Floating Life 4/06 ~ 11/07

an archive

Archive for the ‘Observations’ Category

Reconstruction finished


And, after all, plainness and simplicity have won in the template battle. It all works smoothly now, and I commend these pages to you. Having read the lot again over the past week I am quite pleased with some of it. 🙂

Written by Neil

July 28, 2008 at 8:58 am

Posted in my sites, Observations

Australian Adult Literacy and Life Skills Survey 2

Jim Belshaw has posted on the Adult Literacy and Life Skills Survey 2006 from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, released just today. I have downloaded the full report, and to be honest have not had time to do more than browse.

Jim’s post does have a good historical introduction.

He then notes:

A second thing stands out when I look at the numbers. Those in the 15 to 19 age cohort had lower levels of literacy than the 20 to 24 year age cohort and by a reasonable margin.

The following graph captures that; I won’t even try to explain the five categories at this stage. The general trend is what Jim is referring to.
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Written by Neil

November 28, 2007 at 10:40 pm


I thought it delightful that ABC had scheduled (unknowingly of course) Choir Of Hard Knocks Opera House Special for the first day of the Rudd government.

Twelve months ago Jonathon Welch brought together a group of Melbourne’s disadvantaged to form a choir, but had no idea what a sensation the choir would become. Now the 42 members of the Choir of Hard Knocks have been invited to perform in the Opera House concert hall.

Taking such a disparate group on the road is a risky venture, and the stakes are high. It’s a real show of faith in the Choir, and nerve racking for the organisers. It’s a massive logistical operation given the varied emotional and physical needs of the choristers. For most, it will be their first time on a plane or their first trip interstate.
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Written by Neil

November 26, 2007 at 8:42 am

John Quiggin, Jim Belshaw and Bruce on the culture wars

First came John Quiggin on 15 November, then Jim Belshaw on 17 November, and then Bruce on 17 November. There is considerable comment on the first of those entries. I do not propose to examine those posts in depth, but do ask that you read them all. Each in its own way is very good.

Now you will gather from my post tags that I have a position on this; in fact this post will be the 349th under that tag! Over on Oz Politics and Big Archive you will find 326 more! There is also a page on a rather specialised aspect of all this: Revision or Ideological Makeover? HREOC’s “Face the Facts” Rejigged which traces the evolution of changes of attitude and policy — not as successful as the government planned, I would say because HREOC has not been totally abject — that I encountered as an ESL teacher from 1996 onwards.

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Written by Neil

November 19, 2007 at 11:13 am

While I slept

There have been 115 visits to this blog and Oz Politics since midnight; it’s now around 8am. They come from all over.

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Written by Neil

November 19, 2007 at 8:30 am

I’m right-brain dominant

Why am I not surprised?

Left Brain Right Brain
logical random
sequential intuitive
rational holistic
analytical synthesizing
objective subjective
looks at parts looks at wholes

 Just about everything I write here would confirm that.

Go to Which way? on Volacious.net and do a really good test.

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Written by Neil

November 18, 2007 at 1:54 pm

Writing and readability

Pia Savage points out in her comment on the previous post that the “score” in those readability tests comes most likely from the Flesch-Kincaid Readability Test. This has been around since John Howard was in short pants; we learned about it, and similar measures, in Dip Ed in 1964, and they were venerable then. The grade level is calculated with the following formula:


Obviously one cannot “fail” such a test, nor is it in itself a good or bad thing to get a particular result as the test totally ignores both meaning and context. That is a serious failing. Nonetheless, it is a useful indicator of the likelihood of communicating effectively.

I am however something of a fan of the Plain Language movement. I spent a very profitable year in 1978 studying Language Variation and Stylistics with Professor R D Eagleson, one of the Australian gurus of that movement. I attach his Writing in Plain English.

Writing in Plain English (PDF)

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Written by Neil

November 15, 2007 at 8:10 am