Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Art, pop music & a dash of fracking

A brief tour this morning.

From time to time I have referred to Will Owen's blog, Aboriginal Art & Culture: an American Eye. In American Eyes on Aboriginal Art, Will reports on an exhibition at the Hood Museum on contemporary Aboriginal art. It includes a video of Will introducing the exhibition, as well as other visual material. Will's talk is quite long, but very good.

On the Lowy Institute blog, Monday linkage: Black Swans, Gangnam Style, drones, manufacturing and more includes video clip of Korean pop star PSY (Gangnam Style) talking to the Oxford Union.

Over on Club Troppo, Paul Frijters makes some back of envelope estimates about the proportion of Federal Government money that gets into teaching or research. The post title provides the answer: The university coalface gets 28 cents in the dollar! The dreadful thing is that he could well be right.

Here in Australia, shale oil or gas and the associated process of fracking are highly controversial, especially along the coal belt in Northern NSW and Southern/Central Queensland. That in combination with mining launched the Lock the Gate Movement. The US film Gasland was widely toured across the affected areas.

One of the things that I have been reading about with interest but haven't commented on is the industrial transformation that appears to have been taking place in the US as a consequence of the rise of the shale oil and gas industry. I have been suspicious of some of the analysis I've seen, but it does seem that an industrial revolution has been taking place.  The latest International Energy Agency World Energy Outlook comments that the extraordinary growth in oil and natural gas output in the United States will mean a sea-change in global energy flows. Australia's BHP has a significant stake in the US industry.

Meantime, Demography Matters On the Albertan advantage over the United States, provides an interesting insight into the Canadian experience.

The geo-political implications of all this are interesting in general and from an Australian perspective. The growing prospect of US self-sufficiency in oil and gas changes Middle East dynamics, while Australia's now very high costs of capital investment and production means that the country shouldn't count on too many golden eggs.


In a very short post on another of my blogs (Australia in the Pacific century), I wondered about the implications of the US's growing engagement with Asia. It's interesting because Australian thinking looks to the north in a strait Asian line. Where does this country fit in if the US engagement with Asia leads to a Pacific rather than Asian century? 

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