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Bill the barbarian

An open letter to my Australian Comrades

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I hope this letter finds you all well, The CBC here is giving horror stories about your country basically being on fire as I type, It has affected me deeply and thought I should send down "well wishes”  I am hoping it is hyperbole, but even if not as bad as the report made it out to be their is reason to let you know we are thinking of you and I hear you have more than a few Canadians down giving you a hand Thank the gods

Best of wishes to all, my thoughts are for your well being if you are any way near the danger. 

 

Be safe, please.

 

Edited by Bill the barbarian
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3 minutes ago, Lloyd Dupont said:

Well the 6 major towns where the vast majority of us live (I will guess 90% of us live in one of those 6 cities) are  perfectly fine...

 

Wondrous, The CBC is a great service (we call it Mother Corp around here) for news, but I will declare myself happy to hear that they may have overshot on this and that the news while bad is not the worst, 

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But the fire was indeed quite bad.. even in Brisbane, close to CBD, one month ago the sky was dull and the sun red from too much smoke.. and 1 month later the weather is still unseasonably cool...

And a few small outback towns got heavy property damage.. so I guess it does suck directly.... Honestly the farmers are probably the one suffering the most right now 😕 

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Just heard another report and it says that the real problem is in Victoria. I am assuming the state must have a small population thankfully, but they are saying 200 communities are endangered and they have an individual (not sure of his status) warning people not to run, it's too late for that but telling then to hunker down in place. Thanks for the return info from down-under.

And then there are the 4000 people trapped on the bach in Mallacoota.

Wells here’s hoping.

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4 minutes ago, Lloyd Dupont said:

The impact is still (proportionally) small because most people would live in Melbourne, instead of communities... But it doe sounds bad indeed...

That is what  thought, listing to Deutsche Wella (germany) right now to see if they have news.

CNN says..

Quote

 

Conditions became milder later in the afternoon, after a dangerous wind change bypassed the town. Country Fire Authority Chief Steve Warrington said it was "relatively good news," and that evacuees had cheered upon hearing the announcement.
Some people are now returning to their homes, while others remain on the beach. There are "a number of houses" believed to be destroyed or damaged, Warrington said.
However, the situation remains "dynamic and dangerous," and Warrington said there is still an emergency warning in place. A number of fires remain burning in the town and across the state that could spread across the East Gippsland region where Mallacoota is located. Warrington warned residents to stay aware of further alerts, and added that state authorities were still discussing potential evacuations.

 

.Sounds scary enough to me.

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Fires are certainly common enough during the Australian summer, which runs roughly from December to mid March. The issue this year is that such huge fires are ocurring in December, easily to coolest (well, least incredibly hot)  of the summer months. And some of these fires  have ben in areas that don't usually have fires. In Decmber 2019 many towns experienced their hottest recorded days ever.  The worst may be yet to come.

The political response at state level has been good. At federal level it was quite blase, until loss of life and property effectively forced the governments hand to do something. Anything. Climate-change denial is a prominant feature of the current government, but not amongst the public.

Most regional (as opposed to metropolitan)  fire fighters here  are trained volunteers, not professionals, and several have been killed defending life and property, unpaid, and away from their families at Christmas and New Year. This too has been a major news item here. 

 

 

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Haven't heard a peep about these in the U.S. news.  Sorry you're having to go through it.  Our reporters are too busy trying to un-elect a president to let Americans know what is going on overseas.  Worked as a reporter in rural Oklahoma where small volunteer fire departments and dry conditions are the norm.  I sympathize.

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59 minutes ago, seneschal said:

Haven't heard a peep about these in the U.S. news.  Sorry you're having to go through it.  Our reporters are too busy trying to un-elect a president to let Americans know what is going on overseas.

Congratulations on inserting your domestic opinions ahead of your sympathies.  For what it's worth, I've been aware of both stories with no effort.  I guess it's just a matter of where you look for your news, so maybe that should go to the head of your New Year's Resolution list.

!i!

Edited by Ian Absentia
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SBS TV in Australia shows numerous overseas news broadcasts. This morning Ive seen the Australian Prime Minister heckled  by fire victims on the BBC, American ABC, France 24, and in Italian on TG 1. Also there was a lethal airstrike in Iraq, and Harry Kane is injured again (seperate incidents). As Ian Absentia sugests, I guess its where you look.

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To be fair (and to totally derail Bill's thread), we've inadvertently stumbled into twin maladies of our times -- opinion/entertainment masquerading as news, and the spread of "news deserts."  I don't doubt @seneschal for a moment when he says that stories with more far-reaching impact are displaced by attention-grabbing, and profit-driven, headlines.  And I don't doubt that it's hard for him to find news reporting that's less sensational, less partisan, more broadly-minded, and more factual in a corporate-dominated and demographically-targeted news landscape, both locally and nationally and beyond.  Even from the news outlets that he likes.*

You don't have to read them all (yes, it does help to actually read rather than watch), but at the very least, compare headlines from competing sources.  That's one thing the Internet is good for.  Start by typing just the word "news" into Google and see where that takes you.  And if you find yourself agreeing too often with the reporting you read or watch or listen to, look a little farther afield to see what someone else is saying.

!i!

[*Though I do object to his regular and thinly-veiled efforts to insert clearly biased political editorial.  So much for my efforts at a group-hug.]

Edited by Ian Absentia

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On 1/2/2020 at 12:25 PM, seneschal said:

Haven't heard a peep about these in the U.S. news.

They have been all over my news headlines online... and yes, I'm looking at mainstream domestic US news, multiple sources.  I'm not sure what your sources are, but suggest you broaden your filters.  It sounds possible that you've gotten into a search-result bubble without even realizing it.

 

On 1/2/2020 at 12:25 PM, seneschal said:

Worked as a reporter in rural Oklahoma where small volunteer fire departments and dry conditions are the norm.  I sympathize.

They have the same norms, but the conditions are much worse than "normal."  They've been having a heat-wave for months already, and temps are forecast to be over 100F, + high winds fanning+driving the flames.   Scores -- sometimes hundreds -- of separate fires all over the nation (the normal practice of shifting resources from "low-risk" areas to high-risk is... risky).  At least 20 dead, more missing or injured; over 12 million acres burned (that's a quarter of Oklahoma), hundreds of homes burned, and no real relief forecast any time soon... indeed they're bracing for worsening conditions in the next 1-3 days.

 

On 1/2/2020 at 12:25 PM, seneschal said:

Our reporters are too busy trying to un-elect a president to let Americans know what is going on overseas.

As Ian says, this is really unwelcome politicization.  Also false, as the USA reports I'm seeing DO include this story.

 

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I chimed in to contribute sympathy as someone who also dwells where fires sometimes present a danger.  I apparently wasted my breath.

Found fire coverage only when I specifically searched for it.  No mention of it popped up in my usual news channels over the holidays, although other.stories did.  Since Ian objects to everything I post on any conceivable subject, I've learned to discount his opinion.

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3 hours ago, g33k said:

They have the same norms, but the conditions are much worse than "normal."  They've been having a heat-wave for months already, and temps are forecast to be over 100F, + high winds fanning+driving the flames.   Scores -- sometimes hundreds -- of separate fires all over the nation (the normal practice of shifting resources from "low-risk" areas to high-risk is... risky).  At least 20 dead, more missing or injured; over 12 million acres burned (that's a quarter of Oklahoma), hundreds of homes burned, and no real relief forecast any time soon... indeed they're bracing for worsening conditions in the next 1-3 days.

 

I first started hearing about horrifying fires in Australia in the 80s. Every decade it seems to have gotten worse until you arrive at today where naval ships are evacuating folk from the way of harm. I believe there are 10s of thousands of folk (tourist and Australians) on the move right now. I mean the other day when an official was saying don’t move hunker down. It is already too late to flee, to now where there is obviously a window and people re taking advantage of it. 

 

36 minutes ago, seneschal said:

I chimed in to contribute sympathy as someone who also dwells where fires sometimes present a danger.  I apparently wasted my breath.

 

Nah, I heard ya, sympathies are probably all many of us can do, short of a trip to the Red Cross to see if they are needing anything or are involved in shipping aid to the troubled areas. Here I am at a loss.

ETA The best I could do, I thought was to reach out to my Australian friends and say I care, The fact that some here are hearing stuff they had not heard before is a bonus I had not looked for but that is great, Why can’t gamers learn a bit about the world and reality of their fellow gamers.  

Edited by Bill the barbarian

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52 minutes ago, seneschal said:

I chimed in to contribute sympathy as someone who also dwells where fires sometimes present a danger.  I apparently wasted my breath.

You chimed in to interject your totally unrelated political opinion. So you're right - you're wasting your breath.

55 minutes ago, seneschal said:

Since Ian objects to everything I post on any conceivable subject, I've learned to discount his opinion.

Only the dog whistles you think you're successfully sneaking into your posts, which I imagine does take the wind out of your MO.  Discount away!

!i!

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14 hours ago, seneschal said:

coverage only when I specifically searched for it.  No mention of it popped up in my usual news channels over the holidays, although other.stories did. .

I sincerely meant my suggestion that your existing news feeds may be placing you in a "bubble.". I have been getting the Australian-Fires story since before Christmas -- yes the crisis has been going on THAT long.

So I know the news IS out there, on major channels and feeds.  Thus my suspicion that you are a victim of a "bubble" effect.

The online algorithms study us, and what we click/follow, then present to us only what they "think" we want to see (plus whatever their paid advertisers want us to see).  In effect, they edit and gatekeep what we can even learn.

It is a pervasive and pernicious "service" they provide to us, and remarkably difficult to escape from.

Edited by g33k
mis-edit

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I've noticed YouTube creating "playlists" for me of the same 5-10 items I most recently watched.  If I let them pick, I'd never hear or learn anything new ever again.  Meanwhile, their selections on search topics can be pretty wonky.  A list of videos about the West End Games d6 Star Wars rpg included one on recovering from demonic possession.  Because Emperor Palpatine was planning to take over Rey's body, I guess?  Maybe?

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Well, when it comes to getting political milage from these fires, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison sets the benchmark.

https://mobile.twitter.com/ScottMorrisonMP/status/1213330419044638722?ref_src=twsrc^tfw|twcamp^tweetembed&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.abc.net.au%2Fnews%2F2020-01-04%2Faustralia-defence-reservists-to-help-in-bushfire-recovery%2F11840764

Sorry, not sure if this is linking🤔

 

 

 

 

Edited by Sid Vicarious
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18 minutes ago, seneschal said:

It is.  The string of comments criticizing the PM is endless.

It is. But not without good reason.

Now the race is on. Will GaGoG be out before the fires? 

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On 1/4/2020 at 2:06 PM, g33k said:

I sincerely meant my suggestion that your existing news feeds may be placing you in a "bubble.". I have been getting the Australian-Fires story since before Christmas -- yes the crisis has been going on THAT long.

 

As I suggested earlier, it has now been going on for about  40 years but back then I had to turn to Scientific America. for the story. Seriously! The story was the there were fires that would never go out but retreat underground during the rainier and colder seasons to blaze up again as summer heated up.

 This year the main problems began in about September, but the crisis started in about November.

 

 

Edited by Bill the barbarian

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2 hours ago, seneschal said:

...  A list of videos about the West End Games d6 Star Wars rpg included one on recovering from demonic possession.  Because Emperor Palpatine was planning to take over Rey's body, I guess?  Maybe?

I fear that's likely an artifact of a few holdovers who still believe in the whole "satanic panic" schtick, who try to get Harry Potter books banned as witchcraft, etc etc etc.  Because aggregating THEIR interests in SW & RPGs &c gets a bit of bleedover effect... akin to the "customers who bought this also bought/looked-at" in e-vendor sites.

 

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18 minutes ago, Bill the barbarian said:

As I suggested earlier, it has now been going on for about  40 years ...

I live in California, and discovered a few years back that Californian and Australian firefighters have a pretty longstanding tradition of travelling to one anothers' locations to cross-train and skill-share and even to fight one anothers' fires.

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24 minutes ago, g33k said:

I live in California, and discovered a few years back that Californian and Australian firefighters have a pretty longstanding tradition of travelling to one anothers' locations to cross-train and skill-share and even to fight one anothers' fires.

Same here in Canada. Currently we have a contigent of support and office staff loaning their expertise to the effort in Australia (remember if was only a few years back that  we had to evacuate a city of over 100,000 people (men women children and dogs, everyone) before fire destroyed many suburbs there (Fort MacMurray). I went up with John Fogerty on tour the year after the evacuation and while folk were somewhat happy to have that great old rocker bring his magic, I have never seen so many beaten people in my life (they all walked around with slouched shoulders as if they had just been whupped... a year after the fire) . California, the same article I mention from the eighties in SA mentioned the fires in California back then as well. We have truly entered the Burning Times of Aboriginal myth!

 

Edited by Bill the barbarian

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