September 25 - October 1, 2022: Issue 556

Our Youth page is for young people aged 13+ - if you are younger than this we have news for you in the Children's pageNews items and articles run at the top of this page. Information, local resources, events and local organisations, sports groups etc. are at the base of this page. All Previous pages for you are listed in Past Features

Spring School Holidays 2022

We hope all of you who have been part of Year 12 Graduation ceremonies and Formals this week have had a great time

We also hop you all have a wonderful school holidays break. We will run another Issue next Sunday, October 2nd, and then have No Issue on Sunday October 9th so we can spend some time with our own youngsters in the week leading up to that Sunday. We've loaded up your page with some fun stuff this week and will do so again next week. We will get back to more serious stuff after the Spring School Holidays. Have a great break!

Viewfinder: Photography From The 1970s To Now Opens At The National Library

Heading to or through Canberra over the next few months? This may be worth visiting.

Viewfinder: Photography from the 1970s to Now takes a unique look at the journey of Australian documentary photography, from black and white images to the vibrant high definition images of today.

The 125 images in this exhibition reveal a changing Australia. The lives of migrants, shearers, dancers, miners, gardeners, surfers and knitters are all uniquely captured by celebrated documentary photographers. The exhibition also includes winged angels at Mardi Gras, significant moments in the journey towards reconciliation and COVID protests.

Director-General of the National Library of Australia Dr Marie Louise Ayres FAHA said the exhibition was striking in depicting the lives of different communities.

‘This exhibition is all about our communities. It captures significant moments of individuals and groups but also reveals the huge amount of change our society has undergone in the last 50 years. The National Library collects today what will be important tomorrow and this exhibition is a brilliant way for us to showcase the changing lives of all Australians.’

The exhibition includes works by dozens of photographers and the exhibition curator Matthew Jones looked at tens of thousands of images in the National Library’s collection when preparing the exhibition and accompanying book.

‘There are many everyday moments that can be captured with a camera but may not be significant enough to be accessioned into the collections of other libraries or galleries. The beauty of the Library’s collections are that they are so wide-ranging, and I hope visitors enjoy viewing these more ephemeral moments.’

‘I started working on this exhibition during lockdown and used Trove to research images. Preparing an exhibition in this way made me reflect on how the digital revolution has vastly increased our ability to visually document and see our world.’

Viewfinder: Photography from the 1970s to Now is exclusive to Canberra and opens at the National Library of Australia on Friday 16 September, running until Monday 13 March 2023. Entry is free.

Dave Tacon, Australian Renton Millar, World Champion Professional Skateboarder, Performs a Method Air Above a Half Pipe Ramp, Before a Crowd of Young Onlookers at Prahran, Victoria, 8 April 2009,, courtesy Dave Tacon

HSC Online Help Guides

REMINDER: there's a great Practical Guide for Getting through your HSC by Sydney Uni at:

Stay Healthy - Stay Active: HSC 2022

Stay active, keep connected and look after yourself during the HSC this year! 
Find helpful study tips, self-care resources and guides for students and parents at

2023 Year 12 School Scholarship Program Now Open: DYRSL

Dee Why RSL is pleased to announce the 2023 School Scholarship Program, open to local students going into year 12 for the 2023 year of study. 

A total of ten students will receive $2000 each, to assist them in achieving their utmost potential while completing the Higher School Certificate. 

Securing A Brighter Future For Disadvantaged Youth

September 7, 2022
Eligible students from Years 10 to 12 or TAFE equivalent can now apply for a $1000 scholarship to help meet the cost of studying.
The future goals of some of the state’s most vulnerable young people are a step closer to being achieved thanks to the NSW Government’s Youth Development Scholarships program.

Minister for Families and Communities and Minister for Disability Services Natasha Maclaren-Jones is calling for eligible students from Years 10-12 or TAFE equivalent to apply for the $1000 scholarships.

“The scholarships aim to remove some of the financial burdens that students face so they can focus on achieving greater results and finish their studies,” Mrs Maclaren-Jones said.

“From textbooks to internet access, the scholarships will ensure our young people are well-equipped to reach their full potential.”

Minister for Education and Early Learning Sarah Mitchell said that a quality education is a strong foundation for a brighter future.

“The NSW Government wants to support our students in achieving their goals and these scholarships provide them with the necessary financial support to get them started,” Ms Mitchell said.

“I know these scholarships will be greatly appreciated by our young people and will help them have a bright start in life.”

To be eligible for the scholarship, students must be living in social housing or on the housing register, receiving private rental subsidy from DCJ, or living in supported accommodation or out-of-home care.

More than 4700 students have been supported by the scholarship program since it was established in 2017.

For more information on how to apply, visit Youth Development Scholarships

For new and returning high school students, applications will close Wednesday 30 November 2022 at 5:00pm.

For returning tertiary students, applications will close Friday 3 March 2023 at 5:00pm.

The unique power of Australian seaweed

By BBC newsreel

Be The Boss: I Want To Be A marine electrician

If you love being around the water and tinkering with machines then becoming a Marine Electrician may suit you. Marine electricians are important to the upkeep and safety of marine vessels. They can be involved in the design and building of new ships, or spend the majority of their time repairing existing ones. Becoming a marine electrician requires the attendance and completion of a maritime academy, as well as a hands-on apprenticeship. In this article, we discuss the requirements of becoming a marine electrician and how you can develop the necessary skills to do well as one.

A marine electrician is a person with electrical training who specifically works on boats and ships. Marine electricians may work with all types of marine equipment, including yachts, cruise liners or even runabouts. They will generally spend the majority of their time working on boats. They may also work on-call and travel to boats at sea. Other marine electricians may work in a shipyard where they prepare or maintain ships.

Marine electricians are specialised in all electrical components of the ship, including troubleshooting, repairing, improving and building. Some marine electricians may also take on a supervisory role, where they lead a team of other marine electricians.

Marine electricians maintain the electrical wiring and systems on boats. They may have the following duties:
  • Troubleshoot wiring and other electrical systems on marine equipment and make repairs
  • Test low and high-voltage circuit systems for safety
  • Work on power generators or other alternative sources of energy, like solar or wind power
  • Wire and test the alarm and communication systems
  • Monitor for potential electrical voltage threats
  • Design and update bonding systems to protect the ship against weather elements
  • Protect the boat's equipment using drip loops and heat shrinks
  • Interpret and write technical reports and estimate repair costs
  • Install wiring and electrical equipment when building new ships
  • Install and configure generators
  • Test marine electrical equipment like voltmeters and oscilloscopes for efficiency
Becoming a marine electrician requires that you complete certain training and education. You can become a marine electrician with the following steps:

1. Complete a high school Certificate
Because attendance in a maritime academy is a requirement, you will first need to complete high school. Taking classes in computers, physics, mathematics and physics can help you prepare for this.

2. Attend and complete a maritime academy program or Navy Program
This vocational program will specifically prepare you for marine work. During your training, you can expect to take classes like electrical installation and maintenance following protocol. You will also have hands-on experience with electrical tools and equipment, like soldering irons and multimeters. Some academic programs will also offer field training, which may require time spent at sea. Some people may also choose to get a bachelor's degree, rather than attend an associate's-level vocational program.

The Royal Australian Navy states:
Be a tradie in the Navy working as a Marine Technician responsible for operating, maintaining, and monitoring engineering systems and equipment, onboard ships or submarines and ashore. 

Whether you already have a trade, you're an apprentice, or you have no experience at all, we're hiring. You’ll be paid from day one to gain all the skills needed with extensive on-the-job trade training. You may also be able to use your existing qualifications and be eligible for recognition of prior learning. 

Your duties include, but aren’t limited to maintaining:
  • Electrical power generation and distribution
  • The ship's boats engine and steering systems
  • Propulsion systems (gas turbines, diesel and electrical engines, gear boxes, propellers, thrusters, and positioning systems) 
  • Electrical systems (alternators, batteries, charging systems, electrical switchboards, and corrosion protection systems)
  • Auxiliary engineering systems (air-conditioning, refrigeration, generators, air compressor systems, stabilisers, winches, and cranes) 
  • Hull structures and fittings
You’ll enjoy a competitive salary package, career stability, opportunities for continuous progression, and an adventurous lifestyle – all while making a difference to Australia. 

  • Free medical and dental
  • Competitive salary package
  • Incremental salary increases as you progress through training and ranks
  • 16.4% superannuation
  • Job security
  • Career progression and development
  • Good work/life balance
  • Travel opportunities
  • Excellent social and fitness facilities
  • Subsidised housing
  • Balance of shore and sea postings
  • Great chef made meals at sea 
  • Variety of allowances
Submariner:  There is also the option to specialise as a Marine Technician Submariner and be a part of the most exclusive and stable workforce in Australia. Your role will be to operate, repair and conduct maintenance on the submarine’s machinery, engines, power, and ventilation systems to ensure the vessel runs at optimum capacity, working at sea and ashore.  

Salary: Upon completion of your initial military and employment training, you’ll enjoy a salary package starting from $73,253 for surface fleet and $85,861 for submariners. 
Apply Now:  Apply today or request more information by emailing
For this role, you must be over 17 at time of enlistment, an Australian Citizen and have passed Year 10 English, Maths and Science.

Visit the links below for the full position descriptions: 
The Australian Defence Force is an equal opportunity employer. This advertisement is to ensure women are aware of the rewarding and fulfilling careers available in the Navy, Army and Air Force. Females are encouraged to apply, however all roles are open for Australian men and women to apply.

3. Consider working toward certifications
Most employers require marine electrician candidates to have certain certifications, including an Australian Electrical Trade Certificate. Getting work in a local marina can help as well. This will give you experience in Ship repair / the marine industry.

Some people may find employment with the company in which they completed their apprenticeship. But, once you have completed all educational and training requirements, you can begin applying for positions. Update your resume with your most recent educational achievements and certifications. Create a new cover letter for each position.

In some cases, it is also possible to become a marine electrician by going through the required steps to become an electrician and then taking on an apprenticeship in a marine setting. But, this process is less common.

Skills for a marine electrician
Certain soft and hard skills are useful when working as a marine electrician:
  • Technical: Working as a marine electrician involves a lot of technical work. You will need to troubleshoot the electrical system, rewire systems and install equipment in the ship.
  • Mechanical: Good mechanical skills are also useful as you will use certain tools and machinery to install and repair systems. A basic understanding of mechanics can be helpful.
  • Problem-solving: A big part of the job of a marine electrician is identifying electrical problems and repairing them. This involves good troubleshooting skills and the ability to quickly come up with a solution.
  • Project management: Marine electricians will often manage multiple projects at one time. They may complete projects for different ships and will need to manage time and delegate tasks.
Marine electricians may also need specialized skills, which will often be learned while attending a maritime program. These are some of the specialized skills they may need:
  • Knowledge of electrical systems: A good working knowledge of electrical systems in ships is important. In addition to reading and navigating electrical blueprints, marine electricians will need to know where to find certain access points and wires.
  • Coast guard: Some marine electricians may choose to work with the U.S. government on military ships. If this is your preferred route, you may need special coast guard training.
  • Knowledge of circuit breakers, transformers and high-voltage control panels: Working as a marine electrician, you are likely to work with each of these things. An apprenticeship can be a good way to learn these areas in-depth.
  • Knowledge of certain safety protocols: Up-to-date safety protocols are needed as marine electricians often work on electrical systems near water. Knowledge of emergency protocols is needed.
The career outlook for marine electricians, according to, is expected to grow by one percent by the year 2029. They estimate that many of the new jobs will be in building new ships and boats for the military. They also believe that with a shift toward environmental-friendly practices, more marine electricians will be needed to help complete offshore wind energy projects.

Information courtesy Australian Government Apprenticeships Guide (Your Career), TAFE NSW, Australian Open Colleges,  Australian Careers HQ and The Good Universities Guide, Australia.

Also available:

Word Of The Week: toll

Word of the Week returns in 2022 simply to throw some disruption in amongst the 'yeah-nah' mix.


1. a charge payable to use a bridge or road. 2.the number of deaths or casualties arising from a natural disaster, conflict, accident, etc.


1. (of a large bell) to ring slowly and repeatedly, or to cause a large bell to ring in this way.

A death knell is the ringing of a church bell immediately after a death to announce it. Historically it was the second of three bells rung around death, the first being the passing bell to warn of impending death, and the last was the lych bell or corpse bell, which survives today as the funeral toll.In England, an ancient custom was the ringing of bells at three specific times before and after death. Sometimes a passing bell was first rung when the person was still dying, then the death knell upon the death,and finally the lych bell, which was rung at the funeral as the procession approached the church. The ringing of the lych bell is now called the funeral toll. The canon law of the Church of England also permitted tolling after the funeral.

During the reign of Henry VIII and Elizabeth I, statutes regulated death knell, but the immediate ringing after death fell into disuse. It was customary in some places by the end of the 19th century to ring the death knell as soon as notice reached the clerk of the church (parish clerk) or sexton, unless the sun had set, in which case it was rung at an early hour the following morning. Elsewhere, it was customary to postpone the death knell and tellers to the evening preceding the funeral, or early in the morning on the day of the funeral to give warning of the ceremony.

The use of the passing bell for sick persons is indicated in the advertisements of Queen Elizabeth in 1564: "[W]here any Christian bodie is in passing, that the bell be tolled, and that the curate be specially called for to comfort the sick person".

Sometimes the age of the departed was signified by the number of chimes (or strokes) of the bell. This practice still persists in many places - the recent funeral of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II saw 96 tolls  or peals of Big Ben to signify her 96 years of life.

This is shown again in the 1940 published novel For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway. It tells the story of Robert Jordan, a young American volunteer attached to a Republican guerrilla unit during the Spanish Civil War. As a dynamiter, he is assigned to blow up a bridge during an attack on the city of Segovia.

The book's title is taken from the metaphysical poet John Donne's series of meditations and prayers on health, pain, and sickness (written while Donne was convalescing from a nearly fatal illness) published in 1624 as Devotions upon Emergent Occasions, specifically Meditation XVII. Hemingway quotes part of the meditation (using Donne's original spelling) in the book's epigraph. Donne refers to the practice of funeral tolling, universal in his time:

No man is an Island, intire of it selfe; every man is a piece of the Continent, a part of the maine; if a Clod bee washed away by the Sea, Europe is the lesse, as well as if a Promontorie were, as well as if a Mannor of thy friends or of thine owne were; any mans death diminishes me, because I am involved in Mankinde; And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; It tolls for thee.

The use of "tellers" to denote the sex was almost universal. For instance in the greater number of churches in the counties of Kent and Surrey they used the customary number of tellers, viz., three times three strokes for a man, and three times two for a woman; with a varying usage for children. The word "tellers" became changed into "Tailors". 

The funeral tolling of a bell is the technique of sounding a single bell very slowly, with a significant gap between strikes. It is used to mark the death of a person at a funeral or burial service. The expression "tolling" is derived from the English tradition of "telling" of the death by signalling with a bell. The term tolling may also be used to signify a single bell being rung slowly, and possibly half-muffled at a commemoration event many years later. Tolling is typically used for tenor bells in change ringing, it also applies to bourdon bells as well in a bell tower or cathedral.

Compare the invoking of silence instead of tolls denoting years:

Stop all the clocks

'Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone'
Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone, 
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone, 
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum 
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come. 

Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead 
Scribbling on the sky the message He Is Dead, 
Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves, 
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves. 

He was my North, my South, my East and West, 
My working week and my Sunday rest, 
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song; 
I thought that love would last for ever: I was wrong. 

The stars are not wanted now: put out every one; 
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun; 
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood; 
For nothing now can ever come to any good. 

W H Auden

"Funeral Blues", or "Stop all the clocks", is a poem by W. H. Auden which first appeared in the 1936 play The Ascent of F6. Auden substantially rewrote the poem several years later as a cabaret song for the singer Hedli Anderson. Both versions were set to music by the composer Benjamin Britten. The second version was first published in 1938 and was titled "Funeral Blues" in Auden's 1940 Another Time. The poem experienced renewed popularity after being read in the film Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994), which also led to increased attention on Auden's other work. It has since been cited as one of the most popular modern poems in the United Kingdom.

Toll - From Middle English toll, tol, tolle, from Old English toll (“toll, duty, custom”), from Proto-Germanic *tullō (“what is counted or told”), from Proto-Indo-European *dol- (“calculation, fraud”). Cognate with Saterland Frisian Tol (“toll”), Dutch tol (“toll”), German Zoll (“toll, duty, customs”), Danish told (“toll, duty, tariff”), Swedish tull (“toll, customs”), Icelandic tollur (“toll, customs”). More at tell, tale.

Alternate etymology derives Old English toll, from Medieval Latin tolōneum, tolōnium, alteration (due to the Germanic forms above) of Latin telōneum, from Ancient Greek  (telṓnion, “toll-house”), from τέλος (télos, “tax”).

Toll (bell peal) ME tollen to entice, lure, pull, hence prob. to make (a bell) ring by pulling a rope; akin to OE -tyllan, in fortyllan to attract, allure

unrelated to the word of the week songs that are perhaps related to each other in sound/eras -:

Why does nature create patterns? A physicist explains the molecular-level processes behind crystals, stripes and basalt columns

Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland features around 40,000 exposed polygonal columns of basalt in perfect horizontal sections. Chris Hill/Photodisc via Getty Images
Maxim Lavrentovich, University of Tennessee

Curious Kids is a series for children of all ages. If you have a question you’d like an expert to answer, send it to

Why does nature always create a pattern? – Saloni G., age 16, Alwar, Rajasthan, India

The reason patterns often appear in nature is simple: The same basic physical or chemical processes occur in many patterned substances and organisms as they form. Whether in plants and animals or rocks, foams and ice crystals, the intricate patterns that happen in nature come down to what’s happening at the level of atoms and molecules.

A pattern in nature is any regularly repeated arrangement of shapes or colors. Some of the most striking examples include the hexagonal arrays of rocks at Giant’s Causeway in the United Kingdom, the beautiful fractal arrangements of florets on a Romanesco broccoli and the colorful stripes and spots on tropical fish.

Close-up of Romanesco broccoli bunches, showing off the fractal pattern of the buds
Each bud of a Romanesco broccoli bunch is composed of a series of smaller buds, arranged in a consistent spiral pattern. Creativ Studio Heinemann/Westend61 via Getty Images

Patterns like these begin to form at a small scale when materials undergo processes like drying, freezing, wrinkling, diffusing and reacting. Those changes then give rise to complex patterns at a larger scale that people can see.

Patterns in ice and rock

Imagine delicate frozen crystals on a windowpane during a cold day. What creates that pattern?

When water freezes, its molecules begin clustering together. Water molecules have a particular bent shape that causes them to stack into clusters shaped like hexagons as they freeze.

As the cluster grows, many outside factors, including humidity and temperature, begin to affect its overall shape. If the water is freezing on a windowpane, for example, small and random imperfections on the glass surface redirect the stacking and create the larger pattern.

Frost on an old window.
Ice crystals on an old window in Norway. Baac3nes/Moment via Getty Images

This same process of stacking molecules is responsible for the striking variety of snowflake shapes.

What about the amazing patterns of the basalt columns at Giant’s Causeway? These formed 50 million to 60 million years ago, as lava – hot rocky fluid from deep underground – rose to the Earth’s surface and began to lose heat. The cooling caused the top layer of basalt to contract. The deeper, hot layers resisted this pulling, creating cracks in the top layer.

As the lava cooled, the cracks spread deeper and deeper into the rock. The particular molecular qualities of basalt, as well as the basic physics of how materials fracture apart – laws of physics universal to all substances on Earth – caused the cracks to meet up with one another at certain angles to create hexagons, much like the stacking water molecules.

Eventually, the cooling basalt broke into the hexagon-shaped columns of rock that still create such an impressive pattern millions of years later.

Patterns in animals

The creation of complex patterns in living organisms also begins with simple mechanisms at the molecular level. One important pattern-making process involves the way diffusing chemicals react with one another.

Imagine how a drop of food coloring spreads in a glass of water – that’s diffusion.

Drops of blue dye diffusing in water.
Drops of blue dye at different stages of diffusion in water. Science Photo Library via Getty Images

In 1952, English mathematician Alan Turing showed that a chemical spreading like this within another chemical can lead to the formation of all kinds of patterns in nature.

Scientists have proved that this process reproduces the patterns of a leopard’s spots, a zebra’s stripes and many other animal markings.

Wild royal bengal female tiger on prowl – her stripes blending her in with the vegetation around her.
A tiger’s stripes can help it blend in with the surrounding environment – making it harder for prey to see. Sourabh Bharti/iStock via Getty Images Plus

What makes these markings consistent from generation to generation? As animal species evolved, these chemical reactions evolved with them and became part of their genetic codes. This might be because the markings helped them survive. For example, a tiger’s stripes camouflage it while hunting in a forest or grassland, making it easier to surprise and catch its prey.

However, researchers are still working out the details of which particular chemicals are involved.

Scientists do not always know the purpose of a pattern, or even if there is one. The molecular processes involved are simple enough that they might coincidentally generate a pattern.

For example, in my research team’s work studying plant pollen grains, we have seen a huge variety of patterns, including spikes, stripes and many more.

Colorized scanning electron microscope image of pollen grains from a variety of common plants
The pollen grains of various common plants like sunflower, morning glories, prairie hollyhock, oriental lily, evening primrose and castor bean – magnified 500 times and colorized in this image – display intricate patterns. Dartmouth Electron Microscope Facility

We don’t yet understand why a plant produces one particular pollen pattern rather than another. Whatever the ultimate use this and other patterns in nature may have, their variety, complexity and order are amazing.

Hello, curious kids! Do you have a question you’d like an expert to answer? Ask an adult to send your question to Please tell us your name, age and the city where you live.

And since curiosity has no age limit – adults, let us know what you’re wondering, too. We won’t be able to answer every question, but we will do our best.The Conversation

Maxim Lavrentovich, Assistant Professor of Theoretical Biophysics, University of Tennessee

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Explainer: Socrates and the life worth living

Socrates Address – Louis Joseph Lebrun (1867). Public domain
Oscar Davis, Bond University

Socrates was notoriously annoying. He was likened to a gadfly buzzing around while one is trying to sleep. The Oracle of Delphi declared him the wisest of all human beings. His life and death would go on to shape the history of Western thought.

And yet he proclaimed to know nothing. The genius of Socrates lay in his professed ignorance of what it means to be human.

A Roman copy of a Greek sculpture of Pericles. Public domain

Socrates (469-399 BCE) grew up in Athens over two and half thousand years ago. At the time, the Athenians were recovering from a devastating war with the Persians. As they rebuilt, the military general and politician, Pericles, championed democracy as the form of government to bring Greece into its Golden Age.

The Athenians practised a direct (as opposed to representative) form of democracy. Any male over the age of 20 was obligated to take part. The officials of the assembly were randomly selected through a lottery process and could make executive pronouncements, such as deciding to go to war or banishing Athenian citizens.

The Athens of Pericles flourished. Bustling crowds of traders from around the Mediterranean gathered at the port of Piraeus. In the Athenian agoras – the central marketplaces and assembly areas – the active social and political lives of the Athenian citizens would inspire the mind of Socrates.

Socrates at war

Alcibiades, who would go on to become a prominent Athenian statesman and general, recounts a story of what might be a pivotal moment in the development of Socrates’ thinking.

One morning during the campaign of Potidaea, Socrates became transfixed by a problem that he could not seem to solve. An entire day passed and Socrates had still not moved. In awe, and probably curious to see how long he could keep it up, his fellow soldiers moved their beds outside to watch him during the night. It was not until dawn the next morning that Socrates said a prayer to the new day and walked away.

Alcibades being taught by Socrates – François-André Vincent (1776). Public domain

Jonathan Lear argues in his Tanner Lectures that Socrates is not just standing still because he is lost in thought; he is standing still because he cannot walk. He is standing “not knowing what his next step should be”. Socrates wants to move in the right direction, but does not know what direction that is.

We will never know what Socrates was thinking about. But after standing still and thinking, he appears to have become invigorated. Alcibiades tells us that in the battle that followed Socrates saved his life. For the remainder of the campaign, Socrates fought with a fierceness and bravery that exemplified true courage.

Socrates the gadfly

Socrates never wrote anything down. He hungered for the lively exchange of ideas and believed that writing only served to imprison a thought in letters. He argued that the written word shared a strange quality with paintings. Both appear to us “like living beings, but if one asks them a question, they preserve a solemn silence”.

Much of what we know of Socrates’ activities and conversations, and his death, was recorded by his devoted student Plato. Scholarly debate continues about just how much of Plato’s written record of Socrates’ interrogations we can attribute to Socrates himself. At some point in the Platonic corpus, Socrates becomes a mouthpiece for Plato’s own ideas, but no one can agree precisely when.

Socrates was unsure of what to make of being called the wisest of all human beings. He dedicated his time to questioning fellow Athenians about the nature of things, interrogating ideas such as friendship, love, justice and piety. He was searching for what he believed to be the highest good: knowledge.

The gadfly could show up anywhere. In Plato’s Euthyphro, for example, Socrates bumps into Euthyphro, who is on his way to court about to prosecute his father:

What strange thing has happened, Socrates, that you have left your accustomed haunts in the Lyceum and are now haunting the portico where the king archon sits?

Socrates is intrigued by Euthyphro’s legal case, and so begins his inquiry:

do you think your knowledge about divine laws and holiness […] is so exact that […] you are not afraid of doing something unholy yourself in prosecuting your father for murder?

Almost every Socratic dialogue is centred around Socrates’ recognition of his own ignorance. In Euthyphro, the subject he interrogates is piety. What follows adheres to a structure shared by most of the other dialogues, which is known as elenchus or the Socratic method.

Its basic form is as follows:

  1. Socrates engages an interlocutor who appears to possess knowledge about an idea

  2. the interlocutor makes an attempt to define the idea in question

  3. Socrates asks a series of questions which test and unravel the interlocutor’s definition

  4. the interlocutor tries to reassemble their definition, but Socrates repeats step three

  5. both parties arrive at a state of perplexity, or aporia, in which neither can any further define the idea in question.

We can gain a sense of the frustration that this caused some of Socrates’ unwilling victims. Take the final lines of his encounter with Euthyphro as an example:

Socrates: Then don’t you see that now you say that what is precious to the gods is holy? And is not this what is dear to the gods?

Euthyphro: Certainly.

Socrates: Then either our agreement a while ago was wrong, or if that was right, we are wrong now.

Euthyphro: So it seems.

Socrates: Then we must begin again at the beginning and ask what holiness is. Since I shall not willingly give up until I learn. […]

Euthyphro: Some other time, Socrates. Now I am in a hurry and it is time for me to go.

In Meno, another of Plato’s dialogues, Socrates likens the sting of aporia to that of an electric stingray:

I find you are merely bewitching me with your spells and incantations, which have reduced me to utter perplexity. And if I am indeed to have my jest, I consider that both in your appearance and in other respects you are extremely like the flat torpedo sea-fish; for it benumbs anyone who approaches and touches it, and something of the sort is what I find you have done to me now. For in truth I feel my soul and my tongue quite benumbed, and I am at a loss what answer to give you.

Throughout the dialogues, Socrates demonstrates the disruptive and disorientating experience of aporia, which emerges from philosophical activity. Reflecting upon the declaration of the Oracle of Delphi, we learn that Socrates was wise because, unlike his interlocutors, he did not proclaim to know what he was ignorant of.

Corrupting the youth and replacing the gods

In the early days of democracy and in a society which was rapidly expanding, one would think that a revolutionary thinker like Socrates would be a highly prized instrument of intellectual progress. But not everyone appreciated the disorientating sting of the gadfly’s thinking.

Plato would later comment on how the Athenians – and perhaps societies in general – react when faced with the disruptive force of critical reflection.

His famous allegory of the cave, which forms part of his Republic, is in many ways the story of a philosopher – the story of his great teacher, Socrates.

The allegory begins with prisoners locked in a cave. All the prisoners can see are the shadows of the passing guards reflected on the wall, and the echoes of the world behind them. This is the condition of a society content with the mere illusions of knowledge, a society that is unreflective and stagnant.

One prisoner manages to escape. Turned towards the entry of the cave, he first notices the brightness of the light – like knowledge, the light is uncomfortable and disruptive after years of contentment with shadows.

Escaping the cave, the prisoner

can see the reflections of people and things in water and then later see the people and things themselves. Eventually, he is able to look at the stars and moon at night until finally he can look upon the sun itself.

Only after he is able to look straight at the “sun itself” – i.e. knowledge of what is good – “is he able to reason about it” and what it is. The freed prisoner, argues Plato, would realise that life outside is far superior to being inside the cave. He would return and encourage the prisoners to free themselves and look around. But the comfort of their belief in the world of shadows and echoes is a strong force to overcome.

Plato says that the prisoners, fearing what awaits outside of the cave, would react violently towards the freed prisoner – even killing him in order to keep the peace.

This was Socrates’ fate.

The Death of Socrates – Jacques-Louis David (1787) Public domain

When the citizens of Athens had finally had enough of Socrates’ pestering questions, they banded together and accused him of corrupting the youth and attempting to replace the old gods.

He was imprisoned. His followers planned an escape, but he refused. Socrates questioned what was to be gained by escaping. Life itself is not ultimately valuable – surely, he says, it is a good and just life that we ultimately value. If he were to escape, he would only be tarnishing his good life with an act of vengeance against the misinformed Athenian citizens. He had nothing to gain by escaping. He could only preserve the harmony of his own soul by accepting his fate.

In his final stand in front of the Athenian judges, Socrates denies all charges. His only crime was forcing Athenians to think:

If again I say that to talk every day about virtue and the other things about which you hear me talking and examining myself and others is the greatest good to man, and that the unexamined life is not worth living, you will believe me still less.

If you are to put me to death, warns Socrates, you will not easily find another like me. Striking dead the gadfly of Athens is easy, but “then you would sleep on for the remainder of your lives, unless the god in his care of you gives you another gadfly”.

But the judges had made up their minds. The majority voted that Socrates would be executed by drinking hemlock.

Socrates teaches us that philosophical contemplation prepares us for the good life. The experience of aporia – in all of its discomfort and disruption – is the very catalyst of wonder. The philosopher, the lover of wisdom, is anyone who dares to escape the cave and look upon the sun, anyone who lives for the values Socrates died for.The Conversation

Oscar Davis, Lecturer in Philosophy and History, Bond University

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

For the first time, robots on Mars found meteorite impact craters by sensing seismic shock waves

NASA / JPL-Caltech
Katarina Miljkovic, Curtin University

Since 2018, NASA’s InSight mission to Mars has recorded seismic waves from more than 1,300 marsquakes in its quest to probe the internal structure of the red planet. The solar panels of the car-sized robotic lander have become caked with Martian dust, and NASA scientists expect it will completely power down by the end of 2022.

But the internal rumblings of our planetary neighbour aren’t the only things that InSight’s seismometers detect: they also pick up the thuds of space rocks crashing into the Martian soil.

In new research published in Nature Geoscience, we used data from InSight to detect and locate four high-speed meteoroid collisions, and then tracked down the resulting craters in satellite images from NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

Rocks from space

The Solar System is full of relatively small rocks called meteoroids, and it’s common for them to collide with planets. When a meteoroid encounters a planet with an atmosphere, it heats up due to friction – and may burn up entirely before reaching the ground.

On Earth, we know these incoming meteoroids as shooting stars, or meteors: beautiful events to observe in the night sky. Sometimes a meteoroid explodes when it reaches the thicker atmosphere closer to the ground, creating a spectacular airburst.

Occasionally, a space rock survives its fiery path through the air and drops to the ground, where it is known as a meteorite.

A few of these meteorites hit the surface at such speed they blast a hole in the ground called an impact crater. Compared to a human lifetime, these events are very rare on Earth.

Recording space rock impacts

Scientists have detected the vibrations from meteoroid airbursts using seismic detectors numerous times, including a recent survey of bright meteors above Australia.

However, only once has a high-speed space rock crashing into the ground been observed both visually and with modern seismic equipment. This was an impact crater that formed in 2007 near the village of Carancas in Peru.

Numerous impacts were detected on the Moon by the network of seismic sensors set up during the US Apollo missions of the 1960s and ’70s. However, there was no recording of a natural impact associated with visual detection of a new crater.

The closest things to such an observation were artificial impacts: the crash-landings of the booster rockets of the ascent modules that lifted Apollo astronauts off the Moon.

These human-made impacts on the Moon were recorded both in seismic data and visual imagery from orbit. These data were recently used to test simulations of how impacts produce seismic waves.

Martian meteorites

Incoming meteoroids make waves in the atmosphere and also the ground. The atmosphere of Mars is equivalent to 1% of the Earth’s, and has a different chemical composition. This means meteor events on Mars take a different form.

For meteor events large enough to drop a meteorite, the fate of the meteorite and any resulting crater is different from what we have come to expect on our home planet.

Many craters on Mars come in clusters, because meteoroids often explode into fragments not long before they hit the surface. MRO / HiRISE / NASA / JPL-Caltech / UArizona

Here on Earth, or on the Moon, single craters are the norm. On Mars, however, about half the time a high-speed space rock will burst in the atmosphere shortly before impact, resulting in a tightly grouped cluster of craters.

The separation of these individual fragments remains close at ground level, forming a cluster of small impacts.

From vibrations to craters

Recently, the InSight mission has observed acoustic and seismic waves from four meteoroid impact events. These waves travel at different speeds, and comparing their different arrival times and other properties allowed us to estimate the location of the impacts.

These impact locations were then confirmed with satellite imaging from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

A sketch of how an incoming space rock makes waves that InSight can detect and interpret. Garcia et al. / Nature Geoscience

Knowing the size and exact location of these impact craters helps us calculate the size and speed of the incoming space rock and how much energy the impact released.

Once we are confident we know something about the impact that created the seismic waves we detected, we can use the waves to learn about the interior of Mars. What’s more, when we compare seismic observations on Mars with observations from Earth and the Moon, we can learn more about how the planets formed and how the Solar System evolved.The Conversation

Katarina Miljkovic, ARC Future Fellow, School of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Curtin University

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

10 months and hundreds of subjects: how I took portrait photography to the streets of Parramatta

Members of the River City Voices choir perform for a group portrait. Cherine Fahd, Being Together: Parramatta Yearbook (2021-2022)
Cherine Fahd, University of Technology Sydney

For the past ten months, I have photographed hundreds of people in the Western Sydney suburb of Parramatta for a portrait project called Being Together: Parramatta Yearbook.

The portraits in the yearbook show the people who live, work and play in Parramatta against the backdrop of an ever-changing city.

The way a photographer and subject come together to make a portrait is usually invisible in a portrait.

Here, instead of trying to reveal the elusive individuality of a person, I have been focusing on the social dynamics of portraiture – what happens behind the scenes between me and the people I’m photographing.

Collages from the yearbook portray being together in Parramatta. Cherine Fahd, Being Together: Parramatta Yearbook (2021-2022)

As Daniel Palmer notes in his book Photography and Collaboration, portraiture is by definition relational and collaborative. That is, the process of photographic portraiture inherently brings the photographer and subjects together to arrive at an image.

In the context of this project, coming together for a portrait creates playful opportunities for social interactions among strangers.

I hold my camera phone as a mirror to help a participant apply her lipstick while the audio producer for The Conversation Podcast captures our verbal interaction. Cherine Fahd, Being Together: Parramatta Yearbook (2021-2022)

It is amazing what strangers will share with me in the space of five minutes.

Two men reveal they are brothers and haven’t seen each other for ten years.

One woman tells me she thinks she’s ugly and asks me to make her look beautiful.

Another keenly describes the floral wonders she is holding from her community garden.

One man whispers that he can’t speak English.

Another tells me he’s in a hurry to go to lunch.

Two brothers on the day they are reunited. Cherine Fahd, Being Together: Parramatta Yearbook (2021–2022)

We chat about the everyday things, the weather, COVID, shopping and Rugby League.

There are stories of time spent in jail, and lives being turned around.

New arrivals to Australia speak of their family in lands faraway and citizens who have lived all their lives in Parramatta share insights on the city.

These are the stories photography can’t capture in the silent stillness of the image, but that’s no reason not to continue.

Performing photography

Setting up a studio in the street and inviting people to pose together in front of the camera is a thing to see. We always had audiences of passersby watching and it wasn’t long before they were also in front of the camera.

If you look closely at the portraits there are talkative details and warm gestures: micro-movements of the body where people touch each other or hold hands; the spaces between our bodies; instances when we are caught by the camera laughing, chatting and applying lipstick.

Warm gestures can be seen in the detail of the yearbook’s collages. Cherine Fahd, Being Together: Parramatta Yearbook (2021–2022)

I also see myself in action. I am both photographer and subject, a stranger dressed in red, wanting desperately to be with people, to steer them through a photographic moment, to pose and be uncomfortable together.

When people have their portraits made I want to know whether they enjoyed it or found it excruciating and awkward. After the photo is taken, we walk up to the laptop tethered to the camera and look at the photographs. They indicate which portraits they like and hate. I listen and take notes.

Involving people in the selection process creates instant trust.

A video trailer captures the construction workers reviewing their portraits with Pam, the project’s photo assistant. Courtesy of the Museum of Contemporary Art.

In bringing people together before a camera, I became acutely aware of photography’s potential to foster social inclusion, social participation, visibility and a sense of belonging and connection to one’s place and people.

Photography is something we all do. It is familiar and familial. Group portraits activate a social encounter and conversation, listening and storytelling.

The social experience of photography is also extended through time. After the photographs have been taken and printed, they are displayed as a collage on a large scale photo wall in the heart of Parramatta in Centenary Square. I love watching people looking for themselves or pointing to familiar faces.

Looking for familiar faces on the photo wall. Photo by Garry Trinh

As one passerby declared on seeing the photo wall:

Thanks for treating everyone the same, like we belong and are as deserving of recognition and dignity as others, instead of excluding us from being visible.

This feedback goes to the heart of the project that welcomed people from all walks of life to offer a view of Western Sydney that is far from the media stereotypes.

Fundamentally, the Parramatta Yearbook acts as a model for how cultural institutions and government can work together with artists to record and reflect community, create a sense of belonging and produce narratives about a place in transition that foregrounds the creativity of its citizens ahead of urban development.

The Parramatta Yearbook portraits are on public display in Parramatta’s Centenary Square until October 3, as well as in a 88-page downloadable yearbook from the Museum of Contemporary Art.The Conversation

Cherine Fahd, Associate Professor of Visual Communication in the School of Design, University of Technology Sydney

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Hayao Miyazaki’s ‘Spirited Away’ continues to delight fans and inspire animators 20 years after its US premiere

Critics praised the film for its stunning visuals. Studio Ghibli
Northrop Davis, University of South Carolina

When Hayao Miyazaki’s animated feature “Spirited Away” premiered in the U.S. 20 years ago, most viewers hadn’t seen anything like it.

Disney distributed the film. But as one critic pointed out, “Seeing just 10 minutes of this English version … will quickly disabuse any discerning viewer of the notion that it is a Disney creation.”

It tells the story of a 10-year-old girl named Chihiro who, when traveling with her parents, stumbles across what appears to be an abandoned theme park. As they explore, the parents are transformed into giant pigs, and Chihiro soon realizes that the park is occupied by strange, supernatural spirits. She ends up working at a bathhouse as she tries to figure out a way to free herself and her parents so they can return home.

The film went on to win an Oscar for Best Animated Feature. Twenty years later, it’s frequently listed as one of the best animated films of all time.

Yet as a scholar of manga and anime studies, I’m often struck by how popular the film became – and how fondly viewers remember it – given that so many of its elements would have been alien to American audiences.

The manga revolution

Many of the first anime films were inspired by manga, or Japanese comics.

Some of the hallmarks of modern manga, such as characters with big eyes, streaks to signal movement and different-sized panels to convey action, character and emotion more effectively, can be traced to the work of Osamu Tezuka, the so-called “God of Manga.”

Tezuka was influenced by his childhood and Japanese culture, but he was also inspired by American movies, television and comics.

When Tezuka was a child, he attended the performances of Takarazuka, an all-female theater group in Tokyo whose actresses tended to have well-lit, expressive eyes. His father also showed him American animation on a Pathe projector, and he was drawn to wide-eyed characters like Betty Boop and Bambi. Together, they inspired the big, expressive eyes that would become characteristic of Tezuka’s work.

Tezuka’s debut manga, titled “New Treasure Island,” was published in 1947 and became a hit with Japanese youth. Soon an entire manga industry sprang up, churning out vibrantly creative and emotionally relatable comics in a wide range of genres.

Miyazaki was 21 years old when Tezuka’s popular manga “Astro Boy” appeared on TV in Japan in 1963. NBC soon picked it up, airing 102 episodes in the U.S. and exposing millions of Americans to Japanese anime for the first time.

‘Astroboy’ was the first TV show based on a Japanese manga to air in the U.S.

Over the ensuing decades, Americans enthusiastically embraced a range of manga and anime series through franchises like “Dragon Ball,” “Naruto” and “Demon Slayer.”

Doing anime differently

Miyazaki began his career in 1963 as an entry-level animator for Toei animation. He went on to work on a number of animated TV shows and films before founding his own production company, Studio Ghibli, with his longtime friend and collaborator, Takahata Isao, in 1985.

Anime is often based on successful manga series, and it involves creating a vibrant character kingdom and the construction of a world that often lends itself to spinoffs like movies, television shows, musicals, toys and massive merchandising opportunities.

In this sense, many of the films that came out of Studio Ghibli were not really traditional anime. Most lack the merchandizing tie-ins that have become ubiquitous in franchises like “Pokemon” and “Yu-Gi-Oh.” And while some of Ghibli’s films originated as manga, many of them did not. Miyazaki and his team also broke from industry norms by hiring artists as full-time staffers, rather than as underpaid freelancers.

As Miyazaki once said, “Animation has the potential to be far more than just about business, or merchandising, or selling character goods; it can have its own ambitions.”

When the line between good and evil blurs

When “Spirited Away” was released, the only feature-length Japanese animated film most Americans would have likely been exposed to in theaters was “Akira,” which had a limited run in 1990. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences didn’t even award an Oscar for Best Animated Feature until 2001, because Disney and Pixar so thoroughly dominated the genre.

Compared with traditional Western animation, manga and anime tend to reflect a more adult and complicated view of morality, rather than the “good versus evil” paradigm common in children’s media.

“Spirited Away” centers on a spirit world that, while present in various other manga and anime films, challenges non-Japanese audiences. It is unclear whether the spirits will harm or help the protagonist. Miyazaki, New York Times film critic Elvis Mitchell wrote, captures “that fascinating and frightening aspect of having something that seems to represent good become evil.”

The world appears to be inspired by a class of spirits known as “kami” that are venerated in the religion of Shinto, although Miyazaki has noted that he invented his own spirits, rather than use previously known kami. “Demon Slayer,” a 2020 anime film that was a hit in the U.S., also contained characters from the spirit world.

As kami expert Matt Alt told me, “Only a place with countless shrines, each venerating their own locations and local deities, could have dreamed up something like ‘Spirited Away.’”

Girl sits on a train next to ghosts.
The world of ‘Spirited Away’ includes supernatural entities. Studio Ghibli

Yet thanks to the beauty of the film’s visuals – as well as the fact that, deep down, it contains universal storytelling tropes – Miyazaki can get viewers to buy into his world. No matter how strange a shape-shifting sludge spirit might appear to audiences, they can still relate to the spunky, and sometimes sullen, Chihiro.

As Miyazaki explained in an interview, the film’s idiosyncrasies ultimately enhance its universality: “No one waves weapons about or has showdowns using superpowers, but it’s still an adventure story. And while an adventure story, a confrontation between good and evil is not the main theme either. This is supposed to be the story of a young girl who is thrown into another world, where good people and bad are all mixed up and coexisting.”

“In this world,” he continues, “she undergoes rigorous training, learns about friendship and self-sacrifice and, using her own basic smarts, somehow not only survives but manages to return to our world.”

A lasting imprint

While Walt Disney and other American creators made a huge impression on Tezuka, the influences of anime can be seen in countless American films and TV shows.

This sort of cultural cross-pollination, which I detail in my book “Manga and Anime Go to Hollywood,” has been going on for decades.

Miyazaki’s films also have made a unique imprint on the imaginations of a generation of Western animators.

John Lasseter, the former chief creative officer of Pixar, has said that whenever he and his team got stuck for ideas, they would screen a Miyazaki film for inspiration. Domee Shi, the director for Pixar’s “Turning Red,” specifically cited “Spirited Away” as a huge influence. And a 2014 episode of “The Simpsons” even contained a tribute to Miyazaki.

Tezuka once said that a story was like a tree, which is only as strong as its roots.

To me, Miyazaki and his team achieved the highest level of filmmaking by not only creating gorgeous visuals, but by also crafting relatable lead characters, a compelling supporting cast and rich, enthralling worlds. Engaging viewers with a creative story arc, he always found a way to land with an timeless message.

Miyazaki noted that Chihiro ultimately returns to her ordinary world “not by vanquishing evil, but as a result of having learned a new way to live.”

This article has been updated to correct the class of Japanese spirits that those in “Spirited Away” evoke. It is “kami,” not “yokai.”The Conversation

Northrop Davis, Professor of Media Arts, University of South Carolina

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Why do humans grow two sets of teeth? These marsupials are rewriting the story of dental evolution

Hossein Anv / Unsplash
Qamariya Nasrullah, Monash University

You only get 52 teeth in your lifetime: 20 baby teeth, followed by 32 adult teeth.

It’s not like that for all animals. Some, like rodents, never replace their teeth. Others, like sharks, keep replacing them again and again.

So why do we humans replace our teeth only once? And how does the whole tooth replacement process work?

These are tricky questions, and we don’t have all the answers. But a new discovery about the strange tooth-replacement habits of the tammar wallaby, a small Australian marsupial, may help shed some light on this dental mystery.

Not everybody replaces teeth the same way

It has been long assumed modern mammals all replace their teeth the same way. However, advances in 3D scanning and modelling have revealed mammals with unusual tooth replacement, like the tammar wallaby (Macropus eugenii) and the fruit bat (Eidolon helvum).

These mammals have given us important clues as to how humans and other mammals have evolved from ancestors with continuous tooth replacement.

How do humans make and replace teeth?

Human teeth begin growing between the sixth and eighth week of an embryo’s development, when a band of tissue within the gums called the primary dental lamina starts to thicken. Along this band, clusters of special stem cells appear at the sites of future teeth, known as “placodes”.

The placodes then begin to grow into teeth, going through the bud, cap and bell stages along the way. They form into their final shape and harden with layers of dentine and enamel. Eventually, they will erupt through the gums. The incisors are the first to erupt, as early as 6 months old, which is why its called theteethingphase!

This generation of teeth, which grow from the primary dental lamina, are known as “primary dentition”, or baby teeth.

Secondary or adult teeth grow a little bit differently. An offshoot of tissue called the successional lamina grows out from the baby tooth, and that tissue develops the replacement tooth like an apple on a branch of a tree. Adult teeth begin to grow before we are born, but take many years for the full set to form and eventually appear.

Replacement occurs when the adult teeth get large enough that they finally push out the baby teeth and remain as the permanent set of teeth for the rest of our lives. The first molar usually erupts between 6 and 7 years of age, while our wisdom teeth are the last to appear (roughly between 17 and 21 years of age).

Most mammals replace their teeth once in the course of their lives, like we do. This is known as “diphyodonty” (two sets of teeth).

Some groups of mammals, such as rodents, don’t replace their teeth at all. These “monophyodonts” get by with the same set of teeth for their whole lives. There are also a few unusual mammals, such as echidnas, that don’t grow any teeth at all!

Learning from the wallaby

The tammar wallaby is also a diphyodont, replacing its teeth only once.

Scientists long assumed it replaced its teeth in the same way humans do, though historical notes going back as far as 1893 noticed unusual things about this marsupial’s tooth development. For starters, while we replace our incisors, canines and premolars, tammar wallabies only replace their premolars.

Baby and adult teeth of the tammar wallaby. Scale bar equals 1 cm. Nasrullah et al.

Recently my colleagues at Monash University and the University of Melbourne and I observed the teeth of tammar wallabies from the embryo through to adulthood. We used a technique called diceCT, which combines staining and CT scanning, and found something surprising.

Instead of replacement premolar teeth developing from the successional lamina, they were in fact delayed baby teeth developing from the primary dental lamina.

This means the tammar wallaby does not have any traditional tooth replacement. This discovery opens up a huge set of new questions. What exactly are these teeth?

Tooth development of premolars in the tammar wallaby in 2D and 3D, showing the delayed baby tooth ‘P3’ appearing 47 days after its siblings ‘dP2’ and ‘dP3’

One explanation for these delayed baby teeth could be a link to our ancestry of continuous tooth replacement.

Your teeth are millions of years in the making

Unlike mammals, most other animals, including fish, sharks, amphibians and reptiles, replace their teeth multiple times (they are “polyphyodonts”). Mammals lost this ability around 205 million years ago.

The reason we stop making teeth is because our dental lamina degrades after our second set are made, while it remains active in polyphyodonts.

Interestingly, in modern and fossil polyphyodonts the replacement teeth often develop in groups of alternating waves, known as “Zahnreihen”.

While the tammar only replaces its premolars, these delayed baby teeth could represent the presence of the Zahnreihen still occurring in modern mammals.

This gives us a clue about how we have evolved from ancestors with continuous tooth replacement: by modifying and reducing a system that is hundreds of millions of years old.

In reptiles, teeth are replaced in waves, or ‘Zahnreihen’. Each blue line shows a single wave. Whitlock and Richman

Research has also found that fruit bats (Eidolon helvum) make replacement teeth in unusual ways, including growing them in front of the baby tooth, behind it, beside it, or splitting off from it.

This is exciting because, together with the tammar, it shows there may well be a wealth of tooth replacement diversity across mammals happening right under our noses – or our gums!The Conversation

Qamariya Nasrullah, Postdoctoral Research Associate in Evolutionary Morphology, Monash University

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

In The Australian Wars, Rachel Perkins dispenses with the myth Aboriginal people didn’t fight back

Dylan River/SBS
Heidi Norman, University of Technology Sydney and Anne Maree Payne, University of Technology Sydney

First Nations people please be advised this article mentions colonial violence towards Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

The Australian Wars is a new three-part TV series directed and produced by Arrernte and Kalkadoon nations filmmaker Rachel Perkins.

Perkins travels across vast territory to capture key aspects of a war that lasted more than 100 years, from the landing of the First Fleet in 1788 until the 1920s.

The series traces some of the key phases, sites and underlying features of frontier wars here on home soil.

It sets out to understand why the war was never declared, why the British didn’t follow their own laws, and the tactics and strategies Aboriginal people deployed defending their land and survival.

Perkins asks us to consider this difficult history, why there are only a handful of monuments to this warfare, and how it should be memorialised.

To ask these questions, Perkins deploys stunningly shot re-enactments, archives, artefacts, biography, expert evidence and uses place to great effect.

The series treats the viewer with the ability to critically reflect and ask why we still struggle to come to terms with this history.

The frontier wars

The “frontier wars” were the conflicts between Europeans and Aboriginal people over access to land the British sought to occupy exclusively without any agreement, treaty or settlement. This series emphasises Aboriginal people resisted these wars in multiple ways, including warfare. Aboriginal people are still resisting these wars today, in the courts.

The Australian Wars is an important contribution to truth-telling. Perkins provides a public reckoning with the means by which the British Empire – followed by independent democratic Australian governments – managed to grab the entirety of the land assets of the continent.

The dominant narrative of Australian settler colonialism was once sunny tales of possession, sustained by hard toil. Aboriginal acts of resistance, refusal and warfare were somehow miraculously omitted.

Only in recent decades has a more truthful account of the past emerged. New conversations and responsibility are slowly navigating the realities of the frontier, the shared history of “both sides” and how the past can be remembered.

Reconciliation Australia’s “Reconciliation Barometer” survey identified only 64% of non-Indigenous Australians believed the frontier wars occurred. Some 30% of respondents were unsure and 6% rejected the factual accuracy of significant aspects of Australia’s colonial history.

The Australian War Memorial, once tasked with considering how to reflect frontier wars in Australia’s story, rejected any inclusion of the frontier wars in its exhibitions.

The documentary returns to the theme of rejecting this part of Australia’s history and asks: how can the frontier wars be remembered and memorialised?

Perkins reminds us that as many people – both black and white – died in the frontier wars as did in overseas conflicts featured at the Australian War Memorial.

The moving frontier

The Australian Wars draws together experts of Australian history, detailed studies of the expansive colonial records, the oral testimony of survivors’ descendants and new archaeological research.

With this trove of references, Perkins reveals the extent and breadth of violence, the global networks of military men and the strategies they honed on the frontier, and the technology that came to enable this.

Ultimately, we learn unfettered access to the land resource was the driving factor. The rule of law, claims of humanitarianism and Christianity were readily dispensed with in pursuit of land.

Perkins begins this story in the nation’s capital at the War Memorial. She then follows the moving frontier from the Sydney settlement to Tasmania and crossing Bass Strait. The story then moves with rapid pace from south to north and across the top end to the Kimberley, as settlers expanded across landscapes in always violent encounters.

She dispenses with the abiding myth Aboriginal people didn’t fight back.

In each location Perkins focuses on, we see different strategies deployed, tactical advantage held at times by Aboriginal people, the fear and terror struck in the settlers, and the military actors and strategy that underpinned the colonial settlements.

By the third episode, as the frontier heads north, settlers take lessons from Sydney, Tasmania and the New South Wales grasslands country. Moving with much greater speed aided now by horses, the settlers recruited skilled Native Mounted Police, used repeating rifles and developed systems and infrastructure to confine Aboriginal people to prisons.

But the Aboriginal peoples whose lands were being invaded were fast developing new tactics.

In Queensland alone it is estimated 72,000 Aboriginal men, women and children were killed.

How do we remember?

The series prompts us to ask: if not war, then what do we call the process by which the land, once all carefully delineated and peopled, is occupied by settlers?

How do we remember this and memorialise those who died?

Perkins tells us this violence was often very well documented. This violence was acted against people whose eyes you could see. Yet from Lake George, just outside the nation’s capital, to the Sydney wars and massacres, Tasmania, Queensland and to the Kimberley, sites of violence are overwhelmingly unmarked, unobserved, save for colonial names: “Blackfellows Bones”, “Victory Hill”.

The silence continues.

Leading Australian historian Henry Reynolds says the frontier wars are our most important war because of where they were fought and what they were about: the outcome determined the ownership and sovereign control of a whole continent.

As he comments in the series “what can be more important than that to us?”

The Australian Wars is on SBS and SBS on Demand from today.The Conversation

Heidi Norman, Professor, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, University of Technology Sydney and Anne Maree Payne, Lecturer, Centre for the Advancement of Indigenous Knowledges, University of Technology Sydney

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Deepfake audio has a tell – researchers use fluid dynamics to spot artificial imposter voices

With deepfake audio, that familiar voice on the other end of the line might not even be human let alone the person you think it is. Knk Phl Prasan Kha Phibuly/EyeEm via Getty Images
Logan Blue, University of Florida and Patrick Traynor, University of Florida

Imagine the following scenario. A phone rings. An office worker answers it and hears his boss, in a panic, tell him that she forgot to transfer money to the new contractor before she left for the day and needs him to do it. She gives him the wire transfer information, and with the money transferred, the crisis has been averted.

The worker sits back in his chair, takes a deep breath, and watches as his boss walks in the door. The voice on the other end of the call was not his boss. In fact, it wasn’t even a human. The voice he heard was that of an audio deepfake, a machine-generated audio sample designed to sound exactly like his boss.

Attacks like this using recorded audio have already occurred, and conversational audio deepfakes might not be far off.

Deepfakes, both audio and video, have been possible only with the development of sophisticated machine learning technologies in recent years. Deepfakes have brought with them a new level of uncertainty around digital media. To detect deepfakes, many researchers have turned to analyzing visual artifacts – minute glitches and inconsistencies – found in video deepfakes.

This is not Morgan Freeman, but if you weren’t told that, how would you know?

Audio deepfakes potentially pose an even greater threat, because people often communicate verbally without video – for example, via phone calls, radio and voice recordings. These voice-only communications greatly expand the possibilities for attackers to use deepfakes.

To detect audio deepfakes, we and our research colleagues at the University of Florida have developed a technique that measures the acoustic and fluid dynamic differences between voice samples created organically by human speakers and those generated synthetically by computers.

Organic vs. synthetic voices

Humans vocalize by forcing air over the various structures of the vocal tract, including vocal folds, tongue and lips. By rearranging these structures, you alter the acoustical properties of your vocal tract, allowing you to create over 200 distinct sounds, or phonemes. However, human anatomy fundamentally limits the acoustic behavior of these different phonemes, resulting in a relatively small range of correct sounds for each.

How your vocal organs work.

In contrast, audio deepfakes are created by first allowing a computer to listen to audio recordings of a targeted victim speaker. Depending on the exact techniques used, the computer might need to listen to as little as 10 to 20 seconds of audio. This audio is used to extract key information about the unique aspects of the victim’s voice.

The attacker selects a phrase for the deepfake to speak and then, using a modified text-to-speech algorithm, generates an audio sample that sounds like the victim saying the selected phrase. This process of creating a single deepfaked audio sample can be accomplished in a matter of seconds, potentially allowing attackers enough flexibility to use the deepfake voice in a conversation.

Detecting audio deepfakes

The first step in differentiating speech produced by humans from speech generated by deepfakes is understanding how to acoustically model the vocal tract. Luckily scientists have techniques to estimate what someone – or some being such as a dinosaur – would sound like based on anatomical measurements of its vocal tract.

We did the reverse. By inverting many of these same techniques, we were able to extract an approximation of a speaker’s vocal tract during a segment of speech. This allowed us to effectively peer into the anatomy of the speaker who created the audio sample.

line drawing diagram showing two focal tracts, one wider and more variable than the other
Deepfaked audio often results in vocal tract reconstructions that resemble drinking straws rather than biological vocal tracts. Logan Blue et al., CC BY-ND

From here, we hypothesized that deepfake audio samples would fail to be constrained by the same anatomical limitations humans have. In other words, the analysis of deepfaked audio samples simulated vocal tract shapes that do not exist in people.

Our testing results not only confirmed our hypothesis but revealed something interesting. When extracting vocal tract estimations from deepfake audio, we found that the estimations were often comically incorrect. For instance, it was common for deepfake audio to result in vocal tracts with the same relative diameter and consistency as a drinking straw, in contrast to human vocal tracts, which are much wider and more variable in shape.

This realization demonstrates that deepfake audio, even when convincing to human listeners, is far from indistinguishable from human-generated speech. By estimating the anatomy responsible for creating the observed speech, it’s possible to identify the whether the audio was generated by a person or a computer.

Why this matters

Today’s world is defined by the digital exchange of media and information. Everything from news to entertainment to conversations with loved ones typically happens via digital exchanges. Even in their infancy, deepfake video and audio undermine the confidence people have in these exchanges, effectively limiting their usefulness.

If the digital world is to remain a critical resource for information in people’s lives, effective and secure techniques for determining the source of an audio sample are crucial.The Conversation

Logan Blue, PhD student in Computer & Information Science & Engineering, University of Florida and Patrick Traynor, Professor of Computer and Information Science and Engineering, University of Florida

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

book of the month: october 2022 - Voss by Patrick white

Originally published: London: Eyre & Spottiswoode, 1957.

Set in nineteenth-century Australia, Voss is White's best-known book, a sweeping novel about a secret passion between the explorer Voss and the young orphan Laura. As Voss is tested by hardship, mutiny, and betrayal during his crossing of the brutal Australian desert, Laura awaits his return in Sydney, where she endures their months of separation as if her life were a dream and Voss the only reality. Marrying a sensitive rendering of hidden love with a stark adventure narrative, Voss is a novel of extraordinary power and virtuosity from a twentieth-century master.

The world at your finger tips: Online

With current advice to stay at home and self-isolate, when you come in out of the garden, have had your fill of watching movies and want to explore something new, there's a whole world of books you can download, films you can watch and art galleries you can stroll through - all from at home and via the internet. This week a few suggestions of some of the resources available for you to explore and enjoy. For those who have a passion for Art - this month's Artist of the Month is the Online Australian Art Galleries and State Libraries where you can see great works of art from all over the world  and here - both older works and contemporary works.

Also remember the Project Gutenberg Australia - link here- has heaps of great books, not just focused on Australian subjects but fiction works by popular authors as well. Well worth a look at.

Short Stories for Teenagers you can read for free online

StoryStar is an online resource where you can access and read short stories for teenagers


Storystar is a totally FREE short stories site featuring some of the best short stories online, written by/for kids, teens, and adults of all ages around the world, where short story writers are the stars, and everyone is free to shine! Storystar is dedicated to providing a free place where everyone can share their stories. Stories can entertain us, enlighten us, and change us. Our lives are full of stories; stories of joy and sorrow, triumph and tragedy, success and failure. The stories of our lives matter. Share them. Sharing stories with each other can bring us closer together and help us get to know one another better. Please invite your friends and family to visit Storystar to read, rate and share all the short stories that have been published here, and to tell their stories too.

StoryStar headquarters are located on the central Oregon coast.

NFSA - National Film and Sound Archive of Australia

The doors may be temporarily closed but when it comes to the NFSA, we are always open online. We have content for Kids, Animal Lovers, Music fans, Film buffs & lots more.

You can explore what’s available online at the NFSA, see more in the link below.

NLA Ebooks - Free To Download

The National Library of Australia provides access to thousands of ebooks through its website, catalogue and eResources service. These include our own publications and digitised historical books from our collections as well as subscriptions to collections such as Chinese eResources, Early English Books Online and Ebsco ebooks.

What are ebooks?
Ebooks are books published in an electronic format. They can be read by using a personal computer or an ebook reader.

This guide will help you find and view different types of ebooks in the National Library collections.

Peruse the NLA's online ebooks, ready to download - HERE

The Internet Archive and Digital Library

The Internet Archive is an American digital library with the stated mission of "universal access to all knowledge." It provides free public access to collections of digitised materials, including websites, software applications/games, music, movies, videos, moving images, and millions of public-domain books. There's lots of Australian materials amongst the millions of works on offer.


Avalon Youth Hub: More Meditation Spots

Due to popular demand our meditation evenings have EXPANDED. Two sessions will now be run every Wednesday evening at the Hub. Both sessions will be facilitated by Merryn at Soul Safaris.

6-7pm - 12 - 15 year olds welcome
7-8pm - 16 - 25 year olds welcome

No experience needed. Learn and develop your mindfulness and practice meditation in a group setting.

For all enquires, message us via facebook or email

BIG THANKS The Burdekin Association for funding these sessions!

Green Team Beach Cleans 

Hosted by The Green Team
It has been estimated that we will have more plastic than fish in the ocean by 2050...These beach cleans are aimed at reducing the vast amounts of plastic from entering our oceans before they harm marine life. 

Anyone and everyone is welcome! If you would like to come along, please bring a bucket, gloves and hat. Kids of all ages are also welcome! 

We will meet in front of the surf club. 
Hope to see you there!

The Green Team is a Youth-run, volunteer-based environment initiative from Avalon, Sydney. Keeping our area green and clean.

 The Project Gutenberg Library of Australiana

Australian writers, works about Australia and works which may be of interest to Australians.This Australiana page boasts many ebooks by Australian writers, or books about Australia. There is a diverse range; from the journals of the land and sea explorers; to the early accounts of white settlement in Australia; to the fiction of 'Banjo' Paterson, Henry Lawson and many other Australian writers.

The list of titles form part of the huge collection of ebooks freely downloadable from Project Gutenberg Australia. Follow the links to read more about the authors and titles and to read and/or download the ebooks. 

Profile: Ingleside Riders Group

Ingleside Riders Group Inc. (IRG) is a not for profit incorporated association and is run solely by volunteers. It was formed in 2003 and provides a facility known as “Ingleside Equestrian Park” which is approximately 9 acres of land between Wattle St and McLean St, Ingleside. IRG has a licence agreement with the Minister of Education to use this land. This facility is very valuable as it is the only designated area solely for equestrian use in the Pittwater District.  IRG promotes equal rights and the respect of one another and our list of rules that all members must sign reflect this.


Research shows that one in five Australian children aged 8 to 17 has been the target of cyberbullying in the past year. The Office of the Children’s eSafety Commissioner can help you make a complaint, find someone to talk to and provide advice and strategies for dealing with these issues.

Make a Complaint 

The Enhancing Online Safety for Children Act 2015 gives the power to provide assistance in relation to serious cyberbullying material. That is, material that is directed at a particular child with the intention to seriously embarrass, harass, threaten or humiliate.


Before you make a complaint you need to have:

  • copies of the cyberbullying material to upload (eg screenshots or photos)
  • reported the material to the social media service (if possible) at least 48 hours ago
  • at hand as much information as possible about where the material is located
  • 15-20 minutes to complete the form


Our mission

The Office of the Children’s eSafety Commissioner is Australia's leader in online safety. The Office is committed to helping young people have safe, positive experiences online and encouraging behavioural change, where a generation of Australian children act responsibly online—just as they would offline.

We provide online safety education for Australian children and young people, a complaints service for young Australians who experience serious cyberbullying, and address illegal online content through the Online Content Scheme.

Our goal is to empower all Australians to explore the online world—safely.


The Green Team

This Youth-run, volunteer-based environment initiative has been attracting high praise from the founders of Living Ocean as much as other local environment groups recently. 
Creating Beach Cleans events, starting their own, sustainability days - ‘action speaks louder than words’ ethos is at the core of this group. 

National Training Complaints Hotline – 13 38 73

The National Training Complaints Hotline is accessible on 13 38 73 (Monday to Friday from 8am to 6pm nationally) or via email at

Sync Your Breathing with this - to help you Relax

Send In Your Stuff

Pittwater Online News is not only For and About you, it is also BY you.  
We will not publish swearing or the gossip about others. BUT: If you have a poem, story or something you want to see addressed, let us know or send to:

All Are Welcome, All Belong!

Youth Source: Northern Sydney Region

A directory of services and resources relevant to young people and those who work, play and live alongside them.

The YouthSource directory has listings from the following types of service providers: Aboriginal, Accommodation, Alcohol & Other Drugs, Community Service, Counselling, Disability, Education & Training, Emergency Information, Employment, Financial, Gambling,  General Health & Wellbeing, Government Agency, Hospital & GP, Legal & Justice, Library, Mental Health, Multicultural, Nutrition & Eating Disorders, Parenting, Relationships, Sexual Health, University, Youth Centre

Fined Out: Practical guide for people having problems with fines

Legal Aid NSW has just published an updated version of its 'Fined Out' booklet, produced in collaboration with Inner City Legal Centre and Redfern Legal Centre.

Fined Out is a practical guide to the NSW fines system. It provides information about how to deal with fines and contact information for services that can help people with their fines.

A fine is a financial penalty for breaking the law. The Fines Act 1996 (NSW) and Regulations sets out the rules about fines.

The 5th edition of 'Fined Out' includes information on the different types of fines and chapters on the various options to deal with fines at different stages of the fine lifecycle, including court options and pathways to seek a review, a 50% reduction, a write-off, plan, or a Work and Development Order (WDO).

The resource features links to self-help legal tools for people with NSW fines, traffic offence fines and court attendance notices (CANs) and also explains the role of Revenue NSW in administering and enforcing fines.

Other sections of the booklet include information specific to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, young people and driving offences, as well as a series of template letters to assist people to self-advocate.

Hard copies will soon be available to be ordered online through the Publications tab on the Legal Aid NSW website.

Hard copies will also be made available in all public and prison libraries throughout NSW.

Read the resource online, or download the PDF.

Apprenticeships and traineeships info

Are you going to leave school this year?
Looking for an apprenticeship or traineeship to get you started?
This website, Training Services NSW, has stacks of info for you;

It lists the group training organisations (GTOs) that are currently registered in NSW under the Apprenticeship and Traineeship Act 2001. These GTOs have been audited by independent auditors and are compliant with the National Standards for Group Training Organisations.

If you are interested in using the services of a registered GTO, please contact any of the organisations listed here:

There are also some great websites, like 1300apprentice, which list what kind of apprenticeships and traineeships they can guide you to securing as well as listing work available right now.

Profile Bayview Yacht Racing Association (BYRA)
1842 Pittwater Rd, Bayview

BYRA has a passion for sharing the great waters of Pittwater and a love of sailing with everyone aged 8 to 80 or over!

 headspace Brookvale

headspace Brookvale provides services to young people aged 12-25. If you are a young person looking for health advice, support and/or information,headspace Brookvale can help you with:

• Mental health • Physical/sexual health • Alcohol and other drug services • Education and employment services

If you ever feel that you are:

• Alone and confused • Down, depressed or anxious • Worried about your use of alcohol and/or other drugs • Not coping at home, school or work • Being bullied, hurt or harassed • Wanting to hurt yourself • Concerned about your sexual health • Struggling with housing or accommodation • Having relationship problems • Finding it hard to get a job

Or if you just need someone to talk to… headspace Brookvale can help! The best part is our service is free, confidential and youth friendly.

headspace Brookvale is open from Monday to Friday 9:00am-5:30pm so if you want to talk or make an appointment give us a call on (02) 9937 6500. If you're not feeling up to contacting us yourself, feel free to ask your family, friend, teacher, doctor or someone close to you to make a referral on your behalf.

When you first come to headspace Brookvale you will be greeted by one of our friendly staff. You will then talk with a member of our headspace Brookvale Youth Access Team. The headspace Brookvale Youth Access Team consists of three workers, who will work with you around whatever problems you are facing. Depending on what's happening for you, you may meet with your Youth Access Worker a number of times or you may be referred on to a more appropriate service provider.

A number of service providers are operating out of headspace Brookvale including Psychologists, Drug & Alcohol Workers, Sexual Health Workers, Employment Services and more! If we can't find a service operating withinheadspace Brookvale that best suits you, the Youth Access Team can also refer you to other services in the Sydney area.

eheadspace provides online and telephone support for young people aged 12-25. It is a confidential, free, secure space where you can chat, email or talk on the phone to qualified youth mental health professionals.

Click here to go to eheadspace

For urgent mental health assistance or if you are in a crisis please call the Northern Sydney 24 hour Mental Health Access Line on 1800 011 511

Need Help Right NOW??

kids help line: 1800 55 1800 -

lifeline australia - 13 11 14 -

headspace Brookvale is located at Level 2 Brookvale House, 1A Cross Street Brookvale NSW 2100 (Old Medical Centre at Warringah Mall). We are nearby Brookvale Westfield's bus stop on Pittwater road, and have plenty of parking under the building opposite Bunnings. More at:

Profile: Avalon Soccer Club
Avalon Soccer Club is an amateur club situated at the northern end of Sydney’s Northern Beaches. As a club we pride ourselves on our friendly, family club environment. The club is comprised of over a thousand players aged from 5 to 70 who enjoy playing the beautiful game at a variety of levels and is entirely run by a group of dedicated volunteers. 
Profile: Pittwater Baseball Club

Their Mission: Share a community spirit through the joy of our children engaging in baseball.

Year 13

Year13 is an online resource for post school options that specialises in providing information and services on Apprenticeships, Gap Year Programs, Job Vacancies, Studying, Money Advice, Internships and the fun of life after school. Partnering with leading companies across Australia Year13 helps facilitate positive choices for young Australians when finishing school.

Driver Knowledge Test (DKT) Practice run Online

Did you know you can do a practice run of the DKT online on the RMS site? - check out the base of this page, and the rest on the webpage, it's loaded with information for you!

The DKT Practice test is designed to help you become familiar with the test, and decide if you’re ready to attempt the test for real.  Experienced drivers can also take the practice test to check their knowledge of the road rules. Unlike the real test, the practice DKT allows you to finish all 45 questions, regardless of how many you get wrong. At the end of the practice test, you’ll be advised whether you passed or failed.

NCYLC is a community legal centre dedicated to providing advice to children and young people. NCYLC has developed a Cyber Project called Lawmail, which allows young people to easily access free legal advice from anywhere in Australia, at any time.

NCYLC was set up to ensure children’s rights are not marginalised or ignored. NCYLC helps children across Australia with their problems, including abuse and neglect. The AGD, UNSW, KWM, Telstra and ASIC collaborate by providing financial, in-kind and/or pro bono volunteer resources to NCYLC to operate Lawmail and/or Lawstuff.

Kids Helpline

If you’re aged 5-25 the Kids Helpline provides free and confidential online and phone counselling 24 hours a day, seven days a week on 1800 55 1800. You can chat with us about anything… What’s going on at home, stuff with friends. Something at school or feeling sad, angry or worried. You don’t have to tell us your name if you don’t want to.

You can Webchat, email or phone. Always remember - Everyone deserves to be safe and happy. You’re important and we are here to help you. Visit: