Saturday, April 30, 2005

Selling up

... or would that be "up selling" as in "would you like fries with that" or, as I had yesterday when I went to my Health Fund's Eye Care Centre "well, because you wear multifocals then you are going to need sunglass clip-ons that are exactly the same shape as your glasses, and since the manufacturer has no more of the clip-ons that came with your frames, then you'll need to get new frames with new clip-ons. But it's okay because you've got this year's allowance of $170 ...". Yes, $170 sounds like a lot of money, but not when you think that it's only going to go a fraction of the way of covering the cost of the new frames - and, naturally, the new lens to fit the new frames. I said "thank you" but "no thank you" and walked slowly back to the office - quite disheartened that the first optometrist I'd tried didn't have the right size in the clip-ons that seemed to do the trick quite nicely. Yes, I know I might have been missing something, but it just seemed like a bit of an "up sell" - and the only thing that gets up is my back, and possibly my nose!

Give up yet

Well, have you given any thought to the
sequence? And have you got an answer? It's time like these that I think that it might be a good idea to enable "Comments" on here. Thinking ... thinking ... thinking. Well, if you're on the right track - the next letter in the sequence is E. And the next sequence is ..... ?

Friday, April 29, 2005

Toadally puzzling

Visitors to Hamburg are being advised to be careful of a new menace - exploding toads. Authorities are not certain why it's happening but some ideas being explored are fungus, an unknown virus, or an protective measure (!!??) against aggressive crows that have recently moved into the area. Over a thousand toads have exploded so far - and by all reports it's something you don't want to be around for - eyewitnesses say the toads swell up to three and a half times their normal size before suddenly exploding - sending entrails flying metres into the air. The question asked with the ABC's report was whether this could be a solution to the cane toad problem here in Australia.

Splitting headache

Artur Dzhavanyan has decided not to press charges after waking up from a heavy drinking session to find that the splitting headache he had may have had as much to do with the kitchen knife stuck in his face as the alcohol.
Artur had invited a friend around for a drink, but went to bed early after telling his friend he was fed up with hearing him moan. As the "friend's" fingerprints were found on the knife, police are fairly certain they know who the culprit was but Artur, billed as extremely lucky by the doctors who removed the knife from where it had lodged 10cm under his eye, won't press charges. He said he was "just lucky to be alive" which I guess you can take more than one way!

Smelly vision

Ananova, one of my favourite news sites, carried this piece recently:
A television is being developed that allows viewers to smell what is on screen. Scientists at Sony in San Diego, California are creating the small device in the set will send out harmless ultrasound signals to the brain. It means that viewers will be able to smell and taste a dish on a cookery programme reports The Sun. Work on the device has been going on for five years but news of its development came to light after the company applied for a patent.
Of course, you would hope that the device had a failsafe built in - so that it didn't do it for all programs. There are some smells from television that I'd rather not have filling my head!


A colleague at work sent me an email last week which contained a puzzle for me to solve. I love puzzles so I was pleased (and I had given him a puzzle previously so it was payback of a sort too).
What are the next letters in the sequence and explain your rationale!
Well, I was lucky I had the long weekend and an understanding partner because I spent more time than I really had to spare worrying over this - looking at the letters this way and that, trying to work out what they meant, what was the pattern, and what for Foobar's sake was the answer.
What do you think?

New New (aka News)

Have you heard of Wikipedia the web-based collaborative encyclopaedia - well there's now WikiNews. Stories come from a network of volunteer reporters, and editors hopefully vet out fake posts, incorporate original sources and update coverage to reflect changing current events.
Reporters are encouraged to submit original stories and photos - so what are we waiting for?

Laser Warning System

My brother assured me over lunch last week that there are anti-aircraft missile launchers atop the White House.
The Pentagon have now said it will use lasers to warn pilots when they've flown into restricted airspace near the Capitol.
SNAP - as I was writing this, listening to the news, an item said the US President had been evacuted from the White House into a shelter after a plane encroached restricted airspace over the Capitol.
Does this mean the system didn't work or that it's not operational yet? Apparently the latter - checking back, the news report I read was dated 11 April and the Pentagon had said the system would be operational within 30 to 45 days.
So how does it work? And wouldn't shining lasers into the eyes of the pilots make them go blind? And haven't there been numerous reports of late throughout the USA (about 100!) of incidents where laser beams have been flashed into cockpits?
Yes and no. According to NORAD the low-intensity lights they will use are less powerful that those that have prompted warnings, and tests have shown they are safe for the eyes.
NORAD says that the lasers could replace fighter jets as a way to warn the hundreds of small private planes which stray into Capitol airspace. Hopefully the training program NORAD plans will be a success so the pilots know that the red-red-green flashes means "oops". But wouldn't it be funny (??) if the laser malfunctioned one day and all the pilot saw was a steady red laser beam (like the kind they've seen on laser sights on rifles)?
Who said flying was dangerous?

And on the subject of Danish

Are there any other foods where there names are adjectives used to describe a country. Yes, I know that it's really "danish pastry" but people just ask for a "danish". Are there others?

Bounce Room

I listen to 2WS on the bus to work and they've just been talking about a recent innovation at a care facility for senior citizens in Holland (or was it Denmark ... because there was a whole conversation about Danes, Copenhagen and Dykes - so I'm not really sure). Anyway, forget about the tabletennis room - there's now the Bounce Room - where couple can go for some privacy and a double bed. Seems residents at the facility don't have their own room and no-where to go if they want to spend some quiet one-on-one time with that someone special. You have to make a booking for the Bounce Room - and apparently it's okay to bring in outside sex workers.
I wonder if the notion will catch on.

What price punctuality?

The public rail network in Sydney has earned a lot of criticism over the last years with trains not showing up, or chronically late. They have fiddled with the timetables, tried to recruit new drivers, and heavens knows what else to fix it.
Plagued with a similar problem in Tokyo, their rail network had instigated a system for "talking" to drivers who ran late - even a second late.
The driver of the train which crashed into the side of an apartment building in Japan earlier this week had previously been cautioned for running late. On the day of the accident, he had overshot a station platform by some metres, backed back to the platform, and then proceeded on his way, seemingly at speed, reportedly to make up for the lost time.
They are still investigating the cause of the accident, but if the driver was speeding, it would not have helped in the chain of circumstances which resulted in the accident.
Did those who lost their life because of the crash pay the ultimate price for the punctuality of a rail network?

Friday, April 22, 2005

Not such a good idea with the flag!

What would you do if your neighbours starting flying a Nazi flag? Darren McKay, of Mannering Park NSW bought the flag at local markets for the bargain price of $10 - and was unaware that people might take offence at the flag because he had not learned about Adolf Hitler in school history lessons. Well, it's not a bad excuse, but I'm not sure that it's actually true. Wasn't one of the Royal princes in trouble recently for wearing a Hitler Youth uniform to a fancy dress party. Yes, that only made front page news and was pretty high up in the line-up for the nightly news - but Mr McKay may have been busy that day. And have these people never seen a WWII movie?
If it's true and he didn't know about the Nazis, the whole affair is more worrying. Those who forget (or don't know about the past) are doomed to repeat it. (Note to the Daily Telegraph: it appears your photo had the back side of the flag on display - the hooks were going the wrong way.)
And, as suggested by my mate Deb, is there any signficance to this happening so close to Anzac Day?

Life or Death?

Did Schapelle Corby smuggle 4.5kg of drugs into Indonesia? We may never know - although since they do weigh all luggage at airports - you would think there would be a way of checking that - or if she was captured on camera at all with her bags, surely the extra weight (if there) would have affected how she handled the bags. But I'm sure they thought of that already.
And what of Schapelle and the punishment that stretches before her if found guilty. Which would you rather - life imprisonment in an Indonesian prison - or death by firing squad (not a particularly fast death!)

Positioning for the Papacy

I wish I had the time to do some serious research into how outspoken cardinals had been in the closing months of Pope John Paul II's life. These thoughts come following my previously-mentioned hope that Cardinal Pell (from Australia) would not secure the top job - and this was based on his outspokenness about various issues. Of course, I disagreed with his views on just about everything - and he has been outspoken about a lot of things. It then occurred that maybe he had been outspoken because it would ensure he was noticed - not just by standard folk like you and I - but by his fellow Cardinals (and they are all fellows) who would be the ones attending the Conclave and casting their votes (in whatever form that might have taken). Not outside the bounds of possibility - it's behaviour encouraged of politicians and others running for (public) office. But, as the world now knows (which is a generalisation but will suffice) the new Pope Benedict XVI was previously Germany's Joseph Ratzinger. (Is it only the Pope aka Pontiff who is allowed to pontificate?)

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Waiting ... waiting

I am trying to download a sizeable file (nearly 350MB) over the internet - and at times like this, I wonder how fast broadband actually is. I have not yet decided on a broadband provider - although I keep thinking about it, and am to the point of budgetting for it. I just don't know how much to budget. Do I want to have broadband at home only, or do I want it when I am out and about - so I can blog and check email on the road (so to speak)? The level of access required, the amount of traffic and whether you want to be "mobile" or "portable" all directly impact on the price of the plans available.
The file continues to come in - up to 3% done so far - and I do wonder if just typing here is going to slow down the process - and certainly when I post this to the blog, it is going to have some impact.
I am due at work at 8.30am but at this rate (and it's now 7.55am) it's going to take another 3.5 hours for the download to finish. I would put the exact figure - but as I watch it, the number goes up, the number goes down. Maybe watching the indicator bar slows it too.
4%. (Maybe I can work from here today - McDonalds, George Street, Sydney.) Oh no, I've just had a horrible thought - what if my prepaid access to the network expires before the file downloads? Aarrgh.
(OK at 8.15am with only 10% loaded I called it quits. I'm off to find out more about broadband!!!!)

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Safety Moment

Yesterday at our staff meeting I volunteered to do the next "Safety Moment". Our company is very safety-focused and each meeting starts with one. But it's not my first safety moment. I did one last year - on the Dangers of Halloween. This time, I'm going to do something on urban legends. I'm sure there has to be a safety moment in there somewhere. And if there isn't, it's a good reason (not that I really need one) to visit the Snopes site. As well as urban legends/myths, it also has what I guess you can call "urban photos" - ones you've probably received by email along the way and weren't sure if they were as real as the accompanying text suggested. Visit today. It's good fun. And you might just learn how to avoid a scam!
Oh - and the photos come with warnings if they are of a graphic or disturbing nature. So, are you more inclined to look a photo labelled "graphic" or "disturbing"? I think I am. (I wonder where my book of forensic medicine is. I haven't seen it since the move.)

Email addresses

What happens to your hotmail and yahoo account if you don't use it. How long does it remain intact before it's just wiped. And what about if you die, does someone/anyone/maybe your estate, have the right to access your account? And how many times does it take for you to get the name of your choice when you first open a hotmail account. I know I didn't - but at least, the letter and number combination I ended up hadn't been taken at the other free email providers either - so I've got the same one at yahoo, hotmail, gmail and optusnet. (And no, 6 email accounts is not excessive.)

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Department S

I just happened to be in KMart yesterday, looking for a phone double adapter and a modem cable, when I chanced upon their DVD sale. I managed to get "Harvie Krumpet", "SuperSize Me", and "Being John Malkovich" for under $10 each. But I'm hoping the real bargain will be something called "Department S" - a cult tv series of the late 1960's by the same people who gave us "Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased)" - I used to love that show!
Department S came in a 7-DVD boxed set and I read on the internet this morning that this was every episode ever made. On the cover, it bills it as the precursor to shows such as "X-Files" and Jonathan Creek". Is it any wonder that I decided to part with my $30 on the off-chance that it was decent. If nothing else, being nearly 40 years old, there's a good chance there's going to be some "new" ideas in there. I've started watching the first episode "Six Days" - in which a commercial airliner goes missing for (oddly enough) 6 days and the crew/passengers have no knowledge/recollection of their disappearance. I had the oddest sensation while watching it though - in one scene I could have sworn I was watching the "Thunderbirds" but they'd been transformed into real, and admittedly less jerky, people. And there's nothing like '60's fashions - really!
If nothing else, this is a great reminder of how far we've come with technology in our everyday lives.

Conclave Question

The Papal Conclave starts today. I had read in "Angels and Demons" (Dan Brown) that the process involved the cardinals voting, and then the votes would be burned - some with black-smoke chemical if the vote had not elected the next Pope, or with a white-smoke chemical for a successful ballot. This seemed reasonable enough. But then I got to thinking - spurred on by an article in one of the Sunday newspapers which stated that part of the ritual was each Cardinal had to swear that they would never reveal the goings-on of the Conclave. If one assumes this rule has been in place since the process was first used - how does anyone know what happens? For all anyone knows the process could be quite different - like Cardinal whizzing competitions. When I mentioned this to Sooz she asked if I'd heard about the Nun who goes to the Bishop after she's found two boys holding a competition to see who could whizz the highest up a wall. "And what did you do" asked the Bishop. "I hit the roof" said the Nun. "Good for you" he replied.

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Fire training

A colleague works the extinguisherToday I went on fire-fighting training with work (but that's not me in the pic). I am a stair warden on our floor, so the training may come in handy one day - but hopefully I'll never have to use it - at work or at home!
So what did I take away from the training?
* Fire extinguishers are heavier than they look.
* Modern extinguishers don't need to be turned upside down (and if you have an older one that does - sell it on eBay and still make a profit after you've bought the replacement!)
* Two acronyms you should know for fire/extinguishers = R.A.C.E. (something, ALERT, COMPARTMENTALISE, EXTINGUISH - and the "something" will come back to me - or according to an acronym site I found on the web RESCUE, ACTIVATE alarm, CONFINE the fire, EVACUATE/EXTINGUISH) and P.A.S.S. (PULL the pin and test, AIM at the base of the fire, SQUEEZE the trigger, and SWEEP from side to side)
* If you're calling Triple 0 in an emergency situation - remember to dial 0000 if you need to dial 0 for an outside line, and 112 if you're dialling from a mobile phone. Also - give your full location details including floor, street, suburb, state and postcode (just in case your call is routed to a call centre in India)!
* Fire blankets should be used only once - and then made unusable (cut a large X through it) so the person who removes it from your rubbish can't re-use it, have it fail, and then come after you for damages (because you could be civilly liable!).
* The most effective fire-fighting agents appear to be the most harmful to the environment.
* And, of course, I had practical training with a fire blanket, extinguishers and a fire hose.
The other take-away was that it's a good thing to have your wiring at home checked!

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Where endeth the Castle?

According to the online news Quiz for the UK's Guardian newspaper, it will soon become illegal for people to litter their backyards. I didn't see the original article on this, so I don't know how they're intending to enforce/police the ban but it does make me wonder where the rules and regulations will end. How long will it be before the rule moves inside and houses themselves have to be kept clean, tidy and uncluttered? Unfortunately, it would still be too late for the Collyer brothers.

Fake Rolexes

So, just how good is a Rolex watch?
Sydney's Daily Telegraph today tells of (not so successful businessman) Karl Suleman's purchase of two supposed-Rolex watches that weren't. "Encrusted with diamonds to the point of absurdity ... unfortunately, only the internal mechanisms are the genuine article."
Suleman, who shelled out $50,000 for the watches, appears to have been conned and the price paid "was not commensurate with their value". But there could be a plan to recoup at least part of the loss. Paul Weston, liquidator of the Suleman companies, advises "It is anticipated that the watches will be dismantled and the Rolex mechanisms sold separately." So, really, how good are these watches that it would be worthwhile to do this?

What price fandom?

The actor who played Mr Chekov in the original series of Star Trek will be in Sydney later this month for a fan convention. I am a Star Trek fan, although more inclined to "The Next Generation", and I have sometimes toyed with the idea of attending a convention - like a real Trekkie. I'm not sure I want to spend $100 for the experience though - so I'll go to their site to have a look and see if I can convince myself!


(contact) remove the surface of; "skive leather"

I recently found the Skive website which carries short fiction stories from contributors. I don't know where the name comes from or what it has to do with the definition but it's always fun to look up words! And to read a story or two. Such was my excitement at finding contemporary short stories on the web that I forget to wonder "who are the contributors". I'm confident, well at least hopeful, that there will be some talent on the site and was pleased to see that you can search stories by author if you're after more of someone's offerings.
As well as the current month's offering, the site also archives previous stories back to late 2003. Oh, and submissions are accepted - you can find their guidelines on the site.
(And thanks Lizzie for reminding me that I do things/find sites that I can post here!)

Poor imitations

One of my favourite television programs when I was growing up was "The Addams Family". They were quirky and fun, yet remarkably conservative in their own way. So it was with some disappointment that I noticed an ad on television the other night for, I think, some kind of cleaning product. The talent were Addams family look-a-likes. Uncle Fester wasn't bad - but the others weren't even close. But the props ... and how they were representing them made my skin crawl - such was the blatant misrepresentation of my lovely Addams'. Hopefully not everyone had the same reaction to the ad - it's hard to get people to buy something if they can't remember what it is. (Okay, so I saw the ad again and it's for a paper towel.)

Back to reality

How many times can you repeat the episodes of a reality television or lifestyle program? We almost watched Burkes BackYard the other day - until we realised it wasn't a recent repeat. I suppose that's one thing about drama - you can keep repeating it years afterwards - but this may not work so well when your special celebrity gardener hasn't been in the public eye for a very long time.

Sunday, April 10, 2005


What I do like and don't like about my new palmOne Tungsten T5.
Y - It has a painted logo. The Palm decal fell off the T3 and I've had it held on with sticky tape for months.
N - It no longer has the universal connector so my spare cradle, cable and keyboard aren't compatible.
Y - There was a free offer of a wireless keyboard when I purchased the T5.
Y & N - No slider so big/extended screen all the time BUT not all pre-loaded applications take advantage of the added screen real estate.
Y - Excellent screen resolution.
N - Some programs "glitch' with the T5 eg interfere with the global find function (one of the coolest things about Palm).
Y - New drive mode to allow T5 to function like a spare drive via USB on any computer (not just yours with the Palm software loaded).
Y - The calculator - which used to be ultra-basic but has now come of age! Many functions and modes - more investigation (and some instruction) required.
N - It takes so long to do a soft reset - and it needs resetting a LOT it seems.
N - Instead of the reset hole being big enough for a stylus tip, it's gone back to pin-size - so each time you need to force a reset, you have to undo the reset pin tool from the end of the stylus - and put it back again when you're done.
N - the power button on the T5 is where the retractable stylus was on the T3 so I keep turning the T5 off. Very annoying!
N - It is sooooo slow sometimes! The palmOne Knowledge base puts this down to some ''third party applications" but I don't buy it!
Y - The media functionality which has the conversion protocol built into the Palm desktop. However, it won't convert all file types. More investigation needed.
Y & N - The onboard memory but its use is not intuitive. It allows you the option of opening items from the Files area but none of them ever does - even simple Docs files - the resulting message is invariably "no application knows how to open this".
Y - that the cover that came in the box hinges from the side, not the top.
N - no LED - so you can't see if it's charging without turning it on and checking the battery status for the lightning smbol.
Y - the sync/charging cable/s. Out of the box you get a cable for syncing, and the power cable plugs into that. (No lights anywhere on either of these to tell if the unit is charging.) The good news is that you can also plug the power cable direct into the T5. This is a bit more flexible that previous iterations - where you needed the cradle to be able to charge the unit.
And that's all I can think of for the moment. If I were giving it a rating of 1-10, it would be about a 6.5 or 7 - only because it seems to have lots of buggy things about it - and some form features that haven't been thought through - or tested by hands who are used to using their Palms many times a day, and as a natural extension of themselves.
I'm not yet missing the other features that were dropped from the T5 - flashing LED alarm (although I do miss the LED itself), vibrating alarm, and voice recorder. I do miss the universal connector though.

Simple Tests

Email is a wonderful thing - a tool for use for good, or for evil. And it can sometimes bring little quizzies - like this one - amuse and bemuse.

1) How long did the Hundred Years War last?
2) Which country makes Panama hats?
3) From which animal do we get catgut?
4) In which month do Russians celebrate the October Revolution?
5) What is a camel's hair brush made of?
6) The Canary Islands in the Pacific are named after what animal?
7) What was King George VI's first name?
8) What color is a purple finch?
9) Where are Chinese gooseberries from?
10) What is the color of the black box in a commercial airplane?

I'd like to say I managed a score of 10 on this one, but no such luck. How do you reckon you went - because here are the answers:
1) 116 years
2) Ecuador
3) Sheep and Horses
4) November
5) Squirrel fur
6) Dogs
7) Albert
8) Crimson
9) New Zealand
10) Orange.

Simple Pageantry

The Pope's funeral was held yesterday, and images were televised around the world. On the front page of today's Sydney's Daily Telegraph is one of the images. Gathered around the Pope's simple wooden coffin was row after row of Catholic Church leaders - all ornately-dressed in flowing red and white cassocks (and not a younger person or woman in sight). This was one of the paradoxes of the occasion - the humility and the pageantry; the solemnity and the rock-concert feel; and the saying goodbye to a Man of God, and a Man of the People.

Ear we go

Browsing the shelves in the chemist this morning, I chanced upon EARcandles. I was sufficiently interested/curious to pick up a brochure for "ORIGINAL HOPI EARcandles" - aka "Thermotherapy for the Head and Ears from BIOSUN". From the picture on the front of the brochure it looks like you put one end of the EARcandle in the ear, and light the other end. Admittedly, the picture, while clear, does not clearly show a flame, but as it has a wick - and they use the word "thermotherapy", that's what I'm going with. According to the brochure, EARcandles may be beneficial for the temporary relief of a whole range of problems - sinus, glue ears, headaches, tinnitus, sore throats and allergies. While contraindications have not been encountered, they strictly advise "not the use the EARcandles in the case of perforated ear drum, acute ear infections and allergic reactions to constituent elements". Hmmm. The EARcandle seems to work in two ways - slight underpressure inside the EARcandle (did I mention it is a hollow nine-inch tube) and a vibration of the rising air column through the natural movement of the flame which gentle massage the ear drum.
Of course, there are always questions. The EARcandles are sold in packs of 2. The brochure includes the words "we strongly encourage you to try a pair". The aforementioned picture on the front of the brochure shows a child lying on its side, with the candle stuck in the ear (that isn't pointing down). Obviously you can only have one EARcandle in at a time - so how can you "try a pair". And would you be game to try one?

Li(f)e Support

Maria Korp lies in a coma in hospital, on life support, following a brutal attack where she was strangled and left in a car boot for 5 days. Her husband and his lover are accused of her attempted murder. Mr Korp has now advised, via his lawyer, that he will fight to keep his wife alive - even though she is in a vegetative state and if life support were withdrawn, she would die within a couple of weeks. Mr Korp is currently appealing for bail - and one of the seemingly compelling reasons why it should be granted is that the main evidence seems to be his co-accused saying he was in on it. Supposedly, he told "the other woman" that it was the only way they could be together.
So - if Mr Korp fights to keep his wife alive via life-support, and she doesn't die - could he ever be charged with murder. Is this a loop hole? How big a penalty does "murder" carry, compared with "attempted murder"? Is it worth his while - especially if he is innocent as he claims he is? And how long after life-threating injuries sustained can you count them as "murder"?

Friday, April 08, 2005


What has happened to all the writers out there? Are people not having original thoughts any more? And if they are, why aren't the studios buying them? Why are there so many re-makes of movies at the cinemas, and so many reality programs on television. Where are the bright new ideas? They don't even have to bright, just new. Yes, we all know there is nothing new in show business, but there must be two thoughts people can string together in a way they haven't been strung together before! Yes, I know, I could start. (Watch this space.)

Papal Salary

It occurred to me today, while reading about the Pope's Will, that as Head of the Catholic Church, the Pope was probably drawing a reasonable salary. This was the first time I had thought about a Person of God being paid - although I know I knew this happened. I know that it isn't really more than a stipend in some instances, but it did get me wondering how much the Pope was worth a year.
The other thought I've had since the Pope went to meet his Maker, was that with the Conclave, and the Papal position up for grabs, I think it would be very disappointing if the Australian Cardinal George Pell were to get the No. 1 job. Not that it's for me to judge, but some of the things this man has said over the years have been divisive and not very holy.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Court Notes

I chanced upon some notes I made a couple of years ago when I sat in a court hearing for a few days. It was the first hearing I had been to (if you don't count the time I was called as a witness in a trial about crosswords - but that's another story). As a would-be (or should that be "aspiring") writer, it seemed like a good idea at the time. I was in "observer" mode and in the three days that I went there - I made numerous notes about what I saw and what was said. Some of it is recorded conversation - the others just snippets/observations. For example: there is only one letter difference between "mother" and "smother"; and isn't it odd that "lung" and "tongue" are spelt differently.
Kathleen Folbigg is Currently in prison, serving a 40-year sentence for the murder and/or manslaughter of her four children. During the trial, lots of evidence was heard - but the jury didn't hear about Kathleen's own childhood (her father murdered her mother in front of her when Kathleen was under 2 years of age). They also didn't hear from Kathleen, who chose not to give evidence on her behalf. A question could be if the diary excerpts that were presented as part of the evidence against her were an accurate representation of her "voice".

Body memory

It is amazing how we learn to do things - and how part of that learning is related to physical memory. I am using a new keyboard with my Palm this morning, and even though it is still a "full size" keyboard, it is has a slightly different layout from the last, as the space bar is in two parts. I usually use the bit that now sits between those two parts, so I find I am trying to relearn this - so I don't have to go back and put in spaces all the time (because that could be a bit annoying in the long term!).
That's a bit funny. I was playing with the different keys to see what would happen and I turned the screen orientation around - and was amazed that the infrared signal would still work, given the machine was now not pointing that way - of course, I was wrong. The machine hasn't moved, it's the screen orientation that has changed (but it did take a few goes to work that out!)

Mystery solved?

I think my curiosity about the Calvin Klein shop front- and ''why chickens?'' - has been answered. I think they are not really chickens but roosters - as in Year of the Rooster!

A Question of Alcohol

How long does it take for the effects of alcohol to be felt - in terms of diminished brain functioning capacity. Also, how long does it take for the effects to disappear as the blood alcohol level dissipates. Craig Knowles, a NSW Government Minister, was charged with drink driving the other night. In Sydney's The Daily Telegraph this morning it gives a run-down of "The minister's night out" - including that at 11.55pm he recorded an initial concentration of 0.085. The next reading, at 12.24am is 0.06 (at which point he is arrested). At 1.26am he is down to 0.051, and then at 1.39am "He blows 0.044 and is allowed to drive home." Why were the additional readings done post-charge? So he would know when he was again under the lcgal limit and safe for him to drive again? What a difference those last13 minutes makes!!