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The Brain that Changes Itself

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I’ve been out at the Sydney Writers’ Festival for the past couple of days. Among the long queues, the various shades of black, and the obligatory person in each session who ‘asks a question’ by making a long personal statement, I’ve been to some very interesting and inspiring sessions. One of the best so far was called The Brain that Changes Itself: Judge For Yourself, where an American research psychoanalyst named Norman Doidge talked about a book that he’s written about neuroplasticity. What an awesome word. Say it five times fast.

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This week: ending March 15

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Three stories from this week:

In order to protect jobs, the Australian Federal Government has announced changes to their skilled migration policy. Foreign tradespeople such as carpenters and electricians will no longer have an easy ride to work and residency in Australia. Last year they removed cooks and hairdressers from the same list. I’m not 100% sure how I feel about the policy, but I do know that less people trying to migrate will affect my work as an IELTS examiner. Read More

International Women’s Day

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When I was at Macquarie University, it wasn’t uncommon for guys to remark ‘There’s a women’s room, where’s the men’s room?’ (The clever answer was ‘the bar’) and you might ask a similar question about International Women’s Day, which is this coming Sunday. Coming from a family with extremely strong women, who haven’t always had it easy, I think a ‘global day celebrating the economic, political and social achievements of women past, present and future’ is a pretty good idea. You don’t have to look too far to find celebrations of the achievements of men, do you?

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What’s in a name?

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I‘ve never really liked using or receiving nicknames. In my time I’ve had plenty of variations on my name: Marko, Maco Polo, Marky, Marcus, Marcus Aurelius, Markus Farkus. Markus is probably the best of the bunch, the lesser of many evils. Marky is the absolute worst. Only my closest friends can use that without receiving vitriol in return. One girlfriend called me Sparkles (short for Markle Sparkles). I didn’t mind that, but it’s not really appropriate for anyone else to use. Read More