A few times this week I have found myself checking that the date wasn’t April 1.
The first was when it was reported that Australia is considering scaling back or postponing the national census that has been conducted every 5 years since 1911 on the second Tuesday in August. (e.g. here & here)
This policy ‘initiative’ would save money (in the short term) and would apparently bail out the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) which claims it is running behind in its planning for next year’s data collection.
Sure the census process has its limitations, is labour intensive and expensive, and takes ages to compile and publish the results – but how else do you track national trends and plan billions of dollars of infrastructure and service provision?
The ABS website itself claims (here) that:
“The Census is the only way to get information on how many people there are in each part of Australia, what they do, and how they live”.
How disappointingly shortsighted to reduce or compromise long term data collection in the information age!
Today’s example was when I read about ‘nomophobia’ – that is characterised by a fear of being without a smartphone, having no reception, or losing battery strength (i.e. no mobile phone phobia).
I consulted my good friend Wikipedia (here) and confirmed that such a condition exists. Then I checked that Feb 22 really is Moodoff Day (Smartphone Addiction Awareness Day) and that self-declared addicts are planning a 5-hour ‘Morning without Technology’ fast (here).
(It will be interesting to see how many people participate as the Australian organisers of Moodoff Day have relatively modest expectations:
“On the last Sunday of February every year, MoodOff Day is celebrated by hundreds of people around the globe who realise that their smartphone addiction has a detrimental effect on their relationships with those they love.”)
Regardless, I’m happy to promote it as every pledge not to text while driving is a bonus (as long as they don’t sign up while idling at a red light)!
April Fool’s Day is still weeks away but friends of friends on Facebook might be right about their suggestion that it’s April Fools’ Year.
Let’s hope the UN has not declared an International Decade of Foolish Policy Decisions & Techno-illnesses.
Photo credit: Pip Marks
ABS & Moodoff Day websites accessed 21 Feb 2015.