Architects…

We are by no means proponents of political propaganda or slander pieces but living in the nation’s capital and sitting just down the road from the largest child care centre that also possess the biggest flag in the country (Parliament House), it’s hard not to have an opinion or question some of the decisions made by the men and women running our fine land. When the guy leading the charge is known to the public more affectionately as “Scotty from Marketing” than the Prime Minister we start to question whether the country is in good hands or are we just a bunch of cynical arseholes? Either way “Scotty from Marketing” has a lot to answer for particularly when it comes to decisions around the future of our country.

With the state of the nation up in the air after the worst bush fire season closely followed by storms that have been ravaging major cities, it’s easy to sit and question what our government and it’s elected members are doing. That’s right ladies and gentlemen we put these people in charge so at the end of the day it’s our fault if they aren’t doing what we want and or need them to. That being said though there were a lot of promises made at election time and the team here at A Mind of Its Own want to see how many, if any of these election promises have been kept, we’ll also take a look at some of “Scotties” strange and uneducated opinions that being the head of marketing allows him to push onto the rest of the country. As always these opinions are our own and in no way reflect the feelings or voices of others unless expressly quoted.

Where does one start in the realm of Australian politics, well for us it’s heading on over to Google for a search of the world wide web, as the keyboards clattered away and the Google search engine in the basement of 1600 Amphitheater Parkway in Mountain View, California spooled up in anticipation of spitting out thousands of results regarding Scotty from Marketing’s election promises we pondered whether we should get into politics. It’s a little like meteorology isn’t it? You can get the things wrong most days and still keep your job unless you do something that is completely inappropriate or your political enemies dig up the buried bodies of your past and use them against you as either blackmail or to force you out of office. Heck if the Oompa Loompa can stay in office we should be able to last a term or two in the school yard of Australian politics.

Thankfully for us Australia’s media outlets love to document the rise and fall of our political system and Google returned plenty of results on Scotty and Liberal marketeers promises to the Australian public in the 2019 election. Whether you are labor or liberal don’t get it twisted they are the same as the criminals these days and in a world where the majority of people are in it for themselves. The “me” mentality rather than the “we” mentality is evident in all facets of life and in particular the me mentality in politics is always there. What can I do or say to ensure I get the votes I need to further my ambitions rather than what’s best for the constituents in my area. So when it comes to promises from the election they seem to be similar across the board from all the parties and focus on key areas. Some to help their money making mates get even richer and others to help and support the public.

What exactly did Scotty from Marketing promise us though you ask? Well the top of his priority of promises was of course some tax breaks. The phased in tax cuts are set to cost the Australian taxpayers up to $158 billion over 10 years, well the Treasury coffers but where do they get their money from? Whilst the tax cuts are good for low income earners it seems it’s the rich who continue to prosper with the tax breaks coming down for those earning up to $200k from 37% to 30%. Then there is the “helping hand tax offset” in which Australians will get a gift with their tax returns. Australians earning around $37,000 only get $255 while those in the next tax bracket get $1080. After that it scales down but if you earn over $126,000 you get nada. Business wins again with those turning over upto $50M now able to write off assets up to $25,000, previously any business turning over $10M were excluded and you could only write of $20,000.

The next promise on Scotty from Marketings list is climate change. Hang on isn’t this the same bloke who took a lump of coal into parliament and presented it to his fellow members like they were primary school kids stating “This is coal. Don’t be afraid! Don’t be scared! Won’t hurt you,” He neglected to mention that the coal had been shellacked to prevent his hands from getting dirty. The then treasurer of Australia now prime minister has a long history of supporting the fossil fuel industry so his promises are a little surprising. Oh wait there is one supporting Adani don’t worry it almost slipped through the gate but we managed to catch it by the black soot prints it left on the floor that were easy enough to follow.

Committing a dismal $3.5 billion over 15 years to the central emissions reduction policy, apparently they’ll focus on farmers reducing their carbon dioxide emissions through planting trees or improving their energy efficiency. I mean cause they produce the most emissions right? Not the concrete jungles we call cities? Makes perfect sense, pick on the struggling, poor farmers for their emission production which probably registers compared to the emissions we create driving around town in our gas guzzlers and creating waste, landfill and whatever else we are currently doing to fuck up the earth for future generations. There is some of that $3.5 Billion set aside to expand the Snowy Hydro scheme, which is apparently going to be utilised as a giant battery to back up energy produced by other renewables.

Then there’s the contradictory strategy of developing emissions free hydrogen which could replace the energy generated by fossil fuels. Great Idea but at the same time the technology needs to be further developed and we are still backing coal mines and coal powered power stations. Scotty from Marketing has once again backed fossil fuels and in particular the Adani mine in Queensland’s Galilee Basin. Scotty has also floated the idea of using taxpayer money to upgrade a NSW coal-fired power station and pledged to fund a feasibility study into a new “high-efficiency, low-emission” coal plant in Queensland. After all, coal is gold in the eyes of Scotty from Marketing and his cronies. Last but not least we have the emission reduction targets as outlined in the Paris agreement, we are aiming at reducing our emissions by 26% based on 2005 levels by 2030.

From environment, over to promises in the health sector and of course the government is making more and more promises that will never be kept but they have match the labor’s promise to lift the Medicare rebate freeze. What does that mean for Joe Blogs? Well it means that payments from Medicare to medical practitioners will increase to reflect what they are saying are rising costs associated with care. What are these rising costs you ask? So did we, and the answer was Primary Care, the federal budget contained a $1 billion funding boost including $448.5 million for General Practitioners to better treat patients with chronic diseases and investments in mental health. The government will also add 30 new Headspace centres to it’s network. They are going to build new residential eating disorder treatment facilities across the nation and put in place new measures to prevent Indigenous youth suicide.

Cancer, one of Australia’s most notorious killers and it’s patients will also benefit with investments on infrastructure which include a comprehensive Children’s Cancer Center in Sydney as well as a centre of excellence for immunotherapy and CAR-T therapy. Yeah lots of googling going on over here as we research CAR-T therapy. Seems that health could do with a little more of a cash injection particularly into the research and treatment side but hey we aren’t in charge of the budget or the election promises made by Scotty from Marketing and his team of Marketeers. On to education, at least we no longer have the three R’s, Reading, riting (writing) and rithmatic (arithmetic) because whoever came up with that could have done with a decent education.

Splashing more cash and of course on the private school system particularly the Catholic schools and reportedly having nothing to do with his religious beliefs Scotty from Marketing has promised another $4.6 billion that’s on top of the $23.5 billion over 10 years to all schools as part of Gonski 2.0 that former prime minister Turnbull signed up to. They’ve also promised to fund up to 80,000 apprenticeships which is part of a $525 million package. There is also a portion of the budget for a scholarship program to get students to study in regional areas of $94 million. That being said in 2017 they introduced a two year cap on university funding for regional areas. Early childhood sees no outlined long term measures beyond the reforms introduced in 2018 but children have access to 15 hours a week of preschool in the year before they go to school. $453 million has been alloted to fun four year old kindergarten for another year. So education again takes a backseat to infrastructure because what do we need? More roads you know!

Last but not least in the promise department is good old infrastructure, the thing that makes the nation function according to Scotty from Marketing. So $9.3 billion has been promised to build a 1700km inland rail line from Melbourne to Brisbane for freight. The controversial East West Link in Melbourne is back on the books despite the previous two proposals being turned down. Scotty’s chipping in $4 billion of your hard earned tax payer dollars to get it done. Western Sydney is getting $7.1 billion for road and transport connection links. Back to Melbourne and another $1.75 billion to connect the M80 ring road with the upgraded Eastern Freeway. Could Melbourne see the first bullet train? $2 billion has been put aside for a fast rail link between Melbourne and Geelong, the only catch is the Victorian government needs to match the $2 billion. The government has also spent $20 million on studies for three other potential high speed rail links, proposal for the 3 links, Shepparton to Melbourne, Sydney to Newcastle and Brisbane to the Sunshine Coast are due mid year and add to studies already conducted and proposed for other routes such as Gold Coast to Brisbane, Sydney to Wollongong etc.

The M1 will continue to get upgraded to Raymond Terrace with $1.6 billion promised for the extension. $500 million is in the kitty for the notorious Princes Highway between Nowra and Batemans Bay and last but not least the Newell Highway that connects Queensland, NSW and Victoria is set to get $400 million for upgrades. All in all that’s close to $30 billion for Infrastructure with most of it being spent in Victoria so it looks like the Mexican’s are getting some new gear.

As we read through both left and right wing media regarding how on track the Morrison government was at ‘making good’ on it’s promises one thing was becoming quite evident was that you are only as good as your word and a lot of Scotty’s above promises might just take longer to come to fruition if they come off at all. The promise of a Surplus is slowly dying as Corona Virus continues to screw with not only the global economy but our local and national economy. Those tax cuts are still making their way to where exactly we don’t know, will we see them before the new financial year?, who knows but by the looks of it, Scotty from Marketing is looking tired and needs to release the hounds of marketing in his ministers to do their jobs and help push through a lot of those election promises if this government has any chance of survival.

The money that has been promised to Infrastructure has seen some of those promises begin but will they be finished that’s a different question. Climate change is a big topic at the moment particularly after the bush fires that ravaged a lot of the nation. One thing we know for sure is that things are going to get worse and worse with each summer that passes. For more than a decade, the climate debate in Australia has been either a wonkish seminar about carbon pricing, emissions trading, clean energy targets, renewable energy targets, national energy guarantees, safeguard mechanisms, abatement targets, carryover credits, and the like – concepts that are vitally important but carry absolutely no practical meaning for most people – or it has been a slasher movie replete with surround-sound alarmism, hyperbole, intrigue, betrayals and bouts of regicide

From his love of coal to the big guy in the sky they say you shouldn’t underestimate Scotty from Marketing and that even his predecessors have gone through slumps but come on Scotty, rule number one in anything you do is to under promise and over deliver big guy, all those cute little propeller hats aren’t going to save you from the wrath of the Australian media and it’s public. Either shit or get off the pot mate as they say, actions speak louder than words. We’ll be watching closely as we head into the end of financial year as to whether those promises are on track to be delivered, if they aren’t we’ll no doubt have yet another new Prime Minister within the next year and once again take our place as on the global mantle as the laughing stock of politics. The country that is never happy with it’s leaders, at the end of the day we elected them so if we aren’t happy it’s our fault for either voting for them or not voting at all.

In all honesty writing this blog bored the hell out of us, even had some of us wishing for the Coronavirus just so we could quarantine ourselves and have something decent to write about as we watched people in hazmat suits come in and out of our airlocked room to complete tests and ensure we our survival. Speaking of survival it seems to have kicked off a lot “Prepping” in Australia which we’ve found both concerning and funny at the same time. So until next week we recommend no hand shaking, fist pumps, thumb wars and definitely no pashing of strangers unless you want to contract Coronavirus from a stranger. Maybe a questionnaire might be the way to go. Ensure that you ask where they have traveled to in the last 2 Months and if it’s Wuhan run for the hills like mad. OK peace out…

Bigger Than My Brain…

As we stared out the 3rd floor window of the nondescript office building in which we conduct our day to day job we couldn’t help but think of a post apocalyptic world. As smoke from what will go down in history as one of Australia’s biggest crisis blankets the skies and the news reels continue to show devastation, loss and tragedy across the nation. Our minds wondered to what would happen and where would we go if the world was to descend into chaos. After all there are plenty of maniacs in power who would love nothing more than to leave there stamp on history that have come close to kicking off the world’s next and what would likely be the final world war. Or the fact that we have pretty much poisoned the planet beyond repair in some places.

Perhaps it was waking up at 9am on a Sunday morning thinking it was earlier than it actually was due to the sun being blotted out by the thick smoke or perhaps it was not seeing blue sky for weeks on end that got us to start thinking about our mortality and what we’d do if there was an event that forced us to literally pack up and run. Then we began to think about what we would need and what we would take with us in such an event was to happen. Unlike all the crazy Yanks, Australians aren’t so big on prepping, we are sure there are the crazy, rich likely cashed up bogans who have no doubt built a fallout shelter or have a bug out plan in place but in general should an apocalyptic event unfold itself, most Australians would not have a clue about what they would do.

There are plenty of apocalyptic events that could have people heading for the hills cause lets face it, if there ever is to be an apocalypse the last place you want to be is in a major population center. Particularly if World War Three is to breakout, major population centers would be targeted right after major military installations. Sadly we have researched all this but on the flip side the best place to move to would be New Zealand. Well that’s our thoughts and we think as we unpack this week’s A Mind of Its Own everyone might start to agree with us for a change. So without any further segways and side notes lets get on with this weeks blog and put together a plan for surviving the apocalypse.

Firstly we need to understand what if anything could these apocalyptic events be and what would they consist of, who would they initially effect and what would the ramifications be if any? In order to answer those questions we’ve asked our chief investigator Google to do a little research and begin combing through articles and research papers. We like to keep everything we write about as close to the truth as possible after all why let the truth get in the way of a good story. But in all seriousness if the science is available to back up our blog we’ll always take it. So to start with we’ll look at the very unlikely but potential threat of a Zombie apocalypse.

We were hoping to find some good news that a Zombie apocalypse was something that could never happen but thanks to science we are now armed with the possibility that it could become very, very true. Reading one particular article it unpacked the 5 most likely causes behind a zombie apocalypse and to be Frank for a minute (We had to ask him if it was ok) they scared the absolute crap out of us. Like change your jocks scary. The first of the freaky 5 to cause a Zombie Apocalypse is Brain Parasites according to Google they turn victims into mindless, zombie like slaves. One in particular Toxoplasmosa Gondii is terrifying and to make matters worse half the human population of the earth is already infected with it. The likelihood of it turning us all into zombies though would a little human intervention and a perhaps a megalomaniac with a highly evolved version of the parasite that had been weaponised.

Then you have neurotoxins whilst not rating highly on the likelihood scale there have been cases documented in Haiti where the word Zombie comes from of Alkaloid toxins being used to control people and make mind numbed zombie like workers who harvested sugarcane. We then turn to a rage virus type scenario something like a super mad cow disease where people turn into mindless killing machine and don’t forget that we are only one brain chemical (Serotonin) away from that happening. We already have a human version of mad cow disease Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease and again it would only take some mad scientists to play around with it in a lab to make it a weapon. Moving on to Neurogenesis or basic stem cell research, yeah we spoke about animal/human hybrids a couple of blogs ago but what about regrowing dead brain tissue? You wanted the undead well science is finally delivering, it is now possible to re-grow the brains of comatose head trauma patients until they wake up and can walk around again, throw in the new ability to keep dead bodies in a suspended state of animation and we are starting to sound like a science fiction novel but its all true. Whilst the cortex may die the stem remains so you will be able to function but not actually have any thoughts, feelings or emotions.

Finally we have nanobots yes nanobots, tiny little microscopic, self-replicating robots that can invisibly build or destroy anything. Studies have shown with a decade we’ll have nanobots that can setup and replace neural pathways in your brain. That’s right ladies and gents little mini self replicating robots will be able to rewire your thoughts. So the likelihood of the robot uprising now takes form in the shape of a zombie apocalypse. Think about it, the nanobots are programmed to self replicate but once the host dies so do they. So to preserve themselves they’d need a new host, therefore the last act of the nanobot zombie would be to bite a healthy victim so they can steam in and set up camp. And just like that it’s eat, sleep, bite, repeat and the robot zombie uprising is a real thing.

So what are the other possible apocalyptic events that could have us scurrying like rats leaving a sinking ship? The most likely yet unlikely event is a robot uprising, according to Artificial Intelligence researchers the likelihood of us having a robot overlord is quite slim but if it did happen our robot overseers could combat some of the other threats. The most likely apocalyptic event in which we’d need to bunker down somewhere and then scavenge till the end of days would be a global pandemic or nuclear war and with Trump in power and happy to divert attention away from his pending impeachment trial the later is the most likely to happen as he rattles sabers and assassinated people from the skies above. If it’s not Trump shooting missiles at foreign dignitaries to spark off a war it’ll be climate change deniers that are our undoing as we kill the earth.

If you are wondering if it’ll be something from space that does us in, the chances of an asteroid taking us out is one in 10,000. We are more likely to be wiped out by volcanoes and they are the most underrated threat on the matrix we’ve developed. The sleeping giants that could erupt around the world and blackout the sun while blanketing the earth in ash. There is also the possibility of aliens invading in which we would recommend you hide down the deepest darkest hole you can find and don’t come out for at least a decade. Perhaps Hollywood had been quite prophetic in some of their alien invasion movies over the past century. There is always over population and or of the next big freeze, heck there have even been suggestions that we could be attacked by something below us lurking in the depths of the oceans or below the earth’s surface. There are several other possibilities but these were just the ones that actually made sense or had a likelihood of possibly ever happening.

Chances are that if the world was coming to an end any semblance of order would quickly dissolve into chaos. People would riot and looters would roam the streets. From there things would begin to look a little like the Tom Clancy video game franchise The Division. Whilst we’d like to think people might actually behave in a manner which is respectful and considerate that just doesn’t seem likely and if history is any indication of human behavior in times of chaos we definitely become a bunch of words that mum only allows us to use in the paddock. In times of chaos we change our morals values to benefit ourselves over others so it’s no wonder that people loot stores and gangs lord themselves over others in times of crisis. The end of the world would be one such crisis.

The more research we did, the more we realised that unless you’ve gone to a Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Escape (SERE) course which are generally reserved for military personnel with a role designation that could see them behind enemy lines, or have studied prepping and began to put in place the resources and tools required to survive most of us are very much under prepared for any of the likely apocalyptic scenarios that we could be faced with over the next couple of decades. Even the basics evade most people, how many people are trained in self defense or hand to hand combat, not to be confused with hand to gland combat which would only take a quick google search for most people to become experts in that one. Getting back on topic how or would you be able to defend yourself if you were required to? There are several books that outline the basics of survival and having read several of them when researching for our pet project we can highly recommend the following if you are interested in staying safe and surviving.

Safe by former 22 SAS Trooper Chris Ryan is a good read and then there is the Violent Nomad series ‘100 Deadly Skills’ by Former Navy Seal Clint Emerson, that outlines survival tips and techniques for all scenarios and environments. There is also the SAS Survival books written by John ‘Lofty’ Wiseman also a former SAS Trooper. There are several other survival books that have good information but we’ve found the above books fonts of knowledge as well as having good example pictures and providing a B.L.U.F or Bottom Line Up Front, in other words there is a paragraph where the conclusions and recommendations are placed at the beginning of the text to facilitate rapid decision making rather than placing it at the end of the text.

So we now know what we can start to prepare, how we are going to survive them. In order to do that we need to prepare for all likely scenarios. A little like the scouts we’ll always be prepared or at least that’s what we think the scouts motto is. What would you put in your end of the world kit? Well we think we’d start with a vehicle or two and our vehicle of choice if money was no option to survive the end of the world would either be a suped up, all the mods & cons Toyota Prado armored up to protect us from either the infected zombies or the less fortunate trying to steal our prized wheels or a Land Rover Defender and yes it would have a machine gun turret. Desperate times call for desperate measures and if it’s the end of the world we want to be protected. Worst case we’d break into a defence base and steal a Bushmaster or a tank, we’d then find the armory and go nuts like a kid in the candy store taking all the toys we wanted and needed.

We’ve put together a list of things that are required for initial survival. First thing you’ll need is a bug out bag these suddenly chic survival satchels, also known as go bags, are typically lightweight military-grade backpacks stocked with provisions for at least 72 hours. Gray wolf Survival recommends a chain-saw blade stashed in an Altoids tin to harvest firewood. Feminine hygiene products are also recommended as something you should have in your Go Bag, even for men, to soak up blood from wounds. One of those things that you should have is currency. While Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies make news, many people are quietly packing their bug-out bags with rolls of pre-1965 American dimes, quarters or half-dollars, which are 90 percent silver and available from coin dealers and precious-metals websites (silver is currently about 17 US dollars an ounce).

Imagine a true economic apocalypse, one that makes the German hyperinflation of the 1920s, with its wheelbarrows of near-worthless paper currency, look like a hiccup. To prepare for the worst worst-case scenario, some doomsday preppers prefer to stock up on daily staples like tampons, vegetable seeds and cigarettes (that timeless prison medium of exchange) to silver or gold as an alternative-currency. Liquor, particularly in easy-to-swap airline bottles would likely prove a hot commodity, since it not only deadens the pain of surviving in a post-apocalyptic wasteland, but also provides useful off-label functions as a disinfectant or an ingredient in herbal remedy tinctures. In the event of apocalypse, bring condoms explained one prepper site. This may sound like a slogan from a sex safety campaign but condoms being featherweight, ultracompact and durable (nonlubricated, please) can be used as a makeshift canteen to store water, a fire starter or as elastic bands for an improvised slingshot to hunt small game.

Should law and order on the streets break down after, say, a massive hurricane or nuclear-reactor meltdown, that condom slingshot might come in handy. But where guns are illegal or highly regulated what are defenseless, law-abiding citizens to do? “100 Deadly Skills,” by Clint Emerson is filled with improvised alternative weapons, like a collapsible umbrella lined with wrenches, Sure, you could master jiu-jitsu but if it’s really on, hand-to-hand self-defense will only take you so far. To balance legality with lethality in a bug-out bag, you have to go simpler hammers, hatchets, heavy tools. That roll of old silver quarters might come in handy, too.

In the event of a breakdown of the food supply that leaves the shelves of Woolworths and Coles bare, you will still have to eat. Many survivalists are placing their hopes of sustenance in rabbit, a high-protein, low-fat meat that is also being embraced as “the new chicken” by sustainable food types. By livestock standards, rabbits are relatively clean and quiet. They can survive on table-scrap vegetables or even grass, and as a bonus, yield valuable fur for improvised winter clothing. And boy do they breed. A doe can produce up to 50 kits a year, yielding 250 pounds of meat, according to researchers.

To master archery and broadsword combat or how to manufacture fabric, bread, ceramic cookware and wood furniture by hand, or to perfect the preindustrial arts of iron craft and tanning of leathers should Armageddon arrive say, in the form of a limited nuclear exchange, global pandemic or cyber mega-attack these hobbies could mean your survival. In other words, chivalry may not be dead after all. You just don’t want to be running around in a suit of chain-mail Armour chances are you’ll be a little slow.

So what we’ve worked out is that, if the world is coming to an end anytime soon your average Joe is not going to be prepared enough to survive for any lengthy duration. In case of a nuclear holocaust the safest place is New Zealand due to it’s lack of major military targets and it’s Australia’s forgotten ugly (yet beautiful, scenery wise) cousin therefore people often overlook they are also an ally of the great Satan. Plus most of New Zealand has moved to the Gold Coast. Everyone needs a go bag with at least 72 hours worth of provisions and tools you’ll need to survive. Having a plan is always a good idea and various iterations of that plan, make it even better. If you can get some self defence training it’s always a good idea even if an apocalyptic event isn’t coming. Ensure you have something to trade or a form of currency and lastly a little faith that it never comes down to you having to survive.

As we wrap up the conclusion is that it’ll only take a couple of deranged scientists and a world leader with an inferiority complex to make the Zombie apocalypse happen. Volcanoes are the most likely apocalyptic event, we’ve researched this way too much and now we are thinking we need to start planning for the worst while we hope for the best. It gets you thinking though and well life is too short for regrets or to be pondering crap like this, live in the moment and make memories that’s what we plan on doing. And just because you identify as a helicopter does not mean you can fly in times of crisis. Until next week we wish well and hope that we haven’t scared the absolute crap out of you. Sometimes it’s good to know that there are freaky things and not all science fiction books and films are made up…