November 28 - December 4, 2021: Issue 520

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

For you this week:

Front Page Issue 520 

World Surf League’s Sydney Surf Pro Heads To North Narrabeen For 2023 and 2024 Editions + WSL's Australian 2022 Events Schedule

Avalon Cafés BYO Cup Initiative: December 1-10

North Steyne Take Out The Australian Boardriders Battle Central Qualifier At Warriewood

Lisa Darmanin Female Sailor Of The Year For Record Fourth Time: Australian Sailing Awards

2021 ARIA Awards: Local Winners Include Lime Cordiale + Angus & Julia Stone

Aquatics Milla Brown-Ruby Trew Win 2021 NSW Junior State Surfing Titles

Sydney Short Ocean Racing Championship 2021 by Lisa Ratcliff

Covid-19 Updates: Issue 520 -  Update On Further Easing Of Restrictions + Removing Disruptions For Schools and Families + School Formals Open To All HSC Students + Additional measures to protect Australians from the new ‘Omicron’ COVID-19 variant

Our Coastal Lagoons In Focus - tune in Friday December 3rd to Wendy Frews' The Coast RadioNB

Inaugural NBC Councillors Final Council Meeting by Miranda Korzy

Sailability Pittwater: Making Dreams Come True by Michael Woolley

Pictures 2021 Palm Beach Sailing Club Bullets Regatta by Regina Renfree and Dick Clarke

Batteries creating fire risk when tipped to landfill at Kimbriki

Marine Rescue NSW Annual General Meeting 2021: Two New Life Memberships Honours, John Lynch Steps Down

Kimberley Country Part 2 by Robyn McWilliam

Park Bench Philosopher Australia's Native Wildlife In Grip Of Unprecedented Attack

Local Government Election 2021 Candidates: Pittwater + Narrabeen - we sent out your queries, now you may read their replies

Canopy Keepers Offer 100 Trees For Avalon Beach 100 Celebration

Monika's DoggieRescue Calendar 2022: Give A Woofa A Chance!

Lynne Czinner Park At Warriewood; Design and Management Of Park Feedback Sought + Concept For Belrose Bike Park – open until December 12

Australia Post Set To Deliver Christmas Cheer With Santa Mail (post by Dec. 3 ) + Australia Post Releases Christmas Delivery Deadlines

Profile of the Week Avalon Beach Culture Collective Inc

On Facebook:

Some 30 odd dedicated volunteers have been beavering away in the background since Roger Treagus called our first meeting of the Avalon Beach Centenary Committee, way back in June, pre lockdown.

Both the Avalon Beach Art Exhibition (opening night Friday, 3 December, 2021) and Descendants of AJ Small with author Dr Jan Roberts of Remembering Avalon: Growing up in the 1940’s and 50’s – Avalon Golf Club (Sunday, 5 December, 2021) will be a soft launch opening. These will be followed by many events and interactive activities rolling out over the year December 21 – December 22, celebrating our Centenary, our indigenous and non indigenous history and culture, showcasing our local artists, musicians, performers and creatives, our wonderful volunteer community clubs and support groups, our local businesses and the wonderful natural environment we live in.

The initial list of planned events, projects and activities runs this week.

As our efforts have come from a dedicated group of community volunteers the challenge is always how to fund something wonderful out of nothing.

The Northern Beaches Council have approved our Grant Funding to cover some of our music events and fee waivers for the Dunbar Park Event.

Thankfully LJ Hooker Avalon Beach has come on board as our Gold Sponsor and this has allowed us to confirm a large number of event activities.

We are also grateful to Barrenjoey Insurance Brokers, Avalons Organics, Chambers Cellars, Oceana Traders for their sponsorship, Jen Hill at Avalon Art Gallery for the Graphic Design work and in collaboration with Cindy Goode for mounting a wonderful showcase of our local artists, and Barrenjoey Designs for design formatting and support for flag and banner production.   

To begin with though, a little about the Avalon Beach Culture Collective.

As we no longer have a Business Chamber that can easily roll out these events, we have registered the Avalon Beach Culture Collective Inc. as an incorporated not-for-profit association. 

The Mission Statement, which we have left as open as possible to cover a wide range of community activities/events is listed in our ABCC Profile page. This gives us a legal entity for fund raising, grants and sponsorship to cover some of the Avalon Beach Centenary events. 

This also allows the capacity to offer a structure to set up sub committees to roll out other projects, i.e.; if a group of VERY dedicated volunteers wanted to run Avalon Market Day we could offer them a structure to organise the event.

We have left the definition of Culture open as we want to support people in the community to undertake a wide range of projects.

Membership is now open and set at $25 - the ABCC Avalon Beach 100 t-shirts are also available to order; details, Membership forms and order forms and more is in our ABCC profile this Issue.

What If - Colbie Caillart

As heard in Letters to Juliet - Summer commences this week kiddliewinks - Live it up!

Nazare ALIVE - The Best Paddle Day EVER!

Published November 27, 2021 by Tim Bonython/Surfing Visions

NSW Rugby Union State 7s Championships 2021 U15's and U17's: Warringah and Manly + 2021 NSWJRU AGM Notes

The NSW Junior Rugby Union State Sevens Championships at Forster on Saturday and Sunday, November 20 and 21.

For the Warringah Rats Junior Rugby Union the NSW Youth 7s State Championships has become one of the highlights of the Season. A meticulously organised event with lots of great rugby on display and smiles on the faces of our rugby community.

Warringah’s U17 Boys were undefeated State Champions, beating Hunter, Mid North Coast, Gordon, Eastwood and Manly along the way. An outstanding achievement by them, and the first ever State Sevens title for Warringah Juniors.

This weekend was 7 years in the making. A team of mates playing together and staying together through the tough times makes the victory so much more enjoyable. Working hard as mates, winning well as a team.

Photo: Warringah Rats Junior Rugby Union

Warringah’s U15 Boys continue to improve, winning the Plate Final, which was coincidentally the same result the current U17s had 2 years ago. This group of fine young men that continue to grow and develop as rugby players and humans.

Warringah Rats Junior Rugby Union

Massive thanks to everyone involved that helped make the weekend such a resounding success. Doylo, Junior and the team from NSW Rugby did an amazing job organising and running the weekend. Thanks to the mighty Forster Tuncurry Dolphins for hosting the event, its always a pleasure to come and spend time in Forster/Tuncurry. Thanks to all the coaches and managers for preparing the teams, and looking after them over the course of the weekend. Thanks to all the parents and family for everything you do, it doesn't go unnoticed. And a special thanks to all the players for your commitment to Rats rugby, and representing Warringah with pride both on and off the field.

Already looking forward to 2022 - NSW Junior Rugby Union!!

The Wahu Manly Mermaids and Manly Marlins U15's are also now State Champions. 

After an fantastic weekend in Forster representing Manly in the NSW 7s State Championships these amazing U15s Girls went through undefeated (6 from 6) to claim the NSW 7s State Champs title.

Coming into the competition with the smallest and youngest squad in the comp with 5 x 13 year old girls and 4 x 14year old all the girls showed their amazing skills and potential all weekend with some dazzling display of running and breakdown rugby. Awesomely coached and Managed by Buck and Leischa Gray it allowed for the girls to showcase their amazing skills.

Photo: Manly JRU

Photo: Manly JRU

Thank you to all the Manly coaches and parents and a huge and special thank you David Beat for being instrumental in getting Manly to Forster in 2021.

Congratulations to all teams, U15s finishing first in the state and U17s on some great playing and commitment to the game. Manly juniors are looking strong for the 2032 Olympics.

Thank you to our coaches and managers, great weekend team.

U15 girls - Coach Buck Gray & Manager Leischa Gray

U15 boys - Coach Harry Berryman & Manager Craig Poynton

U17 girls - Coach Stevie Berryman & Manager Andrew Bullman

U17 boys - Coach Tua Marsters & Manager Jodie Marsters.

Special mention to the very important support crew - Put Berryman, Matty Burke, Mania Marsters, Brad Fittler, Chas Tonga, Michael Donaghy, who all played a very important role.

Our camera and film crew - Carl Petersen & Tiahn Watters.

Add in and jersey designer Paladin Sports, James Hilterbrand, Georgia Grey, Ally Bullman. The very important parents.

Video below.

NSWRU Youth 7s squads

On Thursday November 25theveryone who have been selected in the NSWRU Youth 7s squads was announced. Congratulations to local players who will form part of this.

NSWRU Under 15 Youth Boys 7s Squad

First Camp – Saturday 4th and Sunday 5th December, Location TBA

  • Jarrah Bell
  • Tomoko Berryman-Black
  • Sam Blank
  • Charlie Boyle
  • Anthony Dean
  • Zach Fittler
  • Marshall Le Maitre
  • Xavier Leota
  • King Manu
  • Corey Mcdougall
  • Casey Mclean
  • Daniel Mefou
  • Harry Middleton
  • Tuaomaliemavaitoelau Patea
  • Jojo Justin Pese
  • Charlie Poynton
  • Will Rylands
  • Itula Seve
  • Mitchell Sweet
  • Sam Talataina
  • Jack Tully
  • Daniel Usumaki
  • Nathan Vaughan
  • Joe Walsh
  • Baxter Warner

NSWRU Under 17 Youth Boys 7s Squad

First Camp – Saturday 4th and Sunday 5th December, Location TBA Second Camp – 24th and 25th January, Location TBA

  • Leo Bassingwhaite
  • Ollie Cummins
  • Faalentino (Tino) Jahnke-Tavana
  • Thomas Klem
  • Thomas Livingstone
  • Tyrese Lokeni
  • Henry Mann
  • Maxwell Marsters
  • Hamish McDonald
  • Jesse McLean
  • Sam Mitchell
  • Rory Morgan
  • Omar Nourredine
  • Doug Philipson
  • Rio Portersheen
  • Charlie Poynton
  • Jekope Sovau
  • Angus Staniforth
  • Savelio Tamale
  • Josiah Vatubua
  • Joe Walsh
  • Finn Watkins

NSWRU Under 17 Youth Girls 7s Squad

First Camp – Saturday 4th and Sunday 5th December, Location TBA Second Camp – 24th and 25th January, Location TBA

U15’s Girls will be notified of talent identification and invited into Rugby Australia’s Emerging Talent Squad.

  • Sophia Addington
  • Lilli Boyle
  • Ally Bullman
  • Edie Burke
  • Ella Carlisle
  • Isobel Gosper
  • Georgia Grey
  • Martha Harvey
  • Olivia Herman
  • Chloe Jackson
  • Ella Koster
  • Kyanna Lokeni
  • Madison McAthur
  • Faitala Moleka
  • Lailani Montgomery
  • Ambryn Murphy-Haua
  • Aliyah Nasio
  • Ava Osland
  • Taytana Pati Ah-Cheung
  • Liliana Reardon
  • Sofia Saroukos
  • Piper Simons
  • Monalisa Soliola
  • Jesse Southwell
  • Manilita Takapautolo
  • Brooke Talataina
  • Georgina Tuipulotu

The 2021 NSWJRU Presidents report by Ben Gregory, who is standing down after 8 years in an executive role, 5 of them as president, published November 25, 2021 can be read in full here: 

Mr. Gregory's 2021 Report informs us that NSWJRU have updated and replaced all our City vs Country Trophies and State Championship Shields. A sub-committee was formed to dedicate a number of the vacant Age group Shields to NSWJRU people who have had a major impact on State Champs history – a fitting way to honour their contribution. The Trophies are now known as;

NSWJRU State Gala

  • U10 Boys – The A.E.Fisher ‘Spirit of Rugby’ Shield
  •  U11 Boys – The G.R.Paton ‘Spirit of Rugby’ Shield

NSWJRU State Championships

  • U12 Boys – The J.C.Degotardi Trophy
  • U13 Boys – The B.J.Gregory Shield
  • U14 Girls – The Phil Warner Trophy
  • U14 Boys – The Hawton Trophy
  • U15 Boys – The John Goddard Shield
  • U16 Girls – The Kerry Brady Shield
  • U16 Boys – The Chas Hansen Trophy
  • U18 Girls – The J.B.Carroll Shield
  • U18 Boys – The N.S.W.J.R.U Shield

NSWJRU City vs Country

  • U14 Boys – The Tim Gavin Shield
  • U14 Girls – The N.S.W.J.R.U Sponsors Plate
  • U15 Boys – The Steve Tuynman Cup
  • U16 Boys – The Ella Cup
  • U16 Girls – The Mahalia Murphy Shield
  • U18 Boys – The Michael Brial Cup
  •  U18 Girls – The Grace Hamilton Shield

There is also the Dave McCormack Memorial Shield awarded to the best NSW Country player at the U14 City vs Country game.

For the record the State Champions in 2021 were;

  • U12 Boys – Warringah (held at Camden Rugby Park, Camden)
  • U13 Boys – Western Sydney Two Blues (held at Apex Oval, Dubbo)
  • U14 Girls - Western Sydney Two Blues (held at Boronia Park, Hunters Hill)
  • U14 Boys – Penrith (held at Endeavour Oval, Orange)
  • U15 Boys – Manly (held at St Lukes Oval, Concord)
  • U16 Girls – Penrith & Gold Coast Coomera (held at Boronia Park, Hunters Hill)
  • U16 Boys – Gordon (held at Rat Park, Narrabeen)
  • U18 Girls – Sydney University (held at Boronia Park, Hunters Hill)
  • U18 Boys – Randwick (held at Rat Park, Narrabeen)

Ben says the 2022 version of the State Championships will see the inclusion of the Country Champs and a NEW SJRU "Sydney" Championship to be held within the State Champs format over the June long weekend. A very exciting addition for the U14 and older age groups. 

The Annual General Meeting of NSWJRU was held on Thursday, November 25, 2021

The Committee elected for 2022:

NSWJRU President - Andrew Hutton

VP Commercial - Tony Fisher

VP Reps - Ben Gregory

VP State Champs - Gary Paton

At the NSWJRU AGM the Committee had the honour of nominating their Patrons for 2022 and have named DARREN COLEMAN & GRACE HAMILTON as the Patrons of NSW Juniors for 2022. It doesn't get much better than that. 

So you have the Head Coach of the TOP team in NSW - our Waratahs and the Captain of the Waratah Women Super W team and the Buildcorp Wallaroos both supporting the grassroots part of our junior game. Sensational!


2021 ARIA Awards: Local Winners Include Lime Cordiale + Angus & Julia Stone 

Louis and Oli Leimbach of Lime Cordiale and their manager Andrew Stone. Photo © ARIA - Australian Recording Industry Association Ltd.

The 2021 ARIA Awards in partnership with YouTube Music, was broadcast live from Sydney’s iconic Taronga on Cammeraigal country and streamed around the world on YouTube on Wednesday November 24th.

This was a celebration of the incredible talent and diversity of this year’s nominated artists, in what has been an extremely difficult year. Throughout the challenges and uncertainty 2021 has brought upon the music industry, Australian artists have continued to prove their extraordinary abilities to connect people through music.

For local artists its been a good ARIA's 2021 year.

Lime Cordiale won Best Australian Live Act presented by Heaps Normal for their 2021 Relapse Tour. The band played their biggest shows since the pandemic halted live music. Named after the deluxe edition of their 2020 album ’14 Steps To A Better You (Relapse)’, included six new songs or, as the band referred to them on social media, “6 more steps to better the you”.  This is Lime Cordiale's second ARIA Award after winning Best Breakthrough Artist in 2020.

In a nice twist, the award was presented by The Wiggles, with Anthony Field, Murray Cook and Jeff Fatt of former The Cockroaches fame, and sprung from Manly, beaming over the announcement. The newest member of The Wiggles, Tsehay Hawkins, 16, read out the winner.

Photo © ARIA - Australian Recording Industry Association Ltd.

Angus and Julia Stone returned to the music scene together after almost four years and won Best Original Soundtrack or Musical Theatre Cast Album for their unexpected, unguarded, and unforgettable soundtrack to the Life Is Strange: True Colors video game. The sibling’s hiatus allowed them to explore their own artistic endeavours, but their reunion on this soundtrack produced a piece that’s a mix of their old and new work.

The In Memoriam segment of this Years' ARIAs featured Narrabeen-Collaroy Legend Doug Parkinson among other music luminaries such as Bert Newtown and the legendary Michael Gudinski and two members of the Party Boys, former Status Quo bassist Alan Lancaster and Warren McLean, Machinations, I'm Talking and the Divinyls, who used to rock out venues in our area. 

Photo © ARIA - Australian Recording Industry Association Ltd.



Milla Brown-Ruby Trew Win 2021 NSW Junior State Titles

Milla Brown. Photo: Josh Brown/Surfing NSW
Ruby Trew. Photo: Josh Brown /Surfing NSW
Ruby Trew (Manly) and Kash Brown (Cronulla) claimed top honours in the Under-14 divisions at the Woolworths NSW Junior State Titles pres. by Ocean and Earth, following an action-packed day of surfing in dreamy Sandon Point conditions on Monday November 22nd. Milla Brown (Newport) finished her State Title campaign with a bang as she took out the Under-16 Girls final on Saturday November 20th. Milla flared in the final exchange, nailing an array of decent and technical forehand hits to win the final with a 15.63 two-wave heat total. Milla shone throughout her heats and the final, posting great scores each time she took to the water.

Ruby Trew showed her star was continuing to rise as she claimed the Under-14 Girls final. As a goofy-footer, Trew used her sharp backhand repertoire to muster up a solid 16.56 total to claim the final. Trew gained the title from north coast standout Ocea Curtis (Lennox Head) who put on a valiant performance to finish the final with a 14.00 total.

The 2021 Woolworths NSW Junior State Titles pres by Ocean and Earth at Illawarra ran from 17th – 22nd November 2021 with junior surfers from across the state competing for a coveted title in Under-14, Under-16, and Under-18 age divisions.

“It has been a difficult year for surfing events in the latter part of 2021, so it comes as some comfort that we can still crown some junior state champions in the closing months of the year,” said Surfing NSW CEO Luke Madden.

“Due to all competitors residing within NSW state borders and having no need to cross borders – as well as developing a thorough COVID safe plan – we feel the Woolworths Junior State Titles pres. by Ocean and Earth is the perfect event to run for our up-and-coming junior talent. We thank Destination Wollongong for their support and we can’t wait to see who will claim a coveted NSW Title at the end of the event.”

Earlier in the competition Oliver Heintz (Avalon) showed he will be a name to watch out for in future years as he nabbed a first-round victory over perennial event standout Winter Vincent (Manly) in the Under-18 Boys division. Heintz lit up the tiny righthanders on his way to the win, knocking out a chain of mammoth backside hits to amass a gigantic 18.60 two-wave heat total.  

Oliver Heintz. Photo: Josh Brown /Surfing NSW


JOIN Ruby “Rockstar” Trew at DROP IN for YOUTH 2021


+ Skate Park Fun - BEST Limbo, Highest Ollie, Board Jump and Trick Jam

OVER $10,000 in CASH - PRIZES - GIVEAWAYS to be WON!



@MONA VALE SKATE PARK, 1604 Pittwater Road, Mona Vale

Saturday, 11 December 2021; 09:30 am- $15 entry online. $20 entry on event day, rego opens 9:30am. Vert Comp kicks off 10:30am.


SKATE VERT COMP Kicks off 10:30am


  • - 6 & Under - Girls and Boys
  • - 8 & Under - Girls and Boys
  • - 12 & Under - Girls and Boys
  • - 16 & Under - Girls and Boys
  • - Open Women’s - All Ages
  • - Open Men’s - All Ages
  • - Masters 45+ - Women's and Men's


Participants can only compete in a single category for the event. Age Group participants are competing for prizes. Entry into the Open category is for anyone who wants to compete for prize money.

Open and Masters participants are competing for ca$h and GLORY!

Skate Park Fun - BEST Limbo, Highest Ollie, Board Jump and Trick Jam competitions are for everyone to have some fun!

Presented by: Avalon Youth Hub - Business Education Network (THE BEN) - Hurley ANZ - Lifeline Northern Beaches - Modest Eyewear Co - Monster Skate Park - Rotaract - Skater HQ

Lifeline Northern Beaches is offering FREE face-to-face counselling at the Avalon Youth Hub for people aged 15-24. Counselling is safe and confidential, and our service is available with or without a referral. For more information, visit To book an appointment, call Lifeline Northern Beaches on 9949 5522 or email

tAFE nSW offers thousands of free training places

November 22, 2021

School leavers and jobseekers in the Northern Beaches now have access to thousands of free course places in the NSW Government funded Summer Skills, Lockdown Learning, and Job Trainer programs at TAFE NSW.   

TAFE NSW is offering free training in courses aligned to meet the skills needs of businesses in NSW, such as aviation, construction, cyber security and hospitality.    

TAFE NSW Managing Director Steffen Faurby said more than 20,000 people have already enrolled in fee-free Lockdown Learning courses, with almost 10,000 people studying with TAFE NSW for the first time.   

“TAFE NSW has assisted thousands of people with free training to upskill themselves or their staff, enhance their job prospects, or begin retraining for a new career,” Mr Faurby said.   

“With HSC exams underway, Summer Skills offers school leavers free short courses to upskill over the summer months, in courses such as Medical Terminology, Design and Build a Website, and Retail Customer Service.”     

TAFE NSW Northern Beaches will be offering the free Summer Skills course: Statement of Attainment in Introduction to Cookery Skills

Leading employment marketplace Seek currently has 1,200 kitchenhand jobs in NSW on its site, with North Shore & Northern Beaches accounting for more than 140 of them.      

TAFE NSW Head Teacher of Commercial Cookery Richard Etherington said the Statement of Attainment in Introduction to Cookery Skills is fully subsidised for eligible students and allows them to launch a career in the fast-paced hospitality industry.  

“TAFE NSW is offering many Summer Skills courses via online learning or virtual classrooms, which means that no matter where you are located you can take up the opportunity to boost your employability and gain new skills,” Mr Etherington said.    

“The Statement of Attainment in Introduction to Cookery Skills is being offered at the local Northern Beaches campus, and is a great opportunity for school leavers to learn practical cookery and kitchen organisational skills. 

“Students will learn how to prepare dishes using basic methods of cookery, use hygienic practices for food safety, participate in safe work practices, and use food preparation equipment.”   

For more information about studying at TAFE NSW, visit or phone 131 601. 

Sulphur Crested Cockatoo Mates: Our Place

Did you know you can only tell the gender of these birds by the colour of the eyes?: males have a solid black iris, females a red iris.

You're not like to see baby cockatoos because they don't emerge from the nest until they're bigger. But if you listen carefully you might hear them — they make a droning 'arrrrrrrr' call when they're begging for food and a quick staccato squeak when they're fed.

Tracking has also found cockatoos are very egalitarian when it comes to parenting, with each long-term partner taking turns to stay with the eggs and the chicks, while the other goes out foraging.

When they do grow up, cockatoos can live for a long time — perhaps 40 years in the wild to over 100-odd years in captivity.

Of the pair below one looks quite dirty - this can mean that its nesting and gets grubby getting in and out of that nest, or that it has lost its powder down feathers. It commonly affects young Sulphur Crested Cockatoos in their first year and is known as Psittacine Beak and Feather Disease Syndrome (PBFDS).

Infections can be treated and a non-stressful environment combined with a balanced diet may help during the course of the disease. 

Parrots (scientific name: psittacines) have roughly 370 species and 80 genera that make up the order Psittaciformes. There is much debate over the grouping of families. Originally all birds in the order Psittaciformes were grouped into one family, but in light of recent research the parrots could be classified into three superfamilies: Strigopoidea, the New Zealand parrot super family; Cacatuoidea, the family of cockatoos; and Psittacoidea, the true parrots (Joseph et al. 2012).

Two characteristics that set psittacines apart from other birds include their strong, hooked beak (maxilla) which has a hinge-like flexible attachment to the skull and fits over the mandible. The other unique characteristic is their zygodactyl toes, meaning they have four toes on each foot, two pointing forward and two projecting backward. The positioning of the toes is especially useful for climbing and prehension. Psittacines are reportedly the only birds that hold their food in one foot to eat it. This arrangement of beak and toes allow psittacines to easily manoeuvre among many types of vegetation (Foster and Smith Inc 2015).

Parrots are thought of as rainforest inhabitants; however, in Australia, they have expanded out of the wetter forests and have evolved to fill many different niches, reaching their highest diversity in open woodlands. Parrots in the Australasian region have attained the greatest ecological and morphological diversity. The plumage of most parrots around the world are variants of green due to their rain forest habitat, however, in Australia, parrots are found with multiple colours including black, white, red, yellow, grey, and pink, due to their colonisation of a wide variety of habitats (Chambers 2009).

There are over 50 species of parrot in Australia, with over 40 endemic ones and around here - lots of sulphur crested cockatoos, all with their own personalities.

Could we really deflect an asteroid heading for Earth? An expert explains NASA’s latest DART mission

Gail Iles, RMIT University

A NASA spacecraft the size of a golf cart has been directed to smash into an asteroid, with the intention of knocking it slightly off course. The test aims to demonstrate our technological readiness in case an actual asteroid threat is detected in the future.

The Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) lifted off aboard a SpaceX rocket from California on November 23, and will arrive at the target asteroid system in September, next year.

The mission will travel to the asteroid Didymos, a member of the Amor group of asteroids. Every 12 hours Didymos is orbited by a mini-moon, or “moonlet”, Dimorphos. This smaller half of the pair will be DART’s target.

Are we facing an extinction threat from asteroids?

We’ve all seen disaster movies in which an asteroid hits Earth, creating an extinction event similar to the one that killed off the dinosaurs millions of years ago. Could that happen now?

Well, Earth is actually bombarded frequently by small asteroids, ranging from 1-20 metres in diameter. Almost all asteroids of this size disintegrate in the atmosphere and are usually harmless.

There is an inverse relationship between the size of these object and the frequency of impact events. This means we get hit much more frequently by small objects than larger ones – simply because there are many more smaller objects in space.

Small asteroid impacts showing day-time impacts (in yellow) and night-time impacts (in blue). The size of each dot is proportional to the optical radiated energy of the impact. NASA JPL

Asteroids with a 1km diameter strike Earth every 500,000 years, on average. The most “recent” impact of this size is thought to have formed the Tenoumer impact crater in Mauritania, 20,000 years ago. Asteroids with an approximate 5km diameter impact Earth about once every 20 million years.

The 2013 Chelyabinsk meteoroid, which damaged buildings in six Russian cities and injured around 1,500 people, was estimated to be about 20m in diameter.

Assessing the risk

NASA’s DART mission has been sparked by the threat and fear of a major asteroid hitting Earth in the future.

The Torino scale is a method for categorising the impact hazard associated with a near-Earth object (NEO). It uses a scale from 0 to 10, wherein 0 means there is negligibly small chance of collision, and 10 means imminent collision, with the impacting object being large enough to precipitate a global disaster.

The Chicxulub impact (which is attributed to the extinction of non-avian dinosaurs) was a Torino scale 10. The impacts that created the Barringer Crater, and the 1908 Tunguska event, both correspond to Torino Scale 8.

With the increase of online news and individuals’ ability to film events, asteroid “near-misses” tend to generate fear in the public. Currently, NASA is keeping a close eye on asteroid Bennu, which is the object with the largest “cumulative hazard rating” right now. (You can keep up to date too).

With a 500m diameter, Bennu is capable of creating a 5km crater on Earth. However, NASA has also said there is a 99.943% chance the asteroid will miss us.

Brace for impact

At one point in their orbit around the Sun, Didymos and Dimorphos come within about 5.9 million km of Earth. This is still further away than our Moon, but it’s very close in astronomical terms, so this is when DART will hit Dimorphos.

DART will spend about ten months travelling towards Didymos and, when it’s close by, will change direction slightly to crash into Dimorphos at a speed of about 6.6km per second.

This animation shows DART’s trajectory around the Sun. Pink = DART | Green = Didymos | Blue = Earth | Turquoise = 2001 CB21 | Gold = 3361 Orpheus.

The larger Didymos is 780m in diameter and thus makes a better target for DART to aim for. Once DART has detected the much smaller Dimorphos, just 160m in diameter, it can make a last-minute course correction to collide with the moonlet.

The mass of Dimorphos is 4.8 million tonnes and the mass of DART at impact will be about 550kg. Travelling at 6.6km/s, DART will be able to transfer a huge amount of momentum to Dimorphos, to the point where it’s expected to actually change the moonlet’s orbit around Didymos.

This change, to the tune of about 1%, will be detected by ground telescopes within weeks or months. While this may not seem like a lot, 1% is actually a promising shift. If DART were to slam into a lone asteroid, its orbital period around the Sun would change by only about 0.000006%, which would take many years to measure.

The DART mission dates and timeline events. Johns Hopkins University

So we’ll be able to detect the 1% change from Earth, and meanwhile the pair will continue along its orbit around the Sun. DART will also deploy a small satellite ten days before impact to capture everything.

This is NASA’s first mission dedicated to demonstrating a planetary defence technique. At a cost of US$330 million, it’s relatively cheap in space mission terms. The James Webb Telescope set to launch next month, costs close to US$10 billion.

There will be little to no debris from DART’s impact. We can think of it in terms of a comparable event on Earth; imagine a train parked on the tracks but with no brakes on. Another train comes along and collides with it.

The trains won’t break apart, or destroy one another, but will move off together. The stationary one will gain some speed, and the one impacting it will lose some speed. The trains combine to become a new system with different speeds than before.

So we won’t experience any impact, ripples or debris from the DART mission.

Typical asteroid orbits remain between Mars and Jupiter, but some with elliptical orbits can pass close to Earth. Pearson

Is the effort really worth it?

Results from the mission will tell us just how much mass and speed is needed to hit an asteroid that may pose a threat in the future. We already track the vast majority of asteroids that come close to Earth, so we would have early warning of any such object.

That said, we have missed objects in the past. In October 2021, Asteroid UA_1 passed about 3,047km from Earth’s surface, over Antarctica. We missed it because it approached from the direction of the Sun. At just 1m in size it wouldn’t have caused much damage, but we should have seen it coming.

Building a deflection system for a potential major asteroid threat would be difficult. We would have to act quickly and hit the target with very good aim.

One candidate for such a system could be the new technology developed by the US spaceflight company SpinLaunch, which has designed technology to launch satellites into orbit at rapid speeds. This device could also be used to fire masses at close-passing asteroids. The Conversation

Gail Iles, Senior Lecturer in Physics, RMIT University

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

The Beatles: Get Back review – Peter Jackson’s TV series is a thrilling, funny (and long) treat for fans

Photo courtesy of Apple Corps Ltd
David McCooey, Deakin University

The Beatles’ Get Back project, undertaken in January 1969, has finally been completed. Again.

For most of the last 50 years it has been known as Let it Be, a film and LP record released in 1970. The project, conceived by Paul McCartney, was originally intended to be a television special documenting the band’s preparation for a live concert (their first in two and a half years). Because of the performance element, the Beatles decided to get back to their roots and only develop material that could be played without adding overdubs.

As it happened, the concert didn’t go ahead, the Beatles famously deciding instead to play a short unannounced gig on the roof of their headquarters. The TV special became a feature film, and the audio was handed over to the “wall of sound” producer, Phil Spector (leading to controversial results).

Meanwhile, in the early 1980s, the Beatles withdrew the film version (a fly-on-the-wall documentary directed by Michael Lindsay-Hogg) from circulation.

Lindsay-Hogg’s Let it Be is remembered as a portrait of a band in the process of breaking up. And indeed, George Harrison did briefly quit the band early into the four-week project, though Lindsay-Hogg’s documentary does not cover this episode.

George Harrison in Get Back. Walt Disney Pictures, Apple Corps, WingNut Films

Let it Be was seen as a downer in part because the Beatles, especially Lennon, were keen to trash it in the light of the band’s breakup (which occurred just weeks before the release of Let it Be, both film and album). As Lennon said in December 1970, the shoot was “hell”, and Spector was “given the shittiest load of badly recorded shit”.

A different tenor

While the newly released The Beatles: Get Back, directed by Peter Jackson, covers Harrison’s departure and return, Jackson’s film is tonally different from Lindsay-Hogg’s. According to Jackson, the dour account of Let it Be is inaccurate, since there is much “joy” and friendship evident in the 60 hours of film and 150 hours of audio tape that has been sitting in a vault for half a century.

Much of this audio has long been available as bootlegs, informing written accounts of this period of the Beatles’ history. The audio without the video, however, doesn’t always tell the whole story.

While Jackson and his team haven’t shied away from the moments of friction, ennui, and aimlessness experienced by the band, the tenor of Get Back is more upbeat than Lindsay-Hogg’s version (though there is perhaps more levity in that film than Jackson or its reputation allows).

But Get Back is not just a recut of Let it Be; it is a documentary in its own right, a film about the making of a film. Lindsay-Hogg is now a character in the drama of trying to work out what the project is about, and how it will end.

Unlike the cinema verité style of Let it Be, Get Back gives much-needed context in the form of titles naming the protagonists and songs, as well as explaining what is happening. The use of a day-by-day countdown to the live performance gives the otherwise shapeless events a sense of narrative and even tension.

Get Back was to be a feature film with a theatrical release, but COVID-19 led to a rescheduling and reconceptualising of the work, so that it became a documentary for Disney+. Recent reports were that the series would be a three-part series with a six-hour running time.

The climactic rooftop concert

As it turns out, that running time is closer to eight hours. (Let it Be is a mere 80 minutes long.) Almost all of these eight hours show the Beatles at work on a sound stage (at Twickenham Film Studios) or in an ad hoc recording studio (put together in the Beatles’ Apple headquarters, when – after Harrison’s walkout – it was decided that Twickenham wasn’t conducive to creativity).

The Apple studio is clearly more pleasant, and the tone is further lightened when the Beatles are joined by an outsider, their old friend Billy Preston, on keyboards (a crucial moment for the project).

There is nevertheless something of a hermetic feel to most of Get Back, so that when the Beatles and Preston head up to the rooftop to play in public – the cinematic “payoff” that the band and Lindsay-Hogg had been looking for throughout the project – there is a palpable sense of release.

And the famous rooftop concert, presented with creative use of split screen, is stunningly good (and is also, for the first time, presented in its 42-minute entirety).

After the countless run throughs and takes of the same songs over the preceding weeks (as well as numerous covers and early Beatles tunes), the sense of energy and the quality of playing gives the film the climactic moment that it needs, complete with police officers demanding, albeit politely, that the Beatles stop breaching the peace of London’s West End.

Cigarettes, cups of tea, and white bread

Get Back is very different from Let it Be in part due to Jackson’s editing, especially his use of montage, which produces a dynamic, sometimes frenetic, energy. Beyond these stylistic elements, Get Back is notable as a technical feat.

It looks and sounds astonishingly good, not something that was ever said about Let it Be. Jackson and his technical team have employed the kind of film restoration techniques used in his war documentary They Shall Not Grow Old (2018).

The vision in Get Back is beautifully saturated, sharp, and less grainy than Lindsay-Hogg’s film. Harrison and Starr, in their sartorial splendour, often resemble their cartoon equivalents from Yellow Submarine (1968).

If there is anything unvarnished about Jackson’s film it is the sight of people apparently living off cigarettes, cups of tea, and white bread. Also notably “historical” is the homosocial nature of the project; almost all of the active participants are men. Even Yoko Ono, who sits beside Lennon throughout, is almost entirely silent (save for her vocal participation in a couple of impromptu jams).

While the film has been painstakingly restored, the soundtrack has been almost remade. Much of the audio was recorded on mono quarter-inch tape. Jackson’s technical team used machine learning to effectively “remix” these mono tapes, allowing Jackson to hone in on individual voices masked by other sound sources (voices or musical instruments).

John Lennon in Get Back. Walt Disney Pictures, Apple Corps, WingNut Films

This is an extraordinary technological breakthrough, allowing key conversations to be heard properly for the first time, and for the remixing of the play throughs and rehearsals of songs, which weren’t being recorded as “takes” on the eight-track system.

Get Back is a treat for any Beatles fan. It’s a reminder, too, if one is needed, that some classic songs were recorded for the project. (Given that McCartney supplied at least three of these classics – Let it Be, The Long and Winding Road, and Get Back – it’s unsurprising that he has long been unsatisfied with the way they were originally showcased.)

But Jackson’s film isn’t all sweetness and light. Lennon, for instance, is dismissive of Harrison’s I, Me, Mine, and he makes a throwaway joke about Bob Wooler, a Liverpool disc jockey whom Lennon assaulted in 1963. Also notable is the relative absence of George Martin, who largely hands production duties to his sound engineer, Glyn Johns, surely a sign that Martin found something amiss with the project.

And indeed numerous sequences show a band lacking focus and discipline. Get Back, then, is unquestionably a mixed bag: thrilling, compelling, and funny, but also sometimes just a little boring.

In this, Jackson has been true to the original project. His extraordinary TV series is essential viewing for anyone interested in popular music.The Conversation

David McCooey, Professor of Writing and Literature, Deakin University

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

Pythagoras’ revenge: humans didn’t invent mathematics, it’s what the world is made of

Geralt / Pixabay
Sam Baron, Australian Catholic University

Many people think that mathematics is a human invention. To this way of thinking, mathematics is like a language: it may describe real things in the world, but it doesn’t “exist” outside the minds of the people who use it.

But the Pythagorean school of thought in ancient Greece held a different view. Its proponents believed reality is fundamentally mathematical.

More than 2,000 years later, philosophers and physicists are starting to take this idea seriously.

As I argue in a new paper, mathematics is an essential component of nature that gives structure to the physical world.

Honeybees and hexagons

Bees in hives produce hexagonal honeycomb. Why?

According to the “honeycomb conjecture” in mathematics, hexagons are the most efficient shape for tiling the plane. If you want to fully cover a surface using tiles of a uniform shape and size, while keeping the total length of the perimeter to a minimum, hexagons are the shape to use.

The hexagonal pattern of honeycomb is the most efficient way to cover a space in identical tiles. Sam Baron, Author provided

Charles Darwin reasoned that bees have evolved to use this shape because it produces the largest cells to store honey for the smallest input of energy to produce wax.

The honeycomb conjecture was first proposed in ancient times, but was only proved in 1999 by mathematician Thomas Hales.

Cicadas and prime numbers

Here’s another example. There are two subspecies of North American periodical cicadas that live most of their lives in the ground. Then, every 13 or 17 years (depending on the subspecies), the cicadas emerge in great swarms for a period of around two weeks.

Why is it 13 and 17 years? Why not 12 and 14? Or 16 and 18?

One explanation appeals to the fact that 13 and 17 are prime numbers.

Some cicadas have evolved to emerge from the ground at intervals of a prime number of years, possibly to avoid predators with life cycles of different lengths. Michael Kropiewnicki / Pixels

Imagine the cicadas have a range of predators that also spend most of their lives in the ground. The cicadas need to come out of the ground when their predators are lying dormant.

Suppose there are predators with life cycles of 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9 years. What is the best way to avoid them all?

Well, compare a 13-year life cycle and a 12-year life cycle. When a cicada with a 12-year life cycle comes out of the ground, the 2-year, 3-year and 4-year predators will also be out of the ground, because 2, 3 and 4 all divide evenly into 12.

When a cicada with a 13-year life cycle comes out of the ground, none of its predators will be out of the ground, because none of 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 or 9 divides evenly into 13. The same is true for 17.

P1–P9 represent cycling predators. The number-line represents years. The highlighted gaps show how 13 and 17-year cicadas manage to avoid their predators. Sam Baron, Author provided

It seems these cicadas have evolved to exploit basic facts about numbers.

Creation or discovery?

Once we start looking, it is easy to find other examples. From the shape of soap films, to gear design in engines, to the location and size of the gaps in the rings of Saturn, mathematics is everywhere.

If mathematics explains so many things we see around us, then it is unlikely that mathematics is something we’ve created. The alternative is that mathematical facts are discovered: not just by humans, but by insects, soap bubbles, combustion engines and planets.

What did Plato think?

But if we are discovering something, what is it?

The ancient Greek philosopher Plato had an answer. He thought mathematics describes objects that really exist.

For Plato, these objects included numbers and geometric shapes. Today, we might add more complicated mathematical objects such as groups, categories, functions, fields and rings to the list.

For Plato, numbers existed in a realm separate from the physical world. Geralt / Pixabay

Plato also maintained that mathematical objects exist outside of space and time. But such a view only deepens the mystery of how mathematics explains anything.

Explanation involves showing how one thing in the world depends on another. If mathematical objects exist in a realm apart from the world we live in, they don’t seem capable of relating to anything physical.

Enter Pythagoreanism

The ancient Pythagoreans agreed with Plato that mathematics describes a world of objects. But, unlike Plato, they didn’t think mathematical objects exist beyond space and time.

Instead, they believed physical reality is made of mathematical objects in the same way matter is made of atoms.

If reality is made of mathematical objects, it’s easy to see how mathematics might play a role in explaining the world around us.

Pythagorean pie: the world is made of mathematics plus matter. Sam Baron, Author provided

In the past decade, two physicists have mounted significant defences of the Pythagorean position: Swedish-US cosmologist Max Tegmark and Australian physicist-philosopher Jane McDonnell.

Tegmark argues reality just is one big mathematical object. If that seems weird, think about the idea that reality is a simulation. A simulation is a computer program, which is a kind of mathematical object.

McDonnell’s view is more radical. She thinks reality is made of mathematical objects and minds. Mathematics is how the Universe, which is conscious, comes to know itself.

I defend a different view: the world has two parts, mathematics and matter. Mathematics gives matter its form, and matter gives mathematics its substance.

Mathematical objects provide a structural framework for the physical world.

The future of mathematics

It makes sense that Pythagoreanism is being rediscovered in physics.

In the past century physics has become more and more mathematical, turning to seemingly abstract fields of inquiry such as group theory and differential geometry in an effort to explain the physical world.

As the boundary between physics and mathematics blurs, it becomes harder to say which parts of the world are physical and which are mathematical.

But it is strange that Pythagoreanism has been neglected by philosophers for so long.

I believe that is about to change. The time has arrived for a Pythagorean revolution, one that promises to radically alter our understanding of reality.The Conversation

Sam Baron, Associate professor, Australian Catholic University

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

Concerned about overeating? Here’s what you need to know about food addiction

Tracy Burrows, University of Newcastle and Megan Whatnall, University of Newcastle

For many of us, eating particular foods can be comforting: a pick-me-up during a hard task; a reward after a long day at work; a satiating end to a lovely dinner.

But some people have a compulsive and uncontrolled urge to eat particular foods, especially hyper-palatable “junk” foods. This can impact on their day-to-day functioning, and their ability to fulfil social, work or family roles.

People who struggle with addictive eating may have intense cravings, which don’t relate to hunger, as well as increased levels of tolerance for large quantities of food, and feelings of withdrawal.

Rather than hunger, these cravings may be prompted by low mood, mental illness (depression and anxiety), high levels of stress, or heightened emotions.

“Food addiction” or “addictive eating” is not yet a disorder that can be diagnosed in a clinical setting. Yet patients often ask health professionals about how to manage their addictive eating.

These health providers generally acknowledge their patients’ addictive eating behaviours but may be unsure of suitable treatments.

Food addiction is commonly assessed using the Yale Food Addiction Scale.

The science of addictive eating is still emerging, but researchers are increasingly noting addiction and reward pathways in the brain triggered by stress, heightened emotions and mental illness are associated with the urge to overeat.

How common is it?

Many factors contribute to overeating. The abundance of fast food, junk food advertising, and the highly palatable ingredients of many processed foods can prompt us to eat whether we are hungry or not.

However, some people report a lack of control over their eating, beyond liking and wanting, and are seeking help for this.

Around one in six people (15-20%) report addictive patterns of eating or addictive behaviours around food.

While food addiction is higher among people with obesity and mental health conditions, it only affects a subset of these groups.

How can you tell if you have a problem?

Typically, food addiction occurs with foods that are highly palatable, processed, and high in combinations of energy, fat, salt and/or sugar while being low in nutritional value. This might include chocolates, confectionery, takeaway foods, and baked products.

These foods may be associated with high levels of reward and may therefore preoccupy your thoughts. They might elevate your mood or provide a distraction from anxious or traumatic thoughts, and over time, you may need to eat more to get the same feelings of reward.

Anxious man looks out the window.
For some people with addictive eating, food preoccupies their thoughts. Shutterstock

However, for others, it could be an addiction to feelings of fullness or a sense of reward or satisfaction.

There is ongoing debate about whether it is components of food that are addictive or the behaviour of eating itself that is addictive, or a combination of the two.

Given people consume foods for a wide range of reasons, and people can form habits around particular foods, it could be different for different people.

It often starts in childhood

Through our research exploring the experiences of adults, we found many people with addictive eating attribute their behaviours to experiences that occurred in childhood.

These events are highly varied. They range from traumatic events, to the use of dieting or restrictive eating practices, or are related to poor body image or body dissatisfaction.

Our latest research found addictive eating in teenage years is associated with poorer quality of life and lower self-esteem, and it appears to increase in severity over time.

Children and adolescents tend to have fewer addictive eating behaviours, or symptoms, than adults. Of the 11 symptoms of the Yale Food Addiction Scale, children and adolescents generally have only two or three, while adults often have six or more, which is classified as severe food addiction.

The associations we observed in adolescents are also seen in adults: increased weight and poorer mental health is associated with a greater number of symptoms and prevalence of food addiction.

This highlights that some adolescents will need mental health, eating disorder and obesity services, in a combined treatment approach.

We also need to identify early risk factors to enable targeted, preventative interventions in younger age groups.

How is it treated?

The underlying causes of addictive eating are diverse so treatments can’t be one-size-fits-all.

A large range of treatments are being trialled. These include:

  • passive approaches such as self-help support groups

  • trials of medications such as naltrexone and bupropion, which targets hormones involved in hunger and appetite and works to reduce energy intake

  • bariatric surgery to assist with weight loss. The most common procedure in Australia is gastric banding, where an adjustable band is placed around the top part of the stomach to apply pressure and reduce appetite.

However, few of the available self-help support groups include involvement or input from qualified health professionals. While providing peer support, these may not be based on the best available evidence, with few evaluated for effectiveness.

Medications and bariatric surgery do involve health professional input and have been shown to be effective in achieving weight loss and reducing symptoms of food addiction in some people.

However, these may not be suitable for some people, such as those in the healthy weight range or with complex underlying health conditions. It’s also critical people receiving medications and surgery are counselled to make diet and other lifestyle changes.

Other holistic, personalised lifestyle approaches that include diet, physical activity, as well as mindfulness, show promising results, especially when co-designed with consumers and health professionals.

Person ties orange laces on their runners.
Personalised approaches which include diet and physical activity are showing promising results. Shutterstock

Our emerging treatment program

We’re also creating new holistic approaches to manage addictive eating. We recently trialled an online intervention tailored to individuals’ personalities.

Delivered by dietitians and based on behaviour change research, participants in the trial received personalised feedback about their symptoms of addictive eating, diet, physical activity and sleep, and formulated goals, distraction lists, and plans for mindfulness, contributing to an overall action plan.

After three months, participants reported the program as acceptable and feasible. The next step in our research is to trial the treatment for effectiveness. We’re conducting a research trial to determine the effectiveness of the treatment on decreasing symptoms of food addiction and improving mental health.

This is the first study of its kind and if found to be effective will be translated to clinical practice.

If you feel you experience addictive eating, talk to your GP or contact an accredited practising dietitian for assessment and support.The Conversation

Tracy Burrows, Professor Nutrition and Dietetics, University of Newcastle and Megan Whatnall, Post-Doctoral Researcher in Nutrition and Dietetics, University of Newcastle

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

Adele has successfully asked Spotify to remove ‘shuffle’ from albums. Here’s why that’s important for musicians

D. Bondy Valdovinos Kaye, Queensland University of Technology

Adele’s long awaited, newly released fourth studio album, 30 was guaranteed to make waves in the international music scene as Adele’s first full-length record in over six years. This week it made the news for a different reason.

In response to Adele’s request, Spotify has hidden the shuffle button from all albums accessed via the streaming music platform. In a viral tweet immediately following the release of “30”, Adele commented “We don’t create albums with so much care and thought into our track listing for no reason… our art tells a story and our stories should be listened to as we intended. Thank you Spotify for listening.”

To which Spotify’s official Twitter account responded, “Anything for you.”

The move is likely to be well-received by Adele’s popstar peers, such as Lady Gaga who implored the public listen to her album Chromatica start to finish when it released in 2020.

Shuffle away

Spotify’s shuffle button randomises songs. It is neither new nor unique. In the early 1980s, shuffle was available on CD players and MP3 players. It served as a staple for Spotify’s largest competitor Apple, via iTunes and long-forgotten devices such as the iPod and iPod shuffle.

Shuffle is essentially a random number generator that picks the next songs based on chance. The problem is true randomness means the same song might sometimes play repeatedly. In 2014, Spotify tweaked their algorithm to make shuffle seem more random.

Shuffle is still available on Spotify for playlists, but users must now access it via a menu when listening to albums as opposed to having the option right next to the play button. A statement from Spotify hailed their “new premium feature […] to make play the default button on all albums”. This change applies to all albums, not just Adele’s 30, and features on both mobile and desktop versions of Spotify.

Spotify has faced dissatisfaction and criticism from musicians who decry the appalling low streaming payout rates to artists, and academics who raise concerns over the platform’s lack of transparency around data.

But Spotify has rarely changed course in response to critique – yet Spotify willingly removed the feature from album pages upon Adele’s request to preserve the continuity of her album – a sign of the artist’s immense clout.

The album is not dead

Spotify’s decision to hide the shuffle button contrasts accusations that Spotify is responsible for “killing” the musical album as we once knew it.

As the largest music streaming service by paid subscription, Spotify is a powerful force in the global music industry. Artists, labels and production companies have taken note from Spotify as to what works and doesn’t work on a music streaming platform.

Though revenues from streaming are far lower than purchases or individual downloads, superstar artists like Drake have taken advantage of streaming services to garner billions of streams that pay out millions of dollars in revenue.

Even so, the numbers are underwhelming for mid-tier and independent artists. According to Digital Music News a niche EDM artist who managed the impressive feat of having listeners stream their music one million times over four months only generated about US$5,000 (A$6,924) in 2013.

One important issue is curated playlists. Much like radio stations, Spotify features playlists of the top charting songs in various regions, but unlike radio stations Spotify has a vast library of playlists to match every genre, mood, and moment handpicked by curators or created and shared by other users.

Producing “playlistable” songs that are more likely to be placed on a popular genre or mood playlist is now a crucial strategy to build a following, attract labels and earn a living in music – but doing so comes at a cost. Orphan songs separated on a playlist from their album will not be experienced as part of a story in the context as artists like Adele intended.

The imperative to create popular singles is not new, the music industry is and has been centred around the hits, but the shifting logic of digital music streaming puts pressure on artists to examine carefully the cost and benefits of creating longer form art.

Beginning in 2014, Billboard started calculating album equivalent units, or the number of streams that would count as one album sale when determining an album’s position on Billboard Charts. Having more songs on an album means more streams, which could translate to a higher chart position. It also means more money.

Artists have released longer albums, such as Kanye West’s recent album Donda (Deluxe) with a track listing topping 30 songs. This strategy could be seen to lead to more padding and fewer hits, ultimately diluting powerful records with bland or forgettable tunes, “as if artists are curating playlists rather than crafting cohesive projects”, according to this VICE article.

Adele’s insistence on the importance of streaming the twelve tracks on 30 in their proper order, and Spotify’s capitulation to her request, will resonate with artists who have been urged by labels, publishers, or the industry writ large to create “playlistable” singles or lengthier albums.

Long live the album

The death of the album has been forecast for over a decade and streaming services like Spotify have been one of the many potential culprits blamed. Yet artists are still releasing full, artistically realised albums in 2021.

In 2015, I released an album with my band on streaming services including Spotify and Apple. My band-mates and I experienced firsthand the time and expenses needed to produce a full-length original album. We agonised over the track listing and waited until the full album was finished before we released any of our songs.

Six years later, I fully agree with Adele. I prefer to listen to my album in its intended order and I hope others will too. Like me, the average artist lacks Adele’s persuasive influence to change the design of a major music streaming platform in order to tell a more cohesive musical story.

But that’s exactly what Adele and Spotify have done. Now you are encouraged to stream 30 by Adele in the order the artist intended.The Conversation

D. Bondy Valdovinos Kaye, Assistant researcher, Queensland University of Technology

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

It’s 30 years since Freddie Mercury died. His music is still the soundtrack of our lives

Leigh Carriage, Southern Cross University

Freddie Mercury (born Farrokh Bulsara in 1946) died on this day 30 years ago. A prolific songwriter, arranger and music producer, a consummate theatrical entertainer and one of the 20th century’s best-known lead singers, Mercury fronted Queen from 1970 until his death in 1991.

Artistically, he challenged many of the prevailing pop and rock parameters, willing to take musical risks and happy not to be part of the mainstream. He fearlessly pushed artistic boundaries, believing in the spontaneity of live performance: every show was different.

The composer

As a composer, Mercury drew on an eclectic range of genres. He wrote songs with poetic and heartfelt lyrics, witty metaphors and memorable melodies, with Queen drawing influences from The Everly Brothers, the Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Pink Floyd and the Beach Boys.

Mercury’s 1979 composition Crazy Little Thing Called Love pays homage to Elvis Presley. In the song, Mercury subtly models aspects of Presley’s vocal tone and rockabilly styling in the catchy chorus.

He gives us just a hint of his vocal range in the bridge, on the lyrics “she gives me hot and cold fever” where Mercury effortlessly uses an octave yodel.

In 1975’s Bohemian Rhapsody, perhaps Queen’s most famous song, Mercury took genre crossing to a new level. This six-minute epic is unrivalled in complexity of form, lavish production, vocal layering and the sheer number of choral overdubs.

The song, which topped the British charts for almost nine weeks, was described by Mercury as a “mock opera” .

The singer

Technically masterful, Mercury possessed a voice that was powerful, agile, and highly expressive. A lyric rock tenor with over three octaves in range, Mercury could belt into his upper register with his signature fast vibrato, or use a controlled pure falsetto with smooth legato phrasing.

Strong musicianship, excellent pitch and vocal control enabled Mercury to draw on a broad array of note choices, dynamics, tone colours and vocal effects. His vocal timbre could depict a delicate vulnerability, especially with his falsetto, or use dynamic extremes to accentuate lyrics with screams and growls.

Mercury demonstrated his versatility, genre crossing and creative exploration on the 1985 song Living On My Own.

Here, he employs scat singing and the opening syncopated repetition of a single note hints at Ella Fitzgerald’s influence. It is a driving, high spirited and fearless vocal solo. Mercury solos again at the end of the song with a loose vocal reference to Duke Ellington’s It Don’t Mean a Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing).

The performer

Queen’s appearance at the historic Live Aid Concert at London’s Wembley Stadium in July 1985 remains one of the greatest rock performances of all time.

Mercury and band were in stellar form, having just completed a world tour for their album The Works, recorded in 1984. When the entire crowd of 72,000 joins Mercury in beating out the rhythm to We Will Rock You, it is electrifying.

Further evidence of Mercury’s masterful stagecraft can be found in a bootleg video of Queen performing in Sydney in 1985.

Twelve minutes into the footage, Mercury slowly struts to the piano and improvises a segue into Somebody to Love in a gospel style with a call and response with the audience.

His years of touring experience provided him with an arsenal of stagecraft prowess: strutting, holding poses, dressed in his glam rock style, with white spandex.

Audiences adored his showmanship and flamboyance.

The influencer

30 years on from his death, Mercury’s incredible compositions are still part of the soundtrack of our lives.

Somebody To Love was used in the films Happy Feet (2006) and Ella Enchanted (2004). Lady GaGa coopted her name from Queen’s Radio GaGa.

Ceelo Green attributes his falsetto usage to his collection of Queen albums.

Kurt Cobain listened to Queen’s News of the World on 8-track.

Katy Perry has acknowledged Mercury as a major influence, performing Queen’s Don’t Stop Me Now during her Hello Katy tour in 2009. P!nk included the iconic stadium songs We Are the Champions in her tour in 2019.

Many filmmakers have told his story: Bryan Singer’s film Bohemian Rapsody (2018) is joined by a suite of documentaries. Next month, the BBC are releasing a new documentary, this time looking at his tragic death from AIDS at just 45.

30 years on, Mercury is remembered as a powerful songwriter, filled with on-stage magnetism, creativity and intelligence, a hard work ethic and a passion for perfection.The Conversation

Leigh Carriage, Senior Lecturer in Music, Southern Cross University

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

Book of the Month November 2021: For the term of his natural life

by Marcus Andrew Hislop Clarke, 1846-1881
Publication date 1892
Publisher London : R. Bentley and son

New Shorebird Identification Booklet

The Migratory Shorebird Program has just released the third edition of its hugely popular Shorebird Identification Booklet. The team has thoroughly revised and updated this pocket-sized companion for all shorebird counters and interested birders, with lots of useful information on our most common shorebirds, key identification features, sighting distribution maps and short articles on some of BirdLife’s shorebird activities. 

The booklet can be downloaded here in PDF file format:

Paper copies can be ordered as well, see for details.

Download BirdLife Australia's children’s education kit to help them learn more about our wading birdlife

Shorebirds are a group of wading birds that can be found feeding on swamps, tidal mudflats, estuaries, beaches and open country. For many people, shorebirds are just those brown birds feeding a long way out on the mud but they are actually a remarkably diverse collection of birds including stilts, sandpipers, snipe, curlews, godwits, plovers and oystercatchers. Each species is superbly adapted to suit its preferred habitat.  The Red-necked Stint is as small as a sparrow, with relatively short legs and bill that it pecks food from the surface of the mud with, whereas the Eastern Curlew is over two feet long with a exceptionally long legs and a massively curved beak that it thrusts deep down into the mud to pull out crabs, worms and other creatures hidden below the surface.

Some shorebirds are fairly drab in plumage, especially when they are visiting Australia in their non-breeding season, but when they migrate to their Arctic nesting grounds, they develop a vibrant flush of bright colours to attract a mate. We have 37 types of shorebirds that annually migrate to Australia on some of the most lengthy and arduous journeys in the animal kingdom, but there are also 18 shorebirds that call Australia home all year round.

What all our shorebirds have in common—be they large or small, seasoned traveller or homebody, brightly coloured or in muted tones—is that each species needs adequate safe areas where they can successfully feed and breed.

The National Shorebird Monitoring Program is managed and supported by BirdLife Australia. 

This project is supported by Glenelg Hopkins Catchment Management Authority and Hunter Local Land Services through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program. Funding from Helen Macpherson Smith Trust and Port Phillip Bay Fund is acknowledged. 

The National Shorebird Monitoring Program is made possible with the help of over 1,600 volunteers working in coastal and inland habitats all over Australia. 

The National Shorebird Monitoring program (started as the Shorebirds 2020 project initiated to re-invigorate monitoring around Australia) is raising awareness of how incredible shorebirds are, and actively engaging the community to participate in gathering information needed to conserve shorebirds. 

In the short term, the destruction of tidal ecosystems will need to be stopped, and our program is designed to strengthen the case for protecting these important habitats. 

In the long term, there will be a need to mitigate against the likely effects of climate change on a species that travels across the entire range of latitudes where impacts are likely. 

The identification and protection of critical areas for shorebirds will need to continue in order to guard against the potential threats associated with habitats in close proximity to nearly half the human population. 

Here in Australia, the place where these birds grow up and spend most of their lives, continued monitoring is necessary to inform the best management practice to maintain shorebird populations. 

BirdLife Australia believe that we can help secure a brighter future for these remarkable birds by educating stakeholders, gathering information on how and why shorebird populations are changing, and working to grow the community of people who care about shorebirds.

To find out more visit:

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: