The continent has most of the world's most poisonous snakes, not only on land but in the ocean. It has the world's largest crocodiles, and one can be devoured by one in or near the ocean or a river, and then out in the surf great white sharks abound. And I haven't even mentioned box jellyfish, blue ring octopi, stone fish, or the red backed and funnel spiders.

If ever a land was saying "Go away, people," it's Australia.

Add to all this that Sydney, strangely, is one of the most expensive cities on Earth and that you're so far from the United States (where everyone wants to go) and why would anyone live there, much less WANT to live there?

So, why are there people in Australia? What explains it?

Yes, and of course I'm being tongue in cheek. I'm sure there are many reasons to risk the many ways to die there.

Tags: australia

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But where do those taxes go? Into research of products than might help smokers quit, into treatment facilities for victims of first- and second-hand smoke, or into politician's pockets?

I do wish people would stop with the "into politicians pockets" myth. Public accounting absolutely prevents that as does the structure of civil service. One might assert that there is undue influence and perhaps paybacks but one should provide proof for these assertions. The continual unbased demonization of the other side or politicians in general is deadly to cooperation because it destroys trust.

@Norm

I did have a link to demonstrate the US State by State tax levied on cigarette sales and how much of it they spent on smoking prevention - I recall it was about 2-3%.  Of course I can't find it now, but I did find this link discussing the subject.  It is pretty clear that the tax raised from cigarettes does not go into resolving cigarette related issues.

We have had public discussions (VBG), screaming matches might be closer to the truth, regarding the assignment of cigarette taxes in Canada. Should the cigarette taxes go to smoking cessation, into public health because of the represented additional load, into general revenues?

All good questions but unfortunately few of those offering conclusions understand the scope to any significant degree. I often observe that people insist on asserting solutions but lack even the most basic understanding of the subject. Take public health policy, for example, don't ask me as I have no clue and would screw things royally. The difference is that I attempt to answer the question, "Do I know the first bloody thing about this?" before telling representatives what should be done.

IMO, Canadians tend to operate from one basic principle: "Someone else should pay!".

We had a huge fur-ball here over chlorination of city water. The world was ending but ask these people whether they have any training in that field and, "No!". Bloody idiots as I believe Amanda was far too cultured to state directly. ;)

We had a huge fur-ball here over chlorination of city water.

What about fluordination? In Portland, Oregon, a proposal to put fluoride in the city water to reduce the occurrence of cavities, went down by 20 points, despite the fact that fluoride is used in most city water in the US without any evidence of adverse affects. The tinfoil hat people prevailed.

That might be an illustration of what I was attempting to convey regarding some knowledge of a subject. I have spoken intelligently on the subject of water chlorination (evidenced by water treatment papers written as qualification in Power Engineering) but could not offer expertise regarding floridation.

I can consider the distribution of flouride into the water system in various forms but that is not related to the intended effects of flouride on the target.

I can offer opinion regarding chlorination in our systems = good, but cannot regarding flouride although I do endorse and use flouride.

IMO, we need be careful in offering and accepting assertions without the validity being understood.

Jeez, how I'd like to rewrite my last post here. First, I should have said "fluoridating" instead of "fluordination." And I really do know the difference between "affects" and "effects." Grrrr

With all due respect, Norm, the interesting thing about putting cash into politician's pockets, lies in the fact that they do their best to avoid situations that would permit proof, and cash in an envelope or an anonymous offshore account quite easily circumvents most of the failsafes provided by public accounting.

Again, no proof was available, but I found it interesting that Little George "W." met with Omar Bongo, President of Gabon, less than ten months after lobbyist Jack Abramhoff (currently in prison for influence peddling) offered - for nine million dollars - to arrange such a meeting.

(Wow! This really wound up a long way from your original comment - hope you can figure out to which one I'm responding.)

I hope that this isn't perceived as throwing stones as I'm not taking that from your comments other than wondered why I was not a nice person due to apparently questioning the basis of your assertion.

I do rest on my assertion that demonizing someone or some group without proof damages society. If one operates on the basis that all politicians are evil, based on faith then that basis cannot be considered to be rational or moral, IMO.

Additionally, were someone to asassinate my character in absentia and without proof, I would hope that others would stand up to demand either proof or the retraction of the slander.

Again, I ask the questions: "How does it benefit society to demonize politicians without proof?"

"How does filtering of those who are genuinely affected by what others say about them benefit society?"

If we pursecute those whom choose to represent us, do we not discourage those who care about what is said about them and so discourage their involvement?

Does this not favor the psychopath/sociopath/narcisist elements who don't give a rat's buttocks about what is said about them?

Is this really what you want to encourage?

I don't see an alternative within Western Society and until one is offered which seems superior and is able to be implemented, why damage this system more than necessary?

Norm, but you don't live in Kenya I suppose? So how would you then know if this is not the case. Everyday we wake up to scandals involving politicians and government officials about abuse of office, embezzlement of funds and since all money is legal tender, it would be hard to say which is tax from cigarettes and which is from PAYE but part of it does end in politicians pockets.

American legislators don't handle tax money directly, but unlike everyone else, they give themselves raises, they pass laws to get many of their expenses paid, they gave themselves world-class free healthcare, and they receive favors from lobbyists in the form of campaign contributions during their time in office as well as promises of lucrative "consultant" jobs awaiting them once their legislative time is over. 

Hi, this has gone off direction which is my fault because I was not clear enough as to context. In an well regulated system there must be checks and balances, of course, and those we have in Canada. There are reported to be similar systems in most of the industrialized world.

My main point was that, IMO, we are doing much damage to society by the ad hoc demonization of politicians, civil servants, and anyone not of our own group.

We complain continually about  government and others in general but few people seem to be willing to appreciate that there is a significant cost to the accounting/monitoring.

Have not visited Kenya and not likely to do so at my age. I do have an emotional attraction to Kenya out of my youth reading of classic hunting books. Not much connection to reality, I imagine, but developed a love of the concepts.

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