Otoom home page

Parallels Part 3

For the other entries see Part 1, Part 2.

The events are grouped as follows -

- Ageing of society
- Astrophysics
- Behaviour
- Behaviour of motorists
- Cluster building
- Conceptual intersections
- Drugs
- Dysfunctional demographics
- Education
- European Union
- Gene technology
- Global politics
- Indigenous culture
- Infrastructure
- Intoxicated behaviour
- Iraq war - and now Afghanistan
- Morality laws
- Religion
- Role of governments in society
- Science in general
- Security
- Tax
- Terrorism
- Urban planning
- Water

anchor arrow Ageing of society:
On a SBS-TV Insight program (screened 19 Apr 05) the federal treasurer Peter Costello talked about the issues surrounding the ageing of Australia's population, with emphasis on welfare policies. He compared the issues facing Australia and indeed the Western world to the dramatic changes brought about by the Industrial Revolution. It has been similarly identified in Otoom, where it is placed within the context of a particular significance in relation to the various dynamics affecting society. In Otoom it should be seen as a major contributing factor within the overall resource space defined by the effectiveness-chart.

anchor arrow Astrophysics:
Australia, astronomers at the Anglo-Australian telescope (leader Dr Russel Cannon) have found that the pattern of existing galaxies conforms to the Big Bang explosion and its sound waves across the expanding universe, also the expansion is accelerating due to some other force. Could this be in line with Otoom regarding the constant and accelerating formation of complexes as the system goes through its cycles? In this case the 'other force' would be the affinity among existing domains, ie autocatalysis writ - really - large, already confirmed in terms of neuronal functional complexes, abstractions, molecular complexes in life etc. (Source: Courier Mail, 13 Jan 05, "Soundwaves prove origin of galaxies")

anchor arrow Behaviour:
A study by Dr Li Zhaoping, Department of Psychology, University College London, has shown test subjects performed better finding the odd one out amongst images when given no time to think, thereby allowing the subconscious only to process information. "With only a tiny fraction of a second for scrutinizing the target, subjects performed with 95 per cent accuracy. With over a second to scrutinize the image, subjects were only 70 per cent accurate. With more than four seconds, accuracy was recovered." Under Otoom this can be explained by saying that the processing space of subconscious thought structures is larger and therefore the probability is higher for congruent affinity relationships among the relevant functional domains to form (domains here are neuronal clusters participating in the exercise). Slightly more time links the re-representative domains to their conscious counterparts but the latter are not connected with the full contingent of potential affinities. More time still has allowed the entire set of connections to be made. The forming of affinitive clusters has been replicated in the computer programs available on this website where it is a major function of memory and learning. (Source: EurekAlert!, 8 Jan 07, "Trusting your instincts leads you to the right answer")

A study (co-author psychology professor Adrian Raine, University of Southern California, published in the November issue of the British Journal of Psychiatry) found that liars have up to 26% more prefrontal white matter and less prefrontal grey matter than others. The researchers said white matter transmits information while grey matter processes it, and is necessary for the complex art of deceit. In line with Otoom with respect to the propensity (?) or ability to lie, since in Otoom the 'deeper' processing is performed by white matter and is related to subconscious thought structures, whereas grey matter is related to conscious TSs. Therefore disagrees with the notion that white matter only transmits information and the only processing takes place in grey matter (complex cognitive functions are related to the prefrontal cortex in any case). Also seems to confirm the wider aspect of societal behaviour where religious people are more prone to lying because their relatively more incongruent world view necessitates a constant reorientation with the real, that is they are lying to themselves a great deal of time. Religion being an aspect of identity and as such instrumental in subconscious processing, the functional relationship between white matter, lying and religiosity becomes evident. (Source: Courier Mail, 3 Oct 05, "As a matter of fact, it really is a white lie")

A study by Professor Ian Robertson, director of the Institute of Neuroscience at Trinity College Dublin, has found that stimulating intellectual exercises help keep the brain young. Memory problems are not an inevitable part of ageing. Supported by Otoom where the significance of processes involving the creation and maintenance of affinity relationships among functional domains is highlighted. (Source: Courier Mail, 9 Sep 05, "Workout for brain")

Queensland, evolutionary psychologist Ian Plowman has surveyed country towns and has found that those towns which exhibit a strictly hierarchical structure are those that are inflexible and languish, whereas those who allow creativity and community leadership (ie changing leaders) are thriving, in line with Otoom regarding the e-chart and its ramifications. (Source: Courier Mail, 2 Apr 05, "Struggle towns chase away their futures")

Australia, a paper delivered to the LawAsia conference says that small towns are susceptible to crime although their residents may not see it that way and think big cities are worse, also local persons there are more likely to be held innocent if they are popular than an itinerant and more likely to be held guilty if they are not, in line with Otoom regarding low-abstracting and tribalistic demographics. (Source: Courier Mail, 22 Mar 05, "Small towns aren't immune: judge")

Queensland, a report on the Office of the Adult Guardian, an agency that looks after dysfunctional adults, mentions crucial shortcomings in funding and delegation of authority, also another criticism by Carers Queensland chief Graham Schlecht who says that they are "increasingly concerned with the number of cases where families' and carers' roles are being undermined and undervalued by overzealous and poorly trained public servants", in line with Otoom re the matron state. (Source: Courier Mail, 21 Mar 05, "Strapped state guardian loses its way")

Australia, article by Dr Kevin Donnelly, director of education strategies, writes about the political correctness in schools, does not mention feminism but does cite several people who express curious resumes and foci and happen to be women, but also in line with Otoom in terms of the general ambience of such a culture, also reference to how teacher training is defined along political and feminist lines more than anything else and hard knowledge and logic fall by the wayside (ie sexual harassment, subjectivity, reconceptualising early childhood education, etc). (Source: Courier Mail, 5 Mar 05, "Three Rs now rights, wrongs and revolution")

Switzerland, Nordic countries have the lowest level of child poverty in the developed world (ie Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development - OECD), due to the public funding of social benefits for families, at the top are Mexico and the US, also interesting in terms of Otoom re the emphasis on morals etc in those countries. (Source: Courier Mail, 2 Mar 05, "SWITZERLAND Shame file")

Australia, 'motoring guru' Peter Wherrett criticises stupid statements in the name of safety and driver education, such as "Every k over is a killer", in line with Otoom writing about the dumbing-down of society. (Source: Courier Mail, 15 Feb 05, "Smoking 'even more of a health hazard' on the road")

US, it has been found the development of the frontal lobe in the brain is not complete until the 25th or so year, which is why young people tend to be more reckless etc, in line with Otoom regarding the longer time needed to establish abstraction layers of greater complexity, also the finding that the development takes place from the back forwards, again in line with Otoom regarding the cognitive parallel to evolutionary sequences from the simpler to the more advanced. (Source: Courier Mail, 3 Feb 05, "Teens need to grow a brain")

US, Michael Chrichton is interviewed about "State of Fear", his latest book in which environmentalists become terrorists, talks about the modern tendency to create fear politics, which is another way of saying that many of such issues are ideology-driven, in line with Otoom and the Mumbo-Jumbo concern by Francis Wheen. (Source: Courier Mail, 31 Jan 05, "Fear a hot topic")

Queensland, a criminal defence lawyer writes about the ludicrous situation brought about by the child protection laws of the state under which a child can make any statement without being challenged in court, this applies in effect particularly to girls and is applied in cases termed sexual abuse etc, in line with the predictions in Otoom where the girl is beyond and above the law in perpetrating the ideology of feminism against actions performed against males. (Source: Courier Mail, 19 Jan 05, "Tough child laws can shield the truth")

US, researchers (Bruce Lahn, Eric Vallender, Steve Dorus) at the University of Chicago investigated genes responsible for the development of the brain and found that a set of 17 genes mutated rapidly and gave rise to further mutations amongst thousands of other genes, against the conventional trend that says brain changes are due to adaptation. In line with Otoom in terms of the potential for affinity relationships and further increases in latency from then on. Published in journal Cell. (Source: Courier Mail, 7 Jan 05, "Brain's huge leap forward pushed us beyond instincts")

UK, research by an insurer reveals that women do think differently when driving a car and have a different type of accident, female driving is averse to overall situation encompassing whereas male behaviour is related to aggressive involvement with the outside world, in line with Otoom. (Source: Courier Mail, 1 Jan 05, "Men rev up but women not so good at getting round")

UK, a psychiatrist (Sami Timimi) has warned that children who are unhappy are labelled depressed and treated with medicines as if they had an illness, an unusual admission by one of the profession, also says that in most cases it is enough to simply talk to them, this is in line with Otoom which argues that children are put in some extraneous category and so isolated from every-day life (hence the hysteria regarding erotic matters). (Source: Courier Mail, 11 Dec 04, "Depressed children 'don't need happy pills'")

UK, the Archbishop of Canterbury has told Anglican conservatives to stop using hostile words towards homosexuals, he warned that such language could lead to suicide or even murder, acknowledgment in line with Otoom that the negative lives of people are not due to their sexuality but how society perceives and treats them. (Source: Courier Mail, 29 Nov 04, "Archbishop wants gays accepted")

China, Singapore, the founder of the World Toilet organisation, said on the annual World Toilet Summit in Beijing, that the taboo subject of toilets causes such things not being discussed and thereby contributing to health problems world-wide, in line with Otoom re taboo subjects and the mind's and society's subconscious. (Source: Courier Mail, 18 Nov 04, "Coming clean on dunnies")

Queensland, re Otoom's statement that newspapers are written at the level of 10 year-olds, columnists in the Courier Mail write about a Queensland Transport road sign that informs motorists about the road ring system through and around Brisbane, have problems with the "you are here" dot, saying "we struggle with them on shopping centre maps too", also criticising the inclusion of Cairns as one destination from a road exit as implying that this means the city is just "up the road from the Sunshine Coast". (Source: Courier Mail, 26 Oct 04, "You're here, we're confused")

Australia, the director of Griffith University's Urban Policy program, Professor Brendan Gleeson, says children grow up increasingly pampered and protected, leading to obesity and loss of life skills, some refer to these kids as "pampered prisoners" and "bubble wrap generation", in line with Otoom regarding the growth of the matron state prompted by a range of measures to satisfy moralism. (Source: Courier Mail, 26 Oct 04, "Cities blamed for sad, sick kids")

Australia, Queensland, reports on the increasing tendency for crime syndicates to form and re-form, confirms Otoom's view that it is really about affinity relationships and not a strictly established set of categories, eg syndicates form away from ethnic groups because other demographics become more attractive, also once again the admission that the fight against illegal drug use is not being won, points out the cost to society and the effect of moralistic perspectives. (Source: Courier Mail, 15 Oct 04, "Greed drives new Mr Bigs")

Australia, an international food safety conference on the Gold Coast is told that standards of food handling have slipped, and the effects can be felt in hospital admissions from food poisoning, this is in line with Otoom where the popularity of some TV programs where unsafe practises are being shown and the effects in the population are explained. (Source: Courier Mail, 12 Oct 04, "Clean up or bugs will kill you, warns food expert")

Australia, the influence of feminism (heightened 'caring' and the matron state) can be seen in the increasing tendency to cocoon young people resulting in alcohol binges and youth going on the rampage, also the comment on a web site dedicated to combating the drug problem saying that societies which do not have the problem are those that educate the young by exposing them gradually and benignly to drugs (mostly alcohol), in line with my submission to the enquiry (Submission to the House of Representatives Committee Enquiry into Substance Abuse in Australian Communities, 2000) and with Otoom's framework. (Source: Courier Mail, 5 Oct 04, "Teenage wasteland")

US, Australia, research has shown the link between cruelty to animals and violence against humans, in line with Otoom's perspective in terms of FAs which get transposed into another context (from animals to humans). (Source: Courier Mail, 30 Sep 04, "Vicious cycle of abuse")

US, study from the Pennsylvania State University found that children who grow up in an unordered and messy environment have lower mental skills, agrees with Otoom in terms of layer building, this also says something about the intelligence enhancing role or otherwise of entire demographics and cultures. (Source: Courier Mail, 31 Aug 04, "US Mind mess")

The problem with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is not bad parenting or too much sugar but their brain has too little working memory, which is coming to the fore when there is input overload, aligns with Otoom in terms of domain space and cluster formation and maintenance for the TSs and the nature of memory. (Source: Courier Mail, 30 Jul 04, "ADHD 'a capacity problem'")

UK, study shows that the feeling of love in humans leads to a suppression of analytical powers in order to assess another person objectively, ties in with Otoom where emotive biases are affinity-seeking in terms of the complex's characteristics. (Source: Courier Mail, 15 Jun 04, "Science shows love truly is blind")

Australia, study by the Australia Institute that older people are not necessarily a burden on society due to their higher skills and standing, in line with the alternative shown in Otoom. (Source: Courier Mail, 7 Apr 04, "Study predicts a golden age")

US, study by the US National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, teenagers do not have a well-enough developed brain to rouse any motivation, this comes later in their development, are more interested in short-term rewards, in line with Otoom regarding the conceptual reach of the mind's abstracts at that stage. (Source: Courier Mail, 3 Mar 04, "Teenage rebels not without a cause")

Australia, re research that shows how children's play educates them and makes them fit as well as socialises them, in line with Otoom, also how in the US some schools have abolished recess times in favour of discipline and academic achievement, article written by Dr Gwenda Beed Davey, an honorary research associate at the National Key Centre for Australian Studies at Monash University. (Source: Courier Mail, 27 Jan 04, "A healthy future is simply child's play")

Queensland, research from UQ shows that a disadvantaged background makes for poor life skills and cognition later in life, confirms Otoom's model under which the cognitive environment is crucial to the development of the mind, also says that such research is quite new. (Source: Courier Mail, 15 Jan 04, "Poverty is source of future ills")

US, study at the University of Florida, showing tall people get paid more in jobs, because 'looking up to' is translated into the more metaphorical side as well, confirms Otoom's model that abstract notions are built up from ground where they start as literals. (Source: Courier Mail, 20 Oct 03, "Tall people paid more")

Australia, research into gambling shows that older people are less likely to become addicted and if so to a lesser extent, demonstrates Otoom's view of wider references / resource space in which single items become less significant and the whole domain being more affinitive to input. (Source: Courier Mail, 15 Oct 03, "Older heads cope with gambling")

Queensland, family department crisis, an incongruent system with an information flow deficit, causing incongruence within the system and fear on behalf of the members through policies (feminist, anti-sex, etc) which put everyone on notice a priori. Points listed are a direct reflection of the functionality described by Otoom. (Source: Courier Mail, 15 Oct 03, "Crisis sparks baby tax call")

anchor arrow Behaviour of motorists:
Report on the difference between the genders when it comes to road behaviour, acknowledgment of more spatially oriented behaviour in males, under Otoom this is linked to the more outside-directed mentality of males. (Source: Courier Mail, 13 Jan 03, "Sex drives motorists' accidents behind the wheel")

anchor arrow Cluster building:
The United Nations has just published the report "State of the World Population". Its main points: by next year more than half the world's population will be living in urban areas, amounting to 3.3 billion which by 2030 should have increased to 5 billion people; the rate of growth has accelerated mainly in Africa and Asia, so that by 2030 those areas of the developing world will make up 80% of urban humanity; the traditional role of cities as drivers of economic growth does not apply to mega cities of the poor, yet these are the preferred habitat of migrants from the land, and an increase in religiosity is a reflection of that; more constructive roles are due to better planning and greater foresight; the main factor of growth in critical areas is not migration, but generally natural increase; the conditions generated by urbanisation create an environment in addition to the cultural contingencies already present in a particular demographic; slums have a higher proportion of children than better-off areas; although a culture by themselves, outsiders will make use of any opportunities emerging from within the slums or via programs from without, thereby complicating the overall situation; discussions by theorists become sidetracked because of differing conceptualisations of what 'urban space' means in all its detail. Under Otoom's perspective the functional aspects of urbanisation have been identified in terms of a demographic conditioned by and answerable to the specific environment thus created. Therefore it is not a matter of whether this or that tribe, this or that 'race' will be subject to these developments, but in how far already existing centres have the capacity to draw their peripheries towards themselves. Slums are demographics in their own right, and their culture does not respond to outside measures, it at best absorbs them or turns them to its own use. Under this view the growth of slums is not a subject for developed regions to master, but one to understand so they may survive as neighbours (note: it is not the slum whose survival is questioned, but the rich neighbour). The preponderance of youth, disappearing traditions, religious mindsets, the sheer pressure of high-density survival, rule sets tried, tested, and respected locally - all this makes for a culture increasingly alien from the rest. As such the task for developed regions is not to assist the poor, but how to protect themselves from them. There is nothing in complex systems that have achieved a certain critical mass to suggest otherwise. (Source: United Nations Populations Fund, 2007, "State of world population 2007")

Gerald Steinberg, executive director of the NGO Monitor and professor of political studies at Bar Ilan University in Tel Aviv, applies a critical view to Amnesty International. He identifies a bias, making that NGO more condemnatory when it comes to Israel but much less so when it involves human rights abuses perpetrated by countries such as Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Libya, Syria and Egypt among others. In addition "carefully selected 'eyewitnesses'" in Colombia, Gaza and Lebanon serve to construct the claims made by AI. In Otoom NGOs in general have been identified as entities clustering around a central theme that provides the driving force behind that group's activities. In addition the checks and balances normally applied to more situated bodies (such as governmental institutions and commercial entities operating under some regulatory framework within a democracy) are largely absent. The result is a human activity system that answers to its own constituents who in turn drive their host in a subjective direction. Under that perspective NGOs can be seen as the modern-day equivalent of aristocratic regimes of old, where both derived their reason for being from a purposefully constructed, abstractive edifice. In the latter it was the right to rule based on religious or other mythical prerogatives, in the former it is the right to judge based on subjective interpretations. Neither version inevitably leads to negative outcomes, but if there is a trend the ameliorating influence of a wider reference does not exist. In the case of Amnesty International a contributing factor would be the Western tendency to revere dysfunctionality putting relevant demographics on a pedestal while becoming blind to the achievements of more sophisticated cultures. Such a confluence assists the building of particular clusters. (Source: Courier Mail, 29 May 07, "Watching the watchdog")

One of the major dynamics in Otoom is the formation of clusters. Triggered by input from the outside or from another region within the system, its representation establishes affinitive domains under the right conditions. A settling-in process eventuates that allows these domains to form larger clusters. Due to their affinitive nature the clusters achieve an inherent stability preserving their existence (depending of course upon their numbers and their reach). In the Otoom computer model the same dynamics occur between sets of nodes, as the outputs show. Such cluster building can be seen on a higher scale in ecosystems where the organisms and their situatedness stand for the domains and thereby create what we in the end label an ecosystem, and they also can be observed in human activity systems such as organisations, political parties etc. If the clusters in the human context are allowed to proceed in terms of their affinity relationships (as they would at the lower scales) their existence is relatively stable (given the inherent constraints mentioned above). If the formation is imposed from the outside, that is to say becomes an authoritarian act regardless of the underlying conditions, they become less stable (consider the unstable nature of command economies, command politics, command religions, and command moralisms - the rather dry description here stands for much very real suffering as such systems move through their paces). The latter would be a top-down approach, the more natural format is the bottom-up, evolutionary format. As such there is no limit to the degree of complexity that can be achieved, indeed the formation process allows the complexity to unfold in the first place (by the way, this should be a major argument against the adherents of the 'intelligent design' mentality). Various organisations and/or entities make use of those dynamics and have created their own format around them. For example, Integrative Thinking (for improving individual and organisational performance), digitAlexandria (an 'organic library'), Alive Project (an optimised co-operation scheme for industry), Policy Governance (a set of concepts for governing boards), the Cynefin Centre (an international network for management and organisational practice), Brave Brains (a network of innovators linking to business and academic institutions). For links to these domains see here.

anchor arrow Conceptual intersections:
Riots have broken out in Honiara, capital of the Solomon Islands. The Chinese section of town which contained most of the businesses including hotels and a casino, have been burnt down completely with only scorched pieces left leaning about. The trigger has been the suspicion that the newly elected president has ties to Taiwan. While the suspicions may be founded on evidence, the reaction is characteristic of low-abstracting demographics sharing their living space with better-performing residents who naturally control the more sophisticated activities in the community. The response is also a function of simplistic interpretations without any deeper understanding of wider issues. In turn the emerging conceptualisation gets mixed with intense emotions, creating a re-representation of reality which is as compact as it is crass. Also typical in such circumstances is the disbelief by victims of how a seemingly peaceful and friendly people can turn into a violent mob sometimes within minutes. Similar scenarios have been played out in Fiji in recent years or in Africa over the last decades; anywhere where the cognitive preconditions hold. Since many of these regions contain industry important to developed nations, the question becomes one of identifying the degree of significance vs the cost of maintaining an artificial stability for the benefit of the industry. In the resource-hungry world of today such considerations are more pressing than ever. On the other hand, maybe they put the myth of the idyllic paradise finally to rest. These things never existed, only the cost of learning from one's misconception have increased considerably. In the current example the costs involve a section of town; on a different scale political correctness may hold an entire nation to ransom. (Source: Courier Mail, 21 Apr 06, "Honiara reels after orgy of violence", plus others)

The discrepancy between differing mindsets when both are dealing with the same issues is becoming a typical scenario in today's global migration, particularly when it concerns the movement from underdeveloped countries to the West. Usually it involves the migrants' perception of their host and vice versa, neither of whom really understands the other. Given the significance of higher vs lower complexity in either domain however a proper solution can only ever emerge from the more complex domain, in this case the West. On a larger scale a similar scenario is being played out between Indonesia and its Papua province and Australia. Papuans have entered Australia asking for asylum claiming persecution from Indonesian authorities as a consequence of an independence movement in this province. Indonesia wants the asylum seekers returned and sees the granting of visas in the light of an earlier independence movement, at that time involving East Timor. East Timor of course, after many years of bloodshed and the intervention of the UN, is now an independent country - unviable but independent. Draw a connection between any of the parties to any other and the point about intersections under the perspective of Otoom can be made. There is Indonesia and its attempt to hold a nation of so many different demographics and customs together under a common banner; there are the Papuans whose tribal culture does not prepare them for any perspective outside their valleys but whose desire for freedom means for them pursuing age-old tribal conflicts rather than living under a governmental umbrella; and there is Australia whose apparent naiveté and political correctness in such matters has granted asylum to a demographic which is particularly unsuited for life in a Western nation. The persona of Herman Wainggai, spokesman for the refugees, portrays a volatility and fervour that a suitably qualified immigration officer should have second thoughts of granting a visa (which raises the question of who, in a conflict such as in Papua, has contributed in what measure to the current situation between protesters and authorities). However abstract one may view Otoom's concept, its concrete manifestation can create pressures between entire nations as can be seen. (Source: Courier Mail, 1 Apr 06, "Fears of serious terrorist threats", 4 Apr, "Jakarta may cut off help", 6 Apr, "In troubled waters", plus news broadcasts)

Update to the Australian Wheat Board affair. Federal Minister for Transport and Regional Services Warren Truss said there was "hardly anything odd" about the alleged bribes by the AWB. Regarding the criticisms voiced during the current investigation he said, "These people seem to have the idea that selling wheat and buying wheat is a bit like going to Woolworths and picking it off the shelf." And further, "This is a ruthless and tough trade. The market is often referred to as corrupt, although I don't like to use those words in the current context." And, "...some of the language that is being used in this inquiry reflects a total lack of understanding about the way in which business occurs around the world." In line with the comments made above. (Source: Courier Mail, 27 Mar 06, "Wheat kickbacks 'like a commission'")

A Danish newspaper published a cartoon satirising the Islamic persona of Mohammed by having him wear a turban in the shape of a bomb. Muslims across the world were in uproar, the Danish embassy in Damascus had to be evacuated, Syria recalled its ambassador from Denmark, Saudi Arabia called for a boycott of Danish products, and in Copenhagen police met Islamic leaders to calm down the situation. To their credit newspapers in France, Germany and Spain have reprinted the caricatures, saying press freedom is more important than protests and boycotts across the Muslim world. On the other hand, the managing editor of France's France Soir was removed from his post after its Egyptian owner stepped in and apologised for the pictures. The interconnectedness between the West, particularly Europe in this case, and the Islamic world causes an initiative in one realm to become transposed into the functional domain of another it would otherwise not inhabit. The result is disruption on both sides. The current example points to the dangers a highly-complex system such as Europe faces when interacting with demographics answering to far more simplistic standards. The case with France Soir also raises questions about the Islamic influence in European media, potentially undermining the confidence necessary under contemporary challenges. (Source: Courier Mail, 3 Feb 06, "Papers defend the right to parody")

The current difficulties engulfing the Australian Wheat Board are a classic example. In the late 90's the AWB sold wheat to Iraq under the auspices of the United Nations, but became enmeshed in local affairs to the extent of allegedly paying $300 million to third parties which ensured the money ended up in Saddam Hussein's coffers. I have no knowledge of any details regarding the accounts on whatever side, but under Otoom's perspective certain factors can be identified nevertheless. There is the Wheat Board, a relatively large entity by Australian standards representing farmers on whose behalf it sells their wheat on overseas markets and therefore acts under a certain amount of pressure. The AWB is situated within the wider system of the Australian governance, a parliamentary system subject to contemporary standards of political correctness, diplomatic necessities, and political interpretations across the national and foreign spectrum. On the other side there is Iraq, a Middle Eastern country characterised by adverse religious beliefs (notwithstanding the expressed sentiments of a current leadership), emotional intensity coupled with an authoritarian administration, and precarious personal interrelationships of a tribalistic nature. None of the checks and balances administered in Australia apply to Iraq, and Iraqi conditions are in a state of constant flux answering to factors only a home-grown mind can process on the fly, and where only a trained mind can hope to tease out their existence at all. There would hardly be a Western politician or entrepreneur active in the Middle East who did not have to deal with such unstable situations at some stage. The furore displayed by certain people in Australia and it now seems by some US politicians has the familiar ring of aggressive relief that comes to the fore whenever a misbehaviour is found out in someone else. (Source: Courier Mail, 3 Feb 06, "AWB manager drops bombshell: Canberra knew", and other related articles)

In Otoom conceptual intersections are defined as the result of differing demographics with their own set of beliefs and values interacting with each other such that the intent behind some initiative in one set becomes a player within the functional domains of the other. It happens whenever groups come together through particular circumstances that hold sway over their mutual affairs, although the effects vary according to the level of complexity in a given domain.

anchor arrow Drugs:
Under the familiar-sounding headline "New approach needed in drug war" the arrival of yet another report on the futile measures to control the drug-taking behaviour of humanity is heralded. One aspect that does seem to justify the label 'new' is its attempt to quantify the cost of illicit drug use; apparently it is the first time this has been done in Australia. The report "The Three-Billion Dollar Question for Australian Business", issued by the Australian Drug Law Reform Foundation, puts the effects on labour through a reduced work force and absenteeism at $3 billion. The quote from the report, "The illicit drug market draws resources away from legitimate businesses supplying legal goods and services" is telling not only in its logic but sheer triviality - illicit goods and services have been doing just that for as long as humans were engaged in business. Adam Smith wrote about it at length. The insights offered by the report go some way towards the perspective available under Otoom but they don't go far enough. Not only has the social welfare approach been proven to shrink the drug market to a size law enforcement agencies can handle - as the Foundation's president Alex Wodak said. The social welfare industry itself needs to be examined in terms of its cost effectiveness vs the rest of society and its expenditures. Climate change, terrorism, large-scale migrations, global power shifts, and internal societal re-adjustments through decay constitute a burden upon Western countries that can be quantified if only the will to think rationally rather than ideologically could assert itself. In some cases the above factors are secondary ones; terrorism for example would not be as effective without the finances streaming to its militias, money that is directly sourced from the trade of illicit drugs, which in turn have acquired their value through the act of declaring them illegal in the first place. Once the calculations encompass the entire economic system the sums identified in the current report will be seen to be merely a fraction of the total. There comes a time when not even the most fervent moralist will find the resources to afford their whim. (Source: Courier Mail, 23 Apr 07, "New approach needed in drug war")

A National Drug Strategy Household Survey has found almost half of all Australians aged under 25 have used illicit drugs and view their use as acceptable. The evidence showed the vast majority of people bought drugs through friendship networks, and users can become sellers and sellers users. Professor Jake Najman, University of Queensland alcohol and drug research and education centre, is quoted as saying, "It is clear a large proportion of the community see very little wrong with using illicit drugs and that is a reality. We don't know what proportion of those people become dependent, but we do know that the vast majority of those using illicit drugs don't become dependent." This concurs with Otoom where the general use of drugs declared illicit functions under the auspices of societal dynamics and is subject to factors existent within any other behavioural framework. A mechanism of self-adjustment is taking place with those who can manage their usage (identified as the vast majority) clearly outside the category of 'dysfunctional', regardless of the spectres painted and the efforts by authorities. The cost, self-imposed by society through its instrumentalities, while being a burden carried by everyone, is irrelevant in terms of the perceived ideal. But it does make for eye-catching headlines. (Source: Courier Mail, 28 Nov 05, "Rampant drug use exposed")

A two-year study by the Melbourne Institute (lead author Dr Hielke Buddelmeyer) showed that anti-smoking laws were ineffective in prompting smokers to quit. This is referenced in the article to the anti-smoking laws recently introduced in Queensland. A "rebellion effect" has been found among 18 to 24-year-olds, however Dr Buddelmeyer says no scientific or educational reason exists for that effect. On the other hand under the Otoom model such a response does makes sense, considering the supportive and/or antagonistic dynamics of denominative thought structures. Therefore the model supports the study's findings. (Source: Courier Mail, 29 Sep 05, "Smoke bans run out of puff")

Australia, the first national Party Drug Initiative study found that most people buy drugs from friends and not from night clubs, also that most are in control of the situation and use them only occasionally, are well educated and have successful lives, "they are not a group that would stand out as having a problem with drugs" clinical psychologist Dr Louisa Degenhart says, this is in line with Otoom's statements about this context. (Source: Courier Mail, 20 Apr 04, "Friends first stop for party drugs")

Afghanistan, the opium industry there is larger than ever, being referred to as a narco-state, in line with Otoom and the article "Cry-babies rule, ok!" (the editor of the Courier Mail refused to run the article). (Source: Courier Mail, 20 Nov 04, "Afghanistan refuses to kill poppies")

anchor arrow Dysfunctional demographics:
Australia's immigration minister Kevin Andrews has reduced the proportion of refugees from Sudan from 50% to 30% of the overall intake, thereby favouring Asia and the Middle East. Reasons given were lack of integration manifesting through fighting in bars, forming gangs, and congregating in parks to drink alcohol. Although statistics supporting the claim were not supplied the decision does follow recommendations from a member of parliament representing a region where these demographics have moved to in recent years. Unfortunately critics have slipped into the general habit of labelling such considerations as 'racist', when the issue is not one of an a priori but an a posteriori assessment (therefore it cannot be racist anyway). While there are no statistics provided under the Otoom model either, there the conceptual tool exists to analyse demographics in terms of behavioural characteristics; a generally applicable option usable across the various levels of scale. See On the origin of Mind for the details of how an objective and productive analysis is made possible. Observing and analysing demographics under those auspices currently meets with opposition from those who consider any idea that people across the world are not the same everywhere as anathema to their beliefs. Yet even a casual observer will notice difference in behaviour patterns from one region to another, patterns which upon closer analysis extend beyond the trivial such as food and clothes (unless food intake or the manner of dress follows the requirement of a specific world view in which case the custom as well as its enforcement become characteristics to be taken into consideration). The issue will become even more urgent in the years to come, because the pressures exerted by climate change will force a rethink of traditional allocations of resources, and social disturbances in a migrant-importing nation and their equivalents at the source will impact on public opinion to a considerable degree. Under the coming conditions the luxury of listening to apologists of dysfunctionality will evaporate. A corollary to such an analysis will be the question of ongoing altercations in certain regions of this world: if conflict resolution is clearly absent for decades if not generations, what does that say about the inherent capacity of such demographics to form functional societies? Should the West bind itself to a continuous supporting role with the result practically nothing more than a means to satisfy the aid industry? (Source: Courier Mail, 5 Oct 07, "Black list")

On the 20th anniversary of the Fitzgerald inquiry into corruption in Queensland Paul Williams, adjunct lecturer at Griffith University, writes about the current state of affairs. Back in 1987 the inquiry led to the dismissal and jailing of high-ranking figures in the police force and politics, even touching the Premier, Joh Bjelke-Petersen, who escaped conviction through some behind-the-scenes manipulation. In the article the question is raised whether conditions are drifting back to the standards as they were then, and it seems they are. Phil Dickie, then a journalist who conducted his own investigations in 1986, described the government then as "arrogant, secretive and dismissive of democracy" and thinks that today the situation could actually be more dangerous because "we now have the illusion of effective anti-corruption machinery". Dr Mark Lauchs, lecturer at the Queensland University of Technology's School of Justice, doubts whether the spirit of the inquiry was ever adopted and sees the currently established institutions as giving "the semblance of accountability". A view shared by Dr David Solomon, former Chair of the Fitzgerald-initiated Electoral and Administrative Review Commission, who calls the estimate committees "political theatre". All in all these comments are indicative of what has been identified as a dysfunctional demographic under the Otoom model. There the influence of religion causing a constant re-interpretation of reality, a general lack of education preventing the players from perceiving a larger panorama, and a self-imposed isolation due to an almost instinctual lack of confidence leading to corruption and protectionism, are the essential causes of compact societies. They all apply to Queensland to some extent. One's personal experience does nothing to cast doubt on the assessment, and the denigration of my honours thesis with special mentioning of the critical analysis of Queensland society is exactly in line with the kind of situation presented by all these others. (Source: Courier Mail, 17 May 07, "Back to the old days?")

The potential impacts of climate change prompted the United Nation Security Council to hold a debate on those issues. It was the first time such topics were discussed. The initiator was Britain, whose Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett said, "This is an issue that threatens the peace and security of the whole planet and the Security Council has to be the right place to debate it." The Stern Review on climate change detailed a number of potential sources for conflict once the effects of global warming touch the established living patterns of the world's people. Since the nature of those conflicts are a function of the respective cultural dynamics an analysis under the Otoom model would provide a better understanding of what to expect and how to deal with it. On that note the six entities listed in the Review as being active in implementing policies in relation to climate change effects around the world were contacted at the time (Nov 06). They are, the Asia Pacific Partnership, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the International Energy Forum, the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership, the United Nations Development Programme, and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Although I did not receive any feedback from any of them, it is interesting to note the current choice of forum to address aspects of climate change that are now starting to be understood as reaching directly into the political. At the UN meeting Russia and China declared their opposition to using the Security Council for that debate. Using Otoom however, it becomes plain it will be just a matter of time before the UN will deal with those issues. Moreover, within a generation bodies such as the UN will deal with just about nothing else. (Source: ABC NewsOnline, 18 Apr 07, "UN Security Council debates climate change")

The situation in East Timor has still not improved. The Australian tactical police has been replaced by other members of the force who are less fit and often coming from desk jobs. In Dili they are derisively called FOMs, fat old men. The nation is host to many semi-military gangs who follow their own masters and display the type of sectarian demographics so inimical to nation building - even a tiny one like East Timor. Police vehicles are "stoned on a daily basis" by "steroid-fuelled thugs who emerge from the dusty backstreets to throw rocks and shoot their steel darts". As soon as the military arrives they disappear until the next attack. Professor Hugh White from the Australian National University is quoted as saying, "There is way too much romanticism in Australia about East Timor". The Javanese regarded the Timorese as hard people prone to extreme acts of violence and revenge. During their time as rulers they learnt it the hard way and had to adjust accordingly. This is another example of a soft-willed and romanticising West being unable to understand the reality as it unfolds on the ground. Various pressure groups in Australia, misguided individuals, and the churches, have influenced Canberra's decisions when it comes to East Timor - a phenomenon amply described in Otoom. Conceptual intersections, combined with ideological misrepresentations, have painted the Timorese as innocent victims languishing under cruel despots. The reality is quite different and becomes obvious as soon as some critical analysis is applied. In the end there are the politicians who are just as politically correct as their constituents and allow situations to deteriorate, with the nation they are supposed to represent picking up the costs. (Source: Courier Mail, 10 Mar 07, "Gang law rules in Timor terror")

Much has been said on these pages about the increasing incapacity of Westerners to address their problems, large or small, real or perceived. A major cause for the deterioration would have to be the smothering attitude of parents who virtually ensure their offspring have no life skills to speak of. Deakin University education lecturer Helen McGrath points to "paranoid parents" who "discourage their children from taking the slightest risks, such as walking down the street; complain to school if their child is punished; cry bully if their child has a run-in with another child; deliver fast food for school lunch to show how much they love their child." She now seeks government funds for a training program she has developed for parents. One wonders on how many people the significance of requiring public money to de-program parents from the contemporary ambience would be lost. What is not mentioned is the underlying culture of general feminisation, in which paranoia about life and body has become the norm and self-reliance now runs the gamut from odd to deviant. Under Otoom the functional domain of one's mental and physical being is compromised by surrounding domains of a denying or oppressive nature. Since the former comes from long-term evolution comprising humans and their environment whereas the latter is the outcome of current pathological states, the overall result is a decaying society. (Source: Courier Mail, 5 Jan 07, "Expert urges an end to smothering mothering")

The Stern Review of the costs of climate change by Sir Nicholas Stern, Head of the Government Economics Service and Adviser to the Government on the economics of climate change and development, has been published. From a functional perspective, the review is made up of two sections: a collection of data from various fields of research defining respective conditions up to the present, and using these data to form a wide-ranging prognosis across similar areas of focus. Therefore it does not represent "one economist's view" as some comments would have it, but draws a scenario mosaic-like from a great variety of sources. In section 18.3 ("Barriers and limits to adaptation") three main reasons for a potentially problematic implementation of responses to climate change are touched upon. In the review's words they are, uncertainty and imperfect information, missing and misaligned markets including public goods, financial constraints and distributional impacts. Under Otoom's nomenclature and more direct description they become, high to low and low to high conceptual intersections, ungrounded activity clusters in terms of the system's surrounding context, inadequate resource spaces of insufficient complexity and variety. Although the review deals with their more tangible manifestations, in other words takes an object-related perspective, the functional equivalents exist within the conceptual frameworks created by the minds of individuals, their demographics, and society. For example, in major surveys of residents in hurricane- and earthquake-prone areas in the United States the failure by a majority to use even low-cost protection against the hazards has been identified. "They do not make the implied trade-off between spending money on risk prevention measures now in return for potential benefits over time", the author notes. The evident lack of protection is first and foremost a conceptual problem. (Source: Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change, 30 Oct 06, Part V, pp. 411, 412)

At the time of writing (27 Jul 06) the Israeli initiative against Hizbollah is in full swing. The exercise has also turned into a war through the media where both sides produce images in support of their aims. As far as Hizbollah is concerned, the TV news beamed around the world showing Lebanese civilians caught up in the fighting support its claims of Israeli atrocities against the innocent. What these pictures do not show with the same directness is the Islamists' tendency to imbed their forces within the civilian population to a high degree. In terms of Otoom the situation is derived from the inherent pervasiveness of Islam that includes its people and activities at any level; that is to say, it creates denominative thought structures influencing daily life across many domains. One of the major achievements of the European West has been the separation of church and state, which allows for their respective initiatives to exist side by side without influencing the other to the same extent. Although the state of Israel does incorporate religion-based notions, these do not affect the rest of society as is the case in Islamic demographics. The ramifications are significant. They can be observed in Muslim countries as well as in Western nations that feature sizable Islamic communities. In the current case of Lebanon this pervasiveness manifests in the close proximity between fighters and civilians, visible for all to see in the daily news broadcasts, and so leading to skewed interpretations by outsiders. It is an issue the Israelis are faced with, as well as the Western forces active in Iraq and Afghanistan. It also presents a problem for Western nations in general, where their policies have to take into account the cultural differences posed by Muslim sections. Such a fundamental discrepancy will define the West for years to come. (Source: any news media around the world, July/August 06)

East Timor is in the news once again. The much heralded independence of this tiny nation has provided the absence of an overarching control that allowed disparate sections of the society to assert themselves, to the detriment of the whole. The situation has deteriorated to the point where foreign military assistance was requested by its leaders and Australia has responded by sending in troops. The whole idea of viewing a demographic such as East Timor as being capable of establishing its own stable and productive societal structure had been flawed from the start. The scenario bears all the hallmarks described under Otoom, where compact perspectives, low-abstracting minds, and low-horizon interests contribute to general instability and self-destruction. The act of disengaging the inhabitants from Indonesia in the first place caused regional unease, as an independent society it allowed incoherent sections to vie for supremacy, and the absence of viable power structures led to dysfunctionality across the board. Australia is now faced with an ongoing 'commitment' to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars, seeing itself as having the duty to provide stability in the region. Another case of a large-scale progression lock in which an initial, ill-advised move has generated an on-going involvement simply because the artificially created construct demands it from now on. Currently the government there is in disarray and ineffectual, rebel troops roam through the streets and fire at will, policemen are killed and foreigners have to be evacuated. (Source: Courier Mail, 25 May 06, "Diggers sent in", 26 May 06, "SAS flies into Timor anarchy")

The degree of dysfunctionality can be ascertained at various scales, from the actions of individuals to those of groups up to society and industry. The contents may change but the principle dynamics do not. Africa is a region where the disparity between perception and reality can be most readily observed. While the results of such observations are often dismissed due to political correctness, any traveller who does not heed their significance could run the risk of loosing his life. On a larger scale the effects occur too, and they make themselves felt wherever they reach. Correctness or no, the European Union approved to blacklist 95 airlines considered to be unsafe in order to ban them from flying to Europe. Most of them are based in Africa, and blanket bans are in force for airlines from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sierra Leone, Equatorial Guinea, Liberia and Swaziland. (Source: Courier Mail, 23 Mar 06, "EU bans nearly 100 airlines")

Militants in Nigeria have kidnapped four foreign oil workers and threatened to kill them if any attempts at rescue are made. A group seeking independence for the Niger Delta had raided Shell's Benisede flow station, torched two houseboats and sabotaged equipment. Such incidents have also occurred in other parts of the world where demographics exist that feature unequal conceptualisations of their identity and those of their surrounds. In Otoom this is described in detail as high-to-low and low-to-high cognitive intersections, where the intersections refer to cognitive domains straddling the conceptualised realms of societies or parts thereof. The phenomenon can be identified in formal terms and, if neglected, poses a destructive influence anyway but can be significant enough to influence such things as the world oil price. (Source: Courier Mail, 18 Jan 06, "Rescue bid could be fatal: hostages")

In the aftermath of the Iraqi elections the news group Knight Ridder/Tribune conducts a special investigation which reveals that Kurdish leaders have inserted more than 10,000 of their own militia into the ranks of the Iraqi army to facilitate the formation of a separate Kurdish state. Rather than contributing to the regional army as envisaged by the US, these soldiers are designed to seize the oil-rich city of Kirkuk, "possibly half of Mogul", and establish the borders of an independent Kurdistan. Something similar has occurred in the south of the country where Shi'ite leaders have stocked army and police units with their respective militia members, illegal under the law but operating openly nevertheless. The relatively peaceful elections encouraged the US to regard a cohesive army as part of the foundation for a united Iraq. This development is in line with certain societal dynamics as outlined in Otoom however, where demographics featuring an inherently low social horizon do not form comprehensive states but use whatever facilities available at the time to assert their own specific domains, organised in accordance with their tribalistic perspectives. A tribal culture can be identified at various levels (from individual to group to societal behaviour) and does not need a large-scale experiment such as the Iraq war to be identified. The ability of a demographic to form meaningful states and their governances is in direct relation to the extent of their social horizon as defined in Otoom. (Source: Courier Mail, 29 Dec 05, "Kurds ready to break away")

The Sydney riots on the 11 Dec 05 between residents in the beachside suburb of Cronulla and people of Middle Eastern descent are similar in nature to what happened in France not long ago (see above). In the local context the response is symptomatic of the wider problem, that is the unwillingness by public figures in society to address the factual circumstances leading up to such violence. It is interesting to compare the column space devoted in the Courier Mail to the current events against the space allotted to considerations about the underlying causes. 3796.8 sqcm was used for the former, but only 83.1 sqcm for the latter - a ratio of 46:1. These factors and their consequences are fully outlined in Otoom. (Source: various articles etc in the Courier Mail between 12 Dec 05 and 17 Dec inclusive (Monday to Saturday))

Reports from Tsunami-affected countries point to the danger of financial aid being lost due to corruption. Apart from an innate culture of unofficial administrations in certain demographics other reasons are cited: aid is channelled through a complex network of donor organisations, bilateral and multilateral agencies, non-government organisations, private contractors and military forces; the readiness of the money and the pressure to spend it in order to be seen as effective; newly created relationships between staff, suppliers and partner organisations; and the need to buy goods in unfamiliar markets. In Otoom these conditions are described in terms of affinity relationships of various degrees between domains that relate under the circumstances, intersecting at various levels of complexity and therefore carrying the potential for information either getting lost or being construed; all this against the background of emotional bias in their respective domains. Regardless of the context (in this case money and disaster relief in specific demographics) those situations have similar outcomes because of the underlying principles at work. (Source: Courier Mail, 12 Dec 05, "Billions could flow into wrong pockets, warn corruption watchdogs")

A report by PriceWaterHouseCoopers placed the challenges faced by Queensland Health on par with health systems in the West in general. Increasing levels of spending will cause western health systems to collapse worldwide, the report says. Queensland State Premier Peter Beattie is sufficiently concerned to call for a national summit on health. Although there are factors involved which need to be addressed within the context of medical expertise, from Otoom's perspective a health system in any western society is of sufficient size and complexity to interact with its super domain in a manifold manner. That means dynamics related to other issues play a part too, and the overall development of what has been called the matron state in Otoom points to parallel factors in terms of placing existing resources under additional strain. Not only that, the gradual undermining of personal responsibility (ie, the system assumes overall control) actually creates the need for more resources to be allocated across the board. To quote from one chapter, "How many 'children' can an 'adult' really care for?" (Source: Courier Mail, 28 Nov 05, "Beattie calls for health summit")

For seven nights now rioting has taken place in certain suburbs of Paris which are characterised by immigrant populations, Muslims, and high unemployment. Such situations are described in Otoom, where the degree of affinity between clusters of a society, therefore their ability to communicate meaningfully, determines ultimately the members' situatedness within the society. Factors include an individuals' value system, their capacity to think outside their immediate surrounds, conceptual constructs provided by their religion, and their ability to understand the daily affairs played out around them. The riots in Paris are not exceptional, considering the underlying circumstances. However, given the intentional creation of these ghettos via French immigration etc policies, this example is particularly tragic (in some other regions the clustering of disparate demographics is a function of historical developments and so has been unavoidable). In a wider sense the significance of such a constellation of factors is nothing new of course, its neglect largely due to ideological influences in the West today. Still, Otoom provides the functional detail of such scenarios. (Source: Courier Mail, 4 Nov 05, "Paris burns as rioting youths maintain the rage")

A study designed by the National Drug and Alcohol Research Council (NDARC) finds that 10% of those surveyed have trouble with alcohol at some point in their lives. NDARC information manager Paul Dillon says that people with such problems tend to have started their experience with alcohol earlier in life. However, being introduced to alcohol in a family context with rules and guidelines was appropriate and the introduction could take place even earlier. This argument runs along similar lines with Otoom, and also agrees with the sentiments expressed in my "Submission to the House of Representatives Committee Enquiry into Substance Abuse in Australian Communities", May 2000. (Source: Courier Mail, 31 Oct 05, "Excessive boozing seen as part of Aussie psyche")

A report in the Austrian newspaper Kurier highlights the number of immigrant children in schools. In one example, only one out of 29 pupils speaks German at home, and twelve are 'extraordinary' students who do not officially take part in the curriculum because their language skills won't allow them to understand what is going on. Still, depending upon their age, they do move through the system after a fashion but are unemployable once leaving the education system. A recipe for disaster. Under Otoom this can be described as the emergence of separate demographic clusters, which are not only largely removed from their host society but due to their societal distance are more easily prone to other influences, especially if those emanate from their original cultural context, as is the case with Islamic extremism. A doubly significant feature therefore, and because of its ramifications for the host society especially dangerous. (Source: Kurier, 30 Oct 05, "Wenn es zu bunt wird")

Still in the context of Queensland Health, the former enquiry chief Tony Morris, QC, criticises the law which did not allow him to proceed during the enquiry as he felt circumstances warranted it. In a speech at a Queensland Media club lunch at Parliament House he called these laws "utterly bizarre". During his participation over fifty days one can assume he collected a significant amount of information justifying the remarks he chose to make. He described the health system as a "body already weakened and debilitated by years of malnourishment, and bedridden by the primary infection which had destroyed all of its defence mechanisms". Health bureaucrats were "parasitic organisms" who crumbled to dust "like Dracula" when subjected to direct scrutiny, being responsible for presiding over the collapse of the public hospital system. Although such language has not been used in Otoom, criticism is made of a trend in Western society accumulating bureaucrats who are routinely untouched by the experiences of the respective coal faces yet occupy significant positions of control and power, from which they stifle and indeed destroy anyone who brings in a dose of realism. In a wider sense this has been identified as the background cause for the emergence of the matron state. It is also significant that outspoken individuals such as Mr Morris are very rare because hardly anyone has any courage left. (Source: Courier Mail, 19 Oct 05, "Morris calls for strong dose of immunity")

Within the context of the enquiry into Queensland Health (uncovering shortcomings of a systemic nature) it emerges that conservative and Labor state governments have suppressed information damaging to the department and thus to themselves. This is in line with an analysis under the auspices of Otoom showing the dysfunctionality uncovered is due to the inherent nature of the demographic, being essentially a parochial, information-poor and defensive system. As such the performance cannot be referenced to one political direction or another. (Source: Courier Mail, 29 Sep 05, "Premiers united in cover-ups")

In the wake of hurricane Katrina in the southern US particular demographics are hampering the relief efforts to a considerable degree by looting, shooting at helicopters and generally attacking rescuers and other people. It demonstrates the inability of such demographics to inhabit a system that relies on a sufficient degree of maturity to function across its various domains, without constantly having to provide restraining measures to all of its members. The concentration of largely disaffected clusters of population also points to a general policy as part of American culture that supports individualism before the common good, such as in business allowed to operate according to free market principles only without considering the benefits of a generally applied standard of infrastructure that in turn elevates the standards of people in general. In Otoom the nature of low-horizon, emotion-driven, and low-abstracting minds is outlined, as well as the effects of singular input-producing domains on their host system. (Source: Courier Mail, 1 Sep 05, "Crime wave strikes in hurricane's wake"; also subsequent articles at a later date due to the ongoing occurrence of violence)

Sweeping changes to Queensland guardianship laws and the three (!) government agencies involved in their administration are recommended in a submission to the state's Attorney-General. One statement quoted in the newspaper was that the guardianship and administration structures were "not sufficiently focused on the best interests of the adults who are the subject of the regime", a view echoed by Otoom where the common mantra 'in the best interest of the child' neglects the obvious reality that the initiators of any policy etc are in fact adults, not the children, and therefore needs to be considered as such. (Source: Courier Mail, 15 Aug 05, "Guardian laws in for shake-up")

In a further example of systems not capable of meeting the requirements of their intended purposes (see beginning of this section for the technical definition of dysfunctionality in terms of Otoom), heavy rains triggered a landslide on Currumbin Hill, an area within Gold Coast City Council. The results are several houses on the brink of collapse because their foundations have been washed away. Notable are the findings of an independent geo-technical report pointing to the inadequacy of planning in the process of building the homes from the very beginning, since the already suspect fill was made more unstable by "substandard roadworks and drainage approved by the Gold Coast City Council". Although Otoom obviously does not provide guidance for building homes for example, it does allow the identification of complexities in procedures (ie, building on critical sites) which could be too high for some other system (ie, the Gold Coast City Council) for them to be processed appropriately. (Source: Courier Mail, 28 Jul 05, "Coast council faces blame for landslide")

Several comments about the claims by Chinese Embassy personnel draw a connection between the perceived validity of such claims and Australia's current political and trade relationships with China. Because Otoom deals with emerging clusters in society that are brought about through the influences of particular domains, the Otoom CD was submitted to the federal Attorney-General Philip Ruddock. A few months later it transpired the CD had been forwarded to the federal Minister for Justice and Customs, Chris Ellison, and in turn to the Australian Federal Police in order to have it examined. The work was cleared by the AFP. To have scientific research checked by the police is interesting and demonstrates the perceptional ambience among the members of government. As such it confirms Otoom, but puts general trends in current society in question. (Source: letter by the AFP to the author, 5 Nov 04)

On a somewhat different note (in that it did not directly involve any of the texts mentioned in the header but are considerations based on an understanding of cognitive dynamics in society in general) the media carried articles on Chinese Embassy employees who asserted the existence of a spying programme instituted by China against Chinese currently living in Australia, including residents and visiting students (eg, Courier Mail, 10 June 2005, "They wanted spies like us, says Chinese immigrant"). Students themselves were recruited for such purposes. During my honours year at Griffith University in 1999 I reported several incidents of interference with research data on my computer allocated to me in one of the rooms of the IT section (see my email to Andrew Albert, Senior Team Leader Science Group, Information Technology Services, 17 September 1999). I also raised the possibility during a conversation that those incidents could be signs of a wilful attempt to glean information from graduates (information that is otherwise out of the public domain) by foreign students related to nations that have a non-peaceful interest in such data - such as China. The reported incidents were interpreted as simply vandalism and the wider concerns regarding espionage dismissed out of hand. Again, this demonstrates a mental disposition based within an essentially ideological and/or political context which presumptuously excludes anything not in line with that context.

Unfortunately, even universities are not immune from the rest of the land, partly because the European tradition of universities is not fully understood. For example, the University of Queensland awarded Bjelke-Petersen an honorary doctorate in law (!) in the year 1984, a considerable time after he came to power and had put his stamp on Queensland (and someone like myself, the author of "Queensland snippets", gets almost failed in his honours thesis).

Still in the context of the above mentioned "Queensland snippets" - Terry Sweetman in his column for the Courier Mail (Courier Mail, 29 Apr 05, "Truth shall not be buried with liar") writes about the times under Joh Bjelke-Petersen who was state premier from 1968 until 1987. Some of the labels given to the almost 20-year long performance, "electoral bribery and blackmail", "acquiescence with undemocratic and illiberal policies", "corrupt the public service by the elevation of cronies", "corrupt the judiciary", "turning a blind eye to institutionalised criminality", "allowing unqualified but well-connected reactionaries and fundamentalists the right to veto over curriculum changes", "making bribery and cronyism part of the corporate currency of Queensland", "unashamedly elevating himself and fellow criminals to knighthoods", "presided over a government in which corruption had infiltrated to the extent that four of his ministers went to jail and one died before justice could take its course". It is important to realise that someone like him needs a government, and a government needs a considerable support among the populace; therefore such a state of affairs does reflect a significant character of a state. The examples given in "Queensland snippets" are indicative of such a character, seen from a different angle. The rejection of this text (by academics even in this case) is representative of the ideological nature of these demographics which ensures that reality is shut out, denied, and even ridiculed if presented after all. Just as there are many people today who still revere Bjelke-Petersen.

It is interesting to note that a list of similar manifestations titled "Queensland snippets" was particularly criticised in the negative assessment of my honours thesis; an occurrence that in itself aligns with the general functional context described here and in Otoom. In the same context reports about breakdowns in services on a systemic level have been published in the media regarding the federal immigration department, child protection services in Queensland, and the Office of the Adult Guardian in Queensland. On a smaller scale, but no less significant given the underlying principles, there are ongoing complaints about the position of, information on, and misleading by, parking signs around the Brisbane metropolitan area, yet with motorists being fined because they act on illogical information.

In Otoom dysfunctional demographics are defined in terms of their inability to allow the productive coexistence of their various co- and sub-domains. The co- and sub-domains may have emerged as part of the system's inherent dynamics, or they have come into existence due to processes emanating outside the current bounds of the system. The coexistence can be compromised by such things as dismissing information due to ideological influences, making decisions in a state of ignorance, or protecting the 'tribe' in the face of criticism from the outside. Something similar occurred in Bundaberg Hospital, Queensland, as has been reported extensively in the pages of the Courier Mail (eg, Courier Mail, 13 Apr 05, "Why didn't they check?").

anchor arrow Education:
Australia, review of the book "Where Have All The Intellectuals Gone?" by Frank Furedi, criticising the nation's academics for remaining silent in the face of various controversial issues such as the Iraq war, in line with Otoom and the article "Cry babies rule, OK", which incidentally was rejected by the Courier Mail because "it's not the sort of thing they use for their opinion page". (Source: Courier Mail, 5 Feb 05, "Brains drained of views")

UK, schools are going back to learning history dates by rote rather than concentrating on pieces within periods to 'explore' their daily life, the latter has resulted in glaring gaps in general knowledge, also in line with Otoom regarding the step-wise building up of layers of understanding and the necessary contextual grounding, the piecemeal fashion being a typical female approach. (Source: Courier Mail, 28 Dec 04, "UK schools going back to basics")

Queensland, some of the suggestions and/or proposals received by the Premier from universities regarding the Smart State initiatives look much like Otoom's perspective and my submission, ie the availability of websites linked to unis for all school children, although the submission extended to the general public. (Source: Courier Mail, 17 Dec 04, "Unis put their case for a smarter state")

Queensland, Education Qld introduces new concept to teach maths involving real-life situations, one point is that math introduces patterns, and thereby making sense of the world in terms of human creation, in line with Otoom. (Source: Courier Mail, 17 Nov 04, "Pupils to add up real-life problems")

Australia, Queensland, a new computer game teaching Latin (Imperium Romanum, by Peter Creese) is a hit with students at a school, Latin lauded by teachers because it teaches logical thinking, in line with Otoom regarding the step-by-step education in constructive cognitive assemblies. (Source: Courier Mail, 15 Nov 04, "Latin speaks to young people")

Australia, Queensland, arguments for and against the new way of teaching literacy in schools, the article argues for a schematic approach, consisting of systematically putting together the conceptual building blocks for learning how to read and write, in contrast to the approach of 'whole language' (coming from the US), in line with Otoom which describes the layer-by-layer forming of conceptualisations in the course of learning. (Source: Courier Mail, 10 Nov 04, "Bitter war of words over literacy levels")

Australia, Queensland, a writer lists examples of the kind of guiding principles of how school students are being assessed by a teacher, obfuscating language which is in line with Otoom's reference to the obtuseness that inconcise articulations have brought us, cultivated by feminism as a norm represented by females and so to be revered. (Source: Courier Mail, 29 May 04, "Language as clear as mud")

anchor arrow European Union:
EU, discussions about the constitution falter because of differences between members, also the suggestion of a tiered arrangement, a "two-speed" EU, this would be in line with Otoom's view of terraced functionalities. (Source: Courier Mail, 15 Dec 03, "EU's constitution deal collapses")

anchor arrow Gene technology:
Jerry Coleby-Williams, director of Seed Savers Foundation, points to inherent dangers in genetically modified food. In particular he refers to what he calls vertical inheritances vs horizontal gene transfer, and cites as an example a genetically engineered soil bacterium, Klebsiella planticola. When injected into live soil it interacted with certain fungi such that all other plants inhabiting that soil died. The horizontal vs vertical direction can be compared to similar arguments in Otoom, referring to the evolutionary steps taken in complex systems per se. A step-by-step emergence of affinity-related functional clusters has a valid outcome simply because that next step is an affinity-based consequence of previous states - it therefore has to be 'right' in terms of its functional integrity. Supplanting one functional cluster with another between two different domains however grafts one evolutionary consequence onto the current branch of another, without having had the chance to settle into a phase state appropriate to the other domain. (Source: Courier Mail, 28 Nov 05, "Tainted genes hit web of life")

Professor Brenda Almond offers several definitions to framework the status of embryos and/or stem cells, interesting parallel to Otoom's perspective on step-by-step potential / functionality of emerging systems (ie, no future functionality can be ascertained beyond any given step). (Source: Courier Mail, 2 Oct 02, "Future stock")

anchor arrow Global politics:
Barack Obama's election win certainly invites all the descriptions offered from around the world: a water shed in American politics, Afro-Americans having arrived, a new era, etc etc. Yet there are also deeper currents that can be observed, coming from centuries in the past and bringing to light the effects of large-scale dynamics as human activity systems grow, evolve, and deconstruct. Otoom did not predict Obama entering the White House, but it did offer a description of how those dynamics define their host societies along the time lines. What it means in this case is described on the Otoom blog.

As the financial crisis continues to unsettle markets around the world countries take measures to defend themselves against the fallout. By doing so they endeavour to assist the global economy getting back on its feet, one indication of how interdependent financial systems have become. Two blogs, Uncle Sam and his family of man and The Wall Street story dealt with the underlying issues, the first from a more general perspective, the second going into some of the technical detail under the view of Otoom. Yesterday Australia's prime minister Kevin Rudd announced his government's initiatives. The injection of many billions may seem almost self-explanatory given the general liquidity problem, but its particular targets do indicate the respective nature of those players. For example, by allocating $8 billion to the mortgage market and a $4.8 billion one-off payment to pensioners (the latter being part of a $10.4 billion stimulus package overall), the funds are put where they have the most immediate effect on the money flow. A major factor contributing to the severity of the crisis has been the delay caused by artificially contrived monetary instruments; a delay that took the control away from the actual economy and put it into the hands of operators who were only concerned with their own private schemes. There are several angles under which the economy can be analysed, but Otoom's functional elements playing their part in a wider system would be one of the more productive ones. (Source: Courier Mail, 15 Oct 08, "PM explains $10.4b economic security plan", "Unwrapping the PM's gift to the economy")

As oil has reached an unprecedented $US130 a barrel the impact on everything this commodity touches begins to sink in. As the article by Anatole Kaletsky in the Australian notes, such a rise represents a significant threat to the world economy. Yet it also points to the observable fact that price rises sometimes detach themselves from the underlying reality, and the resultant boom-bust cycles are a wave that causes damage but essentially washes over the firm ground of economic structures. The Otoom model does not contain financial data, nor detailed flowcharts of value-adding process of any resource. It does however address the cognitive dynamics which drive such processes, and when a pressure is perceived to such an extent that riots can break out around the world forcing governments to step into emergency mode, it is time to consider what those dynamics mean in the wider sense. As Kaletsky writes, the present concern has not arisen because the fundamentals suddenly changed. Under Otoom the mind (in an individual as in societies at large) is seen as an underlying system that drives human endeavours. While economic factors become visible again once emotions have subsided, in the global context it becomes a question of the ultimate effect of interdependent strata with their own respective versions of perceptions and self-fulfilling prophesies. Hence societies won't crash when oil has run out. They can do so much earlier. (Source: The Australian, 23 May 08, "A crude detachment")

US, a report, "Mapping the Global Future", by the National Intelligence Council, predicts that by 2020 China will be just about to overtake Europe as an economic power, and be rivaling the US but still less than it, broadly in line with Otoom predictions but the underlying reasoning is unclear. (Source: Courier Mail, 15 Jan 05, "New age belongs to giants of Asia")

Comments on the new world alignment with India and China as the newcomers of the global power game, largely in line with Otoom's view. (Source: Courier Mail, 20 Aug 04, "World in a new spin")

anchor arrow Indigenous culture:
Australia, Pacific, Helen Hughes writes about the dysfunctionality of Pacific Island states, their affairs are not in order and she criticises the culture of tribalism and corruption, in line with Otoom re the small social etc horizons, also the policy of the Howard government to attach rules to giving aid. (Source: Courier Mail, 7 Dec 04, "Radical reforms needed to make Pacific viable")

Columnist on the state of the Australian National Museum, mentions the low freedom, conforming state of Aboriginal culture, which is in line with Otoom's view of low social horizon demographics. (Source: Courier Mail, 11 Jan 03, "Monumental misconception")

anchor arrow Infrastructure:
Queensland, stats on the water situation in dams etc, need for long-term planning is now recognised, in line with Otoom and the unpublished letter to the Courier Mail re home pool prizes, also the looming change in lifestyle through water restrictions. (Source: Courier Mail, 26 Mar 05, "Controls likely as dams dry up")

Australia, Queensland, report on the deteriorating infrastructure of the electricity grid, a case for a Bill of Rights according to Otoom, where the need for best infrastructure is part of it. (Source: Courier Mail, 24 Jul 04, "Power grid run into the ground")

anchor arrow Intoxicated behaviour:
Study by Dr Seema Assefi and Dr Maryanne Garry of Victoria University of Wellington NZ, showing that subjects who think they are intoxicated are performing similarly to those who actually are, supports Otoom's view that TSs are the result of integrated abstractions and/or feedback from previous TSs. (Source: Courier Mail, 8 Jan 03, "Mind over matter of tipsiness")

anchor arrow Iraq war - and now Afghanistan:
A secret poll commissioned by senior British officials for the Ministry of Defence shows up to 65% of Iraqi citizens support suicide attacks, and less than 1% thought the military involvement by the Western allies was helping improve the security of their country. Headed "Shock poll..." the wording demonstrates how ill-understood the concept of culture and religion is when such factors constitute a people's identity. The response as shown through the poll is in line with Otoom's description of potential responses to an interference with one's identity, especially on that scale. (Source: Courier Mail, 24 Oct 05, "Shock poll backs suicide bombers")

US, Iraq, the deteriorating situation in Iraq despite or because of the US' involvement there and its actions, also the decrease in overall security and civility among the population, in line with Otoom re the fundamental problem in a society that inherently is not on one's side. (Source: Courier Mail, 24 Dec 04, "Crashing, burning Bush's Iraq legacy")

US, Iraq war, article in which the new situation after the handover is described, perceived old enemies under the Saddam regime are now reinventing themselves under the cloak of religion as Islamic extremists of one kind or another, confirming Otoom's perspective of Iraq as an example of a tribalistic and religion-dominated demographic, in which outsiders are always treated on different terms than insiders, at whatever degree of social horizon. (Source: Courier Mail, 5 Jul 04, "Basic failings in Iraq")

anchor arrow Morality laws:
As a response to a possible relaxation of current laws governing the Queensland sex industry, the Logan City Council in conjunction with the Family Council of Queensland and the Australian Family Association sponsored a lunch-time forum on the topic of "The Human Cost of the Sex Industry". One participant was Dr Mary Anne Layden, co-director of the sexual trauma and psychopathology program at the University of Pennsylvania's Centre for Cognitive Therapy, in the article by journalist Margaret Wenham described as a lesbian feminist and noted for her unusual appearance in such company. Such an event is in line with Otoom where the affinity between Christian conservatives and feminist ideologues under certain conditions is shown. The conditions are a function of contemporary developments that relate to a backlash against liberalism and the general intensifying of religious sentiments around the world. Dr Layden's position also demonstrates the affinity between her particular personal disposition and her place of employment, that is an opportunity to interfere with subjects according to certain belief systems. (Source: Courier Mail, 27 Aug 05, "Sex industry forum attracts strange political bedfellows")

anchor arrow Religion:
In Afghanistan a man who converted to Christianity from Islam faces the death penalty because the country operates under Islamic law. If the courts cave in to Western pressure some Islamic preachers there have demanded he be dealt with by the people. Statements such as, "We will call on the people to pull him into pieces so there is nothing left", "We must set an example. He must be hanged", "Rejecting Islam is insulting God. We will not allow God to be humiliated. This man must die", indicate the sheer brutality and passion certain demographics are able to muster. This case is particularly poignant since the present governance has been established under the auspices of the US and its allies. Apart from the influence of Christian fundamentalists on its own president and therefore foreign policy the correct understanding of Islam has always been a problem for Western minds in general, untrained as they often are in the wilds beyond their borders. The inability to comprehend another culture's nature is a function of the perspectives employed by the observer, a scenario often touched upon in Otoom at varying degrees of danger. The countenance by Western powers of a system capable of articulating responses such as the ones above demonstrates how blind their leaders have become to the dangers of this world. (Source: Courier Mail, 25 Mar 06, "Clerics call for death of Christian convert")

The outrage about the Danish cartoons shows no signs of abating. In the context of Otoom the scenario incorporates dynamics of cluster building (the proliferation of local outbreaks), conceptual intersections (the inability to understand the culture of Western satire), and identity containers (inculcated values). To a general observer the most obvious element would be the last, in this case represented by Islam. Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen called the protests a global crisis. He is not the only one who is shaking his head over all this. An understanding would be possible if Westerners were more familiar with high emotionalism, intense religiosity, and overriding kinships in tribal cultures - something the West has laid aside centuries ago. The cartoonist (who else?) Sean Leahy from the Courier Mail captured it perfectly: at a meeting of CIA covert operations officers one says, "Next time we want to destabilise an entire region, forget about hired assassins and munitions experts ... instead I'd like you all to meet Henrik, our Danish cartoonist ...". Not that Western culture is entirely immune from such irrationality. A simile along the lines of those dynamics would be the custom of counseling police officers (certainly in Australia and the UK) who have seen pictures of children having sex. According to their spokespersons the experience is so stressful that professional help is needed. Saner people might ask themselves what kind of police force we have who need nothing more than some kids in a sex scene to go weak at the knees. Therefore to paraphrase Leahy, this time at a meeting of mobsters, "... forget about ... instead I'd like you all to meet little Johnny and Mary ...". On the other hand, there could also be a different reason for the counseling sessions. In any dictatorship which has individuals whose duty it is to deal with the outside world, special contingencies are in place to maintain their political correctness. For example, censors who read tracts about democracy undergo debriefs to ensure they remain in the ideological fold. This is not only a protection for the regime, it also makes it safer for those individuals who otherwise might be open to suspicion of having succumbed to the enemy. Same here. The major respective driving forces in these cases are Islam and Christianity, both Middle Eastern religions. (Source: Courier Mail, 9 Feb 06, "Call for Muslim moderation" + cartoon, SBS-TV Insight program, 19 Oct 04, "Suffer the children")

Indonesia, religious attitudes harden, with more people supporting hardline versions of general stances, in line with Otoom's cognitive pyramid, where a certain extreme attitude is watered down as it reaches throughout society, which makes its identification in terms of significance at whatever point much more critical. (Source: Courier Mail, 4 Dec 04, "Muslims adopt harder attitudes")

Queensland, Father Peter Kennedy, the man at the centre of the baptism issue, has declared the Catholic Church is not a democratic institution and is dysfunctional, somewhat in line with Otoom where the Middle Eastern religions are defined as spiritual dictatorships out of step with current governance. (Source: Courier Mail, 2 Dec 04, "Outspoken priest blasts church as dysfunctional")

Australia, a convicted paedophile gets evicted to Cambodia, but questions about the justice system there, in line with comments in Otoom regarding the attempts by officials in other countries to take advantage of strict moralisms in the West. (Source: Courier Mail, 24 Jan 04, "Magistrate approves extradition")

anchor arrow Role of governments in society:
In "2050: Age of the Silverback" the prediction was made - based on Otoom's systems approach - that the future will see an expanded role of governments due to the shortages in resources on so many fronts. Oil would be one of the top candidates. But no need to wait that long. "Leading independent oil lobbyists" urge the government to introduce petrol-rationing, allowing those with important jobs to go about their business in order to keep society functioning. Additionally the Australian Association for the Study of Peak Oil and Gas suggests Queensland should scrap its $500 million a year fuel subsidy. According to Andrew McNamara, Queensland's Sustainability Minister, his government is developing an Oil Mitigation Strategy, to be presented to Cabinet later this year. Modifications to the tax structure are nothing new as such, but fuel rationing reminds of war times. The difference between those years and the present lies in the underlying context. In times of war the population is largely in synch. Today not only are we dealing with a more diverse composition of a society, the 'enemy' is more diffuse. This leads to potential problems that need to be addressed on the cognitive/societal level first and foremost. At this stage societies are not equipped for that. (Source: Courier Mail, 12 Mar 08, "Raise tax or ration, say oil lobbyists")

Joshua Gans, professor of economics at Melbourne Business School, University of Melbourne, writes about the current promises to upgrade the broadband service in Australia in the lead up to the federal election. While many aspects are a matter for technical debate, a major problem is the ambiguous role of Telstra. Telstra has no real competition and can afford to hold back with investment, he writes, whereas government needs to invest in basic services suitable for high-speed broadband but has no longer any direct mission to do so. On one hand the telco has become a private entity after the government divested itself of its remaining shares, but on the other it is the product of an era when telecommunication infrastructure had been the domain of government to the exclusion of everyone else. Its system of wire and cable services connecting businesses and households comes from that time. Under the present conditions that layout has become an "elephant", now removed from public enterprise but at the same time an obstacle for private competitors. To avoid no-win situations like these the Basic Charter under the Otoom model stipulates the need for a society to provide the best means to master its environment, natural and artificial, which obviously includes the infrastructure (Article 1). The need is further addressed in Article 5, requiring the best possible technology to enable access to the governing process. Once the basic infrastructure requirements have been provided, private enterprise is free to value-add on a user-pays basis. Such a system would have prevented the quality of internet access from deteriorating over a number years now, with no real end in sight. (Source: Courier Mail, 20 Jun 07, "Brakes on net speed")

One of the major features of the Otoom model is the recognition that healthy, complex systems rely on the mutual interrelationships between such systems' functional elements, ie the modules - at whatever scale - which make the system happen as a functioning entity. A breakdown of the interdependence creates problems in terms of the flow of information among the elements. The relationships and the status on which they depend can take many forms. One example is the role of private vs public enterprises and the salaries certain individuals obtain compared with the rest of society. There is no doubt that performance should be rewarded and part of that reward can be money. Make the difference too large however and disparities arise in the form of polarisation and clusters that emerge from artificial characteristics. An article referred to the salary of Macquarie Bank boss Allan Moss who earned A$33.5 million last year. As the article points out, every hour of the day he makes more than the average worker earns in a week. Although performance based (and the commercial success of the bank is not in question) such a salary is not conducive to a harmonious coexistence of society's players. For one thing the recognition of a well-run company does not extend to the staff who after all implement the good ideas coming from the top. No real leader forgets that. It also becomes a matter of a general perception of what is or is not important in the day-to-day affairs of a society. P.D. Day of Toowong has expressed these concerns rather well in a reader's letter: "Anger and despair at the obscenity of astronomical corporate salaries will get us nowhere until we recognise that the real evil is the cult of privatisation which the present generation has mindlessly endorsed. When I was head of a public service department - in New South Wales many years ago - the attraction was not the salary but the opportunity to promote the welfare and good government of the community. It was a time when the people's bank and the people's national airline were run by competent public administrators. Democratic, community-oriented capitalism prevailed. It did not require a Soviet-style command economy - or a neo-conservative ideological obsession with private profit making. It was characterised instead by a sense of community which has since been lost by privatisation of basic public responsibilities, politicisation of the public service and the emergence of ministerial staffers, and an extra level of high-salaried private sector executives who should never exist." (Source: Courier Mail, 16 May 07, "Bank boss rakes in $33m-a-year salary"; 18 May 07, "Corporate salaries are over the top")

Former state public servant Mark Lauchs is interviewed about his PhD research into Queensland government policies and initiatives which are designed to appear giving public access to its decisions but in fact do no such thing. He worked in the Justice Department and the Premier's Department. He cites as examples the whistleblower legislation that does not really protect whistleblowers; former premier Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen who set up the Ombudsman system and the Financial Administration and Audit Act of 1977, thereby making sure that the books were balanced across Queensland and could not have exposed the endemic corruption; in recent times Police Minister Judy Spence and former health minister Wendy Edmond were "outwardly hostile to whistleblowers"; the present government instituted the Freedom of Information Act but diluted it through exemptions for Cabinet or Executive Council "considerations", making it essentially ineffective. This is very much in line with the analysis via Otoom in which the functionalities of parochialism, ideology-based conservatism, and the resultant need to hide one's idiosyncrasies from the wider world are reflected throughout such a demographic. They manifest at all levels of scale, from individuals upwards to government. It also puts the hostility towards the section "Queensland - profile of a society" in my honours thesis under a sharper light. The profile was a collection of examples from around Queensland demonstrating the afore-mentioned characteristics. Although not dealt with as profoundly as later in Otoom, they nevertheless supported an explanation of societal behaviour used in a certain context in the thesis. Despite the fact that the Profile was only part of the appendix and mentioned on only one page in the main text (its total number of pages was 116), the examiners of the thesis found it necessary to highlight its existence as particularly galling. The thesis is not Otoom of course (as I emphasised on several locations on this website) but the ludicrous criticism leveled against the thesis suggests other motives, some of which present themselves rather strongly given the ongoing suppression of the public gaze upon the activities of Queensland governments, regardless of their political persuasion. Such suppression has serious consequences, as the Bjelke-Petersen years with their corruption and police brutality have shown and as the current crises regarding health, water, and other public services demonstrate as well. (Source: Courier Mail, 24 Mar 07, "Transparency or just an illusion?")

Tom Bentley, immediate past director of the London think tank Demos, and part-time director at the Australia and New Zealand School of Government, writes about finding solutions to big challenges and how they happen. One example is the development of the micro-credit scheme, for which Mohamed Yunus received the Nobel peace prize this year. The article describes the general nature of successful schemes such as Yunus'. They feature a shared resource base from which large groups of peers draw in the course of their activities - "non-market production can feed the long-term prosperity of market economies and give people greater freedom in their own lives". As far as the government's role is concerned, many of these solutions start at the small scale, involve everyday practices and grow from there. They are supported by the ability of governments to invest, direct, resource, and control key areas of our lives. Without a multitude of institutions (post offices, libraries, public houses, parks, etc) such progress would not be possible. These comments are echoed in Otoom, where a healthy and sustainable system is one in which the emergence of functional domains is allowed to proceed according to the conditions within the system. Even governments are part of the system, but they ought to be participative, not domineering. Conversely, a degeneration of the functional entities leads to a deterioration of the system overall. Therefore there is a need to maintain their integrity, which is another way of saying the appropriate standard of the people needs to be safeguarded. (Source: Courier Mail, 23 Nov 06, "Innovation drives growth")

Against the background of the Queensland Department of Health scandal currently engulfing the state government, Premier Peter Beattie suggests that individuals too have to take on some responsibility for maintaining an adequate level of health, and the government - in fact, any government - cannot ultimately cater for every ailment that may affect individuals, a view supported by his wife Dr Beattie, associate professor and director of the nursing program at the University of Queensland. The interdependencies within society and the degenerating influence of the matron state are outlined in Otoom. (Source: Courier Mail, 15 Aug 05, "Health up to individuals, says Beattie")

anchor arrow Science in general:
Another example of the divergent view represented today vs the attitude displayed by the thesis examiners at Griffith University from above comes from a report by the Australian Universities Quality Agency, where the Queensland University of Technology is praised for the "quality of its courses and for increasing its cross-disciplinary and cross-faculty teaching." (Source: Courier Mail, 31 Aug 05, "High praise for 'real' university")

One of the criticisms made against the honours thesis at Griffith University in 1999 was the interdisciplinary approach used. Not only is this approach increasingly appreciated today, there are conferences held that focus on just that theme. One example are the IPSI conferences, and it is through the knowledge about Otoom that it has been decided to invite me to this year's three conferences (IPSI MONTENEGRO, IPSI VENICE, and IPSI SLOVENIA 2005). I am unable to attend any one of them, but I am submitting a paper to IPSI VENICE 2005.

anchor arrow Security:
Ottawa-based Carleton University researcher Julie Thorpe suggests using brainwaves as unique identifiers of an individual, thereby doing away with key cards and other security tools, all of which can be falsified to some extent. Her idea that brainwaves are unique tallies with Otoom where thought structures (and so their measurable manifestations) are the result of unique complexes of affinity relationships instantiated through the medium of neuron cells. Given the complexity of their frameworks (ie, amount of neurons, number of protein formations, number of neuro-transmitters, connectivity between cells, the variance of representative context) a manifestation such as brainwaves would indeed be unique. (Source: International Biometry Industry Association web page, 15 Dec 2005, "Brainwave is the ultimate security key")

anchor arrow Tax:
Tracy Oliver and Scott Bartley, of Treasury's Tax Analysis division, wrote a government report that claims the ever increasing complexity of the tax system causes tax payers to avoid paying, businesses are reluctant to start and hire workers, and prevent tax payers from complying with the law, intentionally and unintentionally. Quite apart from the legal and/or economic detail, this is in line with Otoom regarding the increasing complexity of a subsystem which eventually imposes a drain on its host. (Source: Courier Mail, 1 Sep 05, "Complex tax law confuses nation")

anchor arrow Terrorism:
During the last couple of days two assessments took place, both reiterating and confirming the by now familiar perspective under Otoom, namely that terrorism should be seen as a pervasive culture sustaining its driving force from Islam which in itself represents a profoundly different mentality from the West. One assessment came from FBI agent John Miller who commented on the foiled plot by Islamic extremists to blow up the fuel pipelines at JFK airport in New York. The investigations showed that looking in one direction only (focusing on Al-Qaeda for instance) is not enough to counter terrorism. One has to look "360 degrees". The other assessment comes from Bren Carlill, policy analyst at the Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council, who considers what, if anything, has changed since the Six Day War in 1967. The militias have shown themselves to be different from conventional armies, they are part of the general population so that any action by a defender automatically results in damage to civilians. Under Otoom the pervasiveness of a culture can be observed, where a fabric of intensively religious and tribal sentiments enmeshes every member so that the group becomes one towards the outside. Belligerence, emotion, and fervour become goods traded at will under whatever circumstances convenient for the overall purpose. Fighters emerge from the crowd to kill, a response suddenly finds only women and children, leaders surrounded by wild-eyed young boys, and a raucous cauldron of hysteria lost to reason long ago - this is the atmosphere Israel and the West have to deal with day after day. As a functionality such a trait can be readily identified in any case, and its presence suggests ramifications the effects of which are being commented upon here and there, as shown. (Source: SBS-TV News + ABC-TV News, 4 Jun 07; Courier Mail, 4 Jun 07, "A plot to eclipse 9/11", 5 Jun 07, "The long and winding war")

In the US six suspected Islamic radicals have been charged with plotting to kill "as many soldiers as possible" at a military base. It appears the group had no ties with international terrorist networks. From Otoom's perspective the comments by an FBI spokesman are telling: "What we are witnessing is a brand new form of terrorism. Today threats come from smaller, more loosely defined individuals who may or may not be affiliated with Al-Qaeda but are inspired by their violent ideology". While there are always larger, more prominent groups following an agenda, the pervasive nature of Islam coupled with a steadily growing antagonism towards the West does not need a traditionally layered hierarchy as an initiating organisation. Generally held attitudes and sufficient opportunity are enough. It follows that the conventional approach by security networks, focusing on overt clusters, becomes insufficient. The identification of demographic characteristics under the Otoom model suggests how difficult a comprehensive survey of a population can become if action is designed to follow after fact. It may well be that in the not so distant future our current juridical and executive measures turn out to be a luxury we can no longer afford. Of course, the label "brand new form of terrorism" is based on what has been discovered; it cannot claim to be an assessment of an ongoing situation. (Source: Courier Mail, 10 May 07, "US Islamic radicals' soldier 'kill plot' foiled")

The head of Britain's MI5, Eliza Manningham-Buller, declares publicly that the intelligence agency had its workload increased by 80% since January. It is now tracking 1600 fanatics belonging to about 200 Al-Qaeda cells, some were teenagers as young as 16, she was alarmed by the scale and speed at which they were radicalised, and the terrorists were poised to use chemical, biological, even nuclear weapons. She said, "If the opinion polls conducted in the UK since July are only broadly accurate, over 100,000 of our citizens consider that the July bomb attacks in London were justified". The threat will exist "for a generation". Under Otoom's perspective, several aspects stand out. The number of people being investigated by MI5 are only those the agency had the opportunity to learn about, and given the expanse of Britain's society they do not represent the total number of persons who are of potential interest. The figure of 200 cells indicate the fluid nature of such groups, contrary to the traditional view which expected the creation of a more formal structure. The age, scale and speed refer to the pervasiveness of the culture, making the interaction with particular individuals less necessary. The possibility of chemical, biological, and nuclear weaponry disproves the notion that terrorists must be the product of a socially dysfunctional environment; on the contrary, to have access to such technology requires one's circle of contacts to be of a relatively high standard. And finally, if 100,000 people are willing to voice an opinion as problematic as giving support to terrorism it can be safely assumed these voices represent an already sufficiently radicalised group, with many more being too reluctant to go public in this manner. Using Otoom's model the phenomenon of affinitive cognitive clusters can be identified, where the central identity has to be large enough to instantiate such relationships. Only the culture of Islam fits the bill. The concept of the social pyramid (long recognised within the context of crime as pointing to the hierarchical nature of criminal type in terms of severity, with the lower, broader levels giving sustenance to more severe manifestations towards the top) is another way of addressing the emergence of sub-cultural domains leading to ever increasing radicalism made possible by the dynamic nature of such a pyramid's layered domains. The presence of millions of Muslims in a Western society permitted the crossing of a critical threshold towards the emergence of an antagonistic demographic, drawn from a ready-made pool of potential members. Such factors as political correctness, the enforcement of inclusivity coming from feminism, and the idealistic notion of a fundamental sameness of all demographics, they all have contributed to imposing a cognitive filter on the West, preventing the timely recognition of the danger. Parallels to biological systems can be made, in that a body's immune system becomes re-tuned so that an alien intruder looses its significance in relation to the host. As a more detailed description of Otoom reveals (see other pages), the concept of attractor-based affinity relationships creating appropriate clusters is a dynamic that can be observed in life generally, not only in the context of thought structures. If such basic dynamics are neglected the consequences can indeed extend along protracted timelines. (Source: Courier Mail, 11 Nov 06, "MI5 issues terror alert")

In the context of the comments made by Australia's Islamic leader Sheik Taj Din al-Hilali about immodestly dressed women attracting rape just as uncovered meat attracts cats, Dennis Atkins writes about al-Hilali's support of Sayyid Qutb. Qutb is a leading member of the Muslim Brotherhood, "a radical Egyptian political and social movement that is today one of the fastest growing movements in the Middle East". The Brotherhood was behind the assassination of Gamal Abdel Nasser, Anwar Sadat and other leaders, and Qutb is known to favour the overthrow of those governments which are against Islamism. Al-Hilali himself has praised the efforts of extremists in Iraq and Afghanistan in an Arabic radio interview as recently as three weeks ago and has voiced his support for Sayyid Qutb on several occasions. What stands out here is the knowledge about the mufti's anti-Western position going back years, with no questions being asked about his residence and indeed legal status in Australia. On the other hand, as soon as he makes a derogatory comment about women, literally within hours there is an outcry across the nation and calls are made for him to be deported. This is in line with Otoom's analysis of the situatedness of feminism in Western society in general and Australia in particular, where the female identity is used to shift the focus from the wider society and its survival to gender-biased specifics. Cognitive markers have been constructed that formulate the concept of 'threat' in terms of the feminist agenda, while the dangers to the nation remain less and less definable. Therefore someone who tells females how to dress is publicly decried as unacceptable using ready-made templates, but when he denounces the nature of a secular, democratic state there is nothing left to respond with. (Source: Courier Mail, 4 Nov 06, "Outpouring of poison")

A US government intelligence report released by President George W. Bush has concluded that the threat from Islamic extremists has spread both in numbers and in geographic reach, despite the efforts by the US and others in Iraq. In fact, the war there has become a "cause celebre" for the extremists. The report also said, "The confluence of shared purpose and dispersed actors will make it harder to find and undermine jihadist groups." Entrenched grievances and the ease of modern-day communication have equally been identified as contributing factors. Under Otoom the situation could be recognised for what it is from the beginning. Functional domains reflecting the identity of people with demographics embedded in an encompassing culture, the resultant prisms through which outside events are perceived, the incapacity in the West to view its own surrounds objectively, and the evangelical fervour of a religious America, all this inevitably creates a cauldron of ideological barbarism. The pervasive nature of Islam allows different demographics to exist under various circumstances, but this very characteristic can also assert itself as the binding force once its otherwise disparate member groups find common grounds. Not to recognise such an essential feature of societal dynamics makes for grave mistakes. The current escalation is nothing new. Moralistic intransigence of US politics managed to turn the small-scale problem of individual drug-taking into a global monster where profits from illegality are capable of financing entire armies, many if not most of which are arraigned against the West. And now the same obsession has turned localised altercations into a world-wide phenomenon stretching the resources of Western societies. Surely we should have the courage to ask: whose side are the Christians really on? (Source: Courier Mail, 28 Sep 06, "Worse to come over Iraq")

In Canberra British suicide bombing expert Det Superintendent Nicholas O'Brien told a conference on terrorism that parents and relatives of suicide bombers often knew of the plans and either made no attempt to stop their relatives or in some cases even helped them. Once again this goes against the conventional view held in the West that sees terrorists as victims of unfortunate circumstances and therefore as outcasts in relation to the surrounding culture. Yet the current reference demonstrates the validity of a perspective under Otoom, where the mind of a terrorist represents a composite of affinity relationships all of which are more or less linked to the outside, and it is their demographic which supplies the necessary stability to such a framework. The highly individualised West forgets that no person projects without a group. (Source: Courier Mail, 21 Sep 06, "Terror hot-spots listed")

Psychologists are attempting to establish a psychological profile of suicide bombers. Investigators like Dr Andrew Silke and Professor Ariel Merari make the point that the traditional expectation of finding damaged minds does not hold. On the contrary, in most aspects the lives of terrorists are indistinguishable from the rest of society. What does play a significant role is the unique reference system created in their minds. If their situatedness refers to ideas that posit society as antagonists and if their conceptual home allows for such positioning the mind has no difficulty expressing itself in a violent manner. Every single description offered by the interviewed, including forensic psychiatrist Dr Marc Sageman, fell in line with the framework provided by Otoom, although their terminology reflected the conventional perspective as their initial starting point. In Otoom the behaviour patterns are the functional dynamics that emerge from the affinity relationships, which in turn are a function of the person's conceptual reach and congruent and incongruent structures. Those phenomena must be understood in terms of functionalities, rather than object-related content because the latter leads to presumptions about a specific religion, culture, or race. If the appropriate functionalities have the chance to evolve the necessary content for their implementation can be supplied from anywhere. The above investigations were done over several years and lead to a better understanding of what causes individuals to become suicide bombers. Otoom contained the conceptual framework all along. (Source: Cutting Edge: "Suicide Bombers - A Psychological Investigation", SBS TV, 28 Mar 06)

Considering a newly-issued foreign policy document by the White House, Daniel Pipes from the Middle East Forum comments on the document's preoccupation with the Middle East. Although somewhat understandable under the current circumstances the point as such is valid. Europe's and then the West's preoccupation, if not obsession, with all things Middle Eastern goes back a long way and can be traced to the westward reach of Christianity two millennia ago. Ever since, an entire civilisation convulsed at regular intervals to the phantasies of that religion - Otoom's affinity relationships writ large on a continental as well as historical scale. The Crusades, the Inquisitions (there were several periods), and moralistic interpretations and foreign policies in general have been a constant source of great tragedy, not to mention the suppression of scientific thought setting Western civilisation back by centuries. If our education systems mention such matters at all it is through carefully packaged sentiments keeping the blood and gore well away from delicate minds. The effect is a misrepresentation within a people's psyche and leads to products such as this foreign policy document. The threats in Iraq and among Muslims overall are downplayed and radical Islam is minimised as a twisted form of the wider religion. Not so, argues Pipes, pointing to election results from Afghanistan to Algeria and opinion polls conducted in the UK. "5 per cent of the Muslim population support the July 7 terrorist attacks in London and say more attacks are justified; 20 per cent have sympathy with the July attackers and believe suicide attacks can be justified", he writes. Just as Western culture cannot stay away from the Middle East, its own ideology prevents it from fully recognising what it is actually dealing with. The price it pays are the undermining of its existence and the loss of so many lives. (Source: Courier Mail, 23 Mar 06, "America's overconfident overview")

A Belgian woman has become Europe's first suicide bomber as she blew herself up on the outskirts of Baghdad on the 9 Nov. She became a convert to Islam after marrying a Belgian of Moroccan descent. Such a background flies in the face of the conventional view on terrorists as coming from deprived backgrounds where the social milieu is categorised in terms of the present-day Western perspective. It is in line with Otoom however because any personal disposition is seen as the result of affinity relationships regardless of their value interpreted from the outside. What matters is the functional situatedness of the participating clusters within their respective domains, a phenomenon that can be observed in human behaviour as well as in the computer simulation OtoomCM. One reason for the simplistic view would be the sheer convenience in classifying a threat in terms of ready-made characteristics that are also in tune with Western stereotyping and political correctness - but it does not address reality (intelligence services are coming to realise the greater range of possibilities, see above). (Source: Courier Mail, 3 Dec 05, "Mum's sorrow as only child becomes a suicide bomber")

At a counter-terrorism conference in Sydney Dr Rohan Gunaratna from Nayang Technological University in Singapore warns that home-grown terrorist attacks are inevitable and imminent in Australia. He makes several points: radicals constitute a loose network rather than cells, the network is small but robust, and it has been allowed to grow unchecked because of the "political correctness" of previous governments who were afraid to confront preachers and the ongoing radicalisation in Australian mosques and Muslim organisations. Professor Riaz Hassan from Flinders University says few Muslim suicide bombers were social misfits, but rather are psychologically normal, have better than average economic prospects, and are deeply integrated with their social and national communities. All this is in line with Otoom, where the emergence of radical traits is a function of demographic perceptions which are pervasive enough to create a sufficient number of affinitive clusters. A more educated mind and more economic resources, if part of a particular community, is more likely to be modified accordingly than someone less connected and less capable. The notion that terrorists are nothing but misfits and criminals is a construct of an ideological mindset that automatically denigrates anything disagreeable in terms of its own concepts of negativity. By doing so the real nature of the event remains hidden. Naturally, the same dynamics occur on the Islamic side. The political correctness is a general phenomenon in the West and the self-induced blindness and weakness in the face of an antagonistic religion is only one of many consequences. The whole issue is more easily understood within the context of pure functionalities, rather than content such as 'Islam' or 'terrorist' or 'West' which give rise to presumptions. (Source: Courier Mail, 22 Nov 05, "Terror attack is likely to be home-grown")

Within the context of terrorism Daniel Pipes, director of the Middle East Forum, argues that Islamists should leave a country such as Australia because the respective cultures and perspectives are incompatible. Also cites examples from the UK and Belgium where a growing readiness to articulate details of Western culture is making itself felt on various occasions. In line with Otoom where the differences are outlined in detail and shown how incompatible they really are. (Source: Courier Mail, 31 Aug 05, "Respect Western ways or get out")

The proposed counter-terrorism summit triggers a push by Opposition Leader Kim Beazley to have education included at the summit, since educating school children (especially those in Muslim schools) to the democratic values of our society is a defence against extreme views. This happens to be almost exactly in line with my submission to the summit made a few days earlier and in a wider sense Otoom's perspective on interdependencies in society. (Source: Courier Mail, 12 Aug 05, "ALP says mateship mantra belongs in Muslim schools")

A report based on a study by the Pentagon and the US State Department details the poor vetting procedures employed by Iraq's police service. The effect is applicants get accepted with criminal backgrounds, physical disabilities, marginal literacy, and even links to insurgents. In this report the more fundamental dynamic is not recognised, although its symptoms are. This dynamic, fully outlined in Otoom, consists of disparate conceptual frameworks between different demographics (in this case the general American culture and the general Iraqi culture) so that the implementation of particular procedures causes variant outcomes, the stated intent notwithstanding. (Source: Courier Mail, 27 Jul 05, "Hanoi Jane ready for a repeat performance")

In the wake of the carnage in London an article quotes Clive Williams, terrorism expert at the Australian National University, who relates the phenomenon of terrorists living seemingly innocent lives to the subterfuges practised by the 11th century Muslim "Assassins" in order to escape detection. Not mentioned is that any religious mind is faced with the need to engage in subterfuge, simply because the religious, ie ideological and hence idiosyncratic mindset must somehow reconcile itself with the daily contingencies of reality. Hence religious persons are profound liars ('profound' in the real meaning of the word), and the greater the intensity of the religion and/or reality the bigger the lies. In Otoom the detailed circumstances of these dynamics are outlined. (Source: Courier Mail, 16 Jul 05, "Could it happen on our soil?")

USA, "News Hour with Jim Lehrer", PBS, screened on SBS-TV 26 Apr 05: interview with authors Lindsay Moran ("Blowing my cover") and Melissa Boyle Mahle ("Denial and Deception"), both former CIA employees, and criticising the agency for not recognising the different circumstances that had emerged after the Cold War. For example, the idea prevailed that a CIA operative would make high-level contacts in target countries and naturally come into contact with members of terrorist organisations at various meetings, including parties and such. This is nonsense, both women assert. Rather, terrorists and their support are spread out through society, right down to the grass roots level. This should be seen in the context of Otoom's description of diffuse and integrated antagonisms in religious and/or tribal societies due to the society's inherent ideological nature (which is pervasive). The observations of these authors is therefore correct. In addition, the CIA's approach was of an object first - functionality later type, the one most commonly used. However, the point is made throughout Otoom that when it comes to complex systems, the functionality first - object later alternative is more useful (in this case the search would have looked for individuals of a certain behaviour type, not identity such as group memberships etc). The mistaken assumptions by the CIA cost the agency valuable time and missed opportunities in the fight against terrorists, with obviously serious consequences. On that note it should be mentioned that ASIO in Canberra was approached inviting them to peruse Otoom. To the initial letter 3 Aug 04 there was no response, after a follow-up on the 18 Aug 04 I was informed that my correspondence has been passed on to the relevant area for consideration. Nothing was heard since. (By the way, the recognition that all demographics are informative with regards to understanding a society gives such assessments in Otoom the edge over more restricted views, construed from the comfort of some office)

Australia, speech at the LawAsia conference, by the head of ASIO Dennis Richardson, re the need for changes in the law in order to deal with terrorists, says that many times the needed information about certain individuals was gained under the laws of countries which would be criticised if enacted in liberal democracies, and the liberal democracies are dependent on such laws, an interesting side effect of globalisation and in line with Otoom regarding denominative TSs on a large scale. (Source: Courier Mail, 24 Mar 05, "Terrorist suspects 'can't be touched'")

Australia, High Court judge Michael Kirby said in a speech that the courts were the last line of defence for human rights and freedom, speaks against the background of the war on terror and how the concept is used to establish measures trying to curb behaviour, says that since 2001 17 items of legislation have been enacted that restrict civil freedoms by the Federal Parliament, also talks about the attempt to give "legislation stirring names in the hope of rendering exceptions to civil liberties more palatable and opposition to such laws more difficult", also that the real test comes when freedoms are protected in relation to minorities, ie those the majority does not agree with, in line with Otoom regarding the intolerance coming into effect when it has to deal with issues that are not acceptable to the culture. (Source: Courier Mail, 12 Nov 04, "COURTS Judiciary warning")

Australia, global, article on the nature of terrorism and the people behind it, attempts to characterise the nature in terms of societal dynamics although does not go as far as Otoom, identifies the dynamic nature and local coherence of people who can be citizens but also extremists, by Professor Michael Wesley, Director of the Griffith Asia Pacific Research Institute at Griffith University, formerly head of the Transnational Issues Branch at the Office of National Assessments. (Source: Courier Mail, 11 Sep 04, "War against terrorism an unequal battle")

Australia, terrorism expert Aldo Borgu tells an anti-terrorism conference in Brisbane that Al-Qaeda would take a more active role in the region and so Australia if Jemaah Islamiyah cannot deliver, also mentions the need to understand the terrorists and the fact that there can be many cells with different names, in line with Otoom where the phenomenon of terrorism is first and foremost seen as a functional entity and needs to be understood as such, therefore Al-Qaeda for instance is only a contextual element, not a functional one. (Source: Courier Mail, 6 Jul 04, "Al-Qaeda could target Australia")

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Queensland, a law is proposed to override council decisions with regard to urban planning, demonstrates Otoom's model concerning the emergence of super-rules to overcome complexity bottlenecks (labeled progression locks there). (Source: Courier Mail, 1 Jun 04, "Law to restrict urban sprawl")

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Prime Minister John Howard decided yesterday that unless there was substantial rain within the next six to eight weeks all irrigation in the Murray-Darling Basin would be cancelled. To put this into perspective, that region accounts for about 40% of Australia's total agricultural production, contains 75% of all irrigated crops and pastures, and the irrigation there makes up 52.4% of all water used in the nation. It shows what happens when the inherent nature of a land is disregarded in favour of wishful thinking in terms of what feels familiar and comfortable. The same neglect happened in Queensland - refer to the first entry in this section where at the time the advice about stopping to support the building of wasteful swimming pools around Brisbane by the major metropolitan newspaper was not even deemed worthy a reply. (Source: Courier Mail, 20 Apr 07, "PM urges nation to 'pray' for rain to avert crisis")

There still hasn't been any rain to speak of in south-east Queensland and the dam levels are further receding. Wivenhoe Dam, the largest reservoir for Brisbane, is at 22% capacity and will reach around 12% by this time next year without major rain falling. At this point there is still water to drink but some power stations will have to shut down. The (State) Government and Water Commissioner Elizabeth Nosworthy admitted she has no contingency plan if dams drop to critical levels and has declined to reveal any rationing plans since she doesn't expect things to get that bad. Nor has she outlined what exactly level 5 water restrictions will mean, due to come into force this March. The role of religiosity has already been mentioned in this context, but generally speaking it represents a mindset in which a higher power is expected to come to the rescue at some time, somehow. The current attitudes displayed by the government do reflect this mindset, with Queensland being one of the more religious demographics in Australia and indeed the Western world. This is demonstrated by the presence of so many religious cults, the wide-spread support of a multitude of religious schools, the adherence to moralistic attitudes more stringent than in other comparable regions, and a faith-based conservatism coming to the fore on so many occasions. (Source: Courier Mail, 19 Jan 07, "Water ration mutiny")

In the context of the above, the general nature of this demographic can be gleaned from the fact that the Queensland State Premier Peter Beattie saw fit to hold a meeting with various church ministers to pray for rain. The act can be assumed to be an exercise in playing to the electorate, and is in line with the connections made under Otoom between below-average education, parochialism, religiosity, and an irrational fear of the unfamiliar. (Source: Courier Mail, 3 Aug 06, "Mayor pumped up by discovery")

A referendum has been held in the Queensland city of Toowoomba (see above) to decide whether recycling should be adopted. The plan was rejected. This represents a very real problem as the region is literally running out of water. One can of course speculate about the mentality of a population which within the safety of modern science and technology has unlearned to regard a lack of water as dangerous as it actually is (which in turn would prompt a more thorough involvement with the issue). In any case, the campaign against the proposal was based on ignorance and emotion, the classic signs of an intellectually compact demographic. In a reader's letter to the Courier Mail Chris Davis, the CEO of the Australian Water Association, points out that the residents of Toowoomba are in fact already using recycled water because the city is downstream from other population centres and therefore is drawing water from a stream mixed with effluent. Had the scheme been accepted the difference would have been a planned and organised implementation in contrast to what is happening now. Such an attitude represents a further confirmation of an ideological stance, where something is accepted as long as it does not feature in the conscious awareness of people but is rejected as soon as it is brought into the open. (Source: Courier Mail, 31 Jul 06, "Mayors' water revolt", 1 Aug 06, "Recycling must remain an alternative")

In the face of the drought in many of Queensland's regions the mayor of Toowoomba, Di Thorley, proposes to use recycled water for human consumption. This prompted a childish and highly ill-informed attempt at humour by one of the Courier Mail columnists, Dianne Butler. In her article "Don't poo-poo it until you try it" she compares such water to eating vomit or life ruining cyclones, and dismissing words like 'membrane' (she probably came across it in the context of reverse osmosis treatment which uses semi-permeable membranes to filter any water under high pressure) as ideas suggesting uselessness and fragility. In her text she uses infantile wordplay connecting the double 'o' in Toowoomba with "poo" to create an emotional ambience of rejection for her readers. On the day the article appeared an email was sent to the editor pointing out that the practice is well-established around the world and in fact produces water purer than appearing in nature (even the minerals are removed in the process). As it happened, two days later an article written by Brian Williams puts the record straight. People in Europe and Singapore make use of this technology and if sodium ions for instance are taken out by the membranes then molecules like hormones can be captured as well. This scenario demonstrates the dynamic often described in Otoom whereby content is compacted into a ridiculous format quite out of step with the original issue, in order to play to an uninformed audience which in turn may develop such representations to carry an inappropriate emotional message. (Source: Courier Mail, 25 Mar 06, "Don't poo-poo it until you try it", 27 Mar 06, "Our water's been there, dung that")

A document leaked to the Courier Mail argues that the water supply in south-east Queensland is 18 months away from "total failure" unless substantial rain is falling to replenish several dams. Whether this prediction is entirely true or not, it does demonstrate the general culture in a demographic such as SE Qld which prefers a state of denial to comprehensively face an unpalatable issue (another one would be the hot climate and measures against it, such as in schools). (Source: Courier Mail, 22 Apr 05, "Water supply set to run dry") Against this background and other more general issues an email was sent to the Courier Mail as a reader's letter with reference to the then existing regular competitions run by the paper where the first prize was a backyard renovation including the building of a private swimming pool; not only that, the proliferation of pools was loudly applauded (email text: "To paraphrase Michael Moore, is it not strange for a major newspaper of a state that experiences a long-term drought to promote the building of more and more private pools?"; sent 22 Aug 04). As usual the letter was not printed nor acknowledged, but the competition stopped forthwith.

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