Life & stuff

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Christmas, brought to you by Woolworths

20 December 2015

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BANNED: Channel 9 is refusing to run Get Up’s  new TV ad exposing Woolworths as Australia’s largest poker machine owner. Why? Because “Woolworths are a key business partner”. Ok – we’re not so check out the ad Channel 9 won’t let you see, then share it.

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Cruz Christmas classics

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A  candle in memory of David

8 December 2015

Candle
On 9 December 2006,17 year old David Iredale and three mates went for a hike in the Blue Mountains as part of their Duke Of Edinburgh Award program.  They planned it pretty carefully and they had detailed maps and stuff. But it all went terribly wrong: the maps indicated a fresh water source along the route, which wasn’t there. It was hot -mid-30s centrigrade- and they’d run out of water. Somehow, David became separated from his mates – my recollection is that as the strongest of the hiking party, he struck out ahead of the others to seek assistance. He became severely dehydrated and rang emergency services on his mobile phone. It was very poor reception but he tried to get across to the operators the dire circumstances of his plight. He made a number of calls, to no avail. Various operators kept asking for his street address. He kept telling them he was on a big rock near a walking trail in the Blue Mountains. But they kept demanding his street address. He asked for a helicopter to be sent.  He was told off for being abusive. In the event, nobody did anything. David’s body was recovered some days later. Each year at this time, I reflect on this terrible episode and remind myself to be not indifferent to the plight of others.  I tell my kids, if you get into any sort of real trouble, you ring me and/or your mother FIRST; we might argue later, but we’ll address the trouble first.

And I light a candle in memory of David.

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In vino sanitas*

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Research conducted by the University of Alberta in Canada has found that health benefits in resveratrol, a compound found in red wine, are similar to those we get from exercise.

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According to lead researcher, Jason Dyck, these findings will particularly help those who are unable to exercise. Resveratrol was seen to improve physical performance, heart function and muscle strength in the same way as they’re improved after a gym session. According to Dyck:

… resveratrol could help patient populations who want to exercise but are physically incapable. Resveratrol could mimic exercise for them or improve the benefits of the modest amount of exercise that they can do.

Discussion over the health benefits of red wine have been well documented. Studies have revealed that those who drink a glass of red wine a day are less likely to develop dementia or cancer, that it’s good for your heart, anti-ageing and can regulate blood sugar.

And now there’s research backing that fact that it boosts heart rate? This is literally the best thing ever.
Though, let’s be straight here – this is all in moderation, it only applies to red wine and the university’s study was carried out on rats, not humans.

Other ways to increase your intake of resveratrol include eating blueberries, peanut butter, red grapes and dark chocolate.

Remember, a balanced diet is everything.

* “In vino veritas, in aqua sanitas” = “In wine there is truth, in water there is health.

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23 October 2015

Informal learning

YMCA

 

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21 July 2015

Bloody  ABC’s done it again

Heads must roll

 

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We all Stand on Sacred Ground

Learn, Respect and Celebrate

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The theme of NAIDOC Week 2015

NAIDOC stands for National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee. Its origins can be traced to the emergence of Aboriginal groups in the 1920′s which sought to increase awareness in the wider community of the status and treatment of Indigenous Australians.  NAIDOC Week is held in the first full week of July. It is a time to celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history, culture and achievements and is an opportunity to recognise the contributions that Indigenous Australians make to our country and our society.

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Click image to go to clip with art work by Queensland artist, Peter Hudson, and school children from Mutijulu, Kaltukatjara and Impanpa communities

Solid Rock

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Nature is speaking

2 July 2015

Nature doesn’t need people – people need nature

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The The Abbott government bangs on a bit about “intergenerational theft” – the “public debt legacy” current generations are leaving to to their children and grandchildren to sort.   As one business writer has observed:

That’s a bit rich coming from a government that has axed the carbon tax, tried to increase university fees and hopes to cut youth welfare. It’s a bit rich coming from a government that doesn’t have a thing to say about Australian housing policy or the superannuation concessions that largely benefit older and richer Australians.

It’s also a government that is quite evidently lukewarm on the fundamental intergenerational issue of our time, perhaps all time:  climate change.  The following clip narrated by Julia Roberts is from a series produced by Conservation International featuring celebrity actors giving a “voice to nature”.

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The leap second

29 June 2015

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On June 30 at 11:59.59pm (GMT), an extra second will be added so the Earth’s rotational spin can catch up with the world’s atomic clocks.

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But while the idea of an extra second in the day might seem small, computer security expert Dr Suelette Dreyfus warned the consequences could be significant.

“The last time a leap second was added was on June 30, 2012 and that did cause some technical problems for popular websites like Reddit and Mozilla and LinkedIn,” she said.

“I understand that Qantas computer systems went down for a period of time partially because of it.”

“So is it going to be the end of the world as we know it? Probably not, but for companies that haven’t actually spent some time thinking through what it might mean for their systems, there is a risk that things could go astray.”

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Sing & stay calm

11 June 2015

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Music does indeed have charms to soothe a savage breast.

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Research shows that even high-tempo rock, such as  the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Power of Equality, can lower heart rate and blood pressure.   Music with a 10-second rhythm that mirrors the patterns of the cardiovascular system has a calming effect, particularly when volunteers were played Guiseppe Verdi’s Va pensiero (Chorus of the ­Hebrew slaves).

Music is used in many situ­ations such as in surgery but the music is not properly chosen: “…it’s someone else’s idea of what’s soothing,” said Peter Sleight of the University of Oxford. His interest was piqued when he discovered Ave Maria sung in Latin had 10-second phrases that co­incided with the rhythm by which the brain regulates the heart rate.

With colleagues at a hospital in Pavia, Italy, he played in random order to 24 volunteers six different styles of music found to have similar 10-second phrases, including the Chili Peppers , Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, Indian sitar ragas and the Italian club DJ Gigi D’Agostino’s You Spin Me Round.

We were surprised to find it had nothing to do with the musical performance and it worked for everyone — if they heard a 10-second rhythm, it had a calming effect.

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Feckin’ cheap flights

1 June 2015

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This will resonate with anyone who’s had an “experience” with a budget airline.  I was once escorted from Canberra Airport by two gentleman in blue after a dispute with Tiger Airways over not being allowed to board a flight home to Melbourne (as I approached the check in point, the attendant pulled out a sign “Flight closed – no exceptions” and derived a perverse pleasure from exercising his power of denial).  It cost me $600 in taxis, an overnight stay and a Qantas ticket.  Maybe Tiger has improved but I haven’t forgiven let alone forgotten.  This video comes complete with captions so you can sing along.

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The life of bees

Colossal | 21 May 2015

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We’ve heard that bees are disappearing. But what is making bee colonies so vulnerable?

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Photographer Anand Varma raised bees in his backyard and teamed up with the bee lab at UC Davis to film and get a up close view of the first three weeks of a bee’s life in unprecedented detail. This project, for National Geographic, gives a lyrical glimpse into a bee hive — and reveals one of the biggest threats to its health, a mite that preys on baby bees in the first 21 days of life. With his incredible footage, set to music from Magik*Magik Orchestra, Varma shows the problem in this Ted talk … and what’s being done to solve it. There’s also a condensed 60 second clip.

See
Honey bees

 

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14 May 2015

Red Cross Pop Up Op Shop

National Volunteer Week

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The Fundamental Principles of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement are:

Red Cross Principles

The RMIT Bookshop on Little La Trobe St Melbourne has provided space for a Red Cross Op Shop at its entrance until the end of the month.

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Red Cross volunteer Chris with a customer.

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7 May 2015

On writer’s block

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This paper has been cited 38 times and has its own Wikipedia entry.

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Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge

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30 April 2015

World Labyrinth Day

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Saturday 2 May 2015

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A labyrinth is an ancient form of spiritual exercise. Emily Simpson initiated the building of a beautiful sandstone labyrinth in Sydney’s Centennial Park. It took a dedicated team over three years to get the approval, create the design, quarry the stone and lay over 1700 stones in an intricate pattern based on the iconic design in Chartres Cathedral. As she explains it, a labyrinth is not a maze:

A lot of people don’t know what a labyrinth is, they confuse it with a maze, and they’re actually two very different things. A maze usually has hedges or walls and lots of different pathways, lots of dead ends and it’s deliberately designed to get you lost. Whereas a labyrinth has no walls, it’s completely flat. There’s one single path which winds and meanders into a central point. So the maze is an intellectual exercise, a labyrinth is a spiritual one.

See
Sydney Labyrinth
Walk the talk (ABC Compass)
Labyrinths in Australia

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23 April 2015

ANZAC Day

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And now I have seen war. Every way I turn I am looking on men with broken bodies and women with broken hearts. War is not merely the hell that may pass at Verdun or the Somme in the agony of a day or a night that ends in death. War is worse.
Evelyn Kathleen Luard, a nurse in World War I.

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outube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DxkhBvO8_kM]

Eric Bogle is best known for And the band played Waltzing Matilda, often described as one of the most profound anti-war songs. The Green Fields of France (originally No Man’s Land) is about Willie McBride, a Scottish soldier, who fell in France in 1916 at the age of 19 years. It conveys a feeling of the terrible losses of war – which includes, of course, millions of non-combatants – women and children, as well as men. It’s got nothing at all to do with the ANZACs or Gallipoli – except that death transcends nationality.

One Hundred Stories

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Monash University’s commemoration of the Great War.

25 April 2015

 

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Wall of Commemoration
The One Hundred Stories are a silent presentation. They remember not just the men and women who lost their lives, but also those who returned to Australia, the gassed, the crippled, the insane, all those irreparably damaged by war. The Great War shaped the world as well as the nation. Its memory belongs to us all.

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6 April 2015

Image is everything

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News Corp photographer Brad Hunter will join Tony Abbott’s media staff later this month, raising concerns that news photographers will gain less direct access to the prime minister. .

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Abbott & kid asleep
The kid couldn’t take it any longer

Although it has long been a fixture in US politics, the Prime Minister broke new ground when he employed a former press gallery TV cameraman to his staff after the election, a move that frustrated television crews who found themselves forced to rely on footage provided by Mr Abbott’s press office.
It is not uncommon for the weekend television news to have only the Prime Minister’s weekly video message, recorded by his staff and distributed on a Sunday, to use in bulletins.

The videos were also distributed on social media, but it is often still photography that resonates best on the medium.

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1 April 2015

The Swiss spaghetti harvest

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On 1 April 1957, the respected BBC news show Panorama announced that, thanks to a very mild winter and the virtual elimination of the dreaded spaghetti weevil, Swiss farmers were enjoying a bumper spaghetti crop. It accompanied this announcement with footage of Swiss peasants pulling strands of spaghetti down from trees. Huge numbers of viewers were taken in. Many called the BBC wanting to know how they could grow their own spaghetti tree. To this the BBC diplomatically replied, “place a sprig of spaghetti in a tin of tomato sauce and hope for the best.”.

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12 March 2015

Street scenes

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Our streets are alive with sound and music, colour and movement, art and protest, hope and the offer of redemption, happiness and a little sadness. Click an image to go to the gallery. You might want to check out London – then and now.

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12 February 2015

Countless aeons

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As 2015 seriously kicks into gear, with Australia’s first government leadership challenge already out of the way, it’s useful to reflect on our place in the scheme of things. Vast as it is, our universe is finite – it has a beginning and an end in time and space. But as celebrity astrophysics professor Brian Cox has observed, there’s nothing to say that there’s the possibility – perhaps even the probability – of there being an infinite number of universes beyond our own.

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