NEWS

What Made Golang Become Popular? Its Creators Look Back

Created at Google in late 2007, the Go programming language was open sourced in late 2009, remember its creators, and "since then, it has operated as a public project, with contributions from thousands of individuals and dozens of companies." In a joint essay in Communications of the ACM, five of the language's five original creators explore what brought growing popularity to this "garbage-collected, statically compiled language for building systems" (with its self-contained binaries and easy cross-compilation). "The most important decisions made in the language's design...were the ones that made Go better for large-scale software engineering and helped us attract like-minded developers...." Although the design of most languages concentrates on innovations in syntax, semantics, or typing, Go is focused on the software development process itself. Go is efficient, easy to learn, and freely available, but we believe that what made it successful was the approach it took toward writing programs, particularly with multiple programmers working on a shared codebase. The principal unusual property of the language itself — concurrency — addressed problems that arose with the proliferation of multicore CPUs in the 2010s. But more significant was the early work that established fundamentals for packaging, dependencies, build, test, deployment, and other workaday tasks of the software development world, aspects that are not usually foremost in language design. These ideas attracted like-minded developers who valued the result: easy concurrency, clear dependencies, scalable development and production, secure programs, simple deployment, automatic code formatting, tool-aided development, and more. Those early developers helped popularize Go and seeded the initial Go package ecosystem. They also drove the early growth of the language by, for example, porting the compiler and libraries to Windows and other operating systems (the original release supported only Linux and MacOS X). Not everyone was a fan — for instance, some people objected to the way the language omitted common features such as inheritance and generic types. But Go's development-focused philosophy was intriguing and effective enough that the community thrived while maintaining the core principles that drove Go's existence in the first place. Thanks in large part to that community and the technology it has built, Go is now a significant component of the modern cloud computing environment. Since Go version 1 was released, the language has been all but frozen. The tooling, however, has expanded dramatically, with better compilers, more powerful build and testing tools, and improved dependency management, not to mention a huge collection of open source tools that support Go. Still, change is coming: Go 1.18, released in March 2022, includes the first version of a true change to the language, one that has been widely requested — the first cut at parametric polymorphism.... We considered a handful of designs during Go's first decade but only recently found one that we feel fits Go well. Making such a large language change while staying true to the principles of consistency, completeness, and community will be a severe test of the approach.

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This is normal. So very normal.

Nothing to see here. Just a former president of the United States sharing a social media post advocating or predicting civil war in the United States. No biggie.

Originally tweeted by George Conway🇺🇦 (@gtconway3d) on May 22, 2022.

I just have one small correction to Conway’s tweet. Trump isn’t just a former president. He is also the front runner for the GOP nomination in 2024.

Scientists Research An Even More Powerful Technique for Genetically-Modifying Mosquitos

The BBC reports on "the next generation of genetic modification technology" — which goes beyond simply introducing a "lab-tweaked gene" into an organism. Instead it introduces a "gene drive" — a lab-tweaked gene "that targets and removes a specific natural gene." if an animal (parent A) that contains a gene drive mates with one that doesn't (parent B), then in the forming embryo that starts to combine their genetic material, parent A's gene drive immediately gets to work. It recognises the natural gene version of itself in the opposite chromosome from parent B, and destroys it, by cutting it out of the DNA chain. Parent B's chromosome then repairs itself — but does so, by copying parent A's gene drive. So, the embryo, and the resulting offspring, are all but guaranteed to have the gene drive, rather than a 50% chance with standard GM — because an embryo takes half its genes from each parent. Gene drives are created by adding something called Crispr, a programmable DNA sequence, to a gene. This tells it to target the natural version of itself in the DNA of the other parent in the new embryo. The gene drive also contains an enzyme that does the actual cutting. It is hoped that gene drives can be used to greatly reduce the numbers of malarial mosquitos, and other pests or invasive species.... One organisation at the forefront of this is Target Malaria, which has developed gene drives that stop mosquitos from producing female offspring. This is important for two reasons — only the females bite, and without females, mosquito numbers will plummet. The core aim is to greatly reduce the number of people who die from malaria — of which there were sadly 627,000 in 2020, according to the World Health Organization. It could also slash the economic impact of the disease. With 241 million cases in 2020, mostly in Africa, malaria is estimated to cost the continent $12bn (£9.7bn) in reduced economic output every year.... One of the world's pioneering developers of gene drives is US biologist Kevin Esvelt, an assistant professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He first came up with the technology back in 2013.... Prof Esvelt adds that this technology is being provided by something called "daisy chain". This is where a gene drive is designed to become inert after a few generations. Or halving its spread every generation until it eventually stops. Using this technology he says it is possible to control and isolate the spread of gene drives. "A town could release GM organisms with its boundaries to alter the local population [of a particular organism] while minimally affecting the town next door," he says. The technology has not been authorized for use "in the wild," the article points out. But there are currently no bans on laboratories researching it.

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Lecturer Argues Cryptocurrency Should ‘Die in a Fire’, Predicts Implosion

Nicholas Weaver is a senior staff researcher at the International Computer Science Institute and lecturer in the computer science department at UC Berkeley. But he's also a raging cryptocurrency skeptic, arguing that cryptocurrency is useless and destructive, and should "die in a fire." In a recent interview in Current Affairs he promulgates what he calls Weaver's Iron Law of Blockchain. "When somebody says you can solve X with blockchain, they don't understand X, and you can ignore them." So for those pushing cryptocurrency for "Banking the unbanked," Weaver points to M-Pesa, a payment system Vodafone started in Kenya in 2007 "about the same time as Bitcoin..." It has eaten the Third World. It's huge. Because it just basically attaches a balance to your phone account. And you can text to somebody else to transfer money that way.... So even with the most basic dumb phone you have easy-to-use electronic money. And this has taken over multiple countries and become a huge primary payment system. [Whereas] the cryptocurrency doesn't work." Weaver also contends that when companies say they accept payments in Bitcoin, "They're lying." (They're using a service which pays them in "actual money" after performing conversions on any Bitcoin proferred-up by a customer.) He believes cryptocurrency is only seriously used for payments for ransomware and drug deals — the things that non-decentralized currencies are legally obligated to block. The reason I've gotten so sour on the cryptocurrency space is the ransomware. It's doing tens to hundreds of billions of dollars worth of damage to the global economy. And it only exists because people can pay in Bitcoin. Weaver also believes cryptocurrency lets venture capitalists "carry out securities fraud as a business model" when they sell one of their startup's tokens to retail investors. This is blatantly an unlicensed security. This is blatant securities fraud, but they didn't commit the securities fraud. It was just the companies they invested in that did the securities fraud, and the SEC has not been proactively enforcing this. They only retroactively enforce against the initial coin offerings after they fail.... and when things fail, the only people to prosecute are the companies, not Andreessen Horowitz itself. So they've been able to make securities fraud a business in such a way that they are legally remote, so you will not be able to throw them in jail.... The SEC has the authority to stop those proactively rather than reactively. They choose not to.... Basically, there's a fear among regulators — that I think started in the '80s — of being accused of "stifling innovation." There's no innovation to stifle. So regulate away. He's also skeptical of cryptocurrency's other supposed advantages. Weaver argues cryptocurrency incentivizes green power "the same way that a whole bunch of random shootings would incentivize bulletproof vests." And even as an investment vehicle, Weaver sees it as "a self-created pyramid scheme." [Y]ou have to keep getting new suckers in. As soon as the number of suckers dries up, it collapses. And because it's not zero-sum, but deeply negative-sum, there are actually a lot of mechanisms that can cause it to collapse suddenly to zero. We saw this just the other day with the Terra stablecoin and the Luna side token. So when asked for the future of cryptocurrency, Weaver predicts "It will implode spectacularly." (By which he means it will "collapse greatly.") The only question is when. I thought it would have actually imploded a year ago. But basically, what we saw with Terra and Luna, where it collapsed suddenly due to these downward positive feedback loops — situations where basically the system is designed to collapse utterly and quickly — those will happen to the larger cryptocurrency space.... [T]he Washington Nationals just the other day started doing a lot of tweets for their business relationship with Terra. That was $5 million for five years prepaid in advance in cash. So for the next five years, the Washington Nationals are obliged to hype a cryptocurrency that failed spectacularly already. Thanks to Slashdot reader sdinfoserv for sharing the article...

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Why hasn’t Trump been crowing about the coming abortion ban?

It’s his doing as much as anyone’s

Apparently, Trump is a little worried about what he’s wrought. Not because it will hurt women of course. For him, that’s a feature not a bug. It’s because he thinks it might hurt his chances with suburban women (which also indicates he knows he lost the election because of that …)

Donald Trump is on the precipice of achieving the most lasting and impactful part of his presidential legacy, as the justices he put on the Supreme Court prepare to help overturn Roe v. Wade and cement the former president’s status as a hero to social conservatives. But for a man who rarely opens his mouth without talking about his own (real or alleged) achievements, Trump has been near-silent on abortion since it became clear Roe was going under.

Instead, Trump has been privately fretting about what the impending collapse of abortion rights will do for his own political prospects, telling those close to him that the issue could hurt him with “suburban women” should he try to retake the White House in 2024. “Suburban women have been a recurring concern for [former] President Trump, including during the 2020 campaign, when his smarter advisers were sounding the alarm to him about how he was losing suburbs. He is … worried women in the suburbs could punish him for this one day, [too],” said a person familiar with the matter.

In the weeks since a draft opinion to overturn Roe was revealed, Trump has barely talked about the issue during interviews, at political rallies, and in his social media posts. According to two sources familiar with the matter, this is indeed an intentional and calculated silence. In recent days, Trump has told some of his allies and counselors that “suburban women” and other key voting groups don’t like hearing about the issue, as they are simply more pro-choice than the mainstream of the Republican Party and conservative movement. He has also told several associates that if he went too hard now on the topic of overturning Roe, it would give his enemies the chance to “use it against” him — the strong implication being, according to the two sources, that if Trump ultimately runs for the White House again in 2024, it could be more a political liability than an asset.

And, naturally, Trump has recently solicited printouts of the latest polling on the subject, according to the two people familiar with the situation.

“‘Suburban women — some who voted for me — they don’t like it when we talk about it. That’s a problem sometimes [and that is] important to remember,’” Trump said at one small gathering earlier this month, the second source relayed.

There are, however, some conservative die-hards in Trump’s orbit who are personally trying to nudge him toward embracing — or at least firmly acknowledging — the anticipated victory, which would inevitably set the pro-choice movement back decades. “I encouraged him to go bigger on the life issue [following the leaked draft opinion],” said a third person, who said they’d spoken to Trump about this in the past two weeks. “He said [something like], ‘maybe,’ which sounded more like a ‘not now.’”

Trump has remained conspicuously reserved since Politico reported earlier this month that five conservative justices had agreed to an opinion overturning Roe. On Truth Social — his apparent social media home since being kicked off other major platforms after the Jan. 6 riot in Washington, D.C., last year — Trump has been busy “truthing” about 2020-election-conspiracy theories, the PGA tour, the Johnny Depp and Amber Heard trial, the Durham probe, Elon Musk’s “probably illegal purchase of a crummy phony account loaded company,” and Tuesday’s Republican primaries. But since the draft opinion leaked, not once in the roughly 120 posts Trump has made on Truth Social have his thumbs tapped out a post referencing abortion, according to a Rolling Stone review of his account.

I knew he was nervous about this. Normally he would be strutting around taking credit for his great victory. But his instincts are right. It will be a problem.

First, nobody believes he really cares about abortion. Second, he once said that there should be some punishment for women for having and abortion which is a huge no-no to say out loud at this stage of the strategy. Third, overturning Roe is wildly unpopular and he campaigned on putting judges on the court who do exactly what they are doing. Yes, they are going to hold him responsible — as they should.

Would You Blur Your House on Every Map App?

If you'd like to deter "digital voyeurs," Popular Science points out that you can ask the map apps from Google, Apple, and Microsoft "to draw a veil of privacy across your property. "You'd be in good company too: Apple CEO Tim Cook had his home blurred from mapping apps after issues with a stalker." There is something to bear in mind before you do this, though: you may not be able to reverse the process. The blur could be there for good. This is the case for Google Maps, and while Apple and Microsoft don't specify whether blurs on their services are permanent, they may follow the same protocol or decide to do so in the future. The case for blurring? "Having strangers from all over the world stare at your home isn't necessarily something you want to happen — but it can be done in seconds on the mapping apps we all carry around on our phones." ("Stop people from peering at your place," suggests the article's subtitle.) But is there also a case against demanding platforms blur what's essentially just the exterior of a building? Where's the boundary where we're honoring the wishes of the privacy-conscious — and does the public ever have a right to see? Share your own thoughts in the comments. And would you blur your house on every map app? (Thanks to long-time Slashdot reader schwit1 for sharing the article...)

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Developer Survey: JavaScript and Python Reign, but Rust is Rising

SlashData's "State of the Developer Nation" surveyed more than 20,000 developers in 166 countries, taken from December 2021 to February 2022, reports InfoWorld. It found the most popular programming language is JavaScript — followed by Python (which apparently added 3.3 million new net developers in just the last six months). And Rust adoption nearly quadrupled over the last two years to 2.2 million developers. InfoWorld summarizes other findings from the survey: Java continues to experience strong and steady growth. Nearly 5 million developers have joined the Java community since the beginning of 2021. PHP has grown the least in the past six month, with an increase of 600,000 net new developers between Q3 2021 and Q1 2022. But PHP is the second-most-commonly used language in web applications after JavaScript. Go and Ruby are important languages in back-end development, but Go has grown more than twice as fast in the past year. The Go community now numbers 3.3 million developers. The Kotlin community has grown from 2.4 million developers in Q1 2021 to 5 million in Q1 2022. This is largely attributed to Google making Kotlin its preferred language for Android development.

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Sick rich playboys killing for sport

Hateful creeps

This makes me want to throw up:

The following story was written and researched by The Utah Investigative Journalism Project in partnership with The Salt Lake Tribune.

Utah hunting guide Wade Lemon faces five years in state prison for the death of a Carbon County bear killed during a guided hunt on May 18, 2018.

But Lemon, a well-known guide didn’t pull the trigger — Donald Trump Jr. did, according to the Utah Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

Trump Jr. is not named in a recent filing against Lemon, but the DNR confirmed his identity as the person named in the felony complaint as Lemon’s “client” on the hunt. Prosecutors have indicated there was no evidence showing Trump Jr. would have known about the alleged baiting that went on during the hunt.

Without naming Trump Jr., Davis County Attorney Troy Rawlings said the hunter in the case “was actually a victim and a now a possible witness in a fraudulent scheme to lead the hunter to believe it was actually a legitimate Wild West hunting situation.”

The charges against Lemon from the Trump Jr. hunt were filed just before the four-year statute of limitations expired. The DNR initially investigated allegations of illegal bearbaiting on the hunt in 2018 and closed the case later that year.

On Sept. 3, 2020, The Utah Investigative Journalism Project requested files on closed investigations against Wade Lemon Hunting. The DNR provided files on cases dating back to 2009 except for the case on the 2018 Trump Jr. hunt. DNR had decided to reopen that case and denied the records request, stating the release would interfere with the now “open” investigation.

DNR turned the case over to the Utah Attorney General’s Office. Utah Attorney General Reyes has close ties to Trump, having campaigned for him and even flying to Nevada to investigate the election results after Trump’s defeat at the polls and signed on to a lawsuit claiming “unlawful election results.” The Attorney General’s Office reinvestigated the case for months, then handed it off to the Davis County Attorney’s Office to screen for filing of charges.

Documents show investigations into Lemon’s organization for the past decade — allegations of cruel and illegal big game baiting practices.

“Lots of quality time in the woods hanging out at 10,000 feet. #outdoors #weekend #adventure #cabin #utah,” reads a May 19, 2018 Instagram post from Trump Jr. The president’s son is decked out in camouflage standing casually at the edge of a cliff before a sweeping view of rolling forests, hills and plateaus. The post is tagged “Utah” and the caption reads “Great weekend in Utah with some good friends in the outdoors.”

Trump Jr. was in Utah to help launch Hunter Nation, a hunting advocacy group. That group would later launch its own super PAC, Hunter Nation Action, which spent $96,997 in ads against Democrats in the 2020 election, according to the campaign spending transparency site Open Secrets.

The organization formed in 2018 and was cofounded by Utahn Don Peay, the Utah campaign manager for Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.

“You will have to go a long way to find a bigger advocate for our hunting lifestyle, a more passionate hunter and conservationist than Don, Jr.,” reads a post Hunter Nation released in the fall of 2019 as part of a raffle for members to win a trip hunting elk in Utah with the president’s son.

“The opportunity to share a hunting camp with him is truly priceless,” the post reads.

There were no pictures of Don Jr.’s kills from his May 2018 trip to Utah on his social media feed, but DNR confirmed that over the course of two days the president’s son bagged two kills that many would consider once-in-a-lifetime hunts — a bear on May 18 and a cougar on May 19, 2018.

Charging documents allege Lemon’s outfitters illegally used bait on the bear shot by Trump Jr. According to the document, a witness identified Lemon and his employees during the hunt in May 2018 and was able to identify Lemon over radio traffic, giving instructions to his employees.

The illegal bait, “a pile of grain, oil and pastries” was discovered with a trail camera pointed right on it with “WLH” (for Wade Lemon Hunting) written on the side and with Lemon’s own telephone number, according to court documents. The charging documents also include evidence from a subordinate confirming Lemon had him place the bait in the location several weeks before the hunt.

Lemon was contacted by phone and said he was surprised by the charges related to the Trump Jr. hunt, saying, “As far as I knew everything was above board,” before ending the call.

A request for comment from The Trump Organization, where Trump Jr. is an executive vice president, was not returned.

Wait. Does Don Jr still have a job other than getting paid to make happy birthday Cameos for MAGA freaks? It seems like all he does is shoot his mouth off, kill animals and post on social media.

He and his brother are both a couple of sociopaths who like to kill animals but apparently they are such pampered little princes that they need people to find the poor creature for them and set up an easy kill so all they have to do is just pull the trigger and strut around like some primitive beast. It couldn’t be more disgusting.

You can read the whole thing to get a sense of what a revolting rich-boy scam this is. It’s just awful.

Facebook Slammed for Spreading Putin’s Russian Propaganda in NATO’s East

Slovakia's eastern border touches Ukraine's western border — and Saturday Bloomberg uncovered an emerging controversy. "A flood of posts pushing misinformation in Slovakia is putting the spotlight on Facebook for facilitating the spread of pro-Russian theories on the war in neighboring Ukraine, ranging from claims that Kyiv is secretly developing biological weapons to questioning whether President Vladimir Putin's invasion even happened at all." The dispute took center stage this week when members of the US House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence called out Meta and its chief executive officer, Mark Zuckerberg, for facilitating the dangerous spread of pro-Russia disinformation in the country of 5.3 million. According to the GLOBSEC security think tank, the intensity of false messages is worse here than anywhere else in ex-communist central Europe. That has buoyed support for Putin, with more than a quarter of Slovaks saying they back his actions, even as the administration in Bratislava tries to shelter the refugees and send weapons to Kyiv to aid in its defense.... The committee said that the US and Slovak governments had repeatedly asked Meta to take action against messages that include posts accusing Ukrainians of supporting Fascism, killing their fellow countrymen and demonizing the hundreds of thousands of people who have fled abroad to escape the war. "Half of the population is prone to believe in some kind of misinformation or conspiracy theories," said GLOBSEC analyst Dominika Hajdu. At present, Meta has only one fact-checker dedicated to Slovakia, where about 2.7 million people, or almost half of the population, have Facebook accounts, making it the most widely used social-media platform, according to the US committee members' letter. They described the staffing level as "wildly inadequate...." Slovakia isn't alone. In February, the prime ministers of Poland and the Baltic trio Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania demanded executives in charge of Facebook, Google, YouTube and Twitter "take a stand" against Russian disinformation. Slovokia's prime minister decried the situation in a Facebook post of his own. "Never before in history has freedom of speech been abused in favor of murder and destruction on such a mass scale and with such a devastating effect." A Meta spokesperson told Bloomberg that when fact-checkers identify false information, Facebook positions this false content "lower in Feed so fewer people see it." "We're also giving people more information to decide what to read, trust, and share by adding warning labels on content rated false."

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Down Under wakes up

Good news for Australia

The country took a sharp left turn. It’s a matter of survival:

Victory belongs to Anthony Albanese, only the fourth Labor leader since World War Two to oust a Liberal prime minister, but the 2022 Australian election was primarily a rejection of Scott Morrison and the brand of politics he has come to personify.

A politics that denied, and sometimes even mocked, the seriousness of the climate crisis – as Treasurer, Morrison laughingly brandished a lump of coal in parliament.

A politics that many female voters especially found bloke-ish and boorish.

A politics that many Australians came to associate with truth-twisting and lying – such as when Morrison claimed that Emmanuel Macron had “sledged” the Australian people over the cancellation of a multi-billion dollar submarine contract, when it was obvious that the French president had mounted a highly personalised attack on a man he labelled a liar.

At a time when conservative politics down under has displayed some small-t Trumpian traits, historians may conclude that Australian voters evicted from office the country’s first post-truth prime minister.

Rather than pulling off Miracle 2.0 – on the night of his unexpected victory in 2019, this Pentecostal Christian declared that he believed in miracles – the departing Liberal leader may well have led his party into the wilderness

Tumbling down have come the walls of conservative citadels. Parliamentary seats where Liberals had for generations dominated now look like barren lands.

The shoreline of Sydney Harbour, which is home to the most expensive real estate on the continent, is a case in point. It has been overwhelmed by a “teal” wave, the colour adopted by the swathe of independents who have had such a transformative effect on the country’s political geography.

Remarkably, the Liberals no longer control any harbour-side seats that stretch from the Opera House to the ocean. These include Wentworth and Warringah, which were represented up until recently by two former Liberal prime ministers, Malcolm Turnbull and Tony Abbott.

It is akin to San Francisco, another great harbour city, losing all its Democrats.

Nor did the teal wave just wash over the Liberal ramparts of Sydney.

In Melbourne, the party looks to have lost the seat of Kooyong, which was once the fiefdom of Robert Menzies, Australia’s longest serving prime minister, and which had remained faithfully conservative since Australia became a federation in 1901.

The same electoral dynamics played out. A party that has become fixated in recent decades with attracting working class battlers in traditional Labor strongholds has lost touch with Tesla-driving professionals in blue-ribbon seats.

For the first time in more than a decade, the electric car nudged out the coal train.

The rise of the teal independents has shattered the main party duopoly in the major cities – urban Australia accounts for 86% of the country’s population.

So, too, have the Australian Greens, one of the hitherto under-reported stories of this election.

With votes still to be counted, the Greens are confident of achieving what they are calling a “greenslide” in Queensland.

That is a startling statement, because, if true, it would shatter the conventional wisdom of Australian politics: that green politics is anathema to the country’s “Deep North” state.

Labor’s phobia of alienating voters in this mining and resources hub has had a paralysing effect on its approach to climate change.

Here, then, the Greens have been beneficiaries of Labor’s timidity regarding emissions targets.

If parts of Queensland become “Greensland” then the ground has truly shifted beneath our feet.

How that’s going to work out is anyone’s guess:

The success of the Greens and the rise of the independents explains why the two major parties, the Liberals and Labor, slumped to a record-low primary vote (which is where voters record their first preference).

There was always a none-of-the above feel to the head-to-head between the main party leaders. That has been borne out in the results.

Anthony Albanese, then, has achieved an ambiguous victory. There was no great groundswell of support for Labor. Indeed, its primary vote was actually 2% down from 2019, a meagre 32%. Although he is certain to emerge as prime minister, we still do not know whether he will stand at the head of a Labor majority government.

My sense during the campaign was that the Labor leader never fully addressed his prime ministerial plausibility problem. His gaffes did not help (although I think the public became more critical of the press pack’s endless gotcha questions rather than his inability to always answer them).

Nonetheless, a politician who was better known for most of his career as a backroom fixer is now front of house, and will occupy the prime ministerial residence, The Lodge. This he will see as vindication of his “small target” campaign and his mantra of “safe change.” It will also justify his political shapeshifting, from a left-wing firebrand to a risk-averse pragmatist…

The federal election has made politics here greener, more feminine and, at a time of creeping Americanisation, more emphatically Australian.

Perhaps the overwhelming message from voters is that they want a different kind of politics. Certainly, 2022 will be remembered for its shock to the system result.

Shocks to the systems can go sideways, as we well know. Let’s hope this one doesn’t.