Hanging out with colleagues

Does your workplace use Google Hangouts for meetings? Or something similar?

For the uninitiated, Hangouts lets you have video conferences with colleagues all over the place –it’s a virtual boardroom, where everyone’s disembodied head gets its own square on the screen.

There are people I’ve worked closely with for years who I chat and laugh with, know their faces and their voices and bits about their lives, but I’ve never met in real life(that’s IRL if you’re down with the yoof).

All I really know of them physically is their faces and shoulders.

Sometimes I imagine meeting them IRLand discovering they’re a foot taller than I expected. Or they’re missing a leg. Or they favour business shorts or stripper heels or some other unexpected apparel that never finds its way onto the screen.

I met someone IRL recently who I’d only previously known on Hangouts.

We got chatting about where I’d found a parking spot, which were thin on the ground in his town, and he admitted he never had to think about it because he rode a motorcycle.


He pointed to the helmet tucked inconspicuously beside his monitor (well out of sight of the camera).It’s something I would never have known about him if I hadn’t met him in the flesh, I’m sure.

That’s an innocuous example, but how many more of them are there? And how much more significant would they be?

People’s private lives and health issues, their opinions on world politics and their taste in reality television –they’re all things that emerge organically out of daily contact in the workplace.

But not in the brave new world of virtual conferencing. There’s something inhibiting about the screen connection that discourages the kind of shooting the breeze that would happen in a bricks and mortar office.

Given that I’m not zipping off to far-flung parts of the country to knock on their real office doors, I’m going to make an effort to incorporate water-cooler chat into Hangouts where I can. And if I take my laptop to the pub, I’ll call it office drinks.

Row looms after Aretha dies without will

Singer Aretha Franklin has died without leaving a will despite having been ill for some time.Legendary singer Aretha Franklin has died without leaving behind a will or trust, according to court documents filed by her sons that were cited by the Detroit Free Press.

In the document, her four sons list themselves as interested parties, and another document filed with the court and signed by her son Kecalf, and her estate lawyer, David Bennett, check a box acknowledging the absence of a will, according to the report.

The singer’s niece, Sabrina Owens, asked the court to appoint her as personal representative of the estate. A rep for the late singer did not immediately respond to Variety’s request for comment or confirmation.

Frankin died on August 16 in her hometown of Detroit after a long battle with pancreatic cancer.

“I was after her for a number of years to do a trust,” lawyer Don Wilson, who was Franklin’s entertainment lawyer for nearly 30 years, told the paper. “It would have expedited things and kept them out of probate, and kept things private.”

While Franklin did not preside over a business empire as vast and complex as that of Prince, who died in 2016 apparently without leaving a will, her holdings are likely substantial.

Wilson said she retained ownership of her original composition, which include hit songs such as Think and Rock Steady. While Wilson said it’s impossible to place a value on her catalogue, those songs and others were hits at the time of their release and will generate significant income in the months after her death.

Prince’s estate has been embroiled in long, complicated and costly legal battles over the ownership of his holdings, as multiple claims came forward before six heirs were determined (Prince was unmarried and had no children at the time of his death). Those heirs frequently split into two camps over business decisions, complicating an already complex process as the estate has worked to capitalise on the musician’s work and holdings in the years after his death.

By contrast, David Bowie, who died in 2016 after a long bout with cancer, had spent many years buttoning up his estate and catalogue with a longtime business manager — even removing certain songs from his official catalogue — and an orderly reissue campaign was already under way at the time of his death.

Under Michigan law, the assets of an unmarried person who dies without a will are divided equally among any children.

“I just hope [Franklin’s estate] doesn’t end up getting so hotly contested” as that of Ike Turner, Wilson said of another complicated case. “Any time they don’t leave a trust or will, there always ends up being a fight.”

Second sex assault claim against Spacey

Prosecutors in Los Angeles say they are reviewing a second sexual assault case involving Oscar-winning actor Kevin Spacey.

“A sex assault case was presented yesterday to our office by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department involving Kevin Spacey. It remains under review,” Los Angeles District Attorney spokesman Greg Risling said in an emailed statement on Wednesday.

Risling declined to give any details on the latest case.

Representatives for the actor did not immediately return requests for comment on Wednesday.

The District Attorney’s office said in April that it was reviewing a case involving Spacey dating from 1992, involving an adult male. Spacey last October publicly acknowledged for the first time that he was gay.

More than 30 men have said they were victims of unwanted sexual advances by Spacey, who became embroiled in controversy last year when actor Anthony Rapp accused him of trying to seduce him in 1986 when Rapp was 14. In October, Spacey apologised for any inappropriate conduct with Rapp but has not commented since.

The fallout resulted in Spacey, who won a best actor Oscar in 2000 for “American Beauty,” being dropped from the final season of the Netflix series “House of Cards” and erased from the 2017 movie “All the Money in the World.”

Netflix in January reported a $US39 million write-off on Spacey-related projects.

London’s Old Vic theatre, where Spacey served as artistic director for 12 years, said last year that it received 20 accusations of inappropriate conduct by Spacey between 1995 and 2013.

Spacey is one of dozens of men in the entertainment industry and politics who have been accused of sexual misconduct in the past 10 months, partly as a result of the #MeToo social media movement.

PM to quit parliament if Liberals call for spill

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull in Canberra on Thursday. Photo: Alex EllinghausenUPDATED:Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbullsays he is waiting for a petition carrying a majority of MPs and will hold a party meeting at midday Friday.

If a spill is carried, he won’t contest the leadership. He is also awaiting advice on Peter Dutton’s eligibility to sit in Parliament.

Mr Turnbull declares this week’s events are a “very deliberate effort to pull the Liberal Party further to the right”.

He says the “minority” pushing for that have then, by a process of intimidation, “persuaded people that the only way to stop the insurgency is to give into it”.

What we know so farMalcolm Turnbullis demanding to see the petition carrying 43 names– a majority of Liberal MPs– before convening a party room meeting. If he gets the petition, the meeting of 84 MPs will be called for 12pm tomorrow. Dutton forces are confident they have the numbers.Turnbull has calledPeter Dutton’s citizenship question “very significant” and says the Solicitor-General’s advice, to be delivered to the government on Friday morning, must be a consideration in the contest.If a majority of Liberal MPs want a leadership spill, Turnbull will quit Parliament, causing a byelection.In a spill, it looks likely that Dutton will square off againstScott Morrison.Greg Huntwill run as Dutton’s deputy. It is unclear who will join Morrison.Kelly O’Dwyerhad been touted as a possibility but she has ruled it out.The House of Representatives has been adjourned, an extraordinary and controversial step. Turnbull has said the decision was made at Dutton’s request. Dutton reportedly disputes this. Labor has savaged the move, saying the country no longer has a functioning government.If there is a change of leadership, Australians could face a snap election in the very near future.Turnbull says the push against him is an effort by a minority of MPs who want to”pull the Liberal Party further to the right” and have intimidated other MPs. He says these MPs have been supported by external forces, likely in reference to conservative voices in the media.Thirteen MPs, including Dutton, have now resigned from Turnbull’s ministry.The Senate is still sitting until the end of the day. Question Time there is going ahead, with a severely and farcically depleted frontbench.EARLIER:It has been a busy morning in Canberra with Peter Dutton publicly challenging Malcolm Turnbull to another leadership contest.

Dutton tweeted at 7.43am “…I spoke with Malcolm Turnbull to advise him I believe the majority of the party room no longer supported his leadership. Accordingly I asked him to convene a party room meeting at which I would challenge for the leadership of the Parliamentary Liberal Party.” He called a press conference and made a similar announcement.

The Prime Minister rejected Dutton’s request for a meeting.

At this point there was five front bench resignations.

Peter Dutton and Malcolm Turnbull. Photo: FILE.

Since then eight more ministers have resigned (13 in total) including Mathias Corman.

“I can’t ignore the fact that a majority of colleagues in the Liberal Party part room are of the view there should be a change,” he told media in Canberra.

“…and I would not have been in this position if we didn’t have a vote on Tuesday, followed by a stream of colleagues approaching me to express their view to me clearly.”

Along with Dutton, it is believed current treasurer Scott Morrison will contest the leadership.

EARLIER:Malcolm Turnbull may be facing a fresh challenge to his leadership with a small group of Liberal MPs pushing for Peter Dutton to have another go.

Malcolm Turnbull may be facing another challenge to his leadership as a partyroom meeting looms.

But new polling shows a Dutton government would crash at the election to Bill Shorten, with voters picking the Labor leader over the former Home Affairs minister.

A defiant prime minister is holding on to his leadership with support from his two key lieutenants, Treasurer Scott Morrison and Finance Minister Mathias Cormann.

Mr Dutton’s supporters circulated a letter on Wednesday night calling for the party room to meet.

“I understand there’s a petition. I understand that a couple of hours ago there were nine signatures on it,” Liberal MP Jane Prentice told reporters on Wednesday night.

It was unclear how many MPs had actually seen and signed the letter and if any cabinet ministers were willing to shift their support from Mr Turnbull.

Mr Dutton admitted he’s calling Liberals to win support for a second challenge after failing 48 votes to 35 in a snap leadership ballot on Tuesday.

The electorate, however, appears to be supporting Mr Turnbull.

A Morgan poll of more than 1200 voters picked Mr Turnbull as the better prime minister over Mr Shorten, 52 per cent to 44.5 per cent.

But Mr Shorten thumped Mr Dutton 59 per cent to 36.5 per cent when voters were given the chance to pick between them.

“The iron laws of arithmetic confirmed my leadership of the Liberal Party,” Mr Turnbull told reporters in Canberra on Wednesday.

He was flanked by Mr Morrison and Senator Cormann, who gave him public votes of support.

“This is my leader and I’m ambitious for him,” Mr Morrison said, giving Mr Turnbull a hug.

“I support the Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull,” added Senator Cormann.

Mr Dutton launched a media campaign on Wednesday morning, going on Melbourne radio to call for a royal commission into fuel and energy prices.

But Mr Morrison unleashed on Mr Dutton’s plan to take the GST off electricity prices, calling it a “budget blower” that would cost $7.5 billion over four years.

Mr Dutton’s push for another challenge lost some steam amid questions about his parliamentary eligibility over the public funding of childcare centres held under a family trust.

A parade of ministers who voted against Mr Turnbull were asked in parliament whether they supported him, and all answered yes.

Thursday is the last day of parliament until September 10, with the next scheduled Liberal partyroom meeting on September 11.

Mitchell closes in on Brownlow: bookies

Hawthorn star Tom Mitchell is the hot favourite to claim the Brownlow medal with bookies.Hawthorn midfielder Tom Mitchell is the raging Brownlow medal favourite.

Various bookmakers rate the Hawk a $1.25 fancy with the next best – Patrick Cripps or Dustin Martin – drifting out to $10 or upwards.

But many pundits reckon the race for the Brownlow is much tighter and could come down to this weekend’s last round of voting.

Here’s a glance at the contenders.

* TOM MITCHELL. The Hawthorn onballer has a whopping 129 more disposals than the next best and averages 36 a game. He finished third in last year’s count with 25 votes in a Hawthorn side that missed the finals. Also fifth in the competition for frees for. An accumulator rather than eye-catcher, will teammates Jaeger O’Meara or Luke Bruest steal votes?

* PATRICK CRIPPS. The Carlton gun is fifth on the disposals list, averages 29 a game, and is also equal seventh in the league for tackles laid. Has turned in a number of outstanding games but will be hurt by the trend of umpires awarding maximum votes to someone on the winning team – the Blues have just two victories this season.

* DUSTIN MARTIN. By his own admission, the Tiger megastar hasn’t entirely recaptured his stunning form of last season when he took the Brownlow with 36 votes. But still has produced at least four standout games and a number when if not best-afield, close to it. Averages 25 disposals a game, tops the league for inside 50s and has kicked 29 goals to be a genuine chance.

* MAX GAWN. The Melbourne ruckman has dominated the rucks, with 149 hit-outs more than the next best. Also averages 16 disposals a game and considered a chance for maximum votes in at least five games. But no ruckman has won the medal since Scott Wynd in 1992. And teammate Clayton Oliver could pinch votes from him.

* CLAYTON OLIVER. Only two players have collected more disposals than the bullocking Demons midfielder. Averages 30 touches and seven tackles a game and considered a near-certainty to poll maximum votes in at least three games. But will Gawn’s excellence deny him full votes, or visa versa?

* BRODIE GRUNDY. The Collingwood ruck sits behind Gawn for hit-outs but is been influential around the ground, averaging 21 disposals a game. His side is also returning to the finals with a healthy dose of wins but may suffer from the umpires’ traditional lack of ruck recognition, and the flashy feats of teammates Steele Sidebottom and Jordan de Goey.

* DAYNE BEAMS. The Brisbane star is averaging 29 disposals a game and is a chance of at least four best-on-grounds. Will be hampered by his team losing more games than winning. Polled 17 votes last season when the Lions won five games – same as this season. A sneaky chance if the leaders poll relatively low.