Friday, July 30, 2004

Notes In Passing Conversation 

ResearchBuzz! arrived today with a note on how Passing Notes Offers Weblog and Site Directory (27 July 2004). claims to offer 'alternative fuel for researchers' and the blog entries include friendly commentary and useful resources. I'm about to read 'Conversational Terrorism... or Conversational Cheap Shots?,' which was written by Dean and Marshall VanDruff in 1995 and is re-published at But first I'm off for garlic prawns or mushrooms or maybe a pasta at the Seine Bay Cafe.
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Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Containing Moulds, Saving Cockies 

Fun fact: did you know that a Phytophthora species was responsible for
the potato blight in Ireland?

I do now. Gill's recently attended a course on Phytophthora cinnamomi (Pc), a water mould commonly known as jarrah dieback. Dieback kills our native jarrah trees but Gill says ... the symptoms aren't dying back so much as sudden death. Containment of the mould is the only way to prevent further loss of trees.

Gill also let me know how to have AMP donate a dollar to Greening Australia's Bring back the Glossy Black Cockatoo habitat restoration project on Kangaroo Island.

If you'd like to do the same, visit the AMP Web site and click on the image of a tree in the bottom right hand corner of their front page. For every click, AMP Foundation will donate $1 (up to a maximum of $10,000).

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Sunday, July 25, 2004


Janet Evanovich's latest Stephanie Plum adventure, Ten Big Ones, had Mum wondering if the guy next door had gone mad. Just me laughing out loud a few rooms away. When it was Mum's turn to read the book, she rang from Perth to share the bit that made her laugh out loud. We're a bit stressed out at the moment, so it provided the perfect distraction.

I'm now reading Shane Maloney's first Murray Whelan adventure, Stiff, which screens on GWN on Thursday. I'm supposed to be reading The Pursuit of Happiness by Douglas Kennedy for book group.

My right eye is complaining a bit and my left eye doesn't work too well on it's own. Perhaps it's time for a break. Or an adventure!

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Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Can't See The Novel For The Trees 

Well, can't see the novel because I haven't written one. However, if I did write one I might need to get organised and not have little bits of writing/quotes/ideas in different files and folders. And especially not on paper.

Tranglo Software's Freeware offers Keynote, which is a, "tabbed notebook, outliner and personal information manager, with tree structure and strong encryption."

yWriter is a word processor designed to help writers organise large writing projects such as a novel.

Both programs are free. All I need now is a computer onto which to download them. Maybe an idea or two too.

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Friday, July 16, 2004

Winding Down With The Dolphins 

Three dolphins arced about down at Colour Patch last Friday. The sudden watery exhalations gave me clues as to where to look to see them. Ducks landing can sound a little like watery exhalations sometimes.  A friend from the #ozrplist chat room and his family were visiting from Sydney (and Perth) and we ate lunch while we watched the dolphins.
We also toured the lighthouse and I was surprised to hear that Cape Leeuwin is the third most dangerous cape after the Cape of Good Hope and Cape Horn.  A highschool drama project saw us settled down at Skippy Rock at sunset to video the Leeuwin light as it began to flash. The same drama project had me passing a mobile phone up through a gap in the Hamelin Bay boat ramp to one of my visitors. I should have visitors more often.

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Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Note: Fire Extinguisher Under Desk 

The guy who services our fire reels and extinguishers came today. Pointing to a cupboard in our office, he said There should be one in there.

As I turned to take a look, I thought How does he know that? and How come I don't know that? Then I had a little mental freak as I prepared for the possibility that the extinguisher was not in the cupboard.

Then he said, Oh, there it is there, under the desk. The desk being my desk. I'd seen it there before, of course, but I'm glad he spotted it. I might have panicked while scanning the entire place for it with my two or three degrees of central vision.

You'd think I'd have made the important connection between fires and the fire extinguisher before.

So now I shall remember -

The fire extinguisher that sits under my desk is the same one the guy from Bell Fire Equipment will want to check AND the same one I should use in the event of a fire.

All I need do is pull the pin to the side of the nozzle - which breaks a plastic tie - and then aim before I squeeze the trigger. In a small room, I can just use the extinguisher and close the door. In larger rooms I'll need to get closer to the actual fire. The extinguisher under my desk is good for electrical, gas and flammable liquids. If oil catches fire on the stove, then I should wish for an extinguisher containing sodium carbonate, which is pretty much the bicarbonate soda used in baking, under pressure. Of course, if there was an oil fire at home and I raced into the pantry for some bicarbonate soda, I know that even if the bicarb itself isn't under pressure, at least I will be.

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Thursday, July 08, 2004

Watching The White Lines 

Musician Paul Kelly said on enough rope that 'Never Goin' Back' by John Sebastian (The Lovin' Spoonful) influenced his song 'From St Kilda to King's Cross.'

I discovered through Amazon Customer Reviews of Lovin's Spoonful's Anthology that 'Daydream' - another Lovin' Spoonful's song - inspired Paul McCartney to write 'Good Day Sunshine.' I then read at About The Beatles (Good Day Sunshine) that 'Daydream' itself was inspired stylistically by the Supremes song 'Baby Love.'

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Monday, July 05, 2004


A Canadian Shawn Micallef writes about his wanders through Toronto in his regular Toronto Flaneur column ('Get Lost in Your Own City') in the new journal spacing.

Micallef is one of the people behind [murmur] in Toronto, an audio project that allows people to call a number and hear a story set in the public space they're occupying (well, nearabouts-ish).

Somewhere in there, I learnt about the Toronto Public Space Committee's Public Space Newswire.

I started to wonder if we have similar projects here in Australia and found Urban Ecology Australia, which led me to the Sustainable Transport Coalition in Western Australia and international organisation Car Busters.

All this browsing started at me, my life + infrastructure.

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Friday, July 02, 2004

Weighing In 

In a move that should be commended, the AFL, Cricket Australia and Netball Australia have formed the Sports Alliance to help introduce physical activity programs into after-school care. More on this at the Offical Website of the Australian Football League in 'AFL Helps In Fight Against Childhood Obesity (30 June 2004). I do learn stuff watching The Footy Show.

The ABC reports that the federal government will provide $116 million to schools and community groups for programs promoting physical education and healthy eating (Howard launches $116m obesity fight', 29 June 2004). The article mentions Opposition Leader Mark Latham's plan to ban the advertising of junk food during children's television and Prime Minister John Howard's assertion that such a move would create a 'nanny state.'

The Prime Ministers' media release 'Building a healthy, active Australia', (29 June 2004) gives more details, while The Australian explores some of the issues in 'Fat lot of good that'll do' (30 June 2004).

So here's what I think.

If 1.5 million Australian's under the age of 18 years are overweight or obese, and the government's plan is mostly targetted to 150 000 primary school age children (not all of whom will be overweight or obese), then that still leaves us short of addressing the problem by at least 1.35 million children and teenagers.

"It's like standing in front of a glacier with a box of matches trying to stop it," says Michael Booth, director of the NSW Centre for Overweight and Obesity. "It's not the way to do it - it will run over you." (The Australian, 'Fat lot of good that'll do', 30 June 2004).

The Prime Minister believes that to ban the advertising of junk food during children's TV programming would be to create a 'nanny state.' In my opinion, a 'nanny state' would exist if the government decided not to allow junk food advertising during adult programming. A nanny looks after children and I feel that it's quite appropriate that a government might look after the interests of children by banning junk food advertising.

Cigarette advertising is already banned in any media at any time because of the known health risks. Would not a ban on junk food advertising at specific times be in line with current public health policies?

If choices about healthy eating are really made by parents, as the government suggests, then banning the advertising of junk foods during children's programming should not affect sales of those foods. If this isn't the case, hopefully the $11 million allocated to parent education on physical activity and healthy eating choices will help.

The issue of childhood obesity involves more than what we as individuals eat and the activities we undertake.

Louise Baur, consultant pediatrician at Sydney's Westmead Children's Hospital, says the causes of obesity are broader than simply what goes on in schools. Money would be better spent on urban design, public transport, subsidising sports club membership and "a whole lot of other things designed to get people out of doors". (The Australian, 'Fat lot of good that'll do', 30 June 2004).

When living in Perth, breathing in fumes and dodging traffic on my way to the local pool, I often reconsidered the relative health benefits of a swim. Not being able to drive, I understand how urban design affects the independence and health of people who do not have that freedom. That group most definitely includes children.

The issue of overweight and obesity, in both children and adults, needs more than a few sports stars rocking up to day-care.

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Thursday, July 01, 2004

Rain, Rain, Come Again 

From a Macquarie University public relations release:

With the Council of Australian Governments focusing on formulating a plan for future water use in Australia, timely new Australian/US research argues that the Western Australian Government may have been too quick to blame global warming for the major decrease in rainfall in the south west of the state.
{'New research questions whether global warming is to blame for WA rainfall decrease', 29 June 2004).

Looks like those pottiputkis will come in handy.

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