31 October 2008

Day for Daniel

I do like special days when it is about me.

Today was Day for Daniel, but it was not about me.

Day for Daniel is a day to honour Daniel Morcombe who was nearly 14 when he was abducted by two men while waiting for a bus. He is still on the missing persons list.


Daniel James

Daniel James Morcombe

D.O.B: 1989
Height: 150 cm
Complexion: Fair
Eye Colour: Blue
Hair Colour: Dark Brown
Build: Proportionate
Tattoo(s)/Marks: Nil
Last Heard: The missing person was last seen at his residence at Palmwoods on 7 December 2003. He intended on walking to an undesignated bus stop on the Nambour connection Road near the Kiel Mountain overpass.
Day for Daniel is an event organised by the Daniel Morcombe Foundation (set up by his parents) to raise awareness of child safety.

Daniel's family continue to suffer the anguish of still not knowing what happened to their son. He will turn 19 in December and his parents have missed the best years of his life, growing from a boy into a man.

Through their tragedy, his parents have helped many others.

It has been a busy week at work.

30 October 2008

holiday super walks

The UK Daily Telegraph has a dedicated travel writer who writes about walks. Impressive. Christopher Somerville has a monthly column called Walk of the Month.

He recently wrote about his top 50 walks - Hiking holidays: The world in 50 walks. A great list, but he left out the Camino de Santiago de Compostela and the Cinque Terre.

He listed three in Australia, but omitted Tasmania, in particular the well known Freycinet Peninsula Circuit.

I enjoyed the Cinque Terre walks. It took about five hours to walk through all five villages and some of it was very difficult, but the views were spectacular. I would return in a jiffy.

Happy Thursday. This morning when I arrived at work, there was a Thursday cake on my desk. Actually, it was bread. Banana Bread.

29 October 2008

African Danish

No, not a form of pastry.

When I visited Lisbon a few years ago, I noticed on the metro that most of the 'white' Portuguese people seemed to avoid those who looked African. It made me wonder if perhaps Portugal had a refugee program.

Then it dawned on me that African Portuguese have been there for a long long time. The Portuguese empire stretched to Africa. In 1441, African slaves were first brought to Lisbon, with slave trading becoming a lucrative in Portuguese commerce.

Knowing a bit of history helps to counter wrongful assumptions.

Anyway, Denmark has received African migrants for some time and some 45 000 Africans are now home in Copenhagen, many arriving later as refugees. I found a fascinating article by the BBC - Africans adapt to to Nordic chill (24 October 2008), which is worth reading.
Africans adapt to Nordic chill

The BBC's African Perspective programme is investigating what life is like for some of an estimated 20 million Africans who live in the diaspora.

Ellen Otzen visits Copenhagen, the capital of Denmark, to see how the 45,000 Africans there have adapted to their chilly Nordic home.

In a small, white house standing in the shadow of Copenhagen's oldest churches people from Cameroon, Botswana, Sierra Leone, Tanzania and Uganda meet each Wednesday night to sing in a gospel music choir.

Ugandan Joel Moses came to Denmark for love, 13 years ago.

Denmark is a very small country... I don't think the Danes were prepared for all of us
Ugandan Peace Kabushenga

"I was once married to a Danish woman. She couldn't stand living in Africa and so I moved to her home," he explains.

"I love to sing and so I come every Wednesday even if I am tired, physically - it builds me up and gears me up for a new day.

"To be honest, I really come to do something as an African in a white community because there's a lot of things I do that are gone, not recognised. But I think I am recognised by reaching out to my fellow Africans."

Love broke down for Joel as it did for another Ugandan, Peace Kabushenga.


She is a project manager dealing with HIV/Aids among the ethnic minorities in Denmark.

She arrived in Copenhagen almost 30 years ago in 1979, as a diplomat's wife. Her life then was comfortable.

But it ended abruptly when their relationship broke down and her husband returned to Uganda.

"It was a dramatic change," says Peace, who found herself as a single mother far from home.

"I had to declare myself a refugee to live in Denmark. I had to live in a refugee camp while my papers were being processed.

"Strangely, I knew no other Africans," she recalls.

"It was my Danish friends who helped me. Of course I would've survived - I am strong; but they made it so much easier for me and most importantly, for my son."

Historic links

Denmark never had colonies in Africa but ties between the sea-faring Danes and Africa's Gold Coast, now Ghana, stretch way back in history.

The Ghanaian seat of government, in the capital, Accra, is housed in the original Christiansborg Castle - a slave fort built by the Danes in the 17th century.

After the 11th of September, Islam became a political issue and it is a big one here in Denmark, unfortunately
Khadija Fara
Somali social worker

Stored inside the Presbyterian Church in Accra's Osu district are records from the 1850s, chronicling families with Danish fathers and Ghanaian mothers.

Eighty Danish surnames, like Svanekær, Richter and Holm are still in use today in Ghana.

More recently the links are developmental ones. In the 1960s Danish doctors, vets and engineers were sent to Africa and in return African students came to study.

Then as oppressive regimes took over it was scared, political refugees, like rapper Al Agami, who started to head to Africa-friendly Denmark.

'Fear factor'

Al Agami was born in Uganda's capital, Kampala, but grew up in Denmark. He also spent three years living in Afghanistan. His father was a soldier.

"I am a political refugee. I wound up in Denmark because of my father's stress with the Idi Amin [a former Ugandan dictator] era."

Al Agami is now one of the biggest names in Danish rap music.

He recalls how Denmark in the 1970s was "very quiet" which he feels is a contradiction to his "can't sit still" personality.

He says it was weird because there were "no brown faced children" but there was "no fear factor", unlike now.

Somali Khadija Fara works as a social adviser. When she arrived in the 1980s, she says things were different; but it was during the 1990s that everything began changing.

"Many, many Somali refugees came to Denmark and they were the biggest minority group," Khadija says.

That is when the fear factor, as Al Agami calls it, set in.

Shift in attitude

Hostility, resentment and friction rose and two years ago, tension spilled over when Muslims took to the streets outraged by cartoons of the Prophet Muhammed in a Danish newspaper.

"After the 11th of September [2001], Islam became a political issue and it is a big one here in Denmark, unfortunately," explains Khadija.

"I wish people would instead use their energy on other things like integration and making the second generation immigrants from feeling marginalised."

Peace Kabushenga believes the problems have stemmed from the large number of immigrants arriving.

"You have to bear in mind that Denmark is a very small country and so many foreigners have come in. I don't think the Danes were prepared for all of us."

The resultant shift in attitude has caused Peace to worry for herself and her son.

"When he's out there I don't want him to feel like a foreigner. I would feel very sad if he told me, he was mistreated on the streets," she says.

"Yes, he has a black skin but he has his roots here and he is very, very Danish."

Tune into the BBC World Service to listen to African Perspective's Africans Abroad: Part I on Saturday 25 October at 1906 GMT in Africa. The programme will be available for a week on the website.

Part II of Africans Abroad - about chasing the American dream - will be broadcast on Saturday 1 November. Part III on Saturday 8 November will feature Africans who have voluntarily made the former slave island of Jamaica their home.

One should never assume that all Danes are white-skinned.

Today was a very busy day at work. So much so that I was tired and fell asleep on the couch after work.

28 October 2008

Gibraltar tunnel

Aside from scheduled and chartered flights, the only other way to travel between Spain and Morocco is by ferry. The ferry crossing from Algeciras to Tangier takes about 90 minutes.

In late 2003, Spain and Morocco agreed to build a 40 km tunnel between Spain and Morocco beneath the Straits of Gibraltar. Work on the tunnel may actually commence next year.

Linking the continents of Europe and Africa will be a major milestone.

Arriving in Tangier, whether by ferry or road/rail would still be a cultural awakening or shock for most people. I did not feel safe in Tangier when visiting during August 2000.

I still haven't finished de-cluttering and tidying.

27 October 2008

Leo the lion heart

I liked this story about a little dog with a big heart. From the Herald Sun (Melbourne)
Lion-hearted Leo has courage licked

Kelly Ryan
October 27, 2008 12:00am

A TENACIOUS terrier dubbed Leo the Lion-hearted is being lauded for staying loyally by the side of four helpless kittens trapped in a burning house.

The gutsy bitzer had to be resuscitated by firefighters after refusing to abandon the kittens even as thick smoke and flames filled a Seddon weatherboard home on Saturday night.

Firemen had to dodge fallen power lines to enter the blazing building in Pilgrim St after three children rescued from the blaze screamed for their pets to be saved.

"One officer returned into the blazing house and re-emerged carrying the near-lifeless Leo," said MFB western zone commander Ken Brown.

"Another couple of firefighters grabbed the resuscitation equipment and . . . were able to revive him.

"The dog had remained stoically guarding the box of kittens, even though their mother had disappeared."

A family of seven escaped with their lives but have lost everything they owned in the suspicious blaze. Their home was not insured.

Mum Janine Kelly was with children Paul, 18, Tayla, 11, and Jayme, 5, when a stranger ran to the back of her home, yelling at them to get out because the front of the house was engulfed in flames.

Neighbour Rob Easterbrook, 43, tried to douse the flames but rubbish stacked on the veranda of the double-fronted home ignited.

"I panicked initially, because I was worried the kids could have been trapped inside," he said.

"But then they assured me they were all out."

The Sunshine hospital chef said three of the five children were screaming for their menagerie of pets to be saved.

Tayla said she carried Jayme out and then rescued another pet dog, Barney, who was fleeing the fire.

"But Leo was still inside standing over the kittens, and we were scared he would get burned," she said. "We couldn't find Sabrina (mother of the kittens) and we thought they would all die."

The children sobbed with relief when firefighters rescued and revived 11-month-old Leo.

"Then we were told there was a box of kittens still in there, and firefighters returned to grab them too," Cdr Brown said.

He said Leo licked the kittens with joy when he saw them. "It was a wonderful sight," he said.

The kittens were unharmed because a cover on their box stopped them suffering smoke inhalation.

Tayla was taken to the Royal Children's Hospital with smoke inhalation and released yesterday.

The shocked family then returned to their gutted home to try to salvage what little was not smoke or fire-damaged.

They found Leo sitting on a burnt mattress out front, faithfully waiting for his family to return.

Last night they were looking for a place to stay and supplies.

Cdr Brown said firefighters would nominate Leo for an RSPCA bravery medal.
Vision from Reuters

I wonder if Leo thought the kittens were part of his pack. Nevertheless, canine loyalty and protection has no equal amongst others in the animal kingdom.

Happy Monday?

26 October 2008

Banksy the vandal

Banksy painted a seven metre (23 feet) high mural on a building wall at Newman Street (near Oxford Circus) in London.

The local jurisdiction, the Westminster City Council doesn't like it, calling it graffiti and want it removed.

- Graffiti artist Banksy pulls off most audacious stunt to date - despite being watched by CCTV (Daily Mail, 14 April 2008)
- Writing is on the wall for Banksy's west end mural as council demands it be painted over (Daily Mail, 24 October 2008)
- Council orders Banksy art removal (BBC News, 24 October 2008)
- Westminster bid to remove Banksy art stalled (Local Government Chronicle, 24 October 2008)

Painting (stencil) on a wall without permission is vandalism. However, if the painting is a valued piece of art, then removing it is even worse.

Today was another busy day of de-cluttering and spring cleaning.

25 October 2008

if you chuck a sickie, don't brag about it on facebook

Poor Kyle Doyle. He did what is commonly done by Australian workers and that is to be too ill to work on the day following a heavy night of drinking. From The Age
Sickie faker busted by Facebook [*sic]

Asher Moses
October 23, 2008

A Sydney telco employee has learned the hard way the perils of sharing too much information on Facebook [*sic] after he was caught by his boss faking a sickie after a big night out.

In an email exchange doing the rounds of office blocks, Kyle Doyle was asked by his employer, AAPT, to provide a medical certificate verifying a day of sick leave in August.

Doyle, a call centre worker, protested, saying his contract stipulated he did not require a medical certificate for taking only one day off.

His boss replied that this was usually the case but in this instance the company had determined that the leave was not due to medical reasons.

"My leave was due to medical reasons, so you cannot deny leave based on a line manager's discretion, with no proof, please process leave as requested," Doyle responded.

The manager then sent Doyle a screen grab of Doyle's Facebook [*sic] profile, highlighting a status update written on the leave day in question.

"Kyle Doyle is not going to work, f--- it i'm still trashed. SICKIE WOO!," it read.

Sprung and with no room left to move, Doyle replied to the boss: "HAHAHA LMAO [laughing my ass off] epic fail. No worries man."

Doyle did not respond to a request for comment sent over Facebook [*sic] but a friend of his confirmed the incident was not a hoax.

The employer would not comment.

Update 24/10 - AAPT today released a statement saying it had completed an investigation of its email records and the exchange between Doyle and his boss "never occurred".

However, a spokeswoman confirmed that both are current employees with the company. AAPT would not give any further details and would not say whether the emails were part of a prank by Doyle or one of his colleagues.

"This issue will continue to be dealt with internally, as a matter of standard company process," AAPT's statement read.

I think that it is quite legitimate to have a sick day from work if a person is too ill to go to work, regardless of the cause. This includes being 'trashed'.

Silly boy, he should have written "Kyle Doyle is home and too unwell to go to work". It wasn't even a 'sickie' which is euphemism for taking a day off from work (to play golf, go fishing etc) and claiming sick leave for it.

*note to The Age, facebook is not capitalised. It makes it look funny.

I was too tired to blog on Thursday and Friday nights.

Emily came over on Thursday night for dinner and I made a beef madras curry. She is a curry addict. On Friday late afternoon, Anthony came over after we had an after work beer. It's nice to have visitors.

22 October 2008

suing God

Associated Press reported on 16 October about Nebraska state Senator Ernie Chambers' lawsuit against God being dismissed on grounds of no home address was listed to serve the lawsuit.

The story was widely reported in media outlets.

Strangely, not one of them mentioned the 2001 Australian film The Man Who Sued God. In the film, churches and synagogues as God's representatives were liable to the lawsuit against God. The only way out of it was if they proved that God did not exist.

Despite staying home today, I still have a mess to sort out following yesterday's burglary.

21 October 2008

the banana diet

A story that seems to have picked up in the international media is Japan's latest diet trend. From Japan Times
Yes, we have no bananas, as dieters peel away stocks

Staff writer

Dieting appears to be a nationwide trend. Spurred on by TV shows, people have taken various approaches, including upping their intake of "natto" fermented soybeans, which later proved fruitless, to adding agar to food.

News photo
Peel this: Only Ecuadorean bananas costing 8 remain available at the Granpark Tamachi branch of Daimaru Peacock in Minato Ward, Tokyo, on Sept. 30. The sign says bananas have become scarce due to a TV show boasting the dieting merits of the fruit. NATSUKO FUKUE PHOTO

Now it's bananas.

Bananas have been long known as a diet food. But when Tokyo Broadcasting System's TV show "Dream Press-sha" explained on Sept. 19 how former opera singer Kumiko Mori — who weighs in at more than 100 kg — lost 7 kg through the banana diet, there has been a run on the fruit.

According to Seven & I Holdings Co., which runs the supermarket chain Ito-Yokado, banana sales have been increasing since spring. But twice as many as usual were sold in late September.

Takashi Kobayashi, chief manager of the Granpark Tamachi branch of supermarket chain Daimaru Peacock, said his store is also seeing a run on bananas.

"Bananas have been selling really well, especially since the TV show on the banana diet aired on Sept. 19. These days, bananas are all gone by evening," Kobayashi said.

Hiromi Otaki, spokeswoman for Dole Japan Co., Japan's largest banana importer, said there was a 25 percent to 27 percent jump in banana shipments between June and August compared with the same period last year.

"Bananas are usually not consumed much in summer because juicy fruits, such as watermelon, are more popular. But this summer, bananas sold well," Otaki said.

"Unfortunately, even if there is more demand, we cannot supply more bananas immediately because it takes 10 to 15 months to grow them," she said.

According to Otaki, 90 percent of bananas in Japan come from the Philippines.

The craze traces its roots to the Morning banana diet introduced on mixi, a popular social networking Web site, in 2006 by Hitoshi Watanabe, who studied preventive medicine in Tokyo, and by his pharmacist wife, Sumiko.

According to their official Web site, the trick is to eat bananas along with room-temperature water for breakfast.

Anything can be eaten at lunch and dinner, and afternoon snacks are OK. Just avoid ice cream, dairy products and dessert after dinner, and dine before 8 p.m.

The Web site says bananas are good for losing weight because they help digestion and improve metabolism.

In January, Makino Publishing Ltd. featured the banana diet in its monthly magazine Sokai.

"We received good feedback from our readers, so we continued to run feature articles (on the diet) in April, August, September and October," chief editor Kazuhiko Murohashi said.

The company also published the book "Asa (morning) Banana Diet" by the Watanabes in May. It proved to be a huge hit, selling 230,000 copies.

"While Sokai is read mainly by people in their 40s and 50s, the book has wider readership, from teenagers to the elderly," Murohashi said. "I think that Japanese, including the elderly, care not only about their health but also about beauty."

TV celebrity Monta Mino, who is widely popular with housewives, dwelt on the diet three times in his popular TV show "Omoikkiri Terebi," adding further to the boom.

Yuko Takahashi in Kodaira, Tokyo, said her husband, Toshiaki, has been on a banana diet since summer, after they saw an ad for the diet book. He has since lost 3 kg.

"My husband didn't have breakfast before, but now he eats a banana every morning. It's quick and easy," she said.

A 40-year-old Japanese language instructor who only gave her last name, Yanagihara, also tried the banana diet for a month and lost 2 kg, but she thinks it is not effective.

"I tried many kinds of diet methods, like eating soybean cookies and drinking slimming tea. None worked really well. I usually lost 2 kg (with these diet methods), but I could easily gain the weight back.

"It sounds amazing that Kumiko Mori lost 7 kg, but it's easier to lose weight for her because she's big," she said.

Sayoko Ikeda, associate professor of the faculty of nutrition at Kobe Gakuin University, said eating bananas does not directly trigger weight loss.

"Eating only one kind of food in the long term is not healthy because you cannot get the necessary nutrition," she said, noting bananas may work for people who tend to overeat because the fruit is quite filling.

The Japan Times: Tuesday, Oct. 7, 2008
There is more...

Morning Banana Diet website


If you ask me, the idea is bent.

The house was burgled today while I was at work. My room was ransacked for small valuables. Kane was unharmed, but proven he has retired from guard duties.

20 October 2008

wealth at whose price?

In South Africa, 300 people are killed each year for their body parts, which are used in traditional 'muti' medicine, including to attract wealth (Daily Telegraph). In Tanzania, albino baby body parts are used in potions to attract wealth (BBC News).

Greed knows no bounds. Such greedy people have no conscience and place no value in the life of others.

Just like bankers on Wall Street.

The days are getting longer. Spring is in the air. No wonder I have a strange compulsion to tidy up.

19 October 2008

She without arm, he without leg

is a ballet duet performed by Ma Li (馬麗) and Zhai Xiaowei (翟孝偉).

(thanks to Boing Boing)

Classical dance is usually premised on perfect bodies. An amputee piece certainly challenges the presumptions about body types and shapes in ballet.

Good stuff.

Today was a busy chore-filled day.

18 October 2008

dragon toes

Chinese Dragons have five toes, Korean dragons four toes and Japanese dragons three toes.

According to Wikipedia
To explain this phenomenon, Chinese legend states that all Imperial dragons originated in China, and the further away from China a dragon went the fewer toes it had.

However, historical records show that ordinary Chinese dragons had four toes (this dragon was known as Mang), but the Imperial dragon had five (as in the Five elements of Chinese philosophy) (this dragon was known as Long). The four-clawed dragon was typically for nobility and certain high ranking officials. The three clawed dragon was used by the general public (widely seen on various Chinese goods in Ming dynasty). The Long, however, was only for select royalty closely associated with the Imperial family, usually in various symbolic colors, while it was a capital offense for anyone - other than the emperor himself - to ever use the completely gold-colored, five-clawed Long dragon motif. Improper use of claw number and/or colors was considered treason, punishable by execution of the offender's entire clan. Since most east Asian nations at one point or another were considered Chinese tributaries, they were only allowed four-clawed dragons. The five toes rule was enforced since 1336 AD (Yuan the second year). "(For commoners) It is forbidden to wear any cloth with patterns of Qilin, Male Fenghuang (Chinese phoenix), White rabbit, Lingzhi, Five-Toe Two-Horn Loong, Eight Loongs, Nine Loongs, Long-live, Fortune-longevity character and Golden Yellow etc." ("禁服麒麟、鸾凤、白兔、灵芝、双角五爪龙、八龙、九龙、万寿、福寿字、赭黄等服")[10]

Another explanation is

The Chinese tradition states that dragons originated in China with five toes. As they travelled abroad they lost more toes the further they went from home. This is why Oriental dragons never reached the West - they would have run out of toes.

The Japanese tradition has a similar story that differs in one important respect: dragons originated in Japan. In this version of the legend, dragons grew more toes as they travelled further from home. Once they reached five toes they found it difficult to walk which is why they never reached the West.

Although this is the generally accepted toe count, some sources claim that in China only the Imperial Dragon actually had the full five toes and other Chinese dragons had just four.

I thought they had claws. Do other reptiles have toes?

Today was busy. Still, I had time in the morning to watch Dragon Wars (D-War), hence today's topic.

Magnificent depiction. Fascinating mythology.

17 October 2008

the other person

The BBC finally wrote about Peter Norman.

Peter Norman died in October 2006. The BBC should have written about him then.

Old web references, following his death.

- Sydney Morning Herald 10 October 2006
- Sydney Morning Herald 4 October 2006
- Black Athlete 5 October 2006
- Athletics Australia 4 October 2006
- San Jose State University Spartan Daily of 5 October 2006 (both Smith and Carlos were students here)

Today has been full of farewells and birthdays. Farewells for a colleague (lunch) and Stella (after work drinks) and birthdays for Martin (formerly back neighbour) and Jim (Emily's new man) with after work drinks (thankfully and coincidentally, at the same place).

16 October 2008

De Civilitate Morum Puerilium Libellus

Desiderius Erasmus Roterodamus, a Dutch Renaissance humanist, wrote De Civilitate Morum Puerilium Libellus in 1536.

It was a best seller and translated into English by Robert Whittington in 1560 as De ciuilitate morum puerilium per des. Erasmum Roterodamum, libellus nunc primum conditus & editus. Roberto VVhitintoi interprete. A lytle booke of good maners for chyldren, now lately compiled and put forth by Erasmus Roterodam in latin tongue, with interpretation of the same into the vulgare englyshe tongue, by Robert VVhittinton poet laureat.

A new translation by Eleanor Merchant has just been published (amazon.co.uk). From the publisher description
When did you last tell your children to put their hand over their mouth when they yawn? When did you last suggest that when they are introduced to someone they should look them in the eye? Do you remind them that they should wait until everyone is served before they start eating? And not hoover up the best bit? Do you think that the children of today have disgraceful manners? Unlike, of course, when you were young? Well, that's what Erasmus of Rotterdam thought in 1530 when he published 'de Civilitate Morum Puerilium Libellus: A Handbook on Good Manners for Children'. After all, as William of Wykeham memorably said in the 1350s, Manners Makyth Man'. A Handbook on Good Manners for Children is considered to be the first treatise in Western Europe on the moral and practical education of children. It was a massive bestseller - indeed the biggest selling book of the sixteenth century - going into 130 editions over 300 years and being translated into 22 languages. In it, Erasmus concerns himself with matters such as how to dress, how to behave at table, how to converse with one's elders and contemporaries, how to address the opposite sex and much else. For example:'It's just as rude to lick greasy fingers as it is to wipe them on your clothing; use a cloth or napkin instead'. 'Some people, no sooner than they've sat down, immediately stick their hands into the dishes of food. This is the manner of wolves'. 'Making a raucous noise or shrieking intentionally when you sneeze, or showing off by carrying on sneezing on purpose, is very ill-mannered'. 'To fidget around in your seat, and to settle first on one buttock and then the next, gives the impression that you are repeatedly farting, or trying to fart'. The advice is as relevant today as it was 500 years ago.

I wonder if Mr Thackery used the book (in To Sir With Love).

I mowed the back lawn after work.

15 October 2008

what a meow is worth

The Daily Telegraph (UK) reported about a woman who spent thousands to ensure her cat could meow again.

Jean Kelly and Cadbury, who got his miaow back
Jean Kelly said the £10,000 bill for Cadbury's throat-corrective surgery was worth it to hear him miaow again

Why did she need to hear him meow? If she was close to her kitty, Jean would have been able to read Cadbury's mind, obviating the need to communicate by meowing.

Back to work today.

I had a good time in Brisbane. It was good to catch up with a number of friends and family.

03 October 2008

Right Whale of a time

Brian Skerry's photographs are featured in the October 2008 National Geographic.

His notes are fascinating

It must have been pretty nerve-racking having such a large animal swim up to you.

It was amazing. I mean, I have to tell you there were days when I was at the bottom at 70 feet, and here comes this bus swimming down. I’m standing on the bottom, and as it comes down, I get on my knees, lean over backwards—my scuba tank is now digging into the sand. And of course their eyes are on the side of their heads, so it had to turn and look at me. It came within inches. Here’s this softball-size whale eye looking at me. But then it stops—stops on a dime. It’s just hovering there, and literally one flick of its tail, and it would have crushed me like a bug. But it doesn’t. It was just highly curious.


Almost ready to go to Brisbane tomorrow.

02 October 2008

Doctor Who in the Guardian

The Guardian online has a huge Doctor Who section under its media heading.



Happy Thursday!

01 October 2008

eating kangaroo to save the planet

Reported in The Australian, the Australian government's chief climate change adviser has suggested we eat kangaroo to fight climate chang
Eat kangaroo to help combat climate change: Ross Garnaut
Samantha Maiden and Christian Kerr | October 01, 2008

AUSTRALIANS should replace beef and lamb on the dinner table with kangaroo to fight climate change, Kevin Rudd's chief climate change adviser says.

Professor Ross Garnaut has suggested in his final report on climate change that the nation's farmers should switch to the low-emission meat.

He also suggests Australian families should give up beef and eat more kangaroo.

"Sheep and cattle production is highly vulnerable to the biophysical impacts of climate change, such as water scarcity," he says.

"Australian marsupials emit negligible amounts of methane from enteric fermentation. This could be a source of international comparative advantage for Australia in livestock production.

"For most of Australia's human history of around 60,000 years, kangaroo was the main source of meat. It could again become important."

Professor Garnaut notes there are some barriers to this change, including livestock and farm-management issues, consumer resistance and the gradual nature of change in food tastes.

Michael Mulligan, president of the Kangaroo Industry Association, told the Taste of Kangaroo symposium at Sydney's Parliament House earlier this week that the national symbol had become a "more and more accepted everyday meat".

Professor Garnaut notes that researchers have modelled the potential for kangaroos to replace sheep and cattle for meat production in Australia's rangelands, where kangaroos are already harvested.

"They conclude that by 2020, beef cattle and sheep numbers in the rangelands could be reduced by seven million and 36 million respectively, and that this would create the opportunity for an increase in kangaroo numbers from 34 million today to 240million by 2020," he says.

But matters may be complicated by the treatment of agriculture under the proposed emissions trading scheme.

While Professor Garnaut has said agriculture should be included in an ETS as soon as possible, the Government's own Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme green paper says it will not be covered until at least 2015.
And a recipe was also included in the article

1 tablespoon oil
400g kangaroo fillet, sliced thinly
2 eschalots, chopped finely
1 green onion, chopped
2 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons fish sauce
2-3 teaspoons ground red chilli
2 tablespoons Oz Lemon
2 teaspoons sugar, or to taste
1/3 cup mint leaves
1/3 cup Thai basil leaves
Lettuce cups
Steamed jasmine rice

Khao koor
3 tablespoons uncooked jasmine rice

Heat oil in a wok; cook kangaroo so that it seals but is still medium. Remove from heat and place in a bowl with the onions, lime juice, fish sauce, chilli, Oz Lemon, sugar and herbs; toss to combine. Serve with lettuce cups or jasmine rice and sprinkle with khao koor (ground toasted rice). To make khao koor, heat a wok until fairly hot; add uncooked jasmine rice. Toss rice until it starts to turn golden brown. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Grind to a fairly coarse powder with a mortar and pestle or a blender.
Serves 2-4

For this thrillingly flavoured 'roo dish, you need a red with bold personality, heaps of spiciness, perfume and a rich, almost sweet fullness - a Barossa grenache or a shiraz viognier blend.
Kangaroo is a very tasty meat. During cooking, the smell is a bit strong though.