, but as a schoolchild, in Sydney, in my early teens I was taught that: “anyone in America can become president.” It’s an enduring memory from my early 1970’s period of schooling. I don’t remember the context in which it was taught to me, possibly social studies, or maybe from a teacher on an exchange from the USA.

Anyone can grow up to be president” has been widely taught to generations of American schoolchildren but it’s always been a myth [1. 2]. You only need to look at the names of presidential candidates over the last few decades: Bush, George H.W. then Bush, George W.; and then Bush, Jeb made an unsuccessful run for president in the 2016 primaries; Clinton, Bill and then Clinton, Hillary (unsuccessfully); then Biden, Joe as Vice President and now Biden, Joe as a presidential candidate, and as I write, as likely President-elect.

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Time Loops in the Netflix “Dark” Series – Part 2

Roller coaster Ride. Photo by Stephen Hateley on Unsplash

I have written previously on the German Netflix production “Dark” (2017–20) in The Dossier. That earlier article considered how time travel paradoxes are fully embraced by the series Dark. This new article sets out the examine the other aspect of time travel that “Dark” deals with, namely, that of circular time. There is some Bonus Material available that discusses how the concept of circular time has been used in popular TV culture. 

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This article is available exclusively on It is a unique review that combines factual physics with a review of the sci-fi fictional TV series “Dark“. Part 1 of this series is available.

In “Dark” the concept of circular time is more advanced than is usually seen in TV and movie culture, Circlular time in Dark resembles the physics concept of closed time-like curves CTCs where the future communicates with the past and the past with the future. . CTCs are one of the weirdest concepts in all of physics .– and you thought that dark matter and dark energy were pretty weird.

Indeed, the late, great, Stephen Hawking offered the chronology protection conjecture which basically states that CTCs are just too weird. Therefore the universe must have a way of protecting itself from them.

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Bonus Material: Time Travel in Popular Culture

If you’re a fan of the Doctor Who TV series, you might have encountered nonlinear time before in the episode of “Blink” from the TV series Doctor Who (2007) with David Tennet as the 10th Doctor, stuck in 1969, talks to Sally Sparrow from 38 years into the future through a DVD recording, he says (video below):

People assume that time is a strict progression of cause to effect, but actually, from a nonlinear, non-subjective viewpoint, it’s more like a big ball of wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey… stuff. The 10th Doctor

Even though time is circular in this Doctor Who episode, it isn’t a causal loop. Despite the timey-wimey-ness, cause-and-effect still work the way we expect as viewers. The Doctor is able to recover his TARDIS, escape from being trapped in time, and resume his normal affairs as the beneficent Time Lord.

Fans of the Star Trek Next Generation franchise might remember the episode “Cause and Effect” from season 5, episode 18 (1992). In this episode, the USS Enterprise D of 2368 collides with the USS Bozeman, caught in a temporal anomaly, which displaces it from 2278 into a collision course with the Enterprise in a region of space known as the Typhon Expanse. The resultant explosion creates a causality loop whereupon it’s no longer possible to discern cause from effect: did the temporal anomaly cause the collision or did the collision cause the temporal anomaly? 

Furthermore, the Enterprise-D crew are apparently doomed to repeat the same time fragment, reliving over and over again the events that lead to the destruction of the Enterprise D and the crew’s deaths.

Somehow we’ve entered what seems to be a temporal causality loop. We think we’re stuck in a specific fragment in time and that we’ve been repeating that same fragment over and over. Lt Cdr Geordie La Forge (played by LeVar Burton)

Fortunately, for our Enterprise crew, their lives are constrained by the laws of movie-making, rather than the laws pf physics The causality loop in the Star Trek Next Generation universe is a plot device, serving as it does as a puzzle box that invites the audience to unravel the mystery alongside the actors on the screen. This has become a much-used device in modern film making.

The episode is resolved because Beverley Crusher, Jean Luc Picard and the crew all experience déjà vu and because android Data is able to send subatomic dekyon particles into the Expanse that his positronic brain will be able to decode on the next repeat of the time fragment. The dekyon particles provide a suitably deus ex machina ending, since they are an invention by the writer (Brannon Braga) for the sole purpose of being able to travel in time in causality loops!

Final Thoughts

Time travel in sci-fi popular culture, apart from providing a puzzle box, links the audience with a shared perception of the the most famous and beloved genius of an era: that of Albert Einstein [1]. A photo or caricature of Einstein is instantly recognisable by anyone from junior high school and above. Our shared recollection of the science revolution, initiated by Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, is one of those things distinguishes modern society from that which came before 1905. In the new post-Einstein millennium, to some small degree, we all feel a little smarter, and a little smugger, by dint of the genius of Einstein.

Media organisations, such as Netflix, unknowingly perhaps, trade on our shared consciousness of Einsteinian relativity. Though most of us wouldn’t claim to have anything but the shallowest idea of what relativity means. For instance, would you know the difference between special relativity and general relativity?


[1] John Horgan, Scientific American, “Why There Will Never Be Another Einstein,” published: Aug 23 2015, accessed 23 Aug 2020. Available online:

Time Travel in “Dark”: Embrace the Paradox

Promotional poster for the Netflix series “Dark” [1].

German Netflix series simply called “Dark” has been around since June 2017 (seasons 1 and 2) . The new season 3 has only recently become available. Watch out for the first scene in the first episode: a gruesome suicide by hanging which you might want to hit fast forward through. Very dark indeed. If you do fast forward don’t miss the short sequence in which the victim’s mother grabs the suicide note before anyone else can read it. The victim here is Michael Kahnwald and his mother is Ines. This whole scene, and the names of the characters, are pivotal to the whole story. We’ll return to the intrigue, setup by the first scene, after discussing some general comments about the time travel genre. Take the opportunity for a pause because “Dark” is a bumpy, head-spinning journey. (Edit: to be found in the continuation in Part 2).

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Is “Unprecedented Times” the Most Annoying New Cliché?

It was sometime in mid-March that I started to become aware of the phrase “unprecedented times” being used as a descriptive term for the COVID-19 pandemic. That’s only a few weeks ago but since the pandemic was announced by WHO (12th March), we seem to be living in a time-frame where one week feels like one-month pre-pandemic time.

I started to take notice of the phrase “unprecedented times” during the announcements by our Prime Minister Scott Morrison concerning the Job Keeper pandemic relief scheme on the 30th March. At the time I was impressed that the leadership of Australia was stepping up to the mark in making appropriate and well-timed responses to the pandemic  (see the YouTube video below).

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