Thursday 22 Apr 2021 | 13:01 | SYDNEY
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Interview: Adam Alter part III

Here's part 3 of my interview with Adam Alter, author of Drunk Tank Pink: An Other Unexpected Forces that Shape how we Think, Feel and Behave, in which we've discussed the subtle non-verbal cues that make up such an important but neglected part of international business and diplomacy. Here's part 1

Flying through the zombie apocalypse

My review of World War Z got some attention over the weekend thanks to tweets from colleagues and RTs from a number of others. My thanks in particular to a couple of readers who pointed out that, although I said that the scene in the film showing a C-130 Hercules taking off from an aircraft carrier

Good news on Defence transparency

Earlier this year I made a submission and gave evidence to the annual review of Defence activities conducted by the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade. In essence, I argued that parliamentary oversight of the Department of Defence needed to be strengthened by both

Egypt: Democratic transitions are messy

Marty Harris is the Lowy Institute's Assistant Digital Editor. Events in Egypt demonstrate that building a liberal democracy in the aftermath of decades of authoritarian rule is extremely difficult.  Just over 12 months ago, Mohammed Morsi came to power in what were dubbed the first free

Interview: Adam Alter part II

Yesterday I began my exchange with author Adam Alter by asking about 'disfluency', the idea that people find certain words more difficult to process, and that we tend to associate those words with danger or unfamiliarity. Here's my follow-up question. SR: Let me pursue the first part of your

HIV: 30 years old and still drawing a global crowd

Thirty years after HIV first started to make global headlines, it's still doing it, but this time for what is deceptively good news.  At this week's International AIDS Conference in Kuala Lumpur, there was the remarkable announcement that two previously HIV-positive men no longer had any

Interview: Adam Alter on 'disfluency'

A couple of weeks ago I stumbled on a New Yorker article, which bounced all around the blogosphere and twitterverse, about the subtle but powerful effects that labels have on how we think and behave. The perceived masculinity of a name, for instance, will help determine career progression. And

Rudd in Jakarta: Of rams and refugees

Christopher Johnston is a fellow at Georgetown University's Institute for the Study of Diplomacy and a graduate of the Royal Military College, Duntroon. He is based in Indonesia. As Prime Minister Rudd heads to Jakarta this week, there are signs of a shift, and perhaps even a breakthrough, in

(R)evolution in Brazil?

Patrick Carvalho is the former Head of the Economic Studies Division at the Federation of Industries of Rio de Janeiro and co-author of Great Southern Lands: Building Ties Between Australia and Brazil. Is Brazil next? Following the Arab uprisings, and most recently the Turkish one, protests in

World War Z a colossal disappointment

For those who enjoyed Max Brooks' novel and saw the recently released Brad Pitt feature, the above Venn diagram (courtesy of The Oatmeal) surely says it all. What a colossal disappointment the film was. I had my doubts from the beginning, and wondered whether the cinema was really the right

Do voters want to repeal carbon pricing?

John Connor is CEO of the Climate Institute. The past year has been historic in Australia, with around 300 businesses beginning to pay for their greenhouse gas emissions for the first time under carbon laws that had a troublesome gestation and a difficult birth. The last year and the couple

Australia still needs Europe

Dr Daniel Woker is the former Swiss Ambassador to Australia and now a Senior Lecturer at the University of St Gallen. Two recent short pieces on The Interpreter come to fundamentally opposing conclusions with regard to Australia's future relations with Europe. Whereas Peter Frank warns about the

Defence in depth: Is Australia's defence strategy smart?

Dougal Robinson is a Lowy Institute Defence Intern. In this final video in the Defence in Depth series, we asked experts whether Australia's defence strategy is smart. You can watch the whole Defence in Depth series and read commentary about it on this debate thread. Peter Cosgrove argues

Egyptians (re)turn to the streets

On Sunday Egyptians marked President Mohammed Morsi's first anniversary in office by protesting — mostly against him. By many accounts the protests were larger than those that led to the overthrow of the Mubarak regime; in the millions according to some reports. There were multiple

An end to the Asian Century?

Marty Harris is the Lowy Institute's Assistant Digital Editor. Prime Minister Rudd's new look Ministry, announced today, includes for the first time a Minister for International Development. Former human rights lawyer Melissa Parke has been named for the position. Considering the rise in

Infrastructure: The limits of PPPs

Infrastructure is a sturdy perennial on the G8 and G20 agendas. Invariably there is a plea for more public-private partnerships (PPPs). With the prospect of budget austerity as far ahead as the eye can see, the case for getting the private sector to pay for infrastructure seems compelling. If

Rudd in Indonesia: Moderate expectations

Geoff Miller is a former Director-General of the Office of National Assessments. Prime Minister Rudd's decision to go ahead with his predecessor's planned visit to Indonesia this week, and his remarks about the possible effect of Opposition asylum-seeker policies on the Australia-Indonesia

What to do about climate migration

Professor Jane McAdam is a member of the Consultative Committee of the Nansen Initiative and the author of Climate Change, Forced Migration, and International Law.  Last month, the Norwegian Refugee Council released a report revealing that 32.4 million people were forced to flee their homes in

Ware and Garnaut talk journalism

Two of Australia's best journalistic exports, Mick Ware and John Garnaut, were at the Lowy Institute recently, and I took the opportunity to talk to them both about their remarkable careers and the countries from which they have reported. You know John Garnaut from his agenda-setting reporting

India-China boundary talks: A shift in focus

C. Raja Mohan is a Lowy Institute Nonresident Fellow. The latest round of talks on the boundary dispute, held in Beijing today between the Special Representatives of India and China, are likely to see an intense focus on maintaining peace and tranquility on the long and contested frontier. The

Reader riposte: More on Australia's reputation

Tony Healy writes: Gareth Evans' piece suggests he is not very self-aware. His contacts will naturally express an interest in Australian politics if they know his background, but I doubt that they really care much one way or the other. Away from the political groupies, I find that US people

Clive James: Politics and The Sopranos

With the death of actor James Gandolfini, Clive James has written a short new introduction to a brilliant essay he wrote ten years ago celebrating The Sopranos, which starred Gandolfini and which was the show that arguably began the modern renaissance of TV drama.  In fact, 'renaissance' might

Financial reform: A job half-done

Nearly five years after the onset of the financial crisis, we might expect widespread agreement on what went wrong and how to fix it. But there is still a lot to be done, with some new thinking required. In the UK, the two biggest banks are still in government administration, the prudential

Why Syria is not like Bosnia

Gorana Grgic is a PhD candidate in the Department of Government and International Relations, University of Sydney. Ever since the Obama Administration announced it would provide direct military support to the Syrian opposition, foreign policy analysts have been busy recommending where to go from

Reader riposte: Cholera in Haiti

Alasdair Stuart responds to last Friday's piece about the cholera outbreak in Haiti: Uh this may seem trivial, but cholera is BACTERIAL. Antibiotics work really well — you can actually see the critters (with a microscope). It's not a VIRUS (really tiny, laughs at antibiotics). Nice article

Monetary policy: BIS sounds the alarm

Mike Callaghan is Director of the Lowy Institute's G20 Studies Centre. The Bank of International Settlements (BIS) sounds like a dull place. It is the central banks' central bank. But its latest Annual report provides a loud wake-up call for governments everywhere. The summary chapter, 'Making the

Cholera in Haiti: Is UN immunity now impunity?

Sara Dehm is a PhD researcher working on international law, global institutions and migration governance at the Melbourne Law School. Last month, advocates for over 5000 Haitians affected by a mass cholera outbreak gave the UN an ultimatum: either the UN agrees to meet or mediate their negligence

G8 Summit: Lessons for the G20

Mike Callaghan is Director of the Lowy Institute's G20 Studies Centre. Lough Erne, Northern Ireland, the site of the recent G8 summit, was chosen to inspire leaders, with Northern Ireland demonstrating that even the most intractable problems can be resolved. Were leaders inspired? David Cameron

Reader riposte: Costs of EU-US free trade deal

Reader Peter Frank recommends this Spiegel analysis of the proposed US-EU free trade agreement, which contains estimates that such a deal would cost Australia 52,000 jobs and result in 7.4% decline in Australia's per capita income. Peter writes: Interesting analysis of impacts of EU/US free trade