31 August 2011

Coconut water

Coconut water is the clear liquid inside young green coconuts. Coconuts are more commonly harvested when mature and brown for the hard white coconut flesh or meat, from which liquid is extracted using added water to make coconut milk.

The liquid from green coconuts, usually available fresh in the tropics where the coconut palm is grown, has gained popularity elsewhere as a drink in recent times through the availability of packaged drinks. While the usually sweetened juice with some pulp has been popular in Thailand for some time sold in a can or plastic container, the unsweetened variety has gained wider acceptance outside of Asia. Unsweetened coconut water (not juice) is now a popular health drink. Marketed as a health drink, it has become a fad. Its health benefits, however, have been challenged (see New York Times, CNN, Reuters).

I have actually been drinking coconut water for some time, starting with the nudie brand but the last few months noticed an increase in other brands and availability. Hence, I thought it would be interesting to compare prices, ingredients and taste.

A comparison of each of these is provided below. Prices in Australian dollars.

nudie Coconut Water
Australia, from imported ingredients, source not indicated, no sugar added
350mL ($2.99), 1L ($6.99), per 100mL (small $0.85, large $0.70)
per 100mL - Energy 90kJ, Sodium 18mg, Potassium 190mg, Polyphenols 9mg, sugars 5g
per 350mL - Energy 315kJ, Sodium 63mg, Potassium 665mg, Polyphenols 31.5mg, sugars 17.5g

This is one of the older products in the market with the larger bottle more recently available. It has a natural taste to it without being too sweet. Available in the refrigerated aisles in Coles and Woolworths.

AYAM Coconut Water with pulp
Product of Thailand, coconut juice 90%, water, coconut pulp 3%, sugar, preservative 223
320mL ($1.52), per 100mL ($0.47)
per 100g - Energy 96kJ, Sodium 25mg, sugar 4.1g
per 320mL - Energy 308kJ, Sodium 80mg, sugar 13.1g

This one has added sugar and added water. A cheaper option that is drinkable and slightly sweeter because of the mix despite having lower total sugar content.  Available in the Asian aisle in Woolworths. 

Celebes Organic Coconut Water
Product of the Philippines
350mL ($3.20), per 100mL ($0.91)
per 100mL - Energy 84kJ, Sodium 19mg, Potassium 222mg, sugars 5g
per 350mL - Energy 294kJ, Sodium 70mg, Potassium 780mg, sugars 16g

Despite the similar natural sugar content as other brands, this one tastes less sweet.  Available in health food stores. 

nakula coconut water
Made in Thailand from local organic certified ingredients
300mL ($3.95), per 100mL ($1.32)
per 100mL - Energy 91kJ, Sodium 16.6mg, Potassium 230mg, sugars 3g
per 300mL - Energy 272kJ, Sodium 50mg, Potassium 690mg, sugars 9g

Probably the most expensive brand. The sugar content is much lower and the corresponding taste reflects this. Available in health food stores.

(Schweppes Australia) Kokomo Coconut Water
Packed in the Philippines, no added sugar or artificial sweetener, no preservatives, no concentrate
330mL ($2.50), per 100mL ($0.76)
per 100mL - Energy 83kJ, Sodium 19mg, Potassium 222mg, sugars 4.3g
per 330mL - Energy 274kJ, Sodium 63mg, Potassium 733mg, sugars 14.2g

This is a new product from a large beverage company. It is not as sweet. Available in the drinks aisle in Coles supermarket.

cocobella coconut water
Made fresh at the coconut plantation in Indonesia, free from concentrates
250mL ($1.99), per 100mL ($0.80)
per 100mL - 95kJ, Sodium 40mg, Potassium 131mg, Phosphorous [sic] 67mg, sugars 4.7g
per 250mL - 238kJ, Sodium 100mg, Potassium 328mg, Phosphorous [sic] 166mg, sugars 11.8g

Along with nudie, probably one of the more popular and well-established brands.  It has the right amount of sweetness.  Available in the drinks aisle in Coles supermarket.

27 August 2011

football - round 23

There are 24 rounds this year to allow for the new 17th team in the competition with two byes (game free rounds) for each team, playing a total of 22 games per year.  In previous years, with 22 rounds, one round was split over two weekends allowing half the teams to have a game free weekend during that round.

West Coast           5.2    5.5    9.10    13.11 (89)
Brisbane Lions    4.4    7.6    9.12    11.15 (81)

West Coast:
Masten 3, Nicoski 2, Kennedy, Ebert, LeCras, Hams, Shuey, Priddis, Lynch, Gaff
Brisbane Lions: Rockliff 2, Rich, Redden, Drummond, Power, Polkinghorne, Adcock, Karnezis, Cornelius, Sheldon


West Coast: Lynch, Gaff, Priddis, Masten, Shuey
Brisbane Lions: Black, Raines, Rich, Hanley, Rockliff


West Coast: Cox (eye)
Brisbane Lions: Staker (knee)

West Coast:
Dean Cox replaced by Ashley Smith in the third quarter
Brisbane Lions: Brent Staker (knee) replaced by Patrick Karnezis in the first quarter

Reports: Josh Kennedy (West Coast) for striking Mitch Golby in the fourth quarter 
Umpires: McBurney, Ryan, Mollison 
Official crowd: 13,500 at the Gabba

It was a wet game and the slippery conditions suited Brisbane Lions more than West Coast. While a loss (again), it was a valiant effort against a top four side. Sadly, Luke Power surprised supporters by announcing after the game that it was his last. Power is one of the club greats.  Match report and on Power's retirement by Michael Whiting.

Photos by Chris Hyde for Getty.

Sam Sheldon

Simon Black

Brent Staker (against his former team)

Luke Power

A planet made of diamond

A team of international researchers led by Australia has found a planet made of diamond. Media release from Swinburne University of Technology
A planet made of diamond

Date posted: 26 Aug 2011
A planet made of diamond

A once-massive star that’s been transformed into a small planet made of diamond: that’s what astronomers think they’ve found in our Milky Way.

The discovery, reported today in Science, was made by an international research team led by Professor Matthew Bailes, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research) at Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne and the ‘Dynamic Universe’ theme leader in a new wide-field astronomy initiative, the ARC Centre of Excellence for All-sky Astrophysics (CAASTRO).

The researchers, from Australia, Germany, Italy, the UK and the USA, first detected an unusual star called a pulsar using the CSIRO Parkes radio telescope and followed up their discovery with the Lovell radio telescope in the UK and one of the Keck telescopes in Hawaii.

Pulsars are small spinning stars about 20 km in diameter—the size of a small city—that emit a beam of radio waves. As the star spins and the radio beam sweeps repeatedly over Earth, radio telescopes detect a regular pattern of radio pulses.

For the newly discovered pulsar, known as PSR J1719-1438, the astronomers noticed that the arrival times of the pulses were systematically modulated. They concluded that this was due to the gravitational pull of a small companion planet, orbiting the pulsar in a binary system.

The pulsar and its planet are part of the Milky Way’s plane of stars and lie 4,000 light-years away in the constellation of Serpens (the Snake). The system is about an eighth of the way towards the Galactic Centre from the Earth.

The modulations in the radio pulses tell astronomers several things about the planet.

First, it orbits the pulsar in just two hours and ten minutes, and the distance between the two objects is 600,000 km—a little less than the radius of our Sun.

Second, the companion must be small, less than 60,000 km (that’s about five times the Earth’s diameter). The planet is so close to the pulsar that, if it were any bigger, it would be ripped apart by the pulsar’s gravity.

But despite its small size, the planet has slightly more mass than Jupiter.

"This high density of the planet provides a clue to its origin," said Professor Bailes.
Read more.

The pulsar at the centre of the below image is orbited by an object that is about the mass of Jupiter and composed primarily of carbon; effectively a massive diamond. The orbit, represented by the dashed line, would easily fit inside our Sun, represented by the yellow surface. The blue lines represent the radio signal from the pulsar, which spins around 175 times every second.

Explanatory video from Professor Bailes

In the episode called Utopia from Doctor Who (2007), set 100 trillion years into the future before the universe is about to end, Martha Jones asked a child named Creet "What do you think it's going to be like in Utopia?" who replied "My Mum used to say the sky was made of diamonds."

Perhaps the diamond planet might be nicknamed Lucy.

21 August 2011

When art is money and money is art

Works of art are worth as much as the highest bidder would pay for them at auction (or the price set by the artist and paid by the buyer).

Denis Beaubois is a Sydney artist who is auctioning a pile of cash a sculptural object. From his website
The Currency project is the first work in a series that looks at money as an architecture of possibility. Twenty thousand dollars, consisting of one hundred dollar bills, will be presented as a simple sculptural object to be auctioned through a fine art auction house. The material/money for the work has been sourced from a “New Work Established grant“ from the Visual Arts and Craft section of the Australia council for the Arts.

All currency used in the creation of the work will not be altered or modified and will retain its potential function and value as currency. However each hundred dollar bill will have its serial number recorded to validate it as an authentic part of the work, thereby instilling a cultural value on top of the financial value. The tension between the economic value of the material against the cultural value of the art object will be explored through the process of the financial transaction.
The work will be auctioned by Deutscher and Hackett and its catalogue notes
Currency, poses fundamental questions about value and values. These questions are not so new: artists have been posing them for generations. In the twentieth century we have seen the ‘readymades’ by Marcel Duchamp, the use of non-art materials in Arte Povera, Campbell’s Soup cans as ‘high art’ via Andy Warhol, or Jasper Johns’ Painted Bronze of the 1960s where the artist disguises the high art material of bronze by painting it to give the illusion of a humble coffee tin full of used paint brushes.

Simply, the value of an art object is subjective and often it greatly exceeds its material value. Yet, the face value of currency tends to decline with time and inflation, unless of course the banknotes gain ‘collector value’ in the world of numismatics, or become ‘collectable’ in the art market.
The art doesn't stop with the object itself. The auction itself would have to be part of the art.

Sydney Exhibition
thursday 18th to tuesday 23rd august
11am to 6pm
55 oxford St (cnr pelican st)
surry hills 2010
ph: 02 9297 0600

Melbourne Exhibition
thursday 25th to tuesday 30th august
11.00 am - 6.00 pm
105 commercial road
south yarra 3141
ph: 03 9865 6333

wed 31st august
to be held at Melbourne address

See reporting in The Age by Giles Hardie and Kylie Northover.  As Hardie noted
So the Government gave Beaubois currency to purchase currency to be sold for currency, as art.
How much is money worth? Most people would try and bid less than the face value of the currency. How many would actually pay more than what the pile of cash is worth?  In the name of art.

20 August 2011

football - round 22

Collingwood                2.4     7.10   12.16    14.18 (102)
Brisbane Lions            3.5     5.6     6.6        13.6 (84)

Cloke 5, Young 2, Fasolo 2, Swan 2, Brown, Sinclair, Beams
Brisbane Lions: McGrath 3, Staker 2, Rockliff 2, Cornelius 2, McKeever, Banfield, Sheldon, Power

Collingwood: Cloke, Swan, Ball, Beams, Pendlebury, Didak, Young
Brisbane Lions: Leuenberger, Rockliff, Redden, Maguire, Black, McGrath

Collingwood: Andrew Krakouer (quad tightness) replaced in selected side by John McCarthy, Reid (ribs)

Collingwood: Ben Reid (ribs) replaced by John McCarthy at three-quarter time.
Brisbane Lions: Patrick Karnezis replaced by Daniel Rich during the third quarter.

Umpires: Dalgleish, Findlay, Jeffery
Official crowd: 47, 788 at the MCG

Although it was a loss, it was a great effort against the top team with the Brisbane Lions in the lead at the end of the first quarter. The second and third quarters were Collingwood's game. Going into the final quarter, the margin could have blown out from 46 points but the Lions fought back and cut it down to 18 points, kicking seven goals. Match report by Jason Phelan.

Photos by Darrian Traynor for Slattery Media, except Rockliff by Michael Willson

Luke Power

Simon Black

Tom Rockliff

Patrick Karnezis

16 August 2011

Cow on the run

First there was Luna the jumping cow, then Krista the bovine beauty queen. Now, there is a report about yet another cow, Yvonne, who is living life on the run in a Bavarian forest. Reported in the Guardian
A €10,000 reward is being offered in Germany for the safe return of a cow called Yvonne who went on the run in May after apparently sensing she was about to be sent to the slaughterhouse.

Yvonne, a six-year-old dairy cow, has, in the words of one newspaper, become "a kind of freedom fighter for the animal loving German republic" since she escaped from her field in the village of Zangberg, 50 miles north-east of Munich, on 24 May.

Having been fattened up, she was due to be dispatched when she managed to breach the electric fence surrounding her farm. For months she led a quiet life grazing among the fir trees of nearby forests, until she nearly came a cropper crossing a road into the path of a passing police car.
Read more. See also NPR and Der Spiegel.  Ernst, a rather attractive bull has been enlisted to help lure her out of the forest (see video below from ZDF). Ernst, being castrated, might not actually be of much use.

See another video from Der Spiegel.

The German media appears to be obsessed with cows.

13 August 2011

football - round 21 - QClash 2

Brisbane Lions    5.2    7.5    10.11   18.15  (123)
Gold Coast          1.4    3.6    4.9        8.13    (61)

Brisbane Lions:
Staker 2, Clark 2, Polkinghorne 2, Sheldon 2, Banfield 2, Leuenberger 2, Black, Raines, Adcock, Hanley, Stiller, Karnezis
Gold Coast: Rischitelli 2, Shaw 2, Ablett, Fraser, Stanley, Bennell

Brisbane Lions:
Black, Redden, Leuenberger, Staker, Rockliff, Drummond
Gold Coast: Bock, Ablett, McKenzie, Brennan, Iles

Brisbane Lions:
Aaron Cornelius replaced by Pat Karnezis at three-quarter time
Gold Coast: Charlie Dixon replaced by Dion Prestia in the third quarter

Umpires: Rosebury, Ryan, Wenn
Official crowd: 23,565 at the Gabba

Finally a win! Even if it was against another bottom-ranked team.  Dubbed the 'QClash' - Q for Queensland for the two teams in the state, the second rivalry game was won by the Brisbane Lions and redeemed them for the loss in round 7. Though a win, there was far too much inaccurate kicking-to-target. Match report by Michael Whiting.

Matthew Leuenberger (photo: Bradley Kanaris/Slattery Media)

Ash McGrath (photo: Jonathan Wood/Getty)

Aaron Cornelius (photo: Bradley Kanaris/Slattery Media)

Josh Drummond (photo: Jonathan Wood/Getty)

50 Jahre Mauerbau

On 13 August 1961, East Germany closed its border between East and West Berlin, dividing Berlin for the next 28 years until the fall of the Berlin Wall on 9 November 1989.

The 50th anniversary is a sobering commemoration.

The Wall was a 1962 short documentary film directed by Walter de Hoog for the US Government

See BBC News and France24/AFP for reporting on the commemorations (in English).

More in-depth coverage in Deutsche Welle (in English), Die Welt, Berliner Morgenpost (2) and Der Spiegel.

10 August 2011

City of Literature 5

I previously wrote about Dublin becoming the fourth UNESCO City of Literature.  UNESCO recently designated Reykjavik in Iceland as the fifth UNESCO City of Literature. From the UNESCO website
The city of Reykjavik boasts foremost an outstanding literary history with its invaluable heritage of ancient medieval literature, the Sagas, the Edda and the Íslendingabók, Libellus Islandorum (Book of Icelanders). This longstanding tradition has naturally cultivated the city’s strength in literature education, preservation, dissemination and promotion.

For a city of small population, approximately 200,000 habitants, Reykjavik is especially appreciated for demonstrating the central role literature plays within the modern urban landscape, the contemporary society and the daily life of the citizens. With the support of the central government of Iceland, the city continues to pursue its development plans in support of languages, translation initiatives as well as international literary exchanges.

The city’s collaborative approach through cooperation between various actors involved in literature, such as in publishing, in libraries, etc, in addition to the strong presence of writers, poets and children’s book authors is also noted to give the city a unique position in the world of literature.

With Reykjavik, the Creative Cities Network now has 29 members. As the fifth City of Literature, the city joins Edinburgh, Melbourne, Iowa City and Dublin in enriching the Network with its best literary practices.
Reykjavik and the rest of Iceland have a very strong literary tradition dating back to the old Norse era.  The first four cities of literature were English-speaking, so it is great to have a non-English-language city.  It's just unfortunate that readers of the Icelandic-language probably number no more than 300,000 world-wide.

09 August 2011

Shedding some light on Census night

Tonight, Australia held its five-yearly Census of Population and Housing. 29,000 Census Collectors delivered approximately 14.2 million Census forms to Australia’s 9.8 million households.

About 30 per cent of the population are expected to complete their Census forms online through eCensus.

The first results of the 2011 Census are planned for release in June 2012.

Firstdog Onthemoon had a different view.

07 August 2011

football - round 20

Adelaide              6.3      9.5    10.10    16.14 (110)
Brisbane Lions    5.1    11.6      14.7     16.9 (105)

Walker 4, Gunston 3, Wright 2, Johncock 2, van Berlo, Henderson, Jacobs, Riley
Brisbane Lions: Cornelius 4, McGrath 3, Clark 2, Karnezis 2, Rockliff, Hanley, Pokinghorne, Leuenberger, Banfield

Thompson, van Berlo, Gunston, Jacobs, Sloane
Brisbane Lions: Rockliff, Black, Hanley, Staker, Cornelius, McGrath

Knights (calf)
Brisbane Lions: Patfull (wrist)

Chris Knights (calf) replaced by Ricky Henderson in the third quarter
Brisbane Lions: Joel Patfull (wrist) replaced by Jsoh Dyson in the first quarter

Umpires: Kamolins, Armstrong, McInerney
Official crowd:
17,930 at the Gabba

Brisbane Lions played well until the final quarter, when the Crows woke up and closed the gap on the scoreboard until their final goal, winning the game. Match report by Michael Whiting.

James Polkinghorne (photo: Matt Roberts/Getty)

Simon Black (photo: Bradley Kanaris/Slattery Media)

Patrick Karnezis (photo: Matt Roberts/Getty)

Brent Staker (photo: Matt Roberts/Getty)

Jack Redden (photo: Matt Roberts/Getty)

06 August 2011

Move, Eat, Learn

STA Travel Australia commissioned Rick Mereki, Andrew Lees and Tim White to film their journey over 44 days to 11 countries on 18 flights and travelling some 38,000 miles. Their journey has been condensed into a series of one minute films, with original music by Kelsey James. More technical details from Vimeo.

(has rapidly alternating images - epilepsy/seizure warning)




Now for one called Play.

03 August 2011

Free speech or hate speech?

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation's (ABC's) Q&A on Monday night featured a challenging discussion between Brendan O'Neill, editor of Spiked and the federal Minister for Human Services and Minister for Social Inclusion, the Hon Tanya Plibersek MP.  The exchange was a debate about free speech and hate speech, and well worth watching.

Transcript, the debate followed on from discussion about the terrorist attack in Norway
TONY JONES: The core fear is about racism because, isn't it, because there isn't any question at all, as far as I can see, that he was a racist and the attacks were racially motivated?

BRENDAN O'NEILL: They were racially motivated. He didn't attack another race of people. He attacked his own people but he was obviously driven by cultural paranoia, by insanity, by various different things. But the problem is that to say that there is a direct link between right-wing commentators who say "I hate Muslims" or "I hate immigration" or whatever cranky stuff they come out with, and this guy, who then goes out to kill people - to draw a link between those two things is effectively to say that words kill. And as far as I'm concerned, the only people who say that words kill are censorious people - people who want to clamp down on debate, people who want to restrict what we can say. So I think, yeah, The Sun made a mistake, but it made a fleeting mistake. Other people are making a very conscious, more long, drawn-out mistake by drawing a link between words and violence.

TONY JONES: Tanya Plibersek?

TANYA PLIBERSEK: I feel really deeply uncomfortable about what Brendan's saying. I think he's saying that the left are trying to exploit this terrible event and it makes me sick to the stomach to hear that. It makes me absolutely sick to the stomach to hear you saying that there is any group of people in the community trying to exploit what is a deeply disturbing event. I don't know the answer to whether this person is one crank or whether he's a terrorist. I think normally terrorists work in concert with other people, so I would say in many ways that he is one crank. But the idea that people who preach hatred in the community have then no responsibility for violent acts that occur afterwards, I cannot understand that you think that it is fine for people to go out and say we should kill all Muslims or we should do this or do that and that that has no real effect in the world.

BRENDAN O'NEILL: But people are - no but the writers that are being blamed for...


BRENDAN O'NEILL: No, wait, before you clap, the writers who are being blamed for this massacre did not say "Go out and kill all Muslims". They said "I am opposed to the ideology of multiculturalism." They said "I think there should be 5,000 immigrants a year rather than 50,000". Now, I happen to disagree with them on pretty much everything, but what I'm saying is that you cannot draw a distinction between someone who rationally criticises multiculturalism and someone who irrationally kills 77 people.

TANYA PLIBERSEK: And I think that it is perfectly fine in any democracy to have a discussion about government policy, whether it's multiculturalism or climate change or social security legislation. Whatever it is, of course we should have a debate. But what you're saying is that there is no responsibility if you preach hate for what happens when you preach hate.

BRENDAN O'NEILL: No, there isn't, because I believe in something called free will. I think people should take responsibility for their own actions and you are - you are letting Breivik off the hook by saying that other people are to blame for invading his mind.


STEPHEN MAYNE: So, Brendan, you're saying it's fine for...

TANYA PLIBERSEK: I didn't say that. Please don't put words in my mouth. I do not say that he - he has...

BRENDAN O'NEILL: You have just said other people need to bear responsibility for his actions.

TANYA PLIBERSEK: No. No. I didn't say that.

BRENDAN O'NEILL: I'm saying only he...


BRENDAN O'NEILL: ...only he should bear responsibility for his actions.

TANYA PLIBERSEK: No, I did not say that. He should bear responsibility but people who preach hate bear responsibility for the hatred they support in the community.


TANYA PLIBERSEK: And I'm not drawing a direct link and you cannot put those words in my mouth.

BRENDAN O'NEILL: Okay, well, I...

TANYA PLIBERSEK: But if you think it doesn't matter in a community that we shouldn't have courteous debate about the issues we care about as a nation, then I am very disappointed to hear that.

BRENDAN O'NEILL: Well, I think it is illegitimate for you - for a politician to depict legitimate criticism of multiculturalism...


BRENDAN O'NEILL: ...as preaching hate.


BRENDAN O'NEILL: You have aligned those two things.


BRENDAN O'NEILL: The writers who are being blamed for this act did not preach hate.

TANYA PLIBERSEK: You are not listening to me.

BRENDAN O'NEILL: They raised legitimate political concerns. You may disagree with them. I do.

TANYA PLIBERSEK: You are not listening to me.

BRENDAN O'NEILL: But you cannot (indistinct).

TONY JONES: Okay, I'm sorry. No, I'm going to put a pause button on this.

TANYA PLIBERSEK: No, Tony, I just...

TONY JONES: No, I'll let you make your comment and then I'll go to someone else.

TANYA PLIBERSEK: I need to repeat this. I have not drawn that direct link and I have said very clearly that people should be able to have any civilised debate in our community about any issue but that debate should be respectful and it should not preach hate.

BRENDAN O'NEILL: Respectful of what?

TONY JONES: Can I interrupt there? Very briefly, have you seen that link drawn in Australia?

TANYA PLIBERSEK: No. No, I haven't.

TONY JONES: Some people suggest, for example, the Cronulla riots...

STEPHEN MAYNE: Absolutely.

TONY JONES: ...came, partly at least, as a result of talkback radio.

STEPHEN MAYNE: It was. It was incited by Alan Jones. Let's say it.

TANYA PLIBERSEK: I believe it was incited and I'll tell you something else....

BRENDAN O'NEILL: That's incredible.

TANYA PLIBERSEK: I'll tell you something else, Tony. I mean, you know, the Gabrielle Giffords, the crosshairs, if you think that that sort of thing doesn't influence people, if you think that people out there saying homosexuals deserve to die and the Iraq war is God's punishment on homosexuality, that that doesn't increase...

BRENDAN O'NEILL: The implication...

TANYA PLIBERSEK: ...homophobic violence it...

BRENDAN O'NEILL: The implication of these argument are extraordinary because what you're effectively saying is that journalists should be restricted in what they should say and the tone in which they can say it and the public are so stupid and gullible that if there is a Daily Mail article which is shrill and outrageous, they'll go and get a gun and kill loads of people.

TANYA PLIBERSEK: No, nobody's saying that.

BRENDAN O'NEILL: The censorious implications of this are extraordinary.

STEPHEN MAYNE: But are you okay with Alan - are you okay with Alan...

BRENDAN O'NEILL: It's pretty predictable that a politician would have those kind of view but for Stephen, a journalist and a founder of online publications, to draw a link between Alan Jones and riots as if one incites the other...

STEPHEN MAYNE: Well, there were investigations of it? I mean are you comfortable with Alan Jones saying that Julia Gillard, our Prime Minister, should be put in a bag and thrown out to sea? That's what he said recently. I mean...

BRENDAN O'NEILL: Yes, because I trust -

STEPHEN MAYNE: ...it's ridiculous.

BRENDAN O'NEILL: I trust that the vast majority of the public know that he is having a joke and will not take him literally.

STEPHEN MAYNE: It's not a joke.

BRENDAN O'NEILL: And if they do...

TONY JONES: All right. Okay. Okay...

BRENDAN O'NEILL: If they do they he has committed a crime.

TONY JONES: Brendan...

TANYA PLIBERSEK: Just the vast majority.
It was an extraordinary exchange.  The issue was whether society should allow hate speech as a part of freedom of speech.

Words have consequences.

02 August 2011

Smells like Lithuania

Three enterprising Lithuanian entrepreneurs have created a scent as an olfactory reminder of Lithuania. Reported in the Guardian
Developed by Rutkauskas and two other Lithuanian entrepreneurs and produced by the French perfumery Galimard, Lietuvos Kvapas – literally, "the scent of Lithuania" – is an attempt to create a positive national brand.

"If I say chocolate and watches, what do you think? Switzerland. If I say Guinness and leprechauns? Ireland. Fish and chips? England. But here in Lithuania we don't have an internationally recognised symbol of our identity," said Rutkauskas. Since the £25 scent went on the market earlier this year, 1,000 bottles have been sold – mostly, said Rutkauskas, to local tourist offices and businessmen keen to improve Lithuania's image abroad.

The prime minister's chief of staff ordered bottles to give to the heads of other Baltic states at a recent summit, and the foreign minister sent one to every foreign ambassador in Vilnius, the capital.

The defence minister even flew 20 vials out to Afghanistan to give Lithuanian soldiers a reminder of home.
Read more. See also the Daily Telegraph. From www.lietuvoskvapas.lt
Scent is a strong emotional factor which invokes memories and associations. Therefore, there are no bad or good scents until the moment we grant them a meaning and relate them to our experiences. Our memory can preserve separate scents or their combinations and sequences. Most people can recall the scent of their childhood, homeland, heroic adventures or first love. Scents can remind us of the countries we have visited, the people we have met and the experiences we have had.

When creating the Scent of Lithuania, our goal was not only to impersonate the fragrances of the country, but also to tell a story about its cities and villages, its nature, ancient traditions and cultural heritage, the character and the achievements of its people: everything what we are justly proud of and respected for.

This is how the Legend of the Scent of Lithuania emerged and inspired the Galimard perfumers to select the distinctive scents and incorporate them into the fragrance. Only natural essences and components tested in authorized laboratories were used in the production of the Scent of Lithuania. This finest quality three-note perfume is designed for ambient scenting.
Characteristics of Lithuania are revealed in the perfume notes
Top note
Bergamot, note of wild flower bouquet, ginger, raspberry, note of red berries, grapefruit

Middle note
Lily of the valley, lilac, rose

Base note
Amber, tree moss, cedar, sandalwood, patchouli, musk, note of tree smoke
If other countries 'bottled' a characteristic scent, as an olfactory reminder, it would be interesting to find out what they choose.

There is a particular tropical smell that is characteristic of places like Bangkok and Singapore upon arriving at their airports. It's a thought to consider the next time you arrive in a new place. Close your eyes and take in the smell.

There was an interesting piece by Jason Logan in the New York Times in 2009 about the smells of Manhattan.