Entrenched geometry

Sir John Monash Centre at Villers-Bretonneux in France

The design of the centre is governed by the geometry set out by Edwin Lutyens in the original memorial.

Terrace paths have now been laid, completing an original feature of Lutyens’ design. These paths will lead visitors from the tower to its two pavilions where they will discover the entry ramps leading down into the Sir John Monash Centre.

The trench-like experience will continue as the ramps lead into a dark and sombre foyer. The descent into darkness will be “a critical part of the experience”. The path will then lead to an immersive gallery space and visitors will exit the space via a sunken courtyard up onto a landing with a view of a landscape that was once the battlefield where the Australian general Sir John Monash famously won victory.

“There’s a kind of metaphorical movement that we’re trying to describe with the descent into darkness and then ascent into light.”

A key feature of the design is the triangular oculus which punctures the meadow-roof of the proposed building, which can be seen from the top of the tower. From inside the proposed new centre, the shape of the oculus is a function of the triangulated, coffered concrete ceiling but also, as Agius explained, “put really simply, it opens up in the direction of the tower and allows the best view of it.”

The oculus opens up to a view of the original memorial tower.

Designed by Cox Architecture, the approximately 1,000 square metre Centre will be half sunken into the ground and with a turf roof to ensure a harmonious relationship to the Memorial and landscape.

This cutting-edge multimedia centre reveals the Australian Western Front experience through a series of interactive media installations and immersive experiences.

Source: Entrenched geometry: Sir John Monash Centre

Money mindsets

What is holding you back from taking control of your financial future? Discover the five mind tricks that can stop you from achieving financial success and what you can do to avoid them.

Fear of failure

Earning and saving money from your salary is all very well. But setting up an alternative income stream from an investment portfolio can help you make the most of your personal wealth potential. So what is it that holds people back from taking their first steps into investing? According to recent surveys, 70% of millenials would rather keep their savings in cash1 instead of investing it and getting the benefit of compound interest. And one of the main reasons for their reluctance is their fear of losing what little money they have.

Fear is certainly one of the biggest reasons for avoiding the risks, large or small, that come with investing money. And no-one has a magic wand to eliminate these risks altogether. But with advice from a professional who understands your financial circumstances and goals, you can get off to a successful start in investing that builds your confidence as well as your wealth.

Waiting for wealth

It’s all too easy to just wait for someone else to sort out your financial future. You might keep saying that you’ll start building your savings and wealth when that golden goose lays its egg for you. And that egg you’re counting on – whether it’s a higher salary, bonus or redundancy payout for your employer or a gift or inheritance from your family – may never arrive.

If this is the fairy story you’ve been telling yourself, it’s time to rewrite it with yourself as the hero. By sticking to a budget, coming up with your most important goals and creating a financial plan to help you reach them, you’ll soon become your very own golden goose.

The high price of inertia

We’re all busy people and we all have a comfort zone. And that’s why inertia can so often stand in the way of spending less and saving more. In fact, inertia is seen as such a big problem for personal financial security in the UK that a new Institute of Inertia has been established at the University of Sheffield to study behaviour that’s estimated to cost the nation £7.6 billion.

Inertia can mean spending more than you need to on your energy or grocery bills. It could also be stopping you from tracking down lost super and/or bringing together all your super savings in a single fund to save on fees. Or it could mean sticking with the same mortgage when you could be saving thousands in interest by switching. Whatever it is that you’re not getting around to doing to save money, having a financial coach – personal or professional – can keep you accountable in taking small steps towards big savings.

The lifestyle inflation trap

The “earn more, spend more” phenomenon has been dubbed “lifestyle inflation” and it’s something that can really get in the way of preparing for a better financial future. The dangers of behaviour that comes from lifestyle inflation are twofold. The first is what’s known as the Diderot effect3. This happens when you buy something new, stylish and beautiful and it makes all your other stuff seem shabby and old. So you start to replace everything else as well.

The second issue is your new level of wealth can’t last forever. Even if you keep earning more a time is going to come when you’ll stop. We call it retirement and if you’re not saving and planning for it, the fall in your spending and standard of living is going to be very steep indeed. So if you’re finding it hard to save even when you’re earning more, try looking into the future and imagining how much you’ll be enjoying life when you have to budget carefully to pay for food and other essentials, let alone buy anything new.

Winging it won’t work

Leaving your finances to chance won’t bring you the peace of mind that comes with prosperity. Having the money to back future choices – for your career, family and lifestyle – isn’t going to happen by accident. People who make it look easy have probably put in quite a lot of time and effort to ensure they’re in a good place financially.

If you’re naturally a happy go lucky kind of person you’re probably well-liked for your carefree generosity. Especially when you’re the first among your friends to open your wallet and pay the lion’s share of the bar or restaurant bill. Sticking to a budget doesn’t have to mean being stingy. It’s more a case of picking and choosing your generous moments so you can still cover your day-to-day expenses and put some of your money towards providing for your future.

Source: 5 money mindsets that hold you back

DASH diet

A lifelong approach to healthy eating designed to help treat or prevent high blood pressure (hypertension).

The diet is simple:

  • Eat more fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy foods
  • Cut back on foods that are high in saturated fat, cholesterol, and trans fats
  • Eat more whole-grain foods, fish, poultry, and nuts
  • Limit sodium, sweets, sugary drinks, and red meats

The DASH diet encourages you to reduce the sodium in your diet and eat a variety of foods rich in nutrients that help lower blood pressure, such as potassium, calcium and magnesium.

“a dietary pattern characterized by high intakes of fruit, vegetables, whole grain, fish, olive oil, low-fat dairy and antioxidants and low intakes of animal foods was apparently associated with a decreased risk of depression.”

Source: The DASH Diet Eating Plan

Oranges

The potassium in oranges helps counterbalance sodium intake and assist with keeping your blood pressure in check.

Orange have high levels of pectin, this type of soluble fibre works like a “sponge” to suck up cholesterol in foods and block its absorption.

Recently, new studies have found that oranges have the ability to neutralize proteins that lead to heart scar tissue and eventually congestive heart failure.

Safe as Houses?

Australians love residential property and many view it as a relatively low risk investment with the potential for impressive gains. Just look at the price increases over the last 10 years. But what about the future?

‘As safe as houses’ is the expression that comes to mind. There’s a strong narrative in Australia about the importance of buying a home rather than renting and ‘paying off someone else’s mortgage’. This psychology underpins Australians’ love affair with property. And of course the property price increases over the last decade have validated this view for many—particularly, if you live in Sydney or Melbourne.

From an investment perspective, I think Australians feel comfortable with residential property as an asset class. More so than they do with other forms of investment, like sharemarkets. It stands to reason because people live in homes and keep an eye on property prices. They think they know how much residential property is ‘worth’.

Source: Residential property – safe as houses?

Harry’s blades

This New York founded company has been taking the shaving industry by storm since 2013.

With 5 German blades, their razor handles are ergonomically designed with a weighted core to give you better control while shaving. The shape and weight is inspired by other tools like German knives and fine ballpoint pens.

Two best friends.

After Andy (on the right) had a bad experience buying razors at the supermarket, he called his friend Jeff (on the left) and suggested they do something about it – so they started Harry’s.
A full line of grooming products includes shave cream, shave gel, post shave balm and face wash.

Keynes

“Economic Possibilities for Our Grandchildren.”

We are suffering just now from a bad attack of economic pessimism.

It is common to hear people say that the epoch of enormous economic progress which characterized the 19th century is over, that the rapid improvement in the standard of life is now going to slow down, that a decline in prosperity is more likely than an improvement in the decade which lies ahead of us.

I believe that this is a wildly mistaken interpretation of what is happening to us.

We are suffering not from the rheumatics of old age, but from the growing pains of over-rapid changes, from the painfulness of readjustment between one economic period and another.

The increase of technical efficiency has been taking place faster than we can deal with the problem of labor absorption. The improvement in the standard of life has been a little too quick.

The prevailing world depression, the enormous anomaly of unemployment in a world full of wants, the disastrous mistakes we have made, blind us to what is going on under the surface to the true interpretation of the trend of things.

For I predict that both of the two opposed errors of pessimism, which now make so much noise in the world, will be proved wrong in our own time — the pessimism of the revolutionaries who think that things are so bad that nothing can save us but violent change, and the pessimism of the reactionaries who consider the balance of our economic and social life so precarious that we must risk no experiments.

For the moment, the very rapidity of these changes is hurting us and bringing difficult problems to solve. We are being afflicted with a new disease of which some readers may not yet have heard the name, but of which they will hear a great deal in the years to come — namely, technological unemployment.

This means unemployment due to our discovery of means of economizing the use of labor outrunning the pace at which we can find new uses for labor.

But this is only a temporary phase of maladjustment. All this means in the long run is that mankind is solving its economic problem. I would predict that the standard of life in progressive countries 100 years hence will be between four and eight times as high as it is today.

There would be nothing surprising in this even in the light of our present knowledge. It would not be foolish to contemplate the possibility of far greater progress still.

Now it is true that the needs of human beings may seem to be insatiable. But they fall into two classes — those needs which are absolute in the sense that we feel them whatever the situation of our fellow human beings may be, and those which are relative in the sense that we feel them only if their satisfaction lifts us above, makes us feel superior to, our fellows.

Needs of the second class, those which satisfy the desire for superiority, may indeed be insatiable. For the higher the general level, the higher still are they. But this is not so true of the absolute needs. A point may soon be reached, much sooner perhaps than we are all of us aware of, when these needs are satisfied in the sense that we prefer to devote our further energies to non-economic purposes.

Thus, for the first time since his creation, man will be faced with his real, his permanent problem — how to use his freedom from pressing economic cares, how to occupy the leisure, which science and compound interest will have won for him, to live wisely and agreeably and well.

The strenuous purposeful money-makers may carry all of us along with them into the lap of economic abundance. But it will be those peoples who can keep alive, and cultivate into a fuller perfection, the art of life itself and do not sell themselves for the means of life, who will be able to enjoy the abundance when it comes.

Yet there is no country and no people, I think, who can look forward to the age of leisure and of abundance without a dread. For we have been trained too long to strive and not to enjoy.

It is a fearful problem for the ordinary person, with no special talents, to occupy himself, especially if he no longer has roots in the soil or in custom or in the beloved conventions of a traditional society. To judge from the behavior and the achievements of the wealthy classes today in any quarter of the world, the outlook is very depressing!

For these are, so to speak, our advance guard — those who are spying out the promised land for the rest of us and pitching their camp there. For they have most of them failed disastrously, so it seems to me — those who have an independent income but no associations or duties or ties — to solve the problem which has been set them.

I feel sure that with a little more experience we shall use the new-found bounty of nature quite differently from the way in which the rich use it today, and will map out for ourselves a plan of life quite otherwise than theirs.

For many ages to come, the old Adam will be so strong in us that everybody will need to do some work if he is to be contented. We shall do more things for ourselves than is usual with the rich today, only too glad to have small duties and tasks and routines.

But beyond this, we shall endeavor to spread the bread thin on the butter — to make what work there is still to be done to be as widely shared as possible. Three-hour shifts or a 15 hour week may put off the problem for a great while. For three hours a day is quite enough to satisfy the old Adam in most of us!

There are changes in other spheres too which we must expect to come. When the accumulation of wealth is no longer of high social importance, there will be great changes in the code of morals.
We shall be able to rid ourselves of many of the pseudo moral principles which have hagridden us for 200 years, by which we have exalted some of the most distasteful of human qualities into the position of the highest virtues.

We shall be able to afford to dare to assess the money motive at its true value. The love of money as a possession — as distinguished from the love of money as a means to the enjoyments and realities of life — will be recognized for what it is, a somewhat disgusting morbidity, one of those semi-criminal, semi-pathological propensities which one hands over with a shudder to the specialists in mental disease.

All kinds of social customs and economic practices, affecting the distribution of wealth and of economic rewards and penalties, which we now maintain at all costs, however distasteful and unjust they may be in themselves, because they are tremendously useful in promoting the accumulation of capital, we shall then be free, at last, to discard.

Of course, there will still be many people with intense, unsatisfied purposiveness who will blindly pursue wealth — unless they can find some plausible substitute. But the rest of us will no longer be under any obligation to applaud and encourage them.

I see us free, therefore, to return to some of the most sure and certain principles of religion and traditional virtue: that avarice is a vice, that the exaction of usury is a misdemeanor and the love of money is detestable, that those walk most truly in the paths of virtue and sane wisdom who take least thought for the morrow.

We shall once more value ends above means and prefer the good to the useful. We shall honor those who can teach us how to pluck the hour and the day virtuously and well, the delightful people who are capable of taking direct enjoyment in things, the lilies of the field who toil not, neither do they spin.

But beware! The time for all this is not yet. For at least another 100 years we must pretend to ourselves and to everyone that fair is foul and foul is fair; for foul is useful and fair is not.
Avarice and usury and precaution must be our gods for a little longer still. For only they can lead us out of the tunnel of economic necessity into daylight.

I look forward, therefore, in days not so very remote, to the greatest change which has ever occurred in the material environment of life for human beings in the aggregate. But, of course, it will all happen gradually, not as a catastrophe.

Indeed, it has already begun. The course of affairs will simply be that there will be ever larger and larger classes and groups of people from whom problems of economic necessity have been practically removed.

The critical difference will be realized when this condition has become so general that the nature of one’s duty to one’s neighbor is changed. For it will remain reasonable to be economically purposive for others after it has ceased to be reasonable for oneself.

The pace at which we can reach our destination of economic bliss will be governed by four things: our power to control population, our determination to avoid wars and civil dissensions, our willingness to entrust to science the direction of those matters which are properly the concern of science, and the rate of accumulation as fixed by the margin between our production and our consumption — of which the last will easily look after itself, given the first three.

Meanwhile there will be no harm in making mild preparations for our destiny, in encouraging, and experimenting in, the arts of life as well as the activities of purpose.

But, chiefly, do not let us overestimate the importance of the economic problem, or sacrifice to its supposed necessities other matters of greater and more permanent significance.

It should be a matter for specialists — like dentistry. If economists could manage to get themselves thought of as humble, competent people, on a level with dentists, that would be splendid!

excerpted from John Maynard Keynes’ “Economic Possibilities for Our Grandchildren,” which was published in his 1931 collection Essays in Persuasion.

Source: Did historian Niall Ferguson forget that Keynes was deeply concerned about the economic futures of his generation’s grandchildren?

Holiday Program

Gasworks’ kids holiday programs offer creative and entertaining experiences for children aged 4 to 14 during the school holidays.

Bringing together a range of energetic artists and performers who specialise in working with kids, our workshops, performances and classes are imaginative, engaging and fun.

Kids Holiday Program runs every school holidays (Summer, Autumn, Winter & Spring) and include a wide range of activities to excite any kids.

Source: Kids Holiday Program – Gasworks Arts Park

Black Markets

In Stealth of Nations: The Global Rise of the Informal Economy, Robert Neuwirth points out the importance of small, illegal, off-the-books businesses.

If all the world’s informal markets were formed into a single independent nation, its $10 trillion economy would be the second-largest on the planet (behind only the US). These markets thrive in places where taxes are low, poverty is high, and resources are scarce. The colors on this map indicate the size of each country’s underground economy, as a percentage of its GDP.

Source: Why Black Market Entrepreneurs Matter to the World Economy

Agile projects

Face-to-face conversations are the heart and soul of agile projects. Agile meetings provide a format for communicating in a face-to-face environment. Meetings on agile projects have a specific purpose and a specific amount of time in order to allow the development team the time to work, rather than spend time in meetings. Agile artifacts provide a format for written communication that is structured, but not cumbersome or unnecessary.

Artifacts, meetings, and more informal communication channels are all tools.

Even the best tools need people to use those tools correctly to be effective.

Agile projects are about people and interactions; tools are secondary to success.

All projects have stakeholders, people who have a vested interest in the project. As at least one of the stakeholders usually pays for the project, it is important for them to know how the project is progressing.

As the project manager, you spend the most time and effort keeping informed and involved, those stakeholders with high degrees of both power and interest.

Source: Agile Management Communication Methods – dummies