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Messages - Surly1

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1
Doomsteading / Re: Meanwhile back at the 'stead
« on: Today at 06:18:30 AM »

On the drive home last night around 6 pm, the full moon was absolutely amazing, having risen very early, before dusk. A few wispy clouds served as a canvas for the moon  to paint with subtle color, and the effect was something that looked like it was painted in water colors by Van Gogh.....I reached for my cell phone to call my wife to to tell her, but the battery was dead, so I just drove across the rocky hill country back to Austin with one eye on the highway and the other on the slowly changing celestial spectacle unfolding to my east, looking out the driver's side window.

I wondered for a minute if the world might be about to end, or I might just die at the wheel, from a fatal dose of moonlight.

I turned in early, while the eclipse was still in progress, but the missus dragged me out of bed twice to come out in the front yard and look at it. It was the best one I can remember, off hand, I still gave up and passed out before it was complete, but I understand it was a true blood moon, the likes of which are seldom seen around here,



I checked it out at the beginning of the evening, then again around midnight on a cold night in Norfolk. My wife is an excited observer of these phenomena and encouraged me to go out and look around midnight. This is the closest pic I could find to what I saw, which was the moon's disc obscured to a crescent.



Definitely worth making the effort to see.

Also found this. Wish I'd had the gumption to shoot something like this:

2
Credit goes to Surly for posting a link to this marvelous article on his Doomstead Diner Daily column this morning.

After reading it twice and being enamored by it's scope decided to post it in it's entirety on our History thread. An absolute must read!

Great find Surly. :emthup: :emthup: :emthup:


The Dark Places of the Future - Ecosophia

https://www.ecosophia.net/the-dark-places-of-the-future/   :icon_study: :icon_study: :icon_study:

Thanks. I have been stumbling across a number of related articles lately that, coupled with the stresses on workers from the government shutdown, have struck a similar theme. I have a related article in the queue based on a couple of these and inspired bt the shutdown, which I will cut loose in day or so. My first since my hip replacement, as I shake myself free of the opioid fog.

3
World's 26 richest people own as much as poorest 50%, says Oxfam

Charity calls for 1% wealth tax, saying it would raise enough to educate every child not in school

Luxury yachts in Monaco
The Oxfam report says that between 2017 and 2018 a new billionaire was created every two days. Photograph: Bloomberg via Getty Images

The growing concentration of the world’s wealth has been highlighted by a report showing that the 26 richest billionaires own as many assets as the 3.8 billion people who make up the poorest half of the planet’s population.

In an annual wealth check released to mark the start of the World Economic Forum in Davos, the development charity Oxfam said 2018 had been a year in which the rich had grown richer and the poor poorer.

It said the widening gap was hindering the fight against poverty, adding that a 1% wealth tax would raise an estimated $418bn (£325bn) a year – enough to educate every child not in school and provide healthcare that would prevent 3 million deaths.

Oxfam said the wealth of more than 2,200 billionaires across the globe had increased by $900bn in 2018 – or $2.5bn a day. The 12% increase in the wealth of the very richest contrasted with a fall of 11% in the wealth of the poorest half of the world’s population.

As a result, the report concluded, the number of billionaires owning as much wealth as half the world’s population fell from 43 in 2017 to 26 last year. In 2016 the number was 61.

Among the findings of the report were:

  • In the 10 years since the financial crisis, the number of billionaires has nearly doubled.

  • Between 2017 and 2018 a new billionaire was created every two days.

  • The world’s richest man, Jeff Bezos, the owner of Amazon, saw his fortune increase to $112bn. Just 1% of his fortune is equivalent to the whole health budget for Ethiopia, a country of 105 million people.

  • The poorest 10% of Britons are paying a higher effective tax rate than the richest 10% (49% compared with 34%) once taxes on consumption such as VAT are taken into account.

Oxfam’s director of campaigns and policy, Matthew Spencer, said: “The massive fall in the number of people living in extreme poverty is one of the greatest achievements of the past quarter of a century but rising inequality is jeopardising further progress.

“The way our economies are organised means wealth is increasingly and unfairly concentrated among a privileged few while millions of people are barely subsisting. Women are dying for lack of decent maternity care and children are being denied an education that could be their route out of poverty. No one should be condemned to an earlier grave or a life of illiteracy simply because they were born poor.

“It doesn’t have to be this way – there is enough wealth in the world to provide everyone with a fair chance in life. Governments should act to ensure that taxes raised from wealth and businesses paying their fair share are used to fund free, good-quality public services that can save and transform people’s lives.”

The report said many governments were making inequality worse by failing to invest enough in public services. It noted that about 10,000 people die for lack of healthcare and there were 262 million children not in school, often because their parents were unable to afford the fees, uniforms or textbooks.

Oxfam said governments needed to do more to fund high-quality, universal public services through tackling tax dodging and ensuring fairer taxation, including on corporations and the richest individuals’ wealth, which it said were often undertaxed.

A global wealth tax has been called for by the French economist Thomas Piketty, who has said action is needed to arrest the trend in inequality.

The World Inequality Report 2018 – co-authored by Piketty – showed that between 1980 and 2016 the poorest 50% of humanity only captured 12 cents in every dollar of global income growth. By contrast, the top 1% captured 27 cents of every dollar.

Oxfam said that in addition to tackling inequality at home, developed nations currently failing to meet their overseas aid commitments could raise the missing billions needed to tackle extreme poverty in the poorest countries by increasing taxes on extreme wealth.

China’s rapid growth over the past four decades has been responsible for much of the decline in extreme poverty but Oxfam said World Bank data showed the rate of poverty reduction had halved since 2013. In sub-Saharan Africa, extreme poverty was on the increase.

Oxfam said its methodology for assessing the gap between rich and poor was based on global wealth distribution data provided by the Credit Suisse global wealth data book, covering the period from June 2017 to June 2018. The wealth of billionaires was calculated using the annual Forbes billionaires list published in March 2018.


4
Orwell v Huxley: whose dystopia are we living in today?

John Lanchester on how Brave New World and Nineteen Eighty-Four capture the age of Facebook and Trump




The modern world looks to many like a dystopia — a version of “the darkest timeline”, to borrow a term from the American sitcom Community. Whose dystopia, though? Which writer best imagined this moment of turmoil and dysfunction? The greatest contributions to the tradition of dystopian fiction are two defining masterpieces from the 20th century, both of them bestsellers at the time and ever since: Aldous Huxley’s 1932 Brave New World and George Orwell’s 1949 Nineteen Eighty-Four.

The two dystopias have many details in common. Both writers saw a future shaped by weapons of mass destruction — biological and chemical weapons in Huxley’s case, nuclear war in Orwell’s. They agreed about the danger of permanent social stratification, with humanity divided into categories determined by biological engineering and psychological conditioning (Huxley) or traditional class combined with totalitarian loyalty systems (Orwell). Both men imagined future societies completely obsessed with sex, though in diametrically opposite ways: state-enforced repression and celibacy in the case of Orwell; deliberate, narcotising promiscuity in the case of Huxley.


 Both men thought the future would be dominated by America. Both men thought that future governments would spend a lot of effort permanently trying to incite economic consumption — not that either man thought of anything as wildly fantastical as quantitative easing. Both began their books with a short sentence designed to signal a world which was familiar but also disconcertingly futuristic: “A squat grey building of only thirty-four stories,” begins Brave New World. We are supposed to gasp with amazement at the “only”. Nineteen Eighty-Four begins: “It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.” Thirteen! The horror!

Both men were writing warnings: “the message of the book”, said Huxley, was, “This is possible: for heaven’s sake be careful about it.” In his vision, humanity was facing a future world tranquilised by pleasure and drugs and the voluntary distractions of “civilised infantilisation”. For Orwell, humanity was facing a permanent state of war and totalitarian mind-control, summed up by the image of “a boot stamping on a human face, for ever”. For all the overlap, though, they are usually seen as contradictory, conflicting versions of the future.

George Orwell, the author of ‘Nineteen Eighty-Four’ © Bettmann Archive

The difference between the two dystopias is rooted in one of imaginative literature’s central distinctions. Many writers of speculative fiction — a term preferred over science fiction by Margaret Atwood, among others — like to stress that their work is a vision of the present, magnified and intensified. “The future is here,” William Gibson has said, “it’s just unevenly distributed.” Atwood made it a rule in writing The Handmaid’s Tale that she “would not put any events into the book that had not already happened . . . nor any technology not already available. No imaginary gizmos, no imaginary laws, no imaginary atrocities.” Orwell did create some technological innovations for his future world, but in essence his Nineteen Eighty-Four is a deep look into the heart of already existing totalitarian societies. Some of the details may be from the straitened world of the 1940s — the novel is pervaded by the smell of boiled cabbage — but the story goes far past that into the depths of the human heart and the totalitarian project to reshape it.


 No one could have been better placed than Orwell to see into this present and project it into the future. His life-long involvement with leftwing ideas was both theoretical — nuances of perspectives from the Independent Labour party to the union movement through anarchism, Trotskyism and Stalinism — and directly lived. It was characteristic of him that when he went to the Spanish civil war to write about it, he found himself unable to stand back and report, but instead, once he saw the reality of what was happening, immediately joined the Trotskyist militia to fight the fascists. The utter ruthlessness with which the Soviet-backed faction suppressed the other groups on the republican side, their willingness to lie and murder their own allies, gave Orwell the impetus and insight to write his great novel about totalitarianism.


 It is because of that, in this difficult historic moment, that the Orwell vs Huxley contest might seem to have been concluded in Orwell’s favour. I was recently on a plane just after the start of the school holidays, and in the course of wandering up and down the aisle, noticed the startling fact that three different young people were reading Nineteen Eighty-Four, in three different languages (English, Italian, Portuguese). Not bad for a 70-year-old book. The Orwell estate has always been well run, attentive to the business of keeping his reputation in public view — that was one of the inspirations behind the creation of the annual Orwell prizes for political writing. You could even say that Sonia Orwell, who married him on his deathbed, was being attentive to his reputation in taking his pseudonym as a surname, given that his family knew him as Eric Blair. (This point was made to me by a relative of Orwell’s, someone who thrillingly-to-me knew him as Eric.)


Nothing, however, but nothing, could rival the sales boost provided by Donald Trump. This president embodies the insight that given a willingness to lie without compunction, norms of veracity can be abolished with extraordinary speed. It is one of the central demands of the Party, in Orwell’s book, that you “reject the evidence of your eyes and ears”. Trump put that maxim into effect on his very first day in office, with his insistence that people ignore the evidence of their senses about his Inauguration day crowds. The world is not divided up into three dominant totalitarian superstates, as in the novel, but in a time of ascendant strongmen, dictators, anti-Semites and state-sponsored liars, many of Orwell’s other prophesies have come true. Consider North Korea, an inherited communist dictatorship many of whose features — a society based on hierarchies of loyalty to the leadership — might have been directly transcribed from Nineteen Eighty-Four.

US President Donald Trump and North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un walk together during their summit in Singapore, 2018 © Reuters/Jonathan Ernst


 Wait a minute, though. Orwell was right about many things, but Huxley was right too. Huxley’s background was similar to Orwell’s — not only did they both go to Eton, Huxley went back there as a young man (and even taught Orwell French). Despite that, Huxley’s milieu was very different, scientific and philosophical rather than politically engaged. The Huxleys were scientific and liberal aristocracy: Aldous’s great-uncle was the poet laureate Matthew Arnold; his grandfather Thomas was “Darwin’s bulldog”, the first high-profile public defender of Darwin’s ideas; his brother Julian was a prominent biologist and public figure, the first director-general of Unesco, co-founder of the World Wildlife Fund. Julian was also a leading eugenicist, dedicated to the idea that science could be used to weed out inferior genetic stock for the public good.

The emotional texture of Brave New World is very different from that of Nineteen Eighty-Four; there is a playfulness, a lightness, not at all like the grim, repressed, grey-toned landscape of Orwell’s novel. The question of eugenics offers us a clue to the reason for this. Huxley was interested in eugenics, which held a fascination for many intellectuals of the left as well as of the right. He came to see it as a sinister field — correctly, since the thought that the poor have genetic traits which could and should be bred out of them is indeed one of the darkest and most dangerous ideas of the 20th century. But he had first felt the lure of the idea that modernity can improve us, that science can cure some of the pain and difficulty of being human. The fact that Huxley had been tempted by these thoughts helped him depict his ideas with a lighter, more exploratory touch than Orwell.

‘Brave New World’ author Aldous Huxley in 1958 © Philippe Halsman / Magnum Photos


 Huxley’s dystopia was the other sort of speculative fiction from Orwell’s: not a deep burrowing into the present, but a projection of existing trends into the future. He genuinely was trying to think about what the future would be, if things carried on in the direction they were headed. He was well placed to see trend lines in many of the sciences and made good guesses about where they were going. As a result, we can make a strong claim that it is he, and not Orwell, who did a better job of predicting modern life in the developed world. The revolutionary change in attitudes to sex, for instance, is not something many people foresaw in 1932, but Huxley did: the separation of sex and reproduction is complete in Brave New World, as it is near-complete in modern life.
He guessed correctly about the development of new technologies in contraception, and guessed correctly about their consequences too.

In Brave New World promiscuity is not just normal, it is actively encouraged; total frankness in all aspects of sexuality, ditto. Sex is a distraction and a source of entertainment, almost a drug. Huxley would have looked at our world of dating apps and sexualised mass entertainment — and perhaps especially shows such as Love Island and Naked Attraction — and awarded his predictions a solid A+. (Naked Attraction is a Channel Four dating show on which people choose a partner based on whether or not they like the look of their genitals. The audience sees the genitals too. When you describe this show to people, they often think they’ve misunderstood, and that you can’t mean that people stand with their faces concealed and their genitals exposed and are chosen by a prospective partner on that basis — but that’s exactly what happens. I recommend this programme to anyone who doesn’t agree that norms around sexuality have changed.) Orwell saw a future in which the state discouraged sex. In this respect he was completely wrong and Huxley was completely right.

Huxley was also more broadly right about pleasure. Orwell wrote about a world which was sensually constrained, pinched, grey — that was one of the main respects in which he was channelling the spirit of the 1940s. Huxley looked ahead, and saw a future in which life was very pleasant — lullingly, deadeningly, numbly pleasant. Undemanding pleasures and unchallenging entertainments are central to the functioning of society. Sources of distraction play a vital role. The “feelies”, the main source of mass entertainment, are all about escape from the self. “When the individual feels, society reels,” is the motto, and every effort is made to stop people from feeling strong emotion. The preferred method for this is soma, a side-effect free drug which guarantees dissociated happiness. Here, again, Huxley could look at the modern use of antidepressants, anti-anxiety and sedative medications, and conclude that he had nailed it.


 One particular area of Huxley’s prescience concerned the importance of data. He saw the information revolution coming — in the form of gigantic card-indexes, true, but he got the gist. It is amusing to see how many features of Facebook, in particular, are anticipated by Brave New World. Facebook’s mission statement “to give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together” sounds a lot like the new world’s motto “Community, Identity, Stability”. The world in which “we haven’t any use for old things” dovetails with Mark Zuckerberg’s view that “young people are just smarter”. The meeting room whose name is Only Good News — can you guess whether that belongs to Huxley’s World Controller, or Sheryl Sandberg? The complete ban on the sight of breast feeding is common to the novel and to the website. The public nature of relationship status, the idea that everything should be shared, and the idea that “everyone belongs to everyone else” are also common themes of the novel and the company — and above all, the idea, perfectly put by Zuckerberg and perfectly exemplifying Huxley’s main theme, that “privacy is an outdated norm”.


 This theme, of an attack on privacy, is central to Orwell’s vision too. Thought crime is one of the most serious crimes in Nineteen Eighty-Four. It is at this point that we can start to see his and Huxley’s novels not as competing visions of the future but as complementary, overlapping warnings. Our world has sex on display everywhere, entertainment to take you out of your mind whenever you want, and drugs to make you stop feeling. It also has an increasing number of strongmen leaders who rewrite history and ignore the truth, and a growing emphasis on crimes-by-thought. We don’t have an official “Two Minutes Hate”, as Orwell’s state of Oceania does, but our social media equivalents come pretty close. The idea of permanent low-level war as a new norm looks a lot like our 18-year global war on terror — in fact the GWOT would fit in nicely in Orwell’s world of acronyms and Newspeak. The idea of a society permanently stratified into inherited or genetically determined social classes maps well on to a modern world where the most unequal societies are also the ones in which people are most likely to inherit their life chances.

A globally dominant society ruled by a party and a strong leader, a society which uses every possible method of surveillance and data collection to monitor and control its citizens, a society which is also enjoying a record rise in prosperity and abundance, and using unprecedented new techniques in science and genetics — that society would look a lot like a blend of Orwell’s and Huxley’s visions. It would also look a lot like modern-day China. The developing Chinese “citizen score”, a blend of reputational and financial and socio-political metrics, used to determine access to everything from travel and education and healthcare, is such a perfect blend of dystopias that we can only credit it to a new writer, Huxwell. Some commentators on the subject have begun saying that the citizen score is being misunderstood, that it is only a Chinese attempt to develop something as all-encompassing and socially determinative as we in the fortunate west already have with credit rating agencies. They’re missing the point: that isn’t what’s good about the citizen score. It’s what’s bad about it.

Huxley and Orwell both wrote their books to try and prevent their dystopias from coming true. Their success at prophecy is also their failure — because the righter they are, the more their projects didn’t do what they were supposed to. Neither man would have thought that a reason to give up hope. Their warnings are still valid. We can still change direction. There will be life after Trump and Putin. There may even be life after Naked Attraction and Facebook. Last word to Huxley, in the foreword to his dystopia, written 20 years later: “though I remain no less sadly certain than in the past that sanity is a rather rare phenomenon, I am convinced that it can be achieved and would like to see more of it”.

John Lanchester’s new novel ‘The Wall’ is published this week by Faber


5
he actions of a group of teenage Trump supporters who harassed a Native American veteran in Washington over the weekend are the result of an uptick in hateful rhetoric that has creeped into the public discourse, Sen. James Lankford said.

“The key issue that I would say is in our culture for whatever reason, in our current culture, whether it's on social media or at events, I see people trying to stop hate with more hate,” the Oklahoma Republican said Sunday during an interview with host Martha Raddatz on ABC’s “This Week.”

“That doesn't help us as a culture,” he said. “If there's anything we should have learned from Martin Luther King Jr., [it] is: Hate doesn't drive out hate; only love drives out hate.”

King, whose federal holiday will be observed Monday, famously said in a 1957 sermon: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that."

“To respond back with love and compassion to people rather than driving out hatred would help us in our social media culture and with the dialogue that's happening,” Lankford said. “It would help us at events and be able to have more open dialogue.”

The confrontation Friday between Nathan Phillips, a 64-year-old Omaha Tribe elder and Vietnam veteran, and students from a Catholic boys’ high school in Kentucky, wearing hats emblazoned with President Donald Trump’s “Make America Great Again” campaign slogan, has sparked widespread outrage. Phillips said the students were chanting “build the wall” at him. Defenders of the teenagers said others at the site were harassing them, and that the teens weren’t chanting hateful slogans at him.

The teenagers were in the nation’s capital to participate in the anti-abortion March for Life, which coincided with the Indigenous Peoples March in Washington. Their school, Covington Catholic, and the Roman Catholic diocese have issued a statement condemning the behavior.

Lankford, whose home state boasts one of the nation’s largest Native American populations, declined to say whether the president bore any responsibility for the episode. Trump has repeatedly mocked Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) as “Pocahontas” and recently invoked the site of the 1890 Wounded Knee Massacre in a tweet mocking her.

https://www.politico.com/story/2019/01/20/teenagers-native-american-lankford-1116069

How about bad parenting? Who raises kids to act like that?

Douchebags.


6
Surly Newz / Re: Things That Make Me Say, "Dafuq?"
« on: Today at 04:43:58 AM »
Great lunar eclipse here last night. Wonder how the no-nothings explain those.

They can't be absolved of their ignorance, for ignorance is their goal.

And babies are little gifts from Jesus.

Actually got to see it last night. Directly over head, in a crescent phase, on the coldest night of the year here. Which compared to the Midwest is shirtsleeve weather.


7

An average of polls compiled by RealClearPolitics currently states that 55.3% of Americans disapprove of Trump’s performance, the highest figure since last March. A little over 41% of people approve.

IMHO as long as that 41% stays about there Trumpsky will not move. Once the 41% begin to feel pain then perhaps he will shift the paradigm (the lies will fly fast and furious-and he won't realize he is lying).
AJ

Trump's strategy since day 1 has been to play to his base and maintain a minimum 30 per cent approval, which is about the tipping point. This involves a daily battle for the news cycle to control the narrative, hence the ceaseless lying and the through-the-looking-glass tweeting, m usually with a rage boner.

Never forget Nixon boarded his helicopter to deserved (if not realized) obscurity with 28 per cent approval. And this without a full time propaganda channel programming the stupid.

President Trump Job Approval

Polling Data

Poll Date Sample
Approve
Disapprove
Spread
RCP Average 1/8 - 1/17 -- 41.4 55.3 -13.9
Economist/YouGov 1/12 - 1/15 1289 RV 45 52 -7
Rasmussen Reports 1/15 - 1/17 1500 LV 44 55 -11
Reuters/Ipsos 1/9 - 1/15 3363 A 41 55 -14
NPR/PBS/Marist 1/10 - 1/13 873 RV 40 54 -14
Pew Research 1/9 - 1/14 RV 39 58 -19
Quinnipiac 1/9 - 1/13 1209 RV 41 55 -14
CNN 1/10 - 1/11 848 A 37 57 -20
The Hill/HarrisX 1/8 - 1/11 3015 RV 44 56 -12

All President Trump Job Approval Polling Data


It continues to amaze that four out of ten can still say they "approve"of this rolling nightmare.They are clearly not federal employees.

8
Environment / Re: ⛸️ -40F is FUCKING COLD!
« on: Today at 03:59:13 AM »
Here is my next 7 day forecast.   
max 33°C   37°C   28°C   39°C   42°C   33°C    25°C
Min   14°C   15°C   15°C   15°C   25°C   15°C   15°C
Friday is 42 and windy. That's the one to watch for fires after a hot few days leading up to it.

Beginning to think I would prefer -40 right now too.

Here is link to site we keep our eye on when fire danger is high. Interactive map is very handy and kept up to the minute:
http://emergency.vic.gov.au/respond/

Find Melbourne and go North. You will see Wallan just before Kilmore.

This is one of the most fire prone areas in the world. Mild wet winter and springs and dry hot summers, wit abundance of Eucalyptus trees. Populations is starting to encroach more and more into fire areas, at the same time we seem to be getting wetter and hotter!

JOW

JOW, found this this morning...

‘It’s like hell here’: Australia bakes as record temperatures nudge 50C

Fears rise for homeless and vulnerable people as communities brace for another week of relentless hot weather

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A sign warns bathers of the extreme heat on Bondi Beach, in Sydney, Australia.
A sign warns bathers of the extreme heat on Bondi Beach, in Sydney, Australia. Photograph: Torsten Blackwood/AFP/Getty Images

It was 48.9C last Tuesday in Port Augusta, South Australia, an old harbour city that now harvests solar power. Michelle Coles, the owner of the local cinema, took off her shoes at night to test the concrete before letting the dogs out. “People tend to stay at home,” she said. “They don’t walk around when it’s like this.”

It’s easy to see why: in the middle of the day it takes seconds to blister a dog’s paw or child’s foot. In Mildura, in northern Victoria, last week gardeners burned their hands when they picked up their tools, which had been left in the sun at 46C. Fish were dying in the rivers.

Almost every day last week a new heat record was broken in Australia. They spread out, unrelenting, across the country, with records broken for all kinds of reasons – as if the statistics were finding an infinite series of ways to say that it was hot.

The community of Noona – population 14 – reached the highest minimum ever recorded overnight in Australia – 35.9C was the coldest it got, at 7am on Friday. It was 45C by noon.

A record fell on Tuesday in Meekatharra in Western Australia – the highest minimum there ever recorded (33C). Another fell on Wednesday, 2,000 miles away, in Albury, New South Wales – their hottest day (45.6C).

It was 45C or higher for four consecutive days in Broken Hill – another record – and more than 40C for the same time period in Canberra, the nation’s capital. Nine records fell across NSW on Wednesday alone. Back in Port Augusta, Tuesday was the highest temperature since records began in 1962.

In the Niagara Cafe in Gundagai, whose claim to fame is that the former Australian prime minister John Curtin once popped in during the second world war, Tina Loukissas turned off the deep fryer, then the grill.

“It feels like you’ve walked into a sauna,” she said. “When it’s getting up to 43C or 44C, because you have all these machines going, the air conditioning isn’t coping very well.

“We’ve got tables outside that nobody has sat at for the last couple of days … You’d be crazy to sit outside on a day like today.”

In Mildura, Tolga Ozkuzucu, owner of Top Notch Gardens, had the misfortune to be working outdoors.

“It’s been like hell,” he said. “You have to try to leave your tools in the shade. If you don’t, it burns your fingers. There’s not much you can do.

“I try to start as early as I can. I’m not going to risk my body and health. People here are very understanding of that because they know how hot it is … nobody wants to be outside when it’s 46C.”