Sunday, May 25, 2003

An article in The Australian ('A supporting role,' May 24, 2003) discusses support groups in relation to health, in particular those for rare genetic disorders. The article explains how the Internet can help bring people together to share information, to advocate for research, and to help ease the isolation felt by many people affected by such rare conditions.

The article included links to online support groups including the Tourette Syndrome Association of Victoria. I was already thinking the organisation had a sense of humour, having noticed the promotion for a new publication titled 'Not Just Ticked Off' on their site, and then I saw the animated graphic of Dr Gilles de la Tourette (1857 - 1904). Brilliant.

The Age Online currently has a feature called My Melbourne, for which readers are invited to send in photographs of their city. One that gave me that 'Melbourne' feeling was Spencer Crt, Berwick on a foggy autumn night by Danny Bishop.

Strange to see UK headlines about our Governor-General's shaky position - particularly 'Queen's man in Australia may still quit as rape case is dropped' (Independent, 24 May, 2003). Don't often think of the Governor-General as the Queen's man in Australia but he is.

Another article in the Independent from Australian correspondent Kathy Marks caught my eye today too, 'Australia tests crustacean pain barrier as lobster dockers rebel' (18 May, 2003). At first I was interested in whether lobsters (or crayfish as we call them) experience pain - in this case, when tails are removed to mark lobsters as being caught by members of the public for private consumption. Then I read that in South Australia "lobsters the size of poodles are harvested from teeming waters". We have lobster fisherman living at Doonbanks this season, so I'll have to ask them how big the crays they catch are. 'That's not a lobster...'

Yikes, I've just read about the "giant Tasmanian crayfish, Astacopsis gouldi" that grows to "approximately 4.5 kg in weight and is the world's largest freshwater crayfish" according to a leaflet produced by the Queensland Museum (this page links to lots of pdf leaflets on all sorts of cool animals - snakes, frogs, echidnas and kangaroos, as well as the very uncool cane toad - the information I've quoted is from 'Australian Freshwater Crayfish').

At Poodles by McLeod, I discovered that "Toy poodles are 6 to 10 pounds, tiny toys areĀ 4 to 6 pounds, and teacup poodles are 2 to 4 lbs at maturity" according to poodle breeder Belinda McLeod.

Lucky I learnt about AllTheWeb's measurement converter yesterday. Six to ten pounds converts as 2.7kg - 4.536kg. I'm not sure if I'm more amazed at the size of some lobsters or that people breed poodles the size of teacups...

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