Sunday, June 29, 2003

A recent discussion of flashes (the flashes of light people with RP often see) on RPList, prompted one lister to comment that the flashes reminded her of Vincent Van Gogh's painting Starry Night. For me, the painting looks more how flashes feel than how they look, when they become overwhelming.
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Progressive retinal atrophy is a condition suffered by animals that causes similar effects to retinal dystrophy in humans. Recently I received a request from a dog breeder for any information that might help her make a decision about the future of one of her pups, diagnosed by a vet as having retinal dystrophy in one eye (the other eye affected by another condition). As a human with retinal dystrophy, rather than an eye specialist or a veterinarian I did not have more information. I did, however, search for information about retinal dystrophy (or progressive retinal atrophy as it was referred to by most sites dealing with heritable diseases in dogs) and discovered sites about how to care for pets with vision problems. The Iowa State University Veterinary Teaching Hospital gives Tips to help you care for your blind pet and similar information is available from AniMed - Dogs and Cats: Blindness.
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Saturday, June 28, 2003

Nikki Gemmell's 'The Bride Stripped Bare' will be published by Fourth Estate next week. I was starting to wonder if it would ever be published and, if it was, if it would be published in her name (it's published anonymously) and under the same title (it is). I was even stressing that perhaps Gemmell would never write another novel and be miserable forever because of this one book (that I really am keen to read!). Then today I visited The Age Online and read 'The author stripped bare' (June 28, 2003), which made me feel a little better. Nothing in Dymocks' on line catalogue and a very minimal entry in Angus and Robertson's catalogue so far...
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Wow, I love the new look Blogger editing screen!
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Wednesday, June 25, 2003

While surfing the London Zoo site (checking my nephews' bookmarks for interesting stuff to do) I came across Animal Blind Date. My perfect animal blind date was with a dwarf crocodile - they suggested a seafood restaurant, or maybe fish and chips. I can do fish and chips. And the little croc looked pretty cute too.
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Sunday, June 22, 2003

Received an e-mail from a friend travelling at the moment and was stoked to hear that he'd climbed Sydney Harbour Bridge. Not sure I have what it takes not to faint or fall over so I've checked out BridgeClimb to see photos of other people's climbs...
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Neil Finn, Footrot Flats and MailWasher - New Zealand is cool in all sorts of ways. MailWasher was easy to download and set up. So far, it's been easy to use. Hopefully very soon the amount of spam received by Doonbanks will be greatly reduced. If not, it still gives me great satisfaction to bounce it all back.
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Saturday, June 21, 2003

Erin, Erin, Erin. This post is for Erin. Curly headed Ezza in Geraldton. Boot says hello. Ripper and Rosie say hello. The goat says hello. We all say hello! "Hello!"
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Research published in the Archives of Ophthalmology (Seddon et al , 2003, 121:785-792) and available online (''Progression of Age-Related Macular Degeneration Association With Body Mass Index, Waist Circumference, and Waist-Hip Ratio') found that people with the early or intermediate stages of age related macular degeneration could be at a higher risk of further degeneration if they are obese and that exercising decreased the risk of further degeneration in the same group.
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Sunday, June 15, 2003

I haven't had coffee (apart from Kahlua) since September, trying to cut down on caffeine. So far tonight I've had three, maybe four, cups of tea and some chocolate slice. At least I'm avoiding all the teaspoons of sugar I have to drink with instant coffee to make it drinkable. The West included a feature about falling coffee prices for coffee farmers and the resulting troubles in developing coffee-producing countries. Oxfam Community Aid Abroad are working towards coffee bought at fair prices being recognised as such in Australia. Oxfam International provides more information at Make Trade Fair. Maybe I could drink less tea and a little Fair Trade coffee.
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Enjoyed my few days away... Saw Secretary at Cinema Paradiso (I'd give it four peas), farewelled a friend preparing for an overseas trip and took the train to Freo where Gill, Caelan and I stopped for dinner at the Cedar Tree, a Lebanese restaurant on the cappuccino strip. Spicy food with lots of garlic. Tried Little Creatures Pale Ale - a very yummy local brew.
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Wednesday, June 11, 2003

Visited a local memorial for Australian nurses killed during service in World War II today. Nearly ready for a visit to Perth. Checked out GiveBoobs.com too. I hope Michel likes her new boobs - I liked her site.
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Monday, June 09, 2003

Still working on a new non-tables CSS design for my Web site. The CSS degrades into basic HTML really well but doesn't look the same in Opera as it does in IE. I now know what 'browser sniffing' is but that looks like a whole lotta hassle just to avoid tables or to have standard HTML work as expected. Opera is causing me a few hassles (not importing my old bookmarks for example, and removing open pages from my screen when I cleared my visited links history) but the mouse gestures win out. There's a funny smell in the office and I hope it's not the smell of my computer over-heating and melting!
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Campbell and I went to Bob The Builder today but he was more interested in the Earl Grey teabag he'd discovered.
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I'm thinking about visiting the EveryWoman Expo at the Burswood Dome in Perth on Friday. Heaps of exhibitors from women's health organisations to psychics, husbands for hire to jewellers. For $13 (some of which goes to Telethon) there should be plenty to take a look at.
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Friday, June 06, 2003

Mum and I drove to Karridale, about 14k north of here, to a local jeweller. Karridale is a small town - a tavern and two servos, a small church and a school, a transport company, a glass studio and the jeweller. Pleasant bush views from the car park and two roos lay out in the back yard, along with two white geese. The building is tucked away off the road to Nannup and reminded me of the wine tasting areas at local wineries. Five other people visited while we browsed, although two of those needed a whistle fixed before an under 12s footy match tomorrow. The jewellery was unique and there was a good range. I'll have to visit again when I have more money!
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Visited dWoz, a directory of Web developer type resources today after reading about it in ResearchBuzz. From there I visited heaps of sites on CSS in the hope I'll learn how to add columns to my pages to replace table layouts. I like table layouts. But I'm really enjoying experimenting (off line!) with an external css file and seeing how many tags I can remove from my pages to receive pretty much the old design. I like paring it right back to basic elements.


I'm hoping that by using the external file I can have my site rendered in a really basic default kinda style in browsers that don't support css. I'm beginning to get the feeling that it's the browsers that do support css and support it differently that are going to be a problem. I'll try to keep it simple.


And colours... of course I'll be using colours that probably shouldn't be seen together but I'll check them to make sure that they're not going to give colour blind people a hard time.

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Thursday, June 05, 2003

Our copy of South West Life arrived today with an invitation to protest against mineral sands mining in the Ludlow Tuart Forest. I checked out their protest site but the information had been removed after a warning off. By who, it doesn't say.
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Wednesday, June 04, 2003

Dolphins were fishing around the jetty here at Doonbanks on Saturday. Mum and I drove to Margaret River today to buy a few goodbye prezzies for someone moving to England to work. Pumpkin soup at the Witchy corner store and a little browsing in town. Last episode of Cold Feet last night - I want to go to Wales! Quiet web days...
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Monday, June 02, 2003

Caelan received a birthday present of a magnetic poetry kit. The kit contains words printed on magnets that can be mixed up and re-arranged on the fridge. I checked them out while in Perth recently at the Australian Geographic shop and I'm thinking about buying a kit for our fridge.
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A while back I commented on 'Hazards of the Happy Pill' a documentary by BBC Panorama and which screened on Four Corners (April 28, 2003). Since then the ABC has added a response to that episode (Opinion: Greg Barns) by a writer and columnist with the Hobart Mercury. ABC science program Catalyst also screened a segment about 'Kids on Prozac' (May 1, 2003), which discussed some of the issues faced by children and parents affected by depression, in particular the medications prescribed to treat depression in children.


A recent news story, 'Gaps revealed in antidepressant research' (ABC Health, 30 May, 2003), comments on recent research suggesting that the long term effects of anti-depressants could include a form of tolerance and the increased likelihood of a relapse. Almost as interesting as the research are comments by an Australian researcher about the difficulty in testing this hypothesis due to a lack of specific knowledge about depressive illnesses. According to the article, the World Health Organisation "estimates that major depression will be ranked as the second most disabling medical disorder by 2010."

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New Scientist reports that 'Research funded by drug companies is 'biased' ' (May 30, 2003). The article reports on research published in a special issue of the British Journal of Medicine ('Pharmaceutical industry sponsorship and research outcome and quality: systematic review', Lexchin, J. et al) that found research funded by the pharmaceutical industry was four times more likely to have favourable results than research backed by other sponsors. Reasons given for the difference in likely outcomes were that negative results were less likely to be published and that the drugs used to compare the effects of the drug under investigation were not the most appropriate.
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