WE hear much about the need to encourage young Australians to take on STEM subjects. Perhaps our curriculums need to embrace the excitement many my age experienced in the '60s after John F Kennedy committed the USA to go to the moon within 10 years. I can remember NASA coming to Belmont High in about 1965 and talking to students about space missions. This was an exciting time and encouraged many students to study the sciences and maths. Donald Trump has again committed the USA to return to the moon by 2024. NASA is again seeking to build that excitement internationally through its website. Currently NASA is encouraging people to register online to have their names and country included on the 2020 Mars rover mission. The current number of people who have registered internationally is 6.8 million with Australia having 57,800 registrations. What I find surprising is that Turkey tops the list of registrations with 2.46 million followed by India and then the USA, which is not surprising. However, Turkey with a population of 82.8 million shows interest from 2.97 per cent of its population. Australia with a population of 25 million comes 20th on the list of interested people, or 0.24 per cent. I wonder what it is about Turkey that suggests so many people follow the sciences. You have until September 30, 2019 to register. Visit: https://mars.nasa.gov.
John Davies, Newcastle East
Parking price pain
FOR many years my wife and I caught the old 310 bus from our street into town and other locations. With our new service, the same journey necessitates two services with sometimes a lengthy wait for a connection. On Sunday we decided to drive our car into town for a concert at the conservatorium. Finding a park in nearby streets was impossible so we settled for the council parking station - only to be shocked by a $21 fee for six hours parking in a station that was almost empty.
Eric Roach, Croudace Bay
Less stress with flyover
LARRY Greentree has raised an interesting subject on the busy intersection at Stewart Avenue with lights, cars and light rail (Letters, 10/6). It took a group of geniuses to create this fiasco. All of this could have been solved with the building of an overpass or flyover that was muted back in the 1950s. We could have led a less stressful life if that had been built at any time since 1950. It seems that the flow of traffic in Newcastle ranks very low as a priority to the powers that be.
John Freund, Adamstown Heights
Boom to bust
I WONDER how many people believed the Premier or the Transport Minister when they said the city was booming, humming and buzzing. If recent reports about retailers and businesses closing down, moving or doing it tough are anything to go on, it would seem the reverse in the case. Busting may be a better term. Correspondence from the parliamentary secretary for transport told me that once the light rail was up and running the city would thrive because the light rail would attract the people. The light rail certainly attracted the people on the opening day, but it would seem the lack of parking has since driven them away. Changes may have been in order, but it would seem the changes we have seen are the wrong ones, otherwise people would be coming back into the city and the retailers and businesses would be thriving. The changes that were needed should have been planned by the engineers and planners; those with the appropriate qualifications, expertise and experience. I don't know who came up with the plan to close the railway, put light rail in Hunter Street and take out all that parking in Hunter Street, but I think they need to do their sums again, or better still, get someone who knows what they are doing to revise the current plans and make some serious corrections before it's too late. Access to the city is more important than access from Hunter Street to the harbor.
Peter Sansom, Kahibah
Bring back the unicorn
IN our miserable world there are glimpses of heart warming feel good, such as the new ad for Cadbury chocolate bars, where this angelic little girl enters a convenience store to buy her mother a chocolate with all her favourite keepsakes, but when she places her favourite on the counter a little unicorn, you can see in her beautiful eyes her love for this trinket, but also you can feel the love she has for her Mum, and so can the kind shop owner who has no hesitation in giving her the chocolate and the unicorn back as her change. Why would the producers of this iconic ad take away the most memorable moment, the giving back of the unicorn? Please put it back, even a hardened man like me was brought to tears when I first saw it. Please readers follow suit and voice your disapproval, we need heartwarming images like this to remain and more of the same to be produced to show us what can be achieved with a little bit of love.
Grame Kime, Cameron Park
Mandate to spend
AFTER every election there is much debate about what exactly is embraced in the mandate claimed by the winning party. Naturally, if you win then you claim electoral endorsement for every utterance your party made during the campaign. One point on which most of us could surely agree is that we are only voting for the next term of government. In another 30-36 months we get another shot at assessing, endorsing or rejecting, the government's performance and their proposals for their next term. However, it seems Scot Morrison is determined to insist that hugely expensive tax cuts for high income earners, which will not even apply in this term of government, must be endorsed by the current parliament. By binding all stages of the proposed tax cuts into a single piece of legislation it seems he is content to risk providing tax cuts for the less-well-off now in order to ensure providing far more substantial tax cuts for the much-better-off in the next term of government. At a time when the economy is clearly faltering and government debt has more than doubled in dollar terms on the Coalition's watch he is untroubled by this recklessness.
John Buckley, Floraville
Well done Barty
WHAT a breath of fresh air is Ash Barty, now world no.2. However we have another young lady called Minjee Lee who is world no.2 in golf and who hardly gets any recognition. Both of these girls, together with others like Sam Kerr and Ellyse Perry follow on from recent champions like Sally Pearson, Anna Meares and the Campbell sisters in setting a wonderful example for young women. What a pity we have to suffer the boorish and embarrassing behaviour of many of their male sporting counterparts.