What Went Right - 20 JAN 2017
Three more stories from the mainstream media about "what went right" rather than "what went wrong".
Northern WA rains a good sign for 2017 prawn season by Eliza Wood (WA Country Hour, ABC Western Australia)
Good wet season rains are hoped to boost the 2017 catch in northern Western Australian prawn fisheries, after a poor year last year.
Charities, restaurants team up to offer dishes that make a difference by Laura Gartry (ABC Western Australia)
With a continuing economic downturn biting into both restaurant and charity revenue streams, there have been efforts made to address the problems through some food providers offering charitable donations if certain items are purchased.
Australian-first cycling studio puts riders to the test through virtual reality software by Rebecca Opie (ABC South Australia)
David Parsons has set up a unique training centre in Adelaide, where bikes linked to virtual reality software are able to be used as an indoor training facility for professional cyclists.
There's my three for the day. If you've found any items in your mainstream media feeds about things "going right" rather than "going wrong", why not share a link in the comments? (Incidentally, I checked back yesterday, and discovered I've been doing this for over a month now. So there's one milestone gone without my noticing it *grin*).
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Administrivia/Meta: What Went Right
I've been asked how long I'm planning to keep up the "What Went Right" series of posts. My answer to this is "as long as is humanly possible".
I started this series in the wake of the election of Donald Trump, as a variation on a personal anti-depression tactic. The tactic, which I'll include here so other people can use it if they wish, was to write down, every day, three things which had "gone right" (in the sense of "not going wrong") in a notebook. Didn't matter how big, didn't matter how small. At least three things, every day.
In the wake of the Trump election, I noticed a lot of people were despairing and upset, and there was a lot of negative focus - people were looking at how terrible things were now (not that much had actually changed at that point) and getting anxious about how terrible things were going to be in the future. I was being affected by this myself - and as someone with depression, I knew I couldn't really afford to let myself be dragged down by it.
So I decided (following a bit of inspiration from a friend, and a link to an article about things which had gone right in 2016), to revive my old "three things" habit - with a twist.
I've found this has helped me in a lot of ways - I'm reading the news more than I used to, and I'm getting more informed. I'm also learning there's a lot more positive news out there than you'd think - it's just that we, as readers, need to build the habit of looking for it. So my plan here is to keep posting these posts, keep up the series of "what went right" articles every day, and keep boosting the signal on the positive stuff in this world.
It is not all doom and gloom, no matter how much you may feel it is, and no matter how much other people want to convince you this is the case. There are small things going right every day - you just have to look for them.
Now, on to the administrivia side of things: at present, I try to get the "What Went Right" post up as early as possible each morning (I wake up at 6am most days, I do about 10 minutes journal writing - I'm building up on this - and the "what went right" post is the next thing I start working on each day). However, come February, I'm going to be starting university study again (part-time), and also I may be required to perform Work for the Dole again. This means I may wind up posting later in the day on some days. If I have to change my posting time, I'll try and let you all know ahead of time.
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What Went Right - 19 JAN 2017
Another three articles about "what went right" (rather than "what went wrong") from the mainstream media.
New snail species discovered on Kimberley islands showcase 'amazing diversity', scientist says by Matthew Bamford (ABC Western Australia)
A group of scientists have been performing a survey of some remote islands off the Kimberley coast, and have found a number of new and unique snail species. The article includes some pictures of three of them.
Genetically modified fruit flies show promise in eradicating expensive Medfly by Michelle Stanley and Joanna Prendergast (ABC Rural, Western Australia)
A group of researchers in the Department of Agriculture and Food Western Australia have been experimenting with a genetically modified fruit fly imported from the United Kingdom, to determine whether it would be effective in reducing pest numbers of the Mediterranean fruit fly here in Western Australia.
Construction of powerful ASKAP telescope on 'home stretch' by Sebastian Neuweiler (ABC Western Australia)
The Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder telescope is nearly finished construction, with one third of the antennas already functioning and the other two-thirds coming online over the next twelve months.
So there's my three stories for the day. If you've found any stories in your mainstream media feeds about "what went right", why not share them in the comments?
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What Went Right - 18 JAN 2017
Once again, three stories from the mainstream media about "what went right".
WA grandparents caring for children full-time get boost as research hopes to identify gaps in support by Eliza Laschon (ABC Western Australia)
A statewide research project aimed at providing more support to grandparents who care for their grandchildren full-time has been launched in Western Australia.
Processor uses high pressure to extend crab meat shelf life by Eliza Wood (WA Country Hour, ABC Radio)
A crab processor in Carnarvon is using a high-pressure processing machine to improve the shelf life of blue swimmer crab products from a few days to over a month, opening the door to possible "cook in bag" products in the future.
Chelsea Manning has prison term slashed after Barack Obama commutes sentence by ABC/wires (uncredited)
Chelsea Manning will be allowed to walk free from prison on May 17, 2017.
So, there's my three for the day. If you've found any stories in your mainstream media feeds about things going right, why not share them in the comments?
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What Went Right - 17 JAN 2017
Another three stories about "what went right" from the mainstream media (as opposed to all those stories about "what went wrong").
Ningles and Myrtle top names for Ningaloo turtles, competition finds by Laura Gartry (ABC Western Australia)
CSIRO researchers who are tracking the movements of sea turtles in the Ningaloo region have been holding a competition to name the turtles (for tracking purposes).
Support group helps hoarders, one item at a time by Emma Wynne (ABC Radio Perth)
A story about Black Swan Health, which has a program called "Buried In Treasure" which helps people deal with hoarding. (As someone with borderline hoarding tendencies myself, this is a very interesting article for me). It has a few tips near the end for people who are concerned about a friend or family member with hoarding tendencies.
Istanbul nightclub attack: Gunman caught by police, local media reports by ABC/Wires (ABC Australia)
It's reported that the gunman responsible for an attack on an Istanbul night club has been captured by Turkish police.
So there's the three for today. If you've seen anything in your media feeds about "what went right", why not share a link in the comments?
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What Went Right - 16 JAN 2017
Another three stories about "what went right" from the mainstream media.
Funding boost, organ donor generosity saving a record number of lives, Federal Government says by Dom Vukovic and Chloe Hart (ABC Australian Capital Territory)
The rate of organ donation in Australia is up, thanks to a combination of a federal government funding boost for the program and an increase in the number of people who are registering to be donors.
Elderly women in Kenya learning karate to fight back against sexual assault in slums by Martin Cuddihy (ABC Africa correspondent)
This is a bitter-sweet one, because on the one hand, it's a story primarily about sexual assault, and about women learning to fight back against it. On the other hand, it's a story about women working to deter a menace in their community, and gaining power by doing so. Since the program is starting to have a preventative effect, I'm saying it's something "going right".
Bobbie the Bear drives home road safety message to Chinese tourists in Tasmania by Carla Howarth and Damian McIntyre (ABC Tasmania)
As the amount of visitors to Tasmania from China increases, measures are being taken to provide a more welcoming environment, such as hiring multi-lingual rangers in national parks, adding Chinese text to signs for road safety, and using a mascot who is popular with Chinese visitors.
So there's my three for the day. If you've spotted any stories about "what went right" in your mainstream media feeds, why not share a link to them in the comments?
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What Went Right - 15 JAN 2017
Once again, three stories about "what went right" from the mainstream media, as opposed to all the stories about "what went wrong".
Great Barrier Reef: Ancient coral samples show icon could recover, but scientists warn of new threats by Kathy McLeish (ABC Queensland)
Core samples taken from the Great Barrier Reef show it has survived periods of higher sea levels, although whether it could survive the coming one depends on a lot of human factors, which weren't present the last time around.
'Detached from society': Long-term program at Don Dale helping to give kids a new start by Eleni Roussos (ABC Northern Territory)
Something going right at the Don Dale Detention Centre in Darwin - this story is a profile of a program which ties together fitness, team building and psychology, and which works to help get the kids there thinking positively about what they want out of life, and how they're going to achieve it. The article does raise the important point (as pointed out by one of the detainees) that while there's a lot of support for these young people while they're in detention, what they're missing is the next step - support when they get out of detention, in order to keep them moving in a positive direction and achieving their goals.
Small-scale farming boom putting more sustainable produce on tables in Canberra region by Georgia Hitch (ABC New South Wales)
A brief profile of the growing move toward small-hold vegetable farming and farmers markets in the south coast region of New South Wales. An unexpected side effect of purchasing food at farmers markets appears to be that buyers waste less of what they buy.
So there's my three for the day. If you've found any stories about "what went right" in your mainstream news feed, why not leave a link in the comments.
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What Went Right - 14 JAN 2017
Once again, three stories from the mainstream media about "what went right" rather than "what went wrong".
New species of seadragon discovered in wild for first time off Western Australia's south coast by Jacqueline Lynch (ABC Western Australia)
The Ruby Seadragon was previously identified from preserved specimens, but researchers from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography and the Western Australian Museum have captured footage of the species in the wild.
Living to 100: Centenarians surprisingly healthy 'thanks to resilience and toughness' by Norman Hermant (Social Affairs correspondent, ABC Victoria)
A brief profile of a couple of centenarians who are seen by the Royal District Nursing Service in Victoria. It's noted that centenarians tend to need less home care than "near centenarians" - people in their late nineties.
Aussie dog whisperer uses stand-up paddle boarding to train and teach animal owners by Jess Lodge (ABC Wide Bay, ABC Radio)
A profile of Chris De Aboitiz, who runs a stand-up paddle school, and specialises in teaching dogs and their owners how to use paddle boards.
So there's my three for the day. If you've found any stories about "what went right" in your mainstream media feeds, why not share them in the comments?
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On the whole "Ministerial Expenses" thing
People 'expect' politicians to claim expenses for sporting events, says Steven Ciobo
Ciobo said businesses and other organisations who invited politicians were “taking the opportunity to showcase themselves there, to take the time to have a conversation in relation to important matters”.
If the businesses in question are so keen to see the various ministers and so on at these events, why aren't they offering to pay their transport costs? Why are the taxpayers of Australia being asked to shoulder these costs?
Come to think on it, what kind of business is actually "showcased" by an event like the AFL grand final?
Ciobo was gifted a ticket and hospitality at the 2013 grand final by the National Australia Bank.
I'm sorry, possibly it's a complete failure of imagination on my part, but I fail to see what aspect of the bank's business is being "showcased" in a sporting event like the AFL grand final (did they loan the AFL the money to put the event on, or what?). Why was a meeting at a major sporting event considered more suitable to showcase aspects of this company's business than a meeting in the minister's office?
On the questions of "it was work related", I have to ask, was the meeting at the AFL grand final minuted? Were any decisions reached, and what were they? As an Australian voter, I feel I have a right to know. After all, if Mr Ciobo is accepting corporate hospitality at these events in his capacity as Minister for Trade, is there not a question of corruption and bribery involved - these companies are presumably offering Mr Ciobo tickets to a major sporting event as a way of obtaining his influence and attention at the expense of their competitors.
As a member of the Australian voting public, Mr Ciobo, I'd argue there's a lot of questions to be asked here. As a fellow recipient of Taxpayers Money (and one who faces far more punitive conditions on their receipt of same than you do, quite frankly, for a much lower amount) I'm saying bluntly that I'm fed up to the back teeth with this bloody attitude of "one rule for thee and another for me" which seems so common to our parliamentarians. You're welcome to try your luck with Newstart if you think you're hard done by in this regard.
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What Went Right - 13 JAN 2017
Even on a so-called "bad luck day", there's stories about things going right in the mainstream media. Here are three of them.
Wellington Dam desalination plan to boost local agriculture by Andrew O'Connor (ABC Western Australia)
There are plans afoot for a private company to desalinate water from Wellington Dam in order to make it suitable for agricultural use.
Alien-looking shrimp of the desert appear in Central Australia after flooding rains by Emilia Terzon (ABC Radio Darwin)
The shield shrimp appear once again, hatching after heavy rains.
Vantablack: It's blacker than black, but where is the world's darkest material being used? by ABC Science (uncredited)
The material "Vantablack" is an array of tiny carbon nanotubules, absorbs pretty much all the light that impacts it, and is finding a number of uses in astronomical instruments.
So there's my three for the day. If you've found any stories about "what went right", why not share them in the comments?
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What Went Right - 12 JAN 2017
Three more stories about "what went right" from the mainstream media.
Strong wet season boosting yields for Indigenous gubinge harvest by Matt Brann (ABc Rural)
It's been a good year this year for the gubinge, or Kakadu plum, and Indigenous communities harvesting it this year are reporting big yields.
Retro gaming rediscovered at Perth video game museum by Hilary Smale and Emma Wynne (ABC Radio Perth)
The Nostalgia Box, a private museum in Perth, allows visitors to view the history of electronic gaming, starting with the Magnavox Odyssey.
Popular Kings Park nature playground to be expanded by Andrew O'Connor (ABC Western Australia)
The Naturescape playground in Kings Park is being expanded to include a new rock pool and an aerial walkway.
So there's my three for the day (another slow news day - I'll put all the rest I found into the comments again). If you've found any stories about "what went right" in your mainstream news feeds, why not share those in the comments as well.
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What Went Right - 11 JAN 2017
Another three articles about "what went right" from the mainstream media.
Perth Zoo's sniffer elephants harness heightened sense of smell by Charlotte Hamlyn (ABC Western Australia)
One of the elephants at Perth Zoo is being trained to use his sense of smell as a way of getting him physically and mentally active.
First wine grapes picked in Swan Valley, but most vineyards still weeks from harvest by Matt Brann (ABC Rural, Western Australia)
The grape harvest in the Swan Valley is getting off to a later start than last year, and growers are anticipating a much better crop of wines as a result of an exceptional vintage.
Frank Norton, official war artist and pioneering gallery director, remembered by exhibition by Emma Wynne (ABC Radio Perth, Western Australia)
An exhibition, "Frank Norton, Painter and Collector", is on display at the Fremantle Arts Centre until January 22, honouring the life and work of the late Frank Norton, a former war artist for the Australian navy, and director of the WA Art Gallery between 1958 through to 1976.
So there's my three for today (all from WA - must have been a slow news day. I'll put any others I find in the comments). If you've found any stories about what went right in your mainstream media feeds, why not put a link to them in the comments as well?
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What Went Right - 10 JAN 2017
Once again, three stories about "what went right" from my mainstream media feeds.
Cancer drug approved by Therapeutic Goods Administration offers hope to leukaemia patients by ABC Victoria (uncredited)
A drug that melts away cancer in some patients with advanced forms of chronic lymphocytic leukaemia has been approved by Australia's Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA).
Dinesh Palipana becomes Queensland's first quadriplegic medical intern by Ashleigh Stevenson (ABC Queensland)
Doctor Dinesh Palipana became a quadriplegic in 2010 when he was in a bad car crash on the Gateway Motorway. Last week, he was offered an intern placement, making him the first quadriplegic medical intern in Queensland.
Canberra zoo animals cool down with ice blocks as city swelters through another hot day by ABC Australian Capital Territory (uncredited).
Canberra has had four consecutive days of temperatures over 30C (which, given Canberra summers tend to be humid, is not comfortable for anyone) and the animals at the Canberra zoo are being given frozen treats to help them keep cool in the heat.
So there's my three for the day. If you've found any stories about "what went right" in the mainstream media you read, why not share them in the comments?
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What Went Right - 9 JAN 2017
Another three stories about "what went right" from the mainstream media (as opposed to "what went wrong").
Queen Elizabeth II attends church after missing services two weeks in a row via AP (ABC International)
The Queen appears to be recovering from her heavy cold.
Darwin Greek Orthodox swimmers compete in Blessing of the Waters by Lucy Marks (ABC Northern Territory)
The annual Blessing of the Waters has taken place in Darwin, as part of the Orthodox celebration of the baptism of Jesus Christ.
Summernats: Festival veteran celebrates 30 years with son at 'petrol-head heaven' by Georgia Hitch (ABC Australian Capital Territory).
Geoff "Sticky" Waters has been attending Summernats every year for thirty years. This year, his twenty year old son, Matt "Twiggy" Waters has joined him in entering the festival.
So there's my three for the day. If you have any stories about "what went right" from your mainstream media feeds, why not share them in the comments?
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What Went Right - 8 JAN 2017
Another three stories about "what went right" (rather than "what went wrong") from the mainstream media.
The do's and don'ts of charity bin donations from those who sort the post-Christmas surge by Elise Scott (ABC Australian Capital Territory)
While this is an article sourced from the ACT, and some parts are ACT-specific, it contains some good overall guidelines for anyone in Australia.
Cygnet Folk Festival kicks on for 35th year, leaving town with no room to swing a banjo by Emilie Gramez (ABC News, Tasmania)
The Cygnet Folk Festival, in Tasmania's Huon Valley, is off to a good start. Lots of photos of artists and buskers, and it sounds like a really good event.
Mr Fujita's photo album: The story of one man's drive to reconcile Australia and Japan after the bombings by Neda Vanovac (ABC Northern Territory)
This is a profile of an exhibition at the Northern Territory Library, documenting the efforts of the Fujita Salvage Company to clear WW2-era wreckage from Darwin Harbour in 1959. It's also an exhibition about one man's efforts to make amends for the actions of his country during the war.
So, there's my three for the day. If you've found anything in your mainstream media feeds about "what went right", why not share a link in the comments?
There's links shared in the comments for 7 January, 6 January, and 28 December, if anyone hasn't seen these so far.
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What Went Right - 7 JAN 2017
Once again, three stories from the mainstream media about "what went right", rather than "what went wrong".
Esperance rescue dog takes to water, befriends pods of dolphins and local seal by Nathan Morris, ABC Esperance (Western Australia)
A rescue dog from Esperance enjoys swimming with some of the other local wildlife. Contains video content, and quite a few photos of Esperance beaches.
Moanas in real life: Samoan man teaches his daughters traditional Pacific voyaging skills by Iona Salter, in Samoa (ABC Australia)
A group of Samoans is attempting to revive their long-distance voyaging culture and the associated skills. There's a discussion of how the Disney film, "Moana" is being received in the Pacific islander cultures which inspired it as well.
Saudi Arabian women sing, dance, skateboard in music video protesting driving ban, guardianship system by Edwina Seselja (ABC Australia)
I'm including this as a "what went right" because it's about a music video clip released on social media - and with all the noise about what social media does wrong, sometimes it's important to highlight the fact it can be extremely helpful for people in closed political and social systems, like Saudi Arabia, to demonstrate there isn't just cowed acceptance of the situation, but rather that other people do disagree, other people do want to see more options.
So there's my three for the day. If you've found any stories about "what went right" in the mainstream media you're reading, why not share it in the comments?
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Reflections on the Centrelink Mess.
Centrelink crisis 'cataclysmic' says PM's former head of digital transformation
The notion that the current Centrelink crisis is a result of a culture of "don't want to hear bad news" in Centrelink management doesn't surprise me at all. Centrelink management has long had a culture of shooting the messenger bearing bad news, because it doesn't agree with the glossy picture they're trying to sell their Minister (not to mention themselves). It really is one of the main ways the particular algorithm being used (compare total incomes reported against the ATO total for the financial year to determine whether income has been reported accurately, then average the ATO total across 26 fortnights to determine whether there's a debt) could have survived even cursory testing.
I suspected the whole thing was developed in-house, and it's nice to have those suspicions confirmed, but the point to be raised here is Centrelink's programming staff are not sourced from within the group of people who have worked on the customer contact end of Centrelink's operations. Instead, they're sourced from within the IT industry, and generally from a group of people who have had next to no contact with what could be considered the bulk of Centrelink's business (their parents may have received Family Tax Benefit for them while they were in school, but that's pretty much it). This is where a blind spot in the bureaucracy intersects with a blind spot in the IT industry - the bureaucratic insistence on "no bad news" intersects with the IT industry article-of-faith that if you can figure out programming, you can solve any problem at all with no additional knowledge required (and if you did need extra knowledge and didn't get supplied with it by the client, this is the client's fault for not knowing you'd need it).
So basically, what's happened is a programmer (or group of programmers) in Centrelink's IT section has been handed the job of figuring out how to automate the process of debt recovery sparked by income data matching, and they've done this effectively starting from scratch (and probably reinventing several wheels along the way) with absolutely no reference to existing processes and procedures, or to the knowledge bank of staff who were doing this job at the time. When the program was tested, it passed all the standard tests to see whether it would break the Centrelink desktop environment (this is mandatory for all products on the Centrelink network, whether they're being rolled out to all staff or not), so it was assumed to be Just Fine! If someone in the debt recovery section raised the problem of "we know this is going to raise a lot of false positives - something like nineteen out of twenty of the issues data matching raises aren't actually valid debts" with their manager (assuming they found out about it ahead of time), the caution would be buried, because nobody wants to hear bad news in Centrelink's upper management.
And thousands of people across Australia got asked to justify their receipt of social security benefits they were legally entitled to, because they made a typo in their income reporting once (or because the business they were working for made a typo when they created their record with the ATO), or because they got a good job after having been on social security (and this averaged out over the course of twelve months to be higher than the fortnightly cut-off limit), or whatever. Things which probably could have been picked up very quickly and resolved with minimal fuss and bother to the person affected if there had been any efforts at inserting a human element in the whole process to just double-check the results of the first couple of weeks, and then remove the bugs.
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What Went Right - 6 JAN 2017
Another three stories from the mainstream media about 'what went right' rather than 'what went wrong'.
Mobile classroom helping young offenders get back on track in Tasmania by Natalie Whiting for 7.30 (ABC Tasmania)
Save the Children's Out Teach program is profiled in this article. Out Teach is basically a mobile van, where kids who have been involved with the juvenile justice system (and who may have missed a lot of school early on) are given one to one support and teaching (usually in non-school settings) in order to get them re-engaged with the school system, and caught up with their peers. So far it's having an impressive success rate, both in getting students re-engaged, and in reducing re-offense rates.
Lightning, tornadoes and mice: the science of bushfires by James Bullen (ABC Science)
An examination of how bushfires start, how they can spread, what kinds of damage they can do, and how the landscape recovers after one. Given bushfires are a rather regular part of the Australian landscape (and it can be argued the devastation they cause humans is largely due to us being poorly adapted to the environment we're living in) I'm including this as an example of "what went right", because it's looking at the way these things affect the ecosystem.
Canberra soup kitchen crowdfunding campaign raises $20k after 91yo founder injured by Tegan Osborne (ABC Australian Capital Territory)
After 91-year-old Stasia Dabrowski was injured in a traffic accident (which also wrote off the van she uses to transport product for the soup kitchen she has run for Canberra's homeless for the last 38 years) her grandson, Joshua Kenworthy, has stepped in to start running the soup kitchen. There's recently been a crowd-funding campaign to replace the van, and they've passed their goal of $20,000, while donations keep coming in.
So there's my three stories about what went right for the day. If you've found any stories about "what went right" in your news feeds, please share them in the comments. Doesn't matter how big, or how small the story is, how global or local - it's worth sharing.
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What Went Right - 5 JAN 2017
Once again, three stories from the mainstream media about "what went right" (as opposed to "what went wrong").
Hills Hoist ownership changes hands but iconic clothesline hangs on to its place in backyard culture by Emma Wynne (720 ABC Perth, ABC Radio)
A story about the Hills Hoist, an iconic bit of Australian back yard furniture from the era when large back yards were all the go.
BOM climate report finds 2016 fourth-hottest year on record for Australia by ABC Australia
A summary of the weather over the past twelve months. There's also some weather photos supplied by ABC viewers/readers/listeners which are good and dramatic.
'They were just skeletons': Horses at centre of animal cruelty case get new chance at life by Damian McIver (ABC Victoria)
A story about the recovery process for a group of twenty horses which had been the subject of an animal cruelty case.
So there's my three for the day. If you've got any stories about "what went right" from your media feeds, why not share a link in the comments?
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What Went Right - 4 JAN 2017
Another three stories of "What went right" (as opposed to "what went wrong") from the mainstream media.
Rebuilding agriculture industry 10 years after Esperance floods by Tara de Landgrafft for WA Country Hour (ABC Radio, Western Australia)
A profile of the recovery process in Esperance, over the ten years following a once-in-a-lifetime storm which flooded out the town and surrounding region.
Australia's first Aboriginal grower group established in Western Australia by Tyne Logan for WA Country Hour (ABC Radio, Western Australia)
This article is a brief profile of the Noongar Land Enterprises group, a group set up to assist Aboriginal farmers with finding investors and markets for their produce.
Night parrot's drinking habits revealed in research expected to help habitat management by Kathy McLeish (ABC Queensland)
Scientists have discovered new information about the drinking habits of the endangered night parrot, which may aid in assisting the species to recover from near-extinction (the species was originally thought to have died out about 75 years ago, but a group of them were rediscovered in south-west Queensland in 2013).
So there's our three stories for today. If you've found anything about "what went right" in your media feed, why not share a link in the comments?
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