I WAS AN ANONYMOUS SPERM DONOR. WILL I NOW BE EXPOSED?

In the early 1980s, a friend told me that there was a shortage of sperm available for women in the new IVF programs. He encouraged me to be a sperm donor.  He thought I had a desirable background, coming from a well-balanced family, being physically healthy and intelligent.  He explained the process, how easy it was, how anonymous it was.  My wife and I discussed it. By offering to be a donor, my sperm count would be checked and my fertility assessed.  As we wanted to have children, this knowledge seemed a good side benefit.  I was willing, but anxious about the potential personal embarrassment of the process.  My wife encouraged me, both for our benefit and also to possibly help other women who couldn’t have children.  I was very clear that I wanted to be anonymous.  If some unknown woman or women benefitted, great for them.  I volunteered.Read More »

‘BAD‘ INVESTMENTS REVISITED: $1 TRILLION ON DEFENCE???

Recently I wrote about ‘bad’ investments (‘Budgets, deficits and good and bad investments’). Yesterday the government announced a ‘commitment’ to increase defence spending to 2% of GDP (who said this was a good number? What is the ‘ right’ percentage for education, or health??), to build or buy 12 submarines ($150 billion!) and that defence spending would reach $1 trillion (yes that’s right) in 20 years (whenever that is).

These are classic examples of ‘ bad’ investments and also classic examples of poor information – a adding years of expenditure to get an attractive communications number that is, essentially, meaningless – do we add any other expenditure category for 20 years? And what chance is there that governments will adhere to these ‘decisions’ over the next 20 years without change? Answer:  None.Read More »

SENATE VOTING REFORM AND DEMOCRACY

Oh dear! On the one hand, I believe that, for more representative democracy, Senate voting should be reformed, so that it better represents proportionally the wishes of voters.  On the other hand, I’ve loved the free thinking, compromises and constructive solutions proposed by the wild collection of independent senators we currently have, few of whom should ever have been elected and few of whom will survive the proposed voting reform.  I like the crazy bunch of non-major party senators, even though they are unrepresentative.  They have stopped a lot of stupid government proposals (from both major parties).Read More »

UNIVERSITIES ARE LOSING OUT IN THE EDUCATION INDUSTRY

As a former university Professor I hate to say it, but universities are being outcompeted on education in terms of teaching and learning.  Like sailing ships before steam, like publishing before the internet, hamstrung by their philosophy and methodology, they are blind as the new education industry expands rapidly all around them.  Their future is limited, but they don’t seem to see it yet.Read More »

FOOD NARCISSISM: WE’VE LOST THE PLOT

 

Looked through the guide to good restaurants the other day to find a place with food I’d like to eat. Randomly, I found gremolata-speckled turnip ribbons, fried caciocavallo and pickled eggplant, tarragon-flecked Parisienne gnocchi with salt-baked celeriac, sweet buns with tom crab and Thai basil mayo and much more!  In fact there was hardly any dish that was recognisable.  It’s clear that, to succeed, restaurants have to offer outlandish ‘innovative’ food that, frankly, you really never wanted to eat!  And you’ll pay $35 or more for a main, which probably needs sides to be added to constitute a balanced dish.  What’s happening, people?  Our society has lost the plot on food.Read More »

GOVERNMENT BUDGETS, ‘DEFICITS’ AND ‘GOOD’ AND ‘BAD’ INVESTMENTS

‘The government budget deficit’ is a phrase that has become embedded in our mind, as a ‘bad’ thing. You can’t spend more than you earn.  But we have a completely illogical way of looking at government spending.  some government spending is ‘good’ and some is ‘bad’.  And the stated ‘deficit’ which results from the total is a figment of someone’s imagination, designed to communicate a perception, but not the truth.  Let me explain, in non-economic language!Read More »

THE VALUE OF GREEN (TREES) IS UNDERRATED

When I see a denuded house block, a new planning subdivision, a city with buildings but no greenery, I don’t see ‘progress’. I don’t feel good.  I feel alienated, cold, repelled.  Yet, seeing the same house block or subdivision two years, later with rapidly growing green trees softening the appearance of the new building or the subdivision, breaking up the rigid verticals of the constructed houses, or a similar city with trees along the footpaths, I have a completely different feeling.  I feel softer, warmer, welcomed, relaxed, even happy.Read More »