Bleats

Your Disgusting Rental House Is Actually Killing You

And the less wealthy you are, the more where you live matters to your life and health.

Anyone who has spent much time in the residential rental markets of our larger cities would be aware that finding a place to live is a sport akin to gladiatorial combat, if said combat also involved a lot of paperwork and the winner also paid a large and ongoing sum of money following their victory.

Anyone who has spent much time in the residential rental markets of our larger cities would be aware that finding a place to live is a sport akin to gladiatorial combat, if battle also involved a lot of paperwork and the winner also paid a large and ongoing sum of money following their victory.

And also, if the spoils of battle were literally spoiled.

Terrifying eye-rooms are not typically standard.

Everyone has horror stories about rental properties with a refreshingly idiosyncratic interpretation of what can be considered “hygienic” or “mould-free” or “not on fire”, and most renters have a pretty accurate assessment of how much power they have in terms of making demands for repairs or improvements or snake removal – especially when inquiries into the rental system repeatedly entrenches the rights of landlords over those of tenants.

Black mould, for instance, can trigger asthma another allergic reactions, or the mycotoxins it gives off can produce flu-like symptoms.

And while the landlord is legally required to mention if there’s been a violent crime in the property, they’re not obliged to mention whether, say, the place has been a meth lab. Despite the possibility of chemicals leaching out of the walls and carpets and getting into the skin and hair of residents, as in this study of one Victorian family which should make your skin crawl so hard it might actually escape.

Blood showers can be a red flag for a sub-par property.

Here’s the thing, though: this stuff diminishes people’s health and quality of life. And Shelter NSW have just put out their report Poor-quality housing and low-income households and… look, it doesn’t spark joy.

People on low incomes are most likely to live in properties that require repairs, to suffer from cold in winter and heat in summer,

People in public housing face regularly backlogs in repairs from government funding cuts, while private landlords often can’t be bothered paying for something from which they’re not going to benefit – assuming that the tenants are game enough to complain, given not-unfounded fears of being evicted for more compliant alternatives in the competitive housing market.

“Ah, so that’s why they don’t let me put up posters.”

And they have some solutions too: unsurprisingly, it’s to mandate more transparent standards, for the most part so that everyone knows what standard is acceptable for human beings to endure in their shelter. And… look, good luck with that.

But in the meantime: when you’re inspecting properties, go in with your eyes and nose open.

What Keeps Me Up At Night: For How Long Did Yoda Train Luke, Exactly?

The timeline just doesn't add up.

One of the things which most lovers of the Wars of Star agree upon is that The Empire Strikes Back is the best of all of the films.

That’s despite containing some of the worst lines (“A death mark’s not an easy thing to live with”, “You look strong enough to pull the ears off a gundark”), containing the scene where Han Solo forces himself on Leia despite her clear and unambiguous non-consent, and that imperial officer putting a weirdly unnatural emphasis on “Good, our first CATCH of the day”.

Yeah, great read John. Anyway: despite loving the film more than I do certain family members there’s been one thing which has bothered the hell out of me from a very young age. And it is this:

For how long does Yoda train Luke, exactly?

See, there are two things going at the same time after all the rebels get the hell off Hoth.

Luke and Artoo head off to Dagobah to find Yoda, and Han, Leia, Chewbacca and C-3PO get stuck without a working hyperdrive in the Millennium Falcon and thus have to putter their way to Bespin to find Lando Calrissian using only their non-light speed engines.

If you haven’t seen the film then that sentence is going to be very confusing. Then again, you chose to click on the story so really, it’s down to you.

Gen X, am I right?

So: Luke crashes on Dagobah, finds Yoda, gets training, has vision of his friends in peril and goes to help them.

At the same time the Falcon travels to Bespin, Lando welcomes them, Threepio gets blasted to bits, Leia finds a nice frock, Darth Vader imprisons and tortures them, and they’re used as bait for Luke.

Are we talking days, weeks or months?

Real helpful, Princess.

The distance between star systems in the real universe is staggering – the closest star to Earth, Promixa Centauri, is about 4.24 light years – as in, at the speed of light it’ll take you over four years to get there.

The fastest thing Earth’s ever launched is the Voyager 1 probe, which travels at a bit over 61,198 kmph – and it left Earth in 1977 and isn’t even properly out of the solar system yet. So clearly physics isn’t any help to us – even without a hyperdrive the Falcon is clearly using some sort of weird science-magic to cover vast distances in real time.

On the face of it you’d think that Luke must have been training for at least a few months, but then the Falcon turns up on Cloud City with Han and Leia wearing the same outfits they left Hoth in.

Unless the Falcon has an offscreen laundry or they followed Chewie’s example and just strutted around the Falcon nude, this means they were stewing in them for the entire trip. You’d think Lando would have been unwilling to hug a Han who smelled quite that ripe.

FORESHADOWING!

But if we’re generous and say that the rebels fleeing with only the shirts on their backs were only in the Falcon for a few increasingly pungent days, then how the hell did Luke learn so much – enough to hold his own in a lightsaber battle with one of the most powerful Jedi in history?

Mind you, Lando clearly raided Han’s wardrobe once he was piloting in the Falcon, so maybe it was just Leia who had to deal with wearing the same sweaty cold-weather gear for weeks and weeks while Han just swapped out identical duds each morning.

Waistcoats: they’re hard to pull off.

Hopefully she at least had some wipes or something. She seems like the sort of person who’d be prepared.

Anyway, no matter which way you cut it, either the Falcon’s trip was too long or Luke’s training was too short. Fortunately that’s literally the only unanswered question in the entire franchise, because by the next film they’re at Jabba’s palace trying to rescue Han and…

Hold on, what was their actual rescue plan? Presumably it wasn’t “everyone get caught and hope we’re put over a massive Freudian desert-metaphor”, so what was it?

Wow. Maybe these films aren’t very good after all.

The Terrifying Chernobyl Miniseries Has Created An Unexpected Tourism Boom

Come for the existential horror, stay for the radiation!

Chernobyl, the HBO miniseries about the greatest nuclear power disaster the planet has ever known, has been a massive hit around the world (although its grasp of Russian political dynamics is reportedly woeful).

But the big winner has been… tourism?

Yes, people are keen to see the site of the biggest nuclear accident in history, with bookings jumping 40 per cent in the last few weeks, according to Reuters. They… they know Emily Watson’s not actually there, right?

Looks… um, lovely?

Sadly, tourist tours of the abandoned Ukraine city of Pripyat now show less and less to visitors. That’s not because of secrets, or even because of the radiation around the site – which is still high, which is why tourists get day trips rather than camping holidays – but because three decades of being left to the elements means the buildings are starting to literally fall over.

In fact, if you’ve ever wondered what a city would look like once human vanished, Pripyat is the answer: forests have reclaimed much of the city and operators are terrified of a tourist popping into a building just in time for a wall to collapse on them.

A real fixer-upper!

Adorably this is the backdrop against which the less renewable energy-found bits of the Australian government and their conservative cheerleaders have decided to start arguing that Australia needs to embrace nuclear energy.

And that should definitely work, the second that a wind turbine falls over and somehow sends a cloud of deadly radiation across half the hemisphere.

You might be in for a wait, Scott, is what we’re saying.

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