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Pirate Latitudes (Book Review)

Published on August 21st, 2019

Pirate Latitudes by Michael Crichton

It’s been years since I read a pirate novel or anything resembling an olden days seafaring yarn. Not too long ago I sat down and read Pirate Latitudes by Michael Crichton (mainly because his books always have a good pay-off at the end for the reader) and found a bit of a gem for the historic reader of my younger years. This novel is the story of Captain Edward Hunter, a privateer for the English Crown in the very early years of Port Royal. The thing that really made the book, though… Crichton’s pay-off at the very end. If you don’t want spoilers then don’t read any further. OK, you’ve been warned. This novel came from the book authored and published by Charles Hunter in 1666 Life Among the Privateers of the Carribean Sea. The last pages of Michael Crichton’s novel reveals the fates of major players and privateers in Port Royal and their story that led to a missing treasure still unfound to this day.

The simple fact at the time of the reading was that I thought this was just a swashbuckling adventure novel with elements that were too tall to be true tales. And, of course, given that it’s taken from Hunter’s own account of events there is no mistaking that he painted his life as a privateer (or pirate) with a more noble and honourable brush. And how do you criticise the version of a man who was the only survivor of a fight? In such times when a ship came to port they could easily say the battle was not to their advantage, they never picked the fight, and that all members of the other ship were lost to the sea. Drowned, or murdered? Who would know?

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Australia Needs an Honest Conversation about Unemployment & the Economy

Published on August 7th, 2019

Every so often I want to pull out my eyeballs and throw them at the media. No, at society. At a society that demonises unemployment as a personal failure, but at the same time does not understand the structural integrity of the economy being underpinned by a need for job scarcity. Australia demands about 5 per cent of our labour market must be unemployed in any given week at a participation rate currently around 66 per cent. And government will take measures to ensure that happens. But nobody is having that conversation outside economics. Certainly not in politics.

The Scarcity of Labour and Inflation

Enter the economic concepts of the Full Employment Rate of Unemployment and the non-accelerating inflation rate of unemployment (NAIRU). In short, employment and inflation are linked. And inflation is controlled using the scarcity of labour (aka jobs). In that relationship we choose a full employment rate of unemployment to be around 5 per cent; this calculates to approximately 700,000 job seeking Australians that we would rather, as an economy, weren’t able to get a job in the given fortnight.

Here’s the idea in a nutshell. If too many people get work then the scarcity of labour falls to a point that recruiters would need to offer higher wages to attract employees. The market power would be in the hands of the workers. This means the companies would have to charge more for their products and services to cover those higher wages. In turn, the rising cost of products and services to those workers increases and they would demand higher wages as their standard of living declined. Again, this leads to a spiral of price rises and resulting wage rises. Spiraling inflation.

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Water: A Comprehensive Guide for Brewers (Book Review)

Published on July 16th, 2019

Cover of Water by John Palmer and Colin Kaminski

As a home brewer with a couple of University degrees (BComp MBAS) and neither of them in chemistry my first comment about this book is “Holy fuck!”. This book being Water: A Comprehensive Guide for Brewers by John Palmer and Colin Kaminski. No, seriously, this actually is as advertised… a comprehensive guide to the chemistry of water at all stages of the brewing process from the tap to the disposal of waste. It’s also a book that you can take from stage one of your brewing career through to building and running your own brewery on a commercial scale. So, I’m impressed. And I learned a lot… but it’s a tough read for the non-chemist.

So, from a home brewer’s perspective, I’m not sure exactly if you have to take the time to read Palmer’s book about water. But at the same time I know you’ll get a lot out of it if you can only wade through the highly complex explanations. I’d love to read another version – an edited university text book with side notes and diagrams. Not quite the Dummies Guide… but a graduates step into the concepts that build into the knowledge that makes water chemistry make sense.

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More Articles on StevenClark.com.au

  1. Advice on being in the Business of Making Beer
  2. Altbier (Book Review)
  3. Pirate Latitudes (Book Review)
  4. Australia Needs an Honest Conversation about Unemployment & the Economy
  5. Water: A Comprehensive Guide for Brewers (Book Review)

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About the Author

Steven Clark Steven Clark - the stand up guy on this site

My name is Steven Clark (aka nortypig) and I live in Southern Tasmania. I have an MBA (Specialisation) and a Bachelor of Computing from the University of Tasmania. I'm a photographer making pictures with film. A web developer for money. A business consultant for fun. A journalist on paper. Dreams of owning the World. Idea champion. Paradox. Life partner to Megan.

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