Monday, December 06, 2010


Not a lot of time this morning. Winton raised a question in comments on Problems with public-private partnerships that started another thread of thought that just wanted to record. In essence, what are the behavioural implications of public-private partnerships as compared to other forms of borrowing,

Deborah Smith's piece in the Sydney Morning Herald Cold water is poured on Aboriginal burnoff culture is something that I want to come back to because it the topic interests me wearing my historian's hat. 

An international team of scientists led by Scott Mooney, of the University of NSW, analysed results from more than 220 sites in Australasia dating back 70,000 years, the most comprehensive survey so far.

Dr Mooney said their findings challenged a widely held view that frequent use of fire by Aborigines had had a big impact on vegetation and the environment in prehistoric times. Instead, it was the arrival of European colonists more than 200 years ago that led to a substantial increase in fires, the study showed.

''We've put the firestick in the wrong hands,'' Dr Mooney said. ''The firestick shouldn't be in Aboriginal people's hands. It's really a European thing.''

I would have expected the evidence to show an increase in fires after the arrival of the Europeans, but for other reasons almost directly opposite to the type of arguments that Dr Mooney seems to be suggesting. I must try to tease that out at some point. I don't presently have access to the journal in question, but I would be interested to look at the analysis.

Ramana is still off-line. Son Ranjan reports in Message from Ranjan that he has been forced to take comments off-line. We miss you, Ramana. Get well soon.

Thomas has finally finished University, while Neil pops in and out of Sydney -  Crown Street Surry Hills is still there….

I have shifted directions back to a few professional preoccupations. More on that later.

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