Rename Australia now – it is derivative and insulting, so let it be changed to Nomgolia or Yarra Yarra or #referendum #renaming #greatsouthernland #aussies

AcburkeandwillsWent for a passport renewal interview yesterday. Isn’t it really really overdue to change the name of the country to something other than Australia?

I mean, the term is a problematic one, given by Spanish, Dutch, British colonists – first given by Mathew Flinders writing in prison in Mauritius – terra australis incognita, and this name, Australia, proposed by Macquarie and authorised by the Admiralty. Why accept what those pirates had to say? Flinders adopted the phrase somehow from the Spanish “Austrialia del Espíritu Santo” (Southern Land of the Holy Spirit) – and sure it was holy in some sense, but certainly not incognita, nor nullis, as we know well. The Dutch preferred New Holland, but that is equally problematic, and given that they also used Austrailis, with no disrespect to the Dutch, why do we follow their ascription (and while we are at it, surely New Zealanders should get about to changing their name as well – Aotearoa (Māori: [aɔˈtɛaɾɔa]), is the obvious candidate). But what to rename the Great Southern Land? I am not going to propose we adopt anything from the Italians either, despite the very welcome migration of good cofeee adn pasta to Carlton etc., but in Latin, auster does connotes south or place from where the hot wind comes. It also had an earlier sense of East, and indeed the prefix aus can mean to shine or burn, ausre means dawn, if we look to the cognates: Greek eos “dawn,” auein “to dry, kindle;” Sanskrit usah, Lithuanian ausra “dawn;” Latin auster “south wind,” usum “to burn;” Old English east “east”.

Since other countries on independence from the colonial powers had no problem changing their names – Sri Lanka from Ceylon, Taiwan from Formosa – I think there is a case for renaming Australia in recognition of the potential for mass inward Chinese migration, perhaps New Tibet would be something to have in mind, lets call it Newbit. Or how about in recognition of the pomo linguistic muddle that we clearly have here around names, we could use Nomgolia. I like that because as a mostly arid country we have the potential to appeal to the Chinese as a migration destination option that would something like southern Mongolia. Well, sadly the racists won’t accept the argumentation that relies on China to populate the great expanses of the Murray basin, clearly we need to explore some indigenous names. Myself, coming from Melbourne, I like Yarra. We could name the country after a great river, apparently a koorie word for water, or waterfall, misheard by the early settler-colonists as a name for the river – yarra yarra they said, and pointed to the waterfall. So we could elevate that error as the name for the country in appropriate recognition of the early mistakes of occupation – a kind of sorry name gesture would not go astray. And after all, the droughts and flooding rains routine did leave some of the early error-making trekkers padding around in the desert begging indigenous folk for water – Burke and wills for example, set off to cross the country south to north, starting from the banks of the Yarra in 1860, died trying to get to Mount Hopeless on the way back (see the statue by Charles Summers, pic by Adam Carr).

I am proposing, as executive member of the Australian Government in exile, founded 1994, Manchester, now also with an office in Hsinchu City, that we have a referendum (that’s a fancy word for guessing game) on a new name.

My preference is for Nomgolia, but I would also accept Yarra Yarra. What do other people think?

[addendum: yes this was a Halloween post, but after all the pics of folks I know dressed in Halloween garb – adults I mean, not just kids – I wonder why it did not occur to me that we should just apply for US statehood. Especially as ex-glorious-leader Abbott crowed about so much in the UK this week, ever closer all the way ties. On Abbott’s overseas tour – does anyone know how he is getting back to Australia? – now is a good time to stop his boat, or plane, or broomstick]

Gary Hall’s essay on

Gary Hall interesting as always. In this article on, here: Should this be the last…

My own take is less well thought out, but I felt Hall’s essay was almost like an airplane safety steward performance – offering us a plastic airbag of comfort adn some nylon socks to distract as we plummet to horrific death, oh, and here are the exit lights to provide a final weird glow as you do. Except Hall’s critique is better than that, and funnier/well written/more important.

When I was invited to be one of these editors here was my perhaps a little idealistic response (did not know of the critique by Hall then – but am still using the platform since it’s really just Facebook for dummies, no?).

Dear Academia.Edu
1) The recommend button has ‘fields’ built, I guess, into its algorithm. What mechanisms are in place, if any, to counter the inherent conservative character of this recommendation system? What I mean is, like any search algorithm, the system works on likes and similarity, when what we probably need is a way to discover not so much what we already know and like, or variations thereof, but truly things that will stretch our ideas, habits of though, disciplinary boundaries. Not just some cod-interdisciplinarity either. is it possible to build an algorithm based on something that acknowledges quality – as this recommendation system is designed to do – but does not congeal disciplines with a tendential affirmation of the centre. This, of course is also the problem with Research Assessment Programmes of Govt and funding bodies, indeed, all discipline based peer review.

2) what is the companies position on attention theory of value? For example, the 40 mins of my time I just spent, the increments of time so many users spend etc. The benefit of using the site is not exactly a wage. Like peer review for mainstream publishing houses, seems to benefit massively from unpaid labour. What mechanisms are in place to recompense user-workers for this astonishing gift of free labour. A share scheme for example. Otherwise what differentiates from value extraction of the most virulent kind – unpaid exploitation of willing dupes, thriving on people’s egoistic desire to check their H-index or some such? Is there a discussion within the company of public ownership, distributed ownership, or at least transparency of accounts? Uber, airbnb etc have been starting to get some bad press of late, it might be good to head that off with a share distribution scheme so that academics can make a buck out of their obviously welcome labour.

Read Gary Hall’s essay – click below:

With over 36 million visitors each month, the massive popularity of is uncontested. But posting on is far from being ethically and politically…

Europe for President (2008)

Excellent. I love films about presidential campaigns, <so am downloading this for sure>. Remember the one with Warren Beatty, yeah, then there was Travolta in one, wasn’t he like being Clintonesque – Bill not Hilary – and doing the whole Southern fried handshake from the elbow thing. <Only one hour of downloading to go before I can watch this, yaay>. Oh, and Josiah Edward Bartlett, the greatest US president ever, of course he was more European, but I watched the West Wing all though like twice, at least – <just 323 mb to go – exciting> – and then there was the one with Michael bloody Douglas. Ok, that was a bit like pulling teeth, but because I am mad for President films, I watched it all the way through. Hell, I even watched All the presidents Men, hoping that was a comedy too, like Primary Colours was. And Independence Day, that had a believable president. The very idea – hopefully addressed in your film Thomas? – of the entertainment of the Oval Office. I mean, I grew up with Nixion. <1 hr to go>. I am going to keep on writing about President films until its watchable – because you know, vimeo is slow unless its downloaded and I want my own copy to post and share, because we do need a Europea for prez. <God, vimeo has a 1000 character limit on comments so I am continuing here>. There was Nixon/Frost of course, and the Nixon film proper by Oliver Stone. One of the first things I can recall ever being played over the school announcement system, besides the British National Anthem, which was the Australian one then too, was Nixon’s I am not a crook speech. Formative. Then, the Kennedy Assassination, and the Kennedeys box set series and the Kennedy this and that. Oh, fuck it, once you get to that you are really scraping the barrel. Zapruder? Get a tripod, hold that camera still – it just cries out fake authenticity doesn’t it. Donald Duck cartoon president campaign, I should mention that. Maybe not. Might do a search as I think there was a Bugs Bunny one too, with Elmer Fudd as Dick Cheney – or did I make that up? Well it is an election year, or, no, its not, but it always seems like it. Fake democracy shovelled down our throats all the time, as if New Hampshire were the fount of all democracy – should try actual democracy for a change, it takes a lot more meetings I am sure. And time <more time than it takes to download this vid>. What is democratic about delegating decision making to an unrecallable cabal of high finance lobby-group selected preening puppets? Oh, you already got the puppetry metaphor going strong in this film. <Yep I’ve watched the first couple of minutes now, settling in for the long haul, just 58 minutes of downloading to go>. <a brief word from our sponsors while I post this on Trinketization> And I am back. <81MB downloaded>. I think its actually unloading, I had more downloaded before the break. What about the Lincoln film? I should talk about that, he was a prez, but his media savvy was way up on today’s candidates. I mean, even getting a letter written by Marx from the IWMA. Vote-winer that for sure – and really, I guess Marx’s tone is a bit mocking hyperbole. I bet he would have loved the golden era ot television we live in that brings us all these great presidential tv things. I mean, Geena Davis as the Commender in Chief we would want but will never get her and there is no way HC could be like that, and of course it was just a cash-in really, on Borgen. Now, you used to be Danish right, so you gonna give that a run for its money? <98mb> Oh, just remembered that Star Wars has-been Harrison Ford was president on a hijacked plane in one Presidential film frappery. Talk about your war on terror Air Force one spooky allegory/bad pun potential. I don’t think it was intended as a comedy that one, but it was. The problematic of movie stars as candidates was trialled of course in South India with MGR and NTR, never having the momentum to win national office of course, I don’t even know if they desired such, but they took their states with huge margins well before Arnie Governator paved the way for the rerun of Bush Wacker George – <wheeee 104 mb downloaded>. I am on this like a rash on an interns… No, lets not go there. I was trying to remember the Warren Beatty prez character, but it was just bad, didn’t he go a bit rogue? Not anywhere close to Josiah there. Jammy Foxx in White House Down – the less said about that one the better. <AND this is getting old… so, folks, download this film, it is gonna brighten up your day>. Four More Years Four More Years <I hope that is not how long it takes> Go TA.

New York actions. STOP Police Terror Which Side Are You On?

3 Days of Mass Resistance
Oct 22-24 NYC: 
STOP Police Terror
Which Side Are You On?
Thurs, October 22, No More Stolen Lives, Say Their Names
Fri, October 23 “Shut Down Rikers!
Sat, October 24: National March to STOP Police Terror: Which Side are You On?

Initiated by Carl Dix and Cornel West, #RiseUpOctober will bring together 100 families who’ve lost loved ones to police violence, prominent voices of conscience, students, clergy, artists, and more. These 3 days, and the massive Saturday Oct 24 march, will launch a more defiant, more determined resistance aimed at nothing less than stopping

the epidemic of illegitimate police terror and murder targeting Black and Brown people. This is a resistance that refuses to turn a blind eye to the thousands of lives stolen and families shattered, that will not be cowed by media and government vilification or pacified by empty promises of change, but insists Stop Police Terror! Which Side Are You On?
The 3 Days:
No More Stolen Lives, Say Their Names
A Public Reading and Remembrance: A Demand for Justice.

Over 40 families of people killed by police will gather to tell their stories, accompanied by prominent voices of conscience reading the names of just some of the 1000s of lives stolen.

Details here.

2:00 pm, Borough Hall, Brooklyn: National Day of Protest to Stop Police Brutality, Murder, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation.
Friday, October 23 9:00 am
“Shut Down Rikers!”
A mass, nonviolent direct action. People of conscience are putting their bodies on the line to call for this torture chamber to be shut down. Details here.
Saturday, October 24
National March to STOP Police Terror: Which Side are You On?
11:00am – Washington Square Park, NYC 11 am DETAILS HERE 
1:00pm – March
4:00pm – Closing Rally at Bryant Park
Students, religious congregations, contingents from housing projects, and people from all across the country – we will gather in the thousands and tens of thousands with the demand: Terror and Murder By Police Must STOP.   646-709-1961

#RiseUpOctober Advisory Board:
Carl Dix, Cornel West, Gina Belafonte, Eve Ensler, Jamal Joseph,
Arturo O’Farrill, Rev. Stephen Phelps
Many prominent voices of conscience have endorsed the Call for #RiseUpOctober including:
Ed Asner; educator Bill Ayers; Harry Belafonte; actor Ty Burrell; actor Mark Ruffalo; Noam Chomsky; theologian James Cone; actor Peter Coyote; lawyer Martin Garbus; Nobel Peace Prize winner Dr. Bernard Lown; activist Cindy Sheehan; Green Party candidate Jill Stein; David Strathairn; Quentin Tarantino; artist Hank Willis Thomas; singer Dan Zanes, and many others.
Artists and writers: Ken Burns, Shepard Fairey, Alice Walker, Cornel West, and Gilbert Young have donated their work to the $100,000 Indiegogo campaign to bring 100 families from across the country to NYC.
Many dozens of faith leaders from across the country are organizing with hundreds of students, grassroots activists and organizations.
Statement from physicians: challenge to donate to Rise Up October:
Confronting the cancer of racism, silence is intolerable if we wish to remain human. Since the founding of our nation, this malignancy has been eating away at our pretensions of democracy. The reason for its persistence is not merely a cultural and social legacy of slavery. It relates to a system of governance that appropriates wealth to a few while ignoring the dire needs of the many who produce the wealth. As Dr. Martin Luther King, in his memorable speech at the Riverside Church in New York City nearly 40 years ago stated, “The time comes when silence is betrayal.”
                            Bernard Lown, M.D.  (winner 1985 Nobel Prize for Peace)

We are physicians who join with Dr. Lown in this match challenge. With love and solidarity with these Stolen Lives families who have suffered so much and are so courageous. Rise Up October!