Microkhan by Brendan I. Koerner

Entries Tagged as 'Australia'

A Farmer’s Nonchalance

October 16th, 2013 · No Comments

A quick Google News search for the term “farm accident” is all that’s required to grasp the perils of working the land. Despite copious safety advances since the early days of the mechanized thresher, agriculture remains a dangerous profession in large part because its essential tasks are often performed by individuals; if something goes amiss, […]

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Unequal Trade

December 12th, 2012 · 1 Comment

If you have even a passing interest in colonialist cunning, you owe it to yourself to check out the National Museum of Australia’s dynamite exhibit on Aboriginal breastplates. These were baubles that the European arrivals provided to Down Under’s native inhabitants, ostensibly to honor certain individuals for being community leaders. But the givers desired something […]

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The Garments of Egg Smugglers

October 22nd, 2012 · No Comments

The fear of detection begets some of the most admirable innovation around, a technological truism proved by the photographic records of Australian Customs. These galleries are chock full of devices that smugglers have used to route around law enforcement, mostly in order to convey drugs from Southeast Asia. But there are also several wearable inventions […]

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Hopping to Oblivion

July 17th, 2012 · 12 Comments

The Jenga-like nature of markets is revealed in the tale of Australia’s kangaroo-meat crisis. There was a time when steaks and chops taken from Down Under’s most celebrated marsupials seemed destined to become a staple of butcher’s shops the world over. No country developed a more ravenous appetite for kangaroo meat than Russia, which came […]

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The First of Many Final Laps

April 26th, 2012 · No Comments

After a day spent haggling with the callous mandarins of America’s health-care system, I’m back to working on the final chapter of the book. I actually came up with a killer last line while walking Microkhan Jr. to school this morning; everything else, alas, is a mess, which is why I’m just leaving you with […]

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Taipan Be Not Proud

October 26th, 2011 · 2 Comments

Nearly two years ago, I posted about the exorbitant prices of anti-venom, which seem largely due to the reluctance of pharmaceutical manufacturers to service such a relatively small market. The end result of those companies’ economic sensibility is a dearth of medication in Papua New Guinea, where snake bites are a serious public-health problem: In […]

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Play with Your Emotions

October 17th, 2011 · No Comments

On a Wired deadline today, so just offering a taste of what’s to come this week—a tangential bit of art peeled off from a newly developed interest in the Torres Strait Islands independence movement. I was hoping to track down an example of the baizam, or shark dance, which features the most awesome headdresses you’ve […]

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Try, Try Again

June 22nd, 2011 · 2 Comments

There are few more hallowed legal principles than the protection against double jeopardy, which is enshrined in various constitutions and codes throughout the world. But as allegedly unimpeachable DNA evidence has become more common in courtrooms, a backlash has developed against the centuries-old prohibition against trying a person again after they’ve been acquitted. In Scotland, […]

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Supply, Demand, and Pugilistic Marsupials

February 4th, 2010 · 2 Comments

Apologies for being late with this year’s obligatory Australia Day post. Though we’ve never had the pleasure of visiting the island continent ourselves, we’ve long enjoyed the company of Aussie compatriots—especially those we’ve encountered while roaming the far corners of the globe, since the Aussies always seem to know where the bar is. More importantly, […]

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Drought and Drugs

October 27th, 2009 · No Comments

Australia’s epic drought could end up being something of a boon to neighboring New Zealand, at least in terms of aboveboard narcotic production. Half the world’s legal opium crop is grown on tiny Tasmania, largely under the auspices of Tasmania Alkaloids—a company that operates under the all-time most intentionally innocuous slogan of “Value Adding in […]

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Is Football Our Species’ Savior?

September 16th, 2009 · No Comments

In the course of conducting some morning research on chimpanzee cannibalism, we found ourselves absorbed in a 2006 paper that compared the aggressive tendencies of chimps and humans. (A PDF can be downloaded by clicking here.) As it turns out, humans and chimps are equally adept that cold-blooded murder, but our primate brethren are far […]

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Scared Sober?

August 18th, 2009 · 1 Comment

We don’t have too many hobby horses here at Microkhan, but one of them is a steadfast belief that many long-accepted practices are far less effective than advertised. This is typically because our species is easily seduced by logical facades, and thus pays too little attention to actual evidence. You can understand, then, why the […]

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The Murder Project

July 28th, 2009 · 12 Comments

While scouring some FBI press releases last week, we came across this semi-comical gem from the Chicago field office. It announces the arrest of a Indiana tandem who stand accused of trying to arrange a contract killing. Note the details of their proposed payment for this risky task: FRIEDBURG and ALEXANDER were both charged in […]

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Fatally Besotted

July 20th, 2009 · 10 Comments

Upon reading this tragic yet all-too-common tale from this morning’s New York Times, we were reminded of our long-held hypothesis that a huge number of homicides would never occur were it not for the ingestion of alcohol. Yet we’ve never really had a good sense of what percentage of killings involve inebriated parties—at least until […]

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An Iron Horse for the Ages

June 17th, 2009 · 4 Comments

The most gargantuan machines on Earth usually operate far outside the public eye, in remote corners of the globe where the substances that make modern life possible are extracted from the ground. We’ve previously posted about one such device, an abandoned component of a German coal-mining operation. Today we’d like to focus on another plus-sized […]

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First Contact: New Guinea Highlands

May 22nd, 2009 · No Comments

For the second installment of our nascent First Contact series, we’re gonna hit the layup and blog about this classic culture-clash documentary. A prized Microkhan correspondent and former New Guinea resident summarizes the film with far more acumen than we could ever manage: Basic story is that the initial European settlements in Papua (south side […]

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The Kobe Bryant of Netball

April 30th, 2009 · 3 Comments

Microkhan’s Australian readers (we have at least two!) may already be familiar with Romelda Aiken’s spectacular exploits on the netball court. She is, after all, the best player on the Queensland Nationals, a lithe and aggressive scoring machine who recently racked up 42 goals in an upset win over the Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic. […]

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Truly Lilliputian Jockeys

April 20th, 2009 · 7 Comments

To paraphrase a great eight-fingered, three-haired philosopher, there are few things in life that can’t be improved by the addition of a monkey. Such is the case with greyhound racing, an on-the-ropes pastime that briefly experimented with monkey jockeys during the Depression. According to a recent Australian reminiscence, things went awry due to the pint-sized […]

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Convict Love Tokens

April 3rd, 2009 · No Comments

In response to yesterday’s post on trench art, one of Microkhan’s treasured Aussie readers turned us on to convict love tokens. These engraved coins were made by English convicts as they awaited deportation to Australia, during the island continent’s 19th-century turn as a massive penal colony. The token to the right was produced by an […]

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Last of the Morans

March 18th, 2009 · No Comments

In the early part of this decade, the fair city of Melbourne, Australia was embroiled in a violent gangland war, pitting a speed trafficker named Carl Williams against the notorious Moran clan. The spat, which started when one of the Morans shot Williams in the belly, ended up claiming at least 34 lives; it also […]

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Avenging a Shark Attack

February 19th, 2009 · No Comments

The Australian Navy is hunting for the shark that recently mauled one of its more experienced divers. How will the Aussies know when they’ve found the real culprit, rather than just another shark? It ain’t easy.

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