Hello Cruel World
Thursday, September 25, 2003
Transport and health: en route to a healthier Australia? , Chloë Mason, 6 March 2000, Medical Journal of Australia 2000; 172: 230-232
ABC Archive listing March 2000
Leave the car at home (ABC Science 6-Mar-2000)
Environmentally responsible motoring? (& related stories) 17 October 2001
www.abc.net.au/science/news/enviro/EnviroRepublish_768017.htm ... The reason for the surprising disparity is that cars always have a passenger in them (the driver), whereas public transport runs at an average of only 25 to 30 per cent capacity ...
Monday, September 22, 2003
No News, Really
Alas, today after that rather exhausting three days, despite being awake and (eventually) strong enough to chivvy mother down the street for a combined walk and bank-visiting, bill-paying trip, the brain was not quite enough in order to actually pay the blasted bills! Got the money into the right accounts, took envelopes, bills, cheque-book, but because of hitch had to 'race' back home with mother - at mother's top speed around 0.75kph (1/2mph) - then speed back before bank closed. Somehow as I left it, total purpose of trip somehow slipped out of neural net. Should have just gone out by myself as originally planned. Even if I'd forgotten on the first or second outing, I would have time to get there and back before the places closed. Since a few of the bills are now rather overdue, I must do it tomorrow on the way to work.
Good News I Think
Well, had a real strong push over the last week and managed - I think - to obtain all the assorted documents needed, make all the copies needed, get all the copies certified, find & assemble all the data needed, fill in all the forms with it correctly, and then both submit the forms at the office and post the other by registered post. Had some of these before, but needed to fill in the gaps and, as the saying goes (or at least went), "get my act together".
Used up much of my personal goodwill with some people, most of my energy, an awful lot of time & travel & not inconsiderable money. But that's two very very important things started. If all goes well, these will let me take a number of very heavy weights off my poor sore back and lift onerous burdens from a flagging spirit. Very great thanks and gratitude to those who helped & harried me onwards.
Slept for about 14 hours after feeding mother, then got up on Saturday to do the week's shopping & housework.
Fell into bed again that evening but perhaps because of the earlier long sleep had a very broken night. Before when I haven't been able to sleep I've got up and done some blogging or other kinds of work, but I don't want to get back into the turned-around daily rhythm, so just stewed in bed.
Luckily weather is neither too steamy nor too frosty right now for sleeping comfortably, but fell asleep, woke again, drowsed again, slept; woke; slept; woken abruptly by phone call, otherwise I might have slept until noon. Anyway, ended up being pushed to Art Gallery to see exhibition I've been trying to get to for a month or so. It's been far too long since I got there.
This exhibition is called "Seasons", subtitled "Transience in Japanese Art" (Art Gallery link). There are large screens, wall scrolls, kimonos, hand scrolls, printed book pages, painted porcelain, lacquerware, all with a seasonal theme. The trick with this particular one is that for the first month of the exhibition all the Spring and Summer items were displayed (while we were in winter), and they are changing over this week (Vernal Equinox) to the Autumn and Winter displays for the second month. Being a special exhibition, you have to pay to go into that part of the gallery, but having paid to go into the first part, you can hold onto your ticket and use it to see the second part. I succumbed to the catalogue because I do really have a thing for Japanese art, but again there was a bonus because a CD-ROM was included. Some other exhibitions I've seen they are sold separately.
My friends weren't as interested so louched around the rest of the place and the park outside (Domain) until closing time when I was gently eased out the doors. Then we walked down through the Botanic Gardens to Mrs Macquarie's Chair, sat by the harbour and watched everything around shimmering into dusk & twilight before I caught the bus home.
Thursday, September 18, 2003
Doncha just love the cool way they talk about these things?
This is a small extract from an appeal against sentence heard in the Queensland Court of Appeal this year. I can see it as an incident in Janus, Phoenix, Wild Side or one of the other recent 'gritty' style of police dramas.
The Queen v Kyle Peter Wiggins
 QCA 367
COURT OF APPEAL
CA No 134 of 2003
The applicant was convicted after a nine-day trial of the offence of grievous bodily harm. He was sentenced to seven years' imprisonment and 599 days was declared as pre-sentence custody. He applies for leave to appeal ...
He was 30 years old at sentence and 27 at the time of the offence. He had a significant criminal history commencing in the Childrens Court in 1989 for offences of dishonesty ...
At the time of the offence the applicant was a user of amphetamines and on 6 February 2001 he purchased some from the complainant. After taking the drugs he became convinced that they were of inferior quality because they had an adverse effect on him. The next day, when he was in the company of another man who had a pit bull terrier on a leash, he saw the complainant in the street with his wife and confronted him. An altercation ensued which was the subject of counts 1 and 2 on which the applicant was committed. On the prosecution case the applicant then produced a knife. The complainant's de facto wife was present and spoke angrily to the applicant who lunged at her with the knife. The applicant demanded a refund because of the poor quality of the drug he had purchased. The complainant pushed his wife behind him and the applicant struck the complainant twice to the face with his fist. The complainant stumbled back and the applicant struck twice at his chest. The complainant then realised he had been stabbed. The applicant threatened to kill the complainant if he was not given the refund he demanded.
The complainant suffered three stab wounds to the anterior chest wall, one to the left shoulder, one below the left nipple and another immediately below that wound. Fluid collected around his heart and major cardiac surgery was necessary without which the complainant would have died ... Fortunately, because of the prompt and capable medical attention available the complainant appears to have largely recovered from these potentially fatal wounds ...
The offence breached a suspended sentence of two months' imprisonment imposed for breach of a bail undertaking on 26 December 2000 which was operational for 12 months ...
I would grant the application for leave to appeal. Allow the appeal and instead of the sentence of seven years' imprisonment imposed for the offence of grievous bodily harm substitute a sentence of six years and nine months' imprisonment.
DUTNEY J: I agree.
PHILIPPIDES J: I agree.
THE PRESIDENT: Those are the orders of the Court.
Three months less. Was it worth the time, trouble & cost?
Photo of the Day at the Shutterline site (members can submit photos online)
simple. you'll see one word at the top of the following page.
you have sixty seconds to write about it.
as soon as you click 'go' the page will load with the cursor in place.
don't think. just write.
[i don't get it...]
oneword™ is a simple writing exercise.
it is not about learning new words.
nor is it about defining words.
just write whatever seeing that particular word inspires:
the real purpose of this exercise is to alleviate
our natural tendency to edit everything.
once one learns to flow freely in his/her writing,
their best material will emerge.
a good analogy would be a movie camera:
when a film is shot, the camera just rolls and captures
everything—good and bad. when all the shooting is
complete—the raw film is edited into a cohesive piece.
... the camera operator doesn't keep stopping the camera and
rewinding and editing on-the-fly—the camera just rolls.
if it were to stop, some of the best performances
and spontaneous moments might be missed.
be the camera. well, that's a stupid saying, but
you get the idea. in writing—just flow. go back later
and edit. every time the camera/pen/fingers stop—
something brilliant just around the corner is lost.
The Knock on the Door www.nytimes.com/imagepages/2003/09/16/arts/20030916_POPLIFE_IMAGE.html?8hpib
Wednesday, September 17, 2003
Follies and similar Monuments in the United Kingdom
Free speech can bloom only if there are those prepared to defend it
Date: September 9 2003
ABC staff must fight daily to protect our freedom of expression, writes
Text-only version www.smh.com.au/text/articles/2003/09/08/1062901995457.htm
or Full Bottle version www.smh.com.au/articles/2003/09/08/1062901995457.html
... It is assumed, wrongly, that it is easy for a writer to say publicly whatever they wish. But it is not so. All around me I see avenues for expression closing, an odd collusion of an ever-more cowed media and the way in which the powerful seek to dictate what is and what isn't read and heard. These are difficult times for anyone wishing to offer a view of the powerful that is different from that determined by the powerfuls' minders ...
... The ABC expects others to defend its rights to free expression and discussion; the importance of independent reportage and comment. And it is right to do so, because in such resides our best guarantees of freedom. But in the end, this can only happen if those in the ABC daily assert these ideas in the practice of making their programs, if those of good heart refuse to acquiesce in the face of the intimidation and thuggery of the powerful.
Discussion on hard-to-crack password generation/recall techniques - may
Tuesday, September 16, 2003
Quick Apologetic Note
Sorry for gap, but it will continue for a bit. Having computer disconnection situation. Also concentrating on getting some important non-world-problem-solving (but self-problems-solving I hope) stuff done which takes quite a bit of time & concentration I can't devote to this. If this stuff gets fixed by the end of the year (or even sooner!), it'll be a huge load of stress off me.
Then I'll just have to find something different to worry about instead :)
Wednesday, September 03, 2003
1939: Britain (& therefore Australia) declares war on Germany. More modern casualties...
Copyright © 1996—2003, Aubrey Organics®. All Rights Reserved.
Features: The Environment
Hamlet: the Untold Tragedy
(Written and produced by Robert Cotter and Maureen Costello)
(From Winter 1995)
"Two Filmmakers Look At The Fire That Devastated This Small Town"
by Nano Riley
... black people couldn't work in factories until the 1970. "It was better than working in the fields, but there were no unions," Ada Blanchard tells ... "The doors (at the Imperial Food chicken processing plant) were kept locked, and the plant had boarded-up windows so we couldn't steal the chicken," adds another worker, Conessta Williams. "They never put up a fence or hired a security guard. But (no one) would want to steal that chicken," she continues. "When you eat chicken, you don't know what you're eating."
Much of the chicken at Imperial Food Products , where both women worked, was rotten, Williams explains, so the chicken parts were breaded, fried and prepared for their major buyers — fast food restaurants and the federal school lunch programs ...
The plant was visited daily by the poultry inspector, who knew the plant doors were regularly locked in violation of safety codes, a violation that was never reported. In fact, the Imperial Food plant had already experienced three fire flare-ups earlier that year, but despite obvious danger, fire exits remained locked.
The morning of September 3, 1991, workers at the plant in Hamlet, North Carolina ... were rapidly engulfed in thick, yellow smoke, an acrid combination of melting insulation and burning soybean oil and chicken, ...
Twenty-five workers died in the tragic fire, one of the worst disasters of its kind, reminiscent of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in 1912 New York City, where many seamstresses leapt to their deaths because stairway doors were locked ...
Besides the fire-related deaths, 56 workers were injured in the fire with severe burns, blindness, respiratory disease from smoke inhalation, neurological and brain damage ... Nineteen of the 25 workers killed were single mothers.
The plant had not had a safety inspection in 11 years. "It no sprinklers and lots of asbestos."
Less than two years after the deadly fire, insurance companies and the business lobby in North Carolina got together and introduced legislation to slash compensation for injured workers.
Hamlet: Out of the Ashes, a 20-minute educational version of the film, is presently on tour, along with a traveling museum exhibit from Harvard University entitled Women of Courage. Woven throughout both the short and full-length versions of the film is a hauntingly beautiful tune, "Naima," by jazz musician and Hamlet native John Coltrane.
The first of the "Lost Days" of 1752 (UK)
‘Give us back our eleven days!’ So rang out the rioters’ cry in 1752, when by Act of Parliament the day after September 2 was decreed to be September 14. For good measure, the Act also changed New Year’s Day from March 25 to January 1.
The reason for dropping the eleven days was simple. England had been using the Julian calendar (named after Julius Caesar, its originator) of five months of thirty days and six months of 31 days, with February having 28, but 29 in leap years, every third year in olden times.
The Julian calendar was only eleven minutes a year too long, but over the years those minutes mounted up. By 1582 it meant that church festivals were ten days out of step. So Pope Gregory XIII decided that ten days must be dropped from that year.
Most Catholic countries did so straight away. But Protestant lands were reluctant, smelling some Popish plot. England was the last European country to change to the Gregorian calendar. Even the Scots had succumbed in 1600, although the reformer John Knox went so far as to send one Michael Scott to Rome to see if he could find the lost days.
In England the change was met with the fierce antagonism of ignorance and prejudice. The death of James Bradley, the Astronomer Royal, who had worked out the calculations for the Bill in Parliament, was attributed to his having interfered with the dates of saints’ festivals.
A letter to the Sussex Weekly Advertiser reported a conversation between two farmers at market. The change in dating was officially described as from ‘Old Style’ to ‘New Style’. For the life of them, the farmers could not see why stiles came into it at all. Only one stile they knew of needed renewing.
It was Lord Chesterfield who bravely brought in the Bill. He was well aware of the great inconvenience the old calendar caused merchants, statesmen, and anyone else with overseas connections. He wrote to his son about the problem he was facing.
‘I consulted the best lawyers and the most skilled astronomers and we cooked up a Bill. It had to be composed of law jargon and astronomical calculations, to both of which I am an utter stranger. But it was absolutely necessary to make the House of Lords think that I knew something of the matter – and also make them think that they knew something of it themselves (which they do not). So I gave them only an historical account of calendars, amusing them now and again with little episodes.’
He got his Bill through. But most people never forgave him. ‘Give us back our eleven days!’ Only a few missed birthdays that year. But virtually the whole country felt robbed of eleven days of life. Little wonder there were riots.
Monday, September 01, 2003
Naturally, there will be/is a huge bunfight around this. I believe Mr Lomborg will be visiting Australia sometime soonish -- brought out by some interest group or another. I would like to hear & see the different points of view. As ever I'm pretty sure that the situation is neither fully black nor white.
Green skeptic declared "unscientific"
Thursday, 28 August 2003
A panel of independent Scandinavian scientists have concluded that recent works by the controversial Danish scientist and environmental skeptic, Bjorn Lomborg, were unscientific and of dubious value.
The Danish government asked the panel of five academics to evaluate reports from an independent environmental institute headed by Bjorn Lomborg, after a prestigious Danish scientific committee earlier this year accused the environmental maverick of scientific dishonesty
A panoramic view from the summit of Mt Everest
MARVEL'S '1602' PRESS CONFERENCE
by Jonah Weiland, Executive Producer
Posted: June 27, 2003
 the upcoming eight-issue Marvel Knights title by Neil Gaiman, Andy Kubert and Richard Isanove
www.minack.com Amphitheatre carved into cliffside somewhere near Lands End
www.heligan.com Lost Gardens of Heligan
www.cooperativeresearch.org/timeline/ (S11 timeline)
TOMPAINE.com - Jobs Without Power: "This is the first of a series of bi-weekly columns by Jonathan Tasini called 'Working In America.'
For at least half their waking hours, the American people live in a dictatorship. At home or in public places, Americans enjoy a measure of freedom and liberty envied by most people around the world: freedom of speech, freedom of assembly and freedom of association (true, John Ashcroft is trying to change all that but that's another story). But, the moment Americans walk through the doors of their workplace, they enter into a world that strips away all their basic rights. Within the walls of the workplace, the whim of the corporation is more powerful than the U.S. Constitution
This is my blogchalk:
Australia, New South Wales, Sydney, English, photography, reading, natural history, land use, town planning, sustainability.