We are at the dawn of one of the greatest eras of human discovery, and as a science teacher it excites me.
Many children I teach tell me science is fun, but there is "nothing to discover".
To me, the invention of artificial intelligence, global networking, robotics, drones, wireless, motion activated cameras and small satellites have allowed us to enter a new age. We can see and do things generations before thought to be science fiction.
Civilisations once believed the earth was flat. Scientists proved it to be otherwise. Finding dinosaurs bones challenged the creation story.
If microscopic life is found on other stellar bodies everything will change again. How many more discoveries are waiting to be made?
I believe some of the people who will make those discoveries have already been born. We just need to foster our youth to love learning to explore.
However, I feel as a society, we struggle to recognise the opportunities we have in front of us. We seem overly opinionated, dismissive of scientific research and stuck in a never ending cycle of opinion and profile-based politics which holds us and our youth back.
Greg Adamson, Griffith
Spare the horse
Horses have been used for centuries by the government of the day in dealing with protests. The most infamous example was the Peterloo Massacre.
Police horses are big, powerful and intimidating. They have been used in Australia to impose force on protesters.
I'm sorry for those beautiful police horses attacked in Sydney last weekend, but I can't help thinking that when horses are weaponised in this way, the police force concerned, and their riders, are putting innocent horses in harm's way.
They are just as culpable and cruel as any demonstrator who might retaliate in self-defence.
Dallas Stow, O'Connor
Bill Deane (Letters July 26) quotes 18th century Irish MP, Edmund Burke, in support of Zed Seselja's right to impose his personal views on the ACT electorate.
Burke made his observation more than 200 years ago when few were educated, fewer than 5 percent had the right to vote and the British class system was deeply entrenched.
His political observations are hardly relevant to 21st century Australia.
Patricia Saunders, Chapman
Zed was correct
It is rare that I agree with anything I see from Zed Seselja, but in his opinion piece ("Just how much power should 13 people have?", canberratimes.com.au, July 21) he makes one valid point.
Leaving aside the main body of his argument (selective interpretation of constitutional matters, misrepresentations relating to voluntary assisted suicide and his incorrect amalgamation of the two issues) at the end he makes a valid point.
As an elected senator, he is under no obligation to represent anyone's views but his own. He doesn't have to vote according to the views of, or the benefit of, his constituents.
Once elected, he can vote as he sees fit. In this, he is correct and has been quite open about it, regularly supporting positions that are not approved of by, or in the interests of, the vast majority of ACT citizens.
That is why, at the next election, the electors of the ACT should ensure they elect senators who support the interests of the ACT. Put Zed last.
Rob Ey, Weston
The winner is ...
Here are the results of the Olympic diving competition. Category: Backward somersault with multiple twists.
First place (gold medal): S. Morrison.
Judges' report: The initial "it's not a race" position was then followed by numerous repetitions right through to the stunning, albeit painfully executed, transformation, "all of Australia, like our Olympians, we go for gold on getting those vaccination rates where we need to go".
Peter Crossing, Glengowrie, SA
Rolf Fenner's aspiration for a compact, diverse, sustainable and resilient Canberra is commendable (Letters, July 27).
In the real world, people need a planning system they can trust and confidence that they know what could be built next to them. The Demonstration Housing Project is fine, as long as the dwellings are going to be built in appropriate planning zones. People who are living in a low-density residential zone (RZ1) would not welcome a four-unit, two-storey dwelling with nine car parks next door.
The Mr Fluffy example indicates what can happen when you allow dual occupancies to be built without proper control. We were told that design criteria would be applied for these redevelopments, to maintain and support the amenity of existing areas close by.
What we are seeing now is destruction of the tree canopy and wall-to-wall coverage of the blocks, with no room for planting areas. This is not what we want in a warming climate.
There may be a case, after careful review, for modifying the areas of the zones, or the characteristics of what can be built in them. But random re-zoning of single blocks in RZ1 through so called "demonstration projects", designed to open the door to widespread change by stealth, is not an acceptable way forward.
David Denham, president, Griffith Narrabundah Community Association
"Canberra needs to be compact, diverse, sustainable and resilient," writes Rolf Fenner (Letters, July 27).
That will be quite a challenging journey when there is no destination for Canberra in mind. Planning for that has morphed to facilitation of an ever-continuing enlargement of it; a city which was, at a previous time, world-renowned for the way it had been planned.
Escaped now from planning concepts is the reality of this federal capital's landscape. The locality had been adequately assessed in 1901 by surveyor Scrivener; for its concept at that time - the federal capital with a population of about 50,000. We have moved on, now stretching to beyond 400,000.
Environmental considerations alone are concern enough for current numbers in this, Australia's largest inland city. We are facing swinging extremes of heat, cold, fires, and other issues associated with a changing climate; and pushing limits ever further.
It is past time that politicians and planners stopped dreaming that we live in "The Big Rock Candy Mountains, where you never change your socks, and little streams of alcohol come streaming down the rocks". We are acting like a fungus growing in a petri dish.
Colin Samundsett, Farrer
For the birds
I noticed, walking around Parliament House on a recent Sunday, the grevilleas in the forecourt water feature, where silver gulls were nesting last year, had been covered over in a very ugly manner by netting.
I was pleased to see, on a later walk, that the gulls were giving the finger to this decision.
Parliamentary Services could more productively spend their time being concerned about the behaviour of the creatures inside the building than that of those outside.
Nick Payne, Griffith
I am writing in strong support of The Canberra Times campaign "Our Right to Decide" regarding issues that deny ACT residents a voice (Editorial, July 27).
The Andrews legislation denying Territorians the ability to decide on end-of-life and other matters directly affecting them is discriminatory, high-handed, undemocratic and repugnant. Congratulations CT for starting "Our right to decide" and I'm sure the great majority of Canberrans support you.
Rex Simmons, Mawson
Not so simple
For those engaged in the debate about Territory "rights" to legislate independently of Federal Parliament ("Time To Restore Our Rights", Canberra Times, July 27, p1), may I suggest that they have a look at s 122 of the Commonwealth Constitution which relevantly states: "The Parliament may make laws for the government of any territory..." The repeal of a single piece of Commonwealth legislation does not address the fundamental question embodied in this provision.
Only Chapter VIII-Alteration of the Constitution (s 128) does this - and good luck with this course of action, with only eight referenda being passed out of 44 since federation.
Chris Ryan, Kirrawee
Case in point
Athol, an old soldier, once told me that during a desperate retreat on the Kokoda Track, he and a mate were both wounded. He could still walk but the other bloke, "shot to bits", couldn't even crawl.
"Don't let the Japs get me, Athol", he pleaded. Athol didn't hesitate: "Where do you want it - head or heart?"
What does Zed think Athol should have done - say "sorry mate, you're on your own", and walk away?
Tony Healy, Florey
TO THE POINT
WE WERE WARNED
Those who seem surprised by the resurgence of the Taliban should have heeded the prophetic words of one of its leaders more than 10 years ago: "You have the watches, but we have the time".
C Williams, Forrest
TIME TO CHANGE
The Olympics motto Citius, Altius, Fortius has been around since the 19th century. It obviously needs updating,especially after the Matildas and the USA apparently conspired to play out a draw just to secure better (they think) finals match ups. What's Latin for more cynical, more farcical, more craven?
Matt Gately, Rivett
They say a picture is worth a 1000 words, so after Pope's brilliant Trojan horse cartoon concerning Labor's abandoning of Labor principles as a bribe to the electorate, it is hardly worth writing a letter on the subject.
Harry Davis, Campbell
I'm glad the government has no plans for a cashless pension card.
It wouldn't have allowed the elderly to make donations to the Liberals.
Many of us will want to keep funding the party's mission of protecting public money from rorters, cheats, carpetbaggers, the undeserving poor and the ALP.
We might have had to take up busking for the National Audit Office.
Roger Bacon, Cook
RAISE A STINK
The next coward who punches a police horse should be drenched in "skunk", the brilliantly efficient, Israeli-formulated anti-riot spray that ensures rioters smell, like, well, a skunk.
NSW police should get that formula, pronto.
Christina Faulk, Swinger Hill
Your "our right to decide" campaign deserves strong bipartisan support from all ACT MPs, senators and MLAs ("Time to hand back our right to decide", Editorial, July 27).
This would help to shake up and shame the Federal Parliament into doing what is logical, right and well overdue for the more than half a million citizens who live in the ACT and NT.
Sue Dyer, Downer
A SIMPLE TRUTH
Idiot anti-vaxxers and misguided libertarians protesting at making vaccines compulsory for care workers should realise that if they (say) refused to wash their hands they would soon be sacked. Why is being vaccinated different?
Peter Stanley, Dickson
I strenuously object to "across the border" being used as a by-word for greater Sydney ("Result mix-up puts ACT on high alert", July 30, p1). Across the border I am further from "Covid Central" than The Canberra Times office!
Ian Douglas, Jerrabomberra, NSW
I agree with Mario Stivala (Letters, July 30) that evidence of university education is lacking in the behaviour of our politicians. Similarly lacking is evidence of the moral superiority that they claim comes with their religious faith and their private school education.
S W Davey, Torrens
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