Home' Greymouth Star : January 10th 2019 Contents Greymouth Star
4 - Thursday, January 10, 2019
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TODAY IN HISTORY DAVID BOWIE
TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS PAT BENATAR
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
“And this is the confidence that we have in Him,
that, if we ask any thing according to His will, He
heareth us.” — 1 John 5:14.
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“ The force that rules the world is conduct,
whether it be moral or immoral.” — Nicholas
Murray Butler, American educator (1862-1947).
Frank Sinatra Jr, US singer
(1944-2016); Jim Croce, American
musician (1943-1973); Rod
Stewart, British pop singer (1945-);
Donald Fagen, US singer-musician
(1948-); George Foreman, US
heavyweight boxing champion
(1949-); Pat Benatar, US singer (1953-); Fran
Walsh, New Zealand screenwriter (1959-);
Jemaine Clement, New Zealand actor and
1862 - Death of Samuel Colt,
firearms manufacturer who
invented the revolver that bears his
1863 - London’s Metropolitan,
the world’s first underground
passenger railway, opens.
1912 - The first flying boat, designed by
Glenn Curtiss, makes its maiden flight at
Hammondsport, New York.
1917 - Death of William Frederick Cody, US army
scout and Indian fighter known as Buffalo Bill.
1928 - Leon Trotsky, one of the chief architects
of the Soviet Union, is ordered into exile by the
1929 - Tintin and his dog Snowy, cartoon
creations of Belgian artist Herge (Georges Remi),
make their first appearance.
1956 - Elvis Presley records his first songs for
RCA, including No 1 hit Heartbreak Hotel.
1971 - Death of French fashion designer Coco
2016 - British rock singer David Bowie dies of
cancer in New York, aged 69.
WEST COAST YESTERYEAR
The first section of the new Maruia Springs Hotel
has been opened to the public. This includes the
public bar and dining room.
The hotel is far from completed and the
accommodation and staff wings have yet to be
The exterior of the building is in concrete brick
and concrete. However, finishing work will be
required on the outside.
Of single storey design, apart from a small centre
section, the building has striking lines. Large plate
glass windows run the full length of one side
overlooking the hot springs giving those in the
dining room, lounge and bars an excellent view of
bush, mountains and stream.
The public bar and lounge bar are attractively
furnished, with the accent on “away from the bar”
drinking. The dining room is also well laid out and
The hotel is still a long way from being
completed, but when it is it will make a valuable
contribution to the drive through the West Coast
to provide more accommodation for tourists.
A bent and rusted rifle, more dangerous as a
cudgel than a firearm, was recovered recently
from the Cobden beach,
“It was found by my grandson, Nick Costello,
when he was down here on holiday,”
Mrs M Walker, of Nelson Quay, Cobden, told the
Star when she spoke about the rifle recently.
“He found it at low tide off the tip head,” she said.
But, as the police explained this morning, it is
one she cannot keep.
With its barrel bent almost three inches out
of line, the bolt and magazine missing and the
forestock split, it was a long way from being
usable when shown to the police this morning.
Even so, an arms surrender form was issued.
An 1890 model .303 Lee Enfield, the rifle could
not have been one of the many disposed of by the
police following the recent arms amnesty.
“It has been in the sea for years,” constable
R Hickling, the officer in charge of the arms at the
Greymouth Police Station said.
Unusable as it is, it is still a firearm so all that
is left as a souvenir is the original of an arms
surrender form, No 12149.
Fraser Anning is one of those political
figures who populate the periphery of
politics in liberal democratic States.
Opportunistic, scornful of political norms,
hard to frighten or shame, the Fraser
Annings of this world are frighteningly
well-adapted to the politics of cultural
resentment and fear. Had the independent
senator for Queensland been born in
late-19th century Italy or Germany
instead of mid-20th century Australia he
would, almost certainly, have been drawn
to Benito Mussolini’s Fascisti or Adolf
As it is, he has won notoriety as the
sometime ally of leading right-wing
Australian politicians Pauline Hanson
and Bob Katter. It says something about
the man that his current status as an
“ independent ” is largely attributable
to even these far-from-moderate
parliamentarians finding Anning’s views
too extreme, even for them. (Hardly
surprising when, in his maiden speech to
the Australian Senate, Mr Anning talked
about a “final solution” to Australia’s
“ immigration problem”).
His latest provocation was to attend
(at the Australian taxpayers’ expense) a
United Patriots Front (UPF) rally held
in the Melbourne seaside suburb of St
Kilda. The UPF is at the extreme end of
a campaign by Australian conser vatives
(up to and including the ruling Liberal
Party) to secure more rigorous policing
of the so-called “African gangs” said
to be terrorising Melbourne citizens.
The African “gangsters” singled out for
particular condemnation by the right are
almost all refugees and/or the children of
refugees from war-torn South Sudan.
The right’s fixation on Victoria’s tiny
Sudanese community is largely explicable
in terms of the extraordinary lengths to
which the State’s left-leaning government
has gone to minimise the impact (or
even the existence) of the “African gang”
Just how strongly the left felt about
the issue was demonstrated by the noisy
protest which took place outside the offices
and studios of Channel 7 Melbourne in
July 2018. The protesters were incensed by
Channel 7’s current affairs show, Sunday
Night’s, alleged “race-baiting” coverage of
The item’s promo was certainly
“Barely a week goes by when they ’re not
in the news. African gangs running riot,
terrorising, wreaking havoc. Police are
hesitant to admit there’s even a problem.
The latest attack was just days ago, so what
can be done?”
The left ’s response played directly into
the Australian right ’s deeply embedded
narrative of a culturally-deracinated
cosmopolitan elite hellbent on dissolving
Australia’s European heritage in a
multicultural melting-pot. So powerful is
this “progressive” elite said to be that it has
the power to suppress coverage of anything
which runs counter to the multicultural
ideal — even when this activity involves
“African gangs running riot, terrorising,
Far-right politicians like Mr Anning are
highly skilled at exploiting this narrative
to broaden the appeal of conser vative
Australia’s anti-immigrant crusade.
Their job is made easier when even the
right ’s bete noire, the publicly-owned
(and allegedly left-wing) Australian
Broadcasting Corporation, acknowledges
that “the Sudanese offender rate is six
times higher than their population share”.
Last weekend’s UPF St Kilda rally
— itself inspired by the Victorian police
decision to prevent UPF leader Blair
Cottrell from recording the activity of
Sudanese youths on the beach — provided
Mr Anning with a brown-shirted
opportunity to promote his anti-
immigrant message by doing little more
than simply turning up.
Mr Cottrell and Mr Anning would have
known that, from the moment it was
announced on social media, the rally would
attract large numbers of left-wing “anti-
fascists”, journalists and police. Inevitably,
the news media would make a bee-line for
the right-wing Queensland senator and,
equally inevitably, he would be ready with
“There was no racist rally,” Mr Anning
informed the news media. “ There
were decent Australian people who
demonstrated their dislike for what the
Australian government has done which
has allowed these people to come into this
country and then bash people at random
on the beaches, in their homes.”
Inner-city Melburnians were suitably
shocked at this eruption of right-wing
extremism on their favourite beach. But,
in small-town Australia, in the bush, Mr
Anning’s words would have struck a very
In this setting, Mr Anning, scion of a
Queensland farming family notorious for
its bloody appropriations of Aboriginal
land, could be confident of loud choruses
of approval. It is what the left knows,
but cannot understand. That racism is
as Australian as cricket at the MCG. As
welcome as a cold tinny on an incendiary
afternoon at St Kilda beach.
Chris Trotter is a left-wing
Fanning the f lames of Aust racism
ome items are getting
smarter and creepier, like
it or not.
One day, finding an
oven that just cooks
food may be as tough
as buying a tv that merely lets you change
channels. Internet-connected “smarts”
are creeping into cars, refrigerators,
thermostats, toys and just about everything
else in your home.
CES 2019, the gadget show opening in
Las Vegas, will showcase many of these
products, including an oven that
co-ordinates your recipes and a toilet that
flushes with a voice command.
With every additional smart device in
your home, companies are able to gather
more details about your daily life. Some of
that can be used to help advertisers target
you — more precisely than they could
with the smartphone you carry.
“ It ’s decentralised sur veillance,” Jeff
Chester, executive director for the Centre
for Digital Democracy, a Washington-
based digital privacy advocate said.
“ We’re living in a world where we’re
tethered to some on-line ser vice stealthily
gathering our information.”
Yet consumers so far seem to be
welcoming these devices. The research
firm IDC projects that 1.3 billion smart
devices will ship worldwide in 2022, twice
as many as 2018.
Companies say they are building
these products not for snooping but
for convenience, although Amazon,
Google and other partners enabling the
intelligence can use the details they collect
to customise their ser vices and ads.
Whirlpool, for instance, is testing an
oven whose window doubles as a display.
You will still be able to see what is roasting
inside, but the glass can now display
animation pointing to where to place the
turkey for optimal cooking.
The oven can synchronise with your
digital calendar and recommend recipes
based on how much time you have. It
can help co-ordinate recipes, so that you
are not undercooking the side dishes
in focusing too much on the entree. A
camera inside lets you zoom in to see if
the cheese on the lasagna has browned
enough, without opening the oven door.
As for that smart toilet, Kohler’s Numi
will respond to voice commands to raise
or lower the lid — or to flush. You can do
it from an app, too. The company says it is
all about offering hands-free options in a
setting that is very personal for people. The
toilet is also heated and can play music
and the news through its speakers.
Kohler also has a tub that adjusts water
temperature to your liking and a kitchen
tap that dispenses just the
right amount of water for
For the most part,
consumers are not asking
for these specific features.
“ We try to be innovative
in ways that customers don’t
think they need,” Samsung
spokesman Louis Masses
Whirlpool said insights
can come from something
as simple as watching
consumers open the oven
door several times to check
on the meal, losing heat in
“They do not say to us,
‘P lease tell me where to put
(food) on the rack, or do
Doug Searles, general
manager for Whirlpool’s
research arm, WLabs, said.
“They tell us the results
that are most important to
Samsung has several
including a fridge that
comes with an app that
lets you check on its
contents while you are
grocery shopping. New this
year: Samsung’s washing
machines can send alerts
to its tvs — smart tvs, of
course — so you know
your laundry is ready while
Other connected items at
A fishing rod that
tracks your location to build an on-line map
of where you have made the most catches.
A toothbrush that recommends where
to brush more.
A fragrance diffuser that lets you
control how your home smells from a
These are poised to join internet-
connected security cameras, door locks and
thermostats that are already on the market.
The latter can work with sensors to turn the
heat down automatically when you leave
Consumers feel the need to keep up
with their neighbours when they buy
appliances with the smartest smarts. All the
conveniences can be “a powerful drug to
help people forget the fact that they are also
being spied on, Mr Chester said.
“Gadgets with voice controls typically
are not transmitting any data back
to company ser vers until you activate
them with a trigger word, such as ‘Alexa’
or ‘Okay Google. ’ But devices have
sometimes misheard innocuous words as
legitimate commands to record and send
Even when devices work properly,
commands are usually stored indefinitely.
Companies can use the data to personalise
experiences — including ads. Beyond
that, background conversations may be
stored with the voice recordings and
can resurface with hacking or as part of
lawsuits or investigations.
Knowing what you cook or stock in
your fridge might seem innocuous. But if
insurers get hold of the data, they might
charge you more for unhealthy diets, Paul
Stephens, director of policy and advocacy
at the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse in
San Diego, warned. He also said it might
be possible to infer ethnicity based on
Manufacturers are instead emphasising
the benefits: Data collection from the
smart tap, for instance, allows Kohler’s app
to display how much water is dispensed.
(Water bills typically show water use for
the whole home, not individual taps).
The market for smart devices is still small,
but growing. Kohler estimates that in a
few years, smart appliances will make up
10% of its revenue. Although the features
are initially limited to premium models
— su ch as the $7000 toilet — they should
eventually appear in entry-level products,
too, as costs come down.
Consider the tv. “D umb” tvs are rare these
days, as the vast majority of tvs ship with
internet connections and apps, like it or
“It becomes a check-box item for the tv
manufacturer,” Paul Gagnon, an analyst
with IHS Markit, said. For a dumb one, he
said, you have to search for an off-brand,
entry-level model with smaller screens
— or go to places in the world where
streaming services are not common.
‘Dumb’ cars are also headed to the
scrapyard. The research firm BI Intelligence
estimates that by 2020, three out of every
four cars sold worldwide will be models
with connectivity. No serious incidents have
occurred in the United States, Europe and
Japan, but a red flag has already been raised
in China, where car makers have been
sharing location details of connected cars
with the government.
As for tvs, Consumer Reports says many
tv makers collect and share users’ viewing
habits. Vizio agreed to $2.5 million in
penalties in 2017 to settle cases with the
Federal Trade Commission and New Jersey
officials.Consumers can decide not to
enable these connections. They can also vote
with their wallets, Mr Stephens said.
“ I’m a firm believer that simple is better.
If you don’t need to have these so-called
enhancements, don’t buy them,” he said.
“Does one really need a refrigerator that
keeps track of everything in it and tells
you you are running out of milk?”
Smart and creepy
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